Saturday, January 31, 2015

Consignment

My recycle container, which is provided by the township and is very large, was filled so high yesterday I could barely wheel it to the curb.  I discarded an enormous amount of paper, plus various things made of glass and metal, plus a lawn chair that had been my mother's, plus lots of other stuff.  It gave me a great deal of satisfaction to see it hoisted high by steel arms and dumped into the trash truck.
Made an interesting find: a shoebox-sized container filled with foreign and domestic bills and coins. Not sure if some could be worth something, but will find out.
My friend came at 3:15 to get my Lucite radio and box camera down from the high shelf in the study.  She then loaded my "lady desk" and other consignment items into my car.  She also delivered the money realized from the the sale of my car for scrap. Then she insisted I take the dough from selling the snow-blower my husband had given her and her husband when we moved here.  I argued she should keep that money--the blower was theirs, not mine--but she refused, so here I am, stuck with a total of 400 bucks--woe is me (heh, heh).
She no sooner left than I jumped in the car and drove to Downtown Consignment in Manahawkin.  I was pleased that proprietor Denise accepted all my stuff and approved most of the prices I wanted to realize.
Bought a piece of salmon at Acme to celebrate; enjoyed that and enjoyed even more a virtual visit with the baby doll in Tokyo.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Varied

Off we went at 9:15 to breakfast at John & Sonya's.  We duplicated last Thursday's meal and activities, but that's okay.  I don't mind being in a rut if it's comfortable.
After dropping Aline off at the library, I went home and packed up the additional D.Q. items, took the box to the P.O., then stopped at various places for errands. Took a bunch of wires for electronics to Best Buy, dropped off a printer cassette at Staples (you get a coupon for two bucks for each), and picked up lettuce and rice cakes at Acme.
When I started my car, the horn suddenly came to life and blew over and over; I must have accidentally hit the "trying to steal my car" button on the key holder. I should be embarrassed to admit it (but I'm not) that I didn't know how to turn it off.  I finally did, but I'm not sure how. Should I read the manual?  Nah.
Wrote a letter to my old boss at Rider, Shirley Turner, and enclosed her thirty-three-year-old, five-dollar check.  E-mailed her to alert her to that, as I haven't seen her for six years.  She's now retired from the university, but is still a state assembly senator.
Spent more time in packing things up for the thrift store; will take it tomorrow when they're open late.
Betty called to say Mary H. had had her surgery, and was doing reasonably well, although it was a bad break.
I made myself throw my silver vegetable dish cover away.  The handle is broken and, according to the jeweler, base metal isn't worth being melted down, so out it goes. I'm steeling myself to do the same with the big silver tray I always liked, too.  Handle is off and it doesn't shine up as well as it did, so there's no point in keeping it. They were both wedding presents...
Don't know why I'm so damn sentimental.  Geez, they're just hunks of stuff, yet I have to hold back tears when I think of throwing them away.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

An Okay Day

Received from my Florida brother, Larry, a copy of the draft of a letter my father wrote in 1935 to a former employer.  He mentions "an addition to my family."  Yes, that would be my brother, Frank (California), who marked his 80th birthday last week.  Called Larry to thank him and we had a nice talk.  Later, I typed out Daddy's letter and sent it as an attachment to my sibs. Got a nice e-mail back from brother, Jim (Virginia), who remembers that era.
Aline called and we caught up with each other.  She suggested we go to breakfast today; I'll pick her up at 9:15.  In the afternoon, I went to the library and saw her there.
Other than that: continuing on with my clean-out.  I went over an enormous number of papers--literary ones, that is, ranging from my religious period (pious poems and essays), to my college years (various papers, almost all of which I threw out), to my years of employment at Rider (a few shows and other writings), to more recent Players & Playwrights and LETCO (lots of  material, some of which isn't bad).  Weeded a bunch of them out and stored the rest. I was chagrined to find yet another container of Dionne Quintuplet material; I had thought I sent all to the west coast.  I'll go through this, though, pack it up, and send it off.
I bought a bag of shredded cabbage and carrots the other day and yesterday, put together a dressing for it; found the recipe on line, of course. Incredibly, that's the first time in my life I ever made Cole slaw. It's okay, but the next time, I'll jazz it up a bit and will shred my own cabbage and carrots.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Memorabilia

The snow was indeed a bust and a ho-hum.  By noon, the streets were pretty clear and our driveways and sidewalks had been done. Spent practically the whole day going over a huge box of memorabilia, almost all letters from my two sons 25 or more years ago. The elder was already in Japan and the younger in California, then Hungary and other parts of Europe.  I can't bear to throw them out, so I organized them into his, his, and miscellaneous, and put them back in the box--which felt as if I had spun my wheels all day. Had a bowl of pea, then lentil soup, for lunch and followed that with a big bowl of steamed spinach, which I like better cooked than fresh.
Brother Frank called, checking to see if I was freezing in a snow drift somewhere, and we chatted a bit.  Betty ditto; I think Absecon Island got less than we did.
In between the letters stuff, I washed the bathroom rugs and cleaned the floor.  Will do the rest tomorrow.
Gave myself a respite from my labors by driving to Shop-Rite for a few things.  The place is usually jammed, but yesterday I guess everybody was convinced the snow would be lethal, so there were few shoppers.
Bought a get well card for Mary H. and sent it off.  Worked a bit more on converting my short story, ("Burning Bright") to a play. It's shaping up fairly well, but there's a lot more to go.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow and the Sniper

Okay, the snow arrived stealthily last night--looks to be about three inches, if that, so hardly the storm of the century. Yesterday, there was just a dusting when Susan and I took our walk; no ice, I was happy to realize.
As soon as I got home, I drove to Acme to get ONLY split peas, so I could make soup with the ham bone. Of course, I came out with lots of other non-essentials, including a big bag of lemons, most of which I cut into wedges and froze.
At the store, I had an odd experience:  I saw a woman who looked just like me.  Now, I'm sure there are other women who look like me (especially in Ireland; I favor the paternal side), and maybe elsewhere, too, but I've never seen anyone with so striking a resemblance.  I actually followed her around a bit and finally, wanting to see her more closely, I approached her, excused myself and said, "Are you Marilyn's mother?"  "No," she said, rather curtly, and I apologized and moved on.  I'm thinking about a possible play with a theme like this, as I've always been fascinated by the doppelganger idea.  Later, when my friend came over, I told her about this and we mused over the idea that it wasn't me sitting there talking to her, but the woman in Acme.
My friend brought me an electric heater and informed me she had sold my old car for $250--yay!  As I often remark, there's nothing like money to make people happy.
Put the peas, plus carrots, onions, potatoes, and broth in the slow cooker, and set it a-simmering. Polished some silver and cut up the lemons. Sectioned both halves of my grapefruit and put them in the fridge for breakfast. Had a bowl of my soup--it came out great--and took some over to Susan.
Betty called and we chatted for quite a while, both snug in our homes, weather be damned.  I was sorry to hear that a mutual friend and fellow HSHS '54 grad, Mary H., was in the hospital with a badly broken ankle.  She'll have surgery on Friday.  I called and spoke to her sister.
David C., the son of an acquaintance, called and I filled him in about LETCO.  The information was sketchy, but hey, that's how our group operates; I said I'd call him when we start meeting or rehearsing for the April show.  I'm a bit concerned by his diction, as he doesn't seem to articulate well, but maybe will improve.  E-mailed the other members of the board about him.
Got up to good news just now: an e-mail from Mike saying he'd be here next month from the 13th to the 16th on his way to Texas. Happy day--I can't wait to see him!
WIDER:  The popularity of that sniper movie makes me despair.  It seems a perfect manifestation of Orwell's last lines in 1984:  "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--forever."










    Monday, January 26, 2015

    AJL, Dinner. and Stuff

    As noted here, I had spent hours removing the pages of American Jewish Life that contained my articles.  However, it still looked like too high a pile of papers, so I decided to cut all the pieces out.  Did so, which took me all afternoon, but I was able to whittle the pile down, then stow them all in a container.  Will consolidate by adding other copies of my deathless prose.
    Speaking of which:  I came across an old short story of mine called Burning Bright which isn't half bad, if I say it myself.  Think I'll revise it into a play and, if I ever get back to Players and Playwright at the Jersey Shore, will submit for a reading.  
    Susan called in the middle of all this to invite me to dinner.  Oh, sure, don't have to ask me twice.  She had ham, with lots of sides and good wine, plus Molson--a Canadian beer and one of my favorites--then insisted on packing up some of everything to send home with me.  That means I won't be found dead of starvation during the blizzard--
    --which had manifested itself when I got up this morning with a light fall, maybe an inch.  Presumably, the rest of the twenty feet or whatever the latest terror news tells us, will be coming shortly.  My friend asked if I wanted to come up there, but no thanks.  I'm snug and warm in my own place, have food enough to last until spring, plenty of good neighbors in case of any problem, and I'm staying put right here.

    Sunday, January 25, 2015

    Death and the Smart Ass Cripple

    More of the same of the last few weeks. Culled American Jewish Life even further by not just separating pages with my stuff on them, but actually cutting them out.
    Got a phone call from my Cincinnati Sis, Marifran K., who told me that the son of our mutual cousin, Kevin B., has taken his own life. He died last Tuesday, the day before his thirtieth birthday. What a tragedy!  I asked Marifran if she thought it might help if my sister, Betty, called the grieving parents. She believed so and I called Betty to give her the number.
    I've always loved Dylan Thomas' poem, And Death Shall Have no Dominion. The title, repeated in the poem, is from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans and, I assume, promotes the idea of an afterlife. Thomas doesn't, but he asserts that human beings live on in our memories and--more fuzzily, I think--in their spirits. I connect it to Shakespeare's "Full Fathom Five," from The Tempest with those exquisite lines, "Nothing of him that doth fade/But doth suffer a sea-change/Into something rich and strange."
    Maybe that's faint comfort, but to me, it's comfort.
    Note: I was delighted a few months ago to come across Mike Ervin's blog "Smart Ass Cripple."  It looks as if Mike is more or less immobile--not sure why--but his writing is hysterical, as well as--okay, sassy and smart ass as they come.  He's also on Facebook, so I was able to see pictures of him and his wife, who's Asian.  He's in a wheelchair, but I'm not sure if she's handicapped--uh, disabled--uh, physically challenged--oh, hell, I'll say it: Crippled!
    Thanks for freeing me up psychically enough to write that, Mike.

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

    Same Old Stuff

    Lots more of the same old stuff.  Cleared out the lower kitchen cabinets and filled two large boxes with baskets, plastic containers, and "fancy glass" items, i.e. a cake compote and deviled egg holder.  Yes, I used them often in my entertaining days.  Took them over to Living Word, my favorite thrift store, and left them.
    I had been putting off calling Humana, the mail order drug company that's part of my new insurance.  Was pleasantly surprised at how helpful and courteous the rep was, and even more, so that the cost for all my meds is zero a month.  The fee is fifteen monthly, but I still come out ahead.
    Brother Larry called and we had a nice chat.  Talked to my friend, who will come over on Tuesday to do a few things for me.
    Finally got Vivian and Violet's school pictures and they're just adorable.  Vivian, ever the drama queen, is posed like a movie star and has a big movie-star smile on her face.  She's so adorable at ten.  Violet looks like the sweet, pretty little girl she is, but her intelligence is evident.  How did their parents--and I--get so lucky?
    Went to Shop-Rite--jammed, of course, it was Friday and a snow "advisory" had been issued.  (SNOW?!  In January?!  Oh, no, no, that's abnormal, pack up the car, save the children, here it comes, an avalanche, we're doomed--AAGH!!)
    Just went out to get the paper.  It's raining a little.

    Friday, January 23, 2015

    American Jewish Life

    Had a nice breakfast with Aline at John & Sonia's.  After, we went down to Graveling Point just to view the water.  I dropped Aline off at the library--she was working noon to 5:00--then zipped home to dig into a task I've been putting off for weeks.
    This entailed looking through forty or more issues of American Jewish Life, a tabloid-sized monthly published by our next door neighbor in Ewing, Sam Jacobs.  Why?  Because I wanted to find the articles I had written for the publication from about 1971 to 1975, when I started at Rider.
    I tried my best to avoid reading much of them; otherwise, I never would have finished.  However, I dipped in to a few and was pleasantly surprised to find that, overall, they aren't bad.  I wrote on a wide range of topics, from the Munich Olympics massacre of Jewish athletes to the opening of a new bagel place in Trenton to the machinations of Henry Kissinger.  I interviewed the N.J. chancellor of higher education; lots of state, county, and municipal political hacks; a rabbi here and there; some entertainers and "personalities"; and a number of other people of note, including the last private owner of The Trenton Times.  He was a member of the prominent Kuser family and his great-grandfather had founded the paper in the late 1800's.  In hindsight, I think that sale in the nineteen seventies may have led to the newspaper's decline.
    I often reviewed restaurants, which sounds like fun, but was my least favorite assignment.  They were invariably advertisers in American Jewish Life and Sam gave me to understand I should write favorable reviews.  I disliked that aspect, but wasn't honest enough, I guess, to refuse.
    Sam paid me and pretty generously, too, and I enjoyed the work. However, caring for a home, husband, and four children left me strapped for time on occasion.  In those days, Sam had to drive a distance away to prepare the paper, bringing the typewritten copy to Somewhereville, where it was set in type and printed.  (How archaic that seems today!)
    I had a bad habit of procrastinating with actually writing a piece after I had completed an interview or researched a subject. Several times, I remember having Sam hovering over me while I was at the kitchen table typing up the last few words of an article. As soon as I added the --30--, he would practically snatch it out of the typewriter, and rush out in his car.
    Well, I meandered on about all this reminiscing longer than I had intended.  Besides the above, I went through one of my bottom cabinets, prepared two big boxes for the thrift store; went to B.J.'s and Wal-mart; left a large bag of books at the library, and so on.
    Had a Skype call from the Sweetie of the East and enjoyed interacting with him while he ate breakfast, brushed Daddy's hair, and occupied himself with various baby matters.

    Thursday, January 22, 2015

    "Birthday" Lunch

    Turned out to be a pleasant day.  I left for Atlantic County early--too early, as I often annoyingly do--so I could pick up some Chardonnay at Canal's.  Included a chilled bottle and brought that to the luncheon at the culinary arts restaurant of Atlantic Cape Community College.  Parking was yea far, but no matter, I like to walk. Got there about fifteen minutes early, but sat down, had a glass of wine poured (the hovering manager/faculty member did it), and pulled my Kindle out to continue my book.
    Others--seven of them, including Betty--got there shortly and we had a good, if not superb lunch.  The staff were all students, of course, and good grief, they seem to be admitting 14-year-olds!  Or I'm doddering--oh, no, that can't be it.
    Anyway, they were courteous and generally efficient.  Entrees included chicken with Brussels sprouts and mashed sweet potatoes (very good), shrimp (much too spicy for my taste), and pork roast with a kind of gravy or sauce (excellent).  Soup, salad, and dessert came with it, as well as the usual soda, iced tea, and coffee.  We toasted Betty's birthday (actually, ours was a month earlier) with the wine and had a nice time. During it, she received a text that her daughter-in-law's mother had died--or rather, as announced in today's I-never-met-a-euphemism-I didn't-like phraseology, "passed."
    The snow started just as we left, but there was no problem driving home.  I think we got a few inches.  Aline and I had planned to go to breakfast today but I'll have to see what the roads are like before I confirm or cancel.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    This and All That

    La-de-dah, I didn't walk yesterday, either, as Susan had to take her new car in for a checkup.  Slept until 6:30 and it felt good, but I don't want this to become a habit.
    Aline called and we caught up on our separate weekend activities, hers in Manhattan.  Made a date to go to breakfast tomorrow.
    Betty called to ask if I'm going to meet her and friends today to celebrate her birthday with lunch at the Culinary Arts place in Atlantic Community College.  Told her I will if the weather doesn't turn bad.
    Spent a lot of time shining my silver.  It's been stuck in a high cabinet for so long, all the pieces were badly tarnished.  Very labor intensive, that, but I'm hoping the consignment person will take the smaller pieces.
    I also have two complete sets of knives, forks, and spoons, both very old, that had been my Aunt Maggie's sister-in-law's and have her initials on them.  I like them a lot, but am not sure I want to take both with me; will think about it.
    Took pics of, and e-mailed to the consignment shop woman the silver, my "lady desk," and a few other things.  Not sure how enthusiastic she'll be about them.
    I have two silver pieces with the handles broken off and I stopped at Tuckerton Jewelry to ask if they might be able to reattach them. Guy said no, but suggested I check about seeing if a solder would do it, or he said, I may be able to do it myself with epoxy.  Asked the guy at the hardware store and he thought I could.  Will think about it.
    Dropped off yet another load at the thrift store: Two heavy boxes of kitchen stuff, my trifle bowl, and miscellaneous items.  Believe me, there's still plenty to go.

    Tuesday, January 20, 2015

    Ice and Stoup

    One of my greatest fears (just after going blind and dropping out of the sky from a plane) is falling.  Yesterday morning, happy the rain had stopped, I started over to Susan's at 7:00 and was horrified to realize there was a slick covering on the street and some of the sidewalk.  I waited on my side for S. and we ventured on, walking on the grass strip to avoid slippery parts.  Careful though we were, when I stepped off the curb to cross the entrance to the clubhouse, I slipped and almost fell.
    That was it.  I apologized to Susan, but turned back.  S. is no fan of invisible ice, either, and she went with me, both reaching our front doors with no further incident.
    The iciness had, of course, melted later when I drove to Shop-Rite for this and that.  Annoyingly, my hazard lights came on and I couldn't get them off, even when I turned off the car.  I pulled over and tried all kinds of pushing and pulling and turning and cursing where the directionals are, but no luck.  Stopped at Pat's Automotive and the guy just pressed a button on the side of the steering column.  Damn, I'd better start reading that manual.
    Got an e-mail from Mary H., asking LETCO members what they'd like to do for our April show.  I wrote back, but oh, no, will not reveal the content of my message--it would spoil the joke.
    Spent a lot of time polishing silver, in preparation for e-mailing pictures of my treasures to the consignment place.
    Made a big salad and, with a bowl of that yummy lentil stoup,* had it for lunch.
    * "Stoup": soup/stew

    Sunday, January 18, 2015

    Enjoyed...

    Regardless of the lousy weather--rain, more rain, plus additional rain--I had an enjoyable day.  Susan and I cut our walk to about a mile, but sloshed through okay.
    Every Sunday, I look forward to the "Cryptoquote" and crossword puzzle in the Press of Atlantic City--about the only thing it's good for--and after I dried off, I spent an absorbed hour on them.
    Washed, dried, and folded several loads of clothes, following Mari's admonition to roll them and put them in drawers, rather than hanging.  After, I prepared my soup/stew with lentils, spinach, chopped onions, diced garlic, and the nice ham shank I bought the other day.  Added seasonings and two containers of "vegetable juice" (I freeze the water in which I cook vegetables, as it's full of nutrients). Left it simmering in the slow cooker, jumped in the shower, and dressed for "Sunday Musical Arts" at the clubhouse.
    The CD was the Met's 2008 production of Hansel and Gretel and it was superb.  Humperdinck's original music was used, of course, just as presented in 1894, but the words were in English, a rare treat. Even better, we also got English subtitles.  Of course, the original fairy tale was modified, enlarged, and added to. There were food themes throughout, plus plenty of physicality. The performers handled it incredibly well, all the while delivering complicated arias.  Incidentally, Hansel was played by a woman and the wicked witch by a man.
    Renee Fleming acted as hostess and a wonderful bonus was the addition of behind-the-scenes vignettes.  We witnessed singers being made up, measured, and dressed, as well set workers scurrying around in the wings, and an interview with the stage manager.
    Got home about 3:30 and walked into the yummy aroma of my lentil soup, now done to a tee. Couldn't resist a bowl of it right away and if I say it immodestly myself:  DE-LISH!
    The top-off to the day was a Skype visit from my west coast girl; good talk and I said hello to her Gregg, who was preparing dinner.

    Unassigned Consignments

    Arrived at my friend's a bit after 10:00, the car packed with items I thought I might be able to unload at the consignment shop: the crystal champagne glasses I gave the bride, groom, and attendants for the toast at my grandson's wedding twelve years ago; six very large, attractive baskets; the steel case that holds roughly 300 of the slides my husband took while he was stationed in Chaumont, France sixty years ago; a large platter that's surely more than a hundred years old; two Soviet Union posters; a five-level plant holder; and quite a bit more.
    We were planning to take our treasures to a place in Maple Shade. Friend called first, did so, and found the owner has received an eviction notice and had to be gone in 30 days.  Yoicks, now what? Okay, friend and husband loaded my stuff into their van, hooked one of their two trailers on, laboriously put a large desk and some antique pictures in it, and we drove off to Chesterfield to an auction place.  They put their items in the shed as they had been instructed--not a soul around--then we went back to their place and had lunch.
    Friend called around to other consignment shops, but for one reason or another, they're weren't buying.  About 2:00, we transferred my stuff back to my car, I said goodbye, and drove to the consignment shop in Manahawkin run by husband and wife dwarves.
    They were cordial, but said they were more interested in "funky"--meaning up-to-date, I guess--goods and suggested I go to Goodtime Antiques on Bay Avenue.  I did, and talked to the owner.  She didn't want the things I had in the car, but said she might be interested in some of my silver pieces and my lady desk.  Asked me to e-mail her pictures, and she'd decide.
    I'm really not too hung up about this.  Sure, I'd love to get money for my stuff, but that may not be feasible.  Stopped at Acme and got a ham shank, as I want to make lentil soup/stew tomorrow.
    Was delighted to again have a virtual breakfast with baby, courtesy of Skype.  K. gets more adorable all the time.  He's looking and acting much older and seems considerably more mature than the ordinary sixteen month old.  Am I biased?  Yes, indeedy.
    Seeing the opera Hansel and Gretel today.    

    Saturday, January 17, 2015

    Lentils and Death

    Packed up more priceless treasures--read "junk"--for the thrift store and the consignment shop and put the boxes on their respective tables in the garage.
    Met Betty at Italian Gourmet and we had a pleasant lunch and good, sisterly time.  After, I stopped at the Shop-Rite across the street to pick up a few items.  Have had a hankering for lentil soup (or soup/stew--I make it thick), so got some lentils. Must pick up some ham at Acme.
    Looked into Facebook and was so sorry to read that Cathy Carter-Romaro has died.  She was in Rider's communications department--director of "Creative Projects," whatever that is--and I knew her fairly well.  I was surprised to see she was 49; I remembered her as much younger.  Well, you goof, Mimi, you retired twelve years ago, so yeah, she was 37 then.  Darn, though, I didn't know she was sick (cancer) and I feel a sadness, as I always do confronted by the death of someone I know.
    Say what you will about a reaching a happy haven heaven and flitting around with the angels, or lying down to a welcome eternal snooze, or that quintessential American cliche, beloved of the simple-minded, "you should regard death is just another part of life."
    Yeah, like learning to swim or your first kiss, I guess--aagh!


    Friday, January 16, 2015

    Prepping

    My day was about evenly divided between food prep and script prep.
    I had bought a large container of chicken thighs at Shop-Rite the other day and these I oiled lightly, then seasoned with lemon pepper.  There were ten, so as I usually do, I put them by twos in zip-lock bags, labelled, and stowed in the freezer.  When I go to eat them, it's a simple matter to defrost in the microwave, then roast in the oven.  Also prepared salad for lunch, trimmed Brussels sprout, and cut up cauliflower, which I cooked in the Crock Pot.
    As for the script:  I had written most of Fatal Family Reunion some years ago, but it needed a fair amount of revision, especially the third act.  I changed some names, altered dialogue, and cleaned up the presentation, which took me right up to the time I had to jump in the shower and get ready for the LETCO meeting.
    Besides the H.'s, Tonya, and Aline and me, Neil G. and Trish and Albert O'N. came and we had a good session.  I presented the info I had on dinner theatre murder mysteries, but said that frankly, I was not enthusiastic about doing one at Cranberry Creek.  This was the general consensus, I'm relieved to say, and I'll call Mary Ann M. today to extend regrets.
    Aside from that, we had a riotous time--fueled by excellent wine and Mary's wonderful appetizers--discussing upcoming projects, including in April, a kind of montage.  Should be fun.
    Meeting Betty today for lunch.

    Thursday, January 15, 2015

    Eggs

    Whew--quite a busy--not to say strenuous--day.  Aline treated me to breakfast at Dockside and...
    Now here's a little sidetrack that really has nothing to do with my busy day, but hell, it's my blog and I'm going to ramble in it.
    To wit:  I do like Dockside, which actually is--well, dockside.  You can sit at a window table and wave at people in the small boats going down the canal just a few feet away.  I've always like eating on the water, so to speak, and I go there fairly often.  Dockside has great lunches with wonderful, "homemade" (rather, restaurant made, I guess) soups and good sandwiches.
    Breakfast, though, is problematic for me.  I happen to like my eggs soft--very soft.  The imp in me likes to gross out the wait person by saying I want them slimy.  Usually, the kitchen will accommodate, but for some reason, Dockside can't seem to do so.  The last two times I was there, I got scrambled, did the "soft" routine, and what I got was just as firm--to me, that translates into "tough"--as my companions' eggs.  This time, I thought I'd pull a fast one and get poached; you can't possibly make poached eggs anything but soft, can you?  Incredibly, the chef managed to close-to-hard-boil part of the eggs and leave only a smidgen runny.
    Did I scream, yell, and throw my plate across the room?  Nope; I just sighed and ate the damn things.  (Not like me, I know; I must be coming down with something.)
    The busy part?  Once I dropped Aline off at noon, I spent the rest of the day--about four hours, in fact--assembling and separating items to donate to the thrift store and others for the consignment shops we'll visit on Saturday. I set up two folding tables in the garage, one for each, and got them pretty well filled.  Also lugged my incredible hoard of Christmas decorations to at least the same area; I haven't yet decided how to deal with them.
    My friend came after work and got everything out of my top cabinets (42" high), which practically filled my counters.  The stuff includes things I haven't seen for years, such as "the good china" my mother got when she was married ninety-five years ago; silver pieces I got for my own wedding in 1958; various servings dishes and fancy champagne glasses I forgot I even had--and so on.
    The latter I'll reserve for the consignment shop and as for the rest, I'll simply have to decide what goes where.
    I did get a lot accomplished though and, more to the point for me, I'm getting things assembled into workable sections.
    So far, so good re California.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015

    Acting Class

    Picked up Aline and headed down to the Margate Library for my class.  Had to park a bit away and, boy, how fierce that wind is coming off the ocean.
    I explained that Doris was unable to be there, so I had postponed her and Aline's playlet.  Sondra was unable to come, also, as she was with her soon-to-be-dead cat; that is, it was being put to sleep.
    Linda and Sheila performed A Conversation in Summer--reasonably well, but I doubt if Meryl Streep has to worry.  We discussed the play and characters, then I critiqued their performances privately.  I was taken aback that Linda had memorized her part.  I hadn't realized she has a serious vision problem--not sure what it is--but it's hard for her to read print. However, she did all right and I'll contact her before the next session to see how I can facilitate things for her.
    I then distributed the two short paragraphs I had quickly whipped up, and had the eight participants recite as whatever character they had picked from my infamous little red box.  I had the rest judge which they were supposed to be and they did okay, although none had added the gestures, facial expressions, and so on that I specifically mentioned ahead of time.  Okay, we'll get to that.
    What always surprises me is the enjoyment they get out of this class and the great appreciation they express after each session. Geez, I just take it off the top of my head, but they're always so complimentary, it really gives me a boost.
    Got Aline to work by 12:30, as promised, then went home to have lunch and pack up two more boxes for Ventura.  Took them to the P.O., dropped off two more at the thrift store, stopped at the doctor's office to have my new insurance info entered, then drove up to Shop-Rite.  Bought, and had for dinner, garlic chicken by P.F. Chang--yummy good and I ate it all.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    Color, Class, and Tenderloin

    Betty Beauty Parlour did a nice job on my touch-up, but I was shocked that it cost $58. With a ten dollar tip, and assuming it's done as recommended (every four weeks), that comes to more than eight hundred smackers a year.  The alternatives, neither very enticing, are to let it go grey or to do it myself.  I'm mulling it over.
    It was just as well my friend, who was going to come over after work yesterday, postponed, as it rained all day.  Luckily, it was relatively warm, so the predicted sleet stayed up in the clouds.
    I was royally pissed when Doris G., in my acting class, send me an e-mail--and not until Saturday--that she can't be there today.  I had scheduled her and Aline to do their playlet and now must postpone it until next month.  Had to come up with something else to fill in. Decided I'd have each member do a set piece as a particular stock character ("little girl," "femme fatale," "lesbian acquaintance," and so on), so wrote out a paragraph and set it up.
    Needing to clear my head after, I went to Acme and picked up a pork tenderloin.  I had read an easy crock pot recipe on my friend, Pat L.'s FB page that sounded luscious.  It's made with yellow mustard, maple syrup, soy sauce, and seasonings, all of which I had.  Whisked them together, poured it over the meat, and let it cook for a few hours. Yummy, yum, yum, was that good.  Of course, I have leftovers for today; think I'll get a baked potato to go with it.

    Monday, January 12, 2015

    Continuing On...

    I packed up yet more glassware--is somebody sneaking in and putting it in my cabinets?--plus two more Dionne boxes for California.  That should be it for the latter.
    Started on the guest room closet.  Consolidated wrapping paper, ribbons, and other gift material, and managed to get rid of a lot. Filled a good-sized donation box, which I'll take tomorrow.
    Figured I had labored enough and took off for Bayville, about 25 miles down Route 9.  Nice day and I continued listening to Cold Moon.  Went to the Good Will store to spend ten dollars on a very nice sweater and a "blanket" with sleeves.  I had been given gift certificates from there, an excellent idea for me.
    My friend called and told me she had found a consignment shop in Belmawr.  The payout is better than the one in Toms River and we're going to take stuff there next Saturday.  In the meantime, of course, I'll be donating the lesser items to the thrift store.
    Defrosted and stir-fried shrimp for dinner--just shrimp, nothing else, and it was yummy.  Was thrilled as ever to get a Skype call in the evening from the sweetie pie in Japan; what an active, interested, bright, and comical little boy he is!  At his direction, we went "blah, blah, blah" to each other, sticking our tongues out and generally behaving like--well, sixteen-month-olds.

    Sunday, January 11, 2015

    My Forever Job

    Continuing what I fear is my forever job, I packed up two more boxes of Dionne material to send Ellen. I was mightily annoyed when I got to the post office and was told one of the boxes wasn't flat rate one. What?  I had asked about that specifically last week and was told it would go for a flat rate. This was a different clerk, so I'll keep it packed in the original box and ask again on Monday.
    Also packed up a large box of glasses and other tableware to donate to the thrift store.  Took that, as well as a lot of jewelry, including thirty-plus pairs of earrings.  Ran into Irene C., a slight acquaintance.  She knows I'm active in the theatre company and wondered if her son, who sings and was in Les Mis, could be in the next production.
    Well, how should I know?  Damn, I don't feel like acting as an agent; if people are interested in an activity, they should have the initiative to pursue it themselves.  I did.
    Just called Irene and said I'd let her know what, if anything, is decided at our meeting on Thursday.
    Stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up a few things, then rode to the Shop-Rite in Waretown.  I just indulge myself driving that far (the SR in Manahawkin is much closer), but I'm listening to a murder mystery in the car and wanted to continue.
    Last evening on impulse, I Skyped Tokyo about 7:30 pm and was lucky enough to catch a few minutes of precious baby.  He looked adorable in a preppy-type pullover, navy blue with chevron-like appliques.  P. said Uncle Mike and Aunt Paula and the girls had sent it, but it arrived only yesterday--four months late.  Oh, well, it fit him beautifully.

    Saturday, January 10, 2015

    Lunch and LETCO

    Betty was delighted to take a lot of the items--clothes, jewelry, scarfs and socks--that I want to let go.  The rest I'll pack up and donate to the thrift store.
    We had a nice hamburger lunch at Calloway's and it came in at almost exactly the same as the Women's Club gift certificate I won: $29.74; I just added a tip.
    The domino game at the D.'s was postponed, as Barbara is still sick, so I was able to go to the Little Egg Theatre Company (LETCO) meeting at the H.'s last night. Picked Aline up and besides us and the H.'s, Tonya and Bob N. (talk about your dysfunctional marriage), and Desi came. With Ellen V., who wasn't able to come, that constitutes the board, as far as I know, but these things are fluid.
    Amid a nice spread of appetizers and copious amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon (the H.'s is the only place I'll drink red because they don't buy the cheapies my friends and I do), we had our usual long and noisy session.  I brought up the request that we do a dinner theatre murder mystery at Cranberry Creek, mentioning my own Fatal Family Reunion (really not bad as these things go, but it still has to be tweaked).  Nothing was actually decided, but I was charged with coming back to a meeting next Thursday with mine and two others to present and discuss.
    For some unfathomable reason, Desi brought up the idea of inviting an opera singer from New York to sing show tunes with our member, Kevin B., at St. Teresa's and/or the Alliance Church.  What?  As Jim pointed out, we can't partnership with a church; for one thing, we'd lose our grant possibilities and for another, the pastor might very well veto it.  Can't imagine what Desi was thinking.
    Aside from the preceding, we batted around all kinds of ideas and suggestions, some of which might come to fruition, but--ya never know with LETCO.   
    Hey, considering our vagueness and indecision, that could be our slogan!

    Thursday, January 08, 2015

    More of the Same

    We walked our usual, but hit a stretch of Seagull Drive with ice on both sidewalk and street--maybe fifty feet.  Very, very carefully, we edged our way down, walking some of the time on the grass. That's okay, but it was snow-covered and when there's a dip or stone or something underneath, you don't see until you trip over it. Because I have somewhat of a balance problem, I have a great fear of falling, so I may be over cautious at times, but better s. than s., sez I.  Anyway, we made it.
    Spent an age packing again.  I had two very heavy boxes destined for the thrift store--my summer dishes--and three sort of heavies, which I sent Ellen. That makes five I sent across country and, as long as Ellen is okay with it, there'll be a lot more.
    Happy day, the guy from Anchor came and fixed up my fridge.  I'm delighted and to celebrate, I actually bought a bottle (carton? plastic container?) of milk.  Meant to have it on cereal for dinner, but forgot.
    Drove to Manahawkin and picked up a supply of Chardonnay, including a bottle called "Wine For Dummies" that cost $3.99. Since wine at the eight or nine dollar level is often considered akin to rat gut, I can't wait to taste this.
    Betty called; she's back from the far west and is coming up today. We'll go to lunch, then I'll show her the clothes and jewelry I culled from my collection and see if she wants any.  I have it all spread out in a display in the guest room and whatever she leaves goes straight to the thrift store.

    Ice and Packing

    Looked out when I got up and decided against walking; too much ice on both sidewalk and street. When Susan started out, I called across to tell her that. Looks okay this morning, though.
    Spent virtually the whole day unearthing (getting from cabinets and so on), wrapping, and packing both DQ items and dishes from the kitchen.  I could open a home goods store, considering the tableware I have.
    Carried out to the garage the rest of the Christmas decorations that had been skulking in the dining room.  Added the holiday dishes; I'll decide how to dispose of them later.  What's important is my adherence to Mari's (The Life-Changing Japanese Art of Tidying Up) admonition to keep together items that belong together.  Now I need to take a lot of my formerly flea market goods to the thrift store so I can free up more space.
    Took a break long enough to drive to the dollar store in Manahawkin to buy bubble mailers and a few other things.  My friend came to leave off another chair.
    My fridge should be fixed today--yay!

    Wednesday, January 07, 2015

    Exercise and Chicken

    First exercise session at 9:30.
    Hey, this isn't for tabby cats; it's pretty rigorous, using both stretch-pulls and balls.  For about a quarter of the hour, participants lie on the floor (they bring mats).  But I know my limits and I know I would never be able to get up, so opted for a chair, as a few others did.  It worked out fine (literally and figuratively) that way.
    I reacted like a second-grader when teacher Ann Marie complimented me me on following through so well: proud as punch. She expressed concern that I have 3 pound weights and exchanged them for her 2-pounders for a time. After a few minutes, though, seeing my prowess, she returned the heavier ones. Considering my weight gain and the fact I haven't been attending the Leslie Sansone exercises, I was pleased at doing so well.
    Our "Sparklers" luncheon was cancelled.  Not only is snow dusting the ground, but I was told a number of members are ill.  Just as well, as I had plenty to do.  I packed up another load of DQ stuff and took it off to the P.O.
    I had invited Aline for dinner and was a little concerned at whether the streets would be icy because of the light snow which fell all day.  However, I just drove carefully and picked A. up when she got off work at 5:00.
    We had a good, congenial time, as ever.  She loved the chicken, red potatoes, and string beans--all fresh, not frozen.  Besides the tasty meal, we enjoyed good talk and laughs.  I invited her to view the jewelry and scarfs I still had on the dining room table, and she took some bracelets and a nice scarf.  Think I'll keep them until Betty comes up (probably Friday) and see if she wants any, then I'll cart them off to the thrift store.
    Anchor Appliances person called to make a date (tomorrow--yay!) to have my fridge fixed.  My friend called and will come today to add a chair to the kitchen set she brought the other day.

    Tuesday, January 06, 2015

    Busy as a Busy Bee

    Took all the food out of the fridge in preparation for the repair guy and stowed it in the garage; it's colder out there than in the fridge. Guy came, examined the patient, and pronounced a defective defroster.  Cost to replace: $189.  Hey, I'm delighted; I thought the thing was on its way out.  However, the part has to be ordered and won't come in for 2 or 3 days.
    Added a card and check to Joel's present, wrapped it, and took to the p.o.  Stopped at Pat's Automotive and he was kind enough to re-screw my dangling front license place.  Also said he'd buy my car when I was ready to sell it--that, though, isn't something I'll count on.
    Started to cull over the DQ--not Dairy Queen, but Dionne Quintuplet--collection, of which I have a humongous amount. Packed up some in a flat rate box ($12.55) and sent it off to Ellen. I'll be sending more and ask that she just stow it in her garage.
    Went to Staples and was pleased at my treatment.  First stamp I ordered has too-small lettering; didn't have to pay and they made me a better one.
    Stopped at the library to invite Aline for dinner, but she had Chinese she didn't want to keep a third day, so she'll come today.
    Made the chicken/red potatoes/string bean dish and put it in the oven.  Yum, it was delicious, although the string beans didn't get cooked as well as I like them, so will boil them tender later.

    Monday, January 05, 2015

    Continuing the Great Clean-Out

    Got winter wear (hats, heavy scarves, gloves) spread out on the bed and chose which I'll keep.  Added pocketbooks, large and small. After, I put what was left on the dining room table and awaited my friend and her husband.
    They came about 2:00, bringing the round (oval with leaves) maple table and three chairs I'll take to California. My friend took some jewelry and scarves, plus a brown wool, fur-lined hat, ear flaps and all, that I bought in a weak moment several years ago. (Looks like it belongs to ole man Moody down in the holler.)  We parted with mutual thanks, then I rushed off to Manahawkin for errands.  You'd think a typhoon was on its way considering the mobs in the stores, but no, it was just a regular weekend.
    Went to Staples for ink and ordered a stamp with son Mike's name and address (I send on a lot of his mail).  Stopped at Kohl's; thought I'd pay my bill and use the "Kohl's cash" (ten bucks) I had gotten in the mail.  Incredibly, you can't pay your bill there with a card; must have cash or check and I never carry the latter. However, I got a shirt for my oldest grandson's birthday and will add some dough.
    Got a few dollar store things, then got ingredients at Shop-Rite for a chicken recipe I'll make today.  Stopped at Anchor Appliances and made a date to have my fridge looked; it's been running warm--around fifty degrees--for months.  Freezer's okay, though.
    Made meatballs.  You can buy them frozen, but they're not nearly as good and they're so easy to make.
    As I remarked to my friend, the clothes clear out is a piece of cake compared to what's coming up: dishes, for one category.  I have three complete sets, plus dozens of serving dishes and so on. Glasses?  I have tumblers tall and small, juice, beer, champagne, white and red wine, brandy, shot glasses--oh, you name it and I've got it. These are the items it will be tough to get rid of, as they're both breakable and heavy--but I will prevail!    

    Sunday, January 04, 2015

    Scarves and Jewelry

    Wowee--I didn't see it coming, but yesterday's jewelry/scarfs clean up and clear-out session was the most problematic yet.
    Jewelry, after, consists of relatively tiny metal objects that hang on the body, and I have lots of it.  I have not one, but two, jewel boxes: a little oriental "bureau"--four drawers and gold fittings--I've had for about forty years, and one in imitation alligator or something that looks vaguely like a small traveling case.  I bought that at the thrift store six or eight years ago.
    Following Mari again, I put my folded scarfs--maybe thirty of them--out on one side of my bed.  That was quick and easy, but then I got to the jewelry.  I have a dark spread, so I put some large linen napkins down and started with earrings.  I counted 87 pair, until I got tired of counting.  Then I put out my bracelets.
    Now, I'm a self-confessed bracelet freak--and I discovered I have more than 40 of them.  Of necklaces, not so many, but certainly 20 or so, most of which I hardly ever wear.  I also have a number of pins (hardly ever wear pins, either) and other miscellany, such as scarf clips and what used to be called "cocktail rings."  It took me a lo-o-n-g time to lay all this stuff out so I could examine it, then choose what to keep.  
    I had to keep in mind two facts: 1.) That, aside from my wedding and engagement rings,* I wear jewelry only when I "dress up" in some way and how often is that?  Maybe once or twice a month; 2.) that I almost invariably choose from the same two or three pairs of earrings and four or five bracelets; I wear necklaces only occasionally and have three or four favorites.
    Finally, with much deliberating and worry about regrets, I chose what I want to keep.  Arranged the rest artistically on linen napkins on the dining room table, along with the scarves I'm not keeping. I'll invite my friend (she and her husband are coming down today) to take what she wants, then I'll cart the rest off to the thrift store.
    Was happy to get Skyped by sweet baby, K., who is rapidly coming more a little boy than a baby.  He was having breakfast--or "bresfess," as his Dad used to say--then showed off the two cuddly bunnies his Mommy had made him.  Lucky K. to have such parents!
    * By choice, I haven't taken off my wedding ring (platinum) since my husband placed it on my finger fifty-six years ago.  I'd like to take off my engagement ring (platinum, one-carat diamond and two baguettes), but I can't; my finger has gotten too plump.  I regularly wear two other rings on my right ring finger: my husband's gold wedding ring and one with six small diamonds my family gave me when I got  my bachelor's degree twenty years ago. (Yes, I was a late bloomer.)

    Saturday, January 03, 2015

    Active Day and Torture

    True to my resolve to clean up and clear out, I laid all my coats and jackets on the bed.  Quickly made the cut as to which I would keep: only those that still fit and not if I didn't like them, anyway.
    Laid out my shoes and slippers.  Geez, there were about twenty pair, most of which I rarely used.  I struggled with the "maybe I'll want to wear them some day," but my Tidy Gal prevailed, and I packed up eight pair, threw one (white heels, about fifteen years old and shabby), and two pairs of slippers out.  
    My friend then called and asked if I wanted to come up. Yes, sure, of course, and after putting the shoes, plus what I had gleaned from earlier go-throughs, in the car, I dropped all off at the SOCH thrift store in Tuckerton.
    Drove north, got to my friend's, we went to Manchester to get a document needed for her house sale, with settlement scheduled for Monday.  However, more jumping through hoops seems to be needed, I'm afraid, and now it's iffy.  I had brought chicken and we put it in the toaster oven.  I was going to stay, but decided I'd better drive home while it was light, so left it for friend and her husband for dinner.          
    Today: jewelry and scarves.
    WIDER:  Here's an essay on torture and Dorian Gray that deserves to be read and pondered:
    http://tucker.liberty.me/2015/01/02/the-evil-image-behind-the-curtain/

    Friday, January 02, 2015

    Tidying Up

    Started my Japanese style of "tidying," following as far as possible my new guru, Mari.  She insists you begin your discarding project with clothing, and do tops (blouses, sweaters, tee-shirts, etc.) first. She advises putting everything on the floor, then handling each one, and concentrating on whether it gives you joy...
    I can understand why the floor thing would seem natural to her: In Japan, people usually sleep on futons on the floor.  I modified by spreading all my tops on my bed (luckily, it's king-sized).  Took most from my walk-in closet, but more from the guest room (mostly costumes, some of which belong to Our Gang Players), and the hall closet.  I had to try on a lot of them just to see if they still fit.  Separated all into some to give away (those I grew out of, I'm afraid), some to donate (serviceable, but not great), and those I'll toss.  I diligently folded both short- and long-sleeved tops and set them on edge.  (Mari doesn't approve of hanging most things.)  Did the slacks and skirts next, then tackled socks and underwear. By then, I had had enough; I'll turn to shoes, scarfs, outer wear, and miscellaneous clothing (bathing suits and so on) tomorrow.
    Had some whipped cream cheese, deviled ham, and pesto left, so spread them on bread for a yummy lunch.
    Drove to Shop-Rite all the way up in Waretown--just because I felt like it--and picked up a few items.  Betty called while I was there and we chatted.  I invited her to come when she gets back from CA and I'll take her to lunch, using the gift certificate I won at the Women's Club luncheon.
    Filled in birthdays and other important dates on the new 2015 calendar and pursued a minor interest in "Grey Gardens" (Jackie O.'s eccentric aunt and cousin) on YouTube.

    Thursday, January 01, 2015

    End of 2014

    Picked up Aline at 9:30 for breakfast at Dockside; we both had cheese omelets.  After, I took her to Rite-Aid--she has a cold and wanted to get cough syrup--then dropped her off at the library. Went from there to Acme, which was jammed, and picked up tiny pumpernickel squares, whipped cream cheese, roasted peppers (pimentos), and deviled ham.  Later, I made little finger sandwiches with the stuff, adding basil pesto to the ones with ham.
    Took my car title to the safety deposit box, went back to Acme for plain yogurt (I'm convinced it's good for the gastrointestinal area), and did some wash.
    I was delighted to get a Skype call from Mike.  He and family are still in Sydney, where it was 2015.  Talked to V. and V. and had a nice visit.
    More videos from Tokyo were added to Google + and I laughed out loud at the one with Mr. K. repeatedly going into a closet and pulling the door closed.  Of course, his parents made a great show of being very puzzled and wondered each time where in the world he was; they expressed amazed relief when he popped out.  This game--universal, I'm sure and maybe little children a thousand years ago played it--made K. absolutely crow with delight just as my children did.    
    The party at Tonya's was moderately fun.  I went over a bit after 7:00 and stayed two hours.  I had the vague idea that I'd stop into the improptu party at our clubhouse after, but decided against it.  I just don't like staying up so late; as it was, I didn't get to bed until after 10:00 and for me, that's practically the middle of the night.