Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lunch and Cousin Sally

Pleasant day.  After our walk and breakfast, I plunged right in again sorting, saving, tossing, packing right up until time to change for our lunch date.
Walked down the Barb's and we drove over to pick up her sister, Pat, in Mystic Shores. Pat is moving in just two weeks to Seattle and has been embroiled in the same battle I have: how to go through every possession you own without collapsing from either physical or emotional stress. She has it somewhat easier than I do, though.  For one thing, she's moved across country several times before; for another, she doesn't own, but rents; for a third, she has only three children, not four.  Even so, she could relate and we commiserated with each other about the difficulties involved in such an endeavor.
Pat is moving to Seattle to live near her daughter, who is 39 and expecting her first baby in May.  Pat will care for him (his name is Noah) when her daughter goes back to work.  How lucky she is!
We had Cuisine On The Green's signature sesame chicken, good as ever, but the service was perfunctory, inept, and slow. We enjoyed good talk and laughs, though.
Got home a bit after 2:00 and, almost immediately, the phone rang. It was my cousin, Sally B., with whom I haven't been in touch for years.  We talked for  more than an hour. Sally is just two weeks older than my brother, Frank (they're 80),  lives in San Diego, and will soon have a knee replaced.  She was a marathon runner until two years ago when she finally hung up her running shoes.  Her husband had a stroke awhile ago and is somewhat infirm; older son has a fatal illness; but Sally's one of those buoyant types, for all that.
As soon as I hung up, I jumped in the car and drove up to Staples for printer ink, then to K-Mart for--well, for--that is, I got--okay, I bought cheese puffs and gum drops, so shoot me!
Before dinner, I packed up the car with my sampler, four ethnic dolls, my antique platter, and a folder of pictures of the other items too big to carry.  This was in preparation for my visit (with my friend) to Red Barn Antiques in New Egypt to see if they want to buy any of it.  I doubt it, but nothing ventured, etc.

Friday, February 27, 2015


Not a bad day, but another snafu.  We walked in a kind of blizzard--lots of snow and wind, but we managed okay with umbrellas.  It really wasn't too big of a deal, except, I suppose, for those who buy into weather hysteria.
Did more of the forever job, then showered, dressed, and made up preparing to take Pat G. to lunch.  Barb was driving and I got on my winter gear and waited for her to pick me up.
And waited.  Finally called her at 12:10 to be told our date is for today, Friday, not Thursday.
This is the third time this week I missed an appointment by either the time or the day.  I was a tad concerned (I read Still Alice last year) until I realized the desk calendar I've been using this  year is configured differently from the type I had before.  For reasons too long and involved to go into, it seems easy for me to glance at it and get the day wrong.  Besides, it's printed in too-pale blue and pink, not conducive to easy reading.
As soon as I figured that out, I jumped in the car and drove to Staples, only to find huge calendars at huge prices.  Screw you,
I mentally told the store, and I drove to Target and got more practical versions for $4.99 each.  Now I'm happy.
Betty called and expressed great wonder that we had walked. Damn, I don't want my life ruled by fear.  Maybe because I don't watch television--especially "news," which includes weather--I don't get all het* up about it.  I check carefully--going outside to test it myself--and if I find icy or otherwise slippery conditions, of course, I stay in.  But today's snow--can't decide if it struck me more as pretty or annoying--was crunchy and perfectly safe.  Of course, by the time I drove to Manahawkin in the afternoon, the roads were clear and dry.
As I was making stir-fry for dinner, I heard scraping outside. Frank, my next-door neighbor, was clearing my front walk, although the service would be coming through soon.  I stepped outside and we had a nice chat about my coming departure.  He's one of the major ones I'll miss when I go.
* Hmm...I'm surprised SpellCheck doesn't recognize that.  I think it's a fairly common American colloquialism.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Looking Up

Hey, things are looking up.  Finally, I completed Ellen's box, having put pictures in an informal album and bundled up a lot of other memorabilia.  Got it packed in a flat rate box, zoomed to the P. O., sent it off.  I told them there one of Mike's packages had arrived and they were happy to hear that.
Went from there to Shop-Rite for needed--well, some needed, some wanted--items and stopped at the dollar store, too.
Heard from Betty that she had made our reservations for two weeks from now when we meet up with our brothers in Virginia.  While having lunch, I continued reading Life is too Short, Mickey Rooney's bio, which I find semi-interesting.  I may incorporate into our upcoming show a bit he did in Sugar Babies; it's a shade risque, but I think funny:  Female character says, "I joined a dance troupe. I danced on my right leg.  I danced on my left leg.  Between the two of them, I made a lot of money."  Wonder if our elderly audience will get that.
On YouTube, I found a clip of Rooney and Ann Miller in that show.  I was astounded, not so much at Rooney, as at Miller. Seeing her dance, hearing her sing, I couldn't believe this very tall, very slender, impossibly long-legged woman could be 57 years old. But she was and here's the clip:
At 4:05 minutes in, she whips off her long skirt and you can see and watch dancin' what must be two of the longest gams ever.
Picked up Aline at 5:00 and we went to dinner at Mystic Casino. She begged off going to the Purim show on Sunday, as her sister-in-law asked if she could come up to Westchester.  I'll ask Betty if she wants go, otherwise, will go by myself.
A bit later:  Just enjoyed a virtual visit with Mr. K., that bouncing bunch of baby.  Every time I see him, I yearn to hold his little hand and kiss his sweet head. What a delight!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Whatta Lousy Day

Frustration, thy name is Rosemary!
Or something.  Had a generally frustrating, not to say infuriating day.  It started okay with our walk, then exercise with Anne Marie at 9:30.
Incidentally, these are very, very strenuous.  I'm pretty healthy and active, but I had to modify a bit to accommodate my slight balance problem. I don't think this negates the benefits, though, especially as it simply means I might rest my hand lightly on a chair. Anne Marie includes weights (I'm the only one in the class using a three-pounder; the others use two), stretchies; knee-lifts; arm, leg, waist and even wrist-oriented routines; constant marching in place (you should always be in some kind of movement during the hour); and a large green ball.  All this is done at a rapid pace while various lively songs and music play on Anne Marie's machine. Was this the frustrating part?  Oh, no, I love it.
That came later: I again tried to get Chuck, the crappy car guy, and finally got through. When I asked for the name and number of the mechanic he wants to use (so he'll pay half), we were cut off before the number was completed and it took more trying to get him again.
Well, I won't even go into particulars.  I finally got to the mechanic, but I don't know how we're going to work this out.  He has to look at the car and see what's wrong, then order the part, which may mean I'd have to leave it there, and so on and on.  I'm beginning to think I should just take it somewhere around here and eat the cost.
In the meantime, my Tracfone ran out of minutes and I had a horrendous time, both on-line and on the phone, buying more.
In the meantime meantime, brother Larry called to say he'll be in Tyson Corners, Virginia, to meet up with our other two brothers, Betty, and me.  Talked to Betty later and she'll book a room; I'll look up the train and so on.
Continuing my sorry saga, I spent a fair amount of time getting an appointment with a dermatologist.  You'd think that would be an easy task, but it isn't. It seems all skin doctors on the eastern seaboard (or in the country or all over the globe) are now under the DermOne (used to be Accredited Dermatology when my husband went there regularly) umbrella and it takes ages to get an appointment.  I finally did in Galloway, but not until April.
To top off the day from Hell, I drove to the library at 5:00 for our dinner date only to have Aline tell me we had actually made it for today.
Well, it was a fitting conclusion, I guess; it's got to get better from here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lunch and Mary H.

Full day, all righty.  Walked our walk, breakfasted, showered, and arrived at my doctor appointment at 10:00.
Only problem was, it was scheduled for 11:00.  I was annoyed with myself, but took the time to deposit Mike's post office refund at BOA.  Returned in time to stop at Living Word, conveniently next to the doctor's office, to pick up a pair of driving gloves.
The church sells gloves?  No, but its thriving thrift store, where I donate regularly, does and these suit me fine.  I guess one advantage of living in a small town--there aren't a lot--is the close proximity of things.
As I thought she would, NP Dawn wants me to consult a dermatologist about the rough patch on my nose.  Will do.  We had a nice chat otherwise; she told me that her company, Margate Players, will do Chicago in the summer.  Dawn has lost twenty pounds, hoping to get the "Roxie" role and she looks great.
Drove directly to Shore Mall, but decided to wait at Outback for Betty and go to Boscov's after lunch.  I was early, she was slightly late, but we got there.  Food was good, although the service was indifferent.
We then visited Mary H. at Meadowview Rehab, where she's recovering from a bad broken ankle.  After an hour or so, we said goodbye and I went back to Boscov's on my shoe quest.  Wouldn't you know, there wasn't a lot left and by this time, it was after 4:00. Looked around, but didn't see anything, and departed .
Got on the Parkway--and sat for a good hour.  There had been an accident, an electric sign read, and the back-up was miles long.  It finally broke and off I went.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Forever Job Yet Again

My forever job is stretching on forever, it seems.  Hauled out four shoe box-sized containers and eight large albums, filled with pictures.  Went through all, but not very carefully; that would take a month.  Dismantled and discarded the albums, bundled the pics, and made piles of the things I want to send my children.
I did make a major find: A letter I had written to my father in about 1942 when I was a tiny tot.  (He was a civil engineer and traveled at times for "the war effort.")  It's quite charming and I put in on Facebook, then went back to the Eternal Task.
Took time out to construct a big salad, cut up and nuke broccoli, and put dried peas, ham, and seasonings in the slow cooker for soup.  I wasn't even aware we were having such balmy weather--high of 43, I think--but just had to get out late in the day.
Drove to Manahawkin, but didn't get out of the car.  Instead, just stopped at Acme right here in River City for a few items.  Spoke to Betty and we made a date for lunch today.  After my doctor's appointment, I want to look at shoes at Boscov's, then we'll meet at Outback.
Got a message back from my pal, Grey, whom I had filled in about the tiresome meeting on Saturday.  He wrote that he's approached a number of agents about his book--which I'm determined to finish, although it's only on this p.c. and I still don't know how to get it on my tablet.  Since it hasn't been published, it can't be added to my Kindle.
Enjoyed my Sunday virtual visit with Ellen.  It was fun to see her fiancee behind her, busily preparing dinner for both of them.  One day, some day, I'll pack my bags and leave for Heaven...
...Ventura, that is.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Supporting the Troops?

I almost never post two entries in a day, but my journal-y one is so long and this is important, so that's what I'm doing.  Mr. Hornberger expresses my sentiments perfectly.  He mentions the clergy urging "prayers for our troops."  I stopped into a catholic church (from which I liberated myself years ago) in Margate the other day to wait for my sister.  The deacon prayed the usual prayers, then intoned that church-goers should "pray for the safety of our men and women in the military."  What?  For sheer hypocrisy, this takes the cake: supposed followers of the Prince of Peace praying for "our military."  Not for the victims of "our military," of course, not for the non-combatants (by far the majority) slaughtered by "our military, but for those who, like that odious sniper who's lauded as a hero, have made the conscious decision to kill strangers.  Makes me sick.  Hornberger's take on the subject is well worth reading:

Money and P & P

Finally, at long last, the lousy Absecon post office refunded Mike's $242.40 for the Singapore box.  I had picked up Aline at 10:00 and we got there in about half an hour.  After yet more hassle and delay (the clerk had to call the postmaster at home), I got the dough.
It was only a bit after eleven, but we went to Shore Diner and had lunch.  Stopped at Boscov's, then went to the Northfield Library for the Players & Playwrights meeting.
I had prepared Burning Bright to submit for a reading, but had also brought A Conversation In Summer, and decided to have that read instead.  For one thing, there are ten characters in Burning and attendance was so sparse yesterday, casting it wouldn't have left many in the audience.  More important, it's actually an allegory with a particular slant, and I'm not sure this group would be receptive.
I asked Sheila and Meryl, both in my acting class, to read A Conversation and they did a fairly credible job.  However, this is a "mood" piece that rests heavily on nuances and I've decided to substitute The Truth, The Embellished Truth, and Nothing Like the Truth for inclusion in our upcoming show.
Show?  What show? The one we're having in June.  This was decided after a wide-open, free-for-all bitch session where everyone talked at once, mainly about whether to get a steady dramateur or have Ed S. do it when he's available.  I think--if I got the drift--the latter won out.
A guy named Tom was there, whom I hadn't met before.  I chatted with him and he submitted a very short, two-character kind of existential piece. He and Jim L. were the only males present and Jim had a cold, so Tom took which the other part himself.
We then sat though a l-o-o-n-g, fearfully overwritten piece by Linda S. involving a mother-daughter duo, Nigerians, and dueling penises or something.  There were actually some very funny bits, but it was marred by its length and several distasteful racial cliches. Linda, of course, would never agree to cutting a line or a word from her prose.  As all humorless bores do, she takes herself very seriously--Virginia Woolf among the Philistines.
It started to snow right before we left and that scratched our dinner plans.  It was too early anyway, so I dropped Aline off after we decided on an outing next week.      

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Trying, Unsuccessfully, to Ignore Something

I'm trying desperately not to comment on the weather.  Nothing could be duller, blander, more boring, more mundane, more indicative of a mind awash in slush, more...more...oh, I can't help it:
We actually turned back after about three-quarters of our walk (our usual route is a mile and a half). We were bundled up, of course, but our cheeks and foreheads were freezing and our fingers, even with warm gloves, were tingling.
Okay, I got that out of my system.
Regardless of the aforementioned, I spent most of the day out and about. After going through the mountains of memorabilia about my oldest child, I packed up the pound or so left (his baby book, pictures, report cards from first grade to high school, his cartoons, some greeting cards he sent and received, and so on and on), then went to staples for a large padded envelope.  Got foodstuff at Shop-Rite, then picked up this and that at various venues. Stopped at the P.O. to see how much sending to Japan would be.  Twenty-six bucks, not too bad, but I took a few of the cardboard report cards out to lighten it and shaved four bucks off. Secured it and sent off.
Spent the rest of the day revising Burning Bright, but now I'm having second thoughts about bringing it for a reading today.  It's eleven pages long and there are ten characters, so that's a lot of printing to do.  I may just bring A Conversation in Summer, which went over big in my acting class, instead.    

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Continuing Story

And the saga continues...
Walked as usual, then talked to Dennis R. about the possibility of him being my "agent" when I rent the house.  He's retired and declined, but suggested Bill G., whom I will ask.  Dennis was kind enough to put the enormous box in my car and I drove off to pick Aline up for breakfast.
After, I went to the P.O. (Aline had no problem at all waiting in the warm car.  One of the multitude of things I like about her is that she's so easy-going.  Sometimes I wish I was, but that's silly, like wishing I was a turtle in a swamp--it just isn't me.)
Finally got the damn box sent--priority, not global express, so it was only $173--but I won't rest easy until it's actually there. Dropped Aline off at work, then stopped home to get directions to the Northfield Library.  I figured as long as I was in Atlantic County, I'd make a dry run there in anticipation of our P & P meeting on Saturday. While there, I checked and saw a message from Mike asking about the box.  I was about to respond when he called (he's nothing if not persistent).  I told him what was going on, then drove to the Tuckerton Library to meet Bruce B. and hand over the costumes the library is donating to Our Gang Players.  I added some I had kept since Arsenic, two years ago.
Finally started over to Absecon about noon.  Walked in, asked for Postmaster Mike, but no, he was out for Chinese New Year.  At least, I thought, the fifty-mile round trip won't be for nothing, as I'll scout out the Northfield Library.  Following directions from Google, I circled around here and there for roughly thirty minutes and found myself in Somers Point by way of Shore Road.
Well, I won't continue this mournful tale; enough to say, I finally found that the route is Tilton to New to Mill Road; I then drove home.  Got in about 3:30, grabbed some salad and spent time working on Burning Bright.  
I'll call Postmaster Mike and see if he'll be in on Saturday. If so, I'll go before the meeting.  Only complication--well, of course, there's a complication, this is my life--Kathy De V., who's in our theatre company (she died in Steel Magnolias), e-mailed me, mistakenly thinking P & P is for writers in general (she's writing a book, as who isn't?).  I explained, but offered to take her on Saturday. Haven't heard back from her, but if she wants to go, and Postmaster Mike will be in, she'll have to go early with us.
I'm actually simmering down a bit.  I'm going to just go back today or go tomorrow--I'm not going to agonize over it anymore.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Shipment to Singapore

What a friggin' day.  It started off smoothly enough: walk with Susan, breakfast, bringing more boxes of picture in to go through them.  I remembered I still had the big mirror (roughly 4 feet high and 3 feet across, framed in mahogany) that came with our bedroom set when we were married; decided to put it for sale on the Facebook Atlantic County Flea Market page.
I was just taking a picture of it when the doorbell rang.  It was the mailman, bringing the huge box Mike had mailed via Global Express from the Absecon post office on Saturday. Postage was $242.  Yet here it was.
The mailman explained that it had been sent back and there was a hand-written note on it, saying the paperwork needed to be more extensive.  For instance, Mike had written he was sending "board games" and the idiot somewhere wanted to know what kind of board games.  The mailman was nice enough to put the box in the foyer.  Why? Because it's so heavy, I can't lift it.
I can't decide if I was more stunned or furious.  I grabbed my coat, jumped in the car and drove off the the Little Egg P.O.  I'm there a lot, I know them well, and they were as incredulous as I was. Drove immediately to the Absecon P.O. and demanded to see the postmaster.  He took me in his office and I vented--loudly and with some vulgarity.
Upshot was he agreed to refund Mike's money.  He said they got only about one of these Global Express (most expensive) packages every six months, if that, which is why the clerk didn't alert Mike to make the descriptions more inclusive.  What almost floored me is that he said he himself would never send Global Express because this kind of thing happens all the time.  Well, I simmered down, as he was actually a pretty nice guy.  He was very apologetic and even asked what Mike did in Singapore.  When I told him he was a financial officer with Rio Tinto, he said he knew of them because he invests.
Left and drove down to Betty's, but she wasn't home.  Called her and learned she was at church getting ashes.  Met her and Alice E. there, we went over to Northfield Diner for lunch, where Muckie joined us.  Nice enough lunch, but what a damn day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Errands, Snow, and Burning Bright

As it turned out, Susan and I did walk our usual at 7:00, I'm happy to say.  The snow (maybe 3 inches) was crunchy and, with reasonable caution, we had no problem.  Our 9:30 exercise was postponed, though, to Saturday, which means I won't be be able to go, as I have a Players & Playwrights meeting.
I had lots of errands to run and tested conditions by driving to the bank.  Found it was okay; not only was it not icy, but there were fewer cars on the road than usual, a considerable plus.  Did my financial business, then high-tailed it to Manahawkin to get Jason a present at Target.  Made a few other stops, went home for lunch, then wrapped the present and took that and the big box Mike left to the post office.
Later, went to Acme for lettuce--I was yearning for salad--and a few other things.  Drove by the library and was surprised to see it closed--because of the snow, presumably.
I reflected that when I was a kid, later as a young mother, and still later as a Rider employee, snowfalls like this were expected in February and were a minor annoyance.  It was sloppy and messy and maybe it took people longer to get to work or school, but certainly, routine weather wasn't the focus of alarmed attention it is now.  It's disturbing to realize the fear this promotion of exaggerated "danger" generates.  Of course, if it's treacherous to walk or drive, nobody in his or her right mind would venture out, and those with infirmities need to be vigilant.  However, what we've experienced recently has simply been normal winter weather. Perception is everything, as someone said eons ago, and boy, I believe it.  
Got home about 4:00 and spent the rest of the afternoon working on my play, Burning Bright, which I wrote as a short story in about 1985.  Started on the third and last act, and it's shaping up pretty well.    

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bye to Boy

Said goodbye to my baby boy about 9:30 am, off to Newark Airport for a plane to Texas.  He left a large box I'll send to Singapore, along with much too much money for postage.
What a great time we had!  I'd be more down in the dumps (one of my mother's sayings) if I didn't know he'll probably be back in April or June.  I didn't mope at all after he left, but tidied up a bit (he has two servants--oh, I forgot, "domestic helpers"--to do that at home), then looked at Amazon for a present for step-great-grandson, Jason's, birthday on Saturday.  I found a possibility, but decided to drive to Wal-Mart and K-mart to check if the prices were the same.  Couldn't find what I wanted at either, so will probably have it sent.
Home, I called R.E. agent, Walter, (who's my neighbor and husband of my walking partner, Susan) to see if I could consult him about renting, rather than selling, my house.  "Sure, please come right over," and I did.
I was delighted to hear that rentals in over-55 communities are in demand in southern Jersey, and that those in Sunrise Bay are at a premium.  In fact, there hasn't been one for five years. Happy day! That means it might not be too difficult getting good renters and it would add to my money income, so I can afford a better place in Ventura.
Got a call from longtime friend, Jeanne P. and we had a good chat. She's on her way to Florida, the gadabout, to join her guy, John.
Got up this morning to--annoyingly--more snow.  I'd rather not skip our walk and I have lots of errands to run, so I hope it's the crunchy type.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Last Full Day

Mike's last full day here.  We awoke to one of those lousy winter wonderlands--so pretty and I can't wait to see the end of them--with maybe a couple inches of snow and heavy winds.
Of course, I got an "advisory" which, in bold type, practically gave readers to understand that the entire eastern seaboard would be buried until spring, if not blown into the stratosphere first.  I'm sure the media hyped it up, too, but happily, neither Mike nor I would dream of watching what passes for news. Most likely, the sheep, who seem increasingly unable to corral a stray thought of their own, let alone question anything on television, were mostly huddled in their homes, praying for deliverance--.
(Okay, okay, the preceding is partly tongue-in-cheek.)
On our way north to see my friend and her husband, we stopped at Acme for yet more pharmaceuticals to send to Singapore (I'm beginning to think he's a dealer).  Got there fine on roads completely clear and dry and had a great visit.  After much talk and catching up, we went to La Piazza for excellent Italian.  Heard the good news that Mike may be back in the spring--April or June--and said goodbye to his sister and bro-in-law.
No problem going home, where we had a good Skype visit from Ellen, my Sunday treat.  We discussed what my children all think is a good plan: for me to rent, rather than sell my house.  Yes, yes, so much easier and simpler and it will increase my income enough to live in California elsewhere than under a bridge.  Played gin rummy again and again, the scores were lop-sided.
I think Mike cheats!  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Activity Galore

A very active, much fun day.  Mike put his bought items into one of the large packing boxes from Home Depot my friend had given me, and filled it about three-quarters.  Aware that the post office closes at 1:00 on Saturdays (and wouldn't be open Monday on President's Day), we set off about 10:00 for the Target in Atlantic County. He got more items to add to the Singapore box, then we went off the little girl's have-to-have-store, Justice.
Here, he bought a variety of tops, bottoms, and scuffs to the tune of more than three hundred smackers, adding to about the same amount for the things from Target.  My poor little granddaughters are so deprived.
We discovered that the Absecon post office was right around the corner from Sacco Subs, where we were to meet Betty between 12:30 and 1:00.  We arrived there about 12:10--great; plenty of time to get the box off to Singapore, right?
Well, sure, if Idiot Ivan and his co-worker, Clueless Clara, weren't the only ones on the desk.  "Ivan" weighed, looked up, announced postage, and so on, then gave Mike the usual forms.   Mike stepped to one side and filled them out in about three minutes, during which a young woman presented the clerk with roughly THIRTY manila envelopes, all addressed to different destinations.  I believe she wanted every possible track, guarantee, and other add-ons for each one, and "Ivan" s-l-o-w-l-y and methodically examined, discussed, weighed, and posted them while we cooled our feet waiting.
What infuriated me was that "Ivan" asked "Clara" if she would complete Mike's business, but she casually said she didn't know how to "do global."
WHAT?!  Do they have different levels of clerks in the post office, some for domestic, some international?  I'm serious when I say I'm going to find out.
The upshot was, we were there for forty-five minutes, and didn't finally get out until just past one o'clock.  (I had left my purse, with phone, in the car, thinking we'd be finished in a few minutes, and, of course, Betty had called and texted me.)  I gasped when the postage came to $250, but Mike was blase.  Easy-come, easy-go, I guess.
Finally got out of there and we had a good, leisurely lunch, for which Mike sprung, plus a nice visit with Betty.  Left her and headed to the coin shop Mike had found to see if any of my old/not-so-old/incredibly valuable coins were--well, valuable.
They were!  I received a total of $13.19 for coins with face values of--well, no more than about ten bucks (heh, heh).  Why, I had a number of coins for which the guy gave me double the face value! (Um, they happened to be pennies, though.)
Actually, I had a half-dollar worth $3.50 and a few others for which I would have gotten a few bucks, but Mike said he'd like to have them for his girls, so I gave them to him.   
After a sketchy dinner (I had leftover spaghetti, Mike leftover pizza), Mike and I played gin rummy (he murdered me).  Our game was interrupted for a half hour or so when Vivian called to get help with some math problems.  (Fifth grade; Paula didn't know how to do them and I sure wouldn't, either.)  I was so proud of Mike as he worked with his ten-year-old daughter so she could grasp the process.  He's a wonderful, caring, gentle father.  
Snow, wind, and drifts when we got up, but Mike went and got bagels.  My friend called; she and hubby were just starting back from the far north.  Hope we'll be able to get up to her place later in the afternoon, as planned.
Good little Mum that I am, I just ironed four of Mike's dress shirts, and folded them and his tee-shirts.  Since he has two servants at home, he's used to this.  Spoiled brat!  (But terrific father.)

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Mike blew in about 3:00 and we've been busy.  I always think I have lots of energy, but these things are relative.  All my children seem to be perpetual motion machines.
We went to Target, where Mike bought close to 300 smackers worth of important items, such as beef jerky and board games.  He also picked out some really cute little outfits for V. and V., who are 10 and six.
Had Brothers pizza--we picked it up--then Skyped/Googled his Paula and the girls, who get prettier, livelier, and more intelligent every time I see them.  Had some difficulty with the connections, but got through.  We then saw the little sweetie pie in Tokyo, along with Mommy and Daddy.  We both went to bed early; I woke at 2 am, sweating like a stevedore, because somebody--who must lilve in the tropics--had turned the heat up to 74.
This morning, Mike went over the coins I've saved, most of which seem to be worthless, but some could bring somewhat more than face value.  I'm not talking thousands, more like twenty bucks or so total.  Mike also packed up a huge box to send home.  We're heading to Absecon one, first to go a coin dealers, then to Justice to get more clothes for the girls, then to meet Betty at Sacco Subs there, for lunch.
Whew!  But great fun!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Going Through

Yes, indeed, more of more.  I spent almost the whole day on some of the individual boxes of photos that I had already gone through once.  I realize this is anathema in the world of clearing out, and rightly so, but I wasn't able to really purge earlier and I did a better job this time.
Not a perfect one, though.  I'm sure there are plenty more things I could discard, but we're talking about my 55-year-old son's handmade birthday card to Mommy when he was in Kindergarten. We're talking about a grandmother (albeit about the most active one I've ever known) who drew a lovely picture of the family when she was six. We're talking a mature woman, engaged to be married, who sent her Daddy a Valentine she made herself.  We're talking a father of two girls, ten and six, who was a year younger than the youngest one when he made a "book" with sketches on each page.
Get rid of them?  I'd rather get rid of my diamond engagement ring.
Didn't wallow in nostalgia all day, though.  First, had breakfast with Aline, who came in before I dropped her off at work to see the latest video of the Tokyo Tot; she loves him.

More,More, and ISIS

More, more, more of my forever job, hauling out, opening, examining, discarding, re-packing, and dumping in the trash.  Took a Shop-Rite break late in the day and talked to Aline.  I'll pick her up for our Thursday breakfast in a few hours.
Betty called to say our brothers want to gather in Virginia, near where brother, Jim, lives.  He's 88 and he and Therese will move into an assisted living facility soon.  I thought this little reunion was tentatively planned for April, but according to Betty, Larry is saying the end of this month.  I'm not enthusiastic about that and may just pass on it.
WIDER:  From Ron Paul, a sensible statement on ISIS: 
Declaring war against ISIS is like declaring war against communism or fascism. The enemy cannot be identified or limited. Both are ideological and armies are incapable of stopping an idea, good or bad, that the people do not resist or that they support. 
More here:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Acting Class and Other

Picked Aline up at 8:45 and got to the Margate Library just before they opened at 9:30; guess I overdid the early thing a bit.
The others got there at ten and, as I had scheduled, Anita and Sondra performed I Have Something to Tell You.  Anita is a dear, sweet woman and Sondra is a pain in the rear, but wouldn't you know it, A. can't act her way out of a paper bag and S. isn't half bad.  I gave them critiques of their performances privately, but of course, with plenty of praise and encouragement.
I consider Something the weakest of the five plays I wrote for my class to perform, but the group liked it and discussed it very seriously.  Because Doris G. is in Florida, I re-scheduled her and Aline (who will do the comedic The Truth, the Embellished Truth, and Nothing Like the Truth) for next month at our last meeting. During the rest of the time yesterday, I introduced some theatre terms, with special attention to "beats," which means changes in mood, emotion, or other aspects of dialogue.  It isn't always easy to find beats, especially if they're subtle.  I had brought short monologues (from published plays) and assigned each person a different one to read to the group, then to try to identify the beats.
We finished up and I got Aline to work before 12:30, then drove to the Tuckerton Beach Grille, where I was to meet my fellow Sparkler members...
...except it's closed on Tuesdays. Obviously, Josephine didn't know that when she told me about it, as I was to meet the rest there. Went home, thinking there might be a message; there wasn't. Called Jo and left her a message, got my own lunch at home, then went to Acme for a few things.
When I got home, Jo called, very apologetic. She was so sorry she didn't have my cell phone number, but I mentioned she could have (actually, should have) left a message at home.  However, no big deal, just a mistake and I told her not to worry about it.
I vaguely remember making a mistake once myself, back in 1977. Or was it 2003?  Or maybe twenty years ago.  Well, I think I did, but maybe not.
My friend called to say she and husband are going up north over the weekend, but will come back Sunday afternoon.  With Mike coming in on Friday, we'll have to change plans.  Maybe we'll just switch days and go to Ventnor or Saturday, then see them on Sunday.
Today would have been Pat's 84th birthday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


I continue to marvel at how much crapola I had--emphasis on the "had," because I'm making real progress.
There were two large containers of LETCO stuff, in addition to what's in the guest room closet. Okay, I want to keep one copy of the programs, ads, and so on for shows I was in, but do I really need the scripts?  Some of them are very long; for instance, Hedda Gabler is comprised of four wordy acts, so the scripts are heavy. Ditto with Our Town and several others. I discarded the printed-out ones, including three versions of Riders to the Sea, which can easily be gotten free off the Internet.
Whittled down, honed, and cut, until what was left was a shoe-box sized container for paper items and a smallish basket for props.
Went through more mountains of pictures and I actually cut apart those bound in little albums and consolidated into one box. However, that joined a multitude of others, also filled to bursting.
After lunch, I loaded up the car with thrift store donations, reluctantly adding the Phillies doll Joan H. had given Pat years ago. Put in useful things, too, such as serving dishes and a mirror, plus dozens of superfluous things--notably, the baskets I can't seem to resist--and picture frames, at least twenty of them.
Dropped them off, mailed the boys' Valentine cards, then headed to to Shop-Rite.  Made a yummy dinner of stir-fried garlic, onions, and ground meat, added a baked potato, and enjoyed.
Acting class today, then I'll meet "The Sparklers" for lunch.    

Monday, February 09, 2015

Still More

Continued what you're not supposed to do (handling things more than once), but in my case, I think I can be forgiven.  I had kept so much memorabilia the last time I went over it, I could hardly pick up the containers they were in. This time, I forced myself to discard and was able to consolidate the stuff into smaller containers.
Did what my friend suggested and put all the framed pictures I want to take in one place.  Those I'm not taking, I "dismantled"--that is, took the pictures out and will take the frames to the thrift store.
My work--it's my profession now--took me practically all day.  I labored from about 9:30, to 1:00, took a half-hour lunch break (had the angel hair, broccoli, and garlic left over from Saturday), then talked to son Mike for twenty minutes or so.  (He's in L.A., saw his sister, Ellen, when he got in, then flew to Utah, will hit Texas, then--yay!--see his Mum in Jersey.)
About 3:30, I had to get away for a bit, so drove to Manahawkin to pick up wine and groceries.  Home, I started on the two large boxes of LETCO stuff I have, which I'll consolidate into one.  I had lots of dups, including three scripts of Riders to the Sea, which I can get off the Internet if I need to, and I can't imagine I ever will.
Finally quit at 5:30 after putting chicken drumsticks in the oven.  I was tired, but felt good.  I have my acting class--penultimate session--tomorrow and have to hone a few things, so will do that today, in between the forever job.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Hard Work and Good

In dealing with paper, one is often advised to handle an item only once while deciding to keep, toss, or donate to charity. I violated that rule yesterday, in hauling out from my walk-in closet boxes and boxes of family memorabilia.  I'm talking mostly letters and pictures, but the avalanche included other things, such as the incredibly beautiful and complex, one-of-a-kind greeting cards for me alone, made by my Japanese daughter-in-law.  Those, I would never give away.
I had already made a first pass at the stuff in the closet, but clearly, had saved too much, so did it again, managing to discard, consolidate, and otherwise improve the save/throwaway ratio.
Got started on rearranging the garage, as I want that to be my holding area.  I'm determined to have specific areas for thrift store, consignment or flea market, and "to go" items.
My friend came about 12:30 and we went into high gear: She got the books and other stuff off the remaining high shelf in the study, moved a multitude of containers into the garage, did the same for the heavy bookcase from the study, and moved my grandmother's high boy bureau (I hate to let go of this, but it's so damaged I think it would be prohibitive to repair) to the curb.*
She removed most of the items from the higher shelf (there are two) in the laundry room.  These are mostly "once a year," items, which have evolved into "almost never."  There were two turkey platters, an second coffee maker for when I have a lot of guests (haven't for years), and other items, once vital to my happiness, now just a drag on my plans.
Abandoning the step stool, she got the ladder out of the garage and took the artifacts down from the tops of the cabinets in the kitchen. These are up at the ceiling, nine feet high and included some fairly mundane baskets and some rather nice ceramic pieces.  We moved my fourteen thousand books--oh, I have plenty more--that practically filled the guest room into her SUV, and did a number of other of other more minor chores.
We finished about 3:30--well, I did, my friend being fully prepared to work until dark (and I consider myself energetic!), but I was ready to call it a day.  When it came to work, that is: She invited me up for dinner and 'nuff said.  She drove off, I tidied up a bit, then jumped happily into my car for the forty-or-so-mile trip up 539.
Got there, we walked to the really excellent Italian restaurant in town (I think it would compare to the best in Italy itself), which was jammed packed.  Had a wonderful meal, part of which we took home, walked back, I said goodbye, and zoomed home.
A fine day: Lots accomplished toward my goal and convivial time spent with my friend and her husband.  More of the usual hard work today, of course, and I'm actually looking forward to it.
* Just got back from our walk and was delighted to realize that my grandmother's bureau is no longer at the curb.  I hope whoever took it restores it and is able to use it happily for years.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

I Will Prevail

Pretty intense day.  In the morning, I went over pictures, a huge mountain of them.  They're mostly of my "issue," as they say, plus their issue, plus theirs, and my mother's and, it seems, everybody else'es on the Eastern seaboard.  I was actually able to throw some away, but there's plenty more and I got most into boxes.
Went through a big pile of old "historic" newspapers--Kennedy's assassination, man on the moon, Phillies winning the pennant and the like--threw away some, kept others. I was surprised at how very large they are, probably twice as big as today's papers. In between, I changed my sheets, washed those, re-did the bed, swept the garage, showered and washed my hair.
Spent some time honing the monologues I'm having my class do on Tuesday.  I want to introduce "beats," blocking, and other theatre terms to them.
Met Betty at Italian Gourmet and we had a nice lunch and chat.  I had brought her a number of things I thought she might want, including a lemon and some pictures of her poor Jay.  We talked about him and others.
Stopped at Santori's for Romaine, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.  (Had the latter for early dinner, plus what was left of my Greek plain yogurt.)
Got home about 2:00 and went to the bank to put the info on my solar panels in the safety deposit box.  Swung around to the library and dropped off a number of magazines for their free box.
I had loaded up my car on Wednesday with thrift store items and I drove there when they opened at 3:00.  A nice man helped me unload and take in an enormous assortment of stuff, just a fraction of what I've already donated and what's to come.
Not sure why I feel as energetic and buoyant as I do. It may be because I've been physically active, lifting and moving and so on.
Also, I have a goal and little by little, day by day, I'm working to get to it.  It's a big job, but I'm chipping away at it every single day. I will prevail.

Friday, February 06, 2015


And more--much more--of the same.  After breakfast with Aline at Dynasty (Diner), I asked her to help me move a narrow, but tall and rather heavy unit into the garage.  We did, successfully, then I dropped her off at work.  After that I spent virtually the whole day on finishing up the study and other areas, too.  I again dumped an incredible amount of recycle stuff, mostly paper, in the bin and, believe me, there's a lot more to come.
I had filled my back seat with thrift store donations, but it was so cold and windy, I thought the hell with it and will drop them off today.
My friend will come on Saturday and I wrote out a whole list for her to do, including taking away my grandmother's bureau.  I'd love to keep it, but it's in very bad shape and, I'm afraid, isn't worth fixing, so out it goes.
Enjoyed one of my favorite evening activities, Breakfast With Baby.  K. is getting so big and cuter than ever.  It's remarkable how well he follows directions, even somewhat involved ones.  How I'd love to see him in the flesh.  Someday...

Thursday, February 05, 2015


I keep chugging along: Yesterday, cleared out the deep drawer in my desk, gathered more books (there's an unending supply) from here and there, and packed more pictures and frames.  I came across several yearbooks and was able to fit them into a medium flat rate box; took that to the P.O. and sent to Ellen.
Took about twenty (large) books to the library to donate. Maggie was on the desk and when I told her how many more I have, asked if I'd wait until closer to their book sale at the end of March (groan) to bring more.  It seems they're running out of space, so I'll see if I can unload some at other branches.
Went next to Shop-Rite for salad stuff and so on.  Ran into Fran Z., who said she was running another flea market--Yay!--but it won't be until May; even so, I'm encouraged.  Stopped a few other places for Valentine cards for the kids; couldn't resist picking up little gifts for them, too--very modest, of course.
Breakfast with Aline this morning.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

On A Roll

Yesterday was more like it when it came to getting things done.  I cleared all the shelves in the study (aside from the highest over on the side; will ask my friend to do that), removing and putting in the guest room several hundred books.  Now how in the world am I going to get them to the library to donate?  I'll just have to load up my car and go back and forth, I guess.
Removed dozens of framed pictures from shelves and walls and selected which I'll take with me.  Took the pictures from ones I won't take and put the frames in the thrift store section.  I cleared the lower bookcase of everything, but just set up a pictureesque grouping of a few books. (My friend will probably tell me to take it down!)
Took a breather in the middle to call Betty.  I have several things I came across that I want to give her, and we made a lunch date for Friday.
At quarter of five, I quit to pick up Aline and we had a good "Pasta Night" dinner at Dynasty. Today, I'll tackle the rest of the room. I'm not looking forward to the drawers--they're full--but I'm determined to get it done.  I'm on a roll!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Lunch With a Dear and Long-Time Friend

It was delightful to see Marilyn again, although pretty hairy getting there, as it was raining heavily on the way.  I still haven't gotten my windshield wipers fixed and I had to keep running them manually. However, I got there in plenty of time, a bit more than an hour.
We met at Mastoris, a restaurant in Bordentown well-known for its good food and huge portions.  Marilyn looks wonderful, with a new, shorter haircut, and she was nicely turned out in a dark paisley outfit. We both had a shrimp salad plate, much too much for one sitting, and a fine time catching up with each other.
To me, Marilyn--whom I've known almost since I started at Rider forty years ago--is a combination friend, sister, and daughter (she's in her late fifties). She suffered a terrible tragedy when her long-time fiancee died suddenly at 62 a few years ago.  She always seemed to me the epitome of sweet-natured goodness, so absolutely without guile or pretense that you have to love her.  At the same time, she's intelligent, uncritical of others, and a warm and caring person. She's a pianist and choir director, a graduate of Westminster Choir College before it was bought by Rider, and the supervisor of a good-sized department of information systems for the state of New Jersey.
We had a leisurely and much-enjoyed visit, then I drove home in what was now more sleet than rain, but without incident.

Monday, February 02, 2015


Managed to get a fair amount done early on. Cleared off two of the longer shelves in the study.  Took some of the pictures out of their frames; will keep the pics and donate the frames.
But, oh, the books!  Even after donating so many to the library, I have stacks more of them piled in the guest room.  My friend said she'd take them wherever and I'm also going to force myself to throw some away.
I noticed that I had an inch or more of gray roots, so went to Wal-Greens and got Gray-Away.  Sprayed it on, and geez, it works!  It's a good stop-gap measure for in between the highway robbery beauty salon.
Made the dressing for the kale, added dried cranberries, tasted, and--hey, not too shabby. It's actually very good, plus easy, so couldn't be better. In fact, several remarked on how much they liked it.
This Super Bowl party, which the H.'s have every year, seemed a bit subdued. For one thing, there were many fewer people there.  I was told Dennis is sick (and Leslie, for some strange reason, wouldn't come without him, although they live right next door), and both the V.'s and the D.'s are away.  I asked about Anne Mary H., who was also absent, and learned she had come earlier, but left in a huff after she and hostess Barb had words. A.M. is very eccentric and has to be handled with kid gloves sometimes, so she wasn't really missed.
Having no interest whatever in the outcome of the game, I greatly enjoyed it.  Why?  Because of the pleasant surprise that the usual prayerful attention to the military was lacking.
Oh, yes, the half-time show was still designed for morons.  With a breath-taking display of vulgarity, it included lots of light, flares, noise, crazy costumes, and the featured singer soaring in the air on a platform--was she supposed to represent the Blessed Mother on steroids?--but all that was so much more enjoyable than the usual paeans to aggression.  We were spared seeing the adorable child running into the arms of the hired killer who volunteered to abdicate his/her parental responsibilities to go to other lands and help kill other people's children.  Of course, we did have to endure that odious puppy/horse thing, which makes me want to swear off beer forever.
Oh, never mind the last--I'm not that pure!  

Sunday, February 01, 2015


Dullest day I've had in an age.  After our walk--and boy, was it cold, I thought my cheeks would freeze--and breakfast, I didn't do much productive.  Should have been continuing my forever chores, but just didn't feel like it.
Called Barb H. to ask what I should bring to the Super Bowl party and she suggested broccoli slaw.  Went to Acme, but didn't like the packaged broccoli--I never buy it that way--so got what's called "sweet kale."  I'll make some of the Bobby Flay dressing and put that on.
Drove to Manahawkin for some important items; I can't even remember what.  Photographed my champagne glasses and sent them to Denise at Downtown Consignment, but she decided to pass on them.
I actually took a nap for an hour or two on the couch--just overcome with ennui.  I hate the cold weather and can't wait to get to that other place.  Yes, it gets cool in the winter, but it never snows and that's fine by me; if I want snow, I'll start snorting it.