Sunday, September 14, 2014

Boyhood Reunion Party at Scott's house

C'mon-a-my-house (song by Rosemary Clooney)

We're gonna have pizza.... from Vince's on Grant Ave in NE Philly. Thanks for bringing it, Paul!

Whatcha drinkin, Paul?

Now, that's good beer. Let me just wipe me mustache.

Scott drank his first beer in 15 yrs. 

Mike Kramer came with

once bashful wife, Donna Fitzgerald Kramer

Cole Kramer and Mom.

Cole and GF Marissa. Yoo-hoo! Look up from your phones.

But don't let that phone get too far away, blue-eyed Marissa. Before Cole started going with Marissa, he had another girlfriend.

Her name was Marissa.

Paul is a mail carrier. He knows all the dogs en route and has never gotten bit. Cole brought his own Coke. He and Marissa were going to a restaurant, but were kind enough to come to the old farts' party.

 We looked up a childhood friend - Richie - who did that ALS ice bucket challenge. Brrrr!

Deep in their own worlds.

The Three Musketeers used to hang together. They played street hockey on Garland Street, Paul and Scott were in the Boy Scouts together, the three went to Creighton grade school in the Lawncrest section of Philly.

They had lots of laughs recalling their hockey and other escapades.

Donna brought a delicious cream-cheese crab dip, which we served on


C'mon over and share the leftovers with us.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Coffeeshop Writers Group - Great turnout! Great writing!

Cole Kramer, son of Philly goalie Mike Kramer, just kidding, used initiative (!!!) and drove over from Abington to cut my out/control shrubs. His GF Marissa bought him the socks. She has a nut allergy so he can't kiss her after eating any type of nut or she gets hives!

When he was done, I fished into my wallet. "I'm going through my hundred dollar bills," I said. I only had twenties so I gave him $40 and asked him what he'd use it for.

Gas, he said.

I asked Scott what I should write a poem about and he said Cranaleith, hence my poem "High-Powered Women," which I brought to group.

I also wanted to start a short story and looked at my "idea list."

Death Bed Scene, said one of my ideas.

Thing is, "Whose deathbed?"

I did sit at my dad's death bed when he died of cancer at age 59. But, no, I wanted to use my imagination.

Then I had an idea. "The Power of Love," I called my short story. The group really liked it. I was SO HAPPY. In fact, when I was driving over to the Giant I felt a surge of happiness. I had written two things I really liked, plus I refined another poem, whose name I can't remember.

 My heart soars when I see a good turnout at our group. Was really happy to see Kym Cohen again. Her chemo will finish in November. She'll try to make it next week.

She paints her own nails, the blue is tipped with white. She calls this "her blue sky look."

She wrote two great poems.

In one, she stood outside a house, thought about knocking and going inside, but changed her mind, and wrote a poem about it instead.

It painted a nice visual picture and ended with "The flowers radiate with such happiness."
 Martha was able to come b/c Pop-Pop was watching Brianna.

Her excellent creative nonfiction "In My Day" was a reflection about how times have changed, as they do from one generation to another, esp. in the Internet age, when people look down when they walk.

Lines include: parents spank their kids and don't get arrested, pregnant women wore loose tops and don't discuss their bloating.

"In my day, no one was concerned with gender fairness. Boys were boys and played with trucks. Girls were girls and played with dolls. Girls played dress up and ‘mommy’. Boys played with sticks and cap guns. They were in training for their future roles as gentlemen and ladies."

Floyd said Only a woman could write that. He'd be considered 'chauvinistic' if he wrote it. Men, back then, were the breadwinners, and when women worked out of the home, they did so in proscribed jobs (not careers) such as seamstress or laundress. Housewives were IN!
Floyd emailed us his selection, a wonderful humorous letter "Between Neighbors."

You would not believe the idiot Sam Firmhold - should be named Flimsyhold - who writes a letter to his next-door neighbor Fred Fuchsole - where does he come up with these imaginative names? - apologizing for all the damage he's done to his neighbor's property. He had erroneously concluded the neighbor was gonna sell his farm and acted in anger.

Carly read us the makings of a really interesting - and supernatural - short story. She herself has had these experiences - probly most of us have - and she and Donna will work on it together. Alice is a 7-yo girl who is falling asleep, when she asks for comfort from her deceased grandmother, whom she has never met.

She also wrote a poem "In the Beauteous Backyard."

"What's that sound?" Turns out it was a nuthatch.

Floyd said that at his country home in West Virginia a pileated woodpecker hammered holes in his wooden porch steps.

Where's my rifle?

Look at Donna's beautiful nails!

She wrote a poem which she may rename - Floyd's idea - to Josephine's Sacrifice - about a nun married to

Hello, darling, how was your day?

Floyd found the poem very sad b/c Josephine will never have children but instead will teach the "little cherubs" their lessons.

Donna had actually gotten close to a nun, who told her the story. Her name has been changed but I think Josephine is a great choice.

So, who do YOU know named Josephine?

I asked Floyd what he's gonna do after group?

He said his township is giving out free trees and Lauren is picking them up. Plus she's driving all the way to Wayne - is it? - to pick up a special tree.

Hmmm, wonder who's gonna dig a hole and plant it?

 Certainly not the woman with the protruding thumb.

Floyd quoted a Canadian writer who said:

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.- Nelson Henderson

Save me a seat. Hope there's no ant hill underneath.

Cranaleith: Re-imagining Your Life - An Overnite Seminar in NE Philly - Poem: High-powered Women

Relax, I told myself, as I drove over. You won't be the only one who's late.

I got there at 5:10, only ten minutes late, rush hour traffic. I honked softly at a car waiting to make a left turn who wouldn't move up far enough to let cars pass on his/her right.

Finally got my rear right tire fixed at Tom Sawyer next to the Giant Gas Station. While waiting I marched around the neighborhood.

My sister is interested in moving into this house high atop a hill. I walked up the steep driveway, huffing n puffing, then saw the quiet back yard, peeked in all the windows, stood on the front porch to see the view she so loves, and then walked down the front steps.

 Chris, at Tom Sawyer, discovered why I had a slow leak in the tire. He removed a nail and patched up the tire. REMS Auto couldn't find it. I paid in cash.... $10.

At the Retreat, I was with 9 high-powered women.

We did many lessons or exercises throughout the 24 hours we were together. I had an excellent nite's sleep. I did a little reading

  For once, in our Upper Moreland book club, we're reading a book I like. I'm up to page 12. Haruf, born in Colorado, has an interesting voice. So far, it's about an old man who's dying of cancer and has a month to live.

People pray for peace. Is God listening? Is God god?

We stayed in a three-story house. See the driftwood?

As with all beautiful houses, I always ask myself, What would I be like if I lived here?

This is the original Trainer house.

Breakfast was at 8 am. ALL the food was healthy, including home-made whole wheat raisin bread. As a person with diabetes, I went off my no-bread diet and indulged, with butter.

They had wonderful salads, a chicken dish, tunafish salad with carrots inside, apple/peach crisp with Edy's vanilla ice cream. 

Caffeine-conscious, they offered non-caffeinated drinks. I'll probly have some Decaf today at my writers' group at 1:30 pm.

 Ah, the glory of a shaded front porch. I sat down and read a bit of my book there.
 Huge sunflowers. Their smiling faces are larger than mine own.
 I've been to many Cranaleith seminars and was excited to walk up n down these stairs.
Nice touch! A tombstone-like rock beneath a tree.

 I like to challenge myself. For the first time I walked around the pond on a narrow ledge.
 Falling water.
YOU figure this one out. I can't!

Our two leaders - Carole and Jean - provided us with thought-provoking exercises and poems to inspire us, including several by the great Mary Oliver.

Image result for mary oliver
Mary is now 79, born in 1935. She's 10 yrs older than me.

You MUST read The Summer Day. Dig the last line!

I first heard of Mary Oliver a dozen years ago at a seminar given by Richard Tyre at the Abington library. Tragedy struck Tyre's daughter. Murder most foul. 

I love walking up steep hills and feeling my calves stretch.

The 10 women there all made commitments.



They lisp
they wear expensive shoes
they wear silk scarves
they sing
they pray
they have spiritual advisors
they pray and
ask God to show them the way

They vacation in Belize
they touch one another
they were nuns
who married priests
they know the joy
of lying in a man’s arms

They are new widows
constantly remembering
They are the newly divorced
constantly remembering

They are skinny and they jog
they long to lose weight
and refuse the apple crisp and ice cream

Risktakers all, their Lord
guides them on their unseen path
higher and higher
“imagine a stairway,” says our leader
who may herself be god

They love nature
and all her bounty
birds, butterflies and tall trees
growing by the river’s edge

Their nails are red or pink or silver
the silver’s mine
chipped from opening
too many pistachio nuts
my thumbnail resembles
a Rorschach
take your pick
Alaska or Texas

After I go home
they’re in my head
every single one of them
can I live up to their goodness
their kindness, their warmth
their earrings made of bone
from Tanzania?

I want to die in my own home.