Sunday, June 30, 2013

Not A Lot

Not a lot went on yesterday.  Pulled weeds out front--I must get mulch one of these days--and set the four new plants out.  Will try to get around to putting them in the ground today.  Stir-fried a big batch of mushrooms, onions, and garlic; added chicken to a portion of it and had it for dinner.  Talked to Betty, did some mundane domestic chores, took a dry run to Forked River (our Dine Around is there this evening), did some stuff on the computer, and that was pretty much it.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fun Day and John Kiriakou

Just goes to show ya: A day can start out unpleasant and end up great fun.  I called Rachel in the morning to ask what this Ad Hoc Players "meeting" could be for, as the reading isn't until September.  She said we were also "going to look at plays for next year."  Next year?  Does she really think I'm going to continue with this thing next year?  As usual in conversations with Rachel, this turned out to be infuriating and senseless.  At one point, referring to the party, she said, "I don't know why P. (his last name) would pick that day, anyway."  I told her John hadn't picked the date; he gave me several to choose from and that's what I selected.  I told her I wasn't coming to the meeting and we finally hung up, but not before I had developed a foul mood.
After the experience with the infamous M-Bag, I decided to take the baby books I had bought at Bam! back (alliteration, I love it).  Called Aline on the off-chance she was available and she was.  Picked her up, we went to Applebee's for lunch and had a very enjoyable time. 
By the time we got to Bam!, I was feeling better, although I was dismayed to be told there was a two-week limit on returns; I had bought the books three weeks ago.  Darn, I was annoyed, but held my temper and politely asked to see the manager.  She came, I explained about the postage cost, and she said all she could do was she'd give me a gift card equivalent.  Okay, that's a lot better than nothing, so I was satisfied.
We then drove down to Produce Junction and I got a big bag of mushrooms, then everything went black.  When I woke up, I found I had bought four pretty calamaris (no, but it starts with a "c") and a gorgeous deep-purple lisianthus.   Well, so what?  At Produce Junction, they're a steal.
Stopped at the cemetery on the way home and watered the azaleas at Pat's grave (wouldn't you know, it rained later in the day and this morning) and was pleased to see the Gerber daisy I had planted at Jay's is still there and looks good.  Watered that, too.
By the time we started home, it was past 5:00 and we made the joint decision that ice cream was on the agenda.  Stopped at The Pine Cone and enjoyed it while we sat and talked and talked.  Aline's sister has been diagnosed with Epstein-Barr and naturally, Aline is concerned about that.  I tried to reassure her that at least, it isn't Susan's diabetes or something more serious that's acting up, and that helped a bit.  I told her how much she had helped bring me out of my down mood of this morning, so we were a mutual admiration society.
Finally dropped my pal off about 7:00.  I had dripped vanilla soft-serve all over myself, so  immediately jumped in the shower when I got home, then settled in for the night.
WIDER:  A week or so ago, I wrote to John Kiriakou, the former CIA agent, who had blown the whistle on the torture engaged upon by his kindly colleagues.  In what seems a typical cruel irony nowadays, he's the only American who's been punished for torture--and he simply made it known.  He's serving a thirty-month sentence in federal prison in Loretto, Pa.  Yesterday, I was delighted to get a letter back from him, thanking him for mine and commenting on the Bradley Manning case, which I had mentioned.  Said he would have been with us on June 1, if he had been able.  Wikipedia and this web site tells more about his case:

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dinner for John

It turned out to be a great evening at Italian Gourmet.  Well, there was one snafu:  By 5:00, everybody had turned up except for Rachel.  I called her and she hemmed and hawed and dithered around in her usual nonsensical way, then said family had come in unexpectedly.  From whence, asked I.  North Carolina, said she, the idiot.  Funny, I never had anybody just "drop in" from hundreds of miles away.  After that, she said she had forgotten about the party. What?  She had received e-mails and reminders from several people, not only your truly.  Rachel has always resented John and I'm positive she simply wasn't going to come honor him.  Several people remarked on the fact that she had insisted I present the gifts to him; they believe she was determined not to come.
But the hell with her.  There were eleven of us in a private room, the food was good and the company better, and we had a ball.  So sorry to see John go, and we don't know yet who will take over the group, but somebody will step up to the plate, I'm sure.
Now today--heh, heh--I'm supposed to meet with others in Rachel's Ad Hoc Players group at Bernice's house in Margate.  Ostensibly, this is about The Ugly Duckling reading, but we're not doing that until September, so why meet now?  I feel like just not showing up, then saying I forgot, but that's bush league.  I'll call Rachel and find out what the purpose of this meeting is, then decide if I'll go or not. 
LATER:  I was just on the point of Skyping P. in Tokyo, to wish him happy birthday, when he called me.  He got the gift I had sent and showed me a darling little hat N. had just made.  Happy birthday to my firstborn!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nice Day

Another pleasant summer day.  I let Flossi's third stand-up roll off my back and didn't bother to answer her e-mail.  Called Betty to see if she could meet at Italian Gourmet instead; I'd rather see her, anyway.
She could and we did.  I dropped off the contract for the dinner for John--that's tonight--and met my Sis.  We had another nice meal and good chat in a long line of them.
Home in the 90+ degree heat, I got into my bathing suit and made off for the pool.  A fair number of people were there, including my friend and fellow Breeze staffer, Mary S., and we talked happily while suspended in the cool--oh, so cool, clear water.  It was heavenly.
Nice day altogether.   

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Boys And Flossi

Wonderful day.  Picked Aline up and we drove to Trenton to meet Marilyn for lunch, but not before 1.) I absent-mindedly drove south and was about to get on the Parkway when I realized I was going the wrong way and 2.) we had to go around a detour on 539.  However, we met up a little late and had a wonderful time.
The restaurant, "Rho," is right on the Delaware.  The food is good, the breeze was wonderful, and the company excellent.  Aline, the opera buff, and Marilyn, the musician and graduate of Westminster Choir College, got along splendidly, as did   a delicious shrimp salad and me.
I had called J. and T.'s grandmother in Ewing where they were visiting to see if I could drop off J.'s birthday present and that's what we did next.  It was so good to see the boys again; they're terrific kids and are growing fast.  Their little cousin, Shane, 4, was there, too, and I asked if we could take them all to the park.  Cindy suggested Antheil School instead, and that's where we went.      
It was so hot even the boys wilted a bit after a half hour of play on monkey bars and overheads, so we took them to Rita's.  The three kids got frozen lemonade and Aline and I cones.  Took them back to their grandparents and reluctantly said goodbye.
Dropped A. off and got home a bit after 6:00 to find an e-mail inviting me to an excursion at the lake on Monday.  Apologetically wrote Pat R., with whom I had planned to visit that day and asked if we cold postpone to Wednesday.  She graciously  acquiesced and I wrote back my thanks, adding the saga of Flossi.  That short and not-so-sweet scenario goes like this: She stood me up on "Blooms Day," June 16; lunch date made for Monday, June 24 and that morning, in response to my e-mail, was told had doctor's appointment and made another date for today, June 26.  In response to my reminder of last night, she sent a message to the effect she was "overwhelmed" and could we meet next week.  Not sure whether I want to continue this non-relationship. Is she worth it?  Maybe not.
Called my sister-in-law, Regina, who has sold her home in Buena and moved to her daughter's in Cherry Hill.  One of these days, I'll take her to lunch.  Tied up loose ends for the dinner for John tomorrow and as usual when I'm in charge of something like this, I'm both looking forward to it with pleasure and can't wait until it's over.    

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mild Chore Day

Another "chore day," although I didn't do that much.  Put in the new plant I got last week and pulled a few weeds.  Went to Habitat for Humanity and bought four books, the most recent of which was published in 1926.  Three seem to be written for teenage boys, maybe, but somehow I liked them and plan to read them.  The other is a first edition by Zane Grey.  I don't necessarily think it's worth anything, but it was only three bucks and someday, I hope to get around to reading it.  At B.J.'s, got a birthday gift for my great-grandson and Joyland (Stephen King) for myself.
Finally got my reservations for California.  I hope the dates are okay with my drivers and e-mailed the info to them. I have twenty-four hours to cancel without penalty.  Otherwise, changing anything is two hundred smackers.
Made plans with my friend, Pat R., formerly of Myrtle Beach, to visit her in her new digs in Mount Laurel.  Looking forward to a trip there on July 1
Aline, Bobbi and Betty called.  (Funny--Betty' nickname was "Bobby" when we were little.)  I called Joelly's grandmother and asked if I could drop off his birthday gift today, as Aline and I will be in town meeting Marilyn for lunch, if she can make it.  Joelly will be eleven on Friday and my boy in Japan will be--well, a lot more than eleven--on the same day.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fifty Years On: June 21, 2008

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It turned out to be a pleasant day.  Betty called early to invite me to join her porch-sitting gang, a number of whom had stayed through the day on Saturday.  The prospect of sitting for more than a few hours isn't tempting to me--I get antsy and want to move it--and I had planned to get some chores done, so I declined with thanks.  Besides, I was expecting Bob S. to come at 9:00 and look at my sprinkler, which isn't going on.  (He did, and seemed to have fixed it, but damn, it was supposed to go on today and it didn't, so it STILL isn't working.) 
Changed my mind about Betty's after I planted the Gerber daisies I bought last week and did a few other chores.  Deciding that was enough gainful employment for the day, I zipped down to Ventnor to join the porch crew. That consisted of Betty, Muckie, and Mary H., and we had an enjoyable time.  I had brought the script for Telephone, which Betty, Muckie, and Helen had missed at Dante Hall because they came in late.  They had asked that I perform it for them, and I did, taking all the parts.  They seemed to enjoy it.
Stayed until about 4:00, then said goodbye.  Had my weekly Skype call from Ellen and we happily talked and talked. Can't wait to see her in a month or so.  

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Nothing going on yesterday.  Talked to Betty on the phone, went to Shop-Rite, cooked some chicken in the oven, did this 'n' that on the computer, put some winter scarfs and gloves away, chatted with a few neighbors, washed clothes, and more or less just puttered around.  It was a little boring, but not bad; actually, pretty relaxing after a week of on-the-go. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Another Lunch and a Party

Yet another full, full day in a week of them.  Met Linda G. for lunch at Fred & Ethel's in Smithville and we had a fine time getting to know each other.  She's a Quaker, which explains her pacifism, and suffered three serious accidents on her bike.  These left her with brain damage, but this is evident only in a slight limp and occasional difficulty in finding words.  She lived in Brigantine as a kid and went to Friends School in Atlantic City.  Her father was president of Atlantic City Electric.  She is an artist, but has been unable to paint for a time.  Linda had married twice, but had no children.
She called me in the morning to ask if I'd like to go with her to a cookout at 4:00 at a friend's in Egg Harbor Township.  Well, sure, why not?
After lunch, I followed Linda to her house in Port Republic.  This is a fascinating one, way back in the woods and a little messy, but in a cozy, inviting way.  Some of her art hangs on the walls and I like the portraits so much.  We chatted for a bit, then I went to the cemetery (it was my fifty-fifth anniversary) while Linda assembled deviled eggs to take to the party. 
Made my visit, then picked up a few things at Shop-Rite and got back to Linda's about 4:00.  Followed her to the cookout, which was at a house also out in the woods, near Germania Cemetery. 
I had met some of the guests--many were Quakers--at the Potluck for Peace gathering a few weeks ago; several are active or retired faculty at Stockton State. 
I greatly enjoyed talking to Rick Goldberg who, oddly enough considering his name, was brought up Catholic (he's now a Quaker). His wife's name is the same as mine.  Rick had been superintendent of schools in Mullica Township and I found him wonderfully engaging--maybe because he has many of the same ideas and beliefs I do.  He knows Don M., with whom I graduated from HSHS and who is still hanging on to his superintendent of schools job in (somewhere; don't recall).  Rick and I agreed it's about time for him to close the book and let somebody write in it.  Anyway, it was an enjoyable, though low-key, party.
I have nothing scheduled for the weekend, which is fine by me; I'm ready for a break.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Philly, There I Was

Yester wasn't just a day, it was a day and a half.  Got up at 3:15, washed, dressed, and coffeed, and set off for the Absecon train station with little time to spare.
It was very scary driving there.  My windshield fogged up and on the parkway after New Gretna, construction is going on and there's about two inches for clearance.  I could see nothing aside from cones on the right, one of which I hit.  A huge truck bore down on me, furiously blowing his horn, and I honestly don't know how I avoided running into the concrete wall on the left.
Finally made it, though, just in time for the 4:44 train.  I had been slightly worried the place would be deserted and was glad to see about 35 commuters on the platform.
Got to Philly with no problem, but at 6:00, a full two hours early.  Had coffee and a bagel, then walked the not quite a mile to 3700 Market.  Sat outside--it was a lovely day--and chatted with a woman who was also waiting for the orientation.  Jennifer is an architect, but has been out of work for a year.  She is now 63 and hopes she can hold out, money wise, until she can get social security.  A familiar story in this lousy economy, I'm afraid.
Eight o'clock finally came.  There were 17 people in the orientation, which consisted of a short video, then a question and answer period.  Employees are called "S.P.s," which I understand means "Standardized Patients."  The interviewers were introduced; mine were Angelo and Mike and I accompanied them to an office.
After the usual preliminary chit-chat, they got down to cases and explained more about the position.  I asked if there could be any flexibility as to start time, and was told no.  Okay, fellows, I'm outta here.
I didn't actually say that, of course, but reluctantly told them I was taking myself out of consideration because of the long, long commute and having to cool my heels for two hours.  (The second train doesn't arrive in Philly until 8:13.) 
I left and waited outside for my new friend, Karen N., whom I had met on the "Bradley Bus" when we went to Fort Meade on June first.  Karen had introduced me to the S.P. program, as she's a participant.  She came early and we greeted each other happily with hugs.  Walked back to the station and had lunch at the Irish Pub, a less-than-accommodating establishment (they had none of the four 6.99 specials listed), but we talked and laughed, laughed and talked, and Karen had brought me a half dozen eggs from her own chickens, and the sun was shining, and I was in the big city, and I loved it all.
Karen is a cheerful, exuberant, giving person whom I feel I've known for years instead of a few weeks.  Our talk was all over the map, of course, from family to  spiritual beliefs (or lack of them) to pacifist topics.  After a leisurely time, we parted, she to take the "high speed line" (what could that possibly mean?), me to cool my heels for an hour and a half until the next train.  I hung out watching the people walking here and there with quick, purposeful strides, all seeming to know where they were going.
Clearly, I didn't.  I walked outside, didn't notice a step, and fell right down.  Luckily, I'm sure I didn't suffer anything serious, but have a long, ugly abrasion on my right knee.
Train came, I got to Absecon and my car, and drove immediately to Ocean City, where I had promised to meet my friend at 4:00.  I had brought other clothes and stopped first at The Point Diner to ask if I could change in the ladies' room.  Was granted permission and did so.  My friend came shortly, we parked in the back of Wawa, and set off over the bridge.
This is 2.3 miles long and significantly, is not flat. We went only to the middle, then back, because my friend had a hair appointment at six, but hey, that in itself is a workout.  It was fun, though, and I always love being with this particular person.
Said goodbye and, home, practically dove into the shower.  Checked e-mail, talked to sister Betty, and watched my 45 minutes of T.V. with my popcorn and wine.  Finally, after a long, but enjoyable day, fell into bed and slept like the dead (ouch!).
Geez, as I keep asking, why aren't I skinny as a rail?  Maybe because, in addition to  vigorous activity, I go out to eat so much.  Today, I'm meeting Linda G., my other new peace pal, at Fred and Ethel's in Smithville.
This is my fifty-fifth wedding anniversary.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Philadelphia, Here I Come

Set the alarm for 3:15 and here I am, getting ready for my adventure in "the city."  That always meant Philadelphia to me, not New York, as it does to others around here.  I'll get the 4:44 train out of Absecon.
Yesterday, I wasn't to pick up Naomi until 12:30, so I had time to make a big salad for dinner.  Also revved up the crock pot and set to simmer chunked tomatoes and onions, with parsley, garlic, and oil.  Had that with meat balls last night and it was ever so yummy.
At the appointed time, I the short distance to Tall Timbers and was shown around Naomi and Wayne's condo.  I must say it's very nice: spacious, bright, with a soaring vaulted ceiling in the living room and a lovely, private backyard.  After chatting a bit with Wayne, we left for lunch at Dynasty.
Naomi is having some difficulties with family relationships and I listened sympathetically when she recounted some of them.  I'm not sure what the solution is, or if one exists.  Hope so.
Dropped her off and went directly to Kohl's where I got a small gift for Patrick's 54th birthday.  Rushed home, packed it up, added the card, and sped off the the post office before it closed. 
Glory be, the M-bag finally arrived!  I was taken aback to see it's just a far-from-sturdy-looking container of thick plastic.  There's a tag to attach and, soon, I'll pack up the baby books and send them off to Japan.  Hope they arrive intact.
Received a phone call from a friend, asking if I wanted to walk over the new, expensive Ocean City bridge.  Of course, I said yes and we'll meet at 4:00 or so.  I should be back from Philly by then.  I think the bridge is about a mile long and it's supposed to be a lovely day, so I'm sure we'll enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

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Shalom House

Called Bobbi in the morning to ask what street we should go down in Ventnor to get to Shalom House.  She asked if it would be all right to have lunch at her place instead of going out.  It seems she's a few bucks shy right now, and she said she had plenty of salad fixings.  "Sure," said I, knowing that Aline would be okay with it, too.
Picked the latter up and we zipped down to my hometown (I'm in a silly mood).  Bobbi showed us around the building, which is being renovated, then took us up to her apartment.  I was there before, but Aline wasn't.  It's compact--pretty small--but has a balcony with a nice view and is fairly modern.  It wouldn't, however, be right for Aline, as it's a full mile to the beach and aside from shuttles that go to the supermarket and mall at scheduled times, there's no bus service.
Bobbi served us salad nicoise,* which I haven't had for an age and which was delicious.
After a leisurely lunch and good talk, Bobbi suggested we go out for ice cream.  Ever ready to lose our (dietary) virtue, A. and I immediately agreed.  We went to Two Cents Plain on Ventnor Avenue--I was there years ago--and A. got an ice cream cone.  Bobbi and me?  Utterly decadent "fudgies'--a big brownie topped with ice cream, hot fudge, and nuts.  'Twas evil, but yummy.
Our hostess had told us of two low income places in Atlantic City, Community Haven and Best of Life.  They're both on Virginia Avenue, and we drove up to see them on our way home. Couldn't find B. of L., but C.H. is a large building with grass and trees around it.  We didn't get out of the car, though, as it had started to rain heavily.  The place looked nice, we thought, and is very convenient to the boardwalk, the beach, and the bus line.  Possible for Aline, if she ever decides to move.
By the time we got off the island, a veritable Niagara was coming down, and it was actually hard to see on the Parkway. We made it home safely, though, and I dropped my dear friend off.
Lunch today with Naomi. 
* I guess Spellcheck doesn't understand foreign words, so it may be misspelled.  It's pronounced "ne-schwa," and usually consists of lettuce, tuna fish, hard-boiled egg, string beans, and maybe a few other veggies; Bobbi had zucchini in hers.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Another busy and productive day.  (Why do days have to be "productive," anyway?  Must be my catholic school upbringing...)
Left about 11:00, first stopping at the train station in Absecon to get my tickets to Philly, then went to Shop-Rite and Santori's on Jimmie Leeds Road for various and sundry.  Met catering manager, Lori, at Italian Gourmet at our agreed time, 1:30, and nailed down the details for the party for John next week. 
I'm not sure how it came about that I'm doing all the arranging and deciding--I guess I just did it, as everybody else was dithering around with nothing happening.  Turns out we have to change the time from 6:00.  I just picked that out of a hat, but it seems there's a lot going on there that night and it has to be either 6:30 or 4:30.  Damn, that was a dilemma.  I had to make an executive decision and made it 4:30.  I was worried that I'd get cries and lamentations if people thought they'd have to drive home in the dark, so...  I hope John, the guest of honor, won't have any problem with that.  Decided on the buffet and Lori will send me the contract shortly.  Once I sign, I have to submit a deposit and then be responsible for 15 diners, no matter how many show up.
That took about 40 minutes and after, I drove farther south to Canal's to replenish my wine cellar, then to Produce Junction.  Got Brussels sprouts and broccoli, and when my eye fell on some nice Gerber daisies in pink, I bought four pots to put in front.  Also got a pretty flowering plant I'll give to Linda when I see her on Friday.
Finally got to Boscov's and tried on every damn thing in the store.  I hate shopping for clothes, but finally bought pedal pushers (capris?), both checked, one black and white, the other green and same.
Got home past 5:00 and made and received several phone calls.  Typed out an update on the dinner for John and was extremely frustrated when, although I was using the same address list that went out successful before, it wouldn't go through; said three address were in error.  After trying all kinds of things, I finally just piggy-backed it as a forward with my earlier message.
Ellen called on Skype and we had a good talk.  We decided to get "mani-peds" or whatever it's called--a manicure and pedicure during one visit to the salon.  She's done it before, but I never did.  I'm getting downright wild. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

What A Day

What a friggin' day.
Decided to go over to Ocean City early for the Bloomsday reading, so left about 11:00.  On the parkway, it occurred to me to stop at Betty's first; I did, but she wasn't home and didn't answer her cell. 
Well, no prob, I thought, I'll just continue on to O.C., meet Flossi, and get the lay of the land.  After a few wrong turns, I found the library where I was to read, a large, newly built, rather ugly complex.  Went in and saw that a museum is part of it.  Asked at the desk and--
--they had never heard of Bloomsday.  And told me the library didn't open until 1:00.  What?  Flossie had said there'd be music and food at noon, so what gives?  Waited around until the library opened and found the staff had never heard of Bloomsday, either (geez, it's a library; guess there are no Joyce fans there) and there wasn't any such event scheduled there.  A clerk was kind enough to call Flossi, whom they all seemed to know.  There was no answer and apparently, no answering machine.  I went to their computer center, put "Bloomsday, Ocean City, NJ" in and found no mention of the event anywhere, except from two years ago, when it was held at the OC Repertory Theatre, about two miles down the island.  With no other options I could see, I drove down there.  It's in a storefront, but was locked up tight.
Parked and finally got Flossi on the phone:
F:  "Uh...I sent you an e-mail last night that I cancelled because I didn't have enough readers, what with Father's Day and all."
Me:  "I check my e-mail every morning and I didn't get any such message."
F.: "Well, maybe I put it on Facebook."
Me:  "I looked at the P & P page where the invitation to read appeared and it wasn't there."
F.:  "Maybe it was on some other page."
Me.: "?"
F.:  "Or maybe I was thinking I sent it to you, but sent it to somebody else."
But to cut the whole damn thing short:  I got over my annoyance (read "homicidal rage") and said I'd call her later and we'd arrange a date to meet, which we did--next Monday at Italian Gourmet, assuming she shows up.
In the meantime, I was able to get to sister Betty, who had planned to come to the reading, and tell her the news.  We arranged to meet at Applebee's in Somers Point, we did, and Muckie joined us. Had a fun, convivial lunch, then parted.
By that time, it was almost 4:00 and I was due then at Susan's to go to a neighbor's house and look at a 52-inch T.V.  Called her to postpone and got in a half hour later.  We went to the guy's house--he lost his wife and moved to Florida; Susan is the selling agent--and I saw the T.V.  Not sure if I want it or not.
Home, I got a lot of phone calls made, including to Bobbi C, who a talker and had me on the phone for about 40 minutes.  Incredibly, it was 8:00 by the time I finished.  Had my left-over spaghetti with my wine, came across 19 Kids And Counting, which I had never seen before, and watched for a half hour.  I was mesmerized by the totally bizarre premise and the people in it.  Even the little kids seem to be throwbacks from the 1950s, always neatly dressed, with hair slicked down, and absolutely positive this is the best of all possible worlds.  Unlike Gerald Celente, my current hero, they use no dirty words.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Okay, Jim, you asked for it.

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Dante Hall Show And Snowden

I thought we had better go early to Atlantic City, as Jimmy Buffet (who he?) was performing free on the beach in, I assume, a "kick off the summer--again" concert.  With that in mind, I picked Aline up at noon, but as it turned out, had no problem driving down with just the normal traffic, so we were very early.  John wasn't even there yet, but Stephanie, the manager of Dante Hall for Stockton State, was and we got in.  Chatted with others, rehearsed our entrance on-stage and ran through the intros, then promptly at 3:00, the show opened with my Telephone.
It turned out to be an excellent show.  The surprise in Telephone--no, I won't tell--had the audience gasping, then applauding and Hell On Wheels went well, too.  Some of the other plays were excellent, especially Cheap Therapy, the last of the six.  Then there were the oddballs: Jim L.'s, which simply meandered along and didn't make much sense, and that notorious last play. 
That was Gray's (yes, that's the name he uses), which was set in Hell.  Gee, that's funny, so was mine, which he had seen months ago at the meeting, and I mentioned that to him after.  Not sure if he had the grace to be embarrassed, but I hope so.  His was imitative in the setting, but was larded with obscenities.  Poor Denise, who had to say most of them, actually apologized to the audience first; her 10- and 12-year old grandchildren were there.*
Because both of mine were in the first half, I was able to sit with Betty, Muckie, and Helen, whom I was pleased to see.  I wasn't so pleased to be told they had missed Telephone, which went on first, because somehow, they thought it started at 3:30.
However, the audience, though sparse, was very enthusiastic and several came up to me to express their appreciation.  I was thrilled to see Linda G. and her friend, who had come all the way from Port Republic.  I had met Linda at the Potluck for Peace dinner last week and we immediately bonded.  I had tried to e-mail her, but had the address wrong and she showed me what she thought was my phone number, which somebody else had written down and it was wrong, too.  So, I'm glad she came and we hope to get together this week.  
After the show, some of us walked down the street to Angelo's--which we mistook for Angeloni's on the next block--for dinner.  I invited Louise, so with Betty and her companions and Aline and me, there were six of us.  Had a good Italian dinner and even better talk, then parted.
Once Aline and I reached Little Egg, that naughty girl suggested ice cream and this naughty girl happily agreed.  We went to the Pine Cone and got soft-serve cones, then sat in their patio and talked and talked.  We met the new owners of the place, Linda Something and her husband, and enjoyed chatting with them.  Didn't drop Aline off until almost 9:00 after a long, but satisfying day. 
And today?  It's June 16, Bloomsday and I'm spending it with James Joyce.
* Well, if she was uncomfortable, couldn't she decline the role?  Sure, but the place in question would freeze over (heh, heh) before she did--or any of the rest of us, for that matter. 
WIDER:  I fervently, fervently hope Naomi isn't on to something here, but things like this worry me:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Manicure And Molly Bloom

Woke up feeling lousy with a stiff neck, sore back, and queasiness otherwise.  Took two aspirins and before I picked up Susan for our walk, was tiptop. (When I was a kid, nobody complained of upset stomachs from aspirin, but once the ad whores started promoting the idea, people embraced it and now spend five times as much for Tylenol, Advil, and etc.  Ad whores: mission accomplished.)
It was still raining off and on, darn it.  Got to the hairdresser at 1:30, and didn't blow out of there until almost 5:00.  Had my hair colored (darker; it had gotten to blonde last time) and cut by Kyle, my cute little stylist.  I didn't recognize her, as she was brunette when I saw her before and now has her hair bleached platinum blonde, shaved on both sides, with a shock standing upright in the middle and colored pink and blue in the front.  On one side under the shaved part she has a green lizard tattoo.  Whether it's an actual one or temporary, I forgot to ask her.  It's eye-catching, that's a cinch.  I told her I wanted mine like that, too (heh, heh).
Anyhoo, I noticed how bad my nails looked and impulsively asked for a manicure.  When the manicurist, Debbie, heard I had never had one before, she yelled "virgin!" so everyone in the shop could hear.  Was I annoyed?  Not at all--I thought it was funny.
I won't go into the long process involved in having your nails done, but it took awhile.  Wish I had asked for a darker color--being such a sissy novice, I insisted on very pale pink and they're not as noticeable as they could be.  Next time--YES, there'll be a next time--I'll get red, or at least a stronger pink.  Now my nails look nice and my hair even better.  (Aside to Jim: I may--or may not--take a photo.  I have a certain picture of myself in my mind--fortyish, slender and stylish, a no-nonsense type, but with sensitivity; a kind of latter-day Katherine Hepburn.  The reality is vastly different, as you may have guessed.)
Got my part of the Ulysses script from Flossi (she doesn't use an "e") and was gratified, though a little nervous, to see she gave me the last lines of Molly's soliloquy.  I recited it aloud several times and couldn't hold back tears.  That final "yes" is so stirring, such an affirmation of life and love, that it affects me: "...and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes."  Good grief, I hope she doesn't want me to read the whole thing, which is nine pages with no punctuation except that single period at the end.  Must ask Flossi if she wants an Irish accent, at which I'm not particularly good.  Hope not.
Hey, this is a show bizzy weekend with my two plays in the Players & Playwrights readings in Atlantic City today and the Ulysses recitation in Ocean City tomorrow.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Niece and Nephews

The weather was predicted to be stormy--the usual overwrought hype--so I went down earlier than I had thought I would to Betty's, about 10:30.  Greatly enjoyed seeing Wes, Carolyn, and Stephen, who are helping my sis with a clear-out.  While I was there, though, the heavens opened (cliché city--whee!) and a deluge descended, which included good-sized hail.  The street almost instantly flooded to an alarming depth.  I didn't want to stay, for fear of being stuck there, plus I didn't want to interrupt the work for too long.  My car was parked across the street and Wes was kind enough to take off his shoes and socks and maneuver it partly into the driveway, so I didn't have to step into the water at all.
Winchester Avenue was mostly flooded, too, so I drove down to Ventnor Avenue, which also had water covering the whole street in spots.  This prevailed even in Ventnor Heights, but once I turned left onto Albany Avenue Boulevard, there was little excess water.  In fact, it was just raining lightly all the way home on the Parkway and I had no problem at all.
Saw on Facebook that a June 16 Bloomsday gathering was being planned in Ocean City and, ever ready to enlarge my contacts, I called the woman whose number is listed.  This is Flossie M., who had been a member of P & P.  Had a nice talk and I signed up to be a reader of a passage from Ulysses, the James Joyce work for whom the day is named. (The book takes place on June 16 and, around the world, celebrations with readers are held to commemorate it.)
Finally getting my hair cut today.  I want it darker and much shorter--I'm sick of the shoulder length.


Thursday, June 13, 2013


Got to the Atlanticare Little Egg office for my 7:30 physical and it really wasn't the ordeal I thought it would be.  Dawn, the NPA (not sure what that stands for) was very thorough, but efficient; she said she's done about fifty of these.  It's all dictated by our rulers, the insurance companies, of course, but I guess can be beneficial for some.  It consisted of 17 pages of questions (which Dawn asked, then filled in) re health, habits, and whether I have a living will.
This last I think annoyingly intrusion.  What business is it of Horizon whether I have a living will?  Once you need to have that implemented, their part is over, fer cryin' out loud.  Well, the hell with it.
Actually, I like Dawn--I've seen her before, as the doctors in that office go in and out like swinging doors; the new one starts next week--and was delighted to learn that she's in Margate Players, and will appear in Hairspray in July. My physical turned up no beri-beri or other malady and I was home before 9:00.
Spent a lot of the day working on various what I call "business" stuff.  Sent an e-mail to John P., of Players & Playwrights, inviting him via a little verse, to a dinner for him at Italian Gourmet and asking him to name a date.  He wrote back quickly with a few of them and I arbitrarily picked Thursday, June 27, then sent an e-mail out to members, asking who would come.  Call the catering manager and went back and forth with her getting info. 
Also ascertained that from 30th Street station in Philly, it's only seven-tenths of a mile to the place where I'll interview for the "patient impersonation" job.  Happy day, I can walk it.  Now I just have to see if I can get a train from Absecon that's early enough to get me there by 8 am.
Late in the day, drove to Staples to pick up ink and paper.  Stopped at the library and found Aline in the computer center.  Told her about the dinner for John and she was delighted.  And, of course, she promptly accepted my invitation to go to Hairspray.  Think I'll ask Louise, too.  Picked up a rotisserie chicken, my addiction, at Shop-Rite and had some for dinner.
Talked to Betty and she invited me to come down to say hello to Wes, Stephen, and Carolyn this afternoon. I will and will bring Aline.    

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rehearsal For "Telephone"

Another good, full day.  Sent the completed article off to the A.'s, and picked Aline up at 1:00.  Drove down to Ventnor and we had time before rehearsal to sit for a bit in the little park next to the library--bright sunshine and a nice breeze, too.
Everybody showed up on time and we got started.  Aside from Rachel's constant interfering and trying to take over, it went well.  I was pleasantly surprised at Joey, who is really good and was excellent in the part.  Dayle preformed well, as ever, and Aline improved a lot during the time we rehearsed.  Rachel isn't bad--in fact, she fits the part to the hilt, being a whiney, clingy, childish pain in the rear in real life.  I had a number of notes and pointers for them, on which I elaborated; I gave each a copy of same.
After going over the play a number of times, we discussed taking our leader, John, out for a goodbye dinner.  (He's leaving next month to pursue an M.F.A. at Arizona State.)  I said I'd ask him what day would be good and when I got home, did, with a little rhyme.  Said I'd also notify members, so I guess that means I'll do the whole thing, including dealing with the restaurant. 
We parted about 3:30 and I'm feeling good about both my casts.  A. and I strolled up to the boardwalk to view the ocean--she loves the shore, then I drove past my old house on Rosborough before we got outta town.
Went for early dinner to Italian Gourmet, very good, as ever.  On the way home, I asked if A. would like to stop at Jeffreeze for ice cream.  She burst out laughing and said she just at that moment had been on the point of asking me the same.  Great minds work in the same...and so on.  We both got soft vanilla with a chocolate shell, so good and so much I couldn't finish it all.
By the time I dropped my convivial friend off, it was well after 7:00.  Wrote the invite to John, washed off my makeup and after my glass of wine, was in bed by 9:00.
I'm getting in the shower shortly, as my physical--which the all-powerful insurance company has ordered--is at 7:30 this morning.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Busily Busy

A busily busy day.  Took book (Jackie Reading) and CD (biography of Einstein) back to the library and picked up a new CD (murder mystery; can't remember name).  Stopped at the P.O. to see if the M-bag was in yet.  Incredibly, it wasn't.  I was told the Little Egg people had sent out a search and nobody in the area had one.  They had to send to North Carolina for it, but it should be on its way.
This seems incredible to me.  M-bags are a legitimate service of the United States Post Office.  They allow citizens to send printed material overseas (and maybe here, too, dunno) for much less postage than the highway robbery they get for regular mail.  Of course, the stuff goes by boat--or carrier pigeon, for all I know--but eventually, one hopes, gets there. I want to send a certain little someone, not yet born, some books via this method, but it's been at least six weeks since I requested an M-bag, and it seems to have thrown the whole east coast P.O. into a tizzy.  I'm still waiting.
After, I went across the street to Seacrest's new assisted living facility and asked to have someone set up an appointment to tour it for Aline and me.  I don't intend to move in, just thought I'd like to see it and maybe they'll offer us lunch.
Proceeded on to Manahawkin and got my medication at Wal-Mart.  I didn't linger, though, as weighing on my mind was the profile on Pat and Bea A., which I had barely started.  This is the point at which I start to panic because I always send to the subjects first to check for errors, and I have to get it back, then submit by Thursday.  Kept my nose to the grindstone and finally finished it.  Had to call the A.'s a few times to clarify some of my notes, but it turned out okay.  I'll read it over and send to them this morning. 
Got calls from Aline, Lillian M., Bobbi C., and Jeanne P.--it's always a pleasure to hear from her and we had an enjoyable chat.  However, Bobbi's call was to tell me we couldn't meet today at Shalom House where she lives, as had been planned.  She had forgotten that a movie was being shown at the same time.  No prob, though, as I was able to reserve a room at the Ventnor Library, then contact Rachel, Dayle, and Joey, to let them know.  I'll tell Aline when I pick her up today.
About 3:00, I finally chopped down the huge bayberry (read "weed") bushes under my back window, bundled them up, and got them to the curb.  Actually, somebody else did that as I hacked away at milkweed and other invaders that have tried to take over the back.  It looks much, much better, although I need to get in there again to finish up.  Good thing we've had so much rain, as the ground is softened--but now I want it to stop--the rain, that is, not the ground.
So-o-o, a good, productive day.  
WIDER:  Yesterday, I watched Ed Snowden on the video embedded in the following.   It gave me hope.  He was smashing in his intelligent speech and calm, articulate manner.  Oh, please, let there be many more out there like him.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Peace Potluck

To Acme in the morning for green leaf lettuce, mushrooms, and "cranraisins," to which I added tomatoes, onions, and feta for the salad I took to the Potluck for Peace I attended yesterday. 
It was in Egg Harbor at the home of Helene Ryder, sister of the "Peace Pilgrim."  Helene herself is 97, but is alert and spry, although I understand she no longer rides her bike down the White Horse Pike.
Her house is very modest and, when I arrived, people were already chatting inside and out.  I met some new people and particularly enjoyed talking to Linda G., who is an artist and lives in Port Republic, a tiny town a few miles from Smithville.  We exchanged names and e-mail addresses and I hope to see more of her. 
Also met Rose S. who lives in Galloway and, incredibly enough, remembers my late sister and brother-in-law when he was mayor.  This must have been 35 or 40 years ago.  I told both Linda and Rose about the P & P show next Saturday and they may actually come.
I wore my "Free Bradley Manning" tee-shirt and was shocked when several people asked about it--and didn't know who Bradley Manning is.  I explained what Brad had done, including releasing the infamous video, and that he was locked up and on trial, Incredibly, one woman said well, he's a traitor, isn't he?  Now, come on, really.  This is a peace group? 
I'm afraid it's the old-fashioned type peace group.  They seem to have romantic notions of the way to peace, elevating an elderly woman who died 30 years ago, to secular sainthood.  The idea of extending the example of Mildred Ryder by demonstrating, handing out leaflets, writing to newspapers, or whatever, clearly has never occurred to most of them.  Or, if it has, it was rejected.
The lunch was good and some of the talk better.  It was followed by a sing-along, but I left before that.  (I'm willing to bet Coom-By-Ya was included; shades of the sixties!)   
I was gratified that just before I left, a woman with an Irish accent excitedly told me her husband had a shirt just like mine, and he had been at the Manning demonstration last week.  Well, finally!  We exchanged hugs and e-mail addresses and I went on my way. 
Another ominous note about yesterday: The majority of the roughly thirty attendees were elderly women.  There were three men and maybe the same number of people who may have been in their twenties.  This preponderance of older people (but of both genders) also prevailed at the Ft. Meade demonstration last week.  Where are all the student groups and others of the upcoming generation?  Why don't you see--and hear--more of them in the pro-peace brigade?  Are they so thoroughly conditioned and brain-washed by the collusion of government/corporations/media that they're actually unaware of the scourge of U.S. aggression?  Or they know, but don't care.
If so, I think there's no hope for the country or the world.  And maybe it's just as well.  A new system of some kind will have to be devised, but it won't necessarily be benign.  And I won't be alive to see it.     

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Rehearsal For "Hell"

More rain early on, but it cleared into brilliant sunshine later.  Got to Stockton just as my cast of five did, and we all settled into rehearsal for Hell On Wheels.
I started by going over the notes I had made after hearing them read for the first time at the meeting.  Reminded the women that they were saucy, sassy, and no better than they had to be, John that he was the boss man (he plays the Devil), and Ernie that he had to speak more slowly.  The latter is the only one who is more a playwright than a player in our group, and who needs a bit more direction, but after the several times we went over it, he improved a lot.
In fact, it was a pleasure to direct this group.  They all took my comments seriously--which you had better with a director--and did a wonderful job.  I was particularly happily surprised that Bernice developed her character as she did.  She tends to be a bit bland, but ratcheted up her performance satisfactorily.  We'll meet early next Saturday before show time and hone it a bit.
What's coming up on Tuesday may prove to be a lot less of a pleasure.  That's when I called rehearsal for Telephone and there are a few factors I'm a little apprehensive about.  One is that Joey, who plays the male lead, is unknown to me, so I'm not sure how he'll react to direction; two is that all the players need to get into their characters more believably and not just "read."  The big one is, naturally, Rachel, who's such a loose cannon, pain in the ass, and infuriating know-it-all, as well as  endlessly needy whiner, that she's wearing to be with. She fits the part to a tee, but I'm not looking forward to directing her, as she'll almost invariably try to take over. 
After the Hell rehearsal yesterday, Louise, Denise, and I went to Celina's for "linner" or maybe, "dunch" (it was a bit after 3:30), which has terrific fresh salads and sandwiches.  We had a good time talking and I enjoyed getting to know Denise better.
Got home and had an e-mail from Noelle.  I was sorry to hear that Jen turned down the idea that I take J. and T. to California with me in July.  She feels it would cut into her time with the boys and I understand, but am disappointed.  Maybe next year...  

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Lunch And Rain

Boy, did the rain come down yesterday!  'Twas a deluge all day, but Aline and I are intrepid and we didn't let something like the weather come between us and a nice excursion.  I picked her up at our usual 12:30 and we exchanged little spontaneous gifts for no reason.  I had bought a huge bag of navel oranges and gave her two and she gave me two New Yorkers, to which she subscribes.
Went to Shore Diner for lunch.  I didn't allow myself to get the liverwurst and onions and opted instead for tuna melt.  I have no idea why, since I really don't care for tuna melt--tuna salad and melted American don't seem to go together to me--and it was an enormous portion, plus soup and fries.  Ate half the t.m. and took the other half home and had it for dinner.
--An aside (oh, yes, I love them!):  I was raised to feel a sense of horror at the thought of wasting food--the starving children in Europe, you know--so I'm just incapable of not taking uneaten food home.  What's more, the t.m. wasn't particularly appealing after it had been in the refrigerator for a few hours and I didn't bother to re-heat it; just ate it cold.  When does one get over one's childhood strictures?  In my case, never, I guess.--
Okay, moving right along.  Considering the Niagara Falls coming down, we skipped Produce Junction and went directly to Bam!  There, Aline wandered happily amid the stacks (she's into Sylvia Plath at the moment) and I looked at a number of new-baby books for my precious new-baby soon to enter the world.  Bought five, using the gift card Anne Mary had given me, and had to add only a few bucks.  Now to nag the post office for the M-Bag I had requested.
We actually had to sit in the car for about twenty minutes because my car windows took so long to de-fog, but so what--more time to talk.  Drove home carefully and sat also outside Aline's, talking and talking. 
Got home about 5:00 and went over my director notes for Hell On Wheels; we're rehearsing at Stockton this afternoon.  Called Betty to chat and that was my day.     

Friday, June 07, 2013


Various and sundry, but nothing interesting until a Skype call from Mike, during which I was able to see adorable little Violet.  When we first connected, she was dressed in a beautiful little white dress, long and with flowers at the waist.  She looked like a princess.  I learned that Paula was having her try on clothes to see what should be kept and what not.  Of course, she ran back and forth showing me her "Baba" (a somewhat worn, partly stuffed animal that corresponds to Vivian's "Ma" and that she takes to bed) and other items.  That was the high point of the day after our 7 am walk.
Speaking of which:  Susan has various commitments today, tomorrow, and Sunday, so I won't be walking with her until Monday morning.  That's okay and I'm going to skip myself today, as it's raining and windy.
Got a call from Naomi P.  They sold their house in Sunrise Bay and are living in a condo her husband owns in Tall Timbers right around the corner on Center Street.  Naomi is a big talker and always has a lot of derogatory things to say about her stepchildren, who seem never to have reconciled themselves to their father's marriage.  I heard about some of their antics and once again, as has happened so many times before, marvel at my luck in my children.  They're saints compared to other people's kids.
Will pick Aline up today and go to lunch, notwithstanding the lousy weather. Actually, I'm glad it's raining, as a helper is coming on Monday to dig out and bundle the huge weed bushes growing under my bedroom windows in the back.     

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Free Pretzels

Bestirred myself to do some work around the house and before our walk, put half the bathroom rugs in the wash.  After breakfast, I did the other half, mopped the floor, scrubbed the shower and tub, and cleaned the counter tops.  Pulled the sheets off my bed, re-made it, and otherwise performed housework in the morning.  Looks good.
After lunch, I went over to interview Pat and Bea A., who have been married for--gulp!--sixty-two years.  I had known them only casually and never thought we had much in common.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find them an interesting couple. 
My big excitement for the day: I went to Acme for few things and picked up a big container of pretzels. Sign said they were on sale for $4.99, but at checkout, I was charged $6.99.  Went to the office to point that out and was cheerfully given back not the two dollar difference, but the full $6.99.  Ever honest, not to say outstandingly pure, I mentioned I was owed only two.  Was told if a sign is left up in error, Acme refunds the entire cost of an item and you get it free.  WOW!  GEE!  LUCKY, LUCKY ME!  Free pretzels--what a bonanza!   
Now to find a car dealership that follows the same system.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Bouncing Back And The FBI

Okay, I'm bouncing back. 
Called Aline, but she had impulsively decided to go to Manhattan and was on her way.  We made a date for lunch on Friday.
Went to B.J.'s and picked up pumpernickel, cottage cheese, and a big bag of golden, delicious-looking oranges.  I'll give some to Susan and Aline, too.
Finally, I finished up arrangements for rehearsals with all ten people involved in my two plays for the June 15 show.  We'll get together at Stockton this Saturday for Hell On Wheels and next Tuesday at Shalom House for Telephone.  I hope Joey (that's actually what he uses; he's older than I am!) is an okay choice for the husband.  He seems a little lackadaisical to me.  I offered to send the script to him last week and he asked, "Do I have to print it out?"  Well, yes, that's the idea.  However, he declined, saying "I'm a fast read."  Can't imagine why he wouldn't want to see it ahead of time, but oh, well.
Talked several times and at length to Betty about the disturbing and incomprehensible e-mail I got from a relative.  I wrote an angry response and the relative answered that--with a gushing and insincere e-mail worse than the original.  It pretends to be an apology, but is actually a treatise on why she's entirely innocent and I just don't understand or have trust issues or don't want to "share feelings" or whatever garbage she could dream up.  I'm sure she thinks the second was conciliatory, but it definitely isn't.  Guess it's that old sub-conscious at work and her words reveal what she really means.  She also called twice, but I won't speak to her.
Picked up my new glasses, which I hate, but I always do with new ones.  Considering the cost, you'd think the frames would be lined with diamonds.  Made a date to see Pat (Pasquale) and Bea A. today to do a profile for The Breeze.    
WIDER:  This latest manifestation of the Fascist state is enough to chill you to the bone.  What's going on?  How did we get to here?  I'm beginning to think this latest horror is part of a huge, unseen (but there are bits and pieces we can glimpse) tsunami of terror we're all going to be living in before long.  The FBI seems to be emulating the Gestapo and we'd better be docile...

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Nothing Much

It rained while we walked, then it stopped, then it rained again, and that was about all that happened yesterday.  I did talk to Betty at length, and we discussed a highly offensive e- mail message I received out of the blue and for no reason I can fathom.  Because of that, I'm just too dispirited to write much.
Finally rounded up everybody in the two plays I'm directing and set rehearsal times.  Think I'll see if Aline wants to hang out today.

Monday, June 03, 2013

"The Boyfriend"

After the serious excursion on Saturday, yesterday was light-hearted fun.  Aline called to ask if her sister, Susan, could come with us to the show and yes, of course.  They arrived a bit before 11:00 and Louise a tad after.  We chatted for a few minutes, then set off.
Went to Buckalew's and had a tasty and leisurely lunch, then drove around the corner to Surflight.  (It would never occur to me to drive such a short way, but Susan has difficulty walking and I didn't want to suggest we do.)
I was taken aback when we went to the ticket office and were told tickets were $45 each.  Guess I had assumed this was an Our Gang production and they'd be ten or twelve bucks.  However, I managed to negotiate it down to half that--$22.50--and we settled in.
What a fabulous show!  The Boyfriend is a little piece of fluff, but so much fun to see.  It featured a half dozen each of young males and females and their singing and dancing were a sheer delight.  My friend, Jeanne S., had a small, non-singing part as the male lead's mum and did a credible job.
At intermission, I pleasantly surprised to see Jeff and Georgia G.  Jeff and I had performed together for LETCO in Our Town and Night Must Fall and we greeted each other with hugs.  After the show, we waited in the lobby until Jeanne had changed (Surflight performers are asked not to mix with the patrons in costume), then greeted her with compliments.
I drove the others back to my place and we said goodbye.  I was relieved to see a Facebook message from my nephew, Jim B's, wife, thanking me for the prints I had sent.  Hope my other nephew received them, also. 
Capped off a pleasant day with my weekly Skype call with darling daughter in California.   

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Fort Meade Two

Okay, Jim, you asked for it:
Left the house at 6:00.  Got to the Absecon train station and, about an hour and half later, 30th Street Station in Philly with plenty of time to spare.  The bus was due an hour later only a block away, so I got coffee and ate for breakfast half the sandwich I had brought.  Went out to the designed corner and in a few minutes, saw walking toward me two grizzled old guys wearing tee shirts with the legend: "Vietnam Vets Against War."
Oh, joy!  Al and John were my first kindred spirits of the day and we were quickly joined by others.  I had been apprehensive about being the only--uh, mature person--on the trip, but in fact, at least three-quarters of those on the bus looked to be over--say, sixty-five.  This is a little scary.  Where the hell are all the young people we need to oppose the scourge of militarism?  Happily, there were many more younger people coming from other points, but still--.
I sat with a women named Karen N. and we became instant friends; more about her and future possibilities in another post.  Foolishly, I ate the rest of my sandwich and grapes before we got there, along with two granola bars somebody passed around, so I had nothing left for the rest of the day.  However, I wasn't hungry at all until I got home.
Got to Ft. Meade about two hours later to join the crowds already there.  There was a huge sign, maybe seven feet high and nine long propped with others at the entrance. (Naturally, the gates were locked.)  Participants were invited to write personal notes to Brad on it and, of course, I did.  Also spent every penny of the cash I had brought to buy a "Free Bradley Manning" tee-shirt.
More people gathered, coming by bus and car.  There was lots and lots of police coverage, most in cars with "U.S. Army Police" on them, and a helicopter nosily hovered overhead the entire time.  About 1:00, the crowd--I'd say about a thousand strong--congregated in front of the main gate and we heard speakers from various pro-peace organizations.  Medea Benjamin from Code Pink was there, along with about a dozen others wearing their signature pink and bearing signs reading "Make Out, Not War."  (Doesn't scan as well as my favorite, "Make Peace, Not War.")
There were a multitude of signs, both professionally printed and hand-made, all with pro-peace and "free Bradley Manning" sentiments.  We then started the march. 
Gee-willy, it was hot.  Ninety degrees had been predicted and it may have reached beyond that.  The march was in the street, of course, and there were a few trees on one side, but for the most part, we walked in the broiling sun.  As we did, we chanted and shouted the pacifist slogans and demands for Brad's release we knew too well could be voices crying in the wilderness.
We had first been told we'd walk from the main gate to the next, about a mile away, but that was extended to a third gate, another mile on.  That meant four miles there and back and even for me, it was pretty intense.  What was more uncomfortable was the fact that there was no place to sit throughout the long day.  Others sat on the grass under what shade they could find, but I knew I wouldn't be able to get up if I did, so I was on my feet for roughly six hours.  Incredibly, I have no aches or pains today.  At the third gate, there was music and notably, the introduction of Daniel Ellsberg and Lt. Daniel Choy, who gave inspiring talks. Then, a few at a time, we started walking the two miles back to the main gate.
Had to wait an hour or so until the bus got there at 5:30, but we made good time back to Philly and I was happy to see there was a 7:57 train to Absecon.  It got in at twenty after nine, I drove home without incident, and was in by 10:00.  Immediately, I jumped in the shower--so, so delicious!--washed my hair, then heated up some macaroni and whole made sauce, which I avidly devoured after having had nothing to eat since about 11 am.  Fell into bed and oh, did I sleep--until 7:00, in fact, practically the middle of the afternoon for me.
How wonderful to be in the company of kindred spirits!  It isn't just me, I'm not a weird, practically unhinged nut for believing it's unnatural and abnormal for human beings to slaughter each other.  Those who agree to do so are not heroes, and aside from the scum who profit from war, they do not "serve" their fellow citizens.  I will never, never, and shoot me if I do, "thank a soldier," but I'll forever admire and revere those who stand in support of peace and justice.  I saw lots of them yesterday and it was the thrill of a lifetime.     

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Fort Meade

A half hour from now, I'll get in my car, drive to Absecon, board a train to Philadelphia, get on a chartered bus, and travel to Fort Meade, Maryland.  Finally, I'm demonstrating--apt word--my moral convictions with more than talk.  And it feels good.