Monday, May 31, 2010

Linda, Cornbead & Kidneys

Linda is the new librarian of New Directions. A prolific poet and reader, she recommended that Scott and I visit the Folger Library when we tour DC in June. She saw Othello there, a play about the ravages of jealousy.

Linda attends our monthly Writers' Group and presented 2 poems last week: Lady Autumn and Sister Agnes. A devout Christian, she believes that "God saves us through His Grace." She attends church and Bible studies. She is also working on a novel.

Baked this cornbread this morning and brought a couple pieces over to Neighbor Sue. Her kids loved it. Her dad recently died from kidney failure so I told her about my failing kidneys due to ingestion of lithium for 16.5 yrs. She said a man down the street is facing dialysis.

I asked a few questions like What's his energy level. Very poor. I'm fortunate cuz I haven't reached that point yet. I've got lots of energy but I do love my naps.

Doctors do not tell you about adhering to a restrictive diet to prolong kidney health and postpone dialysis. Mary Ann Moylan, nutritionist at the Willow Grove Giant, put me on a kidney-healthy diet which I adhere to cuz I do not want dialysis. It ruins your body. Average lifespan is 5 yrs.

Spoke to my friend Lillian who's been on dialysis for 8 yrs. She's doing well but gave me added reinforcement for staying on my diet.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Maybe, just maybe

I've always kept a bird's nest in my living room. Scott removed this robin's nest from his back porch and here it is. We hadn't known if the birds return to the same nest or build a new one when they return. They build a new one. But we left it up in case a lazy cow bird wanted to lay her eggs inside.

Flanking the nest are some toot-toot furry birds I bought at Kremp's. Squeeze them and they make the sounds of a pilleated woodpecker or barnyard owl.

Sort of.

My daughter did a magnificent job writing a grant for New Directions. When she told me it was due June 1, my heart sank. Darn, I thought, we'll have to wait a whole nother year. Then I realized it was the month of May.

In addition to putting my close on backwards, I have no conception of time. I'll hand-deliver the grant on Tuesday morning, the day it's due.

We've been rejected by 4-J twice but this time we hope to win. When I went over last year, one of the directors was sitting in his fancy office drinking a pint-sized carton of chocolate milk. I love chocolate milk and felt sure, with my magical thinking, we'd get the grant.

How I've changed and am just entering my adulthood -- for sure -- this year at age 64.

How else can I bore you this evening, Dear Reader? It's actually 10:18 p.m. now. I spent nearly an hour talking with Laura's sister about Laura's depression. The whole family has been traumatized by Laura's severe suicidal depression and nonstop talk of killing herself.

I was thinking. Perhaps if we all breathe very deeply, close our eyes, and say Laura, Give Life a Try, we're all rooting for you, maybe she'll pull through. This is called mystic thinking. I'm willing to give it a try.

When her sister gave me the phone no. of the payphone at Laura's hospital, my heart sank.

Payphone. Why don't they let us use real phones. Why the ignominy of talking on a payphone when you've got the most serious illness in the world, the one that stacks up against other illnesses and always comes in number one as the worst disease.

Let em use payphones.

Whose idea was this?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Best wishes to two dear friends / Census Poem

Mark Bittman wears bright colors and works w/bright-colored foods like Mr. Arty Choke

Mr Arty Choke has been gutted, braised in butter, cooked in broth and seasoned with lemon. Y E S !!!
I always watch Bill Cunningham's fashion videos on the Times, wishing I were a fashion plate

You know what the worst malady on earth is? A mental illness. I know. I had manic-depression or bipolar disorder one for nearly 20 years. My friends aren't as lucky as I am. "Lori" was admitted to the hospital for severe depression just as I called her on her cellphone. Her sister answered and said they were going thru intake.

It's deplorable I can't use Lori's real name but stigma reigns.

And Anna just got bit by the depression bug. She can't eat, she can't think, she can't cook for her husband. Her psychiatrist, the head of a department at one of the university clinics, didn't call her back for four days, so Anna called her family doctor for a prescription.

She and I loathe medication but we take it.

Anna's family doctor signed her up to get Meals on Wheels but when the food arrived Anna said it was 'so disgusting looking' she couldn't eat it.

We laffed hysterically. I call Anna every day to say hello and encourage her. I'll pay a visit - with food - this week.


Even now I find myself driving back to that block of houses, in the midst of my evening reading. climbing up the steep metal stairway where a man I call ‘the golfer’ lives and whose information I must gather quickly, before I fall off the stairs, with my number two pencil on a form resembling a blue checkered tablecloth. Why is the golfer never home? And then the woman with the newly tarred driveway. I glimpsed her once. She said, I don’t have time for you. I work three jobs, can’t it wait?

Imagine my joy when I tracked down the Mexicans in the one ramshackle house on the block, the landlord, I suppose, grinning in secret about money he was saving, a window fixed with cardboard, no grass grew in front, a mattress moaned leaning on the house, but I found them inside and ready to talk. They were afraid at first, but I told them I’d taken an oath and showed them my badge and with nods gained their trust as I sat in a white folding chair on the drive. They worked all the time and I had woken them up but yawning they told me their birthdates to write on my tablecloth and their middle initials. How I loved these people, fellow dwellers in the land of supermarkets and hide-a-beds and cable TV with Spanish stations and Korean news, and then in the middle of once all-white suburbia so many black families, they liked to be marked “African-Americans” by an X on the blue tablecloth. I saw the richness of their dark skin so unlike my own, and wished the thin woman whose husband made the dining room table would invite me to stay for barbeque in the yard or the man who owned two bars in Roslyn really meant it when he offered me a vodka on the patio.

They became mine, all of them, even the peg-legged man who hated our president. How I wished I could read to him the book I just bought, the early life of the selfsame president he so reviles, if only he could read that the president has no patience for people like him and calls them names, motherfuckers he calls them, just like the angry man does. And of course you know that when I fall asleep the houses bobble in the air like juggled balls and I wonder how can I catch the golfer at home before my time runs out tomorrow.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Suffused with Beauty

The Secret Garden in Bryn Athyn PA
Door of wood
What's up here?
The chapel
The approach
View from the road

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sarah, Helen, and Noam

I wanted a catchy photo to begin this blog post. Here is Sarah completing her last cooking class for inner city kids in a Crown Heights Brooklyn school. Read the story behind the picture right here.

Helen's Mall Talk ended today with not only a great turnout but real progress by one of our members. The noise level at the mall is excruciatingly loud and we can't hear each other so we're moving to the coffeeshop at the Willow Grove Giant Supermarket.

Our group has done extraordinary work at the Mall including assisting a mother with her daughter's pregnancy. The daughter, "Rhonda," was a teenage bride and married to a man who beat her. Caught in the web of abuse, she refused to leave him, even after making countless trips to the ER in the western PA suburb where she lived.

Everyone knew she was being abused. Her husband was even jailed for the abuse but she refused to leave him.

Finally, with our help, the mom brought Rhonda home. She had her baby in the low-cost ambulatory clinic at AMH and thankfully Rhonda agreed to give up the baby for adoption.

Today Noam showed up, he gave me permish to write about him, and for the first time since his BP diagnosis he's on decent meds. It took him about 7 yrs to find a good doctor who listened to him. We sent him to Collaborative Care in Abington. I asked Noam point-blank, Is it important to stay on your meds?

He said, Yes. I asked him to state the reasons to make sure he understands.

As we know, medicine does not work unless you take it as directed. You can't decide to take your Wellbutrin only when you feel like it cuz it won't friggin work!

Noam had been out/control with hypomania and took himself to the Abington Hospital ER. He got no help there.

Frankly, I've been to the ER with nearly half a dozen people and not a one was helped.

To wit: the worst case was a fellow I'll call Sam. Floridly psychotic. I drove him over one nite. They kept him in a little room by himself and wouldn't let me in. PLEASE, I begged them, do not let this man out of your sight.

Sure enough, Sam 'escaped.' Floridly psychotic, afraid of everything and everyone. The security guard and I glimpsed him hiding behind the bushes. Like a scared kitten. But we couldn't bring him in.

Sam walked home to his parent's house where they were out of town. He went into the bathroom and slit his throat. Somehow he managed to get help. And lived. This I blame on Abington Hospital.

Another time I drove desperately ill and suicidal Greg to the hospital. He didn't wait all that long in the waiting room, only about an hour, and then we had to frigging BEG the crisis worker to admit him to the upstairs hospital.

The crisis worker, altho he was a trained professional, had the manners of a bored bureaucrat and was not interested at all in helping Greg.

For godssakes, I said to the a'hole, can you give the boy a little hope?

He refused. So I sat and told Greg, for the umpteenth time, he would be all right. He is.

Noam will write a letter to the new CEO of the hospital. Will it do any good? Of course not but we'll do it anyway.

This is why we have New Directions. To make up for the often abysmal treatment in this American society for people with mental illness. We speak our mind. We speak the truth. We're not afraid anymore.

Baby Grace Catherine Deming

Here's a photo of my first grandchild at nearly 7 months in utero. They're quite mobile in the womb so her leg is straight up in the air.

Nicole is gonna take a year off to be a full-time mom which is awesome.

After the ultrasound, we all went out to eat at Friday's. When Dan's food arrived, I said, Careful, Dan, the food is hot - H-O-T - hot! That's what I used to say when I'd put his food in front of him.

It was also the first word he learned to spell.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Mind of Isaiah Zagar / Eye to eye with Grace

The mysterious blob

The name of a new horror film? No, the mysterious blob is this pretty orange thing to the left of my telephone. Whatever could it be?

While we give you a minute to think -- and the clock is ticking as you read -- I'll tell you about the Great Day we had on Ada's Outing.

Our convoy consisted of 3 cars heading out to South Street to see Isaiah Zagar's Magic Gardens, a mosaic-filled phantasmagoria that is a reflection of the artist's mind. When I saw him coming thru the doorway, my heart skipped a beat

I was in the Presence of Greatness. I introduced our support group by saying We're New Directions, the largest support group in the Philadelphia area for people with depression, bipolar disorder and our family and friends.

I could tell you a few things about depression, said Zagar, as I pulled out my camera.

Our group wandered around the glittering gardens which featured several huge sculptures, including this three-headed godlike figure made of wood

What dyou suppose inspired this six-foot high megalith with erect penis? I also liked this painted chair

with its Latin American influence of bright colors and stylized composition. Zagar, 71, and his wife Julia had both served in the Peace Corps in Peru. I mentioned to them at the end of our tour that Lisa Berenson had just been freed from her Peruvian jail after serving a 15-yr sentence for conspiracy to overthrow the govt. Imagine! A nice Jewish revolutionary, daughter of 2 college professors, behind bars in Peru. The Zagars were happy to hear of her release. I was not surprised of their interest since his artwork has the political overtones of many great artists. Remember Picasso's Guernica! she said holding up the Spanish republic's flag.

To read more about Zagar, here's a NY Times article that was hanging on the wall in the museum. In it, his son calls him a solipsist. We all know people like this, if you know the meaning of the word.

One time a writer friend of mine said his daughter called him a narcissist. Am I a narcissist, Ruthie? he asked me.

Of course not, I assured him. The man is the definition of the word narcissist.

Oh, Marcy, please forgive me for not calling you back. How bout Friday? I'll try you then. I wrote a poem with you in it but haven't had time to load it on my blog. You're a minor character. The main character has the exciting name of Bob.

Give up? Whenever I go to the drugstore, I put a pill box in my car to remind me to pick up my refills. So about half a dozen of my gelatinous Vitamin D pills were sitting overnite in my car.

When I dug my fingers in the bottle to put em in my pillbox, I found a pasted-on plastic mass on the side of my pill bottle. Scraping it out, I gazed stuporously at the mass.

These were my pills. All congealed together. I put these in my body? I asked myself. These unnatural pieces of a plastic-like substance?

I called up my pharmacist who told me to run some water over them and they would separate. They did a little and then an odd thing happened -- the contents of the pills splattered on my neck.

They were oily!

I shuddered and washed off my neck and threw away the pills.

I said to the pharmacist, "I put this shit in my body?"

He laffed.

Unfortunately I need the stuff.

And now the really good news.

Dan and Nicole invited me -- Bubby Ruth -- to partake in the 3D ultrasound of Grace Catherine Deming. Dan drove to the Langhorne office in the stifling 91 degree heat, A/C blasting in his car.

While Nicole lay on a table, John, the ultrasound dude got her into various positions so the baby's face would show up.

Yes, her face!

We saw the face of Grace Catherine. She was curled up in a ball undoubtedly asleep. Then we saw her mouth open in a yawn. Her legs went straight up like a yogi and neared her face. We saw her cute little hand and 5 fingers and her tiny foot.

Mama! she called. Mama! Eat some more of that rhubarb pie from the farmer's market. Damn good stuff. But next time, for chrissakes, mama, put some goddam ice cream on top. Vanilla, of course!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why does he walk with a cane? He's not that old

For my upstairs study, I painted this ordinary-looking footstool. A person should always elevate their tootsies when they sit for better circulation. Better yet, be a floor-sitter like I am. I find chairs unnatural.

Ever start singing a song and must listen to it immediately. That's why there's YouTube. Roy Orbison was known for his lovely fake operatic voice. This is my favorite song he did, written by Bono of U-2.

If you like, you can substitute the word "God" for Mystery Girl. Try it!

Went to my therapist friend "Alice's" today. She said she needed therapy so I put on my therapy cap and drove over. She sat on a chair in her backyard while I sat on the grass. It took no more than 50 minutes for our session. She paid me with a biscuit called rugelach, which I threw away after 2 bites, and an apricot, which I threw away after 2 bites.

Why eat something if it's not perfectly delicious! Couldn't wait to get home to eat my delicious chicken stew, which my mother loved, but she told me SHE ADDED SALT! Ya know what? When you're 87.5 yrs old you can add salt.

I drove my mom over to Meadowbrook Farm Garden Nursery and watched her walk holding Ellen's hand. My god, she looks old, I said to myself.

Mom, I said, I remember when Gramma was your age.

I don't walk to think about it, she said.

Gramma Lily was the meanest woman in the whole damn world, but only to me!

Later in life, I found a surrogate grandmother and the two of us would forage for mushrooms and dandelion greens so she could have her way with them. Mary walked with a huge walking stick she found in the woods.

I am dripping with sweat now from eating my soup plus it's also in the 80s outside, as hot as my mother is old. When I was on lithium I didn't sweat. I remember jogging and then getting in the car and feeling like I would explode from the heat. Feels great to sweat. I am ever so thankful for the millions of years of evolution.

I always thank my body for doing its job. The other day when I was swimming in the hotel's indoor pool, I put my hands on my face and thanked my face for carrying me through life for 64 years.

It's been with me every step of the way. I so love my face. And I try never to look in the mirror except to see if I've put my shorts on backwards.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Virtues of Keeping Quiet

Beech tree at nearby Pennypack Ecological Restoration & Trust of which I'm a proud member.

My hearty chicken stew w/fresh veggies, seasoned with cinnamon stix. I curry favor w/my Lebanon-born nephrologist by telling him I cook w/cinnamon.

Note from Judge Lisa Richette (1928-2007)

God deemed the Sabbath as a day of relaxing. That's what I'm doing today. Put my soup on to cook after I woke up, then went back to sleep until 11 a.m. to begin my day.

Spoke to my friend Denis who is recuperating at Jefferson from an adverse effect to one of his lifetime meds for his kidney transplant. He is my mentor since I'm hoping to get my own transplant but at Einstein. While talking to Denis I was outside clipping my weeds and bushes which are doing very well in this rainy weather. I know, I know, I've gotta keep busy.

The presence of death grows closer with the realization that you may be on the operating table under the care of people trying their best to save your life. Two surgeons attend the operation. They follow you afterward in the all-important dispensing of meds.

Until such time as my operation, don't you worry, I am supremely enjoying myself. Yesterday I began reorganizing my son's old bedroom -- and Simon's old office -- creating a Reading Room. I removed all the business stuff from the bulletin boards ready to trash them.

How long can I keep a note from the late Lisa Richette? I decided to fotograph it for this blog and then toss it.


I hid it under some papers. My kids can throw it away after I die. "Who the F is Lisa Richette?" they'll ask.

We LOVE cursing. I carefully taught my kids how to curse when they were little. (BTW, this chicken stew I made is OUTSTANDING! I added a lil lemon juice & I'm a total noodle lover!)

We'd be at the Upper Moreland Library, they'd be seated at the little tables and chair reading their books, and I'd come over and say, "Okay, guys, let's get the F outa here."

I'm gonna bring the chicken stew to mom's house later today. She's 87 and a half. She lives with my sister Ellen. In a quiet moment last nite, when I wasn't reading, or watching the last episode of Lost, or watching the movie Sounder on TCM, I finally had a chance to THINK.

How I've missed you: the power of thought. I'm always so busy DOING I never have time to think. I wondered what it must be like to be my mother, my truly beloved mother, growing older and closer to The Inevitable.

She has no one to talk to about this mind-chilling event. All her friends are in Cleveland. Ruth Katz, still alive at 88; Lenore and Nate Oscar, who spend winters in Arizona; and her best friend Caroline Berkman, a distant relative of Bernard Berenson, whose adopted son was a troubled man who ended up working in a carnival.

Once I attempted to broach the subject of Death with Mom but she wasn't interested in discussing it. Neither was Simon when he was diagnosed w/terminality.

My dad, on the other hand, after the initial denial, spoke freely about it. Like me, he believed in what I call The Thud of Nothingness after death.

I think I'll have some watermelon for dessert. That soup, man, wow! It was really good.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Our Happiness Seminar

Researchers in positive psychology coined the term hedonic treadmill to describe the 'high' a person gets by doing one great thing after another. I got a mild high by seeing all the people who showed up at our Happiness Seminar yesterday at the Huntingdon Valley Community Room.

Dana Vellios, our speaker, (L), talks with someone after her PowerPoint presentation. Dana is a counselor at an elem. school in Delaware County and runs groups for kids!

Two grim-faced participants after the program.

"I really liked the speaker today!" Peggela wrote in an email. "I especially think that everyone over 20 would benefit from a seminar like this!"

A couple of things stuck in my mind. One was about repairing a relationship. Say you have a fight with your partner or other loved one, which produces a load of negativity in your brain. You'll then need about 5 positive interactions with them to maintain the positive balance in your brain.

If the fight concerns something to do with work, we take it much harder than in our personal lives.

The one concerns relationships in our personal lives, the other with the outside world.

After the seminar we congregated in the parking lot and chatted, me looking at my watch cuz I had to get to my Writers' Group. I hadn't been there in months and missed everyone. But where were the boys? Chris and Bob never showed up. I wanted their thoughts on my Houses on a Checkered Tablecloth.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Getaway to the Seashore

We have our own kitchen. Ruth models dress bought from Boardwalk shop owned by Kobi (L) who served in the Israeli army. "Now I get an excuse to put my arm around Amanda," he said about the hired help. Kobi knows how to dress a woman.

We buy a semester's worth of books. Obama's brilliant first autobio, Dreams from My Father, is a detailed, poetic foray into his international childhood including his keen and painful awareness of racism by the time he was 8.

When I leafed thru The Original Boys' Handybook, written in 1880 by the co-founder of the Boy Scouts, I knew I must bring home the book. Favorite sections include Making sounds like a bird, How to Collect and Preserve Eggs, How to Rear Wild Birds, Snowball Warfare, How to bind a Prisoner w/o a Cord.

In our search for unbroken shells, Scott discovered clusters of mussels in the little ponds between these moss-covered rocks

I just love the feel of sand on the bottom of my feet

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mon dieu it's a mulberry bush!

I have one of those electric toothbrushes which shuts off after two minutes. Ah, the things you can do in only two minutes!

I visit the upstairs windows of two rooms and gaze out at the tops of the trees. A multitude of birds are feasting on some sort of berry I've never seen before. Closer inspection later on reveals my next-door neighbor-boyfriend Scott has a mulberry tree. The berries are currently green instead of, well, mulberry colored. Purple.

Oh, no! Time to make another bread. Here it is rising in the bowl. As I told my friend Coach Iris, I'm a major multitasker, so when I make my bread I hope to get into a long-winded phone conversation with someone, but no one was home. Instead I listened to Jill Pasternak stomp for her classical radio station.

For a fleeting moment I thought of being a bigshot and donating a cool thou to her station. They do have Saturday operas which are wonderful to listen to in your car speeding down Terwood Road no hands on the handlebars of your car and feet off the pedal. Mine own father taught me how to ride a bike backwards. You shoulda seen that man thrilling the neighbors with his antics! All I could do was walk on my hands across the room and shock people with my loud burps.

I did teach myself however to bake bread. Of course I had a grandmother who worked with yeast so it was in the family. Amazing what we learn from our families.

Bread dough after kneading. Now it'll rise for 40 minutes.

Every morning I stroll outside to look at how the flowers are coming along. Charlie was pruning his backyard iris and gave me a bunch which are still blooming over here even tho Charlie stopped blooming a couple yrs ago. Still have his photo on my mantel that I got at his funeral.

An event happened at his "We put the fun in Funeral" which I put in my novel.

beardless iris, a gift from Charlie. When you look at flowers, pay particular attention to the BUDS. Exquisitely b'ful!

Until we meet again, Dear Reader, I bid you...Pay attention to every moment in this getting briefer by the moment life of ours.

Read my daughter's fantastic blogpost about her Experience With the Artist at the Museum of Modern Art.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quaker launches fake food for the masses / I was in the minority trying to re-elect Arlen Specter, I respect his right to change parties

You're probly wondering what snack food I bought after last nite's New Directions meeting. I was starving since I didn't have time to eat dinner, only to grab a piece of homemade bread and munch on the drive over.

Why was I later than usual? I found someone home from my Census To-Do list. She apologized for not calling me back. I didn't say it, but no one calls back.

I so much enjoy the detective work of tracking people down after I've visited them 3 or 4 times to no avail.

We meditated with Georgia Tetlow last nite at our meeting. I told her we'd had 4 other meditation teachers but she was the best. No, I don't say that to all of em. She gave us permission for our mind to wander, to not do it perfectly, to only do it 2 minutes at a time if it was too hard. A gentle approach is the best, like a gentle non-pushy mother.

She loved the yellow callo lilies I got her as a gift. When I bought em I said to Scott, these are so beautiful they actually look fake.

Speaking of fake, the above photo is of my favorite fake food, a new product called True Delights by Quaker.

Many layers of flavor combine to produce the variety of flavors that hit your tongue and cheeks with a magnificent CRUNCH.

The first flavor is that of THE PLASTIC WRAPPER they come in. Quite frankly, it's the best plastic taste I've ever enjoyed. Far better than the yuck of plastic water bottles.

Then we get a traditional BLAH sweet taste from a variety of sweeteners they use.

Lastly a mild berry-like flavor comes thru making you question your judgment of buying these things in the first place, not to mention the folks at Quaker spending their precious time developing something so, well, downright disgusting, when they could have been solving the riddles of the universe like I used to do when I'd get manic-psychotic, or dancing to Smokey Robinson and the Miracles which I'm doing between words here.

What's so good about goodbye, croons Smokey in his maroon-colored cumerbund.

Okay, time for my Census paperwork.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm on the Kidney Recipient List at Einstein in Philly along w/90,000 nationwide, many of whom die while waiting!

Scott and disappearing man with blue umbrella. Twas Commencement Day in University City

Early dinner at the famous White Dog Cafe. Sarah wanted to relive memories of eating there while a student at Abington Friends.

My shirt matches the sculpture donated by the Bermans. When I worked at Art Matters mag, I interviewed Muriel and Philip Berman. He was the CEO of Hess's Dept Store in Allentown and known for donating sculptures across the Lehigh Valley & beyond. Phil had spoken w/British sculptor Henry Moore by phone on the day of our interview.

All-day appt. at Einstein Hospital in Philadelphia. Very well-organized Kidney Transplant Team. Sarah and I were very impressed. I liked it much better than the Jefferson approach. Its new director, who hails from Egypt, widened the criteria for accepting transplant patients. Einstein leads Philly in no. of kidney transplants done, beating out second place HUP, then TJ and TU.

Columbines. Gave Sarah a tour of my garden since she lives in a fourth-floor walk-up in Bklyn.

Dahlia - begonia - heliotrope

Red poppies

Dan, Nicole and Grace Catherine. That nite, Dan watched the horror flick The Human Centipede where a crazed surgeon grafts himself and some coeds into a human centipede. I told this to my kidney nurse-coordinator Paige who said she'd love to see the movie. "100% medically accurate" screamed the blurb. Gee, I hope my transplant is 100% medically accurate. Einstein has a 95% success rate of transplants meaning that 5% of us die during and right after surgery. Gotta hurry & finish my novel just in case! Don't worry, I'll miss you when I'm gone.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The sun goes down in Bryn Athyn, PA

Five minutes from home is the world headquarters of one of the four branches of the Swedenborgian religion, based on the teachings of Swedish scientist and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). Manny did not himself start the religion which was based on visions he had over 25 years of Heaven and Hell. I once glimpsed shelves of his works in the basement of the old Swedenborgian library, bound in green leather. I had gone down there to take notes wanting to write a fictional biography of Mildred Pitcairn, wife of Raymond, the financial backer of the Bryn Athyn community.

Flowers amid the stone

Mildred bore Raymond 6 children, four of whom survived till adulthood. If I'm not mistaken, and I usually am, Mildred loved planting flowers in the cracks between the walls of the great cathedral. You'll find many pix of this building in this blog post.

Scott and I took his folks on a scenic drive after we ate a spectacular meal at Rossineri's which is gaining fame on Moreland Road. Shhh! Get there before 5 and you'll get the earlybird special. I peeked over at the check and it was over one hundred dollars. Scott has no credit cards. Doesn't believe in em. When we make big purchases he uses mine. I get dollars back with mine.

Is this what you wanted to do, Ruthie? Talk about money?

Go with the flow, babe.

Stream of consciousness.

Happy birthday Natalie!

Ruthie and Scott

My friend Helene is calling me back. I'm gonna read her an old poem. If she likes it, I'll blog it. See how insecure I am!