Saturday, April 25, 2015

My sister Donna finds a new place to live - Visit to Mom's today - Donna's artwork

 Donna came over late on Thursday night after she and a team of movers cleared out her condo in Hatboro. She was so exhausted we barely had time to talk.
She's on her iPhone talking with daughter Nikki.

She slept in my bed, while I slept on the Red Couch - they're twins. Donna has fabulous taste and the dragon rug in front of her now belongs to me.

She and Mom went to settlement so she could move into her new house in Clarksboro, New Jersey. Yesterday I mailed huge "Sand Mandala" cards to her new house and also to her daughter Melissa and some other folks. 

After my writing group today, drove to the library and checked out

Image result for homeland   Scott thinks we've already watched Season Three of Homeland.

 At the writer's group they liked my namaste blouse, which I bought at The Sweater Mill in Hatboro.
 Jolly Jump-Ups in front of mom's house.
 I was astonished at this Rainbow on her dining room etagere - where did that word come from? Mom was familiar with it. Very sharp mind.

Ellen wanted to discuss where mom would be buried when she passes away. She and dad bought cemetery plots in Cleveland.

I told her I'd never go to Cleveland again, so I voted to have her buried here.

We sat in the living room. Ellen had a stack of paintings Donna did when she was in Mercer Elementary School. Also some work by our next-door neighbor Libby Turnock.

What an unusual last name, I said to Mom. What dyou think the derivation is?

No idea. She and her sisters - Judy, Susie, and Tommy were debutantes.

Oldest sister Judy wrote some books. Here's Tommy's website. She's a therapist.

Below is a selection of Donna's paintings she did in 1955. She was born in 1949. Mrs. Viola Wike must have been her art teacher. Mrs. Wike was my teacher. She wore black ballet slippers. And taught us the word "technique." When I remembered the word and said it aloud, she came over and picked me up off the ground.

I was a cute little bugger.

 We had swings in our back yard. Look at the upside-down guy on the left. Is that Teddy Biskind on the swing?

What an attention to detail! Take a look at the sunglassses and the belt on the yellow dress.
How we loved birds as kids! Dad bought us a bird whistle to attract them. Never worked.

I'll tell you, when I saw this picture, I thought I had drawn it. In my green file cabinet I have lots of crayon pictures of birds.

 Let's go skating on the frozen pond. Oh dear, a couple of kids have fallen. And - there's a couple of twins.

Sans doute, Donna has enormous artistic talent.
Don't get wet... look at the stop sign on the right.

 Do you believe this? And, yes, it's signed by Donna. Look at the saddle shoes and 'crew socks.'

Mom, I said, you dressed us in the most beautiful clothes. She said it was her great pleasure to do so.
This is Donna's report of a vaca we went on. She mentions she got a polio vaccination. Click to enlarge.

 Mom has a patch of "weeds" - here's a "lesser celandine" from the buttercup family. When I brot it in the house, it had closed up due to the coming of darkness, but I set it down beneath the light and it opened up.

Ah nature! Then I ran into the kitchen to save it... plopped it into a tiny vase.
 This candelabra was Aunt Ethel's. It was just her yahrzeit.  Mom lit candles for our beloved Aunt Ethel.
Figures. The sparrow flew away as I aimed my camera.

Anything else, Dear Ruthie?

It's only 9:08. Go do something important with your life!!!

Coffeeshop Writers - Poems by Kym Cohen - My new poem: Aqua

Kym - The Chemo Kid - wrote some sweet little poems. Allan commented they were almost like haiku. I was reminded of Rumi, 13th century mystical poet from lands that are now The Afghan.

Kym's numbers are rising, which is good! She won't need a blood transfusion, which is great,


Fallen is he
I am the wind that lifts his chin
Caresses his fingers
Helps his spirit soar again
May he always feel I care
Wishing him peaceful calmness

I whisper in mind
He hears
"You're never alone"


As her world crumbles
He was the light
Her air
The Love in her heart


Thinking of our first day
sharing the sea gulls with you
I smile at the memory
Oh how we laughed

Kym maintains her positive cheerful attitude and we all believe she'll defeat her disease.


I mentioned that any time you get poet's block, pick up a book by former poet laureate Billy Collins. His poems act as a laxative and clean out your mind.


Linda Barrett, who, like me, takes Lynn Levin's "Sonnet" class at the Huntingdon Valley Library, wrote two fine sonnets, including "A Ministry of Love" which contains the lines "searching for you among the years."

Allan, poet laureate of Hatboro, doffs his hat, and read two flash fiction pieces. One of them was "Which is witch?" As always, the end was a shocker.

The other "Safety First" was based on those "safeties" as we called hall guards or when they stood outside to help students cross the road.

He has a particular facility with choosing names for his characters such as Clem Bagley or Brad McGinniss, the man character, who gets his in the end. 

Allan plans to publish them in a book of 40 flash fiction pieces.


Carly and husband Charlie are in the midst of moving into Gloria Dei Farms assisted living facility off Davisville Road in Hatboro.

Before they got the job as Night Managers, they needed to respond Yes to two Qs:

Can you take your medicine by yourself?

Can you go in and out of the apartment by yourself?

They passed.

In a lovely gesture, Carly gave a huge desk that wouldn't fit into her smaller apartment to Adryn, one of our wonderful coffee ladies.

The coffeeshop will most likely be operated in June by Dunkin Donuts. Our baristas will be laid off. Hands up if you think that stinks?

In Carly's new place, they have a heated pool. I told my mom about this when I stopped over afterward. She said I'm the only one in my family - besides my dad - who likes to swim.

That's bc of you, Mom, I said. You took me to swimming lessons when I was 5 to Cleveland Heights High School.

When I was a little girl, I'd look out my window to find out what time it was. It was on the cupola. This photo is an artist's rendering of the proposed high school renovation.

Donna's poem "A Fortress for the Aging" was a description of Carly's new apartment. Many wonderful lines. So graphic you definitely want to visit.

Image result for downton abbey

The group read the short story I wrote this morning, "My Daughter, The Zookeeper."

Will refine it the morrow and send it off. Perhaps.

My new aqua-colored hallway.


Ed, the talkative color consultant, and I
confer. He flips
color cards back and forth,
talking nonstop.
Stop! I say, grabbing his thick white hand.
That’s it! I say.

My sojourn is over.
I paddle down aqua rivers
in my kayak, the sound of
the rapids in the distance,
the high Rockies
frighten me. Make me feel
alone. Lonely as the single
maple without her leaves.  

My aqua hallway brings me
joy and grief
Where is my childhood
back on Glenmore Road in
Shaker Heights?

An artist painted a mural on
our dining room wall
Rivers of aqua sailed behind us
when we had our seders
as a town in Sienna, from
the mural, looks our way.

Once, they were overrun
by Il Duce, who had the Jews
rounded up, as if we were
lice he picked off his ugly
bald pate.  

Time immemorial is writ
on these walls.
My children and grandchildren –
yes, I have reached that august age –
running across the walls, as if there’s a finish line,
and now, the endless cups of coffee I
drink, pinky lifted, from fine porcelain
cups, my whole life buried in these
walls, while an unknown sarcophagus
awaits me, as I sip, pinky lifted,
on an aromatic brew called 
Hot Cinnamon Spice.

* ****

Spent all day yesterday watching movies - Netflix, You Tube, or from the library.

Watched The Winds of War, a mini-series by Herman Wouk, who also wrote the screenplay.

Born of Jewish parents in the Bronx, he's still alive at 99. From his photo he certainly looks "with it."

Got the idea of Il Duce from Winds of War. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A pleasure meeting you, Venerable Losang Samten, at the Glencairn Museum

Got lost while finding the entrance to the Glencairn Museum.

You never really get lost, so I took these photos of  Bryn Athyn College, possibly dormitories, and then drove out, drove straight toward the Cathedral which was the entry way to the museum.

 The sacred sands, colored with dye, which Losang drizzles onto the Sand Mandala, with something that looks like a long thin ruler. It makes a singing sound. 
 He had left his drawing table, so I strolled around taking pictures, after ascertaining it was allowed.
What should I call you? Should I call you, Sir? I asked him.

No, he laffed. Call me Losang.

He has a cough. He was drinking black tea.

He was very happy to answer all my questions. I bought $33 worth of merchandise which will help Tibetan refugees.

Losang is originally from Tibet. Other Tibetan monks live at the Spring Garden house. Visit the website here.

He stood at the table greeting visitors until it was time to build the mandala.

I took a walk and visited the Marc Chagall and The Bible Display.
Click to enlarge.
If only my granddaughter Grace Catherine were here she could match up each of the pictures with the handout I got.

Losang, I asked. Are you a vegetarian?

I eat meat, he said, if people give it to me.

I told him I had tilapia and mushrooms for lunch.

What's tilapia? he asked.

It's a delicious fish, I said.

Then I told him that I'm a counselor, who helps people, and I used to visit a Buddhist monastery in Bensalem, PA.

He clapped his hands and was delighted to hear that. 

What a great personality he has!!!

Here's his touring schedule, which I asked him about.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Oh, they'll love you there, I said. They'll all hippies.

He laffed.




The famous stained glass of Bryn Athyn.

Do you believe in reincarnation, I asked.

He looked at me and said nothing.

Who were you in a past life, I asked.

A cockaroch! he laffed.

The assembled crowd laffed along with him.
 You need steady hands to do your work, the hands of a surgeon, I remarked.

The Sand Mandala would be filled up on the blue mat on Sunday at 4:30 pm.

What do you do with it when you destroy it? I asked.

It's funneled up on the blue sheet and dumped into a pond.

Last time, said an official, there was a snake in the pond. Wonder who the snake will be in its next life.

People who attend the ceremony on the last day can take some of the sand home with them. 

 His comfortable clothes and shoes.
I sat down on this velvet couch and watched him, entranced.

I started mumbling, to myself, my own mantra. I told him I meditated this morning, which I did at the Willow Grove Giant Supermarket. Then I sat there and read a chapter in

Image result for creatures in a day yalom 

One of my purchases was Losang doing meditations. In fact, it's on my nearby CD player right now.

 These mandalas, he said, go in the altar of a home.
He rang a gong, laughing that when you meditate and you fall asleep, this gong is rung. Remember, he lives off Spring Garden Street.

What a relief to hear I'm not the only one who invariably falls asleep when she meditates.

 A weaving of St George and the Dragon on the wall.
 Spring Garden.

If only that street were as beautiful as its name.

The Tree of Good and Evil.

Will you taste the apple?