Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Visit to Winnie in hospice in Glenside. Poem: Winnie: The One, The Only

 Winnie has a wonderful family. Her sister Toni and Toni's daughter Michelle, a nurse, asked her if she'd like to live with them for the duration of her illness. Cancer, which continues to grow in her abdomen.

Our family bought the dish garden for Win. It came with flowers, which died. Win said, Give it to your mom, which I will.

Just spoke to Mom. She does not want the plant back. Any takers? I'm serious.

What a lovely house they have in Glenside. These are huge roomy homes, where neighbors really care about one another.
Jo-Jo seemed to have a perpetual smile on her face.

 Winnie sleeps in a hospital bed in the living room.
 Toni is ironing in the dining room.
 We sat on the front porch and yakked for several hours.

 Winnie liked my sandals, the first day I wore em. Got em on sale at season's end in Ocean City.
 I brought my fave pretzels, the award-winning Unique. I drank cold water, while Winnie drank water spiked with iced tea. What? I should drink iced coffee as I did last nite? From Starbux. Was up until 5 in the a.m., submitting stories online.

We agreed the pretzels have just the right amount of salt and crunch!

These pretzels are a MUST for me as a person with diabetes.

Winnie dipped em in mustard, a Philadelphia tradition.

Michelle is Toni's daughter, a nurse, who, when she arrived home,  worked on her laptop in the dining room.

The other nite Winnie was asleep and it had gotten cooler. Michelle covered the sleeping Winnie with a blanket, tucking it very gently around her body.

What a kind thing to do, said Winnie.

We're on the cool front porch, even tho the temps were in the high 70s.

I read a poem I'd composed for Winnie. She liked it a lot. Her daughter Dawn is staying at Moreland Towers while she recuperates from a back problem.

For many years Winnie worked on County Line Road for Eichmueller Jewelry, personally trained by the German owner. She worked with bars of gold ingot. Usually during the heating process you lose some of the gold.

Winnie was the only one who never lost any.

The company asked her to move with them to Virginia, which she did. She bought a b'ful two-bedroom apartment with a view of lush greenery and trees. It was the favorite of all the places where she's lived. 


There are so many Winnies
we've got Winnie the Pooh
Queen Winifred of Kent
and Winnie Shaw, the Scottish tennis player

I know only one
she's the greatest
of all

Who's that lovely blonde
in Village Green
with the darling
red-headed daughter

Lifetime friends
from Building H
pound pound pound
down the steps

To Building J
remember old Jerry
the maintenance man
who did us favors?

Your beautiful furniture
traveled to Moreland Towers
I'll never forget our first
visit, then we drove to my
Mom’s, who loves you so,
and sends her best. 

And now I arrive for your
final rest. You're a wise
woman Winnie Bannigan, who
knows what she wants. I
applaud you.

The green and white philo-
dendron you gave me smiles
at me in the morning light.

What a fine legacy you're leaving.

Told her I'd be back again, bringing Tea Biscuits from the Giant and also some photos of the grandkids.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Winnie, I'll try again Weds - A couple of poems - A couple of doggies - I Think of You with Every Bite - The One and Only (Winnie)

  Scott routed me to see my friend Winnie, who's staying at her sister's in Glenside. She's in hospice.

Who knew there were two Linden Avenues in Glenside?

Good thing I'd gotten gas - 40-cents off at the Giant - this morning as I drove around and around. The Linden Avenue I visited did not have her sister's number, say, 340 or whatever it was.

Up and down the streets I went, finally ending up on a DIRT ROAD, my car bouncing along like a golf cart about to tip over.

In fact, there WAS a golf course nearby.

Manufacturer's Golf & Country Club.

I'm very attracted to country clubs b/c as a Penniless Dogooder I could never get in.

One man on my journey to find Winnie was riding a John Deere Tractor. He scratched his head and thought.

Why don't you ask the mailman, he said.

Great idea, I said, and drove down the street looking for him.

Saw the mailtruck at a Baptist church. Every door was locked tight, even tho I rang a bell.

Somehow I limped home. Yes, that's how exhausted I felt.

BTW, I'm a member of Compassion and Choices - Dying with Dignity.  Became a member when lithium ruined my kidneys and before Sarah donated her kidney.

I'm glad for the rain today cuz I have some bird poop on my car. You've gotta get rid of it immediately or the acids in it will dig into your car.

When I had my car inspected thother day at Tom Sawyer, I asked em if they had a vacuum so they could scoop up the Bug Museum from my back window.

No more bugs!

I got a whole host of wonderful poems rejected by half a dozen mags. One of em was printed. The Crane Fly.

Finally got my short story The Boys of Saint Regina's published. Read it here!

Image result for regina coeli abington      Got the idea for the name from this sign I pass. The name is Regina Coeli, pronounced CELLI.

Father Luke was loosely based on my late friend, Luke.

My story is reminiscent of the great Catholic writer J F Powers.

I'd read his books as a teenager.

Was fooling around on my laptop when I looked over at my clock.

4:15 pm

Suddenly I remembered - Happy Hour at the DQ.

For $1 you get

A cuppa coffee with cream. I shoulda told her no cream.

Here's my second doggie, warming up in the pilot-lit oven.

My first was the sauerkraut onion mustard relish one.

Dana told me the chili dog w cheese is her fave. They use Strohman Rolls and I forget the kind of doggies.

In the car I injected 12 units and my sugar isn't that high - 184.

Packed my car to visit Winnie. Wrote her a poem. Packed my fave pretzels.
Image result for unique pretzelsAnd also a lemon-colored box of tissues I bought this morning at the Giant.

As you know, when I go on Facebook, I like to write a poem. So here's what I wrote, with the accompanying foto.

 Lunch salad.
New, easy-to-spot label of unsalted peanuts.


The strawberries with the seeds
on the outside make me think
of you, Walter, an old man
who's disappeared from sight

The blue berries make me think
of Mom, with her blueberry bush
she lets the birds eat

The flavorful greenish olive oil from
California makes me think of my
friend Marcy in the Golden State

And when I have spooned up every
last bite, I think of where I am
headed this afternoon. My friend
is dying in hospice at her sister's
house in Glenside. A wise woman,
she knows who's got control of
her body now. Sadly, it's not her.



There are so many Winnies
we've got Winnie the Pooh
Queen Winifred of Kent
and Winnie Shaw, the Scottish tennis player

I know only one
the greatest of
them all

Who's that lovely blonde
in Village Green
with the darling
red-headed daughter

Lifetime friends
from Building H
pound pound pound
up the steps

To Building J
remember old Jerry
the maintenance man
who did us favors?

Your beautiful furniture
traveled to Moreland Towers
I'll never forget our first
visit, then we drove to my
Mom’s, who loves you so,
and sends her best.

And now I arrive for your
final rest. You're a wise
woman Winnie Bannigan, who
knows what she wants. I
applaud you.

The green and white philo-
dendron you gave me smiles
at me in the morning light.

What a fine legacy you’ve left.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Visited Donna from our Writers Group at Abington hospital - Two poems: The Grandchildren of Judy Diaz - Why You Shouldn't Wait to buy a home - Letter to my family doctor

Visited Donna from our writing group at what I used to called AMH. Abington Memorial Hospital. Now it's merged with Jefferson. She's been in the psych ward for several days. I've visited lotsa friends in there over the years. This is a newer unit and quite nice.

Donna said she'd write a poem or two while she's there. Not much to do. Her BF Denny was there. I stared at his handlebar mustache.

Image result for handlebar mustache  Ah, there's Denny now, on Wiki.

Dr Custer is gonna put her on PARNATE, after all the other meds are flushed from her body. Dietary restrix, but not quite as many as before.

Denny asked me what I was gonna do when I got home.

Make a salad for lunch, I said. While listening to Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison.

John, who's narrating the book, sez that he calls his wife from work every day with the same Q - he has nicknames for everyone -

Woof? Dyou still like me? She always says Yes, until she can't stand it anymore and sez No.

To sleep, the nervous worried John needs his wife to put either a leg or arm on his body and stroke him. He gets to sleep quickly that way.

I brought Donna my newest short story to read. WAIT UNTIL YOUR FATHER GETS HOME. Loosely based on Scott's adventures as a kid. At our writers group yesterday, Rem said it was the name of a radio program. He and his friend were gonna go to the minor league baseball game in Reading but it was rained out. They made other plans ... to watch a film.

Last nite I finally got Scott interested in anudder Netflix film other than Rockford. Inspector George Gently has been on BBC since 2006. Very entertaining!

Image result for george gently  Martin Shaw is the same age as me.


I can't stand my tiny apartment
Barely enough room for me and my kitty

From my laptop, I view all the homes
for sale, ranchers, split levels, a
Tudor style with wrought-iron gates

Miss Kitty watches as her mom pulls
up a stepstool and reaches on the
highest shelf of the front closet

Swirls of dust fill the air as I
pull down a shoebox, then another

Meow! she howls. I'll be home
soon, I tell her. And drive
to the credit union.

I buy us a rancher, white as
a wedding cake, where kitty
sits in the window watching
as four crows, with yellow
beaks, chase away a hawk
intent on fine dining.

She slinks into the kitchen
to eat her special tuna dish.
They don't make bird meals.

Spoke to Judy on the phone last nite while riding my stationery bike. She surprised me by saying she wished she had grandkids. I mailed her the following poem


They burst through the door
Gramma Judy! Gramma Judy!
Gram’s reading Vanity Fair
in her recliner
the cat snarls and runs
into the bedroom

They jump onto her lap
as Michael and Tori follow
their kids inside, they leave.

Gram, says little blonde
Marissa, shoving a paper
in Gramma’s face. I maded
you thumthing at thkool.

Gram straightens her glasses
and holds it aloft. “A dollhouse!
I love it. And you!” she says,
kissing the curls on her
granddaughter’s forehead.

Harry, the larger of the two,
with his pensive black eyes,
asks, “Gramma Jude! Did
you make the chocolate chip

“I certainly did, little lad,
says Gram. “Help me off
the recliner and you’ll each
pick out two.”

“Three, pwesse,” says Marissa.

“Of course, dear. Three,”
says their loving grandmother.

The cat peeks out from the
bedroom, with his jealous
green eyes, and slinks in
the kitchen to lick up the crumbs.


May 16, 2016

Dear James –

DOB:  12-25-45.  I’m 70 years old.

Your office called me on May 13 at 1:49 pm telling me to report to the ER at Abington hospital.

I had been to the Whitney Museum in NYCP the day before and had been on my feet since 7 am, not including the two-hour bus rides to and from the museum.

The same thing has happened to me on every trip I go on – a bus trip to New Orleans – and a European tour in 2004. Aching legs and swollen ankles.

My left ankle was swollen after the Whitney, and walking felt strange. You thought it might be a blood clot. Understandable.

I packed my bag, assuming I might stay overnight, and drove to the ER, parking
where my car would be safe for a couple of days.

The ER was very difficult to find. Terrible signage. Took me about 7 minutes to find it once I was in the hospital.

When I finally got to the ER I was second in line at the reception desk.

The individual ahead of me, a man, was chatting with the receptionist, not about a health issue, but about getting directions somewhere. They spoke at least 5 minutes.

I was furious. I interrupted saying I had a possible blood clot, but she told me to wait my turn. There was a security guard in an adjoining booth, whom I told, but he said he could do nothing.

And I tried to push my way into the hospital via a door right there, but it was locked.

Then an older man got in line behind me. He said he’d been waiting for three hours to see a doctor.

Finally, it was my turn. I chastised the receptionist, thought a moment, and told her I was leaving.

When I got home I went online and looked up signs for a blood clot.

I had none of them. Which doesn’t mean I haven’t a clot.

The swelling in my ankle has lessened. Just measured both ankles with a paper tape measure.

The left ankle is 9, while the right ankle is 8.

I take a few extra baby aspirin per day.

As for the hospital, most likely I will not go.

My ex-husband, Mike, had a knee operation. Shortly thereafter, a blood clot went to his heart and killed him almost instantly. He just had time to tell his wife to call 911.

If it happens to me, which I doubt, c’est la vie. 


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Howdy Brandy and mom Shelly Quigley - We meet at the Willow Grove mall food court - Poem: Peanut Buster Parfait

Camera in hand, I entered thru the same door as when we used to hold Mornings at the Mall. Now it sez Nordstrom on it.

I was actually at the orig Nordstrom's in Seattle when I visited my cuz Mark Greenwold and his first wife Barbara in Seattle, where they used to live. That's where he met famed artist Chuck Close, whose book I've been trying to sell on Craigslist for years.

Special price for you, Dear Reader, $25. It's en espanol.

Every woman in Seattle was beautiful and wore b'ful shoes.

Shoes are my favorite part of my body.

 Congrats to Brandy, who won the Emerging Poet Award from our Arts Fest on Mother's Day. Martha Hunter from our Writers' Group made it.
Proud mama Shelly Quigley.  I first met Shelly and Brandy right here when we had Mornings at the Mall. Helen, who ran it, said it was too noisy, so now we meet at - where else? - the Willow Grove Giant.
At Starbux, I got a cuppa java and a chocolate croissant, so I could feel like I was in Paris, with Sarah, as we were before my kidney transplant.

I love older adults. I better, I'm one of em now. My fondest desire is to run a group with them. After all, that's what my MGPGP degree is for. Group process and group psychotherapy. You've got a lot on your mind as the specter of dying approaches.

 Shel offered Brandy something to flavor her water. Dyou think it was brandy? The first week I was at Goddard College I drank apricot brandy, which made my head spin. I'd never drunk before othan Manishevitz wine for Passover.
 We went for a walk outdoors. Bravo Restaurant with lovely fleurs.
Cheesecake Factory with its nice doors I will never enter again unless someone pays for me.

Oh! Thanks, Mr. Buffett. He famously said, it's OK to make mistakes, just make sure they don't outweigh the correct things you did.

 Variegated whatcha-ma-callit.  Prize of dinner at Bravo if you know the answer. Of course, you'll pay the tab.

Brandy needed a gift for a baby shower she's going to.

Look no further, I quipped. Give her the doll!

My 3yo grandson Max would love seeing this. A broken-down escalator.  A woman used to come to our mall meeting. She was ascared to ride escalators. I'll help you, I said. She didn't want any help. Her name was Phyllis and we published a poem or two of hers in the Compass.
Three floors. When the mall first opened, I wrote an article for one of the local papers about the Carillon Clock.
Clark shoe store. To me, these are the most gorgeous shoes but they KILL your feet.

When Scott and I fell in love we took photos in a booth. It's been 10 years now.  In fact when I came home tonite from Dan n Nicole's I drove up to the Willow Grove train station where he was waiting for the train to whisk him off to work.

We chatted a while and then I drove to the libe to return some books.

Am listening to a good one in the car.

Image result for room book  Katie the Upper Moreland librarian, recommended it.

It didn't dawn on me until Disk Two that it was based on the story about being kept in a room by a dreadful man until Mom figgers out how to escape.

 Okay, I'm trying to find my car after saying bye-bye to Shel and Brandy

I know I parked at the sign that read Nordstrom's Rack.

Where the hell was it.

I actually climbed up this steep hill and then jogged to where I'd parked my car. There it was. Locked up.

Perfect weather to plant my bulbs which have been sitting around for months.

Darkness came but I lit up the space - with a solar light - near the bird bath to plant lillies of the valley cuz they like shade.

When I finished planting, I spent 20 minutes answering emails, and then the obsession began. It was
9:34 when I left home. The place closes at 10.

Where is it? Aha, I remembered. Head for the Giant. It's across the street. There it was. A line formed while I studied the menu.

Something new caught my eyes.

Okay, lemme write a quick poem here.


The Robert Mapplethorpe of ice cream
photographers posted a salacious photo
of a parfait - what a word! - and I was
mesmerized. Peanut Buster Parfait
I said to myself, as I inched forward
in line.

I looked at the madame behind the counter
and said with a question in my voice
A Peanut Buster Parfait?
Vanilla? she asked.
Yes, I said, and looked around to
see who else was there on this
moonlit night in May.

It was as beautiful to behold
as a polar mountain cap in
Nepal, where the Sherpas
led us through the pass.

Breaking away from the
others, I took my prize
over to my faithful steed,
as I call my car, and began
to dig

Buttery, nuttery, chocolatey
crunchy, smooth, going down
easy, it's the stuff dreams
are made of. Good night
sweet stuff!

I ate part of it at the DQ but wanted to finish it at home. I have two cupholders in my car. One had water so I put this in the other atop some buckeyes I found at a park.

While driving home, I felt something fall onto the floor on the driver's side. Hmmm, I thought, what can that be?

When I got home, I found out.

Cleaned up the car real good. When I used to haul my kids around, we used to drink milk in the car and spilled it a couple of times.

What a stink it made.

A Few Things I Learned - Poem: The Genius of Birds - Poem: Priscilla Remembers

Image result for karl rickels  Karl Rickels, MD, who wrote a story in the last Compass on What Makes me Happy, had his intern send me a story from JAMA about research into lithium.

As you know, lithium ruined my kidneys and I had a kidney t plant, courtesy of my daughter Sarah. We celebrated our fifth KidneyVersity at Reading Terminal and Z Barnes.

The JAMA article stated that psychiatrists are wary of prescribing lithium - good! they should be! - but, said the story, it is safe and should be prescribed. It's also an antisuicidal agent and when Larry Schwartz took me off it w/o weaning me off, I was suicidal for a whole year.

That's how I know what it feels like to wanna take your own life.

An adjoining article talked about physician suicides, esp. in medical school! Every single day, one physician takes his or her own life.

I know of a retired physician who did indeed do the deed. A wonderful human being.

Brought this book to the TNT restaurant with me this morning.

I meant to eat at the Hatboro Dish, but I made the wrong turn, so ended up eating here.

Forgot my diabetes needle, so injected when I got home.

There's a terrible story I heard while eating.... about some bad sauce.... but I won't repeat it.

Instead, I'll share a poem I wrote quickly, for my Facebook friends.


"The Genius of Birds" by
Jennifer Ackerman says
it "baffles the imagination
to think the tiny flashlike
chickadee" could be the
ancestor of flying dinosaurs
with feathers!

Do the chickadees who
dwell in my green bird
house outside my
window know this?

Mais oui. In the
early morn, they puff
out their sea-grey
chest and sing a
morning hymn, reciting
the deuteronomy of
feathered things.


Went to Hair Cuttery. My stylist was Priscilla. I'll write you a poem, I said, and here tis.


She remembers the country
she and Mama left when she was only
five, the aqua-green house mirrored
the color of water on the beach,
where the curly-head dug her little
toesies deep in the sand

Mountains everywhere!
Mama, they reach
to the stars! They lived
with grandfather on his
farm, the brown eggs they
ate for breakfast
so good they could
pass for dessert

Trees were many:
mango, guava, banana
she'd pick up a stick
rise up on her tippie-
toes and down would
fall a yellow-red
mango into her arms

How she cried when
they moved to America
and still cries when
she thinks about the
land of her birth
Costa Rica, Costa Rica

She visits every year.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

On my way to the bank - Poem: Still Life by Beatriz Moisset

With the New Directions loot in my jacket pocket from last nite's meeting, I stopped at the Horsham Giant.

Whoa! It was like a whole new store than MY Giant... Willow Grove.

Quite good! Before I ate, I dipped into my Vita Cream Herring for protein.

Since my sugar was high - God only knows why - 186 - I decided to walk Scott to the train. Now the blood sugar is a respectable 146, but still too high.

Said Scott, I dunno why a smart girl like you can't close the carton full of papers.

Over and under, over and under, he said, while I watched dumbfounded.

We walked with a good clip along Davisville Road, kissed each other g'bye before he descended down the hill to wait for the train.

Then I walked on the other side of the street for a variety of views when I saw a sign that said, FREE.

Here's my cache

If you double-click on Barbie's necklace - it's the pink book on the left - you'll see what I found in the street.


A still life of
two fat mushrooms
arrests my eye

Resting side by
side, they have
no idea that

Within moments
their flesh will be
pierced by a sharp

Will they howl?
Will they cry?
To live, we must
eat and show a
callous eye to

all things delicious
that keep us alive.
Perhaps in another
world staring at
B's still life of

is enough for
our daily