Sunday, November 30, 2014

Picture of the Wellsboro Gang

C:\Users\Mimi\Pictures\Picasa\Backgrounds\picasabackground-072.bmp

I'm afraid the above must be copies and pasted; can't remember how to put on as picture.  Below I did, but not sure how.  It's dark, too; will work on that.

DSC9368

My Boys and Girls

Shortly after I walked in yesterday, I was glad to get a Skype call from Singapore.  Saw V. and V. fleetingly, but was most concerned about their Dad, Mike, who had had surgery on his nose.  Happily, the cancer has been excised and he seems to be doing well, although he had two budding black eyes.  We chatted for a time, then said goodbye.
Got a call from the health insurance rep and told her I'll accept the damn new contract, highway robbery though it is.  She'll come over around noon today, Sunday or not.
This morning, I had no sooner sat down here at 5:30 than I got a Skype call from the angel in Tokyo.  He's such a little precious! His hair has gotten a lot darker and it was sort of plastered down on his forehead so he looked like an adorable little Alfalfa from the twenties' "Our Gang" ensemble.  He greeted me with big smiles and "Nana!" repeated several times, then displayed a bit of temper when he was unable to do something or other.
Such fun to have seen all my sweet boys and girls, over just a few days...and I have a working car, to boot!  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Another Thanksgiving and Another Car

Hey, we had our real Thanksgiving yesterday.  We met my grandson, Joel, his Noelle, and their four rambunctious boys at the Allentown house my friends are renting.  They loved it, odd and other-worldly though it is.  They explored thoroughly, then we went back to the house where a second turkey dinner was served--much more informally (paper plates, plastic utensils) and much more fun.
After, Robert opened my birthday present to him and it made a hit.  Maybe too much of a hit, as it's--well, noisy, to say the least.  Noelle opened hers--a canvas pouch that reads "I'm a dog person" (they have three), then the group posed for the Christmas picture.
The hostess was hard put to assemble, let alone keep still, this ever-moving gang ("Tristan, put your hand down; Robert, stop hitting Jason; Joel, sit up straighter").  After outfitting them with Santa hats and making a half-hearted attempt to cover the cartoon characters on their shirts with scarfs, my friend oversaw her husband's photography.  He finally got several good shots and so did I.  Then he set the camera delay, and the two of them, plus Mimi (that's me) got in some picture.  All this took place amid much hilarity, not only from the exuberant kids, but all the adults, including the director of the photo shoot.
Good talk after, then we had to say goodbye to those from the north.  Kisses and hugs all around and off they went.  I'm sure they don't realize how beautiful they are.
The three of us soon turned in, then got up to a nicely cooked breakfast of blueberry pancakes and eggs.  After that, ta da!--my friends suggested we go look at cars. We went to two places, looked at a number of them and the upshot was I bought a Acura and drove home with it.  It's not factory-new, it isn't fancy, but it's in great shape, rides like a dream, has a warranty, and I couldn't be happier.
I left my other car up there and my friends will take it to be sold for scrap, for which I'll get two hundred or so bucks.
What a terrific holiday, all in all, with my dearest-in-the-world to me, along with those others far away.  I'm a lucky woman.

  

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving

Pleasant, low-key Thanksgiving.  Betty got here about noon and we left for my friend's at 2:00.  We, she, and hubby were joined by his brother, and we had appetizers and good talk.  Brent is an accomplished singer--bass--and I've seen him in a number of productions.
Ate early--about 4:30--sitting down to a sumptuous meal, of course. The turkey was particularly good--moist and tender--and the sides tasty.  My pie turned out very good and we all enjoyed that.
Betty and I left soon after dinner and managed to beat the heavy traffic home.  Now we're up--it's after seven--and are planning to go to John and Sonia's for breakfast.
Great anticipation for later today:  I'll drive back up to my friend's and see my grandson and his family.  Can't wait to see the boys!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Apple Pie and Ellen

It's apple pie time and I spent a fair amount of yesterday making one.  I do this only once or twice a year and boy, it's a job.
The crust (a double one, of course) came out pretty good.  I can't imagine buying one--much too perfectly fitted to a flimsy pan and not too flavorful, I think.  Mine isn't nearly as pretty (I have to patch here and there), but if I say it myself, it's wonderfully flaky and good.  As for buying "apple pie filling" in a jar, I can't even imagine it.  If that's how you like your apples--sickeningly sweet and slickly slimy--you might as well just buy the whole pie. (And I'm proud of my food snobbery, so there!)
I always use part Granny Smith and part Golden Delicious apples. I bought five very large ones and it filled the pan high. Years ago, I was often horrified (well, chagrined) at the gap that formed between the crust and the filling as the pie baked. Later, I discovered the secret of avoiding it:  The apple wedges must be very thin, so should be sliced by hand and not with one of those metal apple dividers.
Earlier, Susan and I walked under umbrellas in the pouring rain.  I picked Aline up for breakfast and we went to John and Sonia's.  I had poached eggs, nicely soft, and my bill with tip came to five dollars and eight cents.  Can't beat that.  Aline then helped me carry the wicker love seat into the guest room, after which I dropped her off to work at the library.
Aside from that, not much going on except for the highlight of the day: A Skype visit from Ellen in the evening.  We discussed my trip there; I had thought I'd wait until after Christmas, but that's not so good for her, so I changed my plan.  Will start looking at airline prices (gulp!) tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Good News

"No significant blockage."
Happy day, the news is good after my stress test:  The doctor called a few hours after I got home to say the words above.  Guess the ordeal was worth it, after all.
Ordeal?  Yes, I worried and fretted over it.  I was sure I'd be asked to walk the treadmill for some long period and I'd feel the unpleasant racing of my heart--.
No such thing.  The only tedious part was having to recline with my left arm over my head twice for fifteen minutes each.  That got uncomfortable, but it wasn't too bad.
My friend took me and stayed the whole time.  Actually, I probably could have done it alone, but I wasn't sure.
After the call came, I drove to Manahawkin--just for a drive to clear my head; didn't even get out of the car.  Home, I conceived the notion of taking the wicker porch furniture (a love seat, two chairs, and a table) out of the garage and putting them in the guest room.  I managed all but the love seat; I'm picking Aline up for breakfast today, so will ask her to help me move that.
I was delighted to get an invitation from Tonya to go caroling at area rehabs and nursing homes on December fifth and fourteenth. The latter will be followed by buttered rum at Jim and Mary's.  You bet I'll be there both times and I'll sport my Aunt-Julia-bar-floozy hat.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tuesday

Oh, ho, I made up for lazy Monday by buzzing around on Tuesday. Went to Manahawkin, first picking up my sunglasses at the county office where I had left them; then got various and sundry at Shop-Rite; stopped at Wal-Mart for an item; went to the SOCH thrift story for something; finally, stopped at A.C. Moore to get small gifts for birthday people.  Home for lunch, I pared and sliced my carrots, added some orange pieces, and put them in the slow cooker.
Went over after to Acme for apples (I always make the pie for Thanksgiving), lemons, and oranges.  I like the big navel ones, although I suspect they're less sweet than Valencias.  I have half for breakfast, plus cottage cheese on pumpernickel.  Remembering when I used to buy them three for $1.99, I was annoyed to see they were a buck each.  Bought them anyway, but geez, prices seem to be climbing--and not by a penny here and there--all the time.
Family news: My granddaughter-in-law just posted on Facebook that she is now a wedding officiant--wow!  She has already performed two weddings for friends.  I commented that if I ever get married again, I want her to officiate.  Hey, if ship captains and pedophiles can do it, why not Noelle?
Now off I go for my stress test--gulp!

Nothing

Incredibly--and I should be embarrassed, but I'm not--I did almost nothing yesterday after I got home from my friends'.  Certainly, I did nothing productive, just lazed around, did some computer stuff, read more of Johnny Got His Gun, and completed my ritual of the cryptogram and crossword puzzle in the Sunday Press of A.C. Even took a nap on the couch.  I was bored out of my skull, but didn't feel energetic enough to initiate some action.
Hmm...Wednesday, there'll be action enough: my stress test is scheduled for 8:30.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Great Weekend and an Anti-War Novel

What a neat, neat weekend!
I'm late with this because I got a surprise call from my friend yesterday morning.  She asked if I'd like to celebrate her birthday (which is actually today) by going out to dinner with hubby and her, then to a movie.
Oh, hell, no, I said, that sounds like no fun at all (yuk, yuk).  Of course, I hastened to accept, packed a bag, got a few errands out of the way, and arrived at their place at 3:30.
We first went to see the house they've rented, where they'll live for a time after their house sells (we're all fervently hoping the snags will be overcome soon).  This is in an historic district, a wonderful location--right on Main Street and easy walks to the library, restaurants, the lake, the park.  The house itself is--well, livable, but barely. The walls are all covered with paneling--the cheap kind--and the ceilings are very low; they also slant noticeably, as do the floors. We laughed over the oddities in the place, but hey, considering the scarcity of rentals in that area, they were lucky to get it.
We then went into Allentown for dinner Italiano.  I ordered two appetizers, which were plenty large enough for a meal; in fact, I took some of the broccoli with garlic and oil away and ate it later.
Then off we went, very early. to the movies.  We saw Interstellar, which was, incredibly, almost three hours long.  It was pretty absorbing, though, and I paid attention throughout.  Of course, the plot was about as far-fetched as you could get, involving time travel and narrow escapes, and so on.  Guess you could sum it up as: Crises after crises, and a cornfield.
An annoying factor was--were--the incredible number of ads--I'd say thirty, at least--followed by at least a half-hour of previews (which are actually ads, too, of course).  And for this, admission for the three of us totaled close to fifty bucks.  We didn't get back to my friends until well after 11:00, and it was midnight before we went to bed .
No matter, though, as I slept late--to 7:15--and got up to good coffee ready to be brewed.  Sat reading* until my friend got up. She proceeded to make us scrambled eggs, toast, and pancakes--yum. Then she opened her present and card and we enjoyed her enjoyment.
I kissed them goodbye and was home about ten.  What a wonderful weekend--they're always fine when I'm with my "friends."
* Am re-reading Johnny Got His Gun, the classic anti-war novel.  I'm absorbed in it--so topical, although written so many years ago.  When will we ever learn?  Never, I think.      

Saturday, November 22, 2014

At Betty's

Fun day.  I had planned to take a bus to Atlantic City and from there to Ventnor, but it was so cold, I didn't.  After I got gas, I actually saw the bus waiting on the street and darn, I wish I had boarded it.  Instead, I drove south.
Got there about noon and Betty and I greeted each other.  Her house looks beautiful.  All the floors, except for the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room, are a lovely hardwood, the color of oak, I think, and the walls are painted a kind of linen.  She had crown molding put up, too, and that adds a terrific touch of elegance. Anyway, it looks great and I loved seeing it.
We walked around the corner to a new little restaurant for lunch.   After, we went in Betty's car to the Longport breakwater, which sparkled in the sun on the several-million-dollar houses along the beach.  Place was deserted, of course, as these mansions, it seems, are occupied only in the summer.  It's hard to imagine what the owners' year-round homes are like, considering this little summer shacks.
We drove up to the Inlet after that.  Lots of changes in Atlantic City, many unfortunate with the closing of so many casinos.  How can that area help but become depressed with an estimated 8000 people soon to be out of work?
I stayed another half hour at Betty's, chatting with my Sis.  Betty will join us at my friend's for Thanksgiving, then stay over at my place.  Stopped, as I often do on the way home, to see our mutual HSHS grad, Mary Martin Hoffman.
Back in town, I went to the library and picked up the book I requested, the anti-war novel by Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun.  Saw Aline, who called later, and we made a date for breakfast on Wednesday.



Friday, November 21, 2014

Root Vegetables and My Friend

It was the last farm day and I went early.  In the barn, got cabbage, turnips, beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes.  I could have picked (pulled out the ground, that is) other turnips from the field, but the deep furrows around them were either muddy or icy and I wasn't going to take a chance.
The car made it there and home, anyway.  I divided the bounty for my friend and me, then put my portion of the cabbage in the slow cooker with caraway seeds and a small bottle of sparking cider I found in the fridge.  Not sure where it came from, but I think from the welcome basket we got when we moved here.  I also scrubbed and trimmed the sweet potatoes and put them to roast in the oven with lemon slices.
Brother Larry called to say he's sending me another funny ad from the Miami paper.  I'm looking forward to it, of course.
Friend got here about 1:30 and started calling some of our masters, the odious "healthcare" rats who run the country.  Of course, just like the ones I had called, all carried either a huge premium or covered very little.  I'm just about reconciled to paying out a pretty hefty portion of my income for mediocre "care."
We took a nice walk, though, following the route Susan and I have every morning.  In fact, we ran into my walking partner, who was out getting the mail, and chatted with her for a bit.
Home, my friend went to Acme for salmon, while I set the table, then we had a tasty early dinner together.  She changed, then went back to work (student conferences) and I settled in for the evening.
My friend (who is much more than a friend to me) has a birthday on Sunday.  She was born on Thanksgiving and I've been thankful for her--more than anyone can know--ever since.       

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Breakfast and a Pedicure

Not a bad day--but cold, cold, cold.  Met Susan as usual at 7:00 for our walk, all bundled up against winter.
I had agreed to pick Aline up at 10, which I did, although I don't like to have breakfast that late.  I meant to go to exercise before that, but instead, decided to go to Sunset Nails for a pedicure. However, I found they don't open until 9:30.
We went to John and Sonia's, that popular neighborhood luncheonette and enjoyed it.  I was sorry to hear Aline can't go to my next acting session, as she has some function or other at the library.
Dropped her off there and went home, then spent several hours completing When Cooks Confer and tidying up the other plays I'll have my students perform next time.
Quit that long enough to finally get over to Sunset Nails and get my pedicure.  It felt great and my tootsies look purty.  I really should have a manicure, too, but I'll defer that or do it myself.
Decided which duo in my class will do which play and when; I'm scheduling two per session (December and January) and the last in February.
Talked to Betty and told her I'd go down to see her house tomorrow.  Said I'd take the bus, as I don't want to drive that far, but now I'm having second thoughts.
Going up to the farm today--I hope my car will make it--as it's the last for the season.  My friend is coming a bit after 12:00 to contact a few health insurance companies, the black-hearted bastards, to see if I can get a better deal.  I don't have much confidence I will, though.  I got e-mail info from Omaha and so on, then a phone call. Talked to the guy and they want close to $300 a month, so screw that.  I'm reconciled to the $180, plus not inconsiderable co-pays, and I just want to get past this whole thing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Car, Insurance, and the Dark Night

What a friggin' day.  As planned, got up to my friend's area to meet her husband, Mike, at 8:00.  Left the car at J & L Automotive and went back to his place.  Mike busied himself with various chores while I read the paper and so on.
In a few hours, the guy called and confirmed what I knew in my heart: The car isn't worth fixing.  I thanked Mike and drove home; had my carrot/orange mix for lunch, then left to pick up a new referral at the doctor's.
Went from there to meet my friend at the Ocean County Aging Office, or some damn thing.  We were with "Claudia," the Medicare and supplemental health insurance interpreter for more than an hour.  All I know is, I'm pretty sure going to take a big hit--more than two thou more than I pay now.  This on top of the fact that I have to buy a car.
However, I'm not going to stew over it; I'm more or less numb and, boy, when I was outside, that was literally true.  I'll survive the financial news and will slog on.
The bright side is that I got a darling Thanksgiving card--original, of course--made by my sweet daughter-in-law in Tokyo.  It's from her, my son, and adorable, fourteen-months-and-ten-days-old Mr. K.  Talk about being thankful--!
WIDER:  I just got a tiresome blanket e-mail from Dayle F., urging recipients to buy at Sears because that store--hardly known for its benign treatment of employees--is maintaining the salary and benefits of employees "serving" in "our military."  Good grief, is there any idiocy which the populace won't swallow?  Or any smarmy, "patriotic" nonsense that won't make them gag? The message even mentions that it's "amazing how long the war has lasted," seemingly without a single urge to examine more closely the reasons for its longevity.  What garbage and when I get something like this, I truly despair.  We are well into the dark night and it's getting darker all the time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Rain and Stuff

I hate rain.  Yeah, yeah, you have to have rain to make the flowers grow and the rivers go and the fireflies glow--or something.  I don't like it, though, it's so cold and wet, and it rained hard all day yesterday.
I did get my blood test, had breakfast, then went to exercise. Unfortunately, nobody could run the DVD machine, although five women tried.  I left at twenty after nine, just decided I had given it a go, and I can't be faulted for not remaining.
Went to Acme and got a rose for Susan, Aline's sister.  Why?  As an apology for my abominable behavior yesterday.  Say what? (Ugh! Why would I use that illiterate military jargon?)
The story:  Susan came into our enclosure before the performance yesterday and that just isn't done.  Seemingly, she didn't realize it, but I didn't care, I was steamed.  She greeted Aline, then smiled at me.  I brushed past her, scowling and muttering about "why a member of the audience would be backstage...."
After, Aline said Susan was terribly upset at my snub; mostly hurt. I felt like a worm, the lowest of the low.  In fact, it made the cast party less fun and, in retrospect (how do I get out of this retrospect?) cast a shadow over the whole weekend.  I was sick at my own mean reaction to what was, after all, probably an innocent move of Susan's.
Anyway, I got her the rose, put it in a vase, and wrote an apologetic note.  But when I got to her house, Susan came out in her robe in the pouring rain, hugged me, and said not to think anymore about it.  Wow, what a relief and I hope that will be a lesson to me to keep my big, sarcastic mouth shut.  Gave her the rose and the note, anyway, of course, then took Aline to work at the library.
I went in with her to request Dalton Rambo's classic anti-war novel, Johnny Got His Gun, which I read years ago, but want to again.
Called Betty and was going to go down to see her house--she moved back in--but thought it best to change my mind, considering the state of my car.  We chatted for quite a while, though, and caught up with each other.
Other than that, I cut up carrots and put them in the slow cooker with orange slices and cinnamon; also made a big pot of angel hair spaghetti and meatballs.  Revised and completed most the of plays I'm going to assign for my class, and did lots of wash.
Today, I'm leaving at 7:00 to take the damn car up to my son-in-law's, so his mechanic can look at it.  May stay over, may not.
Greatly enjoyed another Breakfast with Baby, adorable Mr. K.  He said "Nana" several times and I'm sure he knows that's me.  What a little doll.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Matinee

I'm late with this because I just went for a blood test in preparation for my--gulp!--stress test next week.
Yesterday's matinee was probably the best of our three performances; too bad it was the last of the run.  Aline's and my bit was well-received and my exchange with "Frank, the announcer," went nicely, too.
After, we had to strike the set, which took about 45 minutes.  Frank had driven Aline and me, but wasn't going to the party, so I asked him to drop us at home, so I could change out of my costume. He did so, and we left shortly for the H.'s.
Wonderful spread: not just nibbles, but sausages, macaroni and cheese, and a potato dish in slow cookers, as well as rolls, veggies, and all kinds of other sides.  They also, of course, had just about any wine, beer (I drank only a Blue Moon), and soft drinks one might fancy, plus an array of desserts, including cheesecake, brownies, and chocolate chip cookies.  We stayed until almost 9, then I took Aline home.  Unusually for me, I went straight to bed.  I had told Susan I would resume walking tomorrow, so ran over to get the blood test.  Will now go to exercise, virtuous gal that I am.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Show and So On

Not a lot going on before leaving for the show, aside from domestic chores.  I also went through old magazines (mostly from the forties) to see which would be fun to display.
Frank drove, we picked up Aline, then got to the Community Center in plenty of time.  I spread the mags out on a table, along with the sign I had made ("Enjoy viewing, but please don't handle. Property of Rosemary Molloy") which, I learned later, was widely ignored.
The show went well, although the audience wasn't as large as I had hoped--maybe two-thirds of the seats were taken.  I was annoyed with Bob, who missed his cue and allowed some dead space, but aside from that, it was okay.
My friend and her husband were there, along with Ed S. and Sharon Somebody from Players & Playwrights, both of whom I was happy to see.
Last show at the matinee today (2:00 pm), then we have to strike the set and there'll be a cast party at the H.'s after.  Darn, Frank isn't going to the party, so I asked him to drop me at home first; I must as well change before the party.  
I was delighted to be treated to several more videos and still pictures of the little dynamo in Tokyo.  He's growing by the day, and is such an active, interested, inquisitive little boy--what a sweet baby!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Vivian, Veggies,and Opening Night

I did walk (with Susan, of course) and what's more, I went to exercise.  Before that, Mike called back and I got to see adorable, six-year-old Violet, whose big news was that she's going to be in a ukulele concert soon.  I can't even imagine a whole evening of ukulele music, but hey, I'm a cultural Philistine from way back.
Violet soon had to go to bed and I got to talk longer with ten-year-old Vivian.
Now I'm her grandmother, of course, but I think almost anyone would recognize how beautiful she is.  I've asked her several times if she had make-up on, because her lips are so red.  She has very fair skin, very dark hair, perfectly shaped features, and a slender, lithe, athletic body.
What's more, Vivian is bright and inventive.  She was wearing a "tie-dyed" shirt--I had sent her a tie-dye kit for her birthday--and it looked very sixties cool.  She showed me her new Iphone and we had a lot of laughs comparing it and its "apps"* to my five-dollar (it was on sale; usually $14.95) TracPhone.  We had to say goodbye soon, though, as they were going out for dinner. (Singapore is 12 hours ahead of the eastern U.S.)
Didn't have breakfast until almost ten.  After that, I washed and trimmed the four or five pounds of sweet potatoes I got from the farm and put them to roast in the oven with lemon slices over. Pared and cut the turnips and put in a dish; oiled and seasoned chicken leg quarters, froze some and put another in the oven with the potatoes; had it for lunch.
Opening night went well.  The house was about three-quarters full, not bad for Friday.  Kevin did a credible job substituting for Frank and there were no large snafus.  I forgot to tell Kevin he was also to deliver the few doctor lines, but George, on stage at the time and realizing that, stepped in like a trouper and said them. At one point, he conversed with himself as his other character, Singing Jim.  But that's the beauty of a show like this: The pretense is, the radio audience doesn't see the actors anyway, so players can do several roles at once.
Got lots of laughs and a good amount of applause.  Susan and Walter were there, along with Mary-Jo, Pat, Lee, Bessie, and a few more.  I talked to them after and they were very enthusiastic.  Saw others there from Sunrise Bay, also.
Dayle and I were delighted to see Louise from the P & P group, who was looking great with a new hair style.  She stayed after, also, and we had a great time chatting.
As soon as the audience was gone, Ron's wife (I directed him as  Marty, a lowlife thug, in the Shadow segment) brought out a big cake with candles, as it was his birthday, and we all sang the traditional, then enjoyed the cake.
It's during times like this that I realize how big a wrench it will be to leave here.
* I hate using that stupid, trendy, 1984-like bastardized English abomination non-word, but I can feel myself drowning in a sea of verbal meaninglessness that's going to turn us all into Orwell and Huxley characters.  So whatta ya gonna do?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Teeth and a Rehearsal

Shortened our walk just a bit, so I could have a bite before the teeth-cleaning appointment at 9.
As for this, no big deal, I guess, but I have an inordinately powerful dislike of any dental procedure and certainly, this was no exception.  However, it wasn't too terribly bad and I thought I got off easily until...
...the dentist walked in and said we'd take care of that cavity now.   Wha--what cavity?  The one in my front lower tooth that was hardly noticeable, but needed to be filled because it's a food trap.
Okay, okay, ya got me.  Dr. Lee, a nice young man and very gentle, did the deed and, although uncomfortable, I stood it and now it's over.  Cost  me $177, but compared to last month's $365, I grinned and bore it.
Picked up Aline and we sped up to the farm. Got turnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets--I love the root vegetables--plus lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach, and a few other greens.  I put Aline to work checking the whiteboard, and fetching the veggies, as I did the same, and we finished in about an hour.
Went to my friend's to leave off her produce, chatted with her husband, then I took Aline to Tooties, the little luncheonette in New Egypt.  She loved it and so did I.
Zipped home, showered, and changed into my "lady of the nineteen-thirties" costume, went next door to Frank's, picked up Aline and went to dress rehearsal.
Aside from the usual snafus, it went well, but I didn't get home until after 10:00, then stayed up with popcorn and wine until almost midnight.  I had planned to just "sleep in," as the silly saying goes, but Mike called at 5:45, thinking it was an hour later.  Ordinarily, I'd be up by then, anyway, but I wasn't this time.  Just got a glimpse and a word from adorable V. and V., but he'll call back at 8.  I hadn't intended to walk, but since I'm up, might as well.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Insurance and Stuff

Went to the three-mile and boy, could I feel the months of non-participation.  This was grueling; I even had to stop for a few beats here and there, but it was finally over.
Pared and cut up turnips and carrots and put in the slow cooker, then drove to Shop-Rite for supplies.  It was jammed--dunno why on a Wednesday, but maybe a storm is brewing.  If so, I don't want to know.
My friend came at 3:30 and shortly thereafter, Ann R., the health insurance rep, joined us  It was a long session, close to two hours, and after the smoke cleared, the upshot gave me two choices: I could pay $73 more per month and get a lousy policy that covers little, has astronomical co-pays and a very high deductible or I could pay $180 more per month ($2160 more per year) and get a slightly less lousy--but still lousy--policy.  My friend leans toward the latter, but will "discuss"--electronically--the question with the three other most important people in my life, and advise.
As for me, I'm numb.  I can't even work up my customary rage against the unholy alliance--government and big health--that rob people blind and make them think it's a good thing.
Rehearsal went okay, except for the fact that Desi sat on stage the whole time, even when he was supposed to get up to the microphone.  I'm going to send out an e-mail to my cast and add a general admonition about that to all.
I have to go to the dentist this morning for teeth-cleaning and had told my friend I'd go the farm.  Hope my car makes it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

War Worship by the Philadelphia Eagles

Beyond, simply beyond belief.  No wonder I hate and despise football, which seems to have turned into a blood sport--so closely connected with warfare as to be indistinguishable.  Things like this make me despair of anything close to an effective anti-war movement.  Let the games begin.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=769595259744916

Busy and Armistice Day

Biz, biz, bizzy day!  Picked Aline up at 9:00 and went off to Shalom House, the Margate library being closed for odious Armistice Day.*
The acting class went very well.  Bernice had informed me she would be absent, but all other attendees were there--and on time, too.
Last meeting, I had printed out ten poems, mostly by my favorite poets, William Butler Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Shakespeare, and William Blake.  I had them randomly select one and asked them to recite and explain theirs next time, which was yesterday. Generally, they all did a credible job and it was an excellent session.  In fact, a number of attendees remarked after on how much they enjoy the course--very satisfying, considering I work my ass off (oops--sorry) to make it so. We stopped at Smithville for lunch, virtuous Mimi getting only a Caesar salad and no beer, then drove home.
When I got in, I was taken aback to hear a message from Henry M., the only male who had signed up to attend the acting course, but he didn't show up in October.  I called him right after and left a message, but he didn't get back to me until yesterday. Called him and, to cut it short, he seems to want to still attend, although he missed the first two sessions.
This is really a complication, as the others already have their "assignments" for next time and I'm just not sure how I would fit Henry in.  He said he had been in the hospital, which is why he didn't show--why he didn't call me back until a month later, I don't know.
We talked and I found he's had some acting experience--not sure how long ago; he sounds pretty old--although my course is aimed toward those who haven't.  Anyway, if he can't be included, he asked if he could get his deposit back. Said I'd call FELS coordinator, Adele C., which I did and she'll get back to me.
Another complication: As soon as I dealt with the previous, I went over to Susan to ask Walter to take over announcing duties for Frank on Friday, while he attends his aunt's funeral.  He agreed and that was that, I thought--.
But no-o-o-o.  I sat down at the computer to find a message from Tonya that she had asked Kevin Berdini to do the honors.  Had to call Walter to rescind and I'm not even absolutely sure Kevin intends to do the honors for my Shadow, or just for Tonya's episodes, but I assume he will.
Today, I'll go to exercise at 9:00 (I fervently hope it's the two-mile and not the three) and will see the health insurance rep at 3:30.  My friend will come, too, to help me decide what I should do about next year's coverage.  Rehearsal again tonight, when if we're lucky, the coverage for Frank will be straightened out.
Can't wait until the week is over.
*WIDER:  Oh, yes, yes, I know the lousy warmongers have rechristened it "Veterans Day," bastardizing the original idea for it, which was to remember combatants who died in battle, not simply fought.  The paeans of praise for the "heroes" seemed to reach a fever pitch yesterday, with almost hysterical outpourings of worshipful garbage for our troops--who are practically divine, as was hinted about the Japanese kamikaze pilots during World War II--along with free car washes and lunch at McDonald's.  The Press of Atlantic City ran an odious piece on the front page about heroic vets visiting classrooms, presumably to impress on the children the nobleness of slaughtering strangers on command.  In places of worship (not that I would dream of darkening their doors), there was surely many a mention, if not full sermons, dedicated to the hired killers. The whole idea behind these sickening practices is, of course, to ensure the mindset favorable to never-ending war and to nudge those upcoming--the children--to eventually volunteer for "service" as executioners for a grateful nation.              
        

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Busy and Rehearsal

Okay, I'm back in the fight!  I hadn't gone to exercise for--oh, six or nine months or so--but galvanized myself to go yesterday for the two mile.  I intend to keep it up, too.
Besides, I got lots done: changed the sheets on my bed, vacuumed, clean up in the kitchen, and shifted stuff in the garage. More than that, I packed up my car with stuff that hadn't sold at the flea markets and took it over to the thrift store.
My friend came at lunchtime to bring my farm produce, we ate, and she did a few little things for me, including moving the bookcase from the guest room into the garage.
After she left, I prepared Swiss chard, which is pretty tedious.  You have to cut out the tough stem that runs down the middle, wash it over and over, then roll up the leaves and cut them in strips. Frankly, I'm not so sure the chard is worth it.  Friend also brought "spicy lettuce," plus some nice turnips, carrots, and--yay!--sweet potatoes.
Still busily scooting around, I had my car washed and when I got home, parked in the driveway and I, myself, little me, used the dirt devil and cloths to clean the inside.  I also swept the garage and moved some stuff around.  I'm on a roll!
The only lousy part of the day was when I read Rick Mellerup's write-up about Listen to This! in The Tuckerton Leader.  He included that Tonya is directing "The Blind Beggar Dies."   No-o-o, Ricky, I'M directing it.  I had given him a sheet with that information on it, plus the whole cast (nine of them), so I'm a tad annoyed, especially as he thanked me heartily for it.  He also carelessly misread Grey's name; it appears in the paper as "Greg."
Rehearsal limped along last night--I still think the show is much too long, but the hell with it.  There are some funny bits and I'm not even going to think about the rest.
My FELS acting course is today and I'll be picking up Aline at 9:00.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Scripts and Stuff

After our walk and an early breakfast, I spent the next five hours slaving over a hot P.C.  Revised two of my four plays--one slightly, one significantly--and started writing a fifth.  I'm going to call it Ladies Who Lunch and it will be funny (I hope).  I'm just patching together a lot of old material I wrote when I played Ivan Trunkel, the Hungarian Psychic, in a murder mystery at the Surf City Hotel. Added a few gags from Tony and the Heiress, plus some stolen goods lifted from the Internet and it's shaping up okay.  Also assembled and organized a lot of stuff for Listen to This!  We're opening in less than a week--yoicks!--and I need to mark my script with cues to get my players on stage at the right times.  It's not going to be easy riding herd on nine of them.
At about two, I just had to stop and clear my head, so thought I'd drive to Manahawkin.  However, my car sounded worse than ever, so I turned back.  I just hope it lasts through this week, as I have at least one obligation every day--rehearsals, my acting course, teeth cleaning, the insurance woman, and a Players & Playwrights meeting.  Next week, I hope to get my poor baby up north to consult my friends' mechanic.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Memorial Service and Wine and Cheese

It was a pleasant, if slightly melancholy day.  Got up to my friend's at 9:30 and she, her husband, and I went to the memorial service for his mother at St. Paul's Lutheran in East Windsor.
It wasn't exactly a "service," I guess.  We stood in the "Cremains (odious word) Garden" with the (Lutheran) minister. Except for one friend, there was only family there: her two sons (one had died), her grandson and his wife, their two children, the granddaughter-in-law's parents, Frick and Frack, and me.
It's funny that I like F. and F.  They're close to my age, although they're at my friend's generational level, and on the face of it, they don't seem my type: homey, staunchly conservative, very active in the Moravian church, and thoroughly conventional.  Yet they appeal to me, they seem so simple and clear,* and the distaff F. makes wonderful cookies.
Minister read a few passages from a prayer book and talked about how Mavis and her husband, Lee, who was interred there twelve years ago, were pillars of the church.  He asked if anyone wanted to say a few words and the elderly friend was the only one who did. She had been Mavis' neighbor at The Ponds, a pricey gated community where they had lived until Lee died and strokes sent Mavis back to the farm in Minnesota--in her mind, that is.
That really wasn't a bad thing.  She lived for ten more years at Care One, but was no longer elderly and infirm.  She was a young wife and mother, raising three little boys, and teaching Sunday School and darn it, where is that Lee--he only went into town for a loaf of bread.
After, we went back to my friend's for a nice lunch and talked and laughed.  The friend brought out two beautiful wool and fur coats that had been her mother-in-law's.  Both from Flemington Furs, they were tried on and exclaimed over.  Ditto with a peculiar fur hat and a Scottish skirt; Mavis was a clothes horse.  My friend's husband was good enough to take my car for a drive. He doesn't like the sound of it and pretty soon, I'll go up there and we'll take it to a guy they use and trust.
I was home by 3:00 and just puttered around with this and that until it was time for the wine and cheese party at 7:00.  That turned out to be a lot of fun.  It had been awhile since I had seen some of my neighbors and it was enjoyable chatting with them.  It was free, too, and you can't beat that.
Home, I finally got to see Ellen on Skype and had a good session with her.
* I should be ashamed to write that--as if "simple and clear" describes peasants of the mind, as opposed to Mimi, so augustly intellectual and impressively obscure.  That's not what I mean, though.  They seem to have such a solid certainly about life, an afterlife, and what constitutes both that maybe I'm envious.  That attitude usually annoys me, but somehow, I find the F.'s version appealing.


Saturday, November 08, 2014

Errands and Such

I had a long list of errands and accomplished all but one.  Got a flash drive, salt, computer paper, and other supplies, then stopped at Pat's Automotive (now my bosom buddy after a rocky start) so he could check my oil and water levels.  Said both are okay.
Looked in three stores for (artificial) white poppies (I intend to wear one on the eleventh; see yesterday's entry), but couldn't find any.  I'll just make one myself.
Completed my info for the Holy Spirit directory*--don't know if I'll order one or not--and did a bunch of other on-line stuff.  Betty called late (for me, that is--after 8:00) and we chatted.
I'm going to skip our walk this morning, as I'm leaving for my friend's at 8:30 for a memorial service for her mother-in-law.  I suppose there'll be lunch after; I'm also attending the wine and cheese party tonight at our clubhouse, but that's not until 7:00.    

Friday, November 07, 2014

Nothing Much and Red Poppies

Nothing much coming down yesterday except rain.  We walked with umbrellas, but I managed to get out late in the afternoon; bought a nightgown and a set of full-bed sheets.  Of course, I haven't bought the bed yet, but all in due course.
Stir-fried lunch of garlic, onions, mushrooms, and sausage--very tasty--and worked a bit on my acting course.  I need another short play with two females and haven't been able to find one I like on the Internet.  Decided to write it myself, as I did the other four.
The only highlight of yesterday was a long phone conversation with my Florida brother, Larry.  Very enjoyable, although I'm still somewhat concerned with the results of his bypass and heart valve replacement.  It's been months now, and he's still having pain some of the time; also, isn't as energetic as he used to be.  I hope that passes.
WIDER:  Department of Beyond Belief: The red poppy thing has been transmogrified into yet another pro-military symbol. In Britain, the anti-war stanza in the song, The Green Fields of France, has been omitted in a campaign to promote the wearing of red poppies.  Originally meant to commemorate those who died in WWI--not all those who fought--the paper flowers are now used to "honor" all the hired killer sibs of the U.S.--and to perpetuate the idea that they're engaged in a good and noble enterprise.  
Here's the link:
http://stopwar.org.uk/news/this-year-s-poppy-appeal-song-sanitizing-its-anti-war-message-is-a-disgrace?fb_locale=el_GR#.VFrX7S7we9w.twitter

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Rehearsal

Cut up, seasoned, and slow-cooked the big cauliflower I had bought the day, and ate half.  Still not veggie-sated, I also had the Brussels sprouts.
Went to Manahawkin Mattress to look again at the full mattress. He seems to have the best deal, so will probably buy there.
Frank picked Aline and me up for rehearsal at 7:00.  We wore our costumes (just thirties clothes) and Rick was there. He took some pictures, but left before our after-intermission time, so not mine. Fine by me, as I don't like having my picture taken.
Jim brought his sound effects, which are wonderful, including a large, very authentic-looking electrical sign with "ON AIR" on it. Mary handled the background music, actually playing it on an electric keyboard; I'm not sure how that will work, considering she's in Shadow, which I'm directing.
Mary H. distributed handouts.  She has us doing ten commercials, with several players involved in each, plus the two ads incorporated into Shadow and Husband.  A lot of us think that's much too many and I'll go further:  I think the show is too long.  We didn't get out of there until well after ten and we didn't even pause to approximate a real intermission.
In my opinion, a show with just three "radio program episodes," plus maybe five or six added "commercials" would have been considerably better than what we have.  I don't see the advantage in two Husband programs, plus so many commercials.  Better to have people saying, "I wish it had been longer" than "Is this thing ever going to be over?"  I'm mulling over whether to send Desi and the H.'s an e-mail to that effect.


        

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Coaching Bob and My Sister, Gene

Susan and I stopped at the clubhouse to vote during our walk.  I wanted to be sure to vote for Steve Shaffer for school board; Steve was "Tony" in Tony and the Heiress and is a Latin teacher at Pinelands High.  He's a neat guy, too.
Brought Aline to my place at 11:00 and Bob arrived shortly thereafter.  I'm always sensitive to his feelings when I coach him and try to as kind and careful as I can.  However, it's frustrating to point out over and over that, although he's reading, he isn't supposed to sound as if he is.  I suggest certain ways to deliver a line, he repeats it reasonably well, then when we go over it again, he reverts back to his plodding, word-by-word rendition.  I noticed that it's natural to him to point at each word with a pen as he says it--like second grade, I guess--and I think that encourages the artificiality of his delivery.  Asked him to try it without the pointing and he actually improved a bit.  Soon, though, he went back to the pointy thing, and in fact, to exactly the way he said the lines before.
So--the hell with it.  He'll do as well as he can and I'm just glad he has a small part.
A. and I then went to Olive Garden for lunch (and I got a free one because my Blue Moon was so late in getting to me), then to Wal-Mart for a few items. We also went to Sleepy's, where I looked at mattresses; however, I was so turned off by the snotty salesman--not to mention the sky-high prices--that I intend to look elsewhere.
Took A. to her clubhouse to vote and didn't get home until 5:00.
Yesterday was my big sister's birthday.  She was the oldest of us and would have been ninety.  She suffered some tragedies; the horror of having her two oldest sons die in accidents within a span of three years can hardly be imagined.  Her marriage was not entirely happy, especially as the years rolled on.  She was never a light-hearted person, except perhaps when she was a pretty, petite cheerleader at Holy Spirit High School and all the boys were crazy about her.  We were good friends for a little chunk of time and I wish she was still here.    

Food and the Scum of the Earth

It occurred to me that Bob needs another coaching session (actually, more like two hundred of them), so I called and asked him to come today at 11:00.  Asked Aline to come, too, as I don't want him to feel singled out.
Drove to Shop-Rite and went a little hog wild in the grocery-buying.  Got a whole chicken, salmon, Brussels sprouts, lots of salad stuff, and a bunch more to the tune of sixty-some bucks. However, I figure if the ISIS invades and imprisons me in my home, I can last for--uh, two or three years when it comes to food.
I actually sat and read for a bit.  I'm deep in Unorthodox, about a young woman who broke out of her Hasidim community. Truly fascinating.
Speaking of fascinating religions, I filled out an application for the Holy Spirit Alumni Directory.  It asks for a essay on grads' lives and I briefly described mine, adding that I'm a "happy and relieved free-thinker." Will that be left in?  Dunno.
Edited down both Frank's commercial for Goodrich Silvertown Safety Tires and Aline's and mine for Grove's Emulsified Nose Drops.  I think they're funnier this way and not as draggy.
So far, my car is tooling right along--what a pleasure.
What isn't a pleasure are the political ads of which I got eight yesterday.  What's so infuriating is that all but one was a recording. The other was some moron who said he was with somebody's--didn't even catch the name--campaign and did I need a ride to the polls?  I told him I didn't need a ride because I was never going to vote for his candidate or any other of scum of the earth running.

Monday, November 03, 2014

L. to T. Rehearsal

Susan is back and we took our usual 7 am walk.  The end of DST fit in nicely, as I awoke spontaneously at 5:00, just a bit before I like to get up.
We had been e-mailed by Desi that we should arrive at rehearsal dressed in our thirties/forties wear, because Rick M. would be there to take pictures for The Sandpaper.  Accordingly, I put on my thrift store dress, added a hat with veil that had been my mothers, went heavy on the red lipstick, and took off with Frank to the Community Center.
Well, confusion reigns supreme at the Little Egg Theatre Company (and every other such group I've ever known).  Rick was there, but he expected to take pictures of Jim with the sound effect stuff. Because Jim and Mary are in Houston, that would be difficult. Anyway, Rick will come back on Wednesday evening.
Rehearsal went fairly well.  Personally, I think two many "programs" are included.  I see no reason why two My Favorite Husband episodes are scheduled.  Besides, there are too many commercials and the whole thing just goes on too long.
My cast is okay, I guess, but there are some problems.  Bob is still just hopeless and after coaching him individually twice, I'm just going to have to accept that.  Chuck comes across as simply reading and Frank--well, he does, too.  George was okay as "Singing Jim," but too folksy as "Dugan, the pool hall owner."  I'm going to send some strong directorial notes via e-mail.
Cold, cold, and fierce winds.  Damn, I hate winter.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Rain and Stuff

The rain came down/Oh, didn't the rain come down...
Or something.  But I didn't care; I had my car back and I took it to B.J.'s, then Wal-Mart.  It really was pouring and I got wet despite my umbrella, but I wore my boots and paid no attention.
I did spend most of the day at home.  Talked on the phone to several people, shaped up some more of The Shadow for rehearsal tomorrow, and generally kept busy.
In my evening, their morning, I had a delightful virtual breakfast with Mr. K., Daddy, and Mum.  I love to see him mugging, pointing, and articulating.  True, he gets a bit testy when things don't go his way, but he's so adorable nobody could get mad at him. A busy, bustling baby boy is what he is and his Nana dotes on him. He went to a animal festival, with petting zoo, and new pictures on Google + show him on a pony (not enthusiastic about that), "holding"--sort of--a fluffy yellow chick (adults were afraid he'd squeeze), and with his little cousin, H., whom he obviously likes.
Other than that: Susan sent an e-mail saying she'll walk today if I come over, so I will.  It worked out perfectly that DST ended today, as I got up at five, but it felt like six.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Car Back!

Got my lil' darlin' back, good as--.  Well, more like on its last legs, but at least it runs.
My friend came at lunchtime to bring me the farm goodies, then at 3:30 to accompany me to the garage.  In the meantime, I washed, chopped, and put in the slow cookers: 1. a combination of cauliflower and chard; and 2. sliced carrots with sliced turnips. Had some of the first with dinner and it was delish.  Made a big salad with the green leaf lettuce; only thing I haven't dealt with yet is the radicchio; can't remember if it's actually a cabbage or what and must look it up.
Pat had called at 1:00 to give me another song and dance about how hard he was working on my car.  (It was only an hour later than when he said he'd call--must be some kind of record.)
We got there and after listening to Pat, as he compared the fuel pump which he replaced to a heart that runs the car/body and he had to get a stent at Deborah (Jersey heart hospital), but you get older and things wear out and anybody else would have demanded thousands to replace the engine and he was working on it until after midnight again and...and...and...
His wife was there for a time and how she stands that non-stop flow of verbiage without domestic violence is beyond me.
BUT!  Before we went in, my friend noticed there was a sign outside saying Pat accepts Visa and other credit cards.  What?  I had purposely gone to get cash because there's a sign over the door inside that says "cash only."  We pointed that out to Pat and he said he never even noticed it; it had been there since before he had the place, but of course, he takes credit cards.  (You just don't know whether to laugh or cry.  We decided to laugh.)
I didn't tell Pat that when I had the cylinder replaced there, his employee didn't comment when I said I'd go to the bank and bring the $45 back, which I did.  One wonders if said employee may have quietly pocketed the--.  Oh, Mimi, you're being paranoid, so move on, fer cryin' out loud.
My friend left and I immediately drove to Acme and stocked up on food. I had pretty much eaten down the freezer, so I got a lot for there, plus some beautiful oranges, which I've been without for two days, a real hardship.