Monday, September 30, 2013

Nada

Nothing of note went on yesterday and I was out of sorts, anyway.  Did some chores, wrote a bit, and took a drive.  Sent an e-mail and picture of my sampler to David Rago Art Auctions in Lambertville.  High point was my Skype call with Ellen.  Other than those few things--nada.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

SB Antique Road Show

Met Betty for lunch at Celina's, a luncheonette in Galloway.  I had suggested it, because I had a good salad there a few months ago when Louise, Denise, and I met there.  Not sure why, but I ordered a turkey sandwich--okay, but nothing special.
We parted, then I assembled my items for the Antiques Roadshow.  They had to be brought to the clubhouse at 5:30.  Did that, then went back when it started at 7:00.  I'd estimate there were about forty people there, most of whom brought artifacts they were sure were worth fortunes.  Ray, the appraiser, is the guy whose shop I visited last week. 
He's quite a talker and spoke generally about his antique/collectible adventures for more than an hour.  For some unknown reason, he included an anecdote concerning the days when he was "dean of business schools."  That's pretty vague and I don't remember which "business schools" he meant--or if they're accredited--when we met, but he recounted his speech at an educator's convention at which he argued against federal aid to education.  Had no relevance to us last night at all.
Once he got started, though, he was pretty interesting.  He let most of the people down who were sure their artifacts was priceless, but some he thought were worth money.  He liked my sampler, but admitted he knew little about them, and suggested I consult David Rago, in Lambertville.
It happens that I've met David; we had been fellow members of the postcard club in Washington Crossing, so I think I'll investigate that.
Because the guy never wanted to relinquish the floor, it wasn't over until 10:00, so got home late the second day in a row.  No matter, I don't have anything scheduled for today, and just want to gear down.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lentil Stew

Went to the Shop-Rite in Galloway for lentils and a few other items.  Bought a large pumpkin for out front--so large I had to ask a passing young man to put it in my cart, then another to get in in the trunk.  Picked up sausage and rye bread at Shop-Rite, as well.  To get the pumpkin next to the tree out front, I was (barely) able to lift it into the wheelbarrow, then tip it slowly out.
Prepared a lentil stew, using many of the fresh vegetables and herbs I had been given on Thursday, including leeks, Swiss chard, onions, garlic, dill, and Rosemary.  Made a nice salad, added the rye and pumpernickel, and that was the meal, featuring what I call "peasant food."
Aline and Susan got here a bit after 6:00, we ate, and they seemed to enjoy the stew and the Jello for dessert.  After, we adjourned to the living room and talked and talked.  They didn't leave until almost 10:00, which meant that, after cleaning up, and a short T.V. look-see, it was ever so late when I got to bed.    

Friday, September 27, 2013

Farm Girl

Just this and that stuff--Acme and other chores early on, my major task being to e-mail members of the Ad Hoc Players and try to line them all up for the performance at Shalom House.  We still don't have a firm date, as one will be away all of October, another two weeks in November, and so on and so forth. 
Left for my friend's at 3:00.  Got there and we drove to the co-op farm.  Luckily, it wasn't muddy this time and I helped by packing already-picked produce into our containers. This included Swiss chard, kale, broccoli, and summer squash.  There were other things which my friend handled. 
We then went over to the herb garden and picked dill, chives, sage, and Rosemary.  There were more exotic items, such as lemon verbena, but since neither of us knew what to use it for, we left it there.  Our last stop was the raspberry patch, a little distance on the far side of the farm.
I'm not a city girl, but a small-town one; harvesting raspberries, though, I felt like a denizen of deepest Manhattan.  I never before realized they grow on bushes with stiff and spiky stems and are so difficult to pick.  There were just a few here and there on each bush and unless they separate readily from the plant, aren't ripe.  It took both of us picking, a good half hour to get a quart, which was the portion allowed for the day.
We drove back to my friend's, unpacked our goodies, and I was the happy recipient of all kinds of largess, including Swiss chard and kale, garlic, and leeks.  I have a package of lentils and want to make either stew or soup with them and the veggies and herbs I was lucky enough to be given.
My friend served a good dinner of one of her signature salads (arugula, veggies, olives, Italian dressing), homemade tomato soup (delish!), and fresh shrimp just sautéed quickly in oil. 
I left just before 7:00, dismayed to see it was already dusk, but got home without incident, after a pleasant day and fun on the farm.
 
     

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Breakwater at Holgate

 
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The Dutchman's Bauhaus

I typed as a Word document (with some tweaking) the caterpillar story Rose had given me and took it over to her place.  She and Bernie asked me in and insisted on showing me a lot of old pictures, some of Atlantic City during WW II.  Why, I don't know.
This is a couple that seems to have plenty of dough--they have a place in Palm Springs, but spend most of their lives on cruises.  Evidently, they're well-monied, but unfortunately, seem bereft when it comes to inner resources.  Both talked and talked, nonstop, in Brooklynese, and Bernie was downright frantic in quizzing me on old hotels in Atlantic City. 
Finally escaped and went to the book sale at the library to pick Aline up at 2:30.  I was pleased to see Fred and Marge D. there, also, and introduced them to Aline.  Bought a few books, then the two of us went on our way.
We had a late lunch at The Dutchman's Bauhaus, a German restaurant (well, it sure as hell wouldn't be Taiwanese) we've been wanting to try.  Aline had knockwurst and I bratwurst--very tasty.  Naturally, I wouldn't visit such an establishment without sampling the beer (my Figenshu antecedents would spin in their graves), so ordered a German brew with a long name.   
It was good, but I was stunned when I got the tab to see it cost eight dollars!  Geez, my meal was only fifty cents more than that.  However, I paid, (I could hardly do elsewise), reminding myself that restaurants make most of their profit on booze.
By that time, it was after 4:00 and we drove down LBI to our favorite place, the breakwater at Holgate.  It was an incredibly beautiful day with brilliant sunshine glittering  on the waves and we spent an hour or so there. I took pictures, one of which I'll see if I can put here.  I could and did--see above.  (Haven't figured out how to attach it to this post.)
Dropped Aline off and got home about 7:00 to find messages from my friend, inviting me to go up today (I accepted) and from Rachel, asking me to call her.  I did and she asked me to take over the directorship of The Ugly Duckling, should be perform it at Shalom House.  Called her back and accepted.  Will get in touch with Bobbi and the others as soon as I can.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"The Ugly Duckling"

I was very relieved after the eye doctor carefully examined me and saw no (new) problems.  She said the dilatation could last as song as a week after the eye drops I used.  Made a follow-up appointment at her direction.
Rose G. called, then came over to drop off an article and pictures about the caterpillar, then butterfly that lived in her parsley patch--well, herb garden.  Of course, she gave the fact that it stayed for some time all kinds of mystic significance.  She doesn't use a computer and it was on lined paper, not even hand-written, but printed.  No biggie,  I'll type it onto a Word document and we'll run it in the November Breeze issue. 
Left for Atlantic County early and got to Ventnor about 11:45; call was for noon.  Rachel was already there and the others came in shortly.  We finished dressing, had some last-minute crises, and finally trouped in to--at long last and after interminable rehearsals--perform the play.
It actually turned out pretty good--very good, in fact.  The room was filled to capacity (more chairs had to be brought in) and all went reasonably smoothly.  The audience applauded very vigorously and many came up to us after to express their enjoyment.  There was an intermission with refreshments and then the four women in the "creative writing" FELS course held the floor.
Our Ad Hoc Players member, Sondra M. (who played princess to my prince), was probably the best.  She had been assigned to write a letter to the part of her body she must disliked and chose her weight.  It was well done and funny.  Others were a tad boring, but went quickly, anyway.
After, we adjourned to Johnny's Café, in Margate.  We got there at 3:00 and, following what seems to be a tradition of confusion, we found we'd have to sit at the bar until 4:00, when Happy Hour started--or something.  As it turned out, after complications and glasses of wine, we sat at a table and had dinner.
Rachel had announced that she'd pick up the tab, but I protested.  I thought it was outrageous that ten people--including the sister of one of us, who has no connection with the group--would be so crass as not to protest.  It happens that Johnny's is very expensive and I gave Rachel my share; I hope others did.
Anyway, it was a fun outing, finally breaking up about 6:00.  I stopped in at Betty's for a few minutes or the way home, then settled down after.
Incidentally, I spoke to Bev R., the president of the FELS group, about running an acting workshop next year, and she was receptive.  It seems that Rachel's readers' theatre is no longer being done, as there were only three sign-ups.  I've been urged, also, by many of our members, not to wait for FELS, but to run my own workshop first.  I'm considering that.   
    

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dress Rehearsal

Called the ophthalmologist's office and got an appointment for 8:15 this morning.  Did this and that yesterday, before showering, packing up my costume, and heading off to Atlantic County. 
Stopped at Produce Junction and got six pretty mums in 6 inch pots for only a buck fifty each.  I'll just arrange them out front when I have a chance.  That should galvanize me to get out the autumn stuff, too.
Got to Betty's earlier than I had planned and we chatted until it was time for me to leave for rehearsal.  This was in the Margate Library--I guess Ventnor was unavailable--and was called for 5:30 to 7:30.  As soon as I got there, I told Rachel I had to leave at 7:00.  Especially in view (ouch!) of my eye, I wasn't going to risk life and limb driving in full dark.  I was startled when she told me she had two types of glaucoma, as well as cataracts.  I have cataracts, too, and must get them removed, but aside from myopia, no other condition as far as I know. 
Rehearsal went okay and we actually go through the whole thing, notwithstanding some inanities on Rachel's part.  I think the actual performance will run smoothly and be well received.
I did, indeed, leave by 7:00 and get home before complete dark, so no prob.    

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dine Around

Went to K-Mart for a few items early on, then puttered around at home with this and that.  Composed a new verse for Christmas At Delaney's which, I'm beginning to think, is an exercise in futility if I build it around copy-written songs.  Guess I should consult Mary H., secretary for LETCO.  Could it be that we could just ask for permission to perform the songs, or would big bucks to involved for each?
Strolled down the street to the K's, who took me to Dine Around, along with their outside-the-community friend, Peggy F. 
It was at Roberto's in Galloway and was so-so.  I sat next to Marilyn P. and asked if I could interview her and husband Jay, for The Breeze.  Will call them to set up a time shortly.  On my other side was Mary Ann Van O., who has put her house up for sale.  We've had our differences, but we chatted cordially. 
In truth, the evening was mediocre.  It was a small group--only about 18--and the T-shaped seating was okay, but the service was slow and the food mediocre.  I had veal Marsala--a mistake--which came swimming in sauce and accompanied by only a few pieces of ziti.  The meat was tough can pretty tasteless; I took half home, but decided not even to keep it.  Not worth saving.  However, the bread and bruschetta were excellent and the Caesar salad not bad. 
Several birthdays were celebrated, including that of the host (we take turns arranging the venues for Dine Around) and he and his wife provided a sheet cake from Acme.  Just as well, as the restaurant dessert was cannoli, which I greatly dislike.  I had a piece of overly sweet and sugary cake.
Got home just before 8:00 and, for some reason, was so tired, I just wanted to sleep.  Tried to Skype Ellen, but she wasn't in and I went to bed, skipping my popcorn and wine. 
I'm going to call the eye doctor's office as soon as it opens.     

Sunday, September 22, 2013

P & P Meeting

The Players & Playwrights By The Jersey Shore meeting, which I facilitated, went well.  I was glad when it was over, though, as it's exhausting riding herd on twenty-five or so adults, all of whom are convinced that what they say and write is more important than what anyone else, etc., etc., and are very vocal about it.
Jim L. brought two plays, one of which was a re-hash of an earlier one.  Improved?  Not exactly.  Grey was one of the readers for this and consistently ad-libbed.  This was greeted with amusement by some and indignation by others.  Certainly, I'd be angry if he did it with one of my plays, but Jim is such a stuffed shirt and so absolutely convinced his plays are just waiting to be discovered by Steven Spielberg, that I didn't mind seeing him taken down a peg. 
We did one of Joe L.'s, also, which wasn't bad, but as with so many of our members' material, seemed to meander along without much point.  Of course, it's difficult to judge the effectiveness of any play when it's a cold reading, some by those who have little acting ability.  His, at least, had the virtue of being short.
We had several new attendees, including Margaret D., an African-American, who brought two plays.  Unfortunately, she had only one copy of each and included no cover pages introducing the characters or settings.  I asked her to bring copies of them next time.  Margaret read a part in one of Jim's plays, and did a very credible job.  A couple named Ann and Leo L., new as attendees, but known to many members, were there, and Leo read for the same play.  He was very good and I wasn't surprised when Louise told me he teaches at Stockton State and does a lot of public speaking. I talked to another newbie--new to me, that is--named Ed, who said he had been a member years before.  Great guy and we can always use new males in the group.
Afterward, Aline, Louise, and I met Betty at Italian Gourmet for an early dinner.  Louise asked us to comment on what might be called a "dating dilemma."  She had been contacted by a man via a matchmaking site and met him at Starbucks for coffee.  He was very nice, her type, and they got along well, but when she Googled him, she discovered he had lied about his age by seven years.  She was disturbed about it, figuring if he lied about that, he'd lie about other things. 
(Unless you're under thirty, shaving a few years off seems to be almost universal on these sites; I did it myself when I half-heartedly followed a free trial on Senior Dating.  Before long, I realized I don't really have much interest in meeting men, and dropped it.)  We discussed Louise's problem and the consensus seemed to be that she should confront him directly.
Got home before dark after an interesting day. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hair

Got my hair cut and colored.  It's okay, but only so-so; I'm not crazy about the cut.  Hope the color stays light brown and doesn't go blonde, as it usually does.
Stopped at the eye doctor's to ask about the fact that my eye is still dilated, although I hadn't used the drops since Thursday.  I was told by the woman I think is s nurse-practitioner or technician that that wasn't unusual.  However, the eye is still dilated--now I'm getting worried. Think I'll ask again.
Leslie called to propose that she do a piece on positive experiences people have had, sort of a continuing "feel-good" column for The Breeze.  We had actually talked about this at a staff meeting, and I encouraged her to submit it.  Called Jo B. to ask if she'd do a cornucopia picture for the November cover and she agreed.
Spent a lot of the rest of the day printing out copies of The Pukey to take to the meeting today, and working up an agenda, so it isn't chaotic.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Eye, Hair, And Errands

When I woke up, my eye felt fine, I'm happy to relate.  I continued one of the drops and--well, dropped the other, which was prescribed for only one day.  Aline called early to ask about my eye and we made a dinner date.  Dennis and Bill came at 8:00 and fixed my drawer in short order, refusing to bill me for it.  
I was able to get in all my errands: dropped a donation off at the thrift store, picked up a few items at
Acme, renewed my Dorothy Parker book at the library, and got a new bulb in my headlight. 
Had a Breeze meeting at 2:00 and we went over upcoming issues and covers.  Called for a new hair appointment, and was happy to hear she can take me today at 11:00.
Got home to confront the only unpleasant surprise of the day: notice from the bank of two overdrafts, which cost me $70.  Ugh!  One I probably can't contest, but the other, I will.  Why this happened is just too long and involved to explain here, but it was generally carelessness on my part.
Met Aline at Dynasty just as she was getting off the bus from work and we had a nice dinner.  She had a book discussion meeting at 7:00 at the Little Egg Library, so I took her there.  Stopped in myself to get a CD for the car. 
Aside from the bank fees, it was a good, productive day.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Eye

A combination day of good and ill.  My eye still hurt in the morning and I was able to get a 7:45 appointment with Dawn, the nurse practitioner.  She looked, didn't see anything in the eye, and prescribed two eye drop prescriptions; said if not better in 24 hours, to see my eye doctor.  I drove up to Wal-Mart for the drops, and was dismayed to find I wasn't supposed to drive after, as one of them dilates the pupils.  Went to Scissor Sisters to explain I didn't want to wait to treat my eye until I got home from there, so I couldn't keep the hair appointment; they were very accommodating about it.  Went to Stafford Library to tell Aline I couldn't pick her up at 12:30 as we had planned.  She wasn't there yet, so I called her and invited her to get off the bus at Radio Road and walk to my house for lunch.  Home, I put the drops in, then went to open the drawer where I keep place mats--and the drawer front broke in some way, so I can't open it. 
Called Leslie to 1.) ask her to ask Dennis to come look at it, when possible and 2.) invite her to join Aline and me for lunch.  She said yes to both, and arrived shortly thereafter.  I put together what I had in the house: tomato and red pepper soup from Trader Joe's, salad, and leftover hard-boiled eggs and chicken for sandwiches.  Had a nice convivial time, then Leslie left about 3:00 and Aline and I sat talking and talking.  I read her my Christmas At Delaney's script and she thought it was very funny.  She suggested that I write her in as a customer at Delaney's who comes in and sings the Hebrew celebratory song  "Haily, Haily," or whatever it is--a great idea, which I'll certainly do. 
I continued to put the eye drops in while  A. was here and didn't take her home until 7:00.  My eye feels much better, but still not absolutely okay, so I have to decide whether to simply keep doing the drops, or call my ophthalmologist.  I have to get that headlight* replaced and I need to make another appointment for my hair; I also have a Breeze meeting at 2:00.  Dennis called to say he'd be here this morning at 8:00 to look at the drawer. 
On a lighter note: I had sent the parents of my daughter-in-law a congratulatory card about K.J., and they sent back an e-mail.  They wrote that he is their angel and they hope he will be "gentle and brave."  I found that so moving in its beauty and simplicity. 
* So that's two headlights I have to worry about--heh, heh.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rehearsal

I started writing the Christmas At Delaney's show, just stringing a story line together to incorporate a number of Christmas songs.  Went to Acme and got a package of chicken legs, which I baked.  Had one for an early dinner and saved others. 
Went to rehearsal, which was the usual shambles.  Denise wasn't there (she's off with Joey to a Scottish festival in New Hampshire) and neither was Sondra.  That meant others had to step in and read their lines and Rachel was her usual indecisive and thoroughly incompetent self --it was pretty messy, to say the least.
I told Rachel I wouldn't be at rehearsal on Friday--I'll be damned if I'll take the 60-mile round trip drive down two days in a row--at which she had a fit, as Denise will still be away.  I left with Bernice and Louise, who told me Doris had left in a snit and said she wasn't going back.  Why, oh why, did I even agree do to do this?
Left just at 7:00, as I had said I would, but it was still getting dark when I drove home.  Just past New Gretna, a cop pulled me over, flashing lights and all.  He gave me a warning because I have one headlight out.  Actually, I'm glad, as I didn't know it.
As I was saying goodbye to Susan after our walk yesterday, I got something in my eye.  I thought I could take care of it, and tried and tried, but it's still there.  I'm going to Atlanticare as soon as they open at 7:00.     

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

LETCO Meeting

Spent most of the day preparing for the LETCO meeting.  It occurred to me that it would be best to sit around the dining room table, but I had a dilemma:  The table is made of nice wood, and I didn't want to put a tablecloth on, but didn't want anything spilled, either.  Therefore, I ran out to both the SOCH thrift stores (in Tuckerton and Eagleswood) and picked up a number of colorful place mats.  These worked out fine for our gathering.
President Jim presided, with officers Mary, Tonya, and Desi, plus board members Julie, Ellen, Aline, Frank, and me attending.  I'm not sure why Tara wasn't there--she was at the last meeting--in fact, am not sure if she's an officer.
Congratulations for our successful Our Town auditions were extended to Julie and me, and several decided to go for roles if and when new tryouts are held.  We discussed mostly Jim's and Desi's meeting with the head honcho at Surflight, and our "collaboration" with that outfit, which may well come to pass--yay!
We decided on a Christmas show, with music, at which point I lost consciousness.  When I woke up, I found I had been designated the writer for Christmas At Delaney's.  That's not as arduous as it sounds, because it will include a lot of Christmas songs, and I'll just write the dialogue that glues the musical numbers together.
The group left at 9:00.  (Jim is a doctor and needs to get to bed early, a fact I always appreciate when I start wilting late in the evening.)  Aline and I talked for a half hour or so after that, then I took her home.  I didn't have much clean-up to do, as I had served only wine, cheese and crackers, salsa, and grapes.  Went to bed satisfied that we've started revitalizing our theatre group.

Monday, September 16, 2013

K.L. And Adobe

I was so pleased to receive a Skype call from Japan, so I could see little K.L., now home.  He's such a sweetheart--looks a lot like his Dad as a baby, but we'll see if he evolves.
Got calls from Aline, my brother Larry, and a few others, but mostly just puttered around with this and that, preparing for the meeting tonight.  Went to Shop-Rite and got cheese, crackers, salsa, and grapes; am already stocked up with wine.
Finally, kitty Sebastian got his "Cat's Meow" toy and, according to Ellen, who put a video on Facebook, he actually plays with it.  Unfortunately, I can't see the video.  I was advised that I needed  Adobe Flash and, in order to install it, had to close all programs.  Couldn't close Skype until Ellen, during her regular web cam call, told me to right-click on it; did so, closed it, and installed Adobe. No prob, right?
Wrong.  When I try to run the video, I still get the message that I must load Adobe, which I already have.  Grrr!  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

"Our Town" And Atlantic City

I got the part!  Will reprise the role of Mrs. Soames in Our Town, I'm happy to report.  Julie was cast as Mrs. Gibbs, a major part, and Jeanne S. will be the woman who says two lines from the audience (she had had a major part in the LETCO production.)  As we already knew, Rick M. will be the stage manager/narrator, who's on stage the most and has the most lines.  Just got the news that we won't open until spring; just no time to cast and rehearse for an October opening, and Surflight is booked for months after.
Barely got home from LBI when I went next door to Frank's and Barbara's and we started off to Atlantic City.
At the Borgata, Barb and I went to David Venable's cooking show--all set up to see his new cookbook, of course, and that was an incredible 34 bucks; I didn't buy, but Barbara did.  She watches his faithfully, she says, twice a week on QVC.  (It's hard to wrap your mind around that--twice a week?  How bereft must a life be to enjoy watching a slick T.V. personality chop vegetables twice a week?  Yes, I'm a snob, and I admit it--in fact, glory in it.) 
Anyway, it was mildly enjoyable and the seats were comfortable.  We met Frank after and got lunch.  I had a "fatburger," which was actually so thin as to be almost a sliver and had the flavor of old shoe leather.  One of the worse I ever had and with a mediocre small lemonade, it set me back almost ten bucks.  Never again.
We drove over the The Revel, a new casino that's now bankrupt, and parked there.  The parade was fun, although long (three hours), and it had several hold-ups.  Of course, it included the usual flags, floats, and hysterical approval of U.S. military might, which was displayed even more heavily than I had expected.  Took lots of pictures until, to my annoyance, I ran out of battery power.  Forgot the camera even had batteries, but Frank will send me some.
By the time the parade was over, we all had jackets on, as it had gotten chilly.  Went through the casino floor and Frank put twenty bucks in a machine.  He invited first me, then Barb to pull the--oh, I forgot, you just press a button.  We did and won twenty-five over the twenty.  We then left and drove home, stopping first for a late dinner at Romanelli's.
Didn't get home until close to ten and eschewed my wine and popcorn to fall into bed.  Today, I must start cleaning up to get the house in shape for the LETCO meeting tomorrow evening.         

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Talk In The Provinces

A pleasant day, spent mostly with my sidekick.  Picked her up at 12:30 and we went down to Atlantic County.  Lunched at Shore Diner, purchased several bottles wine at Canal's, bought veggies and ornamental pepper plants at Produce Junction, and stopped at the cemetery on the way home.  We then sat on my porch until 5:30 or so, drinking iced tea and talking and talking. 
Aline and I compared notes some time ago and reluctantly agree that--come on, let's fact it--most of the people we know are pretty provincial.  The women, in particular, tend to defer to their husbands and the men lean toward sports and a Head of the Household mentality.  The majority are religious (most whom I know brought up Catholic), and it's difficult, if not impossible, to break through the ironbound conservatism that characterizes that persuasion.  You just can't objectively discuss topics other than recipes, television shows, and the cute sayings of little Herkimer.   
So-o-o, a companion who has the range of knowledge and--more important--sense of curiosity and open-mindedness needed to intelligently pursue subjects such as politics and religion is a prize. 
Took my prize home, had dinner, and chose a picture of my precious new grandson from Google + to turn, crop, and print out.  It came out nicely and I have it displayed in the foyer.
I was flattered to get an e-mail from John, our former leader at Players & Playwrights, asking me to read and critique his play.  Wrote back that I'll do that and get back to him by tomorrow.
Audition today at Surflight--hope this one goes better than the last!          

Friday, September 13, 2013

Blue Jasmine And The Truth About War

Decided to accept the G.'s invitation to see Blue Jasmine and was so glad I did.  It really is a terrific movie and we all enjoyed it.  As I was going across the street to their house, Barbara D. from next door saw me and asked if I wanted to go to some show or other in Atlantic City tomorrow before the Miss America Parade.  Well, sure, I said, why not, so I'll be doing that after the audition.
Home a bit after 5:00 and I impulsively called Aline, as I had a hankering to see the breakwater at LBI.  She was at the Stafford Library, but had finished work and just stayed to use the computer.  Picked her up and we went to the southern tip.
Because of the big storm predicted, I was hoping the ocean would be rough and it was.  Got some good pics. 
We had intended to go to dinner after, but I begged off, as it was already getting dark when we left about 7:15.  Anyway, we're going to lunch today.  Think we'll hit Atlantic County, as I want to replenish my wine supply for the LETCO meeting scheduled for my place on Monday. 
Want to select a few more items--mostly from the 37,000 vases I have--for the thrift story and take them somewhere.
WIDER:  This is from a commenter on Truthdig.com re an article by Eugene Robinson, who writes for the Washington Post.  Robinson seems to be a shill for Obama and, following his hero, favors a war on Syria.  I was struck by the truth and simplicity of these two sentences:
"War is a business. And humanitarian cant is its anthem."

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Article And So On

Aline called early to say she had a family gathering, so wouldn't be going on our planned excursion to dinner and LBI.  Happily, Betty called a bit later to ask if I could meet for early dinner at Italian Gourmet and I was free to do so. 
I was pleased to get a Skype call from Mike and the two little girls in Singapore (hmm...sounds like a title).  Darling Violet sang me two songs in Mandarin Chinese and Vivian recited her lines from Bugsie Malone.  She told me she plays a waitress and also an opera singer and has to sing a song.  (Not an operatic one, I hope.)  Mike told me about the crime of the century:  his bike was stolen.  Authorities assigned a detective to his case and they think there was an inside accomplice.
Most of the day, I worked on the Breeze profile of Harry and Pat V.  Sent it off, then drove to Manahawkin.  At the Home Depot, I was stunned--stunned, I tell you--to see the containers for which I paid eight bucks on Tuesday on sale for $4.20.  I bought some smaller ones, but will take the receipt back for the big and get reimbursed. 
Dropped some stuff at the thrift store.  Took the fire extinguisher and andirons to Public Works and good riddance, sez I.
Susan asked if I wanted to accompany her and Walter to the movies today to see Blue Jasmine.  Not sure--maybe. 
Met Betty at 5:00 and we had a nice early dinner.  Was able to get birthday girl, Ellen, on Skype to wish her happy birthday more or less in person.  She was on her way out with her friend, for dinner.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Garage And Birthdays

Garage clean-up continues apace.  (I won't know what to do with myself when it's finished.)  I dragged out the old sewing machine, a huge, thoroughly rusted tool box, and various and sundry other stuff from under the shelving, plus started filling a big container for the thrift store.  My friend came late in the afternoon and carried off some things to either discard at Public Works (on her way home) or elsewhere.  Immediately after she left, I took to the closest thrift several large containers, a home fire extinguisher, and an outdoor sensor security light we had never installed.  To my annoyance, they would take only the latter, so I still have the rest in my car.  I'll stop at one of the other thrift stores to see if I can unload more of the stuff there.
Got a call from Aline and we firmed up our plans for an early dinner, then viewing of the breakwater at Holgate, which we plan for today.  Viewed something much more special: pictures of the sweet baby boy in Japan.
Today is an exceedingly special day itself:  It's the anniversary of the birth of my younger daughter, my dear Ellen--HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ELLEN!  I love you so much and always will. 
  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Baby, The Home Depot, And War

Okay, my lips are unsealed and my fingers unfrozen:  My fourth grandchild and second grandson was born yesterday in Tokyo, and I'm so happy and proud.  He's just beautiful and a good, healthy size and weight.  That makes 31 years between my first (who has two boys of his own) and little Coshin.  Happy day!
Now for the ordinary stuff.  I interviewed Harry and Pat V. for a profile in The Breeze after going over to the clubhouse to get a ticket to the "Antiques Roadshow (Sunrise Bay style), to be held near the end of the month. 
Dropped off a picture of my large, very old platter which I thought I'd bring for appraisal, but now probably won't--read on.  Drove up to Manahawkin and stopped into the little shop run by Ray Verde, who's going to do the appraisals.  We had a long talk which included info on postcards (I have several thousand) and the fact that the antique/collectible market is dead in its tracks.  Not very encouraging.
I then went to The Home Depot to pick up more of the small, flat containers I find useful for my garage-clearing.  The big ones are just too darn big--hard to handle and things tend to hide on the bottom--but these are ideal.  Well, naturally, what else: They didn't have any, which kicked off my tale of woe:
Asked at the desk and was casually questioned by a fortyish blonde who called me "hon" and chewed gum in my face.  She couldn't find any and went to ask someone else.  He had to go get a fork lift, as he said they were--inexplicably--stored over electrical.  He left me cooling my heels for a good twenty minutes; finally, I went looking for him.  Had to wait while he and two others (yes, that's two other salespeople) helped another customer--or played pinochle, for all I know.  Finally he unpacked the boxes, but I wasn't sure if they were the size I wanted--must measure the ones I have.  Bought a larger container with "$8.00" on it, which ran up as eighteen dollars and some cents.  Yet another clerk said he'd meet me back where they were displayed; I waited roughly fifteen minutes and he never came.  Finally, another did, saw the sign, and I got it for eight dollars...
...after only about an hour and a half on an errand that should have taken ten minutes.  What gets me is that while I was there, a voice on the loud speaker summoned various salespeople by name to a "training meeting."  What in the world is covered: How to thoroughly screw up while chewing gum and frustrating a customer?  What added I. to I. was the casual attitude and languid disinterest that characterized most of the seven or eight clerks to whom I had to appeal.
Oh, well, I'll just forget it.  Got a congratulatory call from brother Jim, in Virginia, and lots of e-mails re Baby Bop.  Saw more pictures of the little angel on Google and have been in touch with his Dad.  
WIDER:  Rappoport slays me. He's so imaginative and cool, I can't resist his visions.
http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/the-war-on-syria-is-just-a-television-series/

Monday, September 09, 2013

Happy Day

A red-letter day!  I was awakened at 10:30 pm by a phone call with the news, then went on-line to see a long-awaited, much-anticipated joy.  It is...
...but my lips are sealed--or rather, my fingers are stilled. 
Even aside from that, it was a good day.  Went to Faust at the clubhouse and boy, did I enjoy it.  Of course, operas are always about twice as long as they should be and this was no exception, but the sets were wonderful, the costumes grand, and the devil properly menacing.  I even liked the singing.
Home, I continued my project of sorting and recording a slew of comic books one of my sons had acquired years ago and had left stored in the garage.  Most are from 1977, a few from other years, and boy, there must be more than a hundred.  I haven't even started on the smaller box, but definitely want to try to sell them or otherwise get rid of them.
While I was virtually visiting with Ellen on Skype, Julie S. called to tell me good news: There weren't enough entrants for the Our Town auditions, so they will will held again this Saturday.  Are she and I going?  You bet, and this time, I'm going to prepare. 
I don't care what it does today--rain or shine, tornado or hurricane, it's a beautiful day for new activities, new ideas, and new life.     

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Audition

Well, I blew it.  I foolishly believed what Jeanne S. advised--that the director of Our Town would provide sides, but that wasn't the case.  We had been told to prepare and present a monologue, and I didn't.  Luckily, I had with me the script, but in the form of a small-print book and it was difficult to read, especially on the dim stage.  I hadn't even looked at it since I played Mrs. Soames several years, so I just bumbled through it, and not very competently, either...
Well, enough of that.  I'm consoling myself with the fact that, incredibly, the play opens on September 25th.  That means only two weeks for rehearsals, and it will be a grueling 7 to 10 most nights, held at Surflight, which is about a forty mile round trip.  That means I'm lucky to have done so badly, right?  (Not!)
Got a very welcome Skype call from the Tokyo Twosome, although I hadn't dressed or made up yet and Julie was coming at 9:00, so had to reluctantly cut it somewhat short.  I hope and expect to get very exciting news from them soon.
Julie here, I drove to LBI and we did our thing.  She had brought a monologue from the role she had played, and was asked to remain to read a different part.  I hope she gets in.
Once we were home, she and I sat on my porch with a glass of iced tea and chatted for an hour so or.  Changed clothes and set upon going through boxes in the garage, of which there seem to be an inexhaustible supply.  What a job!  After ruthlessly throwing away as much as I could bear to part with, I jumped in the car and went to Home Depot for containers. 
I'm looking forward to just one day that I don't have something scheduled.  Today will be light, anyway, as I'm just going to "Sunday at the Opera" to see Faust.   

Saturday, September 07, 2013

LBI

LBI (Long Beach Island) is getting to be one of Aline's and my favorite places.  She called early and we made a impromptu date to view the southernmost point after, of course, lunch.  Picked her up at our usual 12:30 and we drove the fifteen or so miles down.  We like to go to restaurants where we hadn't been before, so chose Fred's Diner.  The food wasn't bad--liverwurst and onions for me--and it has the virtue of being fairly cheap.  After, we went to Holgate on a brilliantly sunny, but not terribly hot, day.  I had two beach chairs in the trunk and we set those up in preference to the benches thoughtfully provided by the town.  What a pleasure!  The ocean displayed its wonderful color: deep, deep blue shading into a translucent green, and capped with pure white breakers near the shore.  Eat your heart out, Westerners!
We stayed until 4:30 and I took a multitude of pictures with my new camera.  However, the truly spectacular water display doesn't happen until high tide, and we made plans to go back next week.  We'll have dinner first at The Flying Dutchman, a restaurant which I've been wanting to try, then go on to Holgate at dusk.  Had an e-mail message from Leslie when I got home and I wrote back inviting her to join us.
Soon after I got home, I was delighted to get a Skype call from Mike and the adorable little girls.  Vivacious Vivian showed me several "filmstrips" she had made and, as usual, was bouncing around the room with glee.  Didn't see a lot of Violet, who was watching a movie in the other room, and some time I'd like to interact with her alone.  Mike showed me the incredible views of Singapore from several of their fifteenth floor windows. 
Today, Julie S. and I are going to Our Town auditions at Surflight.  Neither of us are very confident we'll be chosen, but hey--nothing ventured, nothing you-know-what.   

Friday, September 06, 2013

Gatsby

Spent most of the morning continuing The Constant Cleanup of the garage, feeling like Louisiana after Katrina.  Uncovered huge quantities of drapery hardware and screws, and organized them into boxes.  One large one of metal odds and ends I left on the curb, hoping someone would pick it up.  Then I thought it might rain, so Bob O. carried it back in for me.
Picked up Leslie at 1:00 (Susan remembered she had a meeting and was unable to go) and we went to the library for The Great Gatsby.  The visual effects are stunning, and the costumes and set dressing perfectly evocative of the time, but the movie itself is a bore.
I never liked the book; in fact, I confess I never liked Fitzgerald's writing in general.  I find them pedestrian and generally sterile.  Maybe "self conscious" is the best way to describe them: I could see the guy pondering a twist of the plot and searching for just the right word and that's no way to engage a reader.
Leslie and the library clerk, Ellen, had a different reaction.  They swooned over the story and L. confessed that tears came to her eyes when Daisy walked away from  Jay.  Jeez, I'm an emotional pushover for a soppy story myself, but this didn't do it for me.
On the way home, I remarked to Leslie (I've read a lot about Scott's life and Zelda's) that he died on my birthday, December 21.  Little known facts about well-known people...        

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Pool With Betty

It was the ninth anniversary of the death of my dear nephew, Jay, and Betty, of course, went to the cemetery.  I had gone on Tuesday, so met her after for lunch at Italian Gourmet.  She then followed me home and we went in the pool.  There was only one couple there and they left shortly after we arrived. 
It was a tad chillier than I usually like it for swimming, but we got in and enjoyed it.  We then lay on lounges and warmed up in the sun and did what we do best: talked and talked and talked.  Betty went home after, as our nephew, Rob, is still staying at her house.  He'll be on his way to Virginia today, but will return in a few days.
Showered and dressed, then walked down the street to Leslie's.  We're going to The Great Gatsby at the library today, along with Susan, whom I also invited.
 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Garden Cafe And Memory

Aline and I spent the day together, as we often do on Tuesdays.  Picked her up at 12:30 and we went to Romanelli's Garden Café in Galloway.
Now here's the funny thing--or not so funny, actually: I had told Aline we were going to a new restaurant, in which Betty and I had recently lunched.  When we got there, though, Aline said she and I had eaten there a few weeks ago. I gradually realized that was so and in fact, I hadn't been there with Betty for three or four years, at least.  Makes me nervous to have been so mistaken, especially as these little slips are not as infrequent as they used to be.
Anyhoo--we then went to Boscov's where Aline got shoes and I got a pocketbook, very much on sale.  Went to Produce Junction, where I bought an ornamental pepper plant--so pretty, with little red and yellow peppers.  When we got near home, A. suggested we stop at Rita's and get a water ice.  That sounded good, as I was parched and we did.  After, we went to the library and stayed an hour or so.  Dropped Aline off and I didn't get home until almost 7:00.
I had called Betty earlier to invite her and Rob to come over so we could go to the pool.  She said sure, assuming Rob is staying; originally, we thought he was leaving yesterday. Hope they can come.  I also had time to do a bit more in the garage, now that the termite people have done their thing.  If Betty and Rob don't come, I'll continue that today.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Labor Day And Syria

Passed a pleasant day in Ventnor.  I got there about 11:30 and luckily for me--but not for those poor souls who wanted to enjoy Labor Day on the beach--it started to rain on my way down after being overcast.  I even got a parking spot right next to Betty's, as the town cleared out early, I guess.
Rob and Tim had gone to Cape May and Wes and Miranda were on the beach (it didn't rain until later in Ventnor), so Betty and I sat on the porch and talked  Muckie came over and stayed to chat for a time.  Wes and Miranda returned, and shortly after, we heard thunder which, judging by Muckie's reaction, was a signal for the start of WW III.  Great consternation to a simple summer shower, and she actually left hurriedly.  Betty overreacted a bit, too, but soon calmed down.  It rained, but only for a short time.  The street quickly flooded, but drained off later. 
The two in Cape May returned, then Tim went up to the hospital to visit a friend and Wes took Miranda up to Ripley's Believe It Or Not.  We other three--well, sat on the porch and talked.  I got antsy; I can take a few hours of that, but not much more, so I asked Rob if he'd like to take a walk.  Yes, and we did, strolling on the boardwalk up to Ventnor Pier.  I was delighted to realize we were allowed to go out halfway.  It's a fishing pier and when I was a kid, only members could go that far out.  There were surfers in the water, the sun came out, and I had a fine time talking to Rob and getting to know him better. He and his girlfriend, Jan, with whom he lives in Oregon, foster cats for "Meow Village" until the kitties get "a forever home."  They are devotees of "jam bands" (I'm not sue what they are) and often attend concerts in western states. They plan a tour of Europe shortly and will visit Rob's brother, Dave, in Rome.
After we got back, Tim returned, and we had a nice pasta dinner (I had given Betty my leftover sausage and peppers from Sunday, to which she added meatballs), then went around the corner for ice cream cones.  Wes was still gone, but it was well after 7:00 and getting dark, so I left for home.  Very nice day and I'm glad I got to spend more time with my nephews.
WIDER:  This just drips with sarcasm, as any discussion of the latest political horror should:
http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/syria-obama-congress-and-media-collaborating-on-a-con-job/

Monday, September 02, 2013

Great Party

Well, it was a great party!  Three Wessels, three Johnsons, (including darling little Miranda, 7, my great-niece), two Reeds, two Bakers, and yours truly, ate, talked, and laughed through the day. 
My company arrived around noon and stayed until after 5:00.  All enjoyed the lunch and Miranda favored us with a private reading of The Potty Book, videotaped for posterity by her first cousin once removed.
I gave my great-nephew, Jeremy, the "T-square" that had been my father's, his great-grandfather's.  Jer is the only architect in the family and my father was an engineer, but I believe both professions used the device.  Now, of course, it's all computer, but he can hang this on the wall.  My father printed his name on it in ink: J.D. Byrne.
The sausage went over very big and there was scarcely a sliver left of the orange pound cake.  I was gifted with a bottle of wine and some exotic olive oil, but being with this three-generation gang at my place was the best part of the day.
A couple stayed to help clean up and the man part of it fixed the arm of my dining room chair, which had come detached.  He also transferred the pictures from my new camera, but had to go on the Nikon site and download from there.  I doubt if I'll ever buy a Nikon again.
Made a date to go down to Betty's today and hang out with the Wessels and Johnsons, who will be at her place until tomorrow.  Aagh, it just occurred to me it's Labor Day, so the traffic to Absecon Island will be fierce, but I'll brave it and won't stay too long.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Luncheon Prep

Walked, then got a Skype call from the Tokyo Twosome and enjoyed it.  In the middle of it, Singapore son called to ask if I'd be home in an hour; they were out for dinner and he'd Skype me then.  I was, he did, and although little Violet was in bed, I got to talk to her big sister, and learned momentous news: Vivian's been cast in a school play!  She had to audition by singing a song and there was a lot of competition, but she's in.  Boy, am I excited--and so is she.
Nephew Tim called shortly thereafter and while I was talking to him, Tom, the termite guy (he's got these filmy things growing out of his back and I smelt a faint odor of wet wood--oh, don't mind me) and his guys started on their work.  They made a terrific racket drilling the concrete in the garage and porch, then pouring the poison and plugging the holes.  (I can't seem to resist alliteration.)
In the meantime and in betweentime (silly rhymes, either), I went to Acme, the bank, and the library, then rushed home to make pasta salad, chicken salad, orange pound cake, hard-boiled eggs, and assemble the ingredients for the main dish: sausage, peppers, and onions in two crock pots, one for hot and one for sweet.  That trips right off the tongue--and the keyboard--but it actually took the entire day.
Talked to Betty several times and was pleased to hear her son, Wes, will be coming in from Chicago to join his cousins--what fun!
After the cooking and so on, I jumped in the shower, and finally, relaxed with my usual.  For lunch, I'm expecting nephews Wes, Tim, and Rob; great-nephew Jeremy; niece and husband, Joan and Jim; my sister; and my daughter and husband.  Respectively, they're from Chicago, Vermont, Oregon, New York State, with the last three from Jersey.  We'll have a ball!