Friday, January 31, 2014

Holy Spirit And Rehearsal

Got to Holy Spirit early, but found the principal right away.  "Linda," a teacher or guidance counselor, took me to the library where other Career Day participants gathered.  She showed me the printed sheet given to students, with about thirty presenters' names and their specialties listed on a grid. Students could chose the four in which they were most interested.  I found my name (correctly spelled, too) about halfway down...
...and was stunned to see my topic was listed as "Arts."  I was prepared to speak on my former career, human resources, of course, and can't imagine how the error happened, but hey, I'm flexible.  I went to the assigned classroom, explained that my presentation wasn't as listed, but could prove valuable anyway and launched into my twenty-minute spiel.
Actually, the students were quite interested--or, if not, they were at least courteous.  During the question-answer period, I asked what type of art they pursued and found that quite a few were in the performing arts.  It was fun to tell them about our production of Hedda and to find they're doing Sound of Music in Match.  Maybe I'll see if Aline wants to go.
After my last (of four) talks, I met Susan W. in her office.  She's the development officer--I think they call it "organizational advancement" now--at H.S.H.S. and we met four years ago when I endowed a scholarship at Rider.  Had a nice chat for a half hour or so.  Stopped at Santori's on the way home for a supply of necessities: lettuce, tomatoes, feta, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.  Made a big salad, nuked the broccoli, and had them for lunch--so good.  Later, I took a turkey tenderloin roast out of the freezer and put it in the oven.  Had some for dinner--doubleplus good.
Got to rehearsal early and Ellen V., Desi, Mary, and Brittany followed soon after. I was pleased to see Tara C. there; Desi said she's going to work with actors to develop their characters.  Tara directed me in my first real stage effort--Steel Magnolias four years ago--and I respect her expertise.
Busy, full, and productive day.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow And Rehearsal

We got another three or four inches of snow and Susan came to the door, but yet again, I didn't walk.  Although it didn't seem to be slippery, I was wary of ice, curbs, and other opportunities for stumbling being covered, hidden, and tripping me up.
Spent time outlining what I'm going to say at Holy Spirit's Career Day, for which I'll leave shortly.  I had e-mailed Sue W., the development officer there, to see if she was available for lunch.  She wrote back that she's booked, but said she's also presenting and maybe we could meet up after.  I'll look for her then.
Picked up Aline and we went to the board meeting  Discussed that a lot of the nitty-gritty is done, including hearing that we've hired somebody (a Stockton student) to oversee publicity, gotten members committed to set, props, costumes, and the front of the house, and that Desi has finally made up a full rehearsal schedule.  
It was news to me that we're doing the first act (I appear only in that and the fourth) tonight, but it's fine by me.  I'll be glad to get into a regular rehearsal routine, especially as we're meeting at the community center, rather than out in the woods at the H.'s.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lovely, Lovely, Lovely*

A lovely day.  Early on, had a virtual visit with son, Mike, and his precious girls. Excitedly, Vivian, 9, told me she had gotten "a call-back" (she knows the jargon!) and was cast in Wind In The Willows as Freddy, the ferret.  I'm so proud of her.
Little sister Violet, 5, then shared her big news: She can ride a two-wheeler! What fun to see and talk to them and how I wish I could be with them in person.
Picked up Aline and we got down to Betty's new digs in Margate at 12:30.  Long time friend and former St. James inmate, Alice Wayland E., joined us and we took the tour of the apartment where Betty is staying.  It's pretty basic and a bit dated, but not bad at all: two bedrooms, bath, and well-equipped kitchen. We then went to Johnny's just a few blocks away and had a nice lunch, seafood Caesar for me.  Lingered for almost two hours and had a great time.  
Took Betty over to Somers Point to pick up her car, then drove up Tilton Road, my favored way to go home.  We stopped at the cemetery on the way--I'm been remiss about going there lately, but maybe that's okay.  There was still snow and ice on the ground so we didn't get out of the car; just looked at Pat's and Jay's stones from the road and talked a bit about them.
Dropped A. off--I'll see her for board meeting tonight--and went directly to Sunset Nails for a new jell manicure.  To get the old off, they have to use pure acetone, then wrap the nails in foil, then scrap it off.  Hmm...that doesn't sound as if it's too good for your nails, does it?  Oh, but I picked a terrific shade of purple-red--or reddish-purple--which sounds gross, but is very attractive.  It does cost thirty bucks with tip, but should last for weeks and I have a lot coming up in February, so will be all prepared down to my fingertips.
Got an e-mail from Grey to the effect that he went to the doctor and is on a wide spectrum antibiotic (have no idea what that means, but it sounds impressive).  I fervently hope things will be smoothed out between him and Neil and that we can get on with preparing for Hedda.  We have a board meeting tonight, so hope to find out more then.
*That's a catchphrase for Aline and me.  It's in my dialogue as Aunt Julia and when either of us says "lovely" in ordinary conversation, we chant in unison: "Lovely, lovely, lovely."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Hedda Headache

Oh me, oh my, we're having all kinds of problems with Hedda.  The clash is between those who want to do some judicial cutting--Grey and me, for two--and those who don't--Neil.  Kathy D. was with him at first, but now it's hard to say.  I don't even know where the others stand, as they haven't chimed in.  We're all going to do what Desi decides, of course; he's the director and he has to call the shots. What a headache--but that's par for the course for any LETCO production, it seems.  (I managed to include four, or maybe more, cliches in the paragraph--darn!)
Aside from throwing and fielding e-mail messages, I talked on the phone to Julie L., Jeanne P., and Betty, with whom I made a date for today to see the apartment where she's staying.  I'll take Aline, and we'll go to lunch, too.
Went to Wal-Mart and got a get well card for Dennis F., who has some kind of blood problem and Valentines for the kiddies.
I was delighted to get a Skype call from darling little K., who's getting cuter and more alert and active by the day. He smiles and laughs and is diligently drooling all the time--those teeth may be popping out soon.
Guess I'll  keep my commitment for Career Day at Holy Spirit, but I'd better get crackin' for something to talk about for twenty minutes.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Strauss And Dine Around

Picked up Aline and we went to the Das Fledermaus operetta presentation at the clubhouse.  The video was from Covent Gardens and the performance had been staged about 35 years ago on January 1.  Interestingly, Placido Domingo didn't sing, but conducted.  I really enjoyed it, including the (special for New Year's Day) variations, which included the incorporation of four languages (German, Italian, English, and French, with a smattering of Hungarian), spoken dialogue,  ballet, and other innovations.
It lasted until after 4:30, though, and I had to hustle to get home, change into a different top, then get Aline and me to the Tuckerton Grille for Dine Around.  I had told Leslie I'd to early to reserve seats for her and Dennis, plus Barbara and Frank, who were joining us for the first time.
We got there in plenty of time and, in fact, were able to drive down the street to the bay and witness a beautiful sunset.  Got back and enjoyed a delightful dinner, good conversation, and Judy's silly games.  (She had asked me to provide a list of easy trivia questions and I lifted them straight off the Internet.)
Anyway, it was a fun day and I got to see darling daughter, Ellen, on Skype at the end of it.    

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hedda And Cuisine

We walked yesterday, as the streets are clear--or were; it started snowing about 2:00 in the afternoon and now I'm not sure if it's slippery or not.
Did a lot of e-mails back and forth over whether we should do some revision on Hedda--especially act one, which is talky and repetitive.  Geez, it's a three hour play as it stands (plus intermission) and Grey sensibly suggested cutting.  Neil then got on his high horse and exhibited his usual stance of nobleman against the peasants, arguing passionately that the great writer couldn't be treated that way and it's a sacrilege (well, he didn't use that word), and so on and so forth.  I pointed out that almost all writers have editors and that plays are routinely revised, sometimes drastically (e.g., Night Must Fall).  I found on-line that Hedda itself has been staged in altered versions--at least once, as a lesbian drama and at Princeton U., Hedda was changed into a man--talk about revision.  Anyway, it's so satisfying to be in a position where I can argue back and forth with like-minded people, whether they agree with me or not.
Later, I finally called up trivia questions for Judy to present at Dine Around today. Sewed a button on my new blouse and did some wash.  Went to the bank and the drugstore, but aside from that, stuck close to home.
I was pleased to get a message back from the restaurant manager at Cuisine On The Green.  I had sent one pointing out the poor service, somewhat misleading menu, the hefty five-buck charge for Blue Moon, and the blonde woman's silent, unsmiling exchanges with me (I didn't realize she was the one who'd read the message and respond).
Well, she did, and promptly, too.  She apologized and among other things, wrote that training would be held weekly for servers.  To make amends, she said, she would treat me to a Blue Moon when I came in again.  You can be sure I immediately wrote back thanking her for her prompt reply and said I'd come in sometime next week and introduce myself.
Now that's the way a business should be run.  I'll definitely go back and will tell my friends about it.  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hedda And Lunch

I'm a little late getting to this; Susan and I already walked.  I spent some of yesterday writing a bio of my character, Juliana Tesman, and sent it to Desi.
On a different topic, Grey wrote that he thinks we should cut out some of act one in Hedda.  I heartily agree, and wrote my colleagues to that effect.  Neil disagrees, holding that what a great writer writes is sacrosanct--silly on the face of it when you consider that most had editors and more to the point, many plays are altered, some drastically, by people other than the playwright.
Picked up Naomi at 1:00 and we went to Cuisine on the Green.  Now I've been there five times and I'm falling out of love with it.  The service was pretty perfunctory yesterday, it seems to me, and I was incensed at the sneaky extra charges that aren't evident until you get the bill.  To wit: I ordered a hamburger and was asked if I wanted French fries or potato chips with it.  I order fries, assuming they were covered under the charge of seven bucks.
They weren't.  I found that out when I questioned the bill of $9.50 for the hamburger--nope, fries are an extra buck fifty.  Of course, the Blue Moon was five, more than I pay at any other place I've been lately, (guess I don't frequent fancy restaurants), but I knew that when I ordered.
In addition, the blonde floating around whom I assume is the shift manager, seemed rather sullen when Naomi asked for a spoon for her tea.  She brought it over without a word or a smile.  When I asked her to lower the blind, as the sun was in my eyes, she did, but again without a "Sure" or "I'll be glad to," or "drop dead," or any other response.
After, I accompanied Naomi back to her condo and we chatted for an hour or so. She told me she's often visited by her husband's ex-wife.  True, the ex died years ago, but she comes around anyway.  Naomi smells cigarette smoke and neither she nor Wayne ever smoked, so it must be the ex, right?  There are also mysterious bangings and thumpings and doors closing on their own, and a little girl with curly hair who fades into the wall...
Preserve me from these crazies!  There are just too many of them, from Lillian whose niece's deceased mother-in-law has a tendency to blow out candles to Elaine, who gets advice ("should I buy that car?") from her grandson, dead these twenty years.  It isn't that I don't respect those honestly searching and seeking, but these apparitions seem to have no rhyme or reason.  Frankly, I find it tedious to express interest, as if I take them seriously.  Sorry, but I don't.  


Friday, January 24, 2014

Ice And Hedda

Susan came out in order to walk, but I had gotten the paper earlier and decided against it.  Not only was the street icy, but in spots, so were the sidewalks.  I was able to take the car to Acme, as the main streets were clear.
I had no problem going to Manahawkin after breakfast to pick up my medication and run a few other errands.  In anticipation of rehearsal last night, I took a dry run to the H.'s on Nugentown Road and was pleased to find it was okay.  Came home and did wash, tidied up a bit, then spent time reading The Goldfinch, an enthralling book.
Brother Larry called and we had a good talk.  Some family members are going to Costa Rico in the summer and he's thinking of going, too.  Hmm, I know Joan H. has a vacation house there; wonder if I should consider going.  I then called brother Frank and enjoyed my virtual visit with him.
Got to rehearsal early and chatted with Mary and Jim until the others arrived.  We did act four, in which I appear for only a few minutes and a few lines, but I stayed to see the rest of it with the four principals.  After, we discussed motivation and technique--how to convey our characters' mindsets? what are their thoughts, back stories, and driving forces? what were they doing last Tuesday?--which I always find deeply satisfying.
I decided that Aunt Julia (that's me, folks) had lost her brother and his wife in a ferry accident from Oslo to one of the islands when George was six.  She's a fussy, bossy old lady, a spinster with little imagination, who defines herself by her care of others.  Now she's lost George to marriage, and will lose Rina to death, so how can she (warning: cliche dead ahead!) "reinvent herself," except by taking in another poor invalid?
Anyway, it was a good session.    

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ice And The Goldfinch

We didn't get as much snow as had been predicted--less than two inches, I think--and my walk and driveway were cleared by the middle of the day.  However, a lot of ice did form and prudently (that doesn't sound like me!), I didn't set foot outside all day.
I wasn't bored, though.  I galvanized myself to clean the master bath--throw rugs, floors, fixtures all got washed, scrubbed and polished.  Talked at length--more than an hour--to Aline.  We had to skip our planned manicure and lunch date, but will see each other for opera and Dine Around on Sunday.
Printed out the Hedda poster Frank had made up and posted it on Facebook; a few seconds later, I realized "masterpiece" was misspelled without the "s."  I immediately removed it from FB and called Frank, who will have it corrected. Tonya had shared it, and I called her, too.
Received my new Chop Wizard and was delighted to find in the same box The Goldfinch.  I had forgotten I had ordered it--there was some kind of deep discount, I know.  I rarely read fiction, but had seen a rave review in the NYTimes about it and it sounded interesting.  Started reading it and it's more than interesting--I'm enthralled.
Spent time on my tablet and successfully pulled up the Ocean County Library to order an e-book.  I think--not sure--I ordered a new bio of Johnny Carson; will have to wait and see if I get it.  Speaking of the tablet, I had had an appointment at library last evening for an instruction session, but didn't want to venture out for fear of the ice.  Called and made a new date for February first.
Sondra M., from P & P, called and asked me to appear in her play, to be performed at Shalom House on February 23.  They're having a talent show, which resident Bobbi S. wants to enter, and she'll be one of the characters, also.  Seems odd to present an entire play for a single entrant, but no prob on my end.  I agreed and Sondra e-mailed me the script.  It's not bad, but annoying that it isn't set up in "play format."  Well, I ain't gonna worry about it.
Betty called as I was cooking up dinner--sauteed mushrooms, onions, and garlic over pasta--to tell me she was settled into the apartment in Margate.
Succumbing to my children's wishes, I made an eye doctor appointment for an orientation about cataract surgery.  Guess I'll be getting it sooner than I had planned.  


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Eye Doctor

Did household chores and readied myself for my eye doctor visit in the morning, then was picked up at 12:30 and off we went.
It had started snowing lightly about ten and by the time we got out of the appointment, it was still coming down.  We got home fine, but it took my friend a lot of extra time, as the roads were hazardous.  Of course, I stayed in the rest of the day.  And how many feet of snow did this killer storm dump on Little Egg Harbor? Two point four.  Oh, wait, that's inches, not feet!
So all the hype, all the drama, all the frantic posturing was just to ensure that the bug-eyed populace would continue its rapid decline into any and every thing the powers-that-be deem terror-inducing.  Could be weather, crazy people wielding guns, the latest mysterious and always-fatal illness (SARS, Bird Flu), the diabolical machinations of the foreign country du jour, or actual terrorism--they all serve to return Americans to babyhood while ridding them of the last vestiges of common sense.
Now that the snow seems to have been a bust, "KILLER COLD" is trotted out to convince people to huddle, trembling, under the cozy blankets provided by Big Media in the service of Big Government and its evil twin, Big Business.
My eye doctor appointment?  Oh, yeah, I have to have cataracts removed and am being pressured to have the procedure as soon as possible.  We'll see (get it? See? Heh, heh).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Comcast And Manufactured Fear

Aside from the hassling from Comcast, it was a nice day.  Talked to Aline early and we made a date for manicures and lunch on Wednesday.  The plan had been for Betty to come yesterday and stay over two nights, so she would join us.  But she decided it would be best to stay around Ventnor where she could oversee the ice palace.  She's staying at Mary H.'s, but will soon move into a Margate apartment owned by friends of hers.  She suggested she come up, anyway, so we could go to Cuisine On The Green.
She did, and we had a good lunch.  Betty treated, as she had given me an "I'll treat you to lunch" gift for our birthday.  After, she came back to the house and we had a good chat.
Betty left at 3:00 and Desi and Frank came over shortly after.  We sat and talked for a bit and formulated some vague plans for publicizing Hedda, which included--wouldn't you know--some work by me.  Desi, incidentally, didn't even ask how much the scripts were; hope he doesn't have the vapors when I submit the $179 receipt.
My friend called to say she'd take me to the eye doctor today, because of the great snowstorm predicted.  Supposed to be 3 to 5 inches.  Or more.  Or less.  But whatever, it will shut down all human endeavors on the eastern seaboard, paralyze travel, and result in the death by freezing of at least 30,000 people.  Per day.
That's what one might suppose if one watches television, reads newspapers, or checks the weather on-line.  Fear seems now to be the driving force of modern life.  It's certainly effective in keeping the populace in line and ever willing to relinquish any and all human rights--look at the GWOT and how the sheeple go along with its idiocies.  That, combined with the insatiable need of the mainstream media to fill air and print space--and always, always, in the most dramatic and overwrought way--results in the steady erosion of anything like a rational response to ordinary, everyday winter weather.    

Monday, January 20, 2014

Microwave and Comcast

Oh, happy day--I have a microwave.  My friend and her sidekick came about 3:00 to install it, and I finally had my micro popcorn last night.
Desi called to say he'll pick up the scripts today.  No prob.  Betty called to ask if she could stay over tonight and tomorrow, and no prob with that, either, of course. Prepared for her visit by taking chicken out of the freezer and putting the current Vanity Fair in the guest room.
Other than that, did some wash, rehearsed my lines, and generally puttered about.
NOTE: Hey, Comcast, what's going on?  Tried to get in my e-mail just now and I get a message that I've been "timed out for inactivity."  It tells me to get back, to "click here," but when I do, it loops right back to the first page.  This isn't my bank account, so how could it be legit?  Will keep trying to get in.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Left early for the P & P meeting, so I could stop at Produce Junction first.  Did so and picked up four nice plants for a song, including a Spathe lily for the foyer.
I still had some time, so stopped at Betty's.  She was there, along with a man who, I think, was assessing the damage to her floors.  If the one in the living room is any indication, it's horrendous.  It's "buckled"--i.e., is warped, with the individual boards forming little tents.  I'm afraid all the floors have to be replaced--and that's not nearly the extent of the damage, which  may include walls.  Betty said she has leads on several places to rent, as the house may not be habitable for six months.  I assume insurance will cover the cost.    
Got to the meeting and was happy to greet Louise and other members I like.  There were only thirteen people there, a far cry from earlier days when the room would be filled.  What could be the reason?  Most likely it was sitting there, as usual, front and center...
Rachel really has a screw loose.  She has to comment--at length and often to no point or purpose--on every topic discussed.  Incredibly, considering this had been discussed and rejected months ago, she started pushing again for hiring a Ken Somebody-or-Other to be our "dramateur," as she invariably calls it.  She had some cockamamie idea that he'd direct us in our next presentation, but he would have to be paid.  What?  This is readers' theatre, for Pete's sake, and playwrights can direct themselves.  What we need is somebody to run the meetings, and not least, to keep a lid on Rachel.
Sonda was the facilitator du jour and not a very effective one, I'm afraid, as Rachel held sway.  She comments interminably on every topic and is often very high-handed.  This tends to anger others and, at times, the whole thing degenerates into a shouting match.
Just one example of Rachel's incomprehensible ways: As usual, we took a break halfway through the meeting; Grey and I started chatting about Hedda (I had given him his bound script).  Suddenly, Rachel turned angrily to us and shouted (yes, shouted) that we had some nerve discussing another play while we were there and we should go outside if we want to do that.  We were flabbergasted--we were on break, so what possible reason could there be for a prohibition on any subject we chose to discuss?  Later, Rachel apologized and this is characteristic of her:  first, the outrageously inappropriate action, then the abject apology.  There seems no way, short of mayhem, to rein her in.  Sondra was this month's facilitator and not a very effective one, so Rachel walked all over her, too.
It was fun after.  Louise, Denise, Grey, and I went out for a bite and had a ball together.  We're of like minds on a number of subjects and the talk ranged all over the map.  However, we were having so much fun, I didn't notice what time it was and it was almost full dark by the time we parted.  Got home fine, though.
Ellen surprised me by Skyping last night instead of her usual Sunday, and as ever, we had a good chat.  She got a new manicure--I want to do that tomorrow--and it looks terrific.  Hope I can approximate her color.             

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Luncheon And Rogue Government

A very pleasant day.  I walked across the street to Susan's about 1:00 and we repaired to Cuisine On The Green.  I drove with Julie and Sophia, and Susan and Walter followed in their car.
The restaurant was nicely filled--but not uncomfortably crowded--which I was glad to see, as I want the new people to succeed.  I vacillated back and forth--a hamburger, the broccoli and cheese over pasta?--and finally settled on the sesame chicken Aline likes.  It was superb and everybody else liked their lunches: two fish fries, a hamburger, and a BLT.  We also had drinks, of course--Blue Moons for Walter and me, and soda for the other three.  The bill was an ouch-producer: with tip, it came to to eighty dollars and change. However, I was glad to treat, as Susan has been very generous and hospitable to me over many years.
After we got home, I drove to Staples and picked up the scripts.  They came to a few cents short of a hundred and eighty bucks, but hey, I'll be reimbursed.
I called Naomi to see if I had left my umbrella cover in her car on Tuesday and we had a long talk.  She has some long-standing hangups, that's a cinch, but nevertheless, I enjoy her and we made a date for lunch next Friday.
Now I want to relax a bit; Players & Playwrights tomorrow.
WIDER: Sheldon Richman again hits it out of the park with this one:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Hedda Scripts

I took the Hedda disk Frank had made to Staples and was told the ten bound scripts could be ready that evening.  I had the idea I could get them, then drop them off at the H.'s where a rehearsal (of a scene I'm not in) was scheduled for 7:00.
Stopped at a bunch of other places for minor errors (oops! I meant to type "errands"--must be some deep psychological significance there), then did stuff at home.
Drove all the way back to Manahawkin after dinner only to be told the scripts weren't yet finished--damn.  Now I'll have to go back today and get them.
Betty called to say she's at the Trop in A.C.  She met with the insurance agent and isn't yet sure when she can get back in her house.  She doesn't know yet if she'll come up here over Saturday and Sunday night, but will let me know before I leave for the Players & Playwrights meeting tomorrow.
I'm taking Susan, Walter, her daughter, Julie, and granddaughter, Sophia, to lunch at Cuisine On The Green.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lunch At My Childhood Home

Picked up Aline and we drove to 15 South in Ventnor.  Dee was frying up a big pan of potato wedges, then took chicken cutlets in an egg wash out of the frig. She dredged them in bread crumbs and fried in a hot pan.  Aline and I agreed it was the best chicken we had ever tasted.  Dee told us she first soaks them overnight in salt water, a procedure new to me.  I contributed the salad--to which I had added dried cranberries and herb croutons--and it was a delicious meal.
Of course, we gabbed away--Dee is a big talker and Aline and I are no slouches, either.  I showed Aline around my old home, we had coffee and talked some more, then finally left a bit before 4:00.  I stopped at Betty's, but she wasn't there.  I called her and found she was holing up at the Trop.  She asked if she could stay over at my place on Saturday and Sunday nights, so I'll pick her up after the Players & Playwrights meeting.
I no sooner got home than I had a Skype call from little K., in Tokyo.  How he's growing and how alert and engaged he is with his parents!  He chews everything within reach, especially his fingers, coos and smiles, and is such a pleasure to see.
Frank came over with a CD of Hedda, which I can take to Staples.  However, the pages aren't numbered, which could be a problem for Desi, but it can't be helped, I guess.
Elva called later, and we again had a long, enjoyable talk.  She had been asked by another classmate how Joan had died and forgotten what I had told her.  I told her I'll take Naomi up to her Lambertville art gallery once the weather warms.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Memorial Service

Wayne and Naomi picked me up at 11:00 for the "viewing"--which wasn't really a viewing, as the remains of the deceased weren't there.  An autopsy was to be performed because she had died in her bed at home and alone.
All day, there was a driving rain, which may have cut down on the number of attendees, but there were a fair number there.  The only other fellow St. James, class of  '50, graduate there--as far as I could see--was George W., who with his son, runs the funeral home.
At noon, there was a brief service conducted by a minister from the Somers Point Methodist Church.  I was interested to see she was a large, African American woman.  Later, I asked one of Joan's two sons if Joan went to that church.  She didn't; in fact, didn't attend church at all, he said.  I suppose the pastor was there there to add a vague patina of religiosity to the proceedings.
After, we went to the luncheon at the Point Inn.  Very tasty buffet and I felt the usual, half-hidden relief at being still among the living.  Naomi and her two nephews spoke warmly to each other and promised to keep in touch.  She had been estranged from her brother's family for some time, so this was significant for her.
There were a number of easels here and there with pictures of  Joan and  her family, some from years ago when I knew her.  On a table in the front room, I was startled to see a snapshot of Joan with--could that possibly be Donald Rumsfeld? Yes, it was.  Of all things, the mass murderer had been Somers Steelman's roommate at Princeton U.
We got home about 4:00, still in heavy rain.  Almost immediately after, my new microwave was delivered.  It'll have to wait until Sunday to be installed, but no matter.
I called Jeanne P., who had left a message earlier.  She didn't go to St. James, but she and Joan had been Miss Atlantic City contestants at the same time.  Another bond was that, interestingly, Joan's future husband, Somers, had introduced her (Jeanne) to her first husband.  As we spoke, Jeanne was in Florida having a pedicure, a fact that tickled me.
I then called Elva G. to give her the news.  Her sister had already let her know, but we had a good talk reminiscing about the vanished days that an ever-dwindling number now remember.  She filled me in on two other SJS classmates: Gail George, with whom she's in touch occasionally and Mary Beth Cosgrove, who has died.
Joan Fiore was arguably the prettiest girl in our class and was crowned Miss Ventnor when she was about 16.  She married at 18--Somers was 21 and fresh out of Princeton--but by then, I no longer had contact with her.
I'm always bemused by the mystery of time passing.  That my have something to do with being unable to see Joan as a great-grandmother well into her seventies.  I can't fathom the idea that I can truthfully be described that way, too.    

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Viewing And Rehearsal

Got in touch with Naomi P. about the viewing and memorial service today for her former sister-in-law, Joan Fiore Steelman, with whom I went all through St. James. Considering that Naomi and her late brother were not on speaking terms for years, I wasn't sure if she would want to go.  She vacillated back and forth, but finally decided she would.  Her husband will, too, and they'll pick me up at 11:00.
Had rehearsal last night and oh, boy, was it tough.  It seems to me Director Desi has mis-read the play and come up with an absolutely boneheaded idea of my character, Aunt Julia.  According to every line Ibsen wrote, she's a typical maiden aunt, fussy, but sweet, who defines herself by her care of others.  I could point out all the signposts-- practically her every utterance, her exchanges with others--by which the author makes this clear, but Desi seems to have missed or misinterpreted them all.  He insists that I play her as a bossy, annoying, rather stupid bore.
Okay, he's the director, so I'm going to have to do that, but it's wrong, wrong, wrong.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Secret

Lots of household chores, computer stuff, and line rehearsal most of the day until late afternoon.  I then drove up to my friend's house to see--and experience--their latest acquisition.  Wow, it's incredible!
But I'm sworn to secrecy, and can't reveal what I'm talking about, so maybe I'm not making a lot of sense.  Anyway, I declined their dinner invitation in order to get home before dark, but had a great time.
Ellen called to say that, as usual, when she Skyped me, it didn't go through, so I had to Skype her.  I used the Tablet to do it, and it went through immediately, but for some reason, my picture didn't show up.  She called me back on the desktop and--not sure why--but this time it went through.  Mysterious.
Had a good chat and was also able to say hello to Gregg, who walked in during our call.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dust And So On

Bestirred myself to de-dust over the stove and nearby kitchen wall, then scrub the cabinet over the (defunct) microwave.  Must prepare for the installation of the new, although that won't be until next Sunday.
Judy called and asked me to come up with 35 questions for the silly quiz she always conducts at Dine Around.  Will do.  She told me that not only Leslie and Dennis (who are in the group) are going, but so are Frank and Barbara as guests.  I was going to call one of them and ask if Aline and I could sit with them, but before I had a chance, Leslie called and asked if we'd like to do just that.  Yes, indeed.
We then had a long, long talk--for more than an hour, in fact, ranging over our usual topics of pacifism, family matters, and the state of the world.
Vaguely intending to go to Target or somewhere in Manahawkin, I got in the car and started up Route 9.  However, I really didn't feel like shopping, the weather was rainy and gray, and I simply turned around after twenty minutes or so, and came home.  No harm done, as I took my tape recorder and practiced my lines as I drove, and it felt good to get out of the house.
After dinner, I was able to Skype the Tokyo Trio--it was early morning for them--on my new Tablet and see precious little K. just as he got up.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Color And Concert

Got my color on after lunch--at the hairdresser's, that is--and it looks pretty good, I guess.  Think I should have had it trimmed, too, though.
Went with Susan and Walter to the Christmas concert at St. Theresa's, and what a wonderful evening it was!  It had been postponed from last week because of the snowstorm, so it was a tad late for Christmas, but no matter.  We saw Desi beforehand and chatted with him in the vestibule for a bit, then entered the quite beautiful (I think, but some don't) church proper.
The program consisted of Christmas-themed songs, some classical, some traditional, some in Latin, but none, I'm happy to say, "patriotic."  I was thrilled to hear Kevin B. (my murderer in Night Must Fall) again; what a magnificent voice and what authority and stage presence he has!  The three Henry's--Jim, Mary, and daughter, Brittany--also performed, father and daughter first solo, then together, and Mary on the piano.  Interestingly, "Father Mick," the pastor, also sang.  He has a pleasant voice, but can't it compare to either Kevin or Jim.
It was a marvelous treat and what's more, members of the audience were invited to take home the dozens of huge, magnificent red poinsettias that were banked all over the room.  Red poinsettias are one of my favorite flowers and now I have a very large, lush one in my foyer.

Friday, January 10, 2014

This 'n' That

Writing late today because my alarm didn't go off--maybe I didn't set it--and I didn't wake up until 7:00.  Susan came to my door a few minutes later, but I told her to go on without me, as I wasn't even dressed.  Decided to go over and get my long-ignored blood test (routine), so I did.
Yesterday, I arrived at Parkertown Auto at the appointed time of 8 am.  I should have asked how long it would take or I should have been told, because I sat there for two and a half hours (they had to go get a part).  However, I didn't have anything pressing to do, so no prob and now my little darlin' has heat again.
Otherwise, just went to Acme and the bank.  Called and got an appointment at Scissor Sisters for today; I need color.  I'm going with Susan and Walter to the concert at the church tonight, as it was postponed from last week because of the weather.
Saw on Facebook that Betty W. had posted pictures of a Christmas party at Mary O.'s, which Muckie had attended.  I called the latter and we had a nice chat.
I must have done other things, too, but I can't for the life of me, think what they were.  I'm pining for spring and warm weather.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Fine Day

A fine day.  I picked up Aline a bit after 12:00 and suggested we go to Cuisine On The Green at the Atlantis Golf Club, to which she happily agreed.  We no sooner walked in, then we saw Frank D. and Desi. Chatted with them for a bit, then Aline greeted two friends of hers, Diane and Pat, whom I had met before. The four of us sat down together and ate.  
Diane has an 89-year-old father whom, she said, has always been a mean drunk. She has no siblings, so is his major caretaker.  Luckily, he lives a distance away in Jackson (with a live-in aide), but calls constantly--the day before, six times.
Pat is a former singer who once lived in Libya (husband, oil) and who is probably my age at least, but quite stylish (nobody has ever accused me of that).
We had a fine time together and stretched out lunch to about two hours.  Then I took Aline back to my place and she "heard" me do my lines for Hedda.  As noted yesterday,  I have my prompt lines recorded, but it's always better to have a live person feed them to you.
Showed her video and still pictures on Google of precious little K., over which she oohed and aahed.  She thinks he's adorable and I have no argument with that. Took her home about 5:00, then called Betty, who had told me earlier in the day that pipes had frozen in her house and flooded some of it--aagh!  She won't be home until next week, so hopes her guy, Dave, and his men will finish cleaning the place up by then.
At 6:00, went to the library to attend an e-Book tutorial conducted by one of my biblio-pals, librarian Arlene.  It was mildly informative, but I think I'll take advantage of the one-on-one session they offer.
Must take my car in at 8:00 and fervently hope the cost (or replacement) for the thermostat isn't too horrendous.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014


It was so cold Susan and I completed only about half our walk before being driven inside.  I did manage to go out later, to Acme and the post office.
Started setting up my method for memorizing lines: I record those of the person to whom I'm talking on-stage and leave a "blank" space for my response.  By going over and over this (and taking the tape recorder with me wherever I go), I can pretty much have it down pat by opening night.
It was my dear older grandson's thirty-second birthday.  Late as usual with the gift, I wished him a happy on Facebook and via e-mail, telling him his gift was coming, then sent it with a card.
Stirred-fried garlic, onions, and mushrooms in oil, added a pound of pasta, and will have that for several days.  I'll freeze some, too, and maybe add sauce, although I like it fine without the tomato base.
I usually send Christmas cards only to the children, and feel obscurely guilty when I receive them from family and friends.  Decided to send out New Year greetings, instead: composed a little verse, added "year of the horse" clip art, and busied myself with cutting, folding, addressing, and taking to the P.O.
I was pleased to receive a phone call from brother, Frank, and we had a nice chat. Called the library to register for an eBook session and will go this evening.  Aside from all that, it was another somewhat mundane, but okay day.
I long for spring.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Microwave And Cataracts

We walked in the pouring rain, but happily, it was very mild.  Dennis and Bill came early to pronounce my microwave dead; gave me a good price for install it, so I guess I'll let them do it.
Stopped at Parkertown Auto on my way to Manahawkin and got an appointment to take my little darlin' in on Thursday morning.  Poor thing, there's a thermostat problem.
Ran a lot of errands, including buying a new microwave at Home Depot. However, they had none in stock (another not-so-subtle hint about the economy, which I think a lot of people overlook) and it won't be delivered until next Tuesday. Poor, beleaguered me, I'll have to wash pans until then, I suppose.
Speaking of which: I bought chicken thighs (I like dark meat best--more flavorful, sez I) and immediately fired up the stove to roast them.  Diced onions and garlic and will stir-fry, then combine with pasta and sauce for dinner.
I spent some time getting to know my new Tablet and impulsively called my nephew, Dave, in Rome.  Was connected right away, but they keep the video part turned off to save the battery.  Had a quick little chat with them, though.
It seems my children are concerned about my cataracts: I've been pressured by two of them already and last evening, got a Skype call from K.'s Dad in Tokyo.  He requested--demanded?--that I make an appointment to have them removed.  Okay, okay.  He's even going to call me back tonight to make sure I did it.  A drag, but I'll do it.  At least I got a chance to see adorable little K. in all his four-month-old preciousness.

Monday, January 06, 2014


Yay!  Yesterday, I was the grateful recipient of some largess--labor--from two benefactors who blew in with the frigid temps to:
1.  Replace the battery in my bedroom smoke alarm (it had been chirping for a year or so);
2.  Hook me up to wi-fi and give me a tutorial on my new Tablet;
3.  Take the cover off the thermostat and replace that battery;
4.  Examine my television and ascertain it's actually still working and just needed the channel put back on 3;
5.  Replace my long-flickering kitchen light with the spiffy new one I bought the other day.
The only "fail" (people are sheep and I'm no exception) was the microwave, which was examined and found to be arcing.  I called Bill and Dennis and they'll come in today to look at it.  It's only about five years old, but it seems they often don't last longer than that nowadays.
Otherwise, I worked on a little Happy New Year card I'm going to send family and friends, as I didn't send Christmas cards; went over my lines for Hedda; enjoyed (to an extent) a Facebook exchange with Bruce B., who's been crowned The Negativity King of the World; and finally, topped off the good day with my Sunday Skype call from the west coast daughter.
Incidentally, when I told the latter about the microwave, she suggested I buy the old-fashioned stove-top kind.  I actually had some from years ago, and popped it up.  It made too much, two quarts, and I had to throw half away, but every kernel popped and it wasn't bad.  It's subtly different from the microwave kind-- somewhat coarser, I think, and naturally, I had to add salt--which goes to show how our tastes have been adulterated.  If my microwave is still down tonight, I'll pop 'em up again.
Thanks for the suggestion, El!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Ibsen And The Internet

Got the bio of Ibsen at the library--good grief, it's what used to be called "a doorstop," it's so huge.  Looked up and annotated the passages about Hedda, but started reading it from the beginning and find it absorbing.  Ibsen seems to have been an odd, twisted character himself, but I'm getting insight on his personality and thereby, on his plays.
Went to B.J.'s for provisions and looked at televisions.  Now I can't decide to get one that fits in the armoire(?) the old one is in, or jettison it and get a larger one, either to hang on the wall or put on a stand, which would necessitate another expense.
Home, I cut up garlic and onions, diced them, and put in refrig for dinner.  Made a salad, and had it for lunch with more of the bean soup I made the other day.  I used the microwave and it didn't make that noise, but last night, it did--aagh!
Got an invitation to my great-niece's wedding, which is in April.  How I wish I could go, but it seems very unlikely at this point.  It's so expensive and New Zealand is so far.  I'd love to see it, but just don't think I can swing it, financially or stamina-wise.
Found yet another performance of Hedda on YouTube, this one with Diana Riggs, who played our girl as practically a sociopath, cold and mean. Very different from both Bergman and Shaw, a circumstance I find intriguing.
Got a Skype call from Mike in the evening and greatly enjoyed it, although he has a tendency to nag.  (I forgot about getting Wi-Fi, so must do that tomorrow, otherwise, my new Tablet is essentially useless, he tells me.  Sometimes I wonder just how much of a boon the Internet actually is.)
Vivian and Violet were their usual chatty selves, vying for attention and being adorable. Violet got a Furby (Firby?) for Chrismas, an ugly, doll-like thing which talks and actually interacts with her iPad in all kinds of amusing ways.

Saturday, January 04, 2014


I wonder if there's a rule of the universe that once a possession breaks down, everything else does, too.  Not only did my car fail inspection and does the kitchen light malfunction (ah, lucky us, to be handed that useful word a few years ago--thanks, Janet!), but when I turned on the microwave yesterday, it made a horrible grinding noise.  In addition, two lamps aren't working right, and the smoke detector in the bedroom chirps.  I'm sure there are a few other problems, too, but am kind of afraid to look.
Was in most of the day, doing various, but ventured out to Acme.  Route 9 is clear, although smaller roads are not.  Got a nice ham slice, cubed it, and added to my bean soup.  Had some for lunch and it was yummy.
I received a notice from the library that the bio of Ibsen I requested was in, but when I went to pick it up, found the library was closed.  So were the schools and other places, I understand.  The exaggerated media hype, which stokes buzz leading to fear and agitation now seems to surround every instance of what is, after all, a normal part of the weather cycle.  It's so tiresome; when did we get to be so gullible?  Now, of course, a "deadly" cold is predicted. All this seems a further malfunction, I'm afraid--of our constantly eroding ability to question and judge from a common sense point of view.
Found another television version of Hedda on YouTube and watched that for about two hours.  Title role was played by Fiona Shaw and what a contrast to Ingrid Bergman's 1963 performance.  Shaw played her 200 percent more nervous, emotional, and despairing than Bergman's Hedda, and even incorporated physical violence.  Interesting.
Susan called to say the concert at St. Teresa's has been postponed to next Friday. Fine by me, as I wasn't looking forward to going out last night.  This is not, I want to emphasize, for fear of being found stiff and dead in a snow bank, but only because it would be messy and uncomfortable.      

Friday, January 03, 2014

This stuff belongs in Indiana!

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Nothin' Much

Yesterday, a whole bunch of nothin' much.  Spent a lot of time on the computer and did a few household chores.  Dennis and Bill came over to change my filter and blow out my drier line--sounds kinda risque, doesn't it?--and I mentioned my barely-functioning kitchen light.  Bill looked, said the ballast needed to be replaced, and I said I'd just get a new fixture.  I've disliked that one for the ten years I've been here, but never enough to replace it.
Went to Acme and got supplies, then out again when I had a sudden hankering for bean soup.  Got white beans, spinach, tomatoes and onions, and put them to simmering with some beef bones I had in the freezer.  It made a huge amount and came out pretty good.  Had some for dinner and froze a lot.
Paid (electronically, of course) a lot of bills and did a bit of other bookkeeping. I should turn my attention to dealing with the paperwork on my desk.
Looks as if the TV is gone for sure; again, only snow yesterday.  One of these days, I'll buy a new one, but for now, I can just use the computer.
Dear Ma Nature,
Your winter wonderland out there is very pretty, but inconvenient, so please get rid of it quickly.  Thanks.
Yours Truly, Mimi

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Okay Day

Kind of a colorless, but not a bad day.  Continued exploring my new Tablet, trying to remove the location and time for Ventura and put in values for here.  Even "chatted" with a rep from Asus.  (And what marketing genius came up with that stupid, meaningless name?  They actually use an inverted "V" instead of an "A"--ugh!)  
Said rep must have been hired for his ineptitude, as it extended even to spelling and grammar.  However, I finally found I have to do something or other, but have to back up all my data first.  Consulted my son-in-law as to how to do that.
Betty called; I thought she was back on the east coast, but she's still in L.A.  My brother, Jim, called to wish me happy New Year.  It gave me a jolt to realize he was born in 1924, which means this year he'll be....  Wow.
I spent time taking individual pictures of my doll collection.  Now must look at Craig's List and try to figure out how to use it.  Also consulted CS to get an idea of apartment rents in and around Ventura.  Ouch, they seem astronomical.
Susan invited me to accompany her and Walter to a music (Christmas) program at St. Teresa's tomorrow evening, and I think I'll go.  Kevin B., who murdered me in Night Must Fall--but all is forgiven, Kevin!--will sing, as will LETCO colleagues, Jim and Mary H., so I'd like to hear them.  I fervently hope the program doesn't include the odious "salute to our troops" I believe it has in other years.  I can never fathom the reaction of the Catholic Church to abortion--utter condemnation--when it co-exists with the apparent approval, or at least tolerance, of arbitrarily slaughtering others once they're out of the womb.
When I sat down with my wine and popcorn to watch TV at 8:00, I discovered the TV wasn't working; I just got snow, but I don't really care.  It's 17 years old and the picture "freezes up" quite often.  As my mother used to say, "It doesn't owe me anything," but I'll check it again tonight and see if it works.  If not, maybe I'll buy a new one.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The Quilt; See Next Entry

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Goodbye, 2013

Turned out to be a good day.  Picked up Susan for our walk and was amazed to be presented with a beautiful quilt for my birthday, which she had made herself.  It's just gorgeous and I like it so much.  The amount of time and effort that went into it are prodigious, I know--what a wonderful gift!
At noon, I went to pick up Aline for lunch, first stopping at the post office to get my mail.  It was closed.  Why?  Dunno, as somebody told me they were delivering mail.  Nothing in my mailbox, though, so I'll have to wait until Wednesday.
When I picked Aline up, I noticed my car inspection sticker: "Must be inspected by the last day of...."  Hmm, it had a big 12 on it, meaning--December! December 31st!  That was yesterday!  Horrors, a crisis!
No big deal though: I suggested we go to The Olive Garden, which is right across from the inspection station in Manahawkin and Aline readily agreed.  Went to the station first, had to wait only about twenty minutes, got car inspected, found something wrong with it, but I have a month to get it fixed.  No prob and pressure's off.
Had a nice lunch, then Aline and I went to my place, where I showed her:
1.) K., on Google +, and she thinks he's simply adorable;
2.) the beautiful quilt, which she extravagantly admired*;
3.) my new Tablet, which ditto as above;
4.) a pic of Ellen and Gregg--"a beautiful couple," she declared;
5.) how to "share" on Facebook, which thrilled her beyond words (well, she was very grateful).
After chatting a bit, I took her home, then settled down at the computer to transfer things and check e-mail, and so on.  Was almost immediately the recipient of a Skype visit by the trio in Tokyo, my first "visitors" in the new year.  Darling little K. waved his hands around, smiled, gurgled, and generally entertained his doting Nana.
Plugged in my Tablet, and must now read the instruction books, then start to use it regularly.
So to bed on the last day of 2013.
*See pic in previous entry.  Why don't I combine them?  Um...I don't know how.