Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lunch, Postman, and Drones

Pleasant day.  Aline and I met Betty at The Spot, a small restaurant on Tilton Road.  Good lunch of split pea soup and salad, much more homemade-y than at the joints we usually frequent.
Betty had bought a chest of drawers and a sofa at the thrift store nearby and we went a few doors down to see it.  I remembered that Betty had mentioned how narrow the stairs are at the Coffin Alley apartment where she'll be living and asked if she had measured it.
Why no-o-o. So she measured it and will it fit?
No to that, too.  Luckily, they agreed to give her back the fifty bucks she had paid for it.
We parted and A. and I went to Produce Junction, where I bought broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, and acorn squash.  On the way home, stopped at Santori's for butternut squash, then at Acme for Brussels sprouts and--I hate to admit it--moose tracks frozen yogurt.
Dropped A. off and got home after a good day, albeit in cold, dark, cloudy weather.  Good grief, it'll be May tomorrow and where is the spring weather?
WIDER: I'm re-reading Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves To Death, written almost thirty years ago about what television does to thought, culture, and particularly, to the democratic process.  It's so prescient, it's chilling and the worse thing about it is, its negative influence is so persuasive that it's no longer a subject for debate or to my knowledge, even consideration.  Postman, whom I met when he spoke at Rider a few years before his death, believed that Huxley, rather more than Orwell, was the prophet of the future; hence, his title.  I think he makes a strong case for that premise.     
WIDER STILL:  The monsters walk among us:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/28/drone-civilian-casualties-senate-bill-feinstein-clapper

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pretty Much Zilch

Nothing much went on yesterday.  High point of the day was a virtual visit (Skype, of course) from sweet baby K.  I was excited to see him demonstrate his prowess in crawling--he zipped right along, not exactly in the conventional way, but with his tummy on the ground.  He's also standing and oh, what beautiful baby smiles he gave his Nana when he saw her on the screen!
Called Marge but she wasn't home and she e-mailed me later that maybe I could stop over today.  I will if I can before I pick up Aline; I plan to go to Produce Junction, then we're meeting Betty for lunch.
Went to Shop-Rite for a rotisserie chicken, cleaned a bit, went through an old photo album; otherwise, zilch.
Got an invitation for dominoes from Ray and Barb--sounds good and we'll probably make it Saturday.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Opera And Dine Around

Went to "Sunday Musical Arts" at the clubhouse and saw Mefistofele, performed by the San Francisco Opera Company.  It was wonderful: full of color and movement, not to mention music. Susan was the refreshment person and provided little finger sandwiches and a scrumptious pistachio cake; had same for lunch.
Rushed home after and changed into the black outfit I had worn in the fourth act of Hedda.  Picked Aline up at the Stafford Library at 5:00 and we went to Dine Around at Kristy's, about twelve miles down Route 9 in Waretown.
I impersonated a survivor of the Titanic and attendees got a kick out of it.  Judy and Roman had also assigned various survivor--or not--roles to all of us and the usual silly games were played.  I thought the food was pretty mediocre.  I had the roast beef which wasn't a slab from an actual cow, but thin lunch meat-type pieces (it was surely bought that way) with a bland gravy, probably from a can.
Aline asked if I'd stop at the Chinese restaurant in the shopping center so she could get soup for Sister Susan.  She was again "not feeling well," being afflicted with the hugely vague ailments--slight nausea, dizziness, tiredness, and so on--from which she and many others seem to suffer so often.  Invariably, it seems to me, those who do are overweight and inactive, with the kind of "down" personality that leads them to view life as somewhat of a chore. Susan does almost nothing but lie on the couch and watch dumbavision.  When she goes out, she and her friends shop for useless do-dads; she and they are never interested in anything--oh, forget cultural--a bit more challenging than that.  Yes, yes, I should be more sympathetic, but I find her tiresome.  The differences between her and Aline are so striking, it's eerie.
Got to Ellen on Skype when I got home and we had a good chatfest--aagh!  Where and when did I pick up that dreadful non-word?  Must have been in a movie magazine about six decades ago and it's almost as offensive as the more recent "baby bump."
Opened a welcome e-mail from Marge, who has had still more physical problems in a long line of them.  She's 87 and I suppose it comes with the territory, but I don't have to like it.  Wrote her back to say I'd call her to see if she feels up to having me stop over today.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Garbage Talk And War Talk

Finally having a free day, I pulled together most of my Titanic outfit, which I plan to wear to Dine-Around tonight.  Susan told me she had refreshments for opera, so I think I'll at least put in an appearance there.
Went to take something back to the library and when I walked in, realized they were having their eighteenth anniversary celebration (for the Little Egg branch).  There was some kind of talk going on in the all-purpose room and I stopped in.  It was a very sparse audience, but Leslie was there.
The speaker was our deputy mayor, a man in his seventies, who was standing in for the the actual mayor.  As far as I could fathom the point of his meandering, stream-of-consciousness garbage, this guy was pontificating on the evils of unionism. He brought up instance after instance of workers goofing off and so on, until I finally asked him--yes, and why not?--to get to a point, if he had any.
Rude?  Maybe, but why should I sit there and listen to a provincial little tin-horn politician as if he's saying something important?  
As soon as I challenged him, others chimed in and said he should be addressing our concerns in Little Egg and not the world at large and they started asking him relevant questions.
What a perfect example of the pompous, self-important, self-serving asswipes we elect to office.  I'm beginning to think that, by definition, anyone who runs for anything, dog catcher to president, are idiots.
After he left, we listened to a lively and lovely three-man band which treated us to a variety of eastern European music, Jewish, Gypsy, and so on.  It was great fun and I bought one of their CDs to give Aline for her birthday.
WIDER: In contrast to the cretin mentioned above, here are a few words--well, lots of them--from my hero, Chris Hedges and that potty-penned bad-boy, Mr. Fish.  So refreshing!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcShsgdWSkg
I always want to believe that anyone who listens to Chris, so eloquent and so logical, couldn't possibly continue to support war in any way. Guess that's a good example of magical thinking.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Luncheon For Joe

The luncheon for Joe L. was great fun.  Aline and I arrived at Shore Diner early--about 12:30--but a few were already there. Joe, with his wife and two caregivers, came in shortly and so did roughly 40 others, including most of the Players & Playwright members and sister, Betty.
Betty had known Joe when she was head nurse at Atlantic City Hospital years ago.  She was pleased to see other former colleagues, including the Rosenblatts, Doctor and Mrs., with whom she had often lunched when they were all young and feisty years ago.
The luncheon was held in a private back room and--oddly, it seems to me--featured separate checks.  We were told management weren't agreeable to have us order off the menu, but that changed and I had a liverwurst and onion on rye.
For the program, some of us performed in four of Joe's short plays.  I was in the first, Condolence Visit; it included an ironic twist and was actually pretty good.  Denise presented gifts, told us of Joe's background--he was an oncologist--and enumerated his considerable accomplishments.  For one, he established a medical practice and founded a blood-drawing place.  He later sold it and it's now known as Lab Corps. Yoicks--that's where I go now for blood tests!
Joe really is old by any calculations: in his nineties, but I'm not sure exactly where.  We were told he was drafted into the army in 1940 and was given a choice of the infantry or medicine; chose the latter and the rest is history.  He's shaky--has Parkinson's--but sharp as a whip mentally.  It was a fun afternoon and everybody enjoyed it.
Stopped at the sixty-nine cent store on the way home, then at the library.  Dropped Aline off and we made a date for me to pick her up tomorrow after work at the Stafford Library. We'll then go to Dine-Around, which is up Route 9 in Waretown.    

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mullica River Van Tour

The van trip yesterday was a good one--naturally, with the exception of the van itself (cramped and uncomfortable as ever)--but had an unexpected ending.  We went to various interesting sites on the Mullica River, including several old cemeteries tucked away here and there in the pinelands.
The river was beautiful, deep blue and ruffled by the wind, meandering along Burlington and Atlantic Counties, and edged with the pine and cedar forests indigenous to Central Jersey. Having been born and brought up on Absecon Island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, I'm not very familiar with inland waters and I learned a lot.
Susan and I were happy to that German ("Gar-min") was our guide; we've had him many times before and find him so knowledgeable. He's familiar not only with southern Jersey's history, but also about its flora and fauna.  
The trip, which was scheduled for 9 to 3, was cut short when our driver, a young woman named Amanda, received information about a raging forest fire up north in Berkeley Township. She lives there and was worried about her family and home, so German asked if we twelve participants would mind skipping the last part and going back to Wells Mills Park immediately, so Amanda could leave.  Of course, we all agreed, and got back an hour early. I had intended to go directly to my hair appointment, but when I got to the Manahawkin exit, it was only 2:00, so I went home and drove back later.          
Talked to California brother, Frank,* who will be coming to visit his son, Patrick, in Baltimore, and invited him to come down while he's east.
*As opposed to Virginia brother, Jim and Florida brother, Larry.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Noyes Museum

We had planned to go back to the Maritime Museum, but when I looked on the web site, I saw it's open only on Fridays and weekends until May.  Called Aline and we decided on the Noyes Museum in Galloway instead.  I had called Betty to ask if she wanted to meet us at Italian Gourmet for lunch, and she did, but skipped our excursion.
The museum* is small and tucked back in the woods off Route 9 in Galloway.  It's an art, as opposed to artifact, museum and frankly, ain't no Metropolitan.  I wasn't nuts about any of the three main exhibits, but the setting is lovely--on a lake, with pine trees--and Aline was happy to simply sit and contemplate it during most of our stay.  No prob, as I was okay just viewing the forgettable paintings and "found objects" (yeah, sure) metal figures.
I sat down with Aline for a bit and we were approached by a big, blustery guy who introduced himself as Tom Giegerich, born and brought up in Ventnor. Of course, I know the family; my mother and his were friends, I graduated with his sister-in-law, Teddy Mooney, and I know his brother, Al.
Tom, who was a year behind me in school, is an orthodontist and still practicing.  He was vocal about his lapsed Catholicism, which I always find more refreshing than piety.  He was with Harry Hasson, whose family, as I well recall, had a florist shop in Atlantic City, and the four of us chatted a bit.
*The founders, Fred and Ethel Noyes, were also the developers of Smithville, NJ, but recently as towns go, in 1952. There's a restaurant there called "Fred and Ethel's," which people may think is named for the I Love Lucy couple, but no. I'm amused by the idea that some may also believe the museum involves cacophony--it's pronounced "noise," after all.      

 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lunch And BAM

After a two-day hiatus, I walked with Susan--chilly, but not windy. Called for my mammogram prescription (the hip call it a "script," but damn, I've been given plenty of scripts and they're for getting you on stage, not medical nonsense) and picked it up in the afternoon.
A pleasanter pickup: Aline, at 1:00, and we went over to Fran Z.'s, who lives near her, so I could give her my five bucks for the flea market space.  She invited us in and the three of us chatted away. I like her a lot and suspect she'll be a new friend.
I had a coupon ($3 off for two lunches) for Longhorn, so suggested we go there.  Neither of us had been and it proved to be a good find.  Not too expensive, either.  We then went to BAM! ("Books A Million" and don't ask me what the exclamation point is for), and were there browsing for about two hours.
I confess I got antsy--I have a low tolerance for boredom--and I find Aline exceedingly slow in every way except mentally.  But she's a dear friend and boon companion, so I hid my impatience, as I always try to do with her.
By the time we left, it was after 4:00 and I had promised we'd go to the library when we got back to Little Egg.  We did after I picked up my Rx.  My friend, Pat, had recommended The Book Thief, and I put it on reserve.  Aline went on the computer, and we both browsed a bit.
Dropped her off about 6:00 after we made a date to go today (Wednesday) back to the Maritime Museum, as I want to buy Inferno At Sea from the co-author and owner of the museum.
Later: I looked on the site and found it isn't open today.  I'll call Aline and suggest we go instead to the Noyes Museum in Galloway, where she's never been.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Slow-Pokey And The God King

Somewhat of a slow-pokey day.  I'm not sure why, but I didn't feel tiptop--very vague; seemed to have sort of a mild tummy ache, combined with ennui, which overcomes me once in a while.  Lolled around a lot and again, had problems with the graphics on this machine.  However, I fixed them.
I did have two pleasant experiences.  For one, I perked up later in the day and sought out Kelly, the branch manager of Little Egg Library to tell her about the NJ Maritime Museum and she's interested in having the owner, Deb, give a presentation.  Another librarian, Arlene, with whom I chatted, said she thought Deb had won a lot of money in the lottery. Interesting.
The second: I called "Fran," about getting a space for a community-wide flea market on May 10, which is only five bucks. I found that she lives in Mystic Shores and knows Aline.  We had a nice chat and I'm looking forward to meeting her for real.
Judy K. called to say this month's Dine Around theme is the Titanic. She asked me to wear something in keeping and you know, I think I'll haul out my mourning costume, gussie it up a little, and go as one of the--well, survivor or not?  We'll see.  
Just saw new pics and video of my younger grandson, now seven months old. Such fun to see how he's learning and growing--and what a good-natured baby he is!  Love to (at least) be able to see him electronically.  Come to think of it, I haven't seen my other grandson and his gang for some time.  Happily, we'll be visiting them next month.
WIDER:  From Chris Floyd's "Empire Burlesque" at
http://www.chris-floyd.com/:
"Meanwhile, the beat goes on. On Monday, the Peace Prize Laureate launched his third drone strike in Yemen in as many days. (It is of course superfluous to point out that the United States is not at war with Yemen.) The latest strike followed one on Easter Sunday, when Barack Obama celebrated the Resurrection of his Lord and Saviour by killing 30 people in Yemen, by the usual courageous method of having an underling in a padded chair somewhere thousands of miles away courageously push a button while courageously viewing a video screen."
And from your humble correspondent, Mimi:
I know so many who worship at the shrine of Obama.  Nothing--nothing!--he could ever do will make them pull off the blinders.  He can kill around the globe, here, there, and everywhere, without needing stated evidence, indictments, trials, a chance for the targeted to defend themselves--without anything but his sole discretion, and he can never, ever be held to account. We'd better get used to it: He's the God King.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter

Hey, it was a nice Easter.  Arrived up north about 2:30 and my friend and I took a walk, then she, her guy, and Mimi drove the 45 minutes or so to Rancocas.
D. and B. L. have lived in their house for 45 years--since they were married--and it's one of those oddly chopped-up two stories that look something like a one story.  Lots of stuff here and there and a beautifully restored grand piano in the living room.  Attending, besides the host and hostess and the three of us, were their daughter, her husband (my son-in-law's son) and their two children, 11 and 9; also, their son and his lady friend, plus her twenty-year-old son.  Yes, a lot of guys.
It was quite a spread: a big ham and a turkey, roasted and sweet potatoes, white rolls and cornbread, beets, peas and carrots, and a multitude of sides.  I brought my crystal pickles, which always make a hit and yesterday was no exception.  The L.'s don't serve alcohol, but boy, do they serve dessert.  There was a peanut butter pie--not one of my favorites--a "blueberryish" concoction, which I tried, and it was peculiar--and two kinds of ice cream, along with chocolate and butterscotch syrup.
B. got a kick out of the walking, singing, lighting-up chicken I brought her and I was given two pots of narcissus (tiny daffodils)--one from my friend--and a container of mums.  We took a neat picture on the front porch of the whole group, then a gag one, with all of us with our backs turned.  Got home a bit after 9:00...
I was just interrupted by a delightful Google + call (Skype seemed to be in a mood) Singapore from Mike and the two precious little girls in Singapore.  Paula is travelling in Indonesia and Vickie, the nanny, has been called home to the Philippines due to a family emergency, so Mike has charge of them until tomorrow--gee, what a burden, I hope he can bear up.  He told 9-year-old Vivian to put Violet, 5, to bed and she did, like a good little substitute Mommy. So sweet and they're such beautiful, bright, and creative little girls.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Reviewer Training

Another busy, but very enjoyable day: Picked Aline up at 10:15--early--for the twelve noon reviewers' orientation, but we managed to be late, anyway.
I had gotten directions--no, "directions"--from both Google and Mapquest and they screwed me up royally.  There's no point in enumerating all the problems for me driving to a destination 62 miles away, but--well, we were late.
When we finally got there, it was good.  (I did, however, have to squelch a burning desire to kick whoever decided the day before a major holiday, with lots of traffic, was a good time to have people travel across state.  Okay, simmer down, Mimi.)  With a power point presentation and a printed packet (love alliteration!), we were introduced to play reviewing for the New Jersey Association of Community Theatres (NJACT).
The idea is to have two trained reviewers attend shows by amateur companies (Equity productions can not be reviewed) and, from the information submitted, the organization presents Perry Awards to the winners of each category.  These include not only acting, but direction, set design, choreography, costumes, and many others.   Should be fun, aside from getting to each venue, that is.
We were back in Little Egg by 4:30 and Aline suggested dinner at the Chinese restaurant near the lake--her treat.  I happily accepted and had pork with string beans, of which I took half home.
Didn't get in until almost 8:00, then had a Skype call from adorable K., the little jumping jack--so squirmy he's getting!--whose Daddy said had just been talking to his Aunt Ellen.  I called same and we had a good talk; she's looking forward to Spring Break, starting tomorrow.  I talked to her sister also, and will be with her today, so was contacted by all four of my faithful, ever devoted children.
Oh, wait, you say, that's only three?  But I'm sure the errant child will repent and get in touch for this major holiday, so I can say "Happy Easter" to his precious little girls.  Even though they're flying back from Japan to Singapore?  Well, sure.    

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Maritime Museum

I had asked Aline if she'd like to go to old Bordentown (Victorian houses, little shops, very historic) yesterday, but because it was cloudy and cold, I suggested we defer it and I looked for something else.  Put "New Jersey museums" in the search engine and I stumbled over the Maritime Museum on Long Beach Island.
Now, I'm no fan of maritime history, lover of the sea though I am, but I thought it was worth a look, so--after an expensive lunch at one of the fancy and cutthroat eateries on the island (hamburgers were fifteen bucks), we found the place across from the bay.
What a treasure!  It's incredible, starting with the fact that it's free of charge.  Without going into an enormous amount of detail, I can say it entails records--written, in photos, and via electronic, artifacts--of what seems to be practically every shipwreck off the New Jersey coast, as well as other Jersey shore-related events, up and down the whole coast.  There are vast stores of information on the Morro Castle fire, the Texas Tower disaster, and a trove of other Atlantic Ocean/New Jersey related topics. The artifacts on display just boggle the imagination. They include vintage photos, uniforms, newspaper articles, dishes and personal possessions from sunken ships, life savers and vests, DVDs and a multitude of other items. There's a whole section on deep sea diving, one devoted to Absecon Island and Atlantic City, another on WW II, and so on and on.  There's a lending library, Internet access, and "a complete set of USLSS annual reports from 1876 and 1915," whatever that is.  All this is arranged with great intelligence and imagination in what looks like a converted house, but is clearly pretty newly built.
When we walked in, we looked for a place to pay admission, but there isn't any--it's free.  There's also free single-serve coffee and incredibly, we were each given a number of DVDs gratis.  I received twelve, including "Shark Attack, 1916" and "the Lucy Evelyn."  This was after we met the owners--aside from three other visitors, the only people there--Deb Whitcraft,* a former Beach Haven mayor, and Jim Vogel, whom she introduced as her  husband. 
Without stretching this out too long (hey, that never bothered you before, Mimi), I can say we stayed until after 4:00, talking with Deb, who's been collecting for 42 years.  I'm going to ask Kelly, the Little Egg library manager, if she'd like to arrange for Deb to present there.  Will also do a piece for The Breeze, June issue.    
Everything in this remarkable place is arranged and presented with great intelligence and imagination--we loved it! We'll be back often, that's a cinch, and would highly recommend it to others.
Got a call from Betty and we had a nice chat.  Today, Aline and I are going up to Mercer Community College for orientation as NJPerry Award reviewers for the theatre company.  You can be sure I'm going to submit a requisition to LETCO for mileage; this one trip alone will total 130 miles and, of course, I'll be driving when we travel to shows.

* I was charmed to read on her card that Deb is also a "wedding officiant."  Presumably, she performs ceremonies on the beach, at sea, and--for all I know--as the ship goes down.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Roebling

The van tour yesterday was to Roebling, NJ, a fascinating place for a variety of reasons.  Our usual quartet went: Susan, Barb, Pat, and me, and I drove.  The van left from Tip Seaman Park, right here in Little Egg, which was unusual and much more convenient for us.
If I was the retrospective type--oh, that's right, I am!--I'd say Roebling illustrates the long, sad history of labor in this country.  It had been a thriving company town, thanks to John A. Roebling, who came here from Germany to establish his steel and wire mill in Trenton, then this hamlet (in 1904), which would carry on his name.
Thousands of workers, many from Hungary, the Czech Republic, and other eastern European countries, worked in the huge, twenty-acre facility.  In its heyday, the mill belched smoke, was exceedingly noisy, and naturally, dominated the town.
Roebling built brick homes for the workers: fairly modest, but decent, row houses for the laborers; larger, semi-detached homes for skilled tradesmen; and very large, quite impressive singles on the river for managers and department heads. I was fascinated to learn that, no matter the size, the homes contained only one bathroom.  And were the workers up in arms because of this?  Oh, no, they were thrilled by the fact that indoor bathrooms took the places of outhouses.
The museum--which had been the gatehouse when the mill was active--was modest, but interesting, and we had a competent docent, "Roy," as guide.  We learned that the mill was started in 1904, thrived for many years, had close ties with the nearby Trenton plant, and was sold by descendants in 1952.  Little by little, steel jobs went overseas--the reasons why are too long and involved to go into here, and the mill closed for good in 1974, putting an end to the dream of a decent living for those who relied on it.  Here's a good, succinct account of the town of Roebling:  
http://www.capitalcentury.com/1905.html
As for the trip itself, we endured the usual crammed-in-like-sardines van.  We had been scheduled to eat our lunches in the museum, but there was some mix up about that.  Therefore, we parked on the street next at the river.  It was exceedingly cold and windy, but I couldn't stand to stay in the van, so a few others and I went out to have lunch on the benches.  Brr--!
Got home an hour later than we were supposed to, but that was okay.  Went to the library after dinner and was pleased to have Aline come in.  We had a nice talk--she's been away for several days and I missed her--and made a date to go back up to Mercer County today, at my suggestion.  We'll tour Bordentown, also an historic place in this very historic state.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Accomplishments And Chickens

Wowee, I got a lot accomplished yesterday.  Went through the folders on my desk, weeded out paperwork, and re-organized.  Did the same with this year's receipts, assembling them into proper categories, and placing in large envelopes which I then put in the large rattan boxes in the study.  
Oh, that sounds simple and easy enough, a matter of mere minutes, right?  Ha!   It took me all morning and I still have plenty to do.  In between, I cut up several pounds of broccoli and put it to simmering in the slow cooker, along with canola oil, garlic, and seasonings.
I had a yen for chicken, so went to Acme, looking for leg quarters.  They had none, just breasts, so I drove up to Shop-Rite.  It was a madhouse, so crowded I could barely make it to the meat department, but I got the chicken, and escaped with my life.
That was the real chicken.  Stopped at K-Mart and bought--is my head on straight?--a fluffy pretend one that sings "Easter Parade," moves its head, and walks.  Rather than bring the lady who's having us for dinner on Sunday, mundane daffodils or tulips--she's pretty hefty and I wanted to spare her from having to plant them or feeling guilty if she didn't--I thought this would be fun. The kids will like it, too.  Hey, I like it.  
Put the chicken--not the fluffy one--in the oven to roast as soon as I got home, firmed up plans with Susan and Barbara for today's van tour, and called Linda K., at Rider, to ask about the info on life insurance I received in the mail.  I had forgotten, but she reminded me that, as a retiree, I'm insured for five thou.  I wrote my four children about it and now, I guess, will have to watch my back.


 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Bundy Case

It's so easy to come down on one side or the other when situations are clear cut, but often, the facts are shadowy, malleable, and subject to interpretation.
Such as?  Bundy vs. The Government of the United States.
As I understand it, the Bundys are ranchers whose cattle have grazed on government land for generations.  (Not incidentally to this story, the U.S. government is the largest landowner in the country.)  A new law was recently passed which forbids ranchers from this practice.  I believe the protection of an endangered species of turtle was the stated reason for the ban.
Bundy refused to obey, his cattle continue to graze on government land, and some have been seized.  Fees and fines against him have now grown to over a million dollars, which he refuses to pay.
Armed government agents are gathered near the ranch and so are self-appointed "militia"--private citizens with firearms.  The latter vow to "defend" Bundy if a shot is fired by the government.  That means a blood bath, possibly similar to the Waco horror so many years ago.
Ordinarily, this would be an easy call for Mimi, a progressive veering toward anarchism:  well-meaning private citizens against the criminals running the government?  Go, Bundy champs!
Hey, wait just a doggone minute.  I can never countenance violence except in the very extreme case when it's the only alternative if one's self or another person's is being threatened with serious bodily harm at that moment.  Add to that the caveat that it's used only up to the point where it stops the aggressor and not beyond. (I didn't go to Catholic school for nothing.)  This situation doesn't fill those requirements, so if I say I'm on the side of Bundy and the "militia" members, it means intellectually only.
But am I?  Let's suppose this isn't taking place in the romanticized-out-of-all-recognition west, involving a ranch and livestock, but instead, follows a scenario something like this:
In Atlantic City, New Jersey, a law is passed that disallows parking garages.  Of course, all casinos have such conveniences, but now they're illegal; patrons must park outside, next to the buildings, in all kinds of weather.  This has discouraged people from coming and cut down on profits.  Donald Trump protests--loudly--and lots of people around the country are outraged.
Take a look at the slot action on any given day:  It's fuelled mainly by little old ladies whose main pleasure in life is a monthly excursion to Borgata or the Golden Nugget or Trump's Castle.  They stoke those greedy little machines with their widow's mites in hopes of hitting it big for fifty bucks or so.  Who would not champion the right of these aging dreamers to get a little such enjoyment in their drab lives?  So we must form a human wall around Trump's place, say, and dare the government to enforce the law.  If they use force, we will respond with force...
But, uh, is this upholding the rights of little old ladies to act like idiots and throw away their money?  Or is it putting one's life on the line for a despicable, obscenely wealthy clown who would sooner kick those old ladies down the stairs than give up his parking garages?
Believe me, I can sympathize with the "militia" members who are standing dazed in the wreckage of what used to be (they believed, anyway, and perception is everything) the greatest country in the history of the world.  Where a guy who worked with his hands could earn decent pay and support a family and buy a house and have health benefits, then retire with a comfortable pension.  Where you could save a bit and accumulate interest.  Where you knew there was a big divide between those in charge of companies and those who simply worked there, but it was nothing like the yawning chasm that developed later.  Where you were confident when your country was at war, that it was a just war, waged only in defense and to promote democracy.  You knew that those who fought it included all citizens, the rich as well as the poor, because we were all in this together.
No more.  And the men and women with guns see themselves as defending a sacred trust: The kind of country in which they grew up and that they must restore, so their children can enjoy the good lives of good citizens.
Okay, they may have voted for Romney and they may be secret racists and they may link God and country without a lot of thought--but I tell you, I sympathize. They may be pining for a society that never existed, but I sympathize.  They're standing alone and afraid in a world they never made and, yes, I sympathize.
They were sold a bill of goods--the Brooklyn Bridge--and when they went to pick it up, they found it was immovable, bolted down with the most formidable rivets in the history of the world:  the alliance between government and corporations.
So am I "for" the Bundy side?  Oh, no, not really, but nor would I ever, in a million years, side with the great, bloated, more corrupt every day, force that now comprises the United States government.
Addendum:  I just read this by Lucy Steigerwald on AntiWar.com, which encompasses much of my attitude this whole troubling affair:
"Whether Bundy is in the right or not – and he is, and isn’t – the troubling part of some of the Waco comparisons is the feeling that if something happened to him or his family, there would be a crowd of people ready to justify the violence if it came from a government gun." 
Yes, there it is: If private citizens commit murder, it's a crime and a horror, but if it's done under some official sanction, it's understandable.  Reminds me of the latest Fort Hood shootings and the reports that authorities there are having to deal with such "violence."  It would be funny if it wasn't so horrifying:  Isn't violence their stock in trade?  



  

Incident At Italian Gourmet

An exceedingly rainy and blustery day.  I even thought about calling Betty and begging off our lunch date at Italian Gourmet, but didn't.  First went to the P.O. and mailed the boys' Easter cards and the wedding gift to New Zealand.
Early on, I was horrified to have my computer "seize up," an apt phrase, it seems to me, meaning I couldn't get it to do anything.  It was in a dead faint and I was frantic. Luckily, I was able to revive it by unplugging, then plugging back in--or something.
Met Betty and Helen C. at Italian Gourmet and we had a nice time.  I wasn't very hungry and simply ordered a Blue Moon and a bowl of soup .  I was surprised to see this came in a portion I would estimate to be a scant eight ounces, if that.  
Betty's salad and Helen's lunches came in larger dishes, but in the same design. We saw that the restaurant has changed its china to attractive, but deceptive, bowls and plates that flare out, so they look as if they contain more.  I questioned the waitress--quietly--and she sent the manager over. He was very polite and it was a cordial exchange.  The upshot was that he said they don't actually serve bowls of soup (seems weird) and that this was standard.  Seems to me the wait staff should be made aware of the minuscule portion and tell the customer up front.
There's chicanery afoot here, that's a cinch; I can just see some hotshot sales rep, fresh out of Screw The Customer U., selling the owners on tableware that will reduce portions and up their profits.
However, the bill came and I wasn't charged for the soup.  That wasn't my aim in questioning the portion--it was only $2.99--but it was a classy gesture and I appreciated it.
Will I go to Italian Gourmet again?  Sure: It's convenient and the food is edible. However, I won't order a bowl of soup expecting to get a bowl of soup.    
   

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Income Tax And The Sea

Got the income tax done, finally.  Instead of going to the blood-suckers at H & R Block, let alone a private accountant, I took advantage of the free AAUP service. This session was held--quite efficiently, too--at St. Mary's in Manahawkin and, after filling out a preliminary form, I was assigned to a nice guy named Bob.   Aside from the fact that I had forgotten my dividend form from Vanguard and had to go home and get it, it went smoothly.   I'm getting money back (not as much as last year, but I didn't have as many medical expenses), and I'm satisfied, as well as vastly relieved.
Stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond and ordered the wall-hung hair dryer, which will be delivered to me at home.  Went to Shop-Rite for veggie items, Kohl's for Easter cards for the boys in Wellsboro, and Staples for a mailing cylinder.
Re the previous: For a wedding gift, I'm sending my great-niece, a veterinarian in New Zealand, copies of two large photos of my father (her great-grandfather), when he was on Villanova debating team and track team.  We're talking 96 years ago here, folks, and how strange it is to look at that person--a boy, really, still in his teens--and realize I know what was to come, but he didn't: a career as a civil engineer, marriage in a few years to a girl named Helen, a move to the New Jersey coast, six children, and an early death (at 51) in an accident.
Well, I guess it's a good thing we can't see the future.
Late in the day, I drove to the bay to be rejuvenated by the sea.  It was very windy and white caps were rolling in furiously, lashing the beach and throwing foam on the shore.  The noise was deafening and, fascinated as I was, I was also the slightest bit apprehensive.  What if the ocean should gather itself up, rear back, then decide to show the land who's really boss?  I wouldn't have a prayer of getting away and my bones would lie forever full fathom five...
Aline, still in Westchester, called and we had a good talk.  Ditto Betty and we made a lunch date for today.              
    

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hair Dryer

Did lots of small, but needed, chores, then went to Manahawkin.  Took the new hair dryer back to Kohl's--don't know why I bought it and never opened the box, as I definitely want a wall-hung one.  Went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and found they had none in stock, but could order it.  I should have, but foolishly, I thought I might be able to buy it cheaper elsewhere.  Went on-line and no, that's not the case. Called B, B & B and found I couldn't have it sent to the store, then pick it up, but have to go in.  Will do after I get my income tax done at St. Mary's.
Re that:  Boy, I never wait this long to have my tax return done.  However, I was so involved in the play and all--oh, gimme a break, Rosemary, it wasn't that absorbing--that I kept putting it off... Yes, my middle initial is "P" for "Procrastinator."  Every year, I've paid big bucks ($272 last time) to have my relatively simple tax returns done and I was determined not to this time, so I'm going to a free church-run place at St. Mary's in Manahawkin.  Let's hope this turns out okay.
I'm intrigued by an organization which rests on its members vowing not to buy anything (aside from consumables like food) for a year.  I'm thinking about it, even though I may not actually join.  Being in the process of clearing out, I'm constantly amazed at what I've bought over the years and I'm sick, sick, sick of all this stuff. I'm not a hoarder--am pretty neat, in fact--but this is a good-sized house and it's filled with such a huge accumulation.  All of it is usable and in good shape, but I don't need it, I don't want it, and I'm bent double over the weight of it! 
With that off my mind, I have news which is much more important than anything since the birth of the Tokyo Tot.  It's so monumental, in fact, that I devoted a whole post to it; see following post.   

Ellen And Gregg!

Wonderful, wonderful event: My darling daughter, Ellen, is engaged!  She and her Gregg called me on Skype last night to share the happy news.  He gave her a beautiful diamond ring, which she showed off and over which I oohed and ahhed.  I am so happy for both of them and of course, thrilled at the news.  I know her sister and brothers will like Gregg, as I do--it's so good I was able to meet and spend time with him in December.
It occurred to me that if anyone had told me eighteen months ago, I would have a beautiful new grandson AND that my precious Ellen would find the love of her life, I would have been incredulous.  But that happened, these wonderful things and they fill me with joy.
Congratulations, Ellen and Greg, two of my favorite people in the world!



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Various Doings

Wrote a little verse and put it on my response to nephew Jeremy's wedding.  Took that, a Passover card to Aline, and Mike's accumulated mail to the P.O.
Went through virtually all my theatre stuff and separated it into two containers, one for scripts, write-ups, and other paper, the other for props and so on.  I was amazed at how much I have--much too much, probably--and that doesn't  include costumes.
Put Easter decorations out here and there.  Don't know who will see them but me, however, as I was invited up to my friend's for Easter.  
It was a wonderfully warm and sunny day and I put one of the wicker chairs and the table on the porch.  Thought I'd sit out there for a bit, but never got around to it. Made a salad and had it for lunch.
Took a drive to Forked River late in the afternoon.  I just wanted to see water, and I did, stopping at an Elks club, getting out of the car, and gazed for a time at the canal next to it.
Cut up garlic and onions, added mushrooms and sauteed all.  Put that together with macaroni and spaghetti sauce for a tasty dinner.

 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sprinkler and Disney

Spring's arrival is sometimes depicted as the appearance of a lovely maiden, but not by me.  I see it in the form of short and tubby Bob S., who came yesterday morning and turned on my sprinklers, as he does every year.
Jo G. called to ask what exterminator I had used for termites, as she has noticed some at her house.  I couldn't find the information until it occurred to me it was in my safety deposit box and I went to the bank, got it, and brought it over to Jo.
The nurse practitioner from AtlantiHealth (actually a free-lance) came and it proved to be an agreeable experience.  After getting past the superficial "examination," we had a great time talking.  It seems his son lives in my soon-to-be-adopted state and is a "Disney historian."
What in the world?  Well, he's written a book related to that cultural horror, It's Kind of a Cute Story, which is an "as told to" Jeff Heinbuck, "by" Rolly Crump, a theme park "imagineer."  I looked it up and it seems pretty interesting; think I'll have it sent to my Tablet or, alternately, request it from the library.  Of course, the guy doesn't just write books; his Dad told me he has something to do with social media, vitamins, and/or stem cell research, I don't recall just what he said.
Drove over after lunch to the Shop-Rite in Galloway, got Easter decorations out of the garage, and tidied up here and there.  Other than that, just puttered and enjoyed the wonderfully balmy weather.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fairy Tales

Finally bestirred myself enough to assemble income tax info--more or less--and will get it done, I hope, on Monday.
Stopped at Parkertown Auto to get my headlight changed--that's two days in a row at Parkertown Auto--and when George looked under the hood, he discovered that, in addition, a hose was split.  Had to wait about an hour, but had my Tablet with me and entertained myself by reading a charming compendium of Japanese fairy tales that, happily, is on the device. They were so imaginative and entertaining; the villain in one was a giant centipede--ugh!--in another, there was a "tongue-cut sparrow" and the mean old lady who had done the deed, and there were warriors, kindly farmers, beautiful brides, and so on.  I found it interesting that, although the characters were different, the same themes of love, fear, and reconciliation prevailed, as they do in the familiar western stories.
Paid the car repair bill (only $32) and continued on up to Manahawkin to buy a few items.  Got home and did some household chores and computer stuff.  Aline called to say she was traveling up to Westchester today, as he sister-in-law had received some bad medical news.  In fact, I didn't want to emphasize it, but it's very bad, I'm afraid.
Bob S. is coming this morning to blow out my sprinklers (I always think that sounds obscene or, at least, provocative) and a nurse from Amerihealth will be here at noon for some reason or other.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Trenton Thunder Game

Dropped my car at Parkertown Auto at 8:00 and Susan picked me up and took me home.  They hadn't finished it until almost lunchtime, but luckily, it was a minor problem and the cost was only $139.
Tried--not too successfully--to pull a few loose ends together, then showered, changed, and packed (I wasn't sure if I'd stay over up north), and drove up to my friend's.
We met her husband in Ewing for dinner, then went to the Trenton Thunder baseball game, where their granddaughter and her school choir were slated to sing after the seventh inning.
Seventh inning of nine?  It seemed we sat through at least twenty of this interminable game, in which I had not even a passing interest. (The Trenton Thunder played the Portland (ME) Seadogs and were losing 9 to 0 when we finally left after the seventh.)
Even so, it was fun.  Our former neighbor on Lower Ferry, Paula Seavy O'B., was working at a hot dog stand, and we chatted with her.  Sent Marilyn M. several messages, but she didn't respond and I assume she wasn't there.
Didn't get out until 10 and then had to pick up one of the couple's cars, which they had left in Ewing to avoid paying to park two.  Drove back to their place and I decided not to stay over.  Guess I'm getting to be a fogy, as I much prefer my own comfy bed.
On the way home, I was pulled over by a very courteous copper and told my right headlight is out.  Damn, just another thing to have to take care of.
I had told Susan I could stay over up north and, although I didn't, I slept in and didn't walk, so shoot me.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Sparklers And Sunsets

Met nine of my fellow "Sparklers" at Smithville and had a congenial enough lunch. This group, however, is one of the reasons I keep looking westward.  Aside from Virginia and Lucille--and Josephine's okay--they tend to be epitomes of conventionality, which they proved yesterday.  To wit: the big topic of conversation was a couple who took a sick baby to sea or something.  Presumably, this was on television (or how the hell else would they hear about it?) and it elicited ever-so predictable comments.  They ranged from "and the baby was sick to begin with!" to "taxpayers had to pay for the rescue!" to the obligatory "people like that shouldn't have children!"  Obviously, this was the Indignation Indicator Du jour;  tomorrow, some other domestic outrage or celebrity divorce or threat from the foreign devils will be "discussed," with no context, no background, and no conclusions reached.   Oh, well, ho-hum, the food was good, anyway.    
Drove down to surprise Betty after and we had a nice chat.  She's debating whether to take the cramped, unfurnished apartment in Coffin Alley or a much more expensive, but more comfortable one on Harvard Avenue.  I don't understand why she can't find out how much the insurance company will pay to put her up while the house is worked on, but I'm not familiar with these things.
Stopped for a half hour to see Madge and Mary H. on my way home.  These sisters--eight years apart--have lived harmoniously for years, something that amazes me.
At loose ends after dinner, I drove down Green Street at sunset and took some pictures of the pink sky and water.  Talk about conventional--these pics must be duplicated practically every minute of every day by every camera owner within fifty miles of either coast.
So-o-o, I'm not such a free spirit and high-above-the-neanderthal-intellectual-horde after all, maybe.        

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A Long Post About A Not-Good Day

Resumed walking with Susan and, after breakfast, went over to the clubhouse to buy a ticket for the Women's Club luncheon in May.  Maureen K. was one of the sellers--yoicks!  I had interviewed her and Carl weeks ago and, what with all the time and effort necessary to put into the play, hadn't even begun their profile. Now, The Breeze deadline was--is--looming and yesterday, I was horrified to learn the K.'s were leaving for five days this morning! 
Rushed home and started pulling together my fragmented notes.  Wrote up a mediocre and much-too-long piece and sent it off via email for the K.'s to check for errors.  
Changed and went to the open board meeting at 2:00.  I usually don't attend, but I thought Jim N. might be pushing his Wounded Warrior campaign and I wanted to be the anti-voice.  Turns out he didn't open his trap, but I stayed anyway.
"Our veterans" (not my veterans) had been asked to assemble after the meeting to have their picture taken for the May (Memorial Day, doncha know?) Breeze cover.  I didn't, of course, bring up this odious--as well as trite--idea, nor did I approve it, but I didn't bother to protest when it was brought up last month.
Left to go buy oranges at Acme, then went back to attend a Breeze editorial meeting with my fellow staff.  We discussed ideas, enjoyed coffee and homemade cookies, courtesy of Lee S., and had a good session.
It was close to 5:00 after and I was absolutely desperate for something to listen to in the car (for months, I had taken a tape recorder and rehearsed my lines for Hedda), so I drove up to the Stafford Library to get some DVDs.  
Stopped first at B.J.'s for oranges and tofu, then searched out Aline at the library. She was working until 6:00 and I stayed to take her home in the steady rain.
I walked in close to 7:00, then had to listen to a lo-o-o-ng message--so long it was continued after the time on the machine ran out--from Maureen, who had all kinds of changes and corrections for the Breeze article.  
I called her and was subjected to talkyedy-talk-talk, rapidly rapt, because after all, this was about her and there's nothing more important than her, even though she's a profoundly mundane, even boring, housewife in suburban New Jersey who never had an original thought in her head and thinks the sun rises and sets with Pope What-His-Name in the Vatican.
Well, that's mean, she's really not that bad, I guess, but I was frazzled, mostly because I had made the changes on Word and they didn't "save," although I had hit "enable editing."  Just as I was crying with frustration--by this time, it was after 7:00 and I had had no dinner--my sainted son from Tokyo Skyped me to save the day. He not only retrieved the changes, but explained that I was "saving" all wrong and was just duplicating the article (I'm still not sure why).
He walked me through it and I wrote the instructions down and will henceforth follow them.  Even beyond that, he allowed me to see and interact with the adorable little jumping jack, who will soon, I know, be crawling, then walking, then who knows what? 
Finally sent off the corrected piece, made my popcorn, watched a few minutes of television--the cultural level of which was actually frightening-and finally fell into bed.     
              







Monday, April 07, 2014

End Of The Run

                                          *I*T*'S   *O*V*E*R* !
And it was probably the best of the four.  I think my performance was smoother than my other three and so were those of my colleagues.  We had. by far, the largest audience of this run, and the dynamic between the players and the played-to should never be overlooked.  Among my friends, the Sunday matinee brought out Susan and Walter, Barbara and Ray, Julie and Gary, Nick and Lucille (she in a walker), Pat L.,and Regina B., and remarkably, Rachel K. and her husband and daughter, plus Bernice I., there all the way from Egg Harbor and Margate.  In addition,  Betty and five of her buddies--long-suffering ladies--attended; the same group, plus Muckie, had come to Arsenic last year, and I appreciate their interest.
I invited Aline and Ellen V. to join the aforementioned (I can't seem to avoid the use of archaic English usage!), so there were eight of us at dinner at Buckalew's and we had a fine time.  After, I suggested to Aline that we drive down to Holgate to see the water.  We did, and it was as magnificent and soothing to the soul as ever. Dropped her off after making a tentative date for Wednesday (but when I got home, I saw I already have plans for that day; must call and reschedule).
Ellen called--remarkably to this Luddite--from her car, sans hands, while stuck in traffic coming back from Santa Barbara, and we had a good talk.  Popcorn and iced tea later, bed by 9:30, and soon Susan and I will go for our walk, so life is back to normal, whether I want it to be or not.
For me, there's always plenty of regret when we end a run, although in this case, there's a fair amount of relief, too.  There were some costume issues, the long wait (about an hour and a half) between acts one and four when I appear seemed interminable*, and the almost 50 mile round-trip drive to Long Beach Island is nothing but a drag.  However, for better or worse, it's over and now I'm going to attend to all the everyday minutiae I've been neglecting for so long.
*Thank Zeus for my Tablet!  No only did I spend my time in the dressing room playing games on it, but I read the whole of The Call of The Wild and actually enjoyed it.        

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Second To Last

Slept late again, but not as grotesquely so as I have been; was up at about 7:15.
I can barely remember what I did yesterday until picking up Aline and getting to the theatre...
Oh, that's right: I went to the thrift store and picked up two blouses, as I wanted more front-buttoned ones.  However, I saw a pullover I liked, and got that, too.  I spent a whopping $2.60 on them--for both, that is, as they were having a twenty percent off day.
Last night's performance went well, I think, but I was unaccountably nervous, maybe because my daughter, niece, and her husband and son were there. It was great fun greeting them in the lobby after the performance.  The audience was larger than on other nights, but still very sparse, I'm afraid.  I'm beginning to think the venue--Surflight Theatre, of which we were so excited to contemplate--is one of the problems.  It's simply so far away from Little Egg, that many who might ordinarily come, decide against it.
We close after today's performance and as ever, I'm sighing over that.  After all the months of preparation: memorizing the dialogue, working out the blocking, rehearsing over and over, dealing with costumes, makeup, props, and all the other items, large and small, involved in putting on a play.  This includes the spats and annoyances and back-biting here and there that seem to go on during every production; this time, luckily, I stayed above the fray, angel of concordance that I am.
So long, Hedda, and hello, Miss Back to Normal Life.  

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Cast Party

Oh, gawd, am I hung over!
Well, I'm exaggerating a bit, but I did have a lot of wine at the cast party last night.  I have no idea what time I got home, but considering we didn't leave Surflight until well after 11:00, and stayed more or less to the end of the party, it must have been about two am.  Was awakened by a phone call from Betty at--get this--10:45 this morning!
"Hedda" went well, although, disappointingly, the audience again was sparse.  My pal, Vivian L., was there, that sweet thing (I met her through WellSpouse) and so were Maureen and Carl K., which reminds me--ugh--that I still have to write that profile on them.
I was thrilled that Grey L. was there, all the way from Margate.  He had first been cast as "George," my nephew, but came down with a lingering illness and had to withdraw.  He was greeted with enthusiasm by the rest of the cast--aside from Neil, that is--and we all had a fine time together at the cast party.
Mary and Jim really do about the best parties around.  Of course, they have the perfect venue for it: a very large all-purpose room with a huge fireplace and big bar stocked with every version of wine, beer, and hard stuff imaginable. Laid out there were shrimp, salmon, deviled eggs, nuts, chips, dips, and innumerable other nibbles.  A wide doorway leads to the kitchen, which is equipped with a wood-burning stove and huge island.  Here there was a big cake with "Congratulations to the Cast and Crew of Hedda Gabler," along with cheesecake, chocolates, and several varieties of cookies.  
Earlier--this entry runs backward, it seems--Aline and I went to Dynasty for lunch.  I felt I needed an outing after keeping my nose to the theatrical grindstone all this time and we enjoyed it.
So two more performances, then back to real life.  I'll miss Hedda, but certainly won't miss that interminable drive to and from LBI.
 

Friday, April 04, 2014

Opening Night!

Went to Manahawkin early and got two button-front blouses because I don't want to try to get a top on and off over the wig I have to wear.  I always wear a camisole and half-slip when I'm in a play, too, as actors--including yours truly--are often careless about closing dressing room doors.
Amy came again to affix my wig and, this time, it was much more comfortable and more natural looking, too.  Picked up Aline at the Stafford Library at 5:00 and off we went. Helped Aline put up the head shots in the lobby, then went backstage and Shannon, the makeup lady, did my face.  I dressed, took a deep breath and stood ready in the wings waiting for opening night--showtime!   
It went well, aside from one or two little blips. Of course, since the audience didn't notice, they didn't matter, anyway.  One was a few minutes in, when "George" (Tony) and "Aunt Julia" (that's me, folks) are talking.  Somehow, either he or I skipped over a line and we found ourselves further along than we should have been; had to back-track, but we did it smoothly and it wasn't noticeable to the audience.  Later, I heard from "Thea" (Kathy) that something similar happened when she was on with "Judge Brack" (Neil), but they covered okay, too.
After our curtain calls, as had been planned, we sat on the stage and answered questions from the audience.  They had some good ones and it was so enjoyable to listen, respond, and discuss the play, Ibsen, and general theatre topics.
Very late night, of course: It was well after eleven when I dropped Aline off, and almost one by the time I got to bed.  Slept until 9:20, which boggles my mind.
Betty just called to say she and her group (a total of eight) will have dinner after the matinee.  I said I'd join them (Aline, too, of course), so that should be fun.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Dress Rehearsal

Went to the thrift store and found a good pair of lacy lady gloves to cover my rings in the first act. Stopped at the library to de-dress the display window--I had reserved it only for March--and there, wouldn't you know, were the lanterns I had searched for so frantically.  I had completely forgotten I used them in the library. Did other stuff, none of which is worthy of more than an ho-hum.
Amy, the wig woman--that has a ring to it, doesn't it?--came at 3:30 to put the piece on. The wig, white with a bun, looks okay, but damn, it's uncomfortable.  It feels as if I have a very tight hat jammed on my head.  It has to be anchored securely, though, because of "George" taking it off to admire.  In addition, Mark, the sound guy, said my microphone should go under the wig, which can't happen since it's so tight.  It worked okay to have it over, though, so we'll leave it at that.  Amy will be back today to do her thing again.
Picked up Aline at 5:15 and got to Surflight before 6:00, just as Desi was walking in, too.  We settled in, and soon the rest of the cast and crew came.
Dress rehearsal was probably a shade more brisk (that's good, not bad!) than earlier run-throughs and I wasn't aware of any gross disasters.  The makeup lady, Shannon, did a nice job on my face, especially the eyes, and I was able to adjust my skirt--upward--so I didn't run the risk of actually tripping on it.  I had some minor problems: Mary thought I should be wearing a shawl and I chose a pretty black one which kept sliding off me. I had to keep adjusting and putting it back, which Jim, in the three-person "audience" told me was distracting.  Brittany offered to help me secure it tonight, so the problem will be solved that way.  I'd prefer to go without it, but my character is supposed to be coming in on a cool September morning, so best not.
I have a long, long wait between the first and fourth acts, the only ones in which I appear, so I brought my Tablet and played games and read while waiting.  The Tablet came with Jack London's Call of the Wild and, although I'm the world's least avid dog-lover, started re-reading and enjoying it.  I'm not sure if London is studied or read much nowadays, but he really was a superb writer.  Must remember to bring the Tablet tonight.
Didn't get home after dropping Aline off, until 11:30.  It took me an age to get the damn wig off, as Amy has used 42 bobby pins to secure it, even with the skull cap underneath.  Okay, I'll live with it if I don't have to worry about it sliding off.
I was glad to hear the play ran only a bit less than three hours last night, and that was after we delayed the start by about ten minutes, but without intermission. It's still fearfully long and the wordy dialogue ain't goin' nowhere, but it is what it is, and in less than eleven hours: WE OPEN!



Joe The Jerk And So On

Got in touch with Amy, the hair person, and she said she'd come to my house tomorrow about 4:30 to "do" the wig and show me how for later.  However, Tonya e-mailed that Amy would be doing Brittany's hair at 4:30.  A further complication--which life and show biz are full of, it seems--is that I told Aline I'd pick her up after she finished work at 4:00 and take her to dress rehearsal.  There's no problem if she has to wait for me, but I'd still rather Amy came earlier. Have a call into her.
Joe the Jerk--oops, sorry, our publicist--put another "teaser," as he calls them, on the LETCO site.  Again, this is of Ellen V. and me and we have the least important roles.  Also, he obviously just stuck it on as is, as he included the end, which has me addressing Frank and he answering, which is not, of course, part of the play.  I doubt if he even looked at it.
I'm sorry I looked at it, in fact. I hate, hate, hate seeing myself even in still pictures, let alone moving ones, especially from the side which my terrible wattle shows up so prominently.  Of course, most of this crappy piece is from the side, wouldn't you know.
Well, I did get some of the stuff on the guest room beds that I had cleared out of the closet put away again, so that was an upper.
Saw Susan removing leaves from her flower bed and went over to chat and tell her I wasn't going to walk until Monday.  I got home after ten and we did only the first half of act four.  Soon, I may not be in until as late as eleven and I just can't go right to bed.  Must stay up at least for an hour to unwind with popcorn and iced tea (I not longer have wine at night).

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

All Hedda

Now it's all Hedda, all the time.  We finally did the full run last night--for the first time at Surflight--but without an intermission, it ran until 11:00.  Granted, we started late and Desi addressed us after, but still--.  I cringe at the thought of my seventyish friends sitting through this and just hope the snores don't overwhelm the dialogue.
This is a deep, psychological drama--probably the least favorite theatrical experience among my contemporaries--and there are subtleties that are imperative to grasp.  Unfortunately, it's very talky whichof all damming features, seems the worse.  Months back when we were having the heated discussion* about whether to cut it or not--and the non-cutters won--I wish we cut-favorers had held out longer.  The first act is very long and the second and third acts, in particular, seem to drag on interminably. They could have--and should have, if you ask me--been consolidated into one act.    
Well, there are some bright spots, notably the mikes.  The only other time I was wired up was in Arsenic last year, in this very theatre. The mouthpiece was taped to the face--very uncomfortable and also problematic because it had more places to snag on.  The wire (which is put under the clothes, of course) runs to the battery pack and I was emphatically told by Our Gang people that it had to go on my back.    
But no: Last night, Mark, the sound and light guy, told me those mikes were owned by Our Gang, and just happened to be the style they chose.  What we're using belong to Surflight and are much more comfortable.  The battery can be placed (in its cloth pouch and velcro "belt") anywhere the actor prefers.  I put mine at my side, much better for sitting down. What's more, the mouthpiece (really just a tiny extension of the wire) in this version is anchored in the hair (or in my case, the wig), so much less intrusive and more comfortable.
Another concern for the cast is the small stage, which means that, with the necessary furniture, it's awkward to move around, especially upstage.  We have to plan our blocking with care so it doesn't look awkward.
Amy, the hair/wig person, will be at my place at 3:30 today, then I'll pick Aline up in Manahawkin after.
Oh me, oh my, let's fervently hope this thing comes off before the length of it empties the theatre.  Dress rehearsal tonight.    
* From my January 26 entry:
Did a lot of e-mailing 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.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Hedda And Problems

Slept until 8:15, incredibly. I was glad Susan had a doctor's appointment up north and couldn't walk anyway, but I doubt if I would have, considering I didn't get to bed until almost midnight.
Yesterday, Aline called early and after chatting a bit, asked if I would lend her a tablecloth (she'll staff a sign-up table in the Surflight lobby) and also, pick her up for dress rehearsal tomorrow night, as well as for all performances.  I will, but I was a little less than cheerful about it, thinking I'll have a car full of stuff and a lot on my mind.  However, I took almost everything last night, so it shouldn't be a problem.
Aside from going to the only jewelry store nearby to see if somebody could get my engagement ring off--they were closed--I didn't do a lot but prepare for rehearsal, the first time we were able to do it at Surflight.  I gathered up a multitude of items, including my fancy hat from the first act, all my mourning clothes, various and sundry other clothing items, and the "Victorian bride" picture I had printed out and put in the frame holding my own wedding portrait.
Although this wasn't dress rehearsal, I wore my "Aunt Martha" outfit from Arsenic, as it includes a long skirt, and I wanted to get used to that again on stage.
Wanted to get there early, but as I was about to leave, got a call from Ellen V. and we commiserated with each other, as we both have beefs, especially with Desi's direction--or lack of it.
This is par for the course so close to opening, when we bemoan various problems, but it usually proves to be just letting off steam and all is forgotten when the curtain rises.
It's a long way to Surflight, as you have to go to Manahawkin, then over the causeway, then drove a good twelve or so miles down the island to reach it.  Got there about 5:30 to find only Bob N., who was working on the set.  Tonya, his wife and our treasurer, came shortly after, with Amy, a hairdresser who kindly agreed to do hair.
What about mine?  Neil finally came through with a grey wig which cascaded outward in curls and had some tiny braids in it.  The color is appropriate for my character, a Victorian maiden lady, but the style certainly not, and Amy set to work on it.  In a remarkably short time, she fashioned a bun-in-the-back and it looked perfect for Aunt Julia.
However, I was taken aback to see the outfit Tara had gotten from the rental agency--PINK!  My fancy hat--which is important in a minor way to establishing Hedda's character--is in shades of olive, black, and gold, so doesn't go with it at all.  Everybody thought it looked good, though, and Kathy offered to put a pink ribbon in it, so I guess it'll be okay.
I wore the outfit for rehearsal and the disaster I feared actually happened: the wig slid off my head, not while "George" was removing it, but a bit later.  I simply took it off and left it on the coffee table when I exited. Tonya said she'd give me Amy's number, so I'll call and see if I can have her anchor it better.
Tony, who plays George, borrowed my script the minute I walked in and he still isn't entirely off-book.  This is incredible--and horrifying--considering we open in three days.  I asked him why he didn't have a script and he said, "I don't know." At times, Tony seems really peculiar, although he's okay in my scenes with him. There were a few other problems last night, technical and otherwise, but this is par for the course in a play and I'm confident they'll be remedied by Thursday. The one major problem, though, can't be remedied at this late date:  With apologies to Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler is too damn long.  As Grey L., our original George, and I argued, we should have cut it.  It's wordy and repetitive and when the audience falls asleep in their chairs, we're going to be sorry we didn't.  But hey, it is what it is, and now I'm getting happily excited about being on stage again.
Speaking--or writing--of "long," this is a dreadfully long post, but "is what it is," too, so shoot me.