Sunday, October 23, 2016

BONFIRE 2016: It takes a Village to get the keys to the Pavilion to open the fireplace gate and turn on the overhead lights!

S'mores are always the finale at our Bonfire!

Helen called me from home. Her husband Larry was at Tamanend Park. The fireplace gate was locked and the overhead lights were not turned on.

I'd called the park the day before to remind them of all this.

Sure, they said, we'll get it done.

They had an emergency no. for park director Marion. Left her two messages. She never called me back.

Marion! We're thinking of letting you go.

Not Officer Costello tho.

As a last ditch effort - hey, remember the TV show The Court of Last Resort - I phone the Upper Southampton police and got a dispatcher. He said to call back when I got to the park.

Fortunately I had my pockets stuffed with phone numbers.

So Costello makes a phone call and within 10 minutes, Ray of Tamanend - is out there with the keys and his tiny little dog.

  Grace, how'd you get in there. Was lookin for a photo of my camera and up pops Grace when she was about 4.

I could not find my pink Nikon to take pix with.

Scott came over and within 4 minutes found it.

Twas in this bag I brought to Saturday's writing group. I swear I checked there.

When he came over I was upstairs in bed watching the rock band No Evidence of Disease. Here's their website. They're all specialist cancer docs. Their field is GYN cancers.

One of the docs moved to Anchorage AK where there are exactly zero gyn doctors. In the documentary she was driving her car and said to us, I just diagnosed a 13-yo with cancer today.

I did take great pix at the Bonfire on this camera

 If you turn up your volume you can hear what the photos are saying:  Hey we're trapped and can't get off cuz, ahem, the owner of the i Phone - no names please - doesn't know how to upload them despite talking with her son.

I brought a pound of shrimp with cocktail sauce that drilled a hole in your brain.

Jonathan brought chili with just the right amt of spice.

I brought many different flavors of olives. When huge gusts of wind swirled periodically into the sides of the Pavilion, the olives jumped into a salad Helen had brought.

Ada brought a huge salad. I brought the extras home and noshed on them while watching the final episodes of 11-23-63 by Stephen King and friends.

Watched nearly three hours today as it was due at the libe by 5 pm. Very enjoyable but a bit long, as I told my mom.

Image result for 11-23-63

Now I don't wanna spoil the plot for you, so close your eyes as you read.

When Jake, our time-travel hero, returns to his town of Lisbon, ME, there's been a nuclear disaster. The world is in ruins.

So he's gotta go back down the rabbit hole and let everyone die that he'd saved, including JFK.

Okay, open your eyes.

Jonathan, in addition to the chili, made gorgeous cupcakes with peanut butter banana icing. I ate half a one but an entire Ada's brownie. I was really stuffed bc I had two delicious Hebrew National hot dogs on toasted buns.

Plus Brandy's pizza slice with spinach and - was it goat cheese?  Mmm mmmm good.

When I got home my sugar was a whopping 404. If you looked closely at my veins n arteries, this was swirling around

Image result for sugar in a bag

Shelly brought her guitar and we sang along.

Should I sing? she asked. She was afraid of chasing people away and having them go home.

She and Larry were the main singers. I was surprised I remember the words to some Peter Paul and Mary songs.

Larry's part of a chorus who's gonna sing a dissonant piece The Requiem by John Rutter, born in 1945.

They're gonna play at Upper Dublin High School and I'm gonna go!

Some of Brandy's friends came. Sweet kids.

One guy Jeremy, 18, laffed when I said The park should paint the chain that prevents cars from driving up
to the pavilion WHITE. It's invisible.

Good idea, said Jeremy.

Well, Jeremy, they don't give a shit about what Ruth Z Deming thinks.

Shortly I'll gather my Trail Mix and head over to Scott's for a marathon Hitchcock night.

For my Facebook Poem o The Day I wrote


We were all once new
Once bright and shiny
Sandy's blanket which I
brought to the Bonfire
last night- cold winds
had no mercy - was once
being woven in her
husband's carpet shop

And now I must relinquish
a many-colored carpet
Mom, once a preemie, bought for
my living room. The carpet
voyaged throughout my
house, woven on a loom
we know not where.

With teary eyes I told her
I am selling it. She bought
it at Lord and Taylor, she
remembered, in the days
before old age stole
her finer points.

Here's to the many-colored
carpet. I lift up my cup o'
tea and sip longingly lovingly
to the carpet of my middle years.

Then I emailed it to Debi who is picking up the carpet on Tuesday.

She wrote back and asked me who wrote it.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Kym Cohen's obit - New Writing Group - Meeting MariePat at the Ambler Theater - Flu Shot - Requiem for Wayne Dyer

ICING ON THE CAKE, named by Beatriz, is a poetry journal our Saturday Writers' Group published several years ago. An inside photograph and several poems were written by the late Kym Cohen, who died of cancer on Oct. 7 at Aria Torresdale Hospital. Read obit here.

She was 45. And a real fighter!

I mailed two copies of ICING to the funeral home to give to her family.

Was the cancer growing inside her when we published ICING?


My therapist friend Judy D, who moved to Colorado to be with her son and his wife, is friends with MariePat.

Marie and I met for the first time last Thursday. I arrived at the Ambler Theater early

since I wasn't sure how to get there.

I said to the guy inside who took the tickets, I'm waiting for a woman with white hair.

That would describe everyone who comes here, he said.

We watched the film INDIGNATION, based on a novel by Philip Roth. I'd never heard of it. The film was gorgeously filmed and filled with anecdotes with no coherent theme. 

Marie is a stunning woman. She uses a contraption to help her hear the film. It fits into the cup holder.

 In my cupholder I fit...

this delicious Chocolate Butter Biscuit. I just finished it two minutes ago. Read about the company here. Very clever slogans.

Take a look at the family who owns Ritter. They look like they're starring in a new Netflix film.  Scroll down.

The theater was built in 1928. In one of its many incarnations, iIt used to be a Christian cinema. If I'm not mistaken Harry Bristow owned it. Read history here.

Many folks in Ambler once worked in asbestos mines. 

"Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that once was lauded for its versatility, recognized for its heat resistance, tensile strength and insulating properties, and used for everything from fire-proof vests to home and commercial construction. It was woven into fabric, and mixed with cement.

Its properties were so desired that the United States military mandated its use in every branch of service. Asbestos was a perfect blend to make things better – except it was highly toxic, too. Today asbestos is a known cause of mesothelioma cancer, is banned in more than 50 countries (not the U.S.), and its use has been dramatically restricted in others."

Here's a post I wrote about Ambler... you've gotta scroll way down for the pix.


Thursday night I went to a new Writers' Group. It was just around the corner on XX Avenue. I'd looked at a house on the same street but didn't buy it, since it felt as if I were squooshed between houses. Much more room here on Cowbell.

One woman didn't like her photo taken so in deference to all of them, I won't publish the picture. She said she goggled her name once and found a picture of her drinking wine! Quelle horreur!


These were sophisticated women
who reached across the table
to shake my hand, Lori as in
Lori Nelson, still sasssy
at 83, and Marlene, who
passed me the crackers and
cheese and told me the
chocolate chip cookies
were divine.

Oh, said I, not for me, my
resistance steadily lowering as in the
famous toddler study at Stanford that
showed "self-control" was paramount
for later success.

This was their Thursday night
writing group, hosted by Linda,
who spread the table with a
glorious feast. In deference
to the hostess I ate one of every
morsel except the coconut which
got bad reviews. Plus I left my
Dental Floss at home.

They liked my short stories -
The Red Door and The Missing Girl -
and marked up my copies with red
and purple ink.

Not bad, I thought, as I stepped outside into
the hot autumn night, thanking the stars, and the
golden leaves as I walked quickly to my car
studded with the the gifts of autumn.

These women were fussy. Grammarians, correct
spellers, fact-checkers. And they want
me back!


Okay, what day is it? Ah, Friday night. Went to the kids' house for dinner. I brought a salad since they'd ordered from Chick Filet.

Was so happy to see Grace and Max as it had been nearly a month.

Max wanted to sit next to me. Below is his school picture they just got.

Gosh I feel like the popular girl I never was, only when I got to run my own support group.

He fell today in nursery school and showed me his boo-boo.

Whenever he got off the couch in the den, he limped as if to help the pain.

Dan bought a new Sony Playstation. He put goggles over my head and I watched a hologram-like scenario of being in the ocean.

An amazing experience.

Image result for railroad crossings 

Max, who loves trains, was watching on the big screen a series of Train Crossing Videos Dan had downloaded from YouTube.

Amazing, with the sound of the bells and the train cars.

Max was naming the tankers, filled with milk, he said, tho he only drinks water, and a flatbed trailer with steel pipes on it.

You know what I'm gonna do now?

Watch an Ingmar Bergman film.... Wild Strawberries... from the library, of course.

Nix the movie. PBS has the story of the new play HAMILTON on right now. Will grab my trail mix and head upstairs. 

I learned in the Writing Group than when you write an ellipsis - it's three dots.

Image result for anthony doerr four seasons in romeFinally finished one of my 4 books, which means I can start reading something else. Peut-etre Rebecca, our next book of the month club.

This was not an easy read. Perhaps none of his books are.

Image result for anthony doerr twins    Henry and Owen in Rome. People would stop to look at them on the street and even bend down to kiss them on the cheek.

Smells like rain now and I hear it pattering on the street. The street of Willow Grove, not Rome or New Orleans or even Cleveland, where I talked to my family there this morning.

It was pouring, they said, and told me it would be coming our way.

You're right, Jack, Linda and Aunt Selma.

Got my flu shot today. By bloggin it, I can remember when I got it. I do have a sheet but...

Anyway, Hannah gave it to me and it was painless. Had to wait a few minutes for her, so I chose to read a paperback by J R Ward, who I'd never heard of.


Louise Hay in her 90th year
is no doubt grieving as am I
for the PBS guru, we might as
well call him a preacher, like
Ecclesiastes. His message
Be Christ-like, I applaud
that, though I could never
be as bold as The Nazarene
which the Jews call him.

The guru breathed his last
at 75. A heart attack stilled
his defiant heart. Did he
feel it coming? Did he inhale
and say, I release myself
to the stars?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mental Illness: 'the scourge of our time' - published in the Intelligencer, Bucks Co, PA October 19, 2016

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) started its Mental Illness Awareness Week (earlier this month) “to inform the public that mental illness is a serious subject, not to be taken lightly,” said volunteer Amira Aburida of the Washington, D.C.-based agency.

It also aims to “correct negative stereotypes about those diagnosed with mental illness,” she continued.

Not easy.

Mark is a member of New Directions, the support group I founded in 1986, after my own bipolar diagnosis. “I got frustrated with having abilities but kept undermining them with my illness,” said Mark, who, because of the stigma against the mentally ill, is using a pseudonym. Mark fought taking meds for years.

Now at 30, Mark is a new man, in his last semester at a Philadelphia university, where he will graduate soon with top marks. He credits his psychiatrist, who is always available to him.

“Routine, diet, working out and medicine all fit together into a new, promising system that allows me to thrive,” he said. “This fragile web requires immense work, but the results are incredible.”

An estimated 26 percent of Americans ages 18 and older, or about one in four adults – 58 million people — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Anxiety is the top disorder.

Support groups like ours are safe places to freely discuss what’s on your mind without fear of judgment: good doctors, jobs, relationships, the high cost of meds, side effects, problems with insurance. Though many are tempted, it’s best not to disclose your illness at work.

What about the people who self-medicate with alcohol or illegal drugs to get them through the day? New Directions, now in our 30th year, has seen hundreds of these suffering men and women who only want to feel “normal.”

Support groups are invaluable for them, too. Alcoholics Anonymous, founded in 1935 by a stockbroker and a surgeon, has helped millions. Many addicts have been driven to the brink of suicide, unable to escape the maze of shame, family break-ups and the high cost of drugs.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. If someone is at risk for suicide in our group, we set up a “call team” until the “urge” to kill oneself has passed.

It works.

Psychiatrist Cherian Verghese, M.D., of Keystone Clinical Studies in Norristown, believes that “with good research and collaboration from the laboratory to the doctor’s office, we will be able to find treatments for many conditions for which we do not have any medications at present.”

At Keystone, he conducts “clinical trials of medications for psychiatric and neurological conditions, in accordance with FDA guidelines.”

Another psychiatrist, Herbert Pardes, M.D., of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, calls mental illness “the scourge of our time.”

Few would disagree, particularly loved ones who must learn to cope with their relative’s desperate condition, many of whom refuse to get help. Dr. Pardes said “two-thirds do not get the treatment they need.

“Everyday,” he continued, “we hear about a rise in heroin addiction ... and increases in depression and anxiety among children and adults.

“Clearly, mental illness is a major international problem with devastating consequences,” he continued, “and more can be done to help millions of people around the world.”

Randy, a photographer and member of New Directions, said that no medication has ever helped him. An active man, as are many whose depressions linger, he went to a new psychiatrist and sought a different type of treatment.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) works by pumping magnetic impulses into various parts of the brain. “It sounds like woodpeckers tapping on my skull,” said Randy. He gets treatments five days a week and his depression has begun to lift. The only way he can tell — and he still has more treatments ahead — is that his productivity has increased.

We live in a stressful world. Combat stress by exercising. Nothing is easier than taking a walk. The new Pennypack Trail, which runs from Huntingdon Valley to Lorimer Park in Abington, offers splendid views, including meandering creeks, trees of all varieties and fellow walkers, often with their dogs on leashes or pushing baby carriages.

Occasionally, walkers will congregate to view deer or flocks of quacking ducks sailing peacefully across Pennypack Creek.

Sights, sound, stimulation. Something we all need. So rejoice and glory in the autumn of the year.

Ruth Z. Deming is a psychotherapist in private practice and founder/director of New Directions Support Group of Abington and Willow Grove. View meeting schedule and special events at For information, contact 215-659-2366 or

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Graduated from Willow Grove Physical Therapy - Poem: Peek-a-Boo

Quick snack before the ND meeting. Timer set for 25 minutes.

Today, I graduated from physical therapy! Ann was my terrific therapist. Amy helped  out a little today. When Amy liked something I said, she said, "I like that!"

I drove over hill and dale getting there exactly on time. For once, I had to wait.

The ole man sitting next to me was black and blue. His walker sat in front of him and his daughter Janice from Plymouth Meeting who drove him there was next to him.

I started the conversation off with, "Oh, my boyfriend loves Clive Cussler!" The guy was reading a hardback, checked out of the library. His wife Phyllis was having therapy for vertigo.

Clive Cussler is really old, I told him. Somewhere in the mid 80s I said.

Let's check now.

Image result for clive cussler  He's 85.

I'll call my new friend Art. Can't for the life of me remember his name. I'm not old, but I'm older.

I gave him the names of other crime fiction books, esp. Lee Child, who he'd never heard of. We chatted away.

At one point I asked him what kinda work he did before he retired.

Worked at a supermarket, drove a school bus. I said, I pictured you as a pharmacist. I told him I was also Jewish.

Told Mom this story. She said his name would come to me.

Told Mom that the wife Phyllis was there for vertigo.

Mom couldn't remember what that meant.

Dizzy, I said.

She said physical therapy fixed her vertigo the very first time she was there. She's also a Willow Grove gal.

Finally Phyllis walked out with her walker. The family couldn't wait to introduce us.

I said hello, rather shyly. She was a b'ful woman with a thick head of white hair, all poofed up. Art said she was a great cook.

They're going out to eat afterward. A Vietnamese restaurant.

Art doesn't like Chinese.

You're a Jew and you don't like Chinese?

He laffed. Neither does Scott.

Daughter Janice said she loves every kind of food.

Her folks will probly move into Pine Run in the northeast. A great place, I know it. 

I saw that Art wasn't wearing glasses. And, yes, he still drives. He's 90.

He had cataract surgery 8 yrs ago. He checked with his daughter to find out when he had it.

I said my mom just had cataract surgery but it hadn't gone too well.

Now the woman on the other side got involved.

Same thing happened to her own mom so we talked about that for awhile.

Her mom, who had swinging blondish hair and looked to be about 80, had a face that trembled. In the therapy room - it's huge and you can watch everyone - she sat on some machine that looked like an iron mask or some torture thing from the past.

She did very well on it. The therapists protect you. They never let anything bad happen to you.

The hardest exercise is when they make you stand on a blue cushion, close your eyes, and stand as long as you can.

Actually, all the exercises hurt but I will continue to do them.

Ann finished up the final forms. They document everything. She'll send it to my family doctor.

They gave me my choice of prizes. I chose a pedometer.

I wrote a terrific poem this morning. Was listening to Sandy Wood of the McDonald Observatory in Texas when she talked about a particular moon. Can't look it up now as I'm racing with the clock.


Do not be deceived by the heavenly bodies we gaze
upon with such fondness and devotion. Like us,
they play games, nothing is sacred.

Is the Moon in love with the giant star Aldebaran?
Certainly it seems such, as she hides, then appears,
her quivering flesh pulsating for his heart

Look up, ye yearners, look up tonight and all this
week and ponder once again Does your life have meaning?
Are you with the one you love? And then whisper to the
moon your secret desires.