Monday, June 30, 2014

Theatre Arts And Dine Around

A mildly fun day.  Attended Mary Ann Van O.'s "Theatre Arts Sunday" at the clubhouse.  This time, we saw what I guess is termed an operetta (opera-type singing, but dialogue, too), The Most Happy Fella.  Good grief, it was first produced close to sixty years ago-1956--and frankly, I found it a bit tedious. Young woman promises to marry older man, becomes preggers by younger, older is crushed, drama ensues, but all is resolved in the end.  I could hear all right, but (and I fear this illustrates the same kind of hearing loss my mother had), I couldn't distinguish a lot of the words.
However, it was okay. A fair number of people were there, including an African-American woman, Willa Somebody, who lives in SeaOaks.  I rarely see any AAs and we chatted.  I liked her a lot and invited her to come to Dine Around, but she had another commitment.
Went directly from there to Romanelli's Garden Cafe in Galloway, taking Mary Ann, who's in the group, with me.  We got there by quarter of five and I was bemused to have Anna P. and Charles C. pull up right next to us.  Good grief, I called it for 5:00, early enough, yet there are always those who come even earlier.  In fact, we had to wait, as the tables weren't even set up yet.
Soon they were and we went in. I had calculated nineteen people, but we had only eighteen and here's why: Two acquaintances of Judy's, the Daniels, had e-mailed her a few days ago that they couldn't make it after all, and she neglected to tell me.  But then another acquaintance of hers, Joe Somebody, showed up at the last minute, of which I had also been unaware.
It turned out to be a pretty nice evening. We had the side room to ourselves, even though there were two other tables for four there. After I asked that the television be turned off, it was very pleasant.  The food was pretty good (I had meatloaf), and happily, it was Happy Hour and the beer was only two and three bucks.
I always ask for an establishment's "cheap beer," of which there's usually none--most places want five and six dollars for a glass, fer cryin' out loud--so this was good to know. I got a Corona with lime, one of my favorites and took it into the side room, although you're supposed to drink it only at the bar.
Judy conducted her usual silly games and awarded the usual prizes (chocolate bars and bracelets from the dollar store), but we also had good talk--I was at one end of a table and interacted mostly with Anne and Len T., and Carol and Wayne B.
Collected the dinner charge ($23 a person, which included tax and tip) with no prob, paid, said goodbye, and after dropping Mary Ann off, was home before 8:00.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

This And That

Just this 'n' that: Brother Larry called and we had a good talk. Manager of Romanelli's called; she seems to have lost any paperwork about Dine Around--which is today--but we straightened it out.  
E-mailed Aline to tell her I was thinking of her and her sister-in-law, who had a malignant tumour excised on Friday.  A. wrote me back joyously to say the news is good: It doesn't seem to have spread.
Drove up to Forked River.  Found a Shop-Rite and got a few items.
Tackled this week's produce, trimming and washing kale and Swiss chard and putting former in slow cooker.  Seasoned chicken thighs and had them for dinner.
Mary Ann Van O. asked me to take her to Dine Around.  I will, after her Theatre Arts thing at the clubhouse which I think is Most Happy Fella.  That will take most of the afternoon, but I guess I'll enjoy it.
High point of the day was a Skype call from Bootiful Baby in Tokyo.  What a precious!  (Yes, I use that as a noun.)  His Dad, however, was quite tiresome.  He's in cahoots with his brother and both like to lecture me on my spendthrift ways.  Unfortunately, I know they're right and will shape up shortly; otherwise, I'll never get to California.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

LETCO, T.V., And Births

Whole lotta nothing went on yesterday.  Went to Shop-Rite for chicken and their embryos, plus other items.  Washed, put away, cleaned up, prepared veggies, talked on the phone, spent time on the computer--ho-hum...
However, things started looking up today: Just opened an e-mail from Mary H., of LETCO, saying we're going to do a reprise of Tony And The Heiress in August.  The group did this years ago before I was a member, and it's a musical, which lets me out for a major part.  However, some barflies are needed and, yo mama, that's my bag!  Wrote back immediately with a "count me in."
Interestingly--in a mild and minor way--I haven't watched television for more than a week.  My abstinence wasn't planned; I was at the wedding, then doing other things, and just kept going to bed without turning it on.  As happened when I quit smoking, I don't even think about it; it just seems in the natural order of things to find the pastime unappealing.
This day--June 28--is a red-letter one for me.  Both my oldest child, my son in Tokyo, and my oldest great-grandson, J.P., Jr., brightened the world with their arrivals today.  Happy birthday; you are two of my most precious and I love you both.  

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Farm And A Birthday

Spent most of the morning on mundane minutia.  Made and returned a few calls.  Wrapped my precious great-grandson's birthday present.  Was annoyed to receive a letter from Prime Management to the effect that I have mold on my house which must be removed within thirty days.
Here we have yet another of the OMIGOSH, IT'S TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, WE SHOULD BE TERRIFIED, THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END type exaggerated and trumped-up fears designed to make the citizenry cowed and docile, the better to keep them in line, doncha know?  I realize that some mold might cause some people--those with respiratory problems, maybe--problems, but on the side of a house in the open air?  Gimme a break. Seems to me this dovetails with the infamous "expiration date" scam which, ever anxious to be bilked, so many take so seriously.
Left for the farm about 2:00 and got there at 3:30.  Signed in for my friend and me, and got kale, cucumbers, lettuce, Swiss chard, garlic scapes,* and even some small tomatoes.  The only thing ready to pick oneself was herbs and I took only chives because I'm not sure what to do with fennel and lemon balm.
Got to my friend's house and we chatted while preparing dinner. The beautiful boys arrived shortly after and we caught up with them, then had dinner.
After, we Sang That Song to J. who will be 12 tomorrow, and he opened his presents.  Little T., 7 in August, got some, too--books and socks.  We had cupcakes and ice cream and then--
In a nutshell:  At least ten years ago, I had bought a "Party Popper," a cardboard cylinder about three feet long, intending to use it at somebody's birthday.  However, I put it away and forgot about it. Just came across it and brought it along. I had no idea--and neither did anyone else--what, exactly, it was supposed to do, so we decided to use it outdoors.
Not the best idea in the world, maybe.  My friend held it at an angle facing outward, broke the seal, twisted it as instructed, and--
POP!  A shower of confetti, crepe paper, and shiny stuff shot into the air and settled on grass, bushes, and walkway.
It was quite festive and very impressive for about a second and a half and after that, the four of us spent almost an hour cleaning it up. We all laboriously gathered up the tiny pieces we could reach, then my friend and her husband brought out two vacuum cleaners to get the rest in the foliage and the debris that covered the ground.
We finally got most of it, then kissed goodbye.  Got home by 8:00 after a funny-fun day.  
* I didn't know what garlic scapes are, either, until my friend filled me in. They're the thin, green, curved "flower stalks" of hardneck garlic plants which you can use sauteed or in salads, as you would regular garlic.  Think I'll stir fry some with my Swiss chard.    

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Checkup, Veggies, And Iraq

Up at 5:30--I slept an extra fifteen--coffeed, showered, dressed, did my blog and e-mail things, and was at the doctor's office a bit before 7:00.
Nurse took BP, which she said was very good--something over something else.  Took my weight, which I carefully avoided looking at, as I know it's perfect for my height--not!  Dawn, whom I know well, the nurse practitioner (or doctor's assistant, I never remember which), came in and did the insurance-demanded exam.
Interestingly, I've never even laid eyes on my primary physician, but I guess that's the system now.  That seems to throw some into a tizzy, but not me; unless he's in theatre, I don't want to see him, anyway.
Dawn is with the Margate Players and I took several friends to see her in Hair Spray last year.  She's in The Wedding Singer in a few weeks; I want to attend and invite others.
We went over a lot of things and all seems well.  She does want me to see a cardiologist and get a stress test, as there seems to be some artery damage (she didn't use that word, but I don't remember her terminology), probably due to age, dammit.  I'll do that shortly.
Home before 8:00, which is why I like that first appointment whenever I can get it.  Had breakfast, then drove over to Toys 'R' Us for a gift for Joely's twelfth birthday; didn't get back until 1:00, when I tackled the greens I got last week from Honeybrook Farms.
Because we had gone away right after I picked, I had a refrig full, and it took roughly two hours to prepare it.  I trimmed, washed, and cut kale, parsley, and three other kinds of greens; I should be ashamed to admit this, but I don't know the names.  Figuring it would fly, I added a large chopped onion, Italian seasoning, and a bit of oil and put them in the slow cooker. Found a few strips of bacon I hadn't cooked for my company, fried and crumbled it, and added to the mix.  Looks good and I'll eat today.
Also prepared spinach, broccoli, and green beans, and had them for lunch.  That isn't as much as it may seem, as I had taken only a third of the allotted amount and given two-thirds to my friend.  Made a salad of the radicchio and ate some of that, too.  I still have curly endive left and today is picking day!
Added an egg and bread crumbs to the hamburger I bought on Tuesday and made meatballs, some of which I froze and some I had for dinner.
Got a call from Rosalie replete with her usual tales of woe, and one from my friend.  I plan to go to the farm, pick, bring the harvest to her house, then probably stay for dinner. The boys will be there later and we'll--I hope--go to the lake tomorrow and celebrate my oldest great-grandson's birthday.
WIDER: Department of It's All About Us:
The rapid march by ISIS from Syria into Iraq is only partly about the troubled land where the US lost almost 4,500 lives and spent nearly $1 trillion in increasingly vain hopes of establishing a stable, friendly democracy.
--Time, 6/19/14
The rest of the cover story garbage by Michael Crowley:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A. And Me

I came home to a slew of messages and stack--well, I'm exaggerating--of items I had put off before the trip north.  Handled some and will work on others.
Betty left early, but I didn't walk, as Susan had an early doctor's appointment up north.  I was happy to get an early call from my gal pal, Aline, who suggested we go to Panini Bay for lunch.  Good choice, sez I, as I hadn't been there since before Sandy, which hit it hard.
Washed both sets of sheets from the guest room and re-made the beds, washed the guest baths towels, and put them back on the rack, and otherwise tidied up.  Calculated that 22 are coming to Dine-Around on Sunday, including Betty, and I returned some calls from responders.
Picked up Aline at our usual 12:30 and we went to Panini Bay.  Had a leisurely, and very pleasant and tasty lunch on its window-lined room overlooking the water.  After, went to Manahawkin; Aline to get shoes at Kohl's, I items at Shop-Rite.
We then went home and we sat on my warm, sunny, but comfortably breezy front porch with glasses of iced tea and one of our regular good, long conversations.  Later, A. viewed the latest videos and pictures of precious angel, K., in Tokyo, whom she calls "my baby."
One of the reasons I'm so fond of Aline is that she embraces so warmly the people I love.  There's no jealousy, no veiled criticism, no raised-eyebrow judgements, just pleasure in her friend's good fortune in having them.
Didn't drop A. off until after 6:00, then went home and called Romanelli's Garden Cafe to tell the catering manager how many for Dine-Around.  Made myself spaghetti and meatballs, fooled around a bit more on this machine, and that was Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Betty stayed over at my place Thursday night, then we left for my friend's the next morning.  Her guy got our mountains of stuff into the RV, we hopped in, and off we went to Beacon, New York.
Nice going up--tree-covered rolling hills and so on--and fairly smooth drive.  Stopped for lunch (which we had packed) and got there in three or four hours. Went first to the campground--a very nice one with a pool and free pancake breakfasts--unhooked the car and were driven to the Days Hotel, somewhat of a dump, but it had the virtue of being cheap.  Friend and hubby went back to the campground, then picked us up later for the first festivity of the weekend: the "rehearsal party" (not to be confused with the rehearsal dinner, which was for wedding party and parents only).
Party was held at Chill, a kind of storefront wine bar and was lots of fun.  We stayed talking and imbibing until after 11:00, then back to hotel.
Saturday, the day of, we had the free, but mediocre breakfast at the hotel.  Nephew Tim, his friend, Halley (a girl, but not his girlfriend); his boy, Cal (who is, I calculated, about six four), also stayed there. They invited us to the nearby Red Line Diner, where they had breakfast and we coffee.
Got an e-mail from nephew David, asking who all wanted to go to Kingston with them to visit some old friends of theirs from Duck.  I did and so did Cal.  Betty would have gone, but there was room for only four in the rental car, so she was okay hanging out at the hotel and environs.
Dave and Polly picked Cal and me up and we spent a pleasant day with Mary Ann, Sandy, and their daughter, Katie, at "Keegan," the brewery they own with a partner.  Had lunch and good ale outside, then we drove back to get ready for the wedding.
I walked in at 3:00 with just barely enough time to get changed and primped before we were picked up and for the short drive to the Gulian Historic Site.
This includes a house built in the 1700s and a luxurious green lawn which rolls down to a spectacular view of the Hudson.  Lots of pictures were taken, of course, and nephew Tim and his assistant set up his video equipment to record the wedding.
We mingled for a good hour, then sat in the chairs facing the river and, a bit uncomfortably, the sun beating directly into our faces. Luckily, I had my hat, but it was still pretty damn hot.
Ceremony was conducted by the bride's uncle with lots of homey expressions of the undying love variety.  Groom's mother recited a poem and bride's mother original haiku, neither of which were audible; best man performed on drums with hired duo, who sang; others said a few words and the ceremony ended with, of course, congrats all around.
We were then treated to pre-dinner cocktails and wine, along with mingling with relatives and others. After that, there was dinner in the barn, with music and dancing throughout the meal and, I understand, until about three am, but we left about 11:00 (?) to fall into bed.
The next morning, there was a "top off the weekend" breakfast at the Courtyard across the street from our hotel. Went and had scrambled eggs and more visiting and talk until we said goodbye to all.  Shortly, friend and husband picked us, plus nephew Rob and his Jan, up, and we drove to the Walkway Over the Hudson, maybe twenty miles away.
The five veteran walkers among us made it the total of 3.6 miles on a former concrete rail carrier over the river, along with lots of other people and dogs (the whole area is the doggiest loving place I've ever seen).  Betty walked over, but with her bad knee, asked to be driven back on one of the ranger golf cart, not an unusual request, we understood.  The views are magnificent here--California has nothing on the upper northeast--and it felt good to be out of confined spaces. After, we went to Mahoney's Irish Pub and ate outside on the veranda.  The waitress spilled a soda on friend's husband's shorts, which on this hot, hot day was no problem--in fact, was the occasion of much hilarity.  Dropped back off at our hotel late in the day, Betty and I were glad to relax and we turned in early.
Home yesterday after an activity-packed three days that must have cost forty grand, considering the number of people there--two hundred maybe, although I'm no judge.  Had a ball, the best part seeing so many of my older sister's grandchildren and great-grandchildren, a beautiful bunch if ever there was one.
The bride being an artist (the groom is an architect), there were several art-related features during the weekend, including little (about 4" by 4") canvases which each guest was asked to decorate with Magic Markers provided.  These were then used as attendees' place cards at dinner.
The above is just a bare bones account, of course.  We had a great time and I loved all of it. Now I love being home again.
Got home to find that super-sweet son, Mikey Boy, had replaced my old computer keypad and mouse with a brand new one--happy day! He had stayed over here while I was away.
A very pleasant home-again happening was a Skype call from that adorable little dynamo, K., in Tokyo.  Betty was happy to see him, too, as he demonstrated his dexterity with several objects.  You would swear he was texting as he used his thumbs on his cell phone; not sure if it's a toy or an actual old phone.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Back, But Unready

I'm back, back, back and had a ball, ball, ball, but am not ready to record it all.  Will sketch it out tomorrow.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Busy, Betty, And Iraq

Busy, busy, but I got what I needed--or wanted--to do, done.
Partially packed in the morning, walked with Susan, did more packing, plus wash, wrapped the two huge pictures in bubble wrap, then white gift paper, then ribbon--aagh!  What a chore and I'm still vacillating between "they'll love the gift" and "what in the world ever made me think this was a good idea?"
Left for the farm about 10:00, later than I wanted, and got there about 11:30. Luckily, it was more dusty than muddy, and it didn't take long.  I got the kale, lettuce, summer squash, and something-or-other-else from the barn, then then went out to the fields to pick our other allotment for the week: a quart of string beans and "bouquet" of herbs.
Drove off with my trove, stopping at a dollar (or multiples thereof) store on the way for cards (wedding and Tokyo son's birthday) and a few other items.  Arrived at my friend's house and quickly divided the veggie goodies, leaving hers on the porch.
Got home about 1:30 to find sister Betty a little early, waiting outside in her car. We greeted each other, went in, and have been having a good sisterly time since.
I had meatballs in the freezer and always have pasta and spaghetti sauce in the pantry, so that was dinner. Added a big salad based on the freshly-picked lettuce, leftover crystal pickles, and Italian ice for dessert. While I assembled it, Betty took a bath, an activity in which I haven't indulged for twenty years (I'm a shower girl).
After, we talked and pursued our various electronic vices.  Susan called to tell me the procedure she had had, had* a positive outcome. That's good.
I called Naomi P. to tell her I had spoken to Jeanne D. about N. still being in touch with J.'s cousin, Phil, whom I remember as a devastatingly handsome blond teenager.  I was amused to hear from N. that he's now an ultra-right winger who sends her e-mails railing against what he sees a modern-day chicanery.  I just got something like that from an old school friend; had to do with them mooslems trying to take over Australia.  Yes, indeed, we should string 'em all up, along with the Jews and atheists, just what Christ would have done.
Showed Betty the latest video of Adorable Little Grandson, we chatted a bit more, had a downright evil snack, then beddy-byes.
* Love to have been able to write that!  And it's legit--okay, it's awkward, but nevertheless, proper English. Ha!
WIDER:  I just sent this to my "representatives" in Congress:
Not one more military person to Iraq!  After the fiasco of past years and after the death and destruction we unleashed over there for so long, it's absolute evil to support the horror of still more.   Even if you don't care about the people we're slaughtering, at least have some thought for the misguided American youth who do the actual dirty work.  Not one more to Iraq!

Pat Here

My pal, Pat R., got here almost exactly when she had said she would--11:23 or so--and we sat down for an hour or so of chat. When we were ready for lunch, she suggested Italian Gourmet, one of my regulars spots, and it's on the way to A.C.  Good choice, said I, and we went there.  After a leisurely one and more talk, we continued on in her very comfortable Lexus SUV.
As Patti remarked, Atlantic City has changed radically since we were kiddies in 1902.  All kinds of new road configurations were confusing, but we soon found the Noyes Arts Garage.  Our mission was to see if we could get a lead on where the three large pictures that hang in my living room originated. I bought them from United Way during the short time I worked there six or seven years ago. They depict various views of the A.C. boardwalk and Pat is interested in possibly acquiring them for her apartment in Moorestown.
No luck on that score, but we enjoyed the art works, anyway.  We talked to a photographer who has a shop there and sells old and new photos of the area.
On the way back, we accidentally got in an "exact change only" lane on the Expressway, and also passed the exit for the Parkway. Got home okay, though, and after a quick glass of peach with mango (my fave), we said goodbye.  I drove in front of Pat just to get her to Route 539, which isn't as straightforward as it should be.
Had a bite, then tried to un-staple the frames for the college pictures of my father.  Impossible!  I got so frustrated, I put them in the car and drove to Michael's. There, I asked the frame guy to get the damn staples out--he did, but needed a screwdriver and pliers to do it!--and put the pics in.  They look good, I'm happy to say. Followed all that by getting bubble wrap at Staples, then stopped at K-Mart for gift paper.
Didn't got home until almost 8:00, when I finally sat down at the computer with a glass of milk and--I confess!--sugar wafers.  Almost immediately, I spilled the glass and milk spread out on the desk, nearing the computer router, or whatever the hell it is. That surely would have been a disaster, but I was able to stem the flood, mop it up, and all seems okay.
I want to leave for the farm early--it takes an hour and a half to get there--pick for my friend and me, then get home, I hope, by one or so. Betty's coming about two to stay over and I still have to pack for the trip, plus prepare for Mike being here while I'm gone.    

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Aline called early and we made plans to go into Manahawkin, as I had several errands to run.  Before that, I assembled a packet for Rosalie containing directions to my house and to Atsion Lake, plus information on stamp dealers near her (don't ask).  Re-made the guest room beds, washed towels, stopped at the P.O., then picked up A. and we were off.
Got the vintage college pictures of my father (with the track and debating teams) at Staples, then went next door and bought two frames.  I had planned to give them to my nephew and his bride for a wedding present, but now I'm wondering if they're just too big and bulky.  Also, as Kat is an artist, do they really need more things to hang on the wall?  I may take the frames back.
Returned a skirt to B.J.'s, then we went to Element for lunch. We both had a kind of noodle soup--very good--and, as ever, good talk and laughs.
After that pleasant interlude, we went to Target where I looked for a white top for the dress I'm wearing to the wedding.  No luck, but the sales clerk called the Mays Landing store and they have some in white.  Is it worth going back there and if so, when?  Pat R. is coming today and we're going to Atlantic City and tomorrow is picking day at the farm.  Dunno.
Got a call from longtime friend, Jeanne P.  There will be a memorial mass and lunch next month for her sister, which I plan to attend.  I was interested to hear that my friend, Naomi P., is in touch with Jeanne's cousin, Phil D., whom I vaguely remember from--oh, half a century ago. I've been meaning to call Naomi, and will do so.    
Betty called and I invited her to stay over tomorrow, as we leave for the wedding in the morning.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Company Gone

So Mike blew in on Saturday and blew out yesterday. He walked with Susan and me at 7:00, then went and got fresh bagels; he thinks the bagel shop right here in Little Egg Harbor is about the best.  My goodness, we should be so proud...
He packed, then we hung out until lunchtime.  I suggested Lizzie Rose, which would have been nice if it was open, but for the third time I've tried to eat there, it wasn't.  Opens from Wednesday to Sunday, according to the lady in the next door gift shop, so who knows if I'll ever strike it lucky(?) and actually have lunch or dinner there.
At Mike's suggestion (insistence? demand?), we went to what used to be ScoJo's instead. It's now Shorty's and frankly, I thought it came up short in the service area.  The waitresses seem to be Shorty's great-grandmothers--geez, they'd out old me--and I ordered an Italian hot dog, but it didn't have...
Aagh!  I can just see Mike's clenched teeth and steely eyes!  He thinks I complain a lot, when in fact, I well know his sulky ways and absolute certainly that the world revolves around him and it damn well better.
Just kidding, Mikey.  After lunch--and I must say, they were the big hot dogs, probably bratwurst or something and very good--we walked on the boardwalk that winds around the Seaport over water. Then we took a short hike in Freedom Fields--now, why does that name irritate me?  Very pleasant.
Mike then packed up and left for NYC.  He'll be back next week, but I won't be able to see him, as we'll be up at my great-nephew's wedding.  There's a bare possibility he'll go, but it's unlikely, so I probably won't see him next week--darn.
Drove up to Staples to get the pictures of my father at college duplicated.  Searched for frames, but haven't gotten them yet.
When I got home, I was amazed to have a phone message from my old friend--or not--Rosalie P.  Called her back and we talked about an hour.  Long story re her, which I'll save for another day, except to note that she asked me to search out a stamp dealer who will buy hers that have Mussolini on them.  And where the lake we used to go is. And other things, too complicated to record.  However, bottom line is we're reconciled after about eight years.
Saw Avis E., a friend of Susan's, who's visiting her and Walter, and went over to chat with her.  She asked me to find her a place to live in Towson, MD.  Oh, it's a long, long story I'm going to skip, but it strengthened my belief, valid or not, that people are always asking me to do things.
Went to Hamilton Mall late and around there late in the day to try to find a top for the dress I guess I'm wearing for the wedding.  No luck, though I went to umpteen stores.  Will try Target today.
Company all gone now.  I'm glad to be back in my own bed, but I miss Mike and am so regretful I won't see him when he's back on Friday.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fathers Day

Because I've been besieged by my legion of readers (read "Pat R.) to reveal the secret to which I alluded on Saturday's entry, here ya go: I stopped at Jagiesly's(?) Candy and got a box of chocolates for one of my favorite Daddies, the one I used to dandle on my knee, little Mikey, to thank him for two of the great joys of my life, Vivian and Violet.  (Yes, Sister Gabriel, I realize that's a run-on sentence, but I just don't care.)
When I got up, Mike had already been out getting freshly-baked bagels for breakfast (yes, Sister G. I like alliteration, too, so shoot me), which the four of us enjoyed. Shortly after, we said goodbye to Rob and Jan, then M. and I took off south.
We stopped at the cemetery first. I confess it hadn't even occurred to me to suggest it--Fathers Day!--but Mike did, for which I was grateful.  Stopped at Jay's, too, then went off to Sacco Subs North--or whatever, in Absecon.  Oh, so damn good, how will I ever survive on the west coast?
After a leisurely lunch, we doubled back to Hamilton Mall for the real purpose of the mission: pre-teen clothes at Justice, requested by precious Vivian via smart phone.
It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this almost-ten-year-old can send pictures of shorts and tops from a catalog to a father ten thousand miles away, and he can receive it on his phone, then select what she wants, and buy it.  But that's what happened; it set him back probably way over half of my yearly clothes budget, but, hey, it's his money.        
Didn't get home until 2:17, exactly the time Mike had predicted, and I quickly prepared for our picnic at Batsto State Forest.  Made a green salad, packed turkey breast and American cheese, pumpernickel, and assorted other this 'n' that, and we jumped back in the car.
It took my friend and her hubby (another wonderful father) longer to get to Batsto, but soon they came roaring up on a motorcycle.  The other three took a short--for them--not quite two-mile hike on one of the trails, but I begged off, as my leg has been bothering me a bit.
When they came back, we unpacked, my friend added a terrific black bean salad (with avocado), plus fruit, and other stuff, and we had a good sort-of dinner--it was about 5:00 by then--under the trees.
After food and talk--the best combination ever, as people throughout history have decided, it seems to me--we parted.  They roared off, we went home, both showered, I changed my bed, we got to Ellen on Skype, the little girls in Singapore sent much love to their Dad, and it was a fine day overall.
Signing off, Sister Gabriel.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mike Here

Mike here--yay!
Rob and Jan decided to stay another evening and we hit on going down to Long Beach Island to the water.  Enjoyed the walk along the beach and jetty, the fisherpeople, and especially, the sun and glorious blue sky, and puffy clouds, and ocean--just Jersey at its best.
Got home before Mike's expected arrival time of 2:30, but he got in early and was already there. We talked and talked, then Rob and Jan went out for a ride and walk and Mike and I went to Gravelling Point.  We walked way, way out in the marshes; water was a bit choppy, but benign.  Several boats and a few people there.
Went home and after a bit, Rob and Jan came in.
Mike, as he always does, suggested Brothers' Pizza and we went there, Mike picking up the tab.  Ate, talked, then went to The Pine Cone for frozen custard, Rob's treat.
Mike was tired, so begged off, but I took Rob and Jan to Gravelling Point to show them the nearby water.  We walked on the beach a bit, then went home to find Mike already in his p.j.s and ready to turn in, which he did shortly.
Talked to Betty, made up my bed in the study, and was soon in Dreamland myself.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

So Fine

A fine day!
Ignoring the lousy weather (clouds, gloom, periodic rain), we picked Betty up at the Washington Avenue house (she was there to received her newly-appraised oriental carpets) and went directly down to Cape May.
We were all hungry, so stopped at the first nice restaurant we saw--directly across from the beach, although that was hidden by the damn dunes.  We sat on the patio and enjoyed the yummy food; I couldn't resist my usual (I'm getting in a rut!) rare hamburger and the others had various salads.  I asked Rob for a beer recommendation and we both had Stone IPA (India pale ale), which was excellent.
After a leisurely meal for which Rob insisted for paying, we drove around town sight-seeing.  However, we had to get back to Ventnor before 5:00 for a reason which will be revealed tomorrow--no, I will not accept your bribe to learn it beforehand!--so left after a short time.
After completing our (my) errand in Ventnor, Rob got subs for later at Sacco's, then suggested we walk the boards on Ocean City.  Betty begged off, as her knee was bothering her, so we dropped her at her car (she'll see Rob and Jan at the wedding next week) and went over to Rob's old stompin' grounds.
Enjoyed the boardwalk, which had just enough people on it to be festive, but wasn't so horrendously crowded as it will be in high summer, and even strolled on the beach for a bit.  We got frozen custard--could a creature exist who doesn't love it?--walked back to the car and went off.
Rob and Jan offered to share their subs, but I wasn't very hungry after the big lunch and ate a leftover chicken leg.  We chatted happily for a bit, then I took a shower, and turned in.
My company, whom I've come to know and like so well, will leave about 10:00, as they're on their way to Rob's brother, my nephew, Tim's, in Vermont.  I will see them next week at the wedding, though, plus, my boy, Mike, is winging in this afternoon--yay!  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rob and Jan

Rob and Jan got here just at 5:00--perfect timing, as I had completed all the dinner prep and chores and was just looking forward to seeing them.
What a neat couple they are!  I hadn't met Jan before, but we instantly bonded.  She's so full of life and verve, and so open and good-hearted--what a wonderful match for quietly contemplative Rob.  Of course, I'm older than both of them, but not by many decades and, in the most important ways, we're exceedingly compatible.  I feel we're more like friends than aunt/nephew and lady love.
We sat and talked over iced tea and beer, then I served dinner--modest, but good--of lemon pepper chicken, green salad, red potatoes, crystal pickles, and for dessert, vanilla ice cream and--ta dah!--the strawberries I had picked myself.*
Continued to talk and talk until we all turned in about 9:30.  I got up at the usual 5:15 and walked with Susan; they slept longer, then we had breakfast together.  Right now, Rob and Jan are taking a walk around the neighborhood, after which we'll leave for Ventnor to pick up Betty.  What fun it is to have them here!
* Ever mindful of my dear son, Mike's, great interest in hearing what particular menu I served, I wouldn't dream of omitting it.  Oh, yes, I made bacon and eggs for breakfast for Rob and Jan, and I had my usual cottage cheese on pumpernickel and half an orange.  Whew!
Almost left that out.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Second Session

Whew, the second and last F.O.C.U.S. session went very well.  A few people didn't show up, but others who hadn't registered, did. I spent some time on effective resume-writing, then mock interviews, which I had the rest of the class critique.
Brian I., the reporter from the Atlantic City Press, came and stayed through the meeting, then we chatted after.  Nice guy, and he himself sees the handwriting on the wall when it comes to his paper. One of the guys in my class, Stephen H., was laid off from the Press--he's a computer programmer.
Beforehand, I got more of the housework out of the way and, after, stopped at the Galloway Shop-Rite for stuff for today's dinner when Rob and Jan are here.  Continued cleaning the master (hey, what about the mistress?) bedroom and bath, where I put the couple.
Greatly enjoyed new videos of precious little K., who is surely the most adorable nine-month-old on the planet.  I never saw a baby more consistently cheerful, curious, and happy.
Got a call from Mercedes, whom I had met at the Peace Pilgrim covered dish and we chatted for fifteen or so.  I'll contact her and/or Linda for lunch one of these days.  Must do the same soon with the Fitzsimmons girls and my friend's people (that's cryptic, yes, but I can't help it).
Got an e-mail from Anita from Stockton, asking if I'd be willing to repeat F.O.C.U.S. next semester and to head up a networking group drawn from my class and others.  I doubt if I want either commitment and I sure as hell am not willing to do it gratis.  I did offer to present my Dionne Quintuplet program and she was interested in that.  She also asked if I'd be willing to do an acting workshop, but I don't think so.  I'm already committed to doing that for FELS and that's enough, I think.
It's been, and continues to be, a busy month, but now that the F.O.C.U.S. commitment is out of the way, I have a little breathing space.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hair And Stuff

After dropping Aline at the bus stop, I rushed home to shower, get a few odds and ends out of the way, and get to the hairdresser's for my 12:30 appointment.
Hey, my hair looks good, much shorter and newly perked up with color.  I've been considering letting it go natural, as the cost is ridiculous: eighty bucks, plus sixteen for tip, which essentially amounts to to a C-note.  That does include a cut, which I guess I would need only now and then, but still....
After, I stopped at a few places for errands, then home to work on my second and final F.O.C.U.S. presentation.  I plan to spend a little time on resumes, then do mock interviews.  I still haven't heard from the reporter, but I don't care; in fact, I'd just as soon he forgot about it.
Partially cleaned the master bedroom and bath, which I'll vacate while Rob and Jan are here.  I like to give that suite over to couples, so they can have more privacy.  I have no problem sleeping in the guest room, and I'll switch back on Saturday, when they leave and Mike comes in.
I need to get my oil changed and of course, that whole thing about the over-heating is still hanging over my head. Besides, my phone told me my battery is low.  I can never remember if plugging it into the charger takes care of that, or not. I don't think it does, so I'll have to take time to get a new battery, I guess--darn.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Busy, busy, busy.  Left early for the Kohl's in Mays Landing to see if they had anything you'd wear to a dog fight, let alone a wedding. (Ha! That's an old saw from my youth: "I wouldn't wear that to a dog fight!")
They didn't.  Tried on innumerable outfits, all of which made me look old, overweight, and a fashion outlaw.  Hmm, could I be I'm old, overweight, and a fashion outlaw?  Nah.
Finally bought a few casual things and a pair of shoes, then went to B.J.'s nearby for pumpernickel and oranges.  Zipped down to Produce Junction for plants and Canal's for wine and beer.  Didn't get home until 4:00 and had leftover chicken thighs for late lunch/early dinner.
Two calls from Stockton State.  One was from the brain research study I had participated in last year; they want to test again and we made two dates. The second was from Dave B., who heads up the Center for Successful Aging thing, saying a reporter from the Press of Atlantic City wants to do a story on my program.  I agreed, but I'm not thrilled about it; more on that later.
Revived, I hulled the two quarts of strawberries I had picked, added sugar, and froze.  I'll have them over vanilla ice cream for dessert when my company gets here.  Made crystal pickles with the Kirby cucumbers I bought the other day, and did a few other things.
Aline called and we made a date for breakfast this morning at Dockside.  First, I went to Lab Corps for blood work, as I have a check up shortly.
Just now got back from an enjoyable breakfast with my dear pal, then left her off at the bus stop on route 9, as she's going into Manhattan for a ballet.
More tomorrow.  Must shower and get ready for my hair appointment at 12:30.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Covered Dish and Peace

The Peace Pilgrim covered dish was okay, but it seems to me that what I observed doesn't bode well for any "peace movement" that might some day rise from the dead.
For openers, the group of about forty included exactly five under-fifties (or maybe sixties) attending.  One was Helene's grandson (she's the sister of the Peace Pilgrim, is 99, and hosted the gathering); two had been dragged there by their mother, a boy about 16 and a mentally handicapped young woman of 25; the other two were a college-aged couple.  I'm not sure of their circumstances, but they may have been there simply as friends of the grandson.
So the grey-hairs were in the extreme majority and I'm afraid this reflects the "peace movement" as a whole.  When they (we) die off, where is the core of young activists ready to stand for peace?  
Here's another discouraging happening:
Note the woman at about the 1:13 mark, who introduces herself as the originator of the Peace Pilgrim Pot Luck. (A fleeting shot of me walking by in a straw hat is at 1:42.)  We both deplored militarism--I thought--but when I casually referred to Obama as a warmonger, she actually gasped and said, "No, he isn't!"  After a few more seconds of heated conversation, I got the message:  Bush is responsible for taking us to war, it isn't the sainted Obama's fault he hasn't been able to end it, and the republicans are the epitome of evil who foil O.'s goodness at every turn. And this was at a Peace Pilgrim gathering!  Which she says she initiated!  With friends like that, peace doesn't need...
Oh, well, it was pleasant under the trees.  I chatted with Lorraine, an interesting woman who was happy to tell me she's 92.  Recognized some people from last year's covered dish, including Bob and Mead B.; he bears a remarkable resemblance to my son's friend, P.J.S. and is 13 years older than his wife.  I was delighted to see Linda G., who was there with her Filipino friend, Mercedes.  We happily reunited and before long, I'll get in touch with her and the three of us will meet for lunch.
The food was good--my salad was all eaten--and late in the afternoon, we sat on the spacious lawn and sang Vietnam-era peace songs, with Bob accompanying on guitar.  He is Quaker, and so are a number of other attendees.  That fact seems innocuous, even hopeful, but is it?  If peace advocates are influenced in that direction by their faith and if, as I've researched, membership in religions is so rapidly dwindling, what does that say about the future of the peace movement? Seems to me we need a strong base across the populace who desire peace simply because the alternative is both horrific and stupid.  Fat chance.
And here's something else to ponder: Where are the present-day anti-war songs sung by well-known groups, and not your nephew Harold at Aunt Dot's barbecue?  I find it sadly significant that I haven't heard any--or even heard of any--within the last decade or longer.
Some Lighter Notes:  Got my weekly Skype call from darling daughter, Ellen, and we discussed my move to the left coast--prominently, the money part--among other topics.  I caught the "One More Day" segment from Les Miserables at the Tony Awards and was thrilled to see little Gaten Matarazzo,* carried on another actor's shoulders, as he thrust his arm in the air to signify defiance of the powers-that-be.  Wish we could recruit him for the peace movement.
*Gaten is the 10-year-old son of Heather Matarazzo, with whom I performed in Steel Magnolias, my first stage appearance.  I met him at the cast party--he's a neat kid--along with his brother and sister, who also act and sing.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Strawberries Of New Jersey

Went to the library for the "Strawberry Fields of New Jersey" program, bringing Susan and Barbara H.  Similar to the Downton Abby program last month, the room was set up with tables around which we sat, and on which were teapots, delicate little teacups, and books that had something to do with strawberries.
It was fun and included delicious homemade goodies--all, of course containing or topped with strawberries--and a chocolate fountain, into which attendees could dip.
Home about 2:00, I dropped my friends off and immediately left for Kohl's to try to find something for the wedding, which is looming closer and closer.  I wanted to go there because I have a thirty percent off coupon.
Was I successful?  Ha!  I didn't even see anything I wanted to try on. Did buy two tops, but they're semi-casual and I'll have to continue to look.  Think I'll try Macy's, although their prices are outrageous.
Home, I enjoyed more of the chicken thighs I had roasted, along with the bok choy I had done in the crock pot.  That was so good; I'm getting to enjoy bok choy more and more.
After dinner, I was delighted to get a Skype call from the precious little angel in Japan.  What a sweetheart!  Every time I see him, he seems so much bigger, more alert, and more active, if that's possible. When he saw me on the screen, he broke out into a huge smile and got so excited, P. could hardly hold him.  He was wearing darling little blue overalls, just like the ones Daddy has--what an adorable little boy!
Today, I'm going to the Peace Pilgrim covered dish in Egg Harbor. It's always a relief to be with like-minded folk who don't subscribe to the odious "hero" myth.  

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Boscov's And Stuff

Left for Boscov's about 10:30 to return my shoes and top.  It was jammed, there wasn't enough sales help and what there was, was harried.  In addition, a lot of the merchandise seems overpriced to me.  So what's to like about Boscov's?  Less and less all the time on my part, I'm afraid.
Met Betty at Outback after that and we had a good, convivial lunch. My salad included tuna tartare: thin slices of fresh tuna encrusted with sesame, seared on the outside, and essentially raw otherwise.  I guess this would revolt some people, but I love it.  Had it for the first time in Hawaii years ago.
On the way home, stopped at Santori's for fresh feta and at Shop-Rite--the one in Galloway is much larger and better than Manahawkin's--for lots of other supplies.  That included chicken thighs (I may be the only one in the universe who prefers dark meat to light and find chicken breast insipid compared to the lower parts), tomatoes and other salad fixings.  I'll bring one to the Peace Pilgrim covered dish luncheon tomorrow.
Got home and immediately oiled and seasoned the chicken, then popped it in the oven.  Washed and chopped bok choy and, along with a sliced onion, put it to cook in the crock pot. Those items comprised my dinner and a tasty one it was.
Heard from nephew Rob; he and lady friend Jan will blow in on Thursday and stay over two nights.  Too bad they'll probably miss Mike, who won't be here until afternoon on Saturday, a few hours after his cousin leaves.
Going to a "Strawberry Fields in New Jersey" presentation with Susan at the library today.  

Friday, June 06, 2014

Figgy, The Farmerette

Boy, am I stiff and sore, but it's a good feeling because I worked hard yesterday.
Left for the farm at 11:00 and got there about 12:15.  I was surprised to see the "parking lot" (it's really just a casually cleared area in a field) was almost full.  Other times, I've been with my friend and we arrived late in the day.  I suppose earlier hours are the favored times for young people--there were several there with little children--and those retired or otherwise unemployed, like me.
Got a spot, though, and put on my boots before making my way to the barn.  Good thing, as it had rained earlier and the place was just a sea of mud.  Signed in and checked the whiteboard to see which already harvested goodies I could take out of the crates.  A bonanza: Bright green and ruffled lettuce; a big bunch of radishes; both regular and "baby" bok choy; spinach; cilantro; and two different greens, one of which is kale and the other--?  It's a mystery veggie which was listed, but I don't remember what it's called.  No prob, I'll stir-fry it with garlic and I'm sure will enjoy it.
After selecting my barn bounty and putting it in the plastic bags provided, I took it back to the car, then headed out to the strawberry fields. (Hey, that might make a nice song if a word was added. Strawberry Fields Unending?  Strawberry Fields Eternal? Strawberry Fields To A Fare-Thee-Well? I'll have to think about it.)
I had noted the amount of strawberries permitted for our category: five quarts!  Great, but a tad daunting; last week, it took me a fair amount of time to fill just one quart container.  But off I went and it really wasn't too difficult.  It was a little scary making my way to the area--way out in the north forty or whatever it is--because of the mud; I'm very leery of falling and it was precarious, but I made it.
The berries were at their peak, bright red and hanging off the plants begging to be taken home and enjoyed.
I left my jacket (it had gotten hot) and the empty containers on a convenient table near the rows, and picked slowly and carefully. After each was filled, I'd get another and before too long--well, almost an hour as I didn't want to rush--I was finished.  Got back to the car and loaded in my berries, changed out of my muddy boots, and triumphantly drove off with Nature's gifts.
Stopped at my friend's and left off her items after dividing as best I could: two-thirds for her and one for me.  Drove home, had a very late, sketchy lunch (it was almost 4:00 and I was starved), then luxuriated in a warm shower--heavenly!
I woke up this morning stiff and sore, having called little used muscles into play, but I knew I would.  Took a few aspirins and will be ready for my walk with Susan in a few minutes.  Just call me Figgy, the Farmerette!*
*I have a picture of my mother in a farmer's straw hat and overalls, taken in about 1920 when she was eighteen, with that notation on the back.  The "Figgy"?  Her maiden name was Figenshu.  

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Session One of F.O.C.U.S.

Finished off the agenda for my F.O.C.U.S. workshop, put papers, timer, and so on, in my briefcase, and picked up Aline about 12:45, getting to Stockton State in plenty of time.
I was assigned to meeting room one in the Campus Center building and was pleased to see it was set up in the conference mode with fourteen chairs around a large, rectangular table.  I put a few things, including my name, e-mail, and phone number on the white board, and waited for customers.
Five who had been registered didn't show up, but four others did, so it balanced out pretty well.  In fact, it worked out better: As it was, several had to be seated in the back and it was a pretty tight squeeze.
I think it went fairly well.  Everybody seemed receptive and had some good comments and experiences to share.  It was very different, though, from conducting workshops for young people about to graduate from college.  This group had gone around a few times in life and were bloodied in the job-seeking wars.    
There was a wide range of participants:  James wore a sleeveless body shirt, had a lot of tattoos, and had lost his job as a slot machine mechanic.  Ann, at 62, had been laid off from IBM after 32 years. Stephan had been a computer programmer at the Press of Atlantic City; he was out of a job when it down-sized.  They and most of the attendees, were looking for full-time work, but Beth, probably in her early sixties, wanted a part-time job to fill her days.  Most were pretty savvy and when I went over where to find openings, emphasizing, of course, the Internet, they were way ahead of me.
Anyway, it was an eye-opener.  These are good, honest people, who worked all their lives and to my knowledge, are law-abiding citizens who contributed to society.  Now they're been kicked out and pushed aside and it's a pipe dream to think they'll ever get back to the middle-class level they reached before.  All this misery is a direct result of policies and laws passed by the whores in government who service the corporations that own the country lock, stock, and barrel.
The next time I hear some sanctimonious politician characterize people who are out of work as loafers or spongers, I'm going to stick a fork in his eye.  


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

High Tea and the Pledge of Allegiance

On a fool's errand, I drove over to Boscov's in pursue of their Easy Spirit shoes on sale.  They didn't have my size in the ones I really wanted and I bought a pair of open-toed numbers, as well as a somewhat dressy blouse.  While I was high-tailing it home, I realized my toenails needed attention--yes, I'm serious!--so after a quick shower, I rushed over to the nail place and dropped twenty-five bucks for a pedicure.  Got home to dress, put on the shoes and  blouse--then realized I didn't like either of them and decided to take them back.
Picked up Aline and we went to the high tea thing at Cusine on the Green.  It was kinda fun--we were served scones, finger sandwiches, and pots of tea while the C. on the G. chef gave a loosely-related presentation.  We sat with five other women whom we didn't know and I was gratified to have one of them recognize me and say she had seen me in Arsenic.  
Howsomever--some comical character used to say that, can't remember the circumstances and I realize it's not a word--yet again I found myself in a room full of middle-aged--oh, let's be honest, elderly women.
I don't know why I rebel against this; by anybody's reckoning, I'm an elderly woman myself.  Yet I'm bored, bored, bored being with people who seem all to have the same ideas, beliefs, and prejudices. They seem never to have had a original thought and if they ever questioned conventional wisdom, left off doing it long ago. That's one reason I cherish Aline's friendship so highly:  We can talk and discuss, even disagree, about serious topics that were long ago put to rest by the delicate ladies at High Tea.  
WIDER: To my surprise and annoyance, this little social affair was "opened" by the Pledge of Allegiance.  Of course, it was mandatory for everyone in the room, even the ones with the silly hats, to stand, face the flag (why was a flag even in the private dining room of a restaurant?), place hands over breasts, and recite--reverently, like a prayer and why should that make my blood run cold?--that homage to exceptionalism with which we all grew up.  Wikipedia calls it an "expression of fealty to the federal flag and the republic of the United States"; therefore, I stood silently and with my hands at my sides.
California is looking better and better.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Susan And Viv

Spent most of the early part of the day getting my F.O.C.U.S. presentation into shape.  I still need to do more, but it's close to being finished--good thing, because the first session is tomorrow.
Susan stopped over about 2:00 to give me some of the leftover little sandwiches she had made for the Rosary Altar Society at St. Theresa's.  I invited her to sit on my porch and chat for a bit and we did.
She told me about the present intrigue in the Rosary Altar Society, which entails an incompetent former president, others jockeying for position, plus hurt feelings all around. Susan has agreed to take over the office of treasurer, adding to her myriad other activities.  To me, most of them seem so boring and time-consuming, I'd rather stick a fork in my eye.  I sometimes think of Susan as a throwback to a much earlier time.  She told me once she was nostalgic for the fifties, which she considers the glory days--when Eisenhower was in office and things were as they're supposed to be. She honestly believes the world and society had a particular optimal setting which resulted in the ideal era.  Since then, I suppose, we've veered off that virtuous course, which is why we have such distressing new stuff, such as people protesting injustice and the lack of "respect" for our betters.  As ever after a talk with Susan, California looks better and better.
Met Viv, my Wellspouse friend, at TGIFriday's and we had a good visit along with bourbon hamburgers and Budweiser.  Her husband, who has had MS for more than twenty years, is no better--in fact, is worse and can now move only one hand.  It's funny that, although I've known Viv for only about six years, and we're in touch no more than every four or five months, I'm much more intimate with her--in the sense of freely sharing emotions and concerns--than I am with Susan, who I see virtually every day.  There's a barrier there that hasn't been breached.
More significantly maybe, I don't want to breach it.

Monday, June 02, 2014


A lull of a day.  Nothing much went on, except a trip to Manahawkin to pick up a few items and visit the flea market.  It seemed to have a reasonable number of shoppers, so I thought I'd get a space there this weekend.  However, I'm going to the Strawberry Fields thing at the library, so that's out.  The next two weekends are taken, too, with Mike, Rob, and Jan here, so I'll have to defer it.
Spent some time shaping up my F.O.C.U.S. course, about which I'd better get serious, considering the first session is the day after tomorrow.
Dinner with Viv tonight.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

GMC And Dinner

I invited Susan to come along with Aline and me to the Gay Mens' Chorus program at the library.  She accepted, I drove, and we arrived in plenty of time.
This was the New Jersey GMC, but was smaller than the ensembles I've heard before.  It comprised only nine singers, the conductor, and a pianist. They sang beautifully, of course, and the program included several "gay pride" selections, plus some rousing ethnic and show tunes. We saw other neighbors there and I chatted with Kathy and Jack D., who lost their only child to AIDS several years ago.
Brought Aline and Susan back to the house for iced tea and nibbles and S. stayed for an hour.  We enjoyed chatting and laughing--the discourse all very light, of course, as it always is with Susan except when we accidentally veer into something dangerous.*
Aline was staying for dinner and I had prepared chicken legs with oil and lemon pepper, along with salad and a few sides.  Popped the chicken into the oven while we were talking and finished up after Susan left.  It was all yummy, if I say it myself, especially dessert: vanilla ice cream topped with the fresh strawberries I had picked with my own hands!  Guess I'm practically a friggin' farmer now.
After, we took a little excursion down Seven Bridges Road (there are actually only five bridges), way out into the meadows, to view the water.  I then drove Aline home and returned my longtime friend, Jeanne's (the one I always say was the prettiest girl in our class), call.
With her siblings, Jeanne is planning a memorial service in July for her younger sister and was wondering if I had any ideas for an appropriate place in Atlantic City or surroundings.  I didn't have anything specific, but offered to check out a possible venue another sister had scouted out.
I had invited Betty to come to the GMC program, then to my place for dinner, but she declined.  She's distracted dealing with the insurance company nightmare, which I hope is resolved soon.  I'll call her and see if I can do anything for her today, which is about the only one I don't have scheduled.
*Well, that's pretty cryptic, but so be it; I don't want to include here a critique of Susan's and my friendship or, more accurately, maybe, acquaintanceship.