Thursday, April 30, 2015

Craigslist and Betty Mae

We went to Dynasty for breakfast, then to Graveling Point.  The water was wonderfully smooth, rich blue, and host to a number of small boats.  How it restores me to see what has been part of my life for as long as I can remember.  As for Aline, she grew up in land-locked Brooklyn, but she loves it, too.
Dropped her off, then drove immediately to Manahawkin.  Picked up a pocketbook and some new chair cushions for the kitchen. Now I'm annoyed at myself, because I didn't actually need them.
Bought shoes at Kohl's, but now I'm not sure if I really like them and may return.  I seem to do this constantly with shoes--it's hard to find any that are really comfortable on my particular feet, plus that look good, also.
Consulted Walter about listing my house on Craigslist.  He asked his CEO, who is an attorney and he said it was okay, but to be very careful of scams.  I will, but I don't see how that would be a problem, as of course, I'll refer any prospects to Walter.
Later, after consultation with my advisers, I've decided to wait to do that, if I do at all.
Called my classmate and fellow grad, Betty Mae W. and, yes, as I had heard, the news isn't terrific.  She does have lung cancer and will have an MRI today.  She told me she had had symptoms three months ago, but it was thought to be pneumonia and she was treated for that. Now it looks as if she's facing chemo and, I'm afraid, maybe worse.  Of course, I mouthed the cliches: "You never know..."; "People have beaten this..." and so on, but with a heavy heart.
Christine R. called to be sure we were still on for dinner tonight. Yes, indeed, and I'm looking forward to it.  Chris and I were the two dotty aunts in Arsenic and Old Lace a few years ago and I'll ask if she's available to see our "nephew" from that show, Neil G., in Gypsy on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Joan and Frankie

Betty called and we made a lunch date for Friday.  Before I tell her about my call from Joan, I wanted to ask permission first. I sent my dear niece an e-mail to that end, and also repeated my thanks for her initial call and the sentiments she expressed, which I know took courage.  She promptly called me and we had a good talk, enjoying even more our regained--or better, new--closeness.  What a relief and oh, how complicated is the human heart.
Did wash and stuff, then went next door to the D.'s.  Accompanied Frank and Barbara to "Sinatra Revisited" (or whatever it was called) at the Little Egg Library.  It was preceded by a Friends of the Library business meeting; Frank being secretary, we sat through that first.
The guy singing and talking about Frankie was good, although Sinatra--dare I say it?--is not a favorite of mine.  I know that's heresy, but I think he massacred a lot of music and some lyrics. I'll concede that some of his stuff ain't bad.
Saw and chatted with Aline, who had called me earlier just to check in.  She was working, but chatted for a bit; we'll go to breakfast this morning.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Claire, Joan, and the Relative Values of Lives

Claire E., an antiques person and an acquaintance of mine, returned my call and we discussed my sampler and platter.  She invited me to bring them over to her house in Cranberry Creek and I stopped in after lunch.
What a place!  The house itself is very attractive with bright and airy rooms and a lovely screened-in room overlooking woods and a stream.  The bigger attractions, though, are her antiques and collections. She has a lot of early American items--and I don't mean repros--all of them interesting and beautifully displayed.
After admiring my platter, she showed me her collection thereof. Oh, boy, she must have twenty of them, along with matching bowls and smaller plates, all arranged artistically in a wood antique corner cabinet. Claire also collects dolls and showed me a number of them, most from the middle eighteen hundreds, with porcelain heads and segmented limbs.
Claire mentioned that she's active in a doll club and asked if I'd consider giving a talk on the Dionne Quintuplets at one of the meetings.  Of course, I said I'd be glad to, although I have here only a portion of the Dionne artifacts I own; shipped most off to California for Ellen to store.
Another collection of Claire's includes decoys and bird carvings. Her late husband collected the former and Claire herself carves and paints birds. They are quite beautiful and, as with the other items, beautifully arranged.  In addition, there were a number of early paintings on the walls.
I was surprised to hear that Claire is almost ten years older than I am. (I didn't know there was anyone left in the world older than I am.)  She looks and acts considerably younger.  She and her husband had no children and her only sibling is a brother in his seventies who lives in Arizona.  He remained a bachelor, so there are no nieces or nephews, either.
We had a good visit and nice talk.  I mentioned that Jeff, the owner of Red Barn Antiques up in New Egypt, was going to come look at my mirror, and she asked me to get his card.  That prompted me to call him when I got home to remind him.
Later, I was puttering around when I got a phone call from my niece, Joan R.  I don't want to go into our history--we had a "misunderstanding," as the simple-minded euphemism goes--but I was thrilled and grateful to hear what she said, and we are again as close--maybe closer--than ever.
Brother Jim called last evening to thank me for the packet of postcards he had originally sent our mother in 1950. Oh, yes, I know how lucky I am to still have my big brothers.
WIDER:  From my cyber-pal, Jim W., on our esteemed leader's regrettable need to murder:

Monday, April 27, 2015


That's what Rumors was, with my friend, Grey, providing some of the hilarity.
Betty and I had planned to meet at Andre's, a restaurant not far from the church where the show was held and we both left home fearfully early, thinking of the complicated routes to Brigantine. However, we got there in plenty of time for a leisurely lunch.
Had good seats and enjoyed the show immensely.  Well, what would you expect from Neil Simon?  There were lots of laughs and although the acting was uneven, most of the performers were top notch.  I wasn't surprised to hear that three had appeared on Broadway.
It was over about 4:00 and we greeted Grey and the rest of the players afterward.  This was the last performance and Grey assured me it was the best they had done.  It was a fun way to spend a spring afternoon and now I need to turn my attention to more mundane things.
Top-off of the day was a Skype call from the Land of the Locusts i.e., a virtual visit from darling daughter, Ellen.  We had a fine time catching up with each other and I fervently hope to be there before the snow falls.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


A fine day.  Still cold, of course, but that just has to be overlooked. Took the pork loin out of the freezer, trimmed and rinsed the Brussels sprouts, and put together a salad.  Cored, pared, and cut my apples into chunks, added a bit of cinnamon and a squeeze of fresh lemon, and put them to simmering.
I packed everything up and left about 2:30, arriving an hour later. My friend and her guy were tidying up the grounds, but she soon quit and the two of us sat on the porch with coffee.
This rental home has some peculiarities--to say the least--but the location couldn't be better.  It's designated an historic district and the house is right on Main Street. What's more, the modest porch is only one step above street level, so cars passing and people walking by are close enough for a wave and a smile.
The next door neighbor, a young woman named Melody, came out and friend and hubby went over to chat with her.  Seeing she wore a Rider University sweatshirt piqued my curiosity, I joined them and found she was a fellow alum.  We four had a nice chat.
A bit after five, we ate dinner.  The roast (rubbed with garlic and peppercorns) was delicious and my friend added sweet potatoes to the sides of sprouts and applesauce.
We completely forgot the salad--didn't really need it--so I took it home, along with some of the applesauce.  Left about 6:30, as I like to get home before dark and my friend was going to her dance group in Princeton.
Had a call from Betty when I got home and we firmed up our plans for today: lunch, then the Community Presbyterian Church in Brigantine to see my chum, Grey, in Neil Simon's Rumors.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Physical Labor and Viv

We bundled up for our walk (cold, windy, overcast--ugh!); the sun came out later, but it was still cold.
Keeping to my vow to do some physical labor aside from our morning walk every day, I swept and mopped the kitchen, vacuumed all the carpets, and cleaned up in the bathroom.  Spent a lot of time scrubbing the marred kitchen table (it's blond wood) and it cleaned up nicely.
Drove over to Santori's after for tomatoes and Granny Smith apples to make applesauce.  Called Frank-and-Barbara-Next-Door to see if they wanted to go to the Frank Sinatra thing at the library next week.  (I had asked Aline, but it's at 2:00 and she'll be working.)   Frank said they had already planned to go, so I'll go with them.
My friend called to invite me to dinner tonight--just a casual one, but I never turn down a chance to see her and of course, I accepted; think I'll see if she wants me to bring the pork roast in the freezer; I'll do the applesauce, too.
Had dinner with dear friend, Vivian L., at Element in Manahawkin. Viv and I met as Wellspouse members when my husband was on his downward spiral of illness.  Her husband has MS--can move only one hand--and boy, she's had a tough row to hoe for thirty years.
I was anxious to hear the circumstances of her leaving her job at a certain college.  I won't say which because when she told me what had happened, I suggested she may want to consult an attorney.  I hope she does and I hope she prevails--after seventeen years of service, it was a lousy parting.
Viv is one of those precious people--I'm lucky enough to have several--with whom I can share all kinds of things with no thought of anything but deep understanding and fellow feeling.  She can do the same with me, of course, and it's a great relief for both of us. Funny--I see Susan virtually every day and have known her twice as long as I've known Viv, but there's always a gap, a space, a barrier with her that disallows such intimacy.
Anyway, it was good to be with my friend.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Various and Victorian Teatime

After breakfast, I sat right down to transfer my passwords to the new book I bought about a year ago. The book is an invaluable aid, as it's just a few inches square and contains several pages for each letter of the alphabet.  It fits easily into my purse, so when I go away, I take it with  me.
Wrote a letter to my big bro and sent him the old postcards I had found.  I put the 1944 one from Aunt Betty on Facebook and made a copy of the one to Betty and me from the Vatican, keeping the original.  There were also three photo booth pictures of him, looking very young.  It occurred to me he looked like George Orwell, sans the mustache.
The physical stuff?  I dug holes and planted begonias, runcoleus (?),* and hyacinths near the front walk.  Did the same with  my yellow and purple mums, which I put in large pots on the side of the driveway.
Picked Aline up at 6:30 for "Steeped in History" at the Tuckerton Library. It was a program revolving around Victorian times, Rockwood Museum in Delaware, and the history of tea.  Turned out to be very enjoyable and the light refreshments after--finger sandwiches, scones, cupcakes, and other goodies, with tea, of course--were just scrumptious.
I can always tell when something comes out of a mix or a container and these were all made from scratch.  Don't gimme your Cool Whip, that was real whipped cream on the strawberries.  Keep your box of cake mix, these were cupcakes made with flour and eggs and real vanilla.  It was heavenly and we had a lovely evening.  
*I can't spell it and neither can SpellCheck.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Breakfast, a Letter, and Trash

Picked Aline up at our usual 9:15 and we went to Dockside.  We hadn't been there for several months, but they had advertised a $3.99 breakfast and I wanted to compare it to John & Sonia's and Dynasty.
It was actually pretty good; we both had omelets with diced pork roll, cheese, and onions, plus hash browns.  Coffee was included, so with tip, it came to five bucks.  Good, but we always laugh over the fact that at Dynasty, you get juice, too.
Went to the water after--Graveling Point was crowded with cars  (maybe some kind of fishing season just started), so I drove to secluded Ocean Boulevard.  After fifteen or so of enjoying the view, I dropped A. off after making a date for a "teatime" presentation at the Tuckerton branch this evening. Went home and cleared out the jammed packed left-side drawer.  I have too much of everything, that's a cinch.
Drove to the P.O. to send papers to Singapore, only to find there was a power outage and it was closed.  Went to the Tuckerton branch.
Called Betty to invite her to Rumors on Sunday, the play in Brigantine in which Grey is appearing.  She accepted and Muckie will probably come, too.
Came across a condolence letter sent to my mother after my father's death in 1950.  It's from Ada Astle, whose daughter, Susan, was a childhood friend of mine.  Mr. Astle was with the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay; not sure what the circumstances were for them to live in Ventnor for a time; maybe he had been between assignments. Anyway, Susan was an early soul-mate type of friend and I remember being devastated when they left.  Ada referenced a letter from me to Susan, so we kept in touch, at least for a time, after they moved.  Now I'm determined to track her down and have started my investigative work to that end.  
As I try to do every day, I added physical work to the mental and errand-running chores: For a month or more, I had been partly annoyed, partly disgusted by a fairly large heap of rotting leaves, dirt, and yellow "keep off" tape in the gutter at the end of my street.  It wasn't really near my place--I'm nine houses away from that corner--but it had been there for weeks and was very unsightly.  I guess I could have called the lawn service, but I dislike the hint of lady of the manor imperiousness: "you're my servant and you do the dirty work."
I decided it certainly wouldn't hurt me to do it myself, so I did.
I lined a good-sized cardboard box with a trash bag and put it in the car along with the broom and long-handled dust pan I use in the garage.  Wouldn't you know, the wind was blowing up practically a hurricane, so it wasn't the best time to do it, but I was determined. Three times I drove up there, shoveled the debris in, then drove back to dump it in the trash.  There were other unpleasant items under the leaves, including two water bottles and pieces of glass, but of course, I wore gloves and had no problem.
I got a lot of satisfaction out of that.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Various Doings

Hey, things are cookin'!  Weather was iffy during our walk, but turned lovely later.  After breakfast, I turned my attention to the right-side desk drawers in the study.
The work involved was formidable, which is probably why I put it off so long.  Three deep drawers were stuffed with all kinds of paper, plus office aids (paper clips, scissors, rulers, zip drives, and so on), plus check books, address books, and postage items.  It took me a shorter time to clear them out than it probably should have because I ended up just tossing out stuff without examining it. Probably the best way, actually.  Today, I'll tackle the other side, which should be simpler.
Bill G., from down the street, newly back from North Carolina, came over to change the furnace filter. I was sorry to hear I had missed the memorial service for Bob E., further down the street, who died in Florida last month.  He was five days short of 91.
Later, I sped to Manahawkin and got almost everything on my list, including a London Fog raincoat with a zip-out lining. After, I finally sat down to fill in a new address book I've had for at least two years. What a chore, but the old one was a mess, what with all the additions, cross-outs, and entries under the wrong letter.
Thinking I should add some physical labor to the day, I went out to trim the huge, "grass plant," or whatever it's called on the side of the house.  This is about eight feet high and looked good when it was green. However, it's gotten very woody, also leans over, so I want to get rid of as much as I can.  I have only a single-stalk clipper and cut some down, but it really isn't effective for such a big plant.  I'll see if I can borrow some hedge shears from Susan.
When I cleared out the drawers, I came across a packet of postcards my brother, Jim, had written home from Europe in 1950.  One, with stamps from the Vatican, is to Betty and me, another to Frank and Larry, and the rest to Mom. There's also one postmarked 1944 from my Aunt Betty.  She was an army nurse at the time.  I'll send them to Jim, whose daughter will probably like to see them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lesion and a Triathlon

Boy, did it rain.  It was coming down in buckets in the morning; cleared later.  Got to the dermatologist office at 8:45, filled out papers, waited a bit, then Chuck zapped my nose.
Chuck?  Yes, he's the physician assistant who used to take care of my late husband.  I like him a lot better than the few doctors I've known from DermOne.  Pat had that white and freckled Irish skin and had a lot of basal cell cancers removed, as well as a sweat gland with squamous cell.  Three of our four children have had skin cancers removed, also.
Mine were just pre-cancerous lesions and should be gone shortly.  I had a list of errands to run after the appointment, but didn't feel like sloshing through, so gave up in favor of going home to hibernate.  I felt so bad that Aline would have had to walk the three-quarters-of-a-mile to work in the rain that I called her and said I'd take her.  I did and no problem.
Betty called after her visit to the urologist to say there was no cause for concern.  Not sure why she'd have squamous cells in her urine, but if the doc said that, I'm good with it.
Later, the rain stopped and I went out to pull the dandelions the damn gardener had left.  Bought potting soil, as I want to plant the flowers now just plopped in pots.  My neighbors, Joe and Bob, came over to chat while I was outside; that's another thing I'll miss when I go.
Mike sent an e-mail with picture that he had completed a triathlon for the first time in his life.  It requires swimming, then biking, then running and he finished in the top third of his age group (he's 48). Yay for my boy!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Garage and La Traviata

A good, satisfying day, I guess because it included work and leisure.  I had planned to spend several hours cleaning the garage and I did just that in the morning.
It had been jammed with boxes, sealed to go and unsealed to donate, as well as loose thrift store and flea market stuff.  I consolidated a lot of it and stacked boxes more compactly.  The garage itself was dusty and dirty and leaves, dirt, and stuff littered the floor.  Swept that up and dumped the mess.  I had an old bath rug at the entrance to the laundry room, which was ready to go; I threw it out and replaced it with a standard door mat.
All this was quite a chore, but I finished about 11:00 and immediately jumped in the shower, washed my hair, and felt great.
Went to 1:00 opera at the clubhouse, a very enjoyable interlude.  It was La Traviata.
I've seen this several times, and this exact production, performed at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garen once before.  It never fails to thrill me with the fabulous sets and costumes, and for an opera--and even for not an opera--the acting is superb.  That isn't always the case in this artistic venue and it adds greatly to its effectiveness. During the final fatal scene when Violetta, reunited with Alfredo only minutes before, sings her last aria, then expires in his arms, there wasn't a dry eye in the house, including mine.  There were about fifteen people there and we were served lunch first--hmm, that was quite a draw, too.  
After, I took a short drive before going home.  Got a call from Betty, who said she's planning a yard sale for late May. Great! I'll load up my car with treasures and join her and we'll both be rollin' in dough.
Have a dermatologist appointment this morning.  I want him to look at a rough spot on my nose that's been there too long, I think. In light of Mike's squamous cell nose lesion--and subsequent removal with minor plastic surgery--guess I'd better "have it looked at" as my mother used to say.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Not Much

Gorgeous day.  I had planned to dive into various chores, but didn't really accomplish much. Got the weed killer out and sprayed the the dandelions the damn gardener left between my front walk and the flagstones.
I think I figured out the problem with the washer.  It seemed to kind of stall when it got to the "cool rinse" stage.  I remembered that my son-in-law used the water outlet from the laundry room to power wash the walk, then the damn gardener did something or other, then Walter noticed the hot and cold outlet handles didn't align--or aligned--or something.  I turned them both straight out and the rinse problem seems to be solved.
Bob S. came over to turn on my outside water and blow out the sprinkler heads.  Poor guy, he went into a long story about the older of his two daughters, who died of cancer five years ago.  The younger daughter succumbed to the same in 2014.  How you live through something like that, I don't know.
Went to K-Mart and bought a floor mat for the garage where it goes into the laundry room.  Scanned a few things and sent them off to appropriate places.  
Other than all that, not much cookin'.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Finally had a day off--without appointments, meetings, and so on scheduled, that is--and got plenty done.
I was annoyed that it was raining during our walk and for several hours after, but then realized it was better then than (I've always wanted to legitimately pair two "the(a)ns" in a sentence!) earlier in the week, so I just ignored it.
Got an e-mail from my HSHS pal, Jeanne Dollard P., whom I always name as the prettiest girl in our class.  She sent a current picture of herself in a bathing suit--hey, for within hailing distance of 80, she's still a knockout.  She was standing on a beach in front of an ocean (I figure Florida); great picture, but two little kiddies were playing in the water and seemed to be growing out of her hair. She asked if I could "fix" it.  What, are you nuts? I wanted to ask, but I gave it a shot and got rid of them. It was actually very easy with Picasa.
I had a letter my mother had kept from her nephew, my cousin, Bob Figenshu, who died several years ago.  I knew his daughter, Karen, lived near my brother, Frank, so I called him to get her address. Had a nice chat and exchanged a few words from his dear Marybeth, now in the grip of dementia.
Took the bedside table to the township recycle center to drop off, then went to Buy-Rite for wine.  I actually bought some for $3.99 a bottle--a new low for me--but really just for show in the wine rack.
Stopped at Shop-Rite for cottage cheese and came out with forty-seven dollars worth of--something.  Last, went to Staples for a chair mat for under the rolling chair in the study.
Glory be, by the time I got home, the sun was streaming down. I could never live in Seattle.
Happily, I got a Skype call in the evening from adorable little K., whom I witnessed peeling and eating a banana, putting cars on a transport, building with blocks, and throwing imaginary trash in the waste basket to help Mommy.  It was the best part of my day!

Friday, April 17, 2015

"A Little Taste of Theatre" and Stuff

The intense last few weeks were topped off yesterday with a bang.  I barely had time to prepare for the show ("A Little Taste of Theatre") at Shalom House when r.e. agent, Walter, came over to take pictures of the interior of my house.  He did, and it looks as good as it ever will, I guess.  Haven't yet seen it on MLS, but will check it out later.
Before I left, it occurred to me that Betty may want a bedside table, so I loaded it into my truck.  Changed, grabbed my scripts and left to pick up Aline at 12:30.
Got to Shalom House before 1:30 and I was pleased to have my players get there by then, also.  (I'm a bug on promptness and don't take late-coming lightly.)  We set up the "stage"--just two chairs together and three others flanking them for the players not on, plus one for me.  We joked over what we were sure would be the sparsity of the audience, but darned if they didn't file in shortly, making close to a full house.  Very gratifying.
Show went well.  I doubt if Meryl Streep is trembling in her boots, but my students--I told the audience they had all graduated with honors--showed a lot of spirit.  It was a tad uneven, but the audience loved it, which is all that matters.
I had planned to go for early dinner later with Aline and Betty and I invited the rest of the cast to go.  I was surprised and pleased when all of them took me up on it; we were also joined by a friend of Linda V.'s., so there were nine of us.
Speaking of whom: Linda has a friend in Little Egg, whose mother might be interested in renting my house.  I gave her a flyer and hope something might come of it.
We had a long and laugh-filled meal, finally breaking up about 4:30.  I had mentioned I wanted to go to the show Grey is in at Brigantine Community Church and I'll meet several of them there on Sunday, the 26th.
We said goodbye--in the main, they're wonderful people and I'll miss them--then Aline and I went to Betty's.  I tried to help her put pictures from her camera onto the Facebook "online flea market," but wasn't able.  I think they have to first be transferred onto her regular computer.
Betty decided she didn't want the table and I'll take it to the recycle center today.  She, Aline, and I chatted for a bit, then we left. Before I dropped Aline off, we sat in the car and talked for a good hour.  She's going to Manhattan again today for the weekend and I have plenty to do, also.  Didn't get home until close to 8:00 and boy, I was plenty tired, but happy.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Carpet and Beer

The carpet guy came and did a good job--looks great.  While he was here, I vacated the place for several hours by visiting the Stafford Library. Sat and read, along with the rest of the lonely old people.
When I got home, guy was just finishing up.  He's the nephew of the owner and rents a room from his stepfather.  We started talking and I wondered--not aloud--what could possibly be in his future. He's just a kid, really--he said he was twenty-five--short, and about eighty pounds overweight.  He gets paid only when he works--no health care, no sick time, no vacation or other paid days off.  He blames the immigrants, welfare cheats, and "the terrorists" for what's wrong with our world.  He seemed not to understand the vast desert in which he's wandering, constructed by the wealthiest of the wealthy, assisted by their whores, the politicians. Eventually, he'll die there of thirst and vultures will pick his bones.  I gave him a rather nice-sized (for me) tip and thanked him for his work.
Saw Frank-Next-Door sprucing up his flower beds and he invited me over after for a beer. As I've mused for some time, if somebody like Frank were available--he isn't--on these dating sites, I'd sign up so fast it would make your head spin.
So as soon as carpet guy left, I went next door for an hour of good talk--and some good Irish beer--with Frank and Barbara.  I've said it before and I repeat: They're the ones I'll miss when I leave.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rain and Stuff

We started blithely out on our walk sans umbrellas and halfway through, the rain started.  Got wet.
Captain Carpet was due at 8:00, but the boss man called shortly after to say he had only one guy.  After discussing it a bit--the rain continued, as it would all day--we decided it would be better for them to come today when it's supposed to be sunny.
Walter sent an e-mail that he'd photograph the front of the house, but wanted to wait until it wasn't raining to do inside.  In the meantime, I came across a nice outside pic of my house from a few years ago, sent him that, and he'll use it in multiple listing for now.
Met "the sparklers" at Dynasty for lunch.  There were only seven of us.  Told they about my plan to rent and got a lot of negative comments, too tiresome to go into now.  I think I showed great restraint in not saying, "Did I ask for your opinion?" or even "Screw you" and blowing up from there.  But these are mostly acquaintances, not close friends and I just brushed it off.  It probably was good for me, in fact, as it made me reflect on the high level of nay-saying in senior situations and that, in turn, made me glad to be leaving.
My friend had a faculty meeting, so came after, about 4:00, to re-hang my bathroom valences and do a few other things I can't handle.
Aside from a jaunt to the library and some minor errands and chores, I didn't do a lot.  Spent a lot of idle time on the computer, not very productively.  Took a drive about 6:00, just to get out of the house and it was still raining.
But now, this morning, in the present, which is the only time that counts, we have glorious sunshine.  Happy day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Marifer and Hillary Clinker

After our walk, I decided to call Chris,the horticulturist, and ask him to come back and clear off the walk.  He and his helper had left a lot of ground-in dirt on it--and right after it had been power washed.  They came and simply used a hose and brush--and not terribly effectively, either. I called Bill to see if he'll power wash it and he's in North Carolina.  Said he'd look at it when he gets back on Thursday. Think I'll go out and scrub it with a brush or something in the meantime--damn!
Cleaner Merifer came equipped with an impressive array of gear--vacuum, mops, cloths, buckets, detergents, bleach, and more--and started right in.  I vacated immediately and stayed out for three hours; ran errands in Manahawkin, went to the post office, stopped at the library, and so on.
Got back and she wasn't quite finished, so I called my dear friend, Marge, to see if she was up to a visit.  She was and we had a nice half-hour chat.  I was saddened, though, to see how very frail she is.  She has dreadful allergies, terrible insomnia, and painful knees, among other things.  We had a good visit, though.
Went back and Marifer was almost finished.  I had emphasized the most important thing was the kitchen floor; I actually told her I didn't care about the other stuff, but that's been a thorn in my side since we moved here.  She left after I paid her; I gave her extra, in fact.  I was itching to view the kitchen and I rushed in to inspect. Well, wonders will never cease in Little Egg Harbor!  The floor looks great!  I know she used bleach, as it left a very strong odor, but I don't care. If I succumb to it, I'll die happy.
Was so pleased to get a Skype visit from Mike in the evening and talk to precious little Violet and pre-pre-teen Vivian.  They're in Bali and were about to leave for an elephant ride.
The carpet cleaners are due at 8, in just a few hours.  I hope they can perform miracles as Marifer did.
WIDER:  After the fat-headed ad from the lunatic warrior-goddess, Hillary Clinker, I came across the following comment on one of the pacifist blogs I read.  Love it!
There is nothing in this world more vapid and irrelevant than the blatherings of a major party presidential candidate. As serious news, it ranks equal with Justin Bieber's hair, and the for next year and a half we will hear it in an endless drone.  A year and a half of the media screaming at us to ignore the man behind the curtain and hang on every meaningless word of the puppet theater. I can hardly wait.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Not Much

Boy, I didn't do a heck of a lot yesterday.  Washed the master and guest bath rugs in preparation for Marifer, the cleaner, today. Took a box to the thrift store (they have a drop-off spot).  Got a few more things out of the study closet.
Otherwise, just this and that.  Sent an e-mail to my players, telling them when to get there on Thursday.  Talked to Betty.  Got a private message on Facebook from Betty's daughter-in-law, Robyn, who suggested a living arrangement when I move.  However, it's in Laguna Woods and an hour and a half from Ventura, plus it's an over-55 community and at this point, I don't want to live in one. However, it was nice of her to mention it.
Got a call from Teresa in the Sparkler group inviting me to a meeting and lunch tomorrow.  Geez, I had almost forgotten about that group, but sure, I'll go if the carpet cleaners are finished by then.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Shower*

We had a lovely time.  Betty got to my place about noon and I drove us up to my friend's in Allentown.  Joel, Jr., and Tristan were there, all decked out in new plaid shirts (Gregg!) and sneakers. Tristan and I conducted the house tour for Aunt Betty and we laughed over it.
We then hopped into the SUV and friend drove to Freehold, about 20 minutes away.  Shower was in a side room at Perkins Restaurant; about forty people there, the guys skulking in a booth way in the back.
We ordered off a special menu of six entrees--I had steak--and had a fine time with Jessie (that's Joel, Sr.'s Dad's wife); her daughter, Rachel; Joel, Sr.'s ex, Jen; her fiancee, Justin; and the mixed bag of kids, some Joel's, some Noelle's, and some other people's.  Of course, Noelle's friends, and her parents' friends were there, along with others I didn't meet.
Yes, there are a lot of mixed parents and partners, former spouses and new ones, those related and those who once were, and what could be merrier? Everybody was happy and friendly and we had a fine time.
Several hours later, after luncheon and the opening of the gifts, we all kissed goodbye.  How I hate to leave my darling grandson and his dear little boys, but I'll look forward to seeing them in June at the wedding.  We drove back to Allentown and stopped in my friend's for just a few minutes. Then I drove Betty and me back to my place and that was our fun day.
* The date on this is wrong; it should be Sunday, April 12.  I'm not sure how I screwed it up, but I think I accidentally pressed "publish" last night when I wrote part of it.  Don't know how to change it.

Day Before the Shower

Fun day.  I got up to my friend's about noon and we had lunch. Since we weren't meeting Joel, Noelle, and the four boys until 2:00, we walked "downtown" (about half a city block away) to a gift shop.  I got a lovely little bauble for Noelle's shower today and I'll add a lovely little check to make it--well, lovelier.
Drove to the Freehold Mall and met N. and the guys at Penney's. After the adults selected clothes and shoes for the wedding and the boys tried them all on, we finally got out of there three hours later. Whew!
My friend, Joel, Jr., Tristan, and I piled into friend's SUV (they were staying over at her house), then found they didn't have clothes for the next day.  Followed Joel to Noelle's parent's, where J., N., and the other two boys were staying, picked up the missing items, and went on our way.
Friend served a hearty dinner of chili (which had been simmering in the slow cooker all day), broccoli, and strawberries.  It was delicious and so were the cupcakes she had made with garbanzo beans and frosted with chocolate avocado icing.
I enjoyed dinner, but rushed off after to get home before dark. Spending time with my friend and the darling boys was such a joy--and I get to be with them today, too!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Running Around

Gardeners came early and it took only an hour or so for them to remove the leaves, pull the weeds, and spread mulch in my front beds.  Looks great, except it was drizzling and they got the recently power-washed walk muddy again.   Called Bill to see if he'll re-wash just that part for 25 bucks or so.
Spent the morning organizing and storing the mountain of containers I had scattered around the guest room; twenty-one of the shoe-box size alone and about ten larger ones.
Took off for Atlantic County about noon and in quick order, got these chores done: Made a fast two bucks at the coin exchange via casino chips; got a lovely array of flowers--six each yellow and purple mums and a big pot of narcissus (baby daffodils)--at Produce Junction (price for all: nine dollars); picked up two bottles of Chardonnay at Canal's (for considerably more than nine dollars); and got to rehearsal fifteen minutes ahead.
It went well, although we were missing two players who will be there next week for the actual show.  Bobbi, who had hurt her leg on an escalator in Port Authority two weeks ago (sixteen stitches and now it's infected), asked if I'd take her over to Tilton Road to get her car. I had planned to go to Betty's directly after, but called to postpone and took Bobbi offshore.
Got to Betty's close to 4:00 and we chatted for awhile, then went to Boca in Margate for dinner.  Dropped her off after and stopped at Mary H.'s on the way home.  Mary is now out of rehab, but still is having a problem walking on her formerly broken ankle.  I just stayed for fifteen, then said goodbye.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Lifetime Labor

I'm getting tired of the term "forever job," so I'll switch to "lifelong labor" for now. Here's what it entailed yesterday: clearing the guest room of the unbelievable  number of lidded plastic containers, now empty.
There were--are--fifty or more of different sizes, twenty alone of shoe-box size.  They're empty because virtuous me managed to remove the contents to either donate or discard.  But the house cleaner, then the carpet people are coming soon and I have to have the place as clear as possible.  I stacked the same size with the lids underneath and, when possible, nested smaller inside larger.  Some I stashed on higher shelves in several different closets, others--reluctantly--in the garage.
Before that, I picked Aline up for breakfast and we went to Shorty's at the Tuckerton Seaport. We weren't entirely happy with the prices or the service and probably won't go back soon.
After the container battle, I drove up north to the dollar store for tissue paper and Acme for lettuce and stuff.  Stopped at the library to donate The Economist and some other magazines for their free box.
Spent time on minor changes in the playlets we're rehearsing today. My friend called and asked me to get my grandson's baptismal and confirmation certificates at St. Teresa's, as he and Noelle will marry in June.  Betty called.  I'll go to her place after rehearsal today and we'll do dinner or whatever.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

This, That, and the Other

Tackled a variety of chores, including getting the April 9/April 16 show in shape.  I e-mailed each of my players and sent instructions, plus their scripts as attachments.  (Reserved Aline's, as I'll see her today at breakfast.)  This took a fair amount of time and I still want to revise a bit.
Cut a huge cauliflower into florets and put in the slow cooker with lemon pepper seasoning, oil, and parm cheese.  Browned chicken thighs in a frying pan, with a splash of red wine, covered and cooked, as I didn't want to use the clean oven.
Took off for the p.o. and sent Mike some mail, plus picked up two flat-rate large boxes.  I was hoping the two silverware sets I have--both in felt-lined, wooden boxes--would each fit, but neither did.  I shouldn't keep even one set, let alone two, but I think they're beautiful and damn, I may take both with me.
Went to Staples for printer ink and stopped at B.J.'s for boxes.  I took several, but now I'm starting to panic, wondering where I'm going to put them.
A ray of sunshine penetrated the drizzling weather:  I got a check from the consignment shop for some of my things that sold.  Of course, the shop gets a big percentage, but that's okay.  If my lady desk doesn't sell, I plan to take it with me.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Spring and Getting Things Done

"Spring is here/The grass is riz/I wonder where/The flowers is."  My husband got a kick out of that goofy verse and would invariably recite it when the weather warmed.  I guess he can be forgiven for that--barely.
Yesterday really was heavenly, probably 70 and brilliantly sunny. Nevertheless, I kept my focus and continued my lifetime task.  To free up space in the garage, I loaded up the car with thrift store donations and dropped them at Lighthouse Alliance. That allowed me to get two big boxes out of the dining room.
I was hoping that Jim, at Unshredded Nostalgia in Barnagat, would buy some of my antique paper stuff, but it wasn't to be.  Put what I had in mind in the car, including newspapers and magazines reporting major twentieth century events, a stock certificate from 1911, a number of 78 record albums (Jim said nobody's buying those), and a bunch of other memorabilia.  He rejected all, but regretfully, and I'll reserve them  for the May 30th flea market and forge ahead.
On the way to Jim's, I stopped at Sea Cure Moving Co. (agent for Bekins Van Lines) and got an estimate for moving my things to the left coast.  I was pleasantly surprised that it was less than half of what I expected.
The guy who owns Sea Cure is the father of Tara C., who's been active in the theatre company for years.  She directed me in my debut in Steel Magnolias five years ago, and is often involved otherwise in LETCO and has a masters degree in theater arts.
Ellen Skyped me in the evening and we had a great talk, much of which centered on my move.  At, I had been confining myself to a certain level of rent and she reminded me that--assuming I get the house rented--I can afford to go higher. True, and that gave me a lift.  
Hey, Mimi, now we're cookin'!  

Monday, April 06, 2015


I'm often snide about Susan's conventionality and religiosity, with my nasty little comments and superior attitude.  I should be ashamed of myself.
I am ashamed of myself.  She's been a good friend and neighbor to me in all kinds of ways and I need to acknowledge that.
Yesterday, I went over at 1:00 and was welcomed with open arms by Susan and Walter, her sister, two nieces, cousin, son and daughter-in-law, and of course, her daughter, Julie, whom I like so much.  I had brought over for the only grandchild, Sophia, my shoe-box-sized container filled with all kinds of stickers.  I know I won't use them anymore and probably would have taken them to the thrift store, anyway.  I didn't realize Sophia would get such a kick out of them, but she loved them. I gave Susan a bunch of very pretty pink tulips in a matching pink vase.
Susan served ham, potato salad, asparagus, a carrots and pineapple dish, corn pudding, rolls, and a wonderful sweet potato casserole, on which she put white peeps instead of marshmallow.  Of course, there were yummy appetizers, as well as all kinds of wine, beer, and soft beverages, plus Sapphire gin martinis.  I skipped the latter, although Walter makes the best in the universe, as they're really potent and I didn't want to have to be helped across the street.
Dessert featured a meringue-based whipped cream bunny "cake," filled with kiwi, raspberries, and bananas; bunny and chick cookies; plus peeps dipped in chocolate. Good coffee accompanied these, and some of us, including yours truly, laced it with chocolate wine.
I stayed until 4:00, then left with copious thanks.  Without having those of my own family around for Easter, this was surely the next best thing.
Later, I impulsively called Aline and asked if she wanted to go to Gravelling Point after she had dinner (I ate so much at Susan's I think I'll never eat again).  Yes. indeed, and I picked her up at 6:00. We went to our favorite viewing area and it was excellent: extremely windy and lots of white caps.  Drove after to Green Street to see more of the angry water, which was barely held back by the bulkhead.  Finally, I drove us down to Dock Street, an area far, far out into the swamp lands, and we enjoyed seeing that, too.
A good, satisfying day.

Sunday, April 05, 2015


Ordinary, forever-job day, but it was topped off pleasantly.  Packed my wooden salad bowl set and a few other things.  Finally steeled myself to re-visit the box filled with items surrounding Pat's funeral,; I discarded all the sympathy cards.  There were more than a hundred of these and they meant so much to me, so I saved them, but to what purpose?  I know nobody else in the world would go through them and, for that matter, even know most of the people who sent them.  So it was silly to keep them, but even so, I felt like a traitor for throwing them away.
Worked up a flyer and a program for the Shalom House event.  I called it "A Little Taste of Theatre," which I now think is a dopey title.  Geez, people will think it's a cooking show, but I already sent them to Bobbi and the hell with changing it.
Knocked off in the late afternoon to head up north for dinner with my friend and her guy.  Rather than a plant which she would have had to--well, plant--I stopped and got both of them little chocolate, gold-foiled bunnies.  They gave me a beautiful, bright yellow begonia, which I definitely will plant.
We strolled down Main Street to Woody's, a small luncheonette-type place, very casual, but with excellent food.  Had a good one, then walked back and I took off for home.
Nice day, and Susan invited me, so I'll go there for Easter dinner.

Saturday, April 04, 2015


Talk about activity--whew!  "Captain Carpet" came about 9 am and measured the carpets, sat down to discuss it with me, gave me a price which was reasonable, so I signed on the dotted line, then chatted for a bit.  Very nice guy, he's a talker; is 55, has seven children, and has lived in Somers Point for years.  Interestingly, he lived for many years on Wilmont Avenue, the same street where we owned a rental house. Upshot was, he'll come on Tuesday, April 14, the day after Marifer does her deep cleaning, and the day before the house goes up for rent.
My friend and her husband blew in about noon and immediately started on the chores and repairs I had listed for them.  Working together, they replaced the light over my shower (nine foot ceilings are great, but hard to get to), reattached the slats in the banister out back, fixed the porch light, took down and cleaned the dusty register in the hall ceiling, packed a number of large pictures, pulled the sofa and bureau out from the walls to vacuum behind, carried a lot of heavy stuff to the garage, and performed a variety of other hard-or-impossible-for-me tasks.
To top it off, friend's husband power-washed my driveway and walk.  Because the cockamamie builders put the outside faucet away near the back of the house and I have only one hose, he had to hook it up to the washer hose in the laundry room.  It took him a good hour and he did it in a steady rain.  He is just a gem; fittingly, because so is she.
They left about 5:00, but not before they invited me for dinner tonight.  That will be our Easter together, as they plan to camp up north in their 39-footer over Sunday and Monday, possibly longer.   Fine by me, and I may or may not go to Betty's relatives or to Susan's--or, simply stay home.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Buzzing Around

Picked Aline up for cheese omelets at John & Sonia's, then we performed our viewing-of-the-water-at-Graveling-Point ritual. Dropped her off at work after we discussed going out for dinner on Sunday.
Yes, I know it's Easter.  I thought we might be going to upstate Pennsy, but we're not.  My friend is going camping, which isn't something on my "can't wait to do it" list.  Betty called and when she heard we weren't going, immediately invited me to her niece-in-law's in Galloway. I've been there before, I like Dorothy and her family, but I doubt if I'll go.  Just don't feel like it.
If Susan knew I didn't have plans, I know she'd invite me for Easter dinner. However, I didn't mention it to her; not sure why.  I guess I'm getting tired of the perennial guest routine.  I want to have people over myself and certainly want to reciprocate with Susan and Walter.  Well, we'll see.
I plunged back into my steady job by clearing all the under cabinets in the kitchen and both bathrooms.  It really wasn't all that messy, but I still want to get rid of some cleaning products.
The racks in the oven were pretty bad, and boy, the baked-on stuff is hard to get off.  I actually looked up a parts place on-line, thinking I'd order new ones, but damn, they're forty bucks apiece--no thanks.  Instead, I tried a pumice stone and actually did a fairly good job with plenty of elbow grease.
Ran down--or up--to good ol' Shop-Rite, which was, of course, jammed. It'll be even worse the next two days.
Spent time rearranging the show at Shalom House on the sixteenth. I moved some players around and revised here and there, and I think it works. Also wrote up the program.
Called a lawn service guy and he came over to give me an estimate for clearing out and mulching the front and side beds.  Agreed and he'll come on the ninth.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Clearing Out and Drones

Geez, I think I'm as energetic as most people my age and maybe more than a lot of them, and yesterday, I used every bit of that pep.
After our walk and breakfast, I dove into clearing out the linen closet.  Now this isn't a standard-sized closet; it runs along a whole wall in the master bath behind sliding doors and is equipped with four long shelves.  One side easily held all my king-sized bed sheets and pillow cases, a number of large towels, tablecloths for both the dining room and kitchen, blankets and pillows, plus boxes of tissues, cotton swabs, and so on.  On the other side, I had my incredibly extended collection of cosmetics, skin care products, all kinds of stuff for teeth, fingernails, and practically every other part of this bulging body.  I kept my scale (lotta good that does me, as I don't like the numbers on it) and paper goods (I mean toilet paper, of course) underneath, and there was plenty of room for all that and a lot more. So that's what I tackled.  I'd hate to figure up what I paid for the mountains of things I threw out, but oh, what a liberating feeling.
My friend came a bit after 1:00 (she had conferences at 4:30) bringing a huge roll of extra-strong bubble wrap and started immediately wrapping the larger pictures of those I want to take.
I finished the bath chores and started in on the kitchen drawers. Filled a big box with donations of an enormous variety of utensils, almost all rarely used, and I still have plenty more.  I asked my friend to take two small tables to the garage, thinking their absence would make the rooms look bigger.  She also substituted a family picture for the rather gloomy one--boats at dusk--in the living room and switched around some other items.
In the meantime, we had turned the oven-clearer and let it go the full four hours and some minutes.  It looks better than it did, but not perfect; maybe I'll run it again.  It was impossible to get the racks clean, I'm afraid.  I wonder if I could buy new ones.
Friend left a little after four and I ate a can of peas for dinner, then took a drive to Graveling Point.  Boy, was I tired, but in a good, accomplished-much-more-than-I-thought-I-would-and isn't-that-grand-kind-of-way.
Today: Breakfast with my pal, then more of the clearing-out same.
WIDER:  Our blood-drenched leaders continue to champion horrors beyond belief.  Now it's supplying drones to "allies":

Wednesday, April 01, 2015


Busy day.  I spent the morning going over boxes of memorabilia I had already packed and consolidated a lot of it. Tossed much, also, but maybe not enough.
Called Bill G., my neighbor, who's a contractor, and asked to have him power-wash my sidewalk.  However, my friend later told me her husband has such a washer, and he'll do it. While I was talking to Bill, Betty and Alex C. drove up.  Said goodbye to Bill and took them inside.
At his request, I gave Alex a little tour of the house--he liked it a lot--then he loaded the chair I'm giving Betty into his SUV.  Betty then took us to lunch at Cuisine on the Green, which was very enjoyable.
They left from there, I drove home, and my friend came about 3:30, followed by Marifer R., Susan's cleaning person.  We discussed having her deep-clean my house before it goes up for rent.  She was here for an hour while my friend and I showed her what we needed done and while she explained her methods, and so on.  We were both very favorably impressed with her, aside from her fee. We think it's too low and will probably augment it.
Linda V., from my acting class, called.  She's unable to make rehearsal, but will be there for the performance.  Said she has a friend whose mother may want to buy my house.  Odd, as it ain't for sale.  When I explained, she took Walter's number and said maybe the lady would rent it.  Whatever.
Today, my friend has a half-day, then conferences, so will come back to help me do whatever.  I think I'll ask her to clear more space in the garage; in fact, I'll ask her to throw away or take to the thrift store some of the Christmas items I have without me seeing them.  I'm afraid that's the only way I'm going to be able to relinquish the stuff.
The little sweetie in Tokyo Skyped me last evening.  He was very busy with guiding his bus through a tunnel (his upturned chair), but was gracious enough to smile and wave.  He expressed great uneasiness about the vacuum cleaner, a scary creature and a menace to Mommy, but I'm sure he was distracted later: They were going to go to the station to view the trains.