Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Various Doings and Spiderman

After Susan's and my walk, I saw Barbara-Next-Door leaving.  I wanted to ask Frank to be the announcer in the Beggar show, and she told me to go in.  I did, Frank agreed to the role, and offered me a cup of coffee, so we had a nice visit.  I was surprised to hear he didn't know Lily had died, as she had been a lector* at St. Theresa's and so is he. When I got home, I sent him the link to the script, as well as to the sound effect film.  Sent him separately what Lily's daughter has posted on Facebook.
Went to B.J.'s for oranges and pumpernickel, then to Acme for a lettuce and Brussels sprouts.
Received the temperature gauge I had sent for and, just as I had suspected, the refrig is running too warm, to about 50 degrees. Stopped in at Anchor Appliance for advice and the guy told me to check that the air flow vents from the freezer aren't blocked by items. Looked at the manual and saw I can also turn off, then turn on again--or something--to see if it will remedy itself.
The funny thing is, I haven't had anything spoil lately.  I guess the reason is because I usually keep only certain items in the refrig for more than a day or two, mostly vegetables, iced tea, and condiments.  I rarely have leftovers, either, so I either buy and cook within a day or two, or take food out of the freezer.  A while ago, I bought milk, which I rarely do, and after a few days, it had soured. I was sure it was Acme's fault and was going to take it back, but just threw it out; now I think it probably wasn't.  Damn, I hope I don't have to replace the refrig.
Took a drive in the evening; and found myself at the Tuckerton Library just before the 7:00 free movie.  Started chatting with a couple there, so sat down to see the most recent "Spiderman" (I never did find out the actual name).  Of course, it was full of incredible special effects--trucks flipping over, New York City unelectrified, planes spiraling out of the sky (I could have done without that), and was mildly engaging. However, I got antsy after two hours and ten minutes, and left.  Never did find out if the girl came back to life or what ultimately happened to Spidey.    
*Now is that a word or not?  Idiot SpellCheck disapproves and gives me "rector," "hector," "vector" and more, none of which bear any relationship to somebody who reads the gospel in church--at a lectern.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Lunch and The Shadow

Nice day.  Aline and I met Betty and Helen C. for lunch at the Pitney Pub--my suggestion--in Galloway.  We're a bit tired of Italian Gourmet, where we've met innumerable times and we were just at the Irish Pub a few weeks ago.  Happened to see this driving by after the reunion and wanted to give it a try.
It's a nice, homey, neighborhood tavern, somewhat sketchy when it comes to decor (think vinyl seats and artificial flowers) and maybe not scoured every hour with Lysol, but excellent on the important things: food and wait staff.
I had my favorite lunch, a hamburger close to red inside and oozing grease, and a Blue Moon on draft.  Betty ordered an "autumn salad" that included apple slices, nuts, and dried cranberries, and Aline a taco salad with chicken in a huge shell.  Don't recall what Helen had, but she quaffed a beer, too.
We parted after a leisurely time and drove off before I noticed the devil himself was in the car.  He enticed me into suggesting ice cream for dessert, Aline enthusiastically approved, and we stopped at Jeffreeze for the good stuff.
I had asked Aline to be "a female beggar" in The Shadow play and she was pleased to accept.  (I'm casting myself as Apple Mary.) Took her to my place to give her a copy of her pages (she has only three lines, but can be in other shows, too), and we ran over it a few times; she'll be fine.
As honorary grandmother, A. ooh and ahhed over the latest adorable Mr. K. pictures, which I never tire of sharing.  Took her home about 5:00 after we made a date for Tuesday.
I sent Steve S. an e-mail, asking him to play Lamont Cranston/The Shadow; hope he accepts.  Steve, a Latin teacher at Pinelands Regional was Tony in Tony and the Heiress and recently became a new father--of twins.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


I had been meaning to get my nails done and thought I might as well for the reunion.  Did so, in a bright, sort of primrosy color.
Didn't leave until 1:00, which is when I was told mass would be conducted.  Since I'm not religious, I thought it would be hypocritical to go through the motions; besides, I find it boring.
Good grief, when I got to Smithville, I saw hordes and hundreds, throngs and thousands of people--they were having their annual Italian Festival!  Maybe those on the committee should have thought to ask if anything else was going on--Smithville is famous for one "festival" after another, but oh, no, why make it easy for people?
I didn't even try to get in the small parking lot on the grounds; the huge one across the street was filled and so was one further down. I finally parked on the very busy side road, hoping I wouldn't get a ticket.  This was roughly a half-mile--I'm not exaggerating--from the inn and it was probably at least eighty degrees.  Trudged through mobs of people, about half children.
Now I enjoy seeing kiddies have a good time, but why in the hell do whole herds of dogs have to come, too?  Every size and breed seemed to be present; maybe they enjoy the Chianti?
Reached the inn and got to the room.  It was set up with four tables of eight, everybody was seated, and the priest was right in the middle of mass. Annoyingly, it must have started late.  Betty had saved me a seat and I sat through the rest of it.
Finally, it was over and I was able to circulate a bit.  Greeted with hugs and air kisses, Jeanne P., and her boyfriend, John, whom I had met in Atlantic City a few years ago.  I said I remembered him because he was a big stud, which tickled them pink. (John is 85.) Jeanne, pretty as ever--well, close--was certainly the most attractive woman in the room.
Sally Lange N., the eternal cheerleader and bossy know-it-all, told us not to leave the room to get a drink until the waitress took our orders. Jeanne and I defied her and went to the bar, where she got a fifteen-dollar glass of red wine and treated me to a dark Irish beer.
It was nice to see Pat Mooney, Barbara Cavalli, and John and Theresa Garrity, a couple who always seem sad and pathetic to me, although I don't know why.  Talked to Teddy and Al G., Betty D., and a few others, but really, the whole thing was a bit of a bore.   Joe Magosin and wife sat at our table, as did Pat Dwyer, and Toni Rich.  The Wimbergs were supposed to come, but didn't.
The food was mediocre--they almost always are at these affairs--and the service unenthusiastic.  Of course, the whole building was jammed, every single room filled with lunchers or drinkers, or whatevers, the bar crowded, festival goers outside and in--no wonder the wait staff was harried.
After, John made a pitch for donating to Holy Spirit, our alma mater, such as it is, and gave out HS magazines.  It's now been fifty years since the school moved to Absecon and, of course, it bears no resemblance to the place in the inlet we attended so long ago.
Those who went there do, though; I wonder if one ever escapes teenhood.  Yesterday's attendees looked ancient, but in a profound way, many don't seem to have changed.  They're still stuck in the fifties, adhering to conservative political--and especially, reverent Catholic-- ways. That's not necessarily a bad thing--diff'rent strokes and all that--but it's not for me.  After years of servitude to what I had been taught to believe, I broke away and can cry, "free at last, free at last, thank my own heart rebellious, I'm free at last!"
Aagh!  Good grief, Mimi--you have some nerve comparing your minor little deviation from the norm to MLK's historic declaration! So moving right along...
Betty called when I got home and we made a date to go to lunch today; I'll take Aline and she'll bring Helen.  I suggested we try the Pitney Tavern, and we'll meet there.
Got a Skype call from my Ellen and, as ever, had a good chat.  We discussed my move to the land of the locusts, in particular how I'd get there ("drive!", she sez; "NO!" sez I) and where I'll live when I do.
Popped my popcorn, poured my wine, watched a half hour on the telly, then went to bed and slept the sleep of the just.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


As it turns out, Lily isn't having a funeral.  She donated her body to science and her daughter wrote that they'll have a memorial service later.  I realize viewings and funerals and their trappings are archaic and contrived--the deceased isn't "there" in any sense of the word--yet I'm somewhat disappointed. That psycho-babble word, "closure" seems to fit here: There seems a feeling of rightness in the old rituals when you figuratively "say goodbye"--at least, there is for me.  
My friend came at lunchtime to deliver several tomatoes (good--I was out), Swiss chard, kale, lettuce, eggplant, squash, and a big, beautiful pumpkin, which she put outside for me.  We had lunch together, then back to work she went.
Hopped in the shower and went to get my hair done, an ordeal I sometimes think of discontinuing in favor of natural color.  (Then I take a gander at my roots and change my mind.) Kyle did an okay job--it looks a lot better than it did, anyway--but I find it an ordeal to sit through all the stuff, not to mention parting with the amount of cash it takes.
It's funny: Lots of women love going to the salon; it's like a cozy, convivial little sorority.  But I've always been somewhat uncomfortable there.  I have to make small talk with a girl younger than my grandson, in whom I have little interest and she has to pretend she cares a rat's brass about me.  Ordinarily, I mildly enjoy chatting idly with strangers, but not in that situation--guess it's the forced togetherness or something.
Stopped at Kohl's, then Target after, but bought nothing except some under-eye concealer.  I'm sure that will make me look like the high school senior I was sixty years and three months ago.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Rain, "The Shadow," and Big Red Soldiers

We walked in the pouring rain, and me without a raincoat.  Got soaked from the waist down, plus both jacket sleeves, but no prob, I just changed when I got home.
I was so sorry to read on Facebook that Lily McBeth has died.  She didn't have an easy life in later years, but she faced what she faced very courageously.  I called Elva B. with the news.
Aline called early and we discussed the possible upcoming show in November.  I had alerted her that I was invited to a meeting last night (she wasn't), but I think that was because I have a possible addition to the show: The Shadow radio program.  As it turned out, she was working from 4 to 9, so she couldn't have come, anyway.
Spent a lot of time on the aforementioned, also on Grey's novel, which I continue to like a lot.  I had a few suggestions, but minor ones, aside from a character (a ten-year-old) whose mannerisms don't ring true.
Betty called and we discussed the upcoming reunion and a few other things.
The meeting at the Henry's was at 6:00--I assume because Jim had an early call--and just the two of them, Desi, and I were there at first; Tonya came later.  We had a fine time discussing and shaping up the November production (while sipping Merlot, of course).  It's going to consist of four old time "radio shows," including my Shadow selection and yes, I agreed to direct.
Jim came up with the excellent idea of a warm-up person, and he's perfect for that.  We haven't yet named the show, but titles like "The Golden Days of Radio," "When Radio Was Big," and my contribution, "Remembering Radio...," were discussed.  We decided to hold an open call next week and invite starlets, star-guys, and starry-eyed hopefuls (gawd, Mimi!) to come and try out for parts.  I've already asked Desi to be an Irish cop and I'd like Frank Next-Door to be the announcer.  Hope I can get Steve Shaffer to play Lamont Cranston and The Shadow himself.
Got home to a message from Carole Wimberg C.  Called her back and we had nice, but sorrowful chat about Lily's death, whose funeral she thinks brother George will conduct.  I invited Carole to come to our reunion tomorrow and she may.
WIDER:  Check out this quote: http://www.army.mil/article/134543/1st_Infantry_Division_HQ_deploying_to_Iraq/
 "As brave, responsible and on-point Soldiers in the 'Big Red One,' we stand ready to deploy anywhere in the world to protect the United States of America, her citizens and her allies," (Major Gen. Paul E.) Funk said in a statement today posted on the Fort Riley webpage. "We are ready for anything because we know we have the nation behind us."
Oh, don't bet on it, you bloodthirsty horse's ass.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Blind Beggar Dies And So Did Doris Howell

In preparation for the meeting tonight, I spent a lot of time going over The Blind Beggar Dies.*  Printed it out, then copied lines for various characters so I can get a better feel for it.  Still not sure if I want to direct or not.
Washed and cut up the tomatoes from last week, sliced onions, and diced garlic and put all to simmering in the slow cooker.  Later, I added meatballs and had some with salad for lunch.  Had leftover similar "stew," but with sweet red peppers, browned turkey meat and added it, and had that for dinner. (I'm getting in a rut.)
Changed about 3:00 to go to the viewing for Doris H.  She died a few days ago of emphysema and complications; nice lady, and after Pat died, I gave her some of his things she could use.  We weren't particularly close friends, but I still--as always--feel a sense of loss when someone I know dies.  Lots of Sunrise Bayers there, of course, and I stayed about an hour to visit and chat.  Stopped at the post office after to send off the old pictures to Joan H.
I called Linda K., of Rider HR, to ask if Shirley T., my old boss, still worked there. I was surprised to hear she had retired a year or so ago--no party and I'm not sure why.  Was told she still lives in the same place, so will return that 32-year-old check to her.  Called back the insurance rep., Anne R., and set up a time for her to come and explain the new--and I'm sure, much worse--dictates of the monster that controls our lives.
Called Diane C., who lives next door to Susan and Aline to ask if I could bring my flea market wares to her place when that community has its annual flea market. (S. and A. will be out of time.)  Unfortunately, I found that it's this weekend, so I would only be able to go on Sunday.  Not worth it, and I won't bother.
* Talk about your spoilers!  This is the title, for pity's sake!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

This And All That

My usual Tuesday with my pal--low-key, but pleasant.
Aline had a meeting until noon, so I met her when she got off the bus from Manahawkin.  I suggested we lunch at the Mystic Island Casino (actually a neighborhood bar and restaurant), which is right next door.  Sure thing, said she, and we went there.  I had a crab cake sandwich and a cold Bud and it was very good.
We enjoyed our usual heartfelt talk; I was so sorry to hear that Aline's little niece's dog had to be put down.  I'm not an animal person, but highly sympathize with those who are.  Aline cried and, in solidarity, so did I, as she talked about "Mickey," a lab mix, who was fourteen years old.
After, we drove down to Graveling Point, as we often do to be rejuvenated by the sight of water.  Dropped Aline at home, as she had to prepare for rehearsal at 6:00.   Julie S., who has a small speaking part, was to pick her up in Manahawkin, then they'd continue on to to LBI.  I'm glad I withdrew from the show--just standing around in a party scene isn't worth the long trip to the island and I'm not that "into" those who run Our Gang Players, anyway.
Late in the day, drove to Manahawkin to pick up a few items. I was glad to see--or hear--the engine seems to be doing all right.    
Just got a message from Desi, saying we'll meet at the Henry's tomorrow night about our show in November. Replied I'd be there, of course, and I'll bring the script for The Shadow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Car and Bill Cosby

Well, wonders will never cease in Little Egg!
I called Keith and asked him to give me an clearer idea of the "very expensive" fix for my car.  He said labor would be $1200 and a rebuilt engine with a fairly low number of miles would be another seven- or eight-hundred.  So I'm looking at about two thou and it's still eleven years old with almost 200,000 miles on it.
So I agonized and agonized over it.  Thought I'd take it to Mastercraft to get a second opinion, but I know them to be expensive.  They have easy chairs and designer coffee in the waiting room (that's what always appealed to me), plus a receptionist.  My theory is they have to charge plenty to cover all that.
So I took it to Pat's Automotive.  Just told him the "check engine soon" light has been on and also, that it sounds funny.  He looked, said a cylinder wasn't firing, also that somebody--Keith, although I didn't tell him that--had put too thick an oil in and that caused something or other.  Charge ?  Forty-five bucks.
Was this a permanent--well, nothing in this world is permanent, so semi-permanent--fix?  Dunno, but I drove off absolutely delighted. Meandered here and there around town, and it continued purring like a little kitty.  Let's hope it'll now last until I take off for the left coast.
Aline called twice and we made plans for today.  Betty called; I'll see her on Saturday at the reunion to which I'm not particularly looking forward.
WIDER: I just received a forwarded e-mail that purports to be written by Bill Cosby.  I doubt this, but won't bother to look it up. It's one of those tiresome, semi-literate, ultra-right wing tirades that appeal to many of the Neanderthals whom I'll see at the aforementioned reunion.  Well, it was good for a laugh and I wrote back emphasizing the giggle factor and pointing out that it's fundamentalist garbage.  Let's hope that raises some hackles.    

Monday, September 22, 2014

Nothing and the American Soldier

I did nothing interesting, absorbing, or even mildly pleasant most of yesterday.  After our walk, I didn't go out at all, an unusual and disheartening situation for me.  Didn't go out because I was afraid of driving somewhere and being stuck.  The car, still in the driveway, started up, but didn't sound right, so I left it there.
Spent the whole day finishing up the sorting and packing of the artifacts in the Uncle Frank bench.  I now have all of it in a number--too many--of plastic containers in the garage.
Although I don't like Mastercraft's prices, I think I'll consult the guy there to get a second opinion on my car.  Luckily, this week is less busy than usual, but I do have a hair dresser appointment on Friday and the doofy reunion on Saturday.  Not looking forward to either.
WIDER:  One of my friends put something on Facebook that's about the weirdest and most grotesque "share" I've ever seen.  For some reason--I think it's my settings--I can't copy it here, but will describe:  On what seems to be a silk wall hanging with an artistically waving flag and two golden crosses is the legend:
  Only Two Defining Forces Have Ever Offered To Die For You
                 Jesus Christ and the American Soldier
                        One Died For Your soul
                 The Other Died For Your Freedom
No, I don't think there's any hope for this country.  And maybe, considering the above, there shouldn't be.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Meeting and Gathering

A nice day, but problematic, too...
Nephew Tim sent an e-mail, saying it seemed too long a ride (from Vermont) for such a short time, so he wasn't coming.  No prob and I wrote back that he was welcome anytime.
Left about noon for the Players & Playwrights meeting and all along the parkway, nervously listened to the knock in my engine. It didn't seem too bad, but when I parked at the library and turned it off, I had a window down.  When I tried to re-start, it wouldn't. Went out at intermission and luckily, it caught.
Ernie's play, which wasn't bad, was read, then Linda's, which left me cold.  I had intended to meet friend Pat R. at The Greenhouse in Margate after the meeting at 4:00, but I got bored and decided to leave an hour earlier.
My pal, Grey, walked me out and we had our usual relaxing, occasionally profane, and ever-so-refreshing-because-free-of-the-usual-cliches chat.  He told me he had met a cute young guy and they were supposed to go out for a drink in Cape May, but the guy never showed up.  I said gawd, men are all alike: gay or straight, they don't want anybody their own age, only the younger ones.  He laughed and admitted it.
When I got to The Greenhouse, I was immediately swept up by Carole Wimberg C.  Had a fine time with her and the class of '59 people she introduced me to--I hadn't known a single one of them, as my graduation year is earlier.
Pat R., who had invited me, didn't get there until quite a bit later (she had come with somebody else who had dragged his heels). She graduated in the class two years before this crowd, but actually looks younger than most of the other attendees.  I was sorry that shortly after greeting her, I had to leave to meet my friend, Sandy D., for dinner in Tuckerton.  However, Sandy called to cancel before I got over the Dorset Avenue Bridge.  Just as well, because it freed me to find Betty and we had a nice dinner at a Mexican restaurant on Newport Avenue.
Driving home, the "check engine soon" light went on and boy, was I nervous.  I made it, though, and now I have to decide what to do. I'm leaning toward having a rebuilt engine in.  It'll be expensive, but may make more sense than buying another car.
I had intended to spend last evening reading Grey's book, but I was tired by the time I got home, so decided to wait until today.
Just now, had a lovely virtual visit with the tiny tot, K.; now he's a whole year old and is into everything.  K. does not like to be thwarted and when a fragile mobile was taken away from him, he cried loudly, but not for long.  He's growing so fast and now three teeth--that's going to be hard to top!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Aches, Pains, and Mud

I'm a mass of aches and pains.  I spent the entire day clearing out the family memorabilia--photos and documents--in the covered bench Uncle Frank made for Judy in 1963.
This comprises an enormous trove, ranging from my parents' childhoods in Philadelphia and environs to the first twenty or so years of my own marriage and parenthood.  Laid everything out in six separate piles on the dining room table, consolidating and discarding as I went. I'm still not finished putting the things I saved in containers, except for the "early Byrne" and "early Figenshu" items.
In the middle of this, my friend came to hook up the television. She finally did after several calls to minimally helpful Comcast. The other reason for her visit turned out to be a big disappointment: She was going to move the pull-out bed/loveseat from the study into the guest room, now that I sold the beds.  She measured first and darn, there's no way it will fit through the door.
And, wouldn't you know, I just got an e-mail from nephew, Tim, to the effect that he might want to go to the beach and could I put him up tonight?  Sure, but he'll have to sleep on the pull-out, since I sold the guest room twin beds a few weeks ago.  Well, he won't mind.  I assume he's coming by himself--geez, I hope so; if he brings his girlfriend, the living room couch is comfortable, too.
Got a message from my Players & Playwrights pal, Grey L., asking me (and some others in the group) to read and critique his new novel, Mud.  Started it and, really, it's not bad; basic premise is that L.A. (Grey was a writer there for years and is also an entertainment lawyer), is experiencing non-stop rain, a nice reversal of the drought actually going on now.  I told him, though, I wouldn't have any comments until I read more of it.  I'll see him at 1:00 at the P & P meeting.  My tentative plan is to go there, stop at The Greenhouse after, then meet up with Tim at home and go out for dinner, the latter subject to change.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Back Up

Again, I'm bouncing back.
After dragging around a lot on Wednesday, brooding over the car news, the Morro Castle thing perked me up.
Yesterday, I galvanized myself to deal with a lot more of the never-ending pictures.  Even took my father's huge and damaged graduation picture from Villanova (class of 1918 and I'm not absolutely sure which one is him) and got it trimmed of the excess four-inch surround--it's a lot easier to handle.
Sold my old hair dryer, with box, to Unshredded Nostalgia, and that highway robber, Jim, gave me only five bucks for it.*  He was overstocked with old records; I have Bing and Frankie and others on the big size, whatever it is, but he didn't take them.  Stopped at the Stafford Library to say hello to Aline, who was working, and saw a paper about a flea market by the Ocean Church in October. Called the number to find out more and left a message.
Stopped at Shop-Rite for lettuce and, home, made a big salad.  My friend called to say we'll get yet more tomatoes (she went to the farm without me in light of my car news), which she'll bring today.
Bill G. stopped in to examine my two floor lamps.  He advised me on both, although I may not bother to keep the lesser one; needs a new socket.
Ran into Frank-Next-Door and asked if he'd consider a part in The Shadow, which I'm leaning toward directing.  Yes, he will, so good.
Pat L. called to say hello.  Said her mother visits her often.  Oh, hey, that's nice, especially since her mother died thirty years ago. Geez, I hope nobody who died thirty years ago ever visits me.  Or thirty days ago, for the matter.
After dinner, drove to Acme, then the Little Egg Library.  Aline was there, but was due at a book discussion meeting shortly.  How people can steel themselves to read and discuss--and what's worse, listen to others discussing--books somebody else chose is beyond me, but hey, she enjoys it, so more power to her.
*Remember, Mimi, the aim is to get rid of things, not necessarily make money on them.  Sure, but getting rid of them is twice as sweet if I can make money on them, too!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Car and the Maritime Museum

The news about my car ain't good.
I took it in at 8:30, Susan following to take me home, to have Keith check on why the temperature gauge had lit up a few times. Asked him to change the oil and, as an afterthought, mentioned the tapping sound I've been hearing recently.
That's the big problem.  He said he didn't think the anti-freeze leak was serious--if there was one, he couldn't find it--but the tapping was in the engine and I'd need a new one.  Even re-built, it would be very expensive and in a eleven-year-old car with more than 175,000 miles on it, it may not be worth it.  Asked him how long I could continue to run it and he said there was no way to tell.
Groa-a-n.  I had hoped to keep this relic until I move to California, but now what?  Hate to buy another car, then have to sell it in a short time.
Spent the rest of the day puttering; even took a short nap on the sofa.  Went to Graveling Point and took some pics of Atlantic City, then, shortly before 7:00, stopped at the library to return a book.
I then realized I had signed up for the presentation on the Morro Castle disaster, which was about to start.  I had meant to ask Aline if she wanted to go and could have kicked myself that I forgot all about it. In fact, I was the one who had suggested to the branch manager, Kelly, that they appear.  Since I was there, of course, I stayed.
It was terrifically interesting, conducted by Deb, the founder and owner of the museum and Gretchen Somebody; the two are co-authors of the book.  Talked to Deb after and told her I'd get down to the museum sometime and show her the little piece I had written for The Breeze on the museum.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

LBI and Blood-Drenched Monsters

A very pleasant day.  Picked Aline up at our usual 12:30 and drove to Long Beach Island.  I was a bit nervous about the car, as now it's started to make a kind of tapping or knocking.  However, it ran all right and I take it to the garage today.
We had intended to go to the German restaurant on Bonnet Island, but I missed the turn (you have to veer off the causeway and go under an overpass).  Continued on and decided on Buckalew's, not one of my favorite places, but it was okay.  Had a long, leisurely lunch--for me, a club sandwich and a Blue Moon--then drove to the Beach Haven library, our intended destination.
It's very small and charming, in an old house (1904), replete with brick floors, comfortable chairs, and a kind of mezzanine upstairs where non-fiction is housed.  I've been wanting to read Blink for some time, found it on a shelf, and started it while there.  Aline did the same with another find.  We stayed about an hour, then went to check out our books, but the very friendly librarian--or clerk--told us this library is not in the Ocean County system--darn!  Had to put our treasures back.
Of course, I then drove down to Holgate, a favorite scenic spot of ours at the very end of the island.  I took dozens of pictures of the rolling waves and Atlantic City far across the water--what a joy to be by the ocean.  Back in Little Egg, we stopped at our library to request the books above, then at Wal-Green's before taking A. home.
Got a call from Betty while I was making dinner and we had a nice chat.
Desi e-mailed me to the effect that he got the script for The Shadow I had sent him.  He liked it and asked if I would direct.  Hmm...I'm flattered, but I'll have to think about it.  I've never directed anything except my own stuff and I'm not sure I want to ride herd over our members, some of whom are convinced they're Little Egg's answer to Lunt and Fontanne.  I'll read the script over and see who I can cast in which roles, then decide.
WIDER:  Gee, it's good we have a two-party system, so we can decide which blood-drenched monster to put in office next:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Out of My Funk

Hey, things are looking up and I'm out of my funk.
Got a call in the morning from a guy all the way in Bridgeton who had seen my armoire on Craig's List (I listed it weeks ago) and was interested.  He and his wife drove down--they're a nice, forty-something couple, John very large, maybe 6'2" and seriously overweight, Vanessa pleasant and friendly.  The armorie was just what they wanted and they paid full price.  It took the combined efforts of both of them, plus Bob across the street, sweating and straining, to get the huge thing into John's truck, but they finally did.  They drove off and I counted my cash gleefully.
Even better was that Desi called to tell me he was happy with the info on old radio shows I sent him and we discussed our upcoming production.  It seems we're going to do Sorry, Wrong Number first, with Ellen V. directing, but that's very short.  (I saw her production a few years ago when Frank and Barbara D. and I went up to her Rancocas location.)  We needed more content and Desi and I discussed it, settling on The Shadow.  He asked if I could find scripts for it and I did, right off the bat.  I sent him the links for some; should be great fun to do.
Talked to Aline at length, e-mailed Stacey back and forth, and consulted Neil G., who's playing the male lead of Captain Von Trapp. The upshot was that I withdrew from The Sound of Music. It just isn't worth it to me to drive back and forth to Barnegat and LBI sixteen times for rehearsal and pay sixty bucks for the privilege. Stacey was very gracious about it and I'm off the hook.  Now it's up to Aline whether she wants to continue and try to get somebody else to drive.
Called the new-guy garage and was able to get an appointment for tomorrow.  Will ask Susan to take me home.
Managed to laboriously drag over the antique table to fill the place where the armoire had been.  Put the television on it, although it isn't connected.  Re-arranged a few other things in the living room, dusted, vacuumed, and otherwise cleaned the area.
I was charmed by a request from my granddaughter-in-law, Noelle, to proof the little book she has written for my great-grandson, Joel. It just needed a bit of punctuation adjustment.
Was invited by friend, Pat R., to meet her on Saturday at The Greenhouse in Margate, as the class of '59 is gathering and somebody invited her.  Actually, that works out fine, as I'm going to the Players & Playwrights meeting in Ventnor earlier, so will stop in for a drink.
In rapid succession in the evening, I got calls from h.s. pal, Jeanne P. (she and her boyfriend are going to the reunion), grammar school pal, Elva B., my brother, Frank, Aline again, and my friend.  The latter will come on Friday to hook up my television; in the meantime, I'm sure I won't miss it.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Yester could have been called "missedday," considering the number of missteps and mishaps...
First Miss: The couple interested in the maple table came at 10:00, but decided not to take it.  (Actually, that wasn't such a bad thing, as I can still use it in the guest room until my departure.)
Second Miss: Director Stacey sent a rehearsal schedule for S. of M. which included an very unpleasant surprise: Our Gang extracts a "registration fee" of sixty bucks for appearing in one of its productions!  I'll be damned if I'll pay that just to part of the wallpaper in one scene!  I didn't want to be in it in that capacity, anyway, and I sent Aline a message that I would withdraw.  She wrote back saying she'd like to pay it for me. I certainly will not allow that and this puts me in a position of either having to do something I do not want to do, or being the bad guy responsible for disappointing my friend, as she probably can't get there otherwise.
Third Miss: Puttered around until time for the Pool Closing Party. By the time I got there a bit after 4:00 (don't know why it was called for so early), all the outside tables were filled. That left the the ballroom, which is being repainted and was festooned with ladders, cans, and drop clothes.  Sat with neighbors Bob and Cookie, and two other couples I know slightly.  I had a mildly nice time and the buffet (catered) was pretty good.  I had been looking forward to the sangria, but it ran out and I had only half a glass. It was over by 6:30 and I walked home. Changed into my bedclothes and Skyped Ellen.
Fourth Miss:  E. hadn't mentioned my birthday gift and when I asked her about it, said she hadn't gotten it.  She'll check her e-mail again (it was a gift card from Amazon).  I checked, too, and saw it had been sent; she must have accidentally deleted it, so she didn't get it for her birthday.  Greg came in during our call and I enjoyed talking to him.
Fifth Miss: About 7:45, the phone rang.  It was Mary H., asking if I was coming to the LETCO board meeting, going on then. What? I looked up her e-mail, which said it was on the twenty-first.  Damn and double damn!  I could easily have gone right from the party and had been looking forward to this.  Mary apologized for the wrong date and asked if I'd send Desi info on old radio shows I'd found, which I did.
Went to bed in a gloomy, everything-happens-to-me mood.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Richer and The Genius of 9/11

Okay, I'm not rich, rich, rich after the flea market, but I'm richer.
Got to the Community Center at 6:30, and there were already five or six cars being unloaded.  My designated spot (inside; you had your choice) was pretty good and I flanked the rented table with my own two.  Trudged back and forth hauling boxes, baskets, bags,and cartons, then spread tablecloths, arranged my wares in tasteful and enticing ways, and sat back to await the hordes of customers.
There weren't exactly "hordes," but considering the iffy weather--cloudy and some drizzling--attendance was okay.  I didn't have any big ticket items, but sold a lot of two- to five-dollar stuff.  The picture frames didn't sell as well as I thought they would, nor did the Halloween decorations, but a variety of other doodads made up the gap.  Bottom line?  I made eighty-two dollars, with which I was well satisfied.
Of course, if my time and effort is factored in, I would have done better begging on the street.  I spent hours and days digging out, sorting, and boxing sale items, plus lots of energy moving them from garage to car, car to market, and reversing the process for leftovers.
But that's okay and I consider it well worth it.  It's fun, for one thing.  You make instant (if only day-long) friendships with other vendors, interact jocularly with buyers, see and chat with neighbors, and what's more, yesterday, sellers got a free hot dog and soda! Where else can you find all that PLUS make money in the bargain?
Also, a not-inconsiderable benefit is the exercise.  Over the course of weeks and days, I worked muscles I rarely use and expended calories I don't need.  Hey, it beats lying on the couch eating bon- bons, if only in a sense of satisfaction.  In addition--a huge plus for me--it's ridding myself of some of my excess possessions which I need to do to clear my path to California .
Packed up about 2:00, unloaded what was left (the thrift stores were closed) into the garage, then drove to Manahawkin to pick up a few items.  By that time, it was raining pretty hard, a bonus in my mind, as my car got washed.  When I got home, there was a message from Rosalie; called her back and we had a nice chat.
Oh, and there's this: I took pictures of the furniture I want to sell, put them in a loose-leaf book and took it to with me.  The idea is to have those interested write their first names and phone numbers on the page showing the item in which they're interested, then I call them.  One couple did and they're coming today to see, and possibly buy, the maple bedside table from the guest room.
As an entrepreneur, Bill Gates has nothing on me!
WIDER: This seems an excellent analysis of that infamous date, which includes:  The genius of 9/11 was to provoke the United States and its allies into behaving exactly like the monsters Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups had long argued they were. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, brazenly embracing torture and mass kidnappings and opening a gulag archipelago of secret prisons everywhere from Eastern Europe to Guantánamo to jail ships floating in the Indian Ocean, as well as the brazen disregard for innocent civilians demonstrated by Bush and Obama’s willy-nilly drone program, convinced countless fence sitters and former moderates to join the militants, cut them a check, or at least look the other way. By the end of the Bush years, the United States was wildly unpopular, viewed as “violent” and “selfish” throughout the Muslim world.
The rest of the essay is here:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Car and Riches

Things are looking up.
Took my car to the guy in Parkertown Dennis R. recommended and I liked him right away.  Also liked the fact that he looked underneath and said it was okay to drive the three miles and back to the flea market today. Said he'd have to check and see what's going on with the pump or whatever.  Asked me to call Monday to see when he can work on it without having me wait too long.
Continued on up to Manahawkin to pick up my meds and some cottage cheese.  Home, I spent a longa, longa time--about two hours--preparing veggies.  After trimming and chopping, I dumped garlic and onions in oil to soften, then tackled the mountain of tomatoes I got at the farm.  Cored, then cut them into a large dice--or maybe a small chunk--added some Italian seasoning and set it all to simmer for about an hour and a half.  Had it for dinner over elbow macaroni and oh, mama, so good!    
Also cut up the broccoli I bought at Santori's the other day and had that for lunch, along with leftover salad.  It occurred to me that I eat a lot of vegetables.
Went down to Graveling Point about 4:00, stopped at the bank for ones, then loaded up the car with the priceless treasures I intend to sell today.
Groan...!  Okay, I confess: It's only a quarter of five on Saturday morning and I'm already up, dressed, and ready to go.  Don't know why I seem to have this compulsion to be early for everything, but I do.  It's all right, though; I'm leaving soon and when I come back, I'll be rich, rich, RICH!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Farm and the Car

Whatta day--and not in an overall good way.
My friend called to say she had a dentist appointment after work, so I volunteered to go to the farm.  Got up there about noon and it took more than two hours, as there was a bonanza of veggies, especially tomatoes, in the barn.  Had to go back and forth carrying it to the car, as I couldn't take it all at once.
After completing that, I drove to a parking place closer, but not that close, to the picking area, carrying six pint and quart containers, two canvas bags and a plastic carryall. Laboriously picked raspberries, string beans, sunflowers, and three additional kinds of tomatoes and, finally finished, loaded everything into the car, and drove off.
About a mile from my friend's house, the temperature gauge on the dashboard lit up.  Pulled into a garage and, after consulting with this person and that, mechanic said there was probably a hole in the water place or something, it would cost three hundred dollars to fix, and it couldn't be done that day.  He put water in and didn't recommend driving it, but I certainly wasn't going to stay there, so drove to my friend's, unloaded and divided up the produce, and uneasily drove home.
Luckily, the gauge has stayed off.  However, now I have a dilemma: tomorrow is the big flea market day at which I'm going to sell mountains of treasures and make piles of dough.  I naturally have to have my car to get the stuff there and back--luckily, it's only about three miles away--and I'm worried about the car.  All right, this morning, I'll take it to the mechanic Dennis R. recommended and proceed from there.
To brighten up the day, I finally connected with brother Frank, who had called several times. He recommended the movie, Calvary, which looks intriguing, and the writings of a particular Catholic columnist, which doesn't.  Also set up a lunch date for next week with friend, Pat R., at good ol' Sacco Subs in Absecon; looking forward to that.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lunch And So On

On impulse, I called Betty to see if she could meet for lunch at the Dublinder Pub in Galloway.  Well, sure, and I brought Aline along. I had a good old Irish sandwich--a Reuben--and an icy Blue Moon. Howard and Diana Reed happened to be lunching there, too, and we chatted with them for a bit.
After parting from Betty, we stopped at Santori's for oranges and broccoli, then Shop-Rite.  Took A. home to show her adorable little Poopsie-Poo opening his birthday present, then was happily surprised by finding three more videos with the Sweetest Little Boy in Tokyo.  We both oohed and aahed over them--Aline says she's his Auntie and he's her little boy--then I took Aline home, after which disaster struck.
In the living room, I leaned over to retrieve an empty iced tea glass while holding the mostly-melted Italian ice I was about to eat.  It spilled on on the pale grey room carpet and there is now a large pink/red stain in a prominent spot.  No matter what I applied and how I scrubbed, it wouldn't come out.
Damn, damn, and double damn.  Now I'll never be able to sell my house unless I spend thousands to replace the carpet all along one side of the house.  Woe is me...
Called brother Jim (Virginia) to tell him Pat Bennett, a fellow 1944 HSHS grad, has died.  Had a nice chat otherwise.  Later, brother Frank (California) called and left a message; must get back to him. To complete contact with the brotherly trio, I'll call brother Larry (Florida) to see how he's progressing after the bypass and heart valve thing.
Took the Lipitor-like medication for the first time last night.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Regular Tuesday and The Sound of You-Know-What

A pleasant day.  Spent the morning dosing my pony-tail plant with a solution I got from on-line to treat for "mildew bugs," or whatever they are, and trimming and shaping the other large plants in the dining room.
Picked Aline up at our usual 12:30 and stopped first at The Home Depot.  I wasn't completely satisfied with the Lowe's guy's answer to how to clean my kitchen tiles ("Pine Sol") and wanted a second opinion.
T.H.D. guy said the tile was imitation ceramic travertine and it was hard to clean because of the pits. (No kidding.) He did recommend something called "Fabuloso," which may--or may not--be similar to Pine Sol.  I didn't buy it because he suggested something else I'm going to try first: He said to dab some oil or grease on a "test tile," add some dust and/or dirt, thereby approximating the kitchen floor, then try hydrogen peroxide, which should get in the pits and foam up.  He said to be sure to test as above first, to ascertain that it didn't discolor or something.  I'll do that tomorrow.
We went to The Olive Garden for lunch and both had the famous $6.99 soup, salad, and bread sticks.  Very inexpensive unless you add a draft Blue Moon at $5:25, as I did, but so what?
Went after to pick up my Lipitor at Wal-Mart.  I had called earlier to find it was ninety bucks for three months, so a dollar a day. Berated myself for not asking the doctor for a generic, but when I got there, found that what I got is a generic.  Just out of curiosity, I asked what actual Lipitor would be for three months; pharmacist checked and it would have cost--get this:
                               NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS.
If there turns out to be a hell, may the pharmaceutical monsters rot in it for all eternity.
Aline and I usually separate when we get to Wal-Mart, then meet at the door.  While I was waiting for her, I ran into Fred D., husband of my dear friend, Marge.  He and I talked for twenty minutes or so; I must call Marge before long.  On the way home, stopped at Graveling Point to view the water, as we often do.
Now, two good things:  I just watched several videos on Google+ featuring adorable grandbaby celebrating his first birthday.  So precious and how lucky his other grandparents are to be an actual, not virtual, part of it!
A-n-n-d-d--found an e-mail from Director Stacey, asking if I was accepting the role in The Sound of Music.  To my knowledge, it hadn't been offered, but of course, I wrote back immediately with an emphatic "YES."  Now I need a rehearsal schedule and what would help a lot, a script.
Aagh! Now scratch the whole damn previous para.!  Aline called just an hour ago  at 6:30 am (no prob, we're both early risers) to discuss a long message from Stacey with cast list, rehearsal schedule, and so.  She received it late yesterday and I never got it!   She and I are listed as "party goers," which as I know from seeing the play a few weeks ago, entails nothing but milling around in a party scene.  That's the role Stacey asked if I was accepting.  I had told Aline I wasn't going to take such a "stand-around extra" part; it just isn't worth the time and effort involved--however, I know she wants to do it.  Guess I'll reluctantly agree, as long as it doesn't require more than one or two rehearsals.  Wrote back to Stacey to that effect.  I'm disappointed I didn't get the housekeeper role, but okay, okay, that's show biz and I'll carry on.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Stress Test and the Big One-Year-Old

It turned out to be a good day after all.
After what?  After I was so apprehensive about the stress test I thought was scheduled at 3:45.
Spent the early part of the day doing mundane chores--all my chores are mundane--and took a square of my kitchen tile to Lowe's.  There, I was told it's "high-grade ceramic" and I could clean it with Pine-Sol.
Yeah, sure. We paid extra--a lot extra--when the house was being built to substitute this for the kitchen floor provided.  It's very attractive, with its rough surface and pitting; puts one in mind of what might be found in an old Roman villa.  There's only one tiny problem: It's impossible to thoroughly clean.  I looked on YouTube and thought I had found a video about cleaning tile like this, but the guy at Lowe's had no knowledge of it.  Okay, I'll try the Pine-Sol; if that doesn't work, I'll investigate further.
After a few more stops, I went home to shower and dress before my friend came and took me to the cardiologist's in Galloway.  Here, after an echo gram or whatever it was, I saw a nice, young--not too young--resident, then the great man himself, Dr. V.V.
The upshot was that my LSD needs to be elevated or lowered--oh, I know that's not right, but whatever the not-good thing is, is too high--and he prescribed something instead of something else.  Said that as I had no symptoms, we'd hold off with the stress test until December to see if the other medication makes a difference. Whew!  I wasn't going to argue with that.
Home, I kissed my friend goodbye, had a bite, then was delighted to enjoy a very special Breakfast with Baby because he is now ONE YEAR OLD!
While I watched and (what's the most fun, of course), interacted with him, Baby ate, then opened my present, which he seemed to like a lot.  It's a blue plush octopus that plays classical music and says colors when its variegated tentacles are pressed.  His Daddy read the card I sent him and the four of us--that precious little family and me--so far from each other, seemed to be together in fact and not only in imagination.  I'll always be grateful for Skype.

Monday, September 08, 2014


Well, now I'm not sure if I have a part in S. of M., or not.  Director Stacey wrote back telling me Monday night was for singers, which leaves the question open.  Well, I'll just wait and see; I'm all right with either yay or nay.
Meticulous, the lawn service, is going to do some kind of maintenance today, and we were given "flags" to mark sprinkler heads.  But they recede level with the ground when not on, making them impossible to find without turning on the system and over-riding the programmed water.  Susan offered to help, but couldn't figure it out and you can be damn sure I couldn't.  Asked Joe-Next-Door, that nice guy, and he did it in a trice--or a thrice, maybe.
Got some of the dining room table cleared off, but not all, I'm afraid.  I got waylaid by coming across yet more pictures in frames in and on the guest room tables.  Removed most of them and put the frames with the flea market stuff, pics in containers.  Went through the audio tapes and some CD's.  After a few hours, I got bored and relinquished it all in favor of a trip to the dollar store in Manahawkin.
Called my friend to see if she would accompany me to the cardiologist for the chemical stress test this afternoon.  She had offered before and I said, "oh, no, no prob, I'll go by myself," but I've had second thoughts because I'm afraid it may cause a heart attack.  Can't help it, I'm nervous.  Said she'd come, of course.  
Aside from that, it was all mundane chores which never seem to go away.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Pool And Callbacks

A delightful day.  Betty got here a bit after 10:00 and off we went on what I consider a perfect pool day:  humid, heavy, and hot as hell.
The water was wonderful, of course, and we stayed in for a good forty-five minutes. We chatted with Fran S., whom I hadn't met before, but knew of, thanks to Susan.  She had showed me the book Fran wrote (as I've mentioned before, I don't think I know anybody who hasn't written a book), about her large Italian family.  Fran and her sister--neither married--live together around the corner from me; a third sister, widowed, lives a few houses away from them.
Fran is yet another non-stop talker, but at least she had some interesting things to say.  A notable item: She and a sister each retired from Lehman Brothers after 35 and 32 years, respectively, and both were screwed out of the bulk of their pensions.  Anybody go to jail for that?  Oh, no, certainly not, these are untouchables. The other sister "heads up," according to Fran, Holy Redeemer Hospice, and Betty may be able to get a job lead from her.
We stayed until about 1:00, then I made lunch while Betty showered.  Served her a true summer meal of turkey sandwiches, salad, iced tea, and watermelon.  I brought out the old pictures I wanted to give her and we looked them over, laughing (a little ruefully) over our enormous hair and our various stages of lean and chubby.
After she left, I drove here and there running errands.  Got home, had dinner, and enjoyed yet another Breakfast with Baby.  He's getting so big--soon to be a whole year old--and is just precious.  I love to see his antics; he surely now has a mind of his own, not to mention a little temper.
Looked at e-mail just now and saw a message listing those asked to call-backs for The Sound of Music.  My name isn't on it.  I wrote back saying I thought I had heard Stacey or Lou say, "Come on Monday for call-backs," but now I'm not so sure. Could "call backs are on Monday," without an invitation, actually be what was said?   Not sure, but even if I misunderstood, I'm not terribly disappointed. I'm already recasting this in my mind: It's a long way to drive, there's a grueling rehearsal schedule, and do I really want to mingle and perform with a bunch of unruly kids?  We'll see.    

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Van Tour and Audition

Hell's bells.  Susan and I were all set to enjoy the "A Taste of Jersey" van tour today, until---
Early on, I managed to sort of sort (that's what it amounts to) another mountain of pictures, the ones on the kitchen counters, anyway.  Went to Acme and got turkey breast so I could bring lunch to the tour, assembled the things I wanted to take, and otherwise prepared.
It was hot enough when we walked at 7:00, but now it was brutal. That was enough to get me to abandon my chores and go to the pool.  The lifeguards are back at college and there were only a couple and another woman there, none of whom I knew.
The water was heavenly.  Lolled around in it while talking with the two women.  They're newcomers--one has lived here only a year and she seemed reasonably interesting, the other a total bore.  Oh, I'm sorry, lady, but I don't give a damn about your bypass and your husband's hernia, and how girls dress like sluts nowadays, all in a Brooklyn accent.  She was surely at least ten years younger than I am, so why did I feel I was enduring a chat with my senile grandmother?
Left in an hour or so, physically refreshed, if not intellectually stimulated.  Got home to shower and prepare for picking Aline up for the audition.  Phone rang.  It was the Ocean County Parks System person, saying Susan and I were the only two to sign up for tomorrow's van tour, so it was cancelled.  Damn! I was so looking forward to it. However, we were offered the same on October 25 and accepted that.
Called Betty to see if she wanted to come over and go to the pool today. She did and I'll see her in a few hours.
Picked Aline up at 5:15 for The Sound of Music auditions.  Lots there, including about six thousand little kiddies (there are speaking/singing parts for seven children).  This is an Our Gang Players production and the idiot, Bruce (he was in Arsenic and had to have his lines on a table in front of him; used to be married to Sherry, OGP's founder) was taking registration.  I was pleased to be greeted by Lou Monaco, who directed that show back in February, 2013.
I was brought in fairly early and recited a monologue from my opening scene in Hedda, plus some of my act IV lines.  I don't think I did particularly well, but got a callback for Monday night. Aline did a monologue on gloves, which I haven't heard, but she was not called back.  She was okay with that, though, saying she valued the experience and good for her.
After, I drove to Graveling point, so I could show A. the bay at high tide.  The water covered the beach and was satisfyingly choppy and dramatic.  It's always a pleasure to realize that, although we come such different backgrounds, we have so much in common, including a love--along with a sensible wariness--of the ocean.    

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Farm Day

Sort of a good/bad day.  I should have left for the farm at 9:00, which would have given me plenty of time to waltz in, pick up the stuff, then meet Rosalie for lunch at 1:30. But I thought it wouldn't take more than an hour, so didn't leave until well after 10.  I had forgotten that this is bumper crop time in Jersey.
In the barn alone, there were onions, garlic, cucumbers, peppers, squash, and four kinds of tomatoes, not in small amounts, either. Got them okay, although it took awhile because it was crowded, then saw the PYO ("Pick Your Own") white board:  string beans, raspberries, sauce tomatoes, sunflowers, other flowers, watermelon, herbs, and something else.  Had to hike back to the car for a pen, paper, and reading glasses, as I knew I wouldn't remember what to pick and how much.  Wrote down what was what and set off.
The picking areas were wa-a-y over in one of the far fields; it was even posted that you could drive and park closer in, which I did. Once I got out of the car, I had to haul a bucket with attached scissors on a chain, three pint and two quart containers (all of which the farm provides on loan), plus my own cloth bag, plus keep track of my badge, keys, sunglasses, and the explanatory paper.  Was it dusty and hot?  Oh, yeah.
After picking only the string beans and raspberries, I realized I had been there for well over two hours and still had to return the farm's equipment back to the barn.  Checked the time and found it was almost 1:00; decided to leave to meet Rosalie, then come back after.
We had a nice-enough lunch, but by the time we parted, it was after 4:00.  I decided to drop off my friend's harvest first, then drive the twenty-five miles or so back to the farm to retrieve the rest of it. However, she got home and insisted she'd go back herself after dinner.  Invited me to stay, but I declined; just had a slice of watermelon and left.  I feel guilty about failing to get all the goods and her having to back for the rest.
Got home about 7:00 a bit tired, but revived after hearing a message from Susan.  Happily, we were able to get on the van tour for tomorrow.  It's "A Taste of Jersey" and should be great fun.

Various and Roz Chast

A bunch of this and that:  Did a bit more of the interminable clear-out chores.  I just uncovered yet another shoe box-sized container chock full of pictures; haven't yet gone through them.
My friend came and showed me how to operate the slide projector so I can examine the hundreds of slides, some interesting personal ones, some boring, sixty-three-year-old crap from when Pat was in France in the military.  
Called Betty and left messages re Jay's anniversary on both phones. Talked to her at the end of the day and found she didn't get either; luckily, many of her friends rallied around, some going to the dedicated mass, others taking her to dinner.
It's farm day and I'll go early and pick for my friend, too.  Spoke to erstwhile old friend, Rosalie P., and we'll meet for lunch in East Windsor.  I have a number of old photos I want to give her from the days when we hung out.
Susan called to ask if I wanted to go on a van tour to Morven, the traditional governor's house (not sure if the current unholy freak lives there or not) and Princeton Cemetery.  I've been to both before and decided not, but said I'd be interested in a "Taste of Jersey" van tour that's scheduled for the day after tomorrow.  There's almost no chance we'll get on that, as the van holds only fourteen, and usually, sign-up must be months ahead or it's filled.  I'll give her my registration and check and she'll go there first thing today to see if, by some miracle, we're able to get on.
Started reading Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by my favorite cartoonist, Roz Chast, whose work runs regularly in The New Yorker.  The book concerns her struggles with her aging parents (both over ninety when she introduces them in the book and she's an only child) and consists of about equal parts cartoons and written notes.  The latter isn't in typeface, but  appears as hand-printing.
The book is just fabulous.  Chast's work is anything but banal and boring, but nor is it so "sophisticated" it's both unfunny and nonsensical.  It's invariably from today's world and has a unique quality that seems to me to combine sharp observation and straight-to-the-point comment that can be acerbic, but is never cruel.
Anyway, it's great and I've already promised to lend it to my friend and to Betty.    

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Second Post for September 3, 2014

My twin sister's youngest child, Jay, took his own life on September 3, 2004, at the age of 31.  His sister, my beloved niece, Carolyn, put this on her Facebook page today.  I can't read it without tears, but it's beautiful and terrible and I wanted to share it here.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Has it been ten years? 
My brother used to walk among us. He was in the folds. He was in the fabric. He felt the pain of two degrees and imitated burly dogs barking for attention. He had a nice laugh and a quirky smile that was often meant for someone unseen.
Coming into a defective world, he strived to adjust…to regulate…to normalize. He felt his accomplishments were few, not matching the received praises. Did he see us all? We were there wishing and hoping and loving. You were there too.
Now and then, I look for him in warm breezes. In cold, foggy nights. In the depth of the ocean. I don’t know where he is. It is not easier.

Oh, yes, I know he rests in peace, but those who loved him will never know absolute peace again.


A wonderful day.  I'd been wanting to go to the Mutter ("moo-ta") Medical Museum for years, and finally did.
Aline and I got the 9:20 train to Philly and walked the easy three blocks to the museum.  It's housed in an elegant brick building with a lovely garden adjacent and what a find!
Here are human artifacts that include the tallest human skeleton on display in North America, the preserved body of the adipocere "Soap Lady," part of Albert Einstein's brain, and to my pleasure, "the plaster death cast of the torso of world-famous Siamese twins Chang and Eng and their conjoined livers."
I've always had an interest in twins (hmm...wonder why) and other multiple births, and I've read a lot about C. and E.  They emigrated to North Carolina, adopted the surname, "Bunker," operated a successful business, married sisters, had 21 children between them, and died within minutes of each other.  I understand many of their descendants are still living down south.
We saw an eight-foot colon, more than 3,000 swallowed objects removed from patients, malformed infants in formaldehyde, innumerable plaster casts of afflicted limbs, and preserved parts of practically every area of the human body.  There's an array of sliced tissue (mostly from brains), dyed slides showing various diseases, and all manner of other medical conditions, common and wildly unusual.
There's a permanent exhibit called "Broken Bodies, Suffering Spirits" that depicts the horrors of the Civil War (and by inference, maybe, of all wars everywhere).  It includes writings, historic photographs, plaster casts, and the fearfully primitive medical equipment in use at the time.
We left to have lunch--mediocre--at a nearby Chinese restaurant, sat in the garden for a bit, then went back to continue our tour. After a fascinating day in perfect weather--well, it was very hot, but we managed to ignore that--we caught the 4:47 back to Absecon.  I dropped A. off and got home about 7:00 after another off-the-beaten-track adventure.  Great fun and it's wonderful to know that Philadelphia, with all its treasures, is so accessible to us.  

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Sorting Pictures

Aagh, aagh, groan, gasp, o-o-oh-h-h...
I did an incredible amount of labor on Labor Day--no joke.  I went through and organized the many, many (there were actually only four) boxes of photos I mentioned before.
Now this isn't a matter of glancing at a few and tossing or not.  For one thing, they were in no order at all: I'd pick up a handful of pics from grandson Joel's wedding to Jen and find interspersed among them Baby Joel in his bath, teenager Joel pitching ball, Joel riding the merry-go-round, Joel going to the prom, and Joel, the present 32-year-old father.  Not such a big deal?  It is when the other pictures in the box are of family members, friends, enemies, people I don't know, dead people, live people, old and young people, grand doggy and grand kitties, Hong Kong next to Ventura, Ventnor following Singapore, Tokyo and Little Egg Harbor--gaaaaa!
Well, I tossed about two thirds of them, I'm afraid.  I filled three largish trash bags--could barely haul them to the trashcan--and had to force myself not to go back and retrieve any.  Darn, Joel's mother surely has as many pics as I do, and probably duplicates.
I did sort out a few to give sister Betty of her family, others for friends, which I'll send them, and a few older ones I'll deal with when I get to the--ugh!--bench that's full of family memorabilia.
I also dragged the rattan chest into the guest room and did a number of other getting-ready-for California tasks.  Roasted chicken, went to the store, and did a lot of computer stuff, including adding my lady desk to Craig's List.
Unfortunately, I thought I had a problem I don't even want to describe, but suffice it to say (oh, come off it, Mimi!), I took the Picasa icon off my screen and now can't get it back the way it was.  Appealed to sons and one wrote back with what to do, which worked, except it didn't get my pics back with the same configuration and listings. It's so damn frustrating!  I know I can do something simple to restore it, but I just don't know what.  Tokyo son said I should take a basic computer course and I would if I could, but I don't know where there are any.
Okay, okay, I'm going to simmer down and forget all this.  Aline and I are leaving shortly to go to the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Getting Rid and Our Barbarians

(Too bad the above doesn't read, "Getting Rid of Our Barbarians," but then, who would run the country?)
The beds are gone.  A very pleasant and friendly family--youngish couple and four gorgeous adopted children, ages 2, 3, 4, and 5 came, as promised, at 2:00.  Dawn, with whom I had dealt on the phone, had said she would take only the mattresses (the price was the same), but when she saw the bed clothes, decided she wanted them, too.
Good.  I didn't really want to have to store, then somehow dispose of two each of sheets, blankets (pure wool), bedspreads, pillows, shams, and skirts, not to mention two bed frames.
After they left, I vacuumed, then laboriously got the maple bench that had been in my room into the former guest room.  I plan to put the love seat in the study there, too, as it opens into a bed.
I forced myself to start going over the pictures in one--just one--of the ten or twelve shoebox-sized plastic containers that are filled with them.  It was grueling: they were all mixed together, covered a number of years, and there are just too many. I was so frustrated I began to simply save or throw them away sort of arbitrarily.  Once you start discarding, it gets easier, but it was still tough.  I actually had to force myself not to go back in the trash and reexamine what I had thrown out.  Luckily, I talked myself out of that insanity.
Got more "stuff" out of the drawers of the "lady desk," then photographed and added it to Facebook.  Will put it on Craig's List today.
Somebody called about 5:00 to say she was interested in the armoire.  She has a summer place in Tuckerton, but was leaving shortly for her year-round home.  Asked if she could get it in her car by herself until I explained that it's more than four feet high and wide, and very heavy.  Said she'd like to come see it last evening and would call beforehand, but she never did, so I assume she isn't interested.
In the meantime, though, I cleared out the drawers and bookcase that are part of the armoire.  I now have the stuff--an enormous amount of it--strewed over the dining room.
But that's okay. If I'm serious about moving--and I am--I have to get rid of most of my stuff, anyway.  Today, I'll face it with a groan, but I'll face it.
Finally steeled myself to watch me in Hedda Gabler and incredibly, was pleasantly surprised.  I opened Act I and also Act 1V and really, wasn't half bad.  Director Desi had me so demoralized and so convinced I stank on stage, I had to force myself look at it.  Well, I'm glad I did; Meryl Streep may not be quaking in her boots, but I can see some areas of improvement, I wasn't bad, not bad at all, sez I.
Watched Tony and the Heiress again, too, and reveled in the laughs I got.   
No need for anything but a dazed sigh, after reading the following from Anti-War.com, quoting from The New York Times, then commenting:
"The rebels who killed (the American) were fighting for the Free Syrian Army, a rival group backed by the United States, and they went on to behead six ISIS fighters...."
Yes, these are the "moderate" Syrian rebels, backed by your tax dollars and the prestige of the United States government. Oh, but don’t worry, kids: they’re our barbarians – so beheading is okay, even praiseworthy, since they’re doing it on behalf of spreading "freedom" and "democracy."
The rest: