Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Talking on the Phone while I paint on the screened-in back porch

What on earth?

I could hardly believe my eyes. My milkweed plant has sprouted three blossoms. I planted them to attract

  Read this new article excerpted from Nature about the gene that allows monarchs to have big muscles to fly long distances.

When I woke up this morning I was in the mood to do NOTHING! Absolutely nothing. While meditating for 10 minutes on the back porch, I had an idea, which changed the course of my day.

I was motivated. And decided, at last, to paint the two bird houses that were sitting on the back porch for a couple of months.

So, how many sides does a bird house have?

It's a cube, right?

I'm painting away, dibbing and dabbing, thinking I'm finished, when - lo! - I discover another side I must paint.

  I wear NITRILE GLOVES when I paint.

B/c I'm expecting important emails today, I would run upstairs to check, w/o taking off my surgeon's gloves.

The emails concern the next issue of our Compass magazine. I was in absolute dread to start it until I went to the retirement luncheon yesterday and then got all these great ideas!

 Here's a piece of canvas, on which I've outlined in pencil what I want to paint.
This is a shapely cup my sister Donna gave me. Inside are stalks of verbena I always pick from my mom's front yard. They spill over the sidewalk in purple splendor.

The first person I wanted to talk to was Marcy Belsh, who, with her mother Gloria, moved to Grenada Hills, CA.

As I couldn't find her phone no, I sent her an email asking her to call me if she wished.

Then I called Allan Heller from our Writers' Group.

 Allan read me a story he entered in a Halloween contest. A Mr. Cartwright was a bounty hunter and decided to kill the 'wanted men' instead of going to the trouble to keep them alive and fed and chained up.

Was he in for a surprise!

Allan told me he and his wife Tatiana will participate in A Walk to Stamp Out Parkinson's disease.

I told him I'd donate a small amount which I did.

Bill Gates, you may have heard, just donated $50 million for find a cure for the Ebola virus. This optimistic man is certain we'll find a cure

Boy o boy, if I were a rich man - sing it, Tevye!!!

Then I called my sister Donna and we talked a while. The bride and groom are doing nicely. That would be Kamellia from Ukraine and her new husband Tyler Roche Cartagena. Les trois live together. Donna is Tyler's grandmother. Ach! That makes us sound so old.

She asked me over the phone: Where have they all gone?

Gramma Green, Gramma Lily, Daddy and our brother David.

I confessed I had no idea. I said that once they were here on this earth and we all knew one another and tangoed together, but one by one they departed, never to be seen again.

Now I was upstairs making supper in the kitchen. What would I make?

Aha! Eggs. I scrambled three of em, salted them with pepper and where dyou think I ate them?

They were so delicious - I fried em in butter - so I took the bowl

outside and ate them in the dark.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Retirement Party for Nancy Wieman on the last day of September - Cinquin for Nancy

Lai Lai Gardens on deKalb Pike in Blue Bell is a favorite banquet spot. I left plenty early just in case I got lost. As always, I listen to an audio book. Fortunately, The Shining by Stephen King is picking up. The term "the shining" refers to the power of prophecy.

As you can see, I got sloshed at the Cash Bar.

Actually all I drank was ice water the above gentleman spritzed into my glass.
Helen Kirschner, leader of our Daytime Meetings at the Willow Grove Giant, arrived - with a splash - in the parking lot right after I did.

We both have the Mental Health Awareness stickers on our backsides.

One of our bipolar women from New Directions designed it.

Haven't seen Sandy Watson in years. She usually wears a beautiful long skirt and was. Recently, she retired from The Consumer Satisfaction Team of Montgomery County. 

Nancy Wieman (wee-man) looked stunning. When I learned she was retiring on August 29 I wrote her a poem, which you'll read later. (I've gotta run upstairs and retrieve it from my poetry file.)

She spoke at New Directions in March of 2012. The post is quite interesting. Read it here. 

A timeline of Nancy's life was displayed on a screen up front while perhaps 100 people watched from tables with white linen tablecloths or standing up in the back of the room.

Bob Wieman, Nancy's husband. It's so much fun to see a person's partner. Their daughter, Sarah, who was in town the day before, had to go back to college in Florida - o that I could remember the name - where she's going for her MBA.

When she graduates, she'll figure out what to do with it.

Here's a better shot of Bob Wieman in his "traditional khakis" as someone said when I asked where he was.

Pam Howard, Director of Adult Services at Montgomery County Office of Behavioral Health, greeted us when we came in.

Her daughter Maya is now all of 10 years old. Pam lost her husband to a deadly cancer when Maya was very young.

Maya is waiting at home for mom. She's now taking flute lessons.

Internet photo.

Are flutes really this long?

Well, it's not an ocorina, ya know.

Carol Caruso of NAMI. The National Alliance on Mental Health just held their annual conevention in DC. A friend of mine shared the event-packed flyer. 

Peruse it here. Most impressive!

Josh Shapiro, president of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, was one of the speakers.

"None of us was put on earth," he said, "to complete the task" we're working on.

What a great quote!

We learned of Nancy's long and dedicated career.

In the late 1960s, Nancy, then 26, was a vocational counselor at Norristown State Hospital, which at the time housed 5,000 people.

From Wiki - Designed 1878–80, by Wilson Brothers & Company, it was the first institution in the country that recognized female physicians.

Norristown Admin.jpg Nancy, then a vocational counselor, was walking outside one of the buildings, when a hospital patient called "Nancy! Nancy!"

"Yes!" she answered.

"When did you get out?"

After working 18 yrs at the hospital, she applied for an administerial job at Montco Behavioral Health.

On the screen up front, we saw a letter from Mary Q. Frantz offering her the job and stating she would earn $32,000 per year.

Vera Zanders read a testimony by the absent Eric Goldstein, head of the Behavioral Health Unit. He mentioned Nancy's motto - "We're all about community" - and said he considers her a "soul sister."

She will continue her work on the Prison Board.

Some of the gifts she received were gift cards to

       Blimpie's (never heard of it)

Iced decaf, please.

      Lou's in Norristown. Must be near her office.

Was it Maureen Feeney-Burns who presented Nancy with a necklace?

 Hi Maureen! The words on the necklace: "Be the Change You Wish to See in the World."

Cynthia is a brain researcher at University of Pennsylvania. She was fascinated to hear my manic-depression sounded its trumpet for 20 years and then left town 10 years ago.

I'm not alone, I told her. I know at least 10 people who are no longer on meds, asymptomatic.

I asked Cynthia if she could be a guest speaker at the Giant on Oct. 25, but she said she'd be in New York.

Then I asked if she could write for our new Compass, and showed her our 2014 copy. I've got business cards of several people who I'll ask for articles.

Unbelievably, I lost Cynthia's business card. If anyone reading this knows her last name, please email me at Ruth Deming at

Starting is the hardest part.

As mon ami Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is reputed to have said:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

It was good to see Beulah Seideman below. She and husband Reuben moved to Center City and love it. 

 Reuben told me the journey of his son. He was given various diagnoses. Schizophrenia, bipolar. Got lousy treatment in hospitals.

Finally, a nurse diagnosed him with bipolar, he's been on lithium for 25 years, is married and has two kids. He met the woman he married at the gym.

"She fell in love with him," said the proud Reuben, who said it's okay to "blog this."

I told Reuben his son must get his labs checked once every six months, which Reuben said he does.

As my readers know, 16.5 years on the drug ruined my kidneys. My daughter Sarah donated hers to me three years ago and I'm doing fine.

The antirejection meds gave me insulin-dependent diabetes.

Helen looked the other way when I injected insulin into the top of my arm. No pain there.
Michael Solomon! It's always good seeing him. Tall and slender, he said, "My wife keeps me in good shape."

Nancy Wieman knew every single person in the room.

Helen asked me how many people I knew. I guessed maybe one-third. Problem was, I could barely read the name tags. It was like being at a Singles' Dance and trying to find out Who is this person, What do they do, How important are they for my own needs?

Mark Saltzer was there. Let's see what he's up to at Temple.

Mark Salzer
 Here's Mark who does good work.

Oy veh! Just heard on the radio that a Dallas hospital has the first ebola patient in the USA. But, said the doctor spokesperson, there's no way it's going to get out of control.

Here's the gift I found near my car in the parking lot

Driving home this little guy made my 45-minute drive all the more pleasant. Dunno if I'd describe listening to The Shining as pleasant or not. Would you?

A cinquin is a poem with the syllable structure

2 – 4 – 6 – 8 – 2


The years
where did they go?
Hammock days await when
she’ll read all those fine books calling