Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Variety

I had already packed my mother's china and other "good" tableware, but yesterday, I filled two large boxes with all but four place settings of my everyday dishes.  That took a fair amount of time and I could barely carry the boxes, but I got it done. Packed up a lot of miscellaneous stuff, too, then I ran out of boxes.
Zipped up to Wal-Mart to get more and ran into Kevin B., that sweet guy who murdered me in Night Must Fall.  We commiserated with each other about LETCO's  no-go in April and agreed that the rest of us should have been given the chance to work something out.
I was tired of seeing my old bookcase at the curb, so I laboriously hauled it into the car and took it to the municipal recycle place. One the guys there took it out and tossed it in the proper receptacle.
Frank D. came over to give me my air conditioner cover and we visited for a bit.  Every spring, he removes it and wraps it neatly and every fall, he puts it back on. What a gem of a neighbor.
Susan's cleaning woman, Marifer R., returned my call and will come this afternoon to give me an estimate.  Betty and Alex C. will be here this morning to get the chair I'm giving her.
I'm considering dropping I Have Something to Tell You from the April 16 show at Shalom House.  It isn't the fault of the actors, but mine, as the ending seems very contrived.  I could possibly change it, but may not be able to come up with something plausible in time.  On the other hand, my class liked it, so--dunno.  I looked through my archives (oh, so grandiose!) on Word and found The Potato Family, which I wrote years ago for the Drama Club.  I may substitute that--or just add it to the others.

Monday, March 30, 2015

More and "Mom"

Took apart a number of large pictures in frames; that is, I took the pics out of the frame and put the latter on the thrift store table in the garage. Then I started on the pics I'm going to keep in frames.  This work goes fairly slowly, as I first wrap in white tissue paper, then in newspaper, then in bubble wrap.  Also, I can't use boxes or containers that are very large because I have a problem lifting them. I filled one with some heavy stuff and almost killed myself getting it into the garage.
I'm starting to run out of space in there, so will have to consolidate a bit more.  I especially want to separate what I'm taking with me, donation stuff, and the priceless treasures I want to sell.  Put a few more things up on Craigslist and on Facebook's "South Jersey Online Flea Market."
Betty called to ask when she can come get the chair I'm giving her. She'll call a friend with an SUV to see when he can make it.
Got a call from Amy at Bonaventure Senior Living in Ventura. Ever since I went into the site, "A Place for Mom,"* I've been getting such calls.  I told her I probably wouldn't go that way, but we had a nice chat.  If I planned to live in such a facility, that's probably the one I'd choose.  It's (barely) affordable for me and is only three miles from Ellen's.
Speaking of whom:  Had a good Skype visit with her.  She's happily anticipating Spring Break, but definitely is not looking forward to the idiotic testing to which she has to subject her third-graders.  It's all privatized now and it's all about the money.
* Now who in friggin' hell ever thought up that slogan?  It seems to embody all the idiocy of the present day: "Mom," that odious substitute for "mother," because everybody has to be all folksy and warm and love little puppies; "a place," because you gotta get her put away so she doesn't start telling you how to raise the kids.  And hey, forget "Dad"; he should have kicked off by now, so Mom can enjoy schmoozing with her cronies.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

More of the Same

Instead of the other areas, I got busy on what I call "the pantry."
This is a large, shelved closet in the kitchen, plenty big enough for all cans, cartons, boxes, and bags of foodstuff, as well as onions, potatoes, napkins, other paper goods and and gallon jugs of vinegar.
What's almost beyond belief is the amount of stuff I tossed.  I filled three large garbage bags, plus other items too big to fit.  I also took two good-sized boxes to the thrift store, as well as a bundt pan (used once, I think), a large container of holiday cookie cutters, fancy decorator tips for an icing bag, and all manner of glass and plastic containers whose contents I mostly discarded.
In between all this, I put a ham bone, lentils, and seasonings in the slow cooker, and cooked up some rice.  I also found a packet of chili seasoning I had gotten in Cinncinati when I visited my cousin. When was that?  Oh, 18 or 20 years ago.  The recipe on it called for water, tomato paste, and ground beef, so of course, I had to run over the Acme to get them.  As directed, I put them together, and simmered for an hour an a half, after which it was suppose to thicken.
It didn't.  Actually, the meat and every thing else seemed to more or less liquify. However, I put it over spiral pasta as a sauce and it wasn't bad at all--in fact, it was quite tasty.  
During and after, I wrapped and packed more of my smaller pictures in frames; the big ones are going to be a formidable task.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Going Strong

Got lots of linens packed, plus a number of breakables, as well as several more boxes of this and that for the thrift store.  Aline and I had tentatively planned to go to Atlantic City on the bus, but the weather was so miserable, we scratched the idea in favor of Manahawkin.
I was going to donate some throws, sheets, and a tablecloth to Lighthouse Alliance, but they weren't in the best condition, so Susan suggested Animal Rescue.  Olive Garden is right down the road, so after dropping off the linens, we went there for lunch.
Bobbi called while we were eating to tell me that we can't use Shalom House on April 16, after all.  Called her back later and we settled on a possible alternative date, but it has to be approved and we won't know that until Monday.  Damn and double damn, I feel like dropping the whole thing.
Stopped at Shop-Rite after, then home so Auntie Aline could see the latest pics of adorable baby, K.  She thinks he's just the cutest and sweetest little boy ever.
We sat and talked after, then I drove her home.  Had leftover veggies for "dinner," as I wasn't hungry after our lunch.  I plan to tackle the rest of the guest room closet today, then the next big thing, the study closet.
Fran Z. called to say the flea market has been rescheduled for May 30.  I posted the offering of my model ship on both Craigslist and Facebook.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Breakfast and OGP

We walked in a drizzle, then a downpour, but had umbrellas, so no prob.  Picked Aline up at our usual 9:15 and we went to Dynasty for breakfast.  Dropped her at work after, then spent several hours at the usual.
It occurred to me that the guest room closet still had costumes and props in it, so I called Bruce B. to see if Our Gang Players would take them.  Yes, and we met at their gigantic warehouse in Parkertown.
Good grief, the place is jammed!  Bruce does a lot of the sets for OGP and told me he had also organized the warehouse.  Well, I don't know what kind of "organization" he was talking about, because the place--thirty feet high, I'd say, and surely as big as a football field--is just as chaotic as it was when I was there getting costumes for Arsenic. There are three or four rather haphazardly knocked together wooden tiers throughout, with clothes hanging rack-on-rack, hats, shoes, gloves, accessories, suitcases, containers, furniture, and it seemed, any other object imaginable, all jammed together.  I'm no judge of space, but this was definitely warehouse-size and through a door was another the same size where Bruce makes scenery.
Bruce is a big guy--maybe six three--paunchy, and a big talker. He's about right-wing as it's possible to be, but I don't care, as I find him amusing in small doses.  He told me he's 61 and can no longer remember dialog, but still sings and plays the guitar.  I was shown around the cavernous place and we chatted for fifteen or so, then I left, having unburdened myself of yet more stuff.  
Home, I took a number of personal pictures off the walls and substituted generic ones, including paintings my Uncle Frank did of his farm.  Moved some things around to stage the place better and emptied the big "hope chest,"* that used to be my Aunt Maggie's. I had kept extra blankets and decorative pillows in there, but out they went into the donation realm.
* I wonder if anyone under the age of sixty knows what a hope chest is.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lots Packed and Donated

Got lots packed, some to go and some destined for the thrift store. That included six pretty vases, a crystal decanter with a "ball" stopper, two fancy porcelain containers, two oil lamps, a clothes rack for drying clothes, four books, two tablecloths, and several smaller items.  Got it all in the car and took it to my pals at Lighthouse Alliance.
The reason I mention them is because I hope I can be more systematic about taking my donations off my income tax next year.
Betty called and I asked if she wanted two chairs and a small table I want to get rid of.  She might, and I said I'd take pictures of them to see if she can use them.
Continuing my forever job, I packed up two more large boxes to go.  Called Julie S. to see if she wanted four old kids' books (she collects them); yes and I stopped to give them to her on my way to Wal-Mart. She and George just bought the house--they still haven't sold their other one--and Julie told me she resigned from teaching middle school.  She can't stand the regimented way she's told she has to teach and has had several run-ins with administration.
Got more boxes at Wal-mart--they're cheaper than at Home Depot-- plus pumpernickel at B.J.'s.  
I was glad to enjoy breakfast with baby, who can now--ta dah!--eat with a spoon all by himself.  He polished off a bowl of yogurt very nicely, with only a bit landing on his face.  What a sweetie he is.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Done Deal

Okay, my house is available for rent, and can be shown as of April 15.  R.E. agent Walter and my friend came a little after 3:00 and the deed was done by 4:30.  Lots of things to talk over, find out, and sign, but it was surprisingly simple to understand it all.  It will be in multiple listing by the fifteenth, Walter will take pictures before that, and boy, I have a slew of things to do.
Earlier, I had galvanized myself to spruce up the kitchen. I removed the baker's rack and took away the plants, doodads, and cute little figures I used to like so much.  Moved the very small corner unit to the other side and boy, it's incredible how much more spacious it looks.  It's a nice-sized kitchen to begin with and this opened it up enormously.
Now I'm really under the gun to get this place ready to be shown. My friend agreed to come on April 3 (yes, I know it's good Friday, but that has no significance for me) and April 10.  By then I hope to have as many superfluous things as possible out of here, either donated or sold.
Saw part of International Day at my granddaughters' school in Singapore, Stamford American School.  There were lots of kids from lots of countries, included one child from Iran, and a surprising many from Korea.  The U.S. had by far the most ex-pats, presumably because it's called....  Well, yeah.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Taxes and Playlets

Happy day, my taxes are filed.  Arrived at St. Mary's well before 9:00, but there were already ten or twelve people before me.  It went pretty quickly, though, and a nice, former finance officer named Dolores, did my return.  I'll get a refund and wanted it put directly into my bank account.  However, for the second year in a row, I forgot to include a check with the routing number.  Went to the Ocean First nearby and requested a copy of a paid check; they acquiesced and that was that.
I had a list of errands I wanted to complete in Manahawkin and I got all of them done.  Didn't get home until 2:00 for lunch. After, I cleaned up a bit, put together some boxes, and made a list of (minor) repairs that need to be done around the house.
Spent a good portion of the rest of the day going over some of the playlets I want to do at the Shalom House show on April 16.  Sent a message to my acting group about the date, asking them to let me know if they'll be there.  I already know two of my performers will be away and I got messages back from two more who can't participate.
This is a dilemma.  I hate to try to get another day, as the Shalom House activity room is heavily booked.  Instead, I'm toying with the idea of adding my adaptation of The Pukey, possibly with a discussion after of its meaning.  The more I think of it, the more interesting that sounds.  Hmm...
Today, Walter and my friend will be here and I'll sign the rental papers.  I'm nervous about it; hope I'm doing the right thing.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Another Goodie

Oh, I am so-o-o good.  I spent most of the day dealing with the laundry room.  That may sound simple enough, but it was a huge  job.  To wit:
I had had a old and decrepit wood bookcase (painted and with intricate side panel designs) next to the washer.  The top shelf held detergent, bleach, softener sheets, and Oxy-Clean and the other three were crowded with cleaning products.  I had dozens more on the two long shelves above the washer and dryer.  It's unbelievable how much I've accumulated: several cans of bug spray (I haven't had an insect in the house since it was treated for termites two years ago); no fewer than five silver polishes (my silver is at the consignment shop); floor-cleaning products for carpets and wood floors; and an array of other bottles, cans, and sprays for every conceivable use.  Plus--I had duplicates of lots of them. Why? Because, as daughter Ellen suggested, I couldn't find the originals.
Cleared them all out and put the bookcase in the garage; I'll drag it to the curb tomorrow.
I put a taller, deeper, and more utilitarian plastic shelving piece in its place and neatly arranged the items I use most often on it.  The other cleaning supplies, I separated roughly into categories and grouped together in see-through boxes.  Placed those on the longer shelf.
Swept, then dusted, then washed the floor; replaced the small step stool on which I keep the laundry basket; and cleaned the adjoining closet with the water heater.  Finally finished up about 3:30 and happily went to Acme with a real sense of acccomplishment.
Ellen called while I was gone.  Got back to her--she and Greg were at the Botanical Gardens in Santa Barbara--then made myself stir-fry for dinner and basked in my accomplishment.    

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Good Day

Picked Aline up for the P & P meeting at the Northfield Library. There were about twenty-five members present and, under Denise's guidance (which consisted of cajoling, bullying, and throwing up her hands in exasperation, the only way to ride herd on this outspoken gang), we immediately started on readings to decide which plays will be included in our June show.
Denise had us vote on each of the ten or so submissions right after it was performed.  In the absence of a selection committee, this is effective, I guess, but it's a bit uncomfortable in the presence of the author.  However, there were some bombs and, uncomfortable or not, we scratched them.
I had brought copies of a few of the short plays I had written for the acting class, but decided to submit only Imposter at first.  Luckily, both Meryl and Bobbi, who had performed it in the class, were there and I asked them to do the same yesterday.  I was pleased at how much they had improved, especially Bobbi.
The play itself went over big and was voted in.  Later, after we had gone through the others--including several dogs, I'm afraid--we didn't have quite enough material for a show.  I then submitted The Truth, the Embellished Truth, and Nothing Like the Truth and it was put on the program, also. 
Meryl submitted a play about a couple visiting a nursing home and asked me to play the old lady inmate.  However, it was not voted in; I didn't even vote for it, as it kind of meandered along and didn't go anywhere.  Later, Meryl asked if I would act as play doctor if she sent it to me and I agreed.  I'll see if I can help her sharpen it up a bit.
Sondra M. asked me to play the mother in her A Peaceful Reunion, an autobiographical play, which is the only kind she writes. That was fun and I'm looking forward to doing it in June.
After, Aline and I met Betty at the Shore Diner, as planned, and Louise and Denise came with us.  Had a good time, although we had barely sat down when Denise started on a harangue about a woman's right to abortion.  Betty follows Catholic dictates on this (as well as everything else in the religion realm), but didn't immediately react.  I didn't want this social gathering to degenerate into an argument--which in this case, can't possibly be resolved--so I simply mentioned that those who oppose abortion regard pregnancy as involving two people; the group then moved on to another topic.
Anyway, it was an enjoyable outing.  After a leisurely meal and good talk, we left, I drove Aline home, and got in to hear a message from Harry Woosley, Pat's old buddy in the Air Force.  Called him back and talked to his wife (who confided she had turned 84 last week), then he called me back and thanked me for the packet of letters I had sent him.
Good, active day and now I'm ready for some down time or, at least, some continued-packing time.                

Friday, March 20, 2015

Of Snow, Scripts, and Ava Gardner

Luckily, Susan and I got our walk in before the snow.  I put a ham bone in the slow cooker along with onions and seasonings; threw in a handful of corkscrew pasta, and had it for lunch--pretty good.
I'm reading Bowling Alone on the Kindle.  It's about the falling-off in recent years of membership in all kinds of organisations.  From the religious to the political to the social to the work-related, there are fewer and fewer members, particularly young members, in virtually all groups. It's a fascinating study.
Prepared some material to bring to the Players & Playwrights meeting today.  If I think it'll go over--depends on who's there--I'll have my adaptation of The Pukey read; otherwise, will submit Imposter or A Conversation in Summer.
Took the car out just around the neighborhood to judge how slippery it was.  It seemed okay, just slushy, so I hope we can get to the meeting today.
Yo, snow.
Faux snow?
No, Roe, snow.
Oh, no!
Oh, snow,
Blow, snow...
Aline called after dinner and we had a cozy chat while the snow fell.  I enjoy hearing the ins and outs of library lore--yeah, I'm a real geek--and she mentioned that the biography section had been very tight.  She told Arlene, one of the librarians, who checked how many times various books had been borrowed in the last several years. If fewer than three times, a book could be banished to a kind of holding area in the back.  She gave Aline the list, which included a bio of Ava Gardner.  It had been taken out only once in five years and guess who borrowed it that one time?    


Nothing Much

Darn, after our walk and breakfast, I gathered up my tax info and drove to St. Mary's.  Arrived about 10:00 to find it jammed.  Filled out the preliminary form and saw my neighbor, Jo B.  We sat and chatted...and chatted...and...
By the time 11:15 rolled around, I decided to go back Monday.  I'll plan to get there a few minutes before 9:00 when they open.  Since I was partway there, I drove the Bayville to use the rest of the gift certificate my friend had given me.  Bought a blouse and purse.
Had sausage and salad for lunch.  Did wash, cleaned up a bit, puttered around with this and that.  Not a terribly productive day.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Taxes and Christmas

Bustling busily, I wrapped and packed a lot of priceless artifacts--junk--to donate and took it to Lighthouse Alliance.  While there, I bought a pair of gloves and a purse for a total cost of six bucks.
Hauled out my income tax stuff and separated receipts, recorded expenses, and so on, preparing to take it all the St. Mary's today.
For years, because my husband had a business, we had a rather complicated return.  We were permitted to take operating expenses for the house off, for instance.  I always went to Bill Dampier, a C.P.A. in Princeton; not only was he quick and thorough, but he charged us a pittance and what's more, was a neat guy.  It was a treat to see him annually, believe it or not.
After we retired, moved here, and Pat died, I just went to H & R Block.  Considering the simplicity of my return, I always thought they charged too much--close to three C-notes, in fact, and for what?  Something a mentally-challenged chimp could do.  (Wait, what does that say about  me?)
Last year, I was delighted to find AARP volunteers, who do retirees' returns free at St. Mary's in Manahawkin.  I'll take my stuff there today and combine the trip with other errands in the big city.
Talked to Betty and we made a dinner date for Saturday after the P & P meeting.  Heard from Mike that he isn't coming in April--darn--but might in June and will be in Tahoe for Christmas.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Various and Thanking Soldiers

Picked up Aline for our usual cheap--but pretty good--breakfast at John & Sonia's, then dropped her off at the library.  Spent a lot of the rest of the day digging out stuff, wrapping, and packing.  I have more donations for the thrift store, plus other things I want to take with me.
Hauled out most of the rest of the books and filled four very large cloth bags. Many of these are what's called "coffee table books," that is, they're big, heavy, and copiously illustrated.  People give them as gifts and the recipient peruses them slowly once or twice, then lays them out to form an artistic--and, he or she hopes, intellectual--display, after which they're never touched again. Except to dust.
I had several about Atlantic City, which I put up for grabs (free) on Facebook's "Atlantic City Memory Lane."  Almost immediately, somebody named Dan McMahon asked for them.  I'll send and he'll send back a check for postage.  Next, I tackled decorative pieces, separating them into "donate" and "keep."
Took the other books to the library for its coming book sale.  Made a date with R.E. agent Walter and my friend for next Tuesday. At that time, I'll sign the papers and whatever else I have to do to get my house rented and be on my way.
WIDER: This seems to me an excellent commentary on the "thank a soldier" travesty:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

After Trip

Coming down from the trip day.  Aside from unpacking, a wash and dry or two, and a trek to Shop-Rite, I didn't do a whole bunch except stuff on the computer and assembling IRS info.  
Betty called four times--the phone is her lifeline--and Aline once. She saw the same opera Frank-Next-Door and Desi did on Saturday, but in an HD (live) situation.  We'll have breakfast together this morning.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Well, it's just going to be a rough approximation of the last few days.  Best part about our Byrne weekend, of course, was all five surviving sibs together.
A few highlights:  On Friday, Walter dropped me at the train in Absecon (Betty had boarded in A.C.).  At 30th Street Station in Philly, a Red Cap asked if he could "take care of" our carry-ons; we said yes, and left them on his cart.  Got to Union Station in D.C. and asked for the baggage car. What baggage car?
Long, long story cut to bone:  The practice is for Red Cap to just watch luggage while people went to get a meal on something; their luggage was then picked up by travellers. But who knew?  Not us, that's a cinch.  After four hours and with various Amtrak employees involved, we finally discovered they were left in Philly.  They were put on the next train and we were finally able to start on the next legs of our momentous journey.
That was on the Metro.  We had been told to take the Red Line to Chinatown (actually Grovers Corner or something--don't even ask!), then the Silver Line for twelve stops, then walk to Wendy's to be picked up by a shuttle from the hotel.
Finally got to the Hilton Garden Inn--adequate, I guess, but it ain't the St. Regis.  Coffeemaker didn't seem to work, crappy buffet breakfast is $12.95 (hell, no, I didn't get it), and literally every employee is English-challenged.
But so what?  We were with our brothers and all was well.  Larry (drove from Florida) and Frank (flew from California) and we went to Olive Garden for dinner, then I took a shower and turned in.
Saturday:  Over to Jim's in Vienna, Virginia.  Had a good, chatty time with him and wife, Therese, plus daughter, Chrissy.  Made date to meet for dinner at Anita's, a Mexican restaurant nearby, did so, and had a great time.  Said goodbye to my much-loved big brother, who is 89 and sadly, seemed for the first time to be truly old to me. Rest of us stopped at Starbucks for coffee, then chatted in the boys' room, then bed.
Sunday:  Larry volunteered to take us to Union Station and I suggested we go early and have breakfast there.  Agreed by all and that's what we did.  Larry said the Postal Museum was across the street and asked who wanted to go.  Frank: "no"; Betty: "no," but Mimi, "yes, would love to!" so Larry and I toured what we thought was a very interesting place.  It was free, too.  Others stayed to chat in the station.
Soon had to part and we hugged our beautiful big brothers goodbye, then waited for the train.  No drama this time, as we had seats together, then got the NJ Transit to Absecon (me) and A.C. (Betty).  Frank D. picked me up and boy, much as I loved the trip, I almost kissed the hardwood when I walked into my foyer.
It's so, so good to be home.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

So Long

                                So long for awhile,
                                That's all our song for awhile...
In the Neanderthal days of television, Snookie Lanson* and company used to sign off Your Hit Parade that way.  Now I'm saying so long for a bit; leaving for Virginia shortly.
As for yesterday: Picked up my bestie (I think that's the new, trendy way to designate "best friend,"and boy, I'm as trendy as all get out) and we went to John & Sonia's for breakfast.  After, viewed the water at Graveling Point as we often do, stopped off at Rite-Aid, then I dropped Aline at work.
Busy after: Washed the bathroom rugs and otherwise cleaned in there.  Prepared in various other ways for my weekend in Virginia, such as clearing the fridge, doing a wash, and so on.  Finished up the packet for Harry Woosley, sent that off, and got some cash at the bank.
I'm currently embarked on trying to find Nan Sloan, widow of Jerry Sloan, as I have several letters to Pat from him.  They were friends practically from babyhood and these letters date back to 1951. Both graduated from St. James and Holy Spirit, then joined the military directly after high school.
I knew Jerry had died shortly after Pat did, because I attended the funeral. Couldn't remember the year, but was able to find on the Internet it was 2010.  With the aid of White Pages, plus other machinations, I know Nan now lives in Virginia. I got an address, but it's a P.O. box; I'll continue to try for e-mail or a phone number. I'm also pursing the Jim McGurk connection and may have found a son in Brigantine.
* Here's Snookie singing a favorite of mine:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Letters, Beef Brisket, and the Pentagon

Wrote to Harry Woosley, then printed out some pictures I want to send him along with his sixty-year-old letters.  Printer jammed and I tried to fix it, but couldn't, so called Frank-Next-Door and he did. I took the opportunity to ask if he'd pick me up at Absecon Train Station on Sunday--yes, he will.
Went to Shop-Rite and bought a corned beef brisket for the first time in  my life. I had never cooked one before, I guess because I'm only half Irish; the Kraut in me must prefer wurst.  I followed directions and roasted it for two hours on a rack in a covered pan. Had several slices for dinner and gawd, it was delicious!  So was the Cole slaw (Bobby Flay's recipe) I had made to go with it.
Talked to Betty twice.  Tried to call Helen C. to tell her I wish her well after her fall.  However, Betty said she was at the movies with Suzanne W.  Good, she must have recovered.
Another casualty among Betty's friends: Margo M., who slipped on the ice and broke her hip.  Betty called Margo's mother and had a chat with her; mum casually mentioned she had just celebrated her hundredth birthday!
More on the letter front:  I found several from Jim McG., whom Betty used to date and was gaga for.  He's gone now, and I believe most of his family, too. In the absence of somebody with a close connection, I'll destroy the letters.  Betty wants to read them, but I'm not going to allow it.  I haven't myself, although I was Pat's wife and I know he would have no objection.  I might still, but I see no reason to share his personal correspondence with anybody else.
WIDER: The following is by and about about Frieda Berrigan, daughter of one of the scarce true followers of the Prince of Peace:
It includes this mind-boggling fact about the Pentagon:
 Today, 23,000 civilian and military personnel (as well as 3,000 “non-defense support personnel”) work in that building.  Think of that cast of 26,000 this way: the total is larger than the active militaries of, among other places, Burundi, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ghana, Hungary, Kenya, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Zambia.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Happy Day

Happy day, things are looking up.  Picked Aline up at 8:45 and we stopped first at Betty's, where I left a typed itinerary of our upcoming Virginia trip, then went off to the Margate Library.  I knew Lynne and Doris wouldn't be there--both in Florida--but the other eight were.  I put Aline and Sheila on first; they performed "The Truth, etc." and it went over big. Lots of laughs.
I followed my usual routine of dismissing the rest for break, then having A. and S. come in individually.  Critiqued their performances--gently, as I always do--orally, then I gave them the papers with my comments, suggestions, and praise.
For the second half, I threw out questions for participants: Was the course about what you thought it would be?  What was your favorite part?  Were the time and venue convenient?  Ideas and suggestions?  And so on.  They were all very complimentary and we had a good, relaxed discussion.  I ended by giving each the same letter with tips and pointers on how to proceed if they want to to pursue acting.
After, we talked over the important stuff: Where would we go for lunch?  Settled on a family-run luncheonette in the Margate Towers and we had a fine time, the food good, the talk even better.  My perfect little pupils insisted on treating me, too. We broke up about 1:30, I dropped Aline off, and got home in time to clean up a little before R.E. agent Walter and my friend came.  Which they did at 3:30 and we got the lowdown on listing the house for rent.  Lots of things to know about that, but I'm optimistic.
When we finished, my friend filled her RV with more donations for the thrift store; she left, then I picked up Aline (who had asked to go with me) and drove to Wal-Mart.  I had called the doctor to see if I could get just ten of each pill I was missing and it was done--this time, only $16 and change, a lot better than forty-two smackers.
After dropping Aline, I finally rolled home close to my 8:00 TV time, changed into P.J.'s, poured my Chardonnay, and relaxed for the rest of the evening.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The G., the B, and the U.

"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly."  Wasn't that a book or a movie, or both?  Don't recall, but it describes my yesterday in spades.
First, the bad:  To cut a very long story short, I changed my health insurance and the new one, Humana, is a med plan for which I pay $15 a month; my three medications will be sent me free of other charge. That's actually a better deal than what I had before, so I was pleased.  I called the outfit in January, discussed what I take, and was told the doctor had to send in a "script."  Of course, that made sense; unfortunately, I no sooner put down the phone than I forgot about that part.
On Sunday, I went to assemble my meds (I set them up seven weeks at a time) and discovered I was out of Ramipril.  Called Humana, then went to the doc's, but it will take 8 to 10 days to get the stuff.  Asked to have Wal-Mart called with a fill-in Rx, went there, found it would cost $42, more than twice as much as I paid before.  Why? Because I was no long under that plan.  I paid it, but then had second thoughts and got a refund ten minutes later.
NOW, here I am with no BP med.  I've already gone without one night, now there'll be at least two.  I have a busy day today, but I think I'll call Dawn, the NP and see if she has any samples.  If not, I'll ask for an Rx for just a few pills.
Damn, this whole thing is giving me high blood pressure!
But--the good stuff.  I had a color and cut and it looks good--always give me a lift.
The really, really, very good stuff?  This: As I mentioned a time or two, I've been going through my husband's letters from sixty plus years ago--he must have saved all of them--and was able to send to the writers or their survivors a number of them.  Now see Sunday's post regarding Marcus Harry (not Harry Marcus) Woosley, of Julien, NC.  Incredibly and wonderfully, he called me last evening. Yes, he still lives in Julien; now 87, he remembers Pat with great fondness.  We had a wonderful chat and I was both pleased and saddened to hear he had tried to get in touch with his old buddy years ago, but had only the Ventnor address and was unable to find him.  He said he had some pictures from the old days and would send them to me.  I'll send him his letters, all these years later, and I hope he and his family enjoy them.
The ugly?  Nothing really, except my kitchen floor. Must scrub it soon.

Monday, March 09, 2015

DST and Stuff

Daylight Savings Time is always a bit disconcerting; when we walked at 7, it was just getting light.  I was restless last night, too--kept waking up, which is unusual for me--but I know I'll adjust quickly. Love having it light out as late as it is.
Again violating the "handle paper only once" rule, I went back to a lot of letters and so on and discarded, put in order, and got some in envelopes to send to survivors of the letter-writers.
Tried to track down a long-ago friend of my late husband's; Harry Marcus Woosley is or was his name and he was from Julien, North Carolina. Believe it or not, he seems to still live there, sixty-five years later, as I found an address and phone number.  Called, left a message, but who knows if anybody will respond.
Called my sister-in-law, Regina, to talk all this over.  She, Lois, and I are the only Molloys left of this generation; the born ones have been gone for five or more years.  Regina is 90-something and having some physical problems, but is sharp as a tack otherwise.  I hope to get up to Cherry Hill to see her before I leave.
Finished writing my "theatre advice" letter to my acting class students, plus an agenda I'll loosely follow. Also typed up and printed questions for R.E. agent, Walter, who will come tomorrow, as will my friend.

Sunday, March 08, 2015


Lots more packing up.  I have all but the very bottom shelves of the three tall cabinets next to the fridge emptied.  Packed a large box of breakables for the thrift store, plus another of breakables I want to take.  I finally steeled myself to discard most of the letters my sons sent us from abroad a quarter century ago; just kept a representative sample.  I had had eleven small, picture-sized albums of my first trip to Asia; dismantled them, took out a few pictures to keep, and got rid of the rest.
Took a short drive to clear my head, then resumed my chores.  I want to go over the guest room again.  Must decide what to do with the costumes and props I've acquired.  LETCO probably has no room for them; think I'll call Bruce B., of Our Gang, and see if he wants them.
Saw in the paper that Bernadette Reagan has died.  She went to school with my husband and what a beauty she was.  A tall brunette, very slender, with one of those doll-like faces that used to be the ideal for girls.   I thought she looked something like an Irish Hedy Lamarr.  I wasn't surprised to read in the obit that she had been a model.
Recorded my expenditures for the day: $0.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Sunshine and Food Prep

Incredibly beautiful day: Brilliant sunshine bounced off the virgin snow--okay, it'll be an old whore before long, but it was great while it lasted.
I looked out and happily, the street was pretty clear, so I decided to inspect route 9.  Did so, and it was fine: wet in places with packed snow here and there, but with appropriate caution, not hazardous.
Went to Shop-Rite to replenish my hypothetical larder and got lots of stuff, including a tuna steak, various veggies, salad fixings, hummus with garlic, sweet sausage, and my current guilty pleasure, animal crackers.  Didn't forget to stop and get Chardonnay, also.
Had an eclectic lunch of salad, leftover spaghetti, and acorn squash, washed down with peach mango iced tea.  Got several boxes and baskets of glassware packed and took them to the thrift store.
Spent a fair amount of time cooking: made meatballs with the ground turkey I had bought, cooked them in sauce, and froze in individual portions.  Made Cole slaw, had some, then stored the rest in the refrig.  Put together the Asian salad--I'm not sure if Asians would recognize it--and did other food prepping
In the evening, got a welcome Skype visit from little K.--getting to be big K. faster and faster--while he had breakfast.  His father and I had a lively discussion about finances, centering on my getting more methodical about recording what I spend.  I'll do so, starting today.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Snow Can Go

Susan and I were smugly complacent as we walked our usual.  It was raining, sure, but we had umbrellas and it was relatively warm. We remarked on how glad we were it was rain, not s....
Damn.  By the time I picked up Aline for breakfast, the other thing was coming down, but gently, and I had no problem driving home after poached and pancakes.  Problem was, it continued...and continued.  At night, it was still coming, just as steadily as it had for hours.  
So I was stuck in the house.  I packed the good china, put chicken legs in the oven for lunch, did wash, talked to Betty twice, changed the date to see r.e. agent Walter, (my friend had forgotten a previous engagement on the first date), and paid on-line for our tickets to go to D.C. next week.
All that sounds super busy and efficient, but nah.  I spent the major part of the day on the computer, either looking things up in relation to Kathy's story, playing hidden object games, or digging into Craig's List for suitable apartments in California.  Sent info on five or six to daughter, Ellen, and she was able to fill me in on good neighborhood or bad, distance from her, and other particulars on which I wouldn't have a handle otherwise.    
Now the snow can go and for all of me, stay away for good.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Kathy, China, and Independent Living

Kathy D., with whom I've appeared in several LETCO productions, had asked if she could come over and discuss a play she's writing. She came at 10:00 yesterday and, over tea, we talked about her project for more than two hours.
Actually, she didn't bring the script.  She said she had written very little of it--was bogged down and I got the impression there was almost nothing on paper.  She told me the story, though, and as I had suspected it would be, it was autobiographical.
I can't reveal what it's about, and I doubt if I can even adequately tiptoe around the theme, so let's just say I was startled.  We talked for two hours about what she recounted, and whether a play about it it should be partly fictionalized.  She also seemed to want it to encompass a kind of morality tale.  I can't imagine how that would work or, for that matter, if it should be a play at all, or simply an essay of some kind.  In fact, I doubt very much if she'll ever write it, anyway--if she was going to, she would have done it already.
Kathy is in her forties, but somehow seems younger.  She's very attractive in an unusual way and has a kind of other-worldly air about her--to me, anyway.  I like her a lot and greatly enjoy our intimate talk.
After she left, I packed still more, including two large boxes of my mother's china.  Just had to get out of the house after that, so drove toward Manahawkin, then just turned around after a few miles and went home refreshed.
Called blogger buddy, Pat R.,  and we discussed independent living, which I've been exploring.  I've visited Pat in the attractive, nicely laid out facility where she lives.  Very expensive (who coined the phrase "golden ghetto?") and with all kinds of amenities, the setup includes care if residents should become less than independent.  Pat's circumstances are different from mine and it seems a good fit for her.
But frankly, not for me. After discussion and after e-mails back and forth with my children, I've come to that conclusion.  I'm sure I couldn't afford it, anyway, but even if I could, I doubt if it would be my choice.  It's convenient and "safe," of course, but seems less than stimulating.  And living in such close proximity to people who may not be as active and involved as I am doesn't thrill me, either.   Anyway, talking to Pat helped consolidate my thinking about the subject, and I appreciated it.
My final acting class is next Tuesday and I spent time yesterday writing out a letter for each of  my students with advice on pursuing acting.  I'll have Aline and Sheila do The Truth, etc., then have an open discussion to wind it up.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Here and There

Walked at 7:00, of course, and went to exercise at 9:30.  Strenuous as ever, but invigorating; I'm sorry I can't be there for the last session next Tuesday.
Started packing up the good china. My mother had gotten this when she was married ninety some years ago, and I guess I can't bear to let it go.
Heard back from my children about the independent living possibility.  Mike, in particular, seems to be negatively impressed. He thinks it will be less than doable financially, regardless of what I was told on the phone--hidden costs and so on.  Also, P. researched it and is equally pessimistic.  Ellen will scout out two of the places, but I'm beginning to doubt it's feasible for me.
Went to Mastercraft to get my oil changed and at the same time, asked them to look at my wipers and see how much they'd charge. More than Dominic's $268?  Yes, by a good hundred bucks, so scratch that. I might try again at Pat's Automotive.  If his estimate isn't in the ball park, I'll just have to take it north and waste a Saturday--mine and my friend's.
First at Home Depot, then Wal-Mart, I bought some good, sturdy, cardboard boxes. What gets me is that identical ones are five cents more at HD, plus are covered with the store's name and logo, so you're doing their advertising for free.
Contacted the hotel and the train station to find out particulars about getting to Virginia next week.  Absecon to Philly to D.C. to one Metro station, then another, then a shuttle.  A drag, but I hope to enjoy the trip, anyway.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


More, more, more of the same, along with some deviations.  Made a date with Walter G., who will be my agent, to come over on Thursday.  My friend will join us and we'll go into the ins and outs of renting my house.
Called the guy at the antique place and he expressed interest in my mirror in the hall.  Said he wants to come down and look at it and will call me back so we can arrange it.
Betty called to remind me to contact the train station and so on for our trip to Virginia.  Damn, I'm really not even enthusiastic about going at this busy time.  Guess I'll enjoy it when I get there, though.
Took my car to Pat's Automotive, only to be greeted by a guy with a cigarette hanging off his lip.  He looked remarkably like those mug shots of crazed mass murderers.  Said he was too busy to come back later.  No, thanks.
Went to Mastercraft and explained the wiper thing.  Will bring it back in today and have them estimate the cost; if it's $268 or less, I'll have it done and presume car guy will pay half.
I had e-mailed my children re an independent living facility.  They seemed interested, but cautious.  Mike, in particular, was darkly pessimistic.  Ellen called and we talked. She'll try checking out The Bonaventure and Cypress Point, two possibles.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Purim and Independent Living

One of those annoying days.  I had intended to go down to the Purim show at Beth El in Margate, as some of my friends from Players & Playwrights were in it.  However, I got not one, but two advisory e-mails from the Ocean County Sheriff's Office containing the usual bug-eyed hysteria.  There would be HAZARDOUS conditions with SNOW AND ICE, creating danger to life and limb, and everybody should hide under their beds.  And yes, most was in caps, indicating extreme urgency.
First, I ignored it, as I usually do, but it started to snow--lightly--about 10 and like an absolute jerk, I began to take the silliness seriously.  About noon, I went to Acme, which was, of course, jammed.  It continued to drift down and I reluctantly decided I'd better skip the Purim thing, as the roads might be slippery.
Damned if it didn't stop snowing by 12:45 and I don't believe there was any slipperiness at all.  I could kick myself for being so easily led for such a flimsy reason. Instead of supporting my friends and enjoying a festive occasion, I spent the day packing up some frames and knick knacks--and sulking because I had missed the Purim celebration.  What a jerk I was.  I've now unsubscribed from the advisory list.  If actual threatening weather is actually about to occur, I know somebody will let me know.  Otherwise, if I plan on going any distance, I'll look it up on-line.  I won't be manipulated like this again.
The day wasn't a total loss: I did contact a rep in  an outfit that acts as agent between clients and independent living facilities. Soon, as I asked to be, I was called by reps from two of the places themselves.  I'm not absolutely convinced I want to go that way--thanks partly to my friend, Pat, I know some of the drawbacks, but also some of the draws.  I'm well within the appropriate age bracket, but I'm also healthy, engaged in various activities, non-religious, and politically progressive.  I may not find any kindred spirits there, but I can always look outside for them.
What appeals to me is the idea of major expenses being covered, as well meals and house-keeping.  Then, there's the difficulty in trying to find a "regular" apartment which is livable, plus what I can afford--a major consideration.  Could I adjust to living at "The Bonaventure," for instance?  Quite possibly and I may give it a try.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Wipers and Dominoes

Lazy Maisie that I am, I told Susan I would skip our walk, as I was leaving early to go up to my friend's.  In truth, I could have done both; just hankered for sleeping later and, indeed, didn't get up until 6:15.
Put my sampler, antique platter, and a few other things in my trunk and took a folder of pictures of those items too heavy to lift.  Got to my friends about 10:00 and she followed me to Dominic Roselli's, the guy who was to look at my wipers.  Left my car there and went to Red Barn Antiques, a wonderful place in New Egypt.
We were greeted by a (very) elderly lady in a wool cap and flannel shirt, who seemed a bit befuddled.  She asked a man behind her to take care of us and he groused that he was too busy, we don't open until 11, what time is it, oh, 11:15, but take them up to see Judy, I don't have time...
We saw Judy, wife of the owner and she came out to my car to see a few things.  Said she wasn't interested in my ethnic dolls, but thought her husband might like the sampler.  However, he was at an auction and I'd have to call to find out when he'd be in.
Judy was very friendly and talkative and confided that she had been born and brought up in Roswell, New Mexico; she knew the town where my friend and her husband might settle and said it was a lovely place. I left my pictures for her husband to see and we took off.
Got lunch meat and stuff at the supermarket, then stopped at the First Baptist Church of Allentown.  Why?  Because they were having a soup sale--homemade, of course--and we picked up some delicious black bean vegetarian.  Great idea for fund-raising.
As we were preparing lunch, brother Frank called and we had a good talk.  After, we walked the few blocks to the lovely little library, which used to be a church.  Looked around, read a bit, then walked back.
Dominic called to let us know he's have to order a part and cost for all would be $268, not too bad, considering Chuck, the car creep, would pay half.  However, he suggested I may want to see if somebody down here would do it for the same price and he'd confirm it to Chuck.  Good idea and that's what I'll do.
Showered, dressed, and strolled to the D.'s next door for dominoes. The R.'s were not able to come, but the H.'s did, and the five of us had much fun.  I dislike most board and other non-physical games--come to think of it, I dislike games in general, I guess, as I find them boring, but dominoes is fun. It's mostly luck, but just a bit of "skill" here and there.  Of course, the company and congeniality is a draw.
Didn't get home until after 11:00 and went right to bed.