Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last Day

Spent the day unpacking, catching up, and settling in.  Got up so late, I skipped breakfast; instead, went to Acme for cottage cheese, chicken, veggies, oranges, and salad items.  Home, I immediately fired up the oven, oiled and seasoned the chicken, and stuck it in.  While it cooked, I made a big salad, boiled eggs, and cut up cauliflower.  Had the chicken and veg for late, late lunch--or "linner," since it was about 4:00.  Tasted good.
Did a lot of stuff on the computer and washed clothes.  Talked to Aline and we made a date for lunch today, the last day...
...the last day of 2013!  How could that possibly be?  Nothing floors me in life so much as the mystery of time passing.  Well, I'm not going to get all moony and philosophical about it.  I'll only say this: For all kinds of reasons--prominently precious little K. in Japan and Ellen's new happiness--it's been a wonderful year. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Back

Back again and I wish I had had more time in my second favorite state.  I feel I know and "understand" (in a deep and impossible-to-explain way) California, as I do Jersey.  Will I ever be able to say that about New Mexico?
Because I'm so nervous and frantic about flying (and, which seems a paradox, afraid I'll be late), Ellen got me to the airport with more than three hours to spare. No matter, I read my tablet, got a sandwich, and enjoyed watching the other travelers.
Plane ride was no more horrendous than most, although there was a lot of turbulence.  I was again assigned a window seat, but luckily, there was nobody in the middle, so that was okay.  I even raised the shade once or twice and looked out while we were aloft--a daring a radical thing for me to do.
My friend picked me up close to eleven and drove me home.  I was a bit wound up still, so actually had my wine and popcorn, and didn't get to bed until after 1:00.
Was awoken at 8:00 by a call from Aline--she was so apologetic, but it was okay; I asked her to give me an hour.  When she called back I got up, but we'll talk more at length when she gets off work today.
I still have this lousy, hacking cough that's been hanging on since Florida.  Intend to take it very easy today--although I do have to get supplies, as there's almost nothing in the house--then get back to regular life tomorrow.
It was a wonderful trip and I'm so looking forward to June.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Last

This is my last day here (sob!) for this trip.  How I hate to leave Ellen, but for now, it has to be.
Yesterday, she, Greg, and I went to Barnes & Noble.  E. and I had a late breakfast there, then the three of us browsed happily among the books.
After, we drove to the middle of town, which was hustling and bustling with throngs of people on a brilliantly sunny, comfortably warm Saturday.  We had intended to go to a small museum, but it was closed.  Went to a larger one, but balked at the fifteen dollar admission charge--we've all been there before--and just examined the items in its gift shop. 
We strolled down the main street, stepping into the terrific stores, including The Olive Place.  Notwithstanding its unimaginative name, it was my favorite, and we sampled all manner of tapas, oil, and cheese.
Stopped at a natural foods restaurant for lunch, then spent a pleasant hour at a used book store.  I came across a very long bio of Ibsen; didn't buy it, but will request it from the library, as it includes a good discussion of his writing of Hedda.  I'll read it over, then share with my fellow cast members. 
Home, I called Betty to catch up on her doings, then sat for a time and continued to enjoy The Good Nurse while E. and G. rested up. E. and I then sat down to one of our now-traditional (established last week) gin rummy games, while Gregg went to Peet's for coffee. 
Linda came back and we dealt her in.  Gregg opted out this time, but acted as Ellen's advisor.  Had a riotous time--no question Linda's a kindred spirit--not even stopping long enough to eat.  We just had our left-over salads from lunch while we played, then a bit of wine.
Got up at 6:00 today and have been assembling what I need to pack.  We must take off for LAX at eight. 
I'm so very, very sorry to leave.  This has been my very best visits to California, not in small part, of course, because I see how happy my daughter is with her love.  I hate to be parted from her--and him, of whom I've gotten so fond--but I'm hoping we'll all be able to go to New Mexico in June and am looking forward to that.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nail, Movie, and Indian Food

My beautiful daughter and I became even more beautiful and elegant yesterday once we got manicures at Pro-Nails.  Linda, Ellen's renter, had given each of us gift certificates for pedicures, but because our last ones were relatively new, we traded them in for manicures.  Lovely, indeed.
Had Bistro M.D. for lunch, then Gregg came over and we went to The Collection, a huge--and maybe quintessentially Californian--area, all shiny and new, containing almost every imaginable variety of shops and stores, theatres and outdoor attractions, and the largest supermarket I've ever seen, Whole Foods.
Of course, Whole Foods offers all kinds of treasures, such as juice made of any vegetables and fruits you choose, ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat food, wildly colorful produce, and all the other items usually found in supermarkets, but sanctified organic and at twice the price. 
We had coffee, then E. and I went to Saving Mr. Banks.  G. opted out and was content to linger at Starbucks with a book.  We both loved the movie and alternately laughed and cried on cue.  Mind you, I thought the editing was sloppy in parts and have issues with the creeping Disneyism which has been corrupting the culture for years; nevertheless, it was so absorbing and great fun.
We then drove to The Curry Leaf in Camarillo, an Indian restaurant Gregg knows well.  The owner greeted him, then Ellen and me, with big hugs and wet smackers on the cheek, which tickled both of us.  I asked Gregg to order for me, stipulating only that his choices be mild.  After serious consultation with Ellen, he did so, and we were served a variety of interesting food, along with a complimentary appetizer.  I can't remember the names of all, but they included Dal, spiced chicken, creamed spinach, and a tofu-like cheese in sauce.
Back at Ellen's, we sharpened our wits with a cutthroat game of gin rummy.  I won handily and just as I was putting down my last cards, P. and N. Skyped from Tokyo.  We had a fine time talking to them--although K. was sleeping and we weren't able to see him--and they virtually met Gregg.
It was another full, good day, as they all have been here.  Not sure what we're doing today, but whatever it is, I know I'll enjoy it.          

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Huntington

Yesterday, Ellen and I went to "The Huntington" library, art collection, and botanical gardens in Pasadena.  What a gorgeous place! 
It was very crowded, of course, but a beautiful warm and sunny day, and the gardens, in particular, were lovely. Also enjoyed the historic and literary artifacts--many particular to California--and the eighteenth century portraits.  Had lunch at the Chinese tea garden and admired to Oriental out-buildings and foliage.  Great place, and we'll go again.
We were home by 6:00 and were joined by Linda for Bistro M.D. dinners, then had an absorbing talk that ranged from business to theatrics to who or what constitutes the deity. 
Before bed, we watched another portion of the I Love Lucy Christmas Special--mildly enjoyable, but I was more interested in the colorization of the earlier episodes than the show itself. It was disconcerting to realize that all the principals have been dead these many years, but hey, that's show biz.
Just opened my e-mail and was thrilled to find a message from Desi with our rehearsal schedule for Hedda attached.  Yes, we're going to do it and I'm part of it and I couldn't be happier.  We meet for first rehearsal on January 13th and I've said it before and will say it again:  There's no place on earth I'm rather be.    

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Day

A fine Christmas day.  Early on, Ellen and I visited with my Jersey daughter on Skype and opened our gifts from her.  We each got lovely glass rings from the Corning Glass factory.  Ellen's renter, Linda, gave each of us a gift certificate for a pedicure--what fun!
After dressing in our Christmas finery (in my case, my new over-sweater from Catherine's), then drove to Carolyn's to drop off Robyn's coat, which I had accidentally picked up with mine after the birthday party.
Met Greg, Rory, and Paul at a French restaurant for lunch, then went back to their place, where we opened gifts (I got a gift certificate from Amazon from Greg).  Ellen, Greg, and I took a nice walk uphill in Santa Barbara, admiring the varied (and expensive) architecture and landscaping.  Then, while chef Greg prepared dinner, Ellen, Rory, and I played gin rummy, Rory winning almost every hand--what fun! 
Dinner for we four (Paul went to his mother's), was salmon with blueberry sauce (an unusual, but excellent combination),  subtly seasoned chicken, and sliced zucchini.  None of the flavors were overwhelming, but all went together beautifully.  Accompanied by Cabernet Sauvignon and followed by a good port, it was a superb meal.   
I was tired after a full day, and begged off staying longer, so we were home by 9:30 or so.  Saw the rest of Auntie Mame (well, Ellen did; I fell asleep) after a lovely time on Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Harbor

Great Christmas Eve day with just Ellen and me.  We went to the Ventura Harbor, strolled around, looked in several shops, then had lunch at a French restaurant.  Very tasty.  We had considered a harbor tour by boat, which we've done before, but instead walked across the way to the beach.
What a beautiful place.  I've photographed waves crashing on the shore in Longport and Long Beach Island and a few other places, but this was as spectacular and there were channel islands and mountains in the backgrounds, to boot.
Home, we puttered here and there, then had a light dinner, then watched Auntie Mame (1958, the year I was married) until beddy-bye.
Just now, Christmas morning, the renter, Linda, came down and gave Ellen and me gift certificates for pedicures.  Such a nice person and so good of her.
                                                     MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ojai

Ellen, Greg, and I went to Ojai on a lovely sunny day and we ate outdoors at a nice little Italian restaurant where E. and I have been before.  The wait staff consists of real Italians who speak broken English.  Had an unusual salad with beets and a puffy cheese, along with Moretti, an Italian beer.
After, we enjoyed browsing at Bart's Books, which mustn't be missed while in Ojai.  It's a vast space filled with book cases, which are filled with used books and only partially roofed.  All three of us are hopelessly addicted to reading and we separated into various areas to sit and delve into them.  I dipped into a bio of Martha Gelhorn, one of Hemingway's wives, then into a harrowing account of The Good Nurse, about a man who's possibly the champion serial killer of all time.  The murders happened in Jersey hospitals, so I felt an immediacy; think I'll request the book from the library.
As Gregg was paying for his two cookbooks, I noticed old magazines in a water-stained box nearby and picked up a 1940 LIFE mag for a buck.  It's in poor condition, but still was great fun to look over later.  I'll add it to my collection of 1930 and '40 mags.
After driving home, E. and I took naps, and Gregg left to run some errands.  He called later and we met him for dinner at a Thai restaurant they frequent.  I was full from lunch and just had a delicious, very delicate shrimp won ton soup. 
Back at E.'s, we sat down to what's rapidly becoming a ritual: a game of gin rummy.  By the time we reached 500 (E., the winner, that is), it was after midnight, a shocking hour for this early-to-bedder to still be awake.
Slept like a log, though--incredibly, until 9:00 am--and feel tip-top. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Skimmer

Another skimmer:
We went to Katherine's where I bought a sweater, then to Nordstrom's for a jacket.  After lunch, I took a nap--my cold is worse than ever and includes a racking cough and all the other fun things--while E. took care of household stuff.
Gregg came about 6:00 and the three of us went to the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura to see Little Miss Scrooge.  It was very funny, not a kid's show, but a musical comedy, a parody of A Christmas Carol that incorporated a lot of other Dickens references and situations. Equity, of course, and according to the program, the goal is to open on Broadway next season.  Considering that's the aim of all those involved with every other show, lotsa luck with that.
When we got home, the three of us played gin rummy again.  Unlike the other night at Gregg's when I won almost every hand and the game, I fell into the hole almost immediately and barely got out.  No matter, it was a lot of fun.
I took Nyquil last night and slept better than I had before, but the cold is really a drag.  I just have to treat the symptoms, then ignore it.
Got new pics of adorable baby boy, K., and enjoyed them so much.  I still haven't gotten together with my other children on Skype and hope we can at least do that on Christmas.
Today, we might go to the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens or somewhere else.  I don't care where, as long as I'm with my girl and her guy.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Joint Birthday Party

Again, I'm just going to skim over yesterday's events; there was just too much to record with any details.  Went out to breakfast with Ellen, then--what?  Just don't recall the early middle of the day, but we picked up Gregg about 2:00 and went to niece Carolyn's for the joint birthday party for my twin and me.
Had a ball.  Lots of people there, including my brother Frank and his Marybeth, down from Alameda, his two daughters and their families, ditto, plus friends of various segments.  Wonderful food, good chats and laughs.  Son Patrick had gotten in touch earlier and had set up a joint Skype/Google call with him, my other two children, and Ellen and me.  Unfortunately, with all the noise, confusion, time differences, and other complications, it didn't happen.  I did get a phone call from other daughter during the party, wishing me a happy birthday, and I so appreciate the effort.
The incredible present from my four darling children: a Tablet! I love it already and Ellen is downloading all kinds of things, such as my e-mail, FB, and this blog.
We were able to get to Mike on the phone when we got home and talked briefly to him and his little girls.  Tried to Skype P., but he was off line.  I hope we can catch up with each other soon; would especially love to virtually visit with them on my new Tablet.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Birthday Today

Just too darn busy to write much.  Yesterday was great; it included a shopping trip to Macy's, other stores, and all kinds of stuff.  Went to Greg's for dinner and we finally met.  He is just one terrific guy and I'm thrilled and overjoyed he and Ellen found each other.  He made a superb salad with a wonderful dressing, and as an entrĂ©e, cod and Jerusalem artichokes.  So good and such subtle flavorings. After, he, El, and I had such fun playing gin rummy.
His mother, Rory (Rosalind) is so nice, too.  We had a good chat and, I think, both are fully in favor of this beautiful romance.
Home very late and got a Skype call from P. in Tokyo.  We'll be going to niece, Carolyn's, for our joint birthday, and he, A., and M., will "patch" in for a virtual visit.
Must go; more tomorrow, if possible.

Friday, December 20, 2013

California

Happy day; here I am in Californy-i-a, at my darling daughter's.  It was a pretty grueling trip: Susan and Walter picked me up at noon and took me to the NJ Transit station in Absecon.  They waited with me until the train came about 1:00 and I rode to the end of the line, 30th Street Station in Philly, to catch the Septa train to the airport.  Finally arrived at about 3:00, two hours early.
It was somewhat of a drag because I had to--well, drag, my huge, heavy suitcase, and was also carrying a big canvas bag of Christmas presents and my large "traveling purse," which weighs a ton by itself.  However, the fare for both trains totaled only $5.45; now that I'm in my dotage (Septa is only a buck for seniors).
I was pleasantly surprised to be one of those granted "expedited check-in" (or something), meaning I was waved to a special portal next to the usual mobbed and dreary one.  It was very quick and easy and didn't even include the horrid hands-over-head violation of privacy.  When I asked why I was granted this privilege (as were a few others), I was told "your airline arranged it."  What a contrast to the Ft. Lauderdale nightmare (see earlier post.  Thanks, Virgin America, I'll fly you again!
My darling Ellen was there at LAX to pick me up and we stopped at a Jack-In-The-Box for a quick sandwich and soda.  I'd never been in one before and thought it was pretty good.
Ellen set off with a kind of clothesline a private area in the living room for my sleeping quarters.  The blow-up bed, owned by Ellen's renter, Linda, was comfortable, but unfortunately, I had a difficult time getting up and on my feet.  Will ask if I can simply sleep on the couch.
Gregg invited us over for dinner tonight and we want to go first to Macy's to look for something to wear.  
It's far from warm here, and I'm glad I brought my heavy winter jacket.  Glad I brought myself, too, so I can spend my birthday and Christmas with my dearest younger daughter.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Interim Day

Talk about your interim period of time, yesterday was it.  Unpacked and washed everything I had taken to Florida, replenished this and that, and repacked.  Went to the post office to pick up the mail, which I had asked to be held, but was told to check my mailbox, as the delivery person "may have gotten confused."  He had, and I had a lot, mostly Christmas cards, which I send only to the children.
Spent a fair amount of time on the computer.  (Larry has two, a p.c. and a Mac, but they're both so slow I found them difficult to use.)  Got my e-mail caught up, and occupied myself with various other.
Was happy to see Ellen on Skype and just can't wait to see her in person.  She said Gregg had invited us to dinner tomorrow, but has a cold (so does she and so do I), so may feel he shouldn't cook.  No prob, we'll just eat out or something.
My friend stopped in to get her Christmas presents and we had a nice chat.  It will be the first in a long time we won't be celebrating the holiday together, but she has enjoyable plans, too.  We talked about our visit to New Mexico in June; I'm looking forward to it, as it may be my new home (gulp!)
I was so busy all day that I had only a cup of coffee when I got up, then nothing all day until I made a stir-fry dinner at 5:30.  That's how to lose weight, all right--be so occupied you don't have time to think about meals.
I've decided to take the train from Absecon to Thirtieth Station in Philly, then another (Septa) directly to the airport.  The big problem was finding somebody to take me to Absecon.  It's only about twenty minutes away, but the D.'s are still away, the H.'s have another commitment, and I didn't hear back from Susan and Walter...
...until this morning.  Happy day, they'll be glad to take me, so that's a big load off my mind.    

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Florida

I'm back--and what a great trip!  I'm not going to record the hour-by-hour or even day-by-day doings, as there was simply too much going on all the time.  I'll just mention these Florida highlights:
After a day at Larry's and Helen's in Miami, we took off for Kissimme.  Had great digs, with a huge middle area for living, dining, and sitting room, and identical wings on either side.  Each contained a master suite (jacuzzi, etc.) and a room with two full beds, plus baths.  The sofa was "pull-out," too, so the place could sleep eight.
I didn't go to any park--I've been to Disney World three times and, though I'd rather go again than hang by my thumbs for three days...ugh!.  We spent time at the pool and, most enjoyably, hanging out with sibs, nieces, nephews, and great and great-great ones.
On Saturday, her children arranged a big surprise party for Helen's eightieth birthday.  It looked to be at least fifty people there and all but a handful were her direct descendants; lots of kids and lots of presents, food, and fun.  Helen's great-niece, Becky, danced in the Irish manner and a big group of us did a "flash mob" routine directed toward Helen, to a song I don't recall, but it was surely complimentary.  In addition, there was a cookie contest, which this family holds every year.  I entered with my "chocolate delights"; they didn't win, but surprisingly, got a fair number of votes.
On Sunday, Larry and Helen's son-in-law, Vic, who's a doctor and also very religious, arranged for a French priest friend of his to say mass right in our apartment.  Father Joseph was born in Paris, is black and is a highly accomplished musician (plays five instruments), as well as an excellent linguist (speaks three languages fluently).
He said mass, which almost all those there attended, including me.  I was surprised later when Larry remarked he thought I'd just leave.  But of course not; infidel that I am, I found it quite interesting and it sure beat anything on television.
Father Joseph was selling books, which Doctor Vic underwrote at eighteen bucks a pop and I acquired one, thinking it was his autobiography, in which I'd be very interested.  Alas, it's a collection of inspirational essays, about the bottom on my list of wanna reads.
The good padre was also selling huge and heavy, framed pictures in a kind of worked metal, which depict Pope Paul, Jesus, and Michael the Archangel.  They were three hundred dollars each and Vic bought the Pope one for Helen as a birthday gift.  
I met Helen's niece, Cary B., who lives in Manhattan and used to be Martha Stewart's producer.  She now does a lot of other artsy stuff, including a new book blog and review, which I want to look into when I have a chance.
Went in the pool--a fun one with a big pirate ship into which the kiddies could climb, then slide into the pool.  However, it was cool throughout our stay; I dipped into the pool just once, then enjoyed he hot tub.
We packed up and left Kissimmee on Monday, after a great time and bringing lots of leftovers.  Betty left early yesterday morning and I spent the rest of the day taking a walk through the park with Larry, chatting with him and Helen, and packing up my usual more-than-enough stuff.
Got to Ft. Lauderdale in plenty of time, but it took an age before being released to get on the plane.  After enduring the outrages to which free American citizens are now subjected--being pushed and shoved and manhandled and treated like serial killers--I finally escaped, waited around, then off we went.
Marla and Gwen picked me up and got me home.  It was almost midnight, but I still had my popcorn and wine, then fell into my own bed.  I was awakened by a phone call, but it was after 11, so that was all right.
Now here I am, and I'll be taking off for a trip to which I'm looking forward even more than the last.
Here we are at Helen's surprise party.  Helen and Larry are in the middle and I'm seated second to right with niece Jeanne.  We had a ball!

 Rosemary Molloy's photo.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Luncheon And The Marine Corps

Picked up Leslie for the Women's Club Holiday Luncheon and we repaired to SeaOaks.  As we got out of the car, Leslie expressed surprise at the toy I had brought.  Why? I wondered and she said "because it's for the U.S. Marine's annual 'Toys for Tots' drive."  What?  I had no idea; I thought the toys were for some church or charity.  I promptly decided not to donate the toy and left it in the car--does that seem heartless?
I don't think so.  I've realized since its inception that "The Marine Corps' Toys for Tots" is nothing but an effort to portray it as a  benign entity, something like the Peace Corps, but with uniforms.  And, of course, it works for the brain dead, who just kind of overlook the actual purpose of this arm of the military, and all the others, for that matter.  I'm happy to donate to a charity for children via a church, synagogue, or a similar group, but I'll be damned if I'll even tacitly support the notion that a killing machine can somehow transform itself into mainly caring for the kiddies.
There were, of course, a large pile of donated toys in the upstairs room where the event was held.  The club president got on the microphone and "proudly" introduced a young woman "who has three children herself" and was--the heart swells with awe--both a marine veteran and a present member of the National Guard.  The woman, dressed sloppily in jeans and a pilly sweater, got on the mike and treated us to a talk on how wonderful it was that needy local children will get these gifts  That elicited applause and oddly, nobody asked, "Do you think the children in Iraq and Afghanistan are needy?"  (No, because they're dead.)
Other than that, it was somewhat boring, but okay.  Bessie insisted on buying me a glass of wine to thank me for helping her with the article.  Les and I sat with some women we knew, some not, and they were all cordial, of course.
But I've attended too many women's luncheons and chatted about nothing in the least bit significant too many times with too many women about whom I'm only faintly interested.  I'm ready to move on, sure enough.
Happily, Desi called in the evening to say he had met with Grey and it seems to be coming together.  He does want Grey to meet the rest of the cast and asked people to get together for a reading on Saturday, the 21st.  I won't be here, but that's okay; I already know Grey and I'm sure he'll be good.  

Yet Another

Yet another grueling day.  I made a last(?) batch of Nana Mix and packed it up to send to nephew, Dave, in Rome.  Since he had named it, I thought that was appropriate.  A slew of communications had come in for Mike, so I put all in a big envelope; then I addressed and stamped the seven cards for the seven little guys, plus four more for their dads and mums.
It snowed, starting right after we got home from our walk,  I hate to mention that, because considering the usual hype, you'd think we were in the Antarctic.  As somebody remarked on Facebook, "the prediction was three to five inches, not feet," so what was the fuss about?  All I know is, I drove to Kohl's to get three final gifts and the roads and sidewalks were clear.
Took the stuff to the P.O. and stopped into the nail place to make an appointment for a pedicure for this morning; I'll be in Florida, after all, and will be hanging at the pool.
Sliced and diced garlic, onions, and my last tomato, stirred-fried them and put it over angel hair pasta; very tasty.  Leslie called and we chatted a bit.  I'll be picking her up today for the Women's Club luncheon at SeaOaks.
Did wash, packed more, made yet more lists, and did a bunch of other mundane stuff, and that was my day.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Busy

Busy all day.  Spent most of it baking chocolate delight bars and on another batch of Nana Mix.  The latter is the Chex cereal snack, but with a kick: My mother thought their version was bland, so added chili powder; she was too cheap to put in mixed nuts, so substituted peanuts (being a spendthrift, I use cashews).  Incidentally, when she first started making it, there were no microwaves; you had to do it in the regular oven.
I used to make the cookies years ago and was pleased to have found the recipe on line.  It's labor-intensive--I should have remembered that--as you have to prepare it in three stages.  It's also hard to cut when it's finished.  However, the cookies are delicious and I'll take a tin of them to Florida.
I packed up the Nana Mix and went to the post office to send off to Wellsboro.
Also put in my little gift for the boys: a subscription to Highlights magazine.
Bessie F. called to say she couldn't open the article I tweaked for her, so I had to copy, then put it in the body of an e-mail.  I found out later how to remedy this. Bessie then called again to tell me how much she liked the revision I did; just jazzed it up a little.
My friend stopped late in the day to pick something up and I gave her my three poinsettias, too.  Then, hearing we're supposed to have snow today, I drove to Wal-Mart to pick up my medication.    
By the time I got home, it was after 5:00 and, boy, was I tired.  However, I wasn't too tired to greatly enjoy a Skype call from precious little K. in Tokyo.  What a darling baby--and so active and alert!

Monday, December 09, 2013

White Christmas

White Christmas was a joyous treat, but what came after really wasn't. (I was apprehended by her cousin/Who happened to be the police chief there/I was tried, convicted, and got the chair.)*
Backing up:  When Susan and I walked, it was cold and the skies were cloudy, just a normal December morning.  Showered and changed and set off for Surflight about noon.  Got there in 40 minutes or so, just as the LETCO trinity, Desi, Jim, and Mary, plus Kevin, were arriving; Ellen and Tonya came soon after.  We were about in the middle of the theatre, but there are no bad seats at Surflight, so we could see fine.  
The show was so good and so full of wonderful singing, dancing, and acting--most of the players are equity, except for Rick M., who's in our group--that I enjoyed it immensely.  However, it's been years since I've seen the movie version--it always bored me--and I had forgotten the military angle.  The sketchy "plot," involves a crusty old former general who really has a heart of gold and his men just worship him and will follow him to hell and back and if it means offing a few foreign devils, well the world's better off without them, anyway.
But okay, I just mentally noted--for the millionth time--how deeply we're indoctrinated with the ideas like this and was able to enjoy the show.
BUT:  At intermission, we looked out the lobby windows to see SNOW blanketing all surfaces and it was still coming down!  I was slightly uneasy during the second half, wondering about driving home, but enjoyed it anyway.  It ended with a big, schmaltzy finale--everybody loves those and I'm no exception--with fake snow floating down onto the audience.  It was terrific.
What came after: I was dismayed to see a sign on the door cautioning Surflight attendees that the steps and sidewalks were slippery and my heart sank.  I had parked across and 'way down from the theatre and was seriously worried about getting there.  As I was pondering the situation, a very nice young man who had cleared the sidewalk, asked if he could escort me to my car.
I accepted with grateful thanks and took "Eric's" arm to make it easily to the car. I asked if he was a performer himself (he's very handsome) and he said no, but his husband was the music director.  It was so nice of him to take me to the car and I was able to clear it off without too much trouble.
It took me about twice as long to get home as usual.  Not only was the snow a hazard, but my windshield keeps fogging up so I can't see to drive.  However, I finally made it, noting as I do so many times, how much I appreciate my garage, and got into the house.
Had my weekly Skype call from Ellen (with Gregg preparing the meal, as usual, behind her in the kitchen) and we had a good chat.  Can't wait to see her and to meet him in person.
Today, it's going to be all making and baking.
* Lines from my playlet Hell On Wheels which we performed in the show last week; couldn't resist.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Mundane And Mike's Muchkins

Finished up a lot of the activities surrounding Christmas/trips/general items.  In Manahawkin early to visit various stores and pick up various items.  Completed tweaking the Thanksgiving piece for Bessie F. and sent that off.  Talked to brother Larry to firm up arrival and departure times.
I know I did all kinds of other stuff, but they were so mundane there's no point in mentioning them here...
...aside from the best part: a Skype call from Mike and the darling little girls. Vivian is getting so big and grown up and Violet is just a darling.  Wish I could see them and their little cousin, K.  At least, his Daddy posted some new pictures of him on Google +, which I can enjoy often.
Looking forward to White Christmas at Surflight today.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Amazon And Lunch

On a dark and dreary day, I picked up my argument with Amazon and Amazon Japan, but finally, after several hours, talking to five different people, changing my password several times, I gave up.
Made up two batches of "Nana Mix," packed and wrapped one and, along with two other Christmas gifts for the kiddies, sent it off.  I hate to record what the postage was for all three, so won't.
Went from the P.O. to the bus stop to pick up Aline about 2:00.  She had insisted on taking me to lunch for my birthday (looming, but not yet here) and I had chosen Cuisine On The Green, the restaurant under new management at Atlantis golf course.  I was surprised to see perogies on the menu and that's what I ordered. Very tasty and we had a fine time.  Didn't get back home until 4:30 and found an e-mail from Bessie F., asking if I'd "tweak" an article she wrote for The Breeze.  
I get similar requests fairly often and I don't mind, especially if the piece is already on a document or reasonably presented otherwise.  This was and was well done otherwise; I simply enlivened it a bit.
It was raining at 7:00 and I considered skipping the holiday sing-along, but went down to the clubhouse after all.  It was pleasant and I had a glass of (spiked) eggnog, but the program was a bit longer than usual and I stayed only a short time after.
Now some of the pressure to get Christmas presents sent off is over and I want to turn my attention to my travelling plans.  

Friday, December 06, 2013

Busy

Yet another busy day, pre-Christmas day.  Sent off the horrendously expensive Hawaiian shirt to son, Mike--maybe he was indulging himself for his birthday--and paid extra to have it tracked.  (Well, he paid extra, that is, having generously put $500 in my BOA account for postage through the year.)
Tried to track down my cousin by marriage, Joe D., from whom I haven't heard for several years.  Went into White Pages and other sites, but his old address and phone number are still listed.  Called and the phone is disconnected.  Called my sister-in-law, Regina, to tell her and we chatted.  I have another angle to try, but then I give up.
Met Betty for lunch at the Tilton Inn, a somewhat mediocre bar/restaurant near Boscov's.  Had my frequent choice, a hamburger and Yingling (SpellCheck doesn't know, either),  then stopped at Canal's for wine, the 69 cent store for napkins (why pay more?), Bam!, and The Christmas Tree Shop, where I got presents for the girls and little K.  I still have an enormous amount to do before I go to Florida, then California.
Didn't get home until dark, but it was a full, satisfying day.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Amazon And Other Stuff

I spent HOURS yesterday trying to negotiate Amazon Japan to no avail.  I already have a regular Amazon account, wasn't sure if I could use the same password, kept getting blocked, and so on.  Anybody who has tried to deal with the mysterious minions of the Internet knows it takes a big chunk of time and frustration.  I finally called, but had difficulty understanding the person on the other end, and didn't really get anywhere.  I just want to avoid paying postage, if possible, but may just give up.  To add insult to injury (yep, I'm back in cliche mode) I was electronically informed that items would not arrive in time for Christmas.  Must think of something else.
Aline called to ask if we could celebrate my birthday with lunch on Friday instead of yesterday, as there was "a crises" in the library and she was asked to work longer.  Yeah, sure, no prob.
Otherwise, I readdressed and sent off a large package to Singapore (postage came to seventy-nine dollars and change), received a shirt sent from Honolulu (purchased, according to the invoice, for twice the previously stated amount) and re-wrapped it; will sent today.  Otherwise, went to Shop-Rite and a few other places, talked to Betty, started listing stuff to take to Florida, and occupied myself variously.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Show

For Better or Worse was a smash hit!  We had sixty-two people there and the room was jammed.  With a few slight errors and dropped lines (but since the audience didn't notice, they didn't matte), it went over very big.  Of course, we're talking almost exclusively about people over 65, plus it was free, plus it was a balmy day, plus and so on--.
Nevertheless, it went over beautifully, there were no major problems, the crowd loved it, and I'm thrilled and overjoyed, especially because IT'S OVER!
And what a day: After our walk, I hard-boiled eggs and put them together with romaine, tomatoes, feta, dried cranberries and raisins, and croutons for a big salad.  Showered, dressed, and went to the post office, then had a manicure at the new place nearby.  Mysteriously, the workers were all Vietnamese, same as in California.  I'm pondering why that should be, but dunno.  I brought my new blouse and selected polish to match.  Oooo, my digits are darling!
At noon, I arrived at Dolores P.'s, where the Sunrise Sparklers were having lunch, and contributed my huge salad. The rest was totally mediocre.  It included that invention of the taste devil, "wraps," and a few other such bland, cardboardy, store-bought stuff.  I think my salad was the only thing not adulterated, packaged, and foisted off as food by the giant conglomerates who are rapidly poisoning us.
In truth, I don't have a lot in common with this group, the members of which spent time yesterday assuring each other of the validity of a kind of vapid spiritualism--candle blew out by itself three times, which is proof that ghosts walk, and so on.
Got home just as sister Betty arrived and we had time to chat before I changed for the show.  I left her the rest of the salad and rotisserie chicken I had bought Monday, and took off.  My friend came after and they went together to the library.
And the show--oh, so good.  After, I gathered up my stuff, collected Aline and Betty, too the former home, and enjoyed visiting with Sissy before falling happily into bed.
Now I can turn my attention to Florida, California, and Christmas.        

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Shopping And So On


After a slow start, I got a lot accomplished.  Started the Sunday crossword puzzle after breakfast and was then overcome by a strong urge to sleep. Lay down on the couch, put the quilt over me, and slept until I was awakened by a call from Betty.  I must have been out for about, incredibly, three hours, but when I got up, I was refreshed and raring to go.
I had several items on my "get" list, including a top to wear to the show tonight.  After trying on innumerable ones, I finally got a draped sleeveless one, over which I'll wear something.  
After Kohl's, Staples, and Shop-Rite, I didn't get home until almost 5:00.  Had part of a rotisserie chicken for dinner and will leave the rest for Betty and my friend, both of whom will be here for the show.
I was delighted to get Skyped by the beautiful baby boy and we cyber-visited for some time.  He's so precious and very animated and interested in what he sees.
Double delight: After that, I was "visited" by Ellen and we talked about her Thanksgiving and mine, among other topics.  I'll see her in real life, soon, I'm happy to say.
Got a nice call from Muckie, expressing her regret that she can't get to the show tonight.  I was sorry, too, as she had planned to come.   We had a good talk, though. 
I wish, wish, wish, I didn't have that damn luncheon today, but I got salad ingredients and, as promised, will pull together one before I go.   

   

Monday, December 02, 2013

First Reading: Hedda

Did I write I was ready to collapse when I got home yesterday?  No, that came later.
Very unusual (unusually?) for me, I didn't check my e-mail until about 5:30 yesterday, although I had been home since a bit after 3:00. What's more, I hadn't looked at it while I was away, either.  I opened it and was horrified to see there was a Hedda Gabler first reading at the H.'s at 5:00!
Desi had told me at dress rehearsal on Tuesday that Hedda had been scratched, as we hadn't been able to get an appropriate man for the major part of Hedda's husband.  I hadn't checked my mail to see the message Mary H. sent that we were meeting, plus Ellen V. pointed out later that Desi had misspelled my e-mail address, so I didn't get his message, either.
Well, I called the H.'s, Jim answered and said they were underway (everybody thought I was still out of town), so I rushed over.
My part opens the play, then I appear again at the beginning of the last act.  After the other actors had gone through the whole play, we read the first act, with just "Hedda" (Brittany H.), "Berta (Ellen), Desi reading for "George," the part we still have to fill, and me. It went well and we then sat and chatted with wine and nibbles.
It was all very enjoyable, but hey, it's a long, long, arduous way from first reading to opening night and is always fraught.  Still, I loved being part of it, as I always do.  Got home about 9:30, tried to Skype Ellen, but couldn't (heard from her this morning) and this time, really did collapse into bed.
Now to pull together all the details surrounding For Better Or Worse, which goes on--yoicks!--tomorrow evening at 7:00.  

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Thanksgiving and After

I'm ba-a-a-ck!  Had great fun on the Thanksgiving holiday and after.  Arrived up north about 3:00, other company came later and we had as sumptuous feast, of course, and I slept over.
Left early the next day for the real north, upstate Pennsy.  Several inches of snow on the ground but luckily, none on sidewalks or streets.  Checked into the motel and went to see the boys, who have yet another dog, this one a little black, curly one.  Mom stayed home while Dad and the rest of us went to "the Grand Canyon of the east," a stunningly beautiful area high up in the mountains.  Wonderful views and vantage points.  I had never been there before and gasped at the splendor of it.
That evening, we celebrated R.'s seventh birthday with presents and cake.  The other guests were friends of the host and hostess with their five children; yes, there were nine kids and three dogs rampaging--apt word--through the house.  They played Twister and generally turned the place upside down, but it was a lot of fun.
The next day, we gathered at the pool and had a lot of fun.  It was too cold for me, but I went in the hot tub happily.  We then lunched at a local place with peculiar pudding (inside joke).  Later, Dad was called back in to work and Mom was already at her job, so we cooked up a chicken dinner, had a nice meal, and after, play Uno Spin with the boys.  They were finally--finally!--told to quiet down and settle down and went in their rooms to watch T.V.  We stayed until Mom came home a bit after ten, then went back to the motel to fall (in my case, anyway) gratefully into bed.
Said goodbye this morning, left about 9:30, got home in good time, I packed up my things, said goodbye again and got in at 3:00.  What a great holiday and now I'm ready to collapse.