Saturday, March 31, 2012

Let's Party! Let's Celebrate the First Anniv of our Kidney Tplant / Poem: Purdue Chicken Livers

Latex gloves I wear for gardening. Thanks, Rich, for picking them up for me.

Sarah is a bundle of energy when she makes a party. Me, I went upstairs at 10 pm, and napped to the movie "Hoosiers," woke up after half an hour, and then exercycled to the late Dick Proenneke's life in the Alaskan wilderness.

At first I wondered, How can he stand being alone so much? But then I saw how he kept busy and was outdoors half the time looking at animals and guarding against bear. At nite, he would write in his journal.

Could you do dat? For 22 years?

Sarah and I drank loads of hot tea, water, made two trips to the Giant, two trips to Feeney's Nursery to buy:

"Mountain rocks 3/4" - found this foto on the web. We spread 12 bags across my lamppost garden and could use two more.

When we walked around the tremendously hilly block - my legs are still learning to walk after my back operation last year - I looked at all the rocks in people's gardens. Fortunately no one has rocks like mine.

We are a proud people and want to be individualistic, exemplified by Ai Weiwei's 100 million hand-painted Sunflower Seeds:

Hired Ginny Stiles and her two high school sons to spruce up my garden. They did a great job. My nephrologist, who I invited to the party - along w/ our police chief - told me to wear gloves when gardening so I wear the above. Reluctantly. Oh, dirt under my fingernails no more....OR no more kidney!

Hey! It's the first anniversary of our kidney transplants and we are celebrating in a big way.

One trip to the State Store! Wot's dat, you ask. In PA, liquor stores are owned by the state. Sarah picked out an assortment of wines and sparkling wines.

I took one teeny-tiny sip of a CA wine called Petit Sirah. Oh, Diabetes, how you kill my fun!

We started cooking around noon, each of us sleeping late.

Nitie-nite, Sarah. She didn't want me to read her Goodnight Moon or Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I guess some things change when you're all growed up.

Sarah in her office on Cowbell Road.

One of my massive tasks before going to bed tonite is cleaning off this desk so we can turn it into a table for food. Maybe I'll wait till tomro.

Where will I put all these magazines? Why, under the table, Darling!

Here's my real darling, Sarah Lynn Darling Deming, giver of life to her ole mum.

Note Oster glass blender on table's edge. I bot it when she was a baby and we lived in TX. I made her baby food in it.


Note: I gave up liquor, except for tiny sips, when I went on the drug lithium.

They are frying in the skillet
Even though in this ever diminishing household
I shall be dining alone tonight.
Never let it stop you, said my grandmother,
Who simmered her fatty marrow bones
Till the pot frothed over, then ate them
On the upstairs porch.

As the chicken livers darken toward completion
I catch a whiff of wine.
How can it be? There is none. A racial memory perhaps?

Perfection would be to pour it on - an inexpensive Paul Masson
would be lovely - straight from the bottle into the pan
Sizzling and smoking and creating a great sensation.

Is it possible that ten long years have passed
Since my drinking days came to an end?
Ten years in which I have not set foot in a
Modern serve-yourself package store, save to salvage cartons?

Never since that day
to buy
nor sniff
nor sip
nor swirl
nor heft in the crook of my arm
a bottle!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Board Meeting - Quotidian Life of Shopping, Eating, Blogging / Poem: I Am Hungry

Freda Rose Samuels, Terry Farber (half-hidden in back), RZD, Bernie Samuels, and Sharon Katz. As you can see from the photo, I've begun to show. Wonder if my other kids - Sarah is 38 and Dan is 35 - will be jealous of the new baby. Not to mention my g'dtr Grace Catherine!

We ate at Ace Diner in Warrington, PA. Delicious! The service was great and I had two cups of decaf, along w/Greek food.

Here's my favorite mixed nuts' snack, along w/two scissors I bot at the Giant b/c I couldn't find my darn scissors and another one lost its cutting power.

I bot an expensive $9 Westcott scissors (wot dat?) and a cheaper scissors for $1, I think. You can tell by looking which one is more expensive.

Here's my good scissors buried behind a notepad. "How many times have I told you Ruthie..."

Tonite's reading, gotten today at the library. The first book is about a former Navy SEAL who talks about his many war adventures. I have 2 weeks to finish it, as well as Joan Didion's book about the death of her daughter Quintana. Talk about sad! But Didion is a marvelous writer.

The red book is Typhoon by Joseph Conrad. What? Never heard of him? Back to school with ye, then, Dear Reader!

I love to cuddle up w/my books at nite who sleep on the husband's side of the bed.

Speaking of eating, which I'm doing now - my second bowl of nuts - lemme fetch a poem about eating. Hold on, while I run upstairs.

Arcadia University

I had a date to meet someone in the cafeteria of Arcadia but she's not there. That's b/c I'm a day early.

I'd written a poem for the occasion and have no one to read it to. This is so frustrating I must take matters in mine own hands.

I talk to the Aramark cafeteria manager, Dennis, and he invites me back into his office and I read him the poem! We have a great chat and I mention how chick peas are often bad. He says they have a thermometer that makes sure they stay chilled.

The following poem was filed under "Food/Eateries." I forgot about this category and had taken out "Places."


Have you a favorite lunchroom
where your heart goes back,
way back?

We are talking here about cafeterias
built onto places of schools or universities
or, yes, even places of business
where we slide our trays across
metal highways
and the person on the other side
uniformed, perhaps,
dips a ladle into steaming dumplings
and asks, "Is that enough for you, Sweetie?"

What are they?

Allow me to leap up
and dunk the ball
before the referee returns,

Let me in one quick gulp
settle the matter for all time.

for love
to stay.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

C'mon over and see The Belle's New Birdbath, on sale for $45 at K-Mart / Poem: The Bluejay's Day

Who is this man and why do we care?

He's Dick Boer, new CEO of Ahold (ah-hold), of Amsterdam, owners of our Giant Supermarket. Learn more about Dick here.

He's in America right now inspecting supermarkets, including the Roslyn Genuardi's, which Ahold recently bought, a new Philadelphia Giant, and best of all: OUR WILLOW GROVE Giant Supermarket.

He'll be there on Monday.

How do I know? B/c I ask questions when something looks different.

BTW, this is also how a therapist works. When a person says something strange or different, you pay attention and ask why.

Managers in white shirts and ties were helping out all over the store. I finally asked one of them in the produce aisle. He apologized profusely b/c his huge cart was blocking the way as I selected shrooms.

Then when I checked out, I mentioned it to Barb, who works at the self-checkout, and wears a pink breast-cancer ribbon.

"Do they arrive in a limo?" I asked.

"Oh, no. They're just regular guys. Funny guys, great sense of humor. The one thing in this store that they've gotta make look good are the flowers.

"When my husband and I were in Amsterdam a few years go, you find flowers everywhere - in everyone's window."

"Yeah, I said, "tulip capital of the world."

Gee, if I only worked for the newspaper, I could cover them. Can't plant myself on Monday at the Giant and wait for em to stroll in.

Or can I?

My backyard wildflowers

Sent neighbor Bill an email earlier today: Favor, please! Can you get my new birdbath out of my car?

Old birdbath which occasionally tips over when windy and....

new birthday - typo - should be birdbath - which has 4 times the water capacity as the old one. I hadn't realized it.

Old birdbath in backyard on tree stump where I can see it from my kitchen window.

Back of house w/useless deck.

Bruce Lee, 1940–1973, dead at 32.
From Wiki: Donald Teare, a forensic scientist recommended by Scotland Yard who had overseen over 1,000 autopsies, was assigned to the Lee case. His conclusion was "death by misadventure" caused by an acute cerebral edema due to a reaction to compounds present in the combination medication Equagesic.
Scott said to me tonite, "I wanna show you something. The guys at work told me about this."

Watch this amazing video about Bruce Lee playing ping-pong with nunchucks. What dat?

When my son Dan lived here, he had an entire collection of Bruce Lee videos, which is how I discovered this amazingly talented man born w/superior coordination.

An amazing article from the Times: Surgery for Diabetes May Be Better Than Standard Treatment

There were 369 comments. Here's mine. 6 people 'favorited' it.
I was diagnosed w/insulin-dependent diabetes last year and rigorously watch my diet and also exercise daily. It's not so difficult when you consider all the horrible complications about 20 yrs after diagnosis! I couldn't believe that two prestigious journals would publish articles recommending bariatric surgery. These surgeries entail terrible complications down the road.
I DO watch my diet rigorously. My friend Bob likes to 'feed' people, which is a nice quality, but... Anyway, he brought me lots of sugar-free snacks including those Yellow Easter Peeps, marshmallow filled, plus some big chocolate muffins, and delicious looking choc chip cookies.

No way was I gonna eat these babies. I tucked em into a bag and when I went to the Bryn Athyn post office asked Maria, postmistress, if she'd like to put them out for the patrons.

Yee-ha! She said she would.

"I spose they'd like tea with it," she said.

"Nice," I said, escaping, before she discovered they were sugar-free.

Bryn Athyn Post Office, 19009, the closest PO to my house.

I fetched one of my poems from my accordion file upstairs, filed under Birds and Boyfriends. I always knew I liked this poem, but I hadn't realized how sad it was. Gee, Ruthie, gee!


He lets me near
so near
I see the blue
of his tiny
the web of thick musecle
pulsing beneath
the feathers
he wears like
a proud doorman.

He looks at me
then looks away
this is not the time
for intimate exchanges
for contemplative looks
his world is too quick
too episodic for me
I can't keep up

I cannot fly

He sleeps outside
his bed hard
and blinks the snowflakes
from his eyes
I huddle under blankets
my curtain hiding
the stars
from my eyes

he swoops to a
lowlying branch
perching there
beak parted
to cry his winter song

Will he die here
under the canopy of twigs
keeping watch
eyes scanning
for coming death

Warm feathers blue.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hell-o Baby - A Walk in the Park / Poem: Backseat Motel

Dan took a self-portrait of him and Grace, 18 mos. Mom Nicole was sitting on the floor in the b'ground. We're all floor-sitters when Grace comes around.

Portrait of socks. Since Dan works at AWeber, he's wearing their socks. Nicole works there too in the customer service department.

Grace's heritage: Irish, German, English, Jewish. Her paternal g'father was a decorated Philadelphia cop.

Nicole never used to get speeding tix. She'd pull out her license which read Nicole Toohey and they'd say,,,,Are you Tom's daughter?

Dan in my wig. He's gonna wear it to work tomro. Don't ask.

What are the odds that you'll blink when someone takes your picture?

After they left, I went upstairs to read on my new couch. I had a few more pages of The Call of the Wild by Jack London. The end is very exciting. While reading, I nodded off. "Why am I so tired?" I asked myself.

When I'm doing nothing or relaxing, I get tired. I finished the book and then lay right down on the couch and slept for 20 minutes.

I had the most wonderful dream. I dreamt I moved into a beautiful house w/rooms spitting out of other rooms. I invited a couple people - including my sister Ellen - to live w/me b/c the house was so spacious.

Of course, I love mine own house but I don't want anyone living w/me.

I love living alone. Everyone says, well, that's cuz you have Scott right next door. It has nothing to do w/Scott. I just like the peace and tranquility of being by myself and doing what I want.

Then I got ready to go on a walk with my friends. Much of it involved planning now that I take the needle.

Three of us got into Katy's car. I sat next to Greg, who I hadn't seen in a long long time. He's a very talented wood-worker. BUT, at 31, he can't decide what to do as a career. Finally, we came up with the idea of Park Ranger.

The park we headed for was VALLEY GREEN along the Wissahickon River.

The lucky seven! Plus Andrew would join us shortly.

The Magarge Dam. Bruce told us there were once many paper mills along the path, which used to be an industrial road.

Since the City of Phila can't afford to pay a large staff to take c/o Valley Green, which is part of the Fairmount Park system, they rely heavily on volunteers.

Many stone quarries supplied natural rocks for the houses in Germantown and Mount Airy, said Bruce.

No more public drinking water. Toxic. For one thing, said Bruce, the Merck drug company of West Point used a creek or river nears its facility as a personal dumping ground. They settled with the government to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to help clean up the water.

What would Chief Tamanend think?

The only remaining covered bridge in Philadelphia. And the only one in a major US city.

New TV show: The Lucky Seven. Tonite's episode: The Lucky Seven Storm the Covered Bridge.

Before they get to their most difficult battle, first they must storm this wasp nest in the rafters of the bridge.

After our two-mile walk, we sat down and ate at Bruno's in Chestnut Hill, near Chestnut Hill College.

These three people were the only other ones eating on the glassed-in porch at Bruno's. One of the women looked like Elizabeth Taylor, only not quite as fat. I wasn't quick enuf get her in my lens.

Our waitress Allison. She surprised us when she said today is her first day waiting tables. She's a student at Chestnut Hill and lives in the dorms. She enjoys singing - especially gospel.

Speaking of first days, on Monday Joe will begin work as a therapist at Project Transition. Tomro will be training day.

I'll always remember my first day of work as an Intake Specialist at the now-defunct BBHS near Bristol. stomp stomp. I wrote lots of prose and poetry about my clients and for your delectation, Dear Reader, will print one of the poems at blog's end.

Olds Cutlass w white wall tires.

After we ate, we decided to go for ANOTHER WALK, a genius idea, to help us digest our food. I had a delicious grilled cheese, tomato and bacon on rye, w/mayo and moutarde, which was so good it almost tasted like dessert. The latter of which consisted of a D+ blueberry pie w/vanilla ice cream.

Chris, at my table, asked the waitress, What are your specialties.

When she said Cheesesteak, that's what he ordered. Delicious, he pronounced.

Bruce, sitting next to me, who I introduced to the waitress as my husband, got chicken steak.

Northwestern Equestrian Stables, which we passed on our post-prandial stroll.

Gazebo on large grounds of the house below.

When I pass by nice houses I fantasize what it would be like if I lived there. Where would I read? Where would I write? Where would I sleep?


Your not quite clean
white hair
falls without enthusiasm
to your shoulders
but then the March nights
are still chill
ripple with winds that lash
an unprotected body
who has no home.

Last night, you tell me,
(your intake worker
at the shelter)
you passed an auto body shop
and found an unlocked Mustang,
crawled into the cold fury
of the backseat, slick as a frozen crick.

God, it was cold, you tell me
expecting neither pity or human kindness
And in that moment
because nothing was asked for
I looked at you from the niagara span
of our bodies
and saw a man sitting there.

If I would have come upon you
this early morn
outside your backseat motel
I would have seen you
gulping in the fresh light of dawn
- o, rather it were tongue-sweet wine –
readying yourself like an ancient warrior
for the rigors of the street
another pitiless hegira.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My day off - Guest Speakers - Poem: For the Poet Taken Away

I'm at the Fish Counter at the Giant. A woman is ordering salmon. I stare at her and say, "You look a lot like my friend Judy Kroll."

"And you," she said, "look a lot like my friend Ruth Deming."

We hugged and talked a while. Her 10-yo son Max, a baseball fanatic, has the best of both worlds - he's the team pitcher, plus his dad Barry takes him to Phillies' games.

When I was a teenager I lived in a fantasy world where I pretended I was the first female member of the Cleveland Indians.

Jimmy Piersall, No. 37, got me in.

My diabetes supplies: Lancet to prick your finger - ouch! - meter w/test strip - and insulin pen - minor ouch!

I had nothing on my calendar today except my diabetes support group at Warminster Hospital. Our assignment was to bring in our diabetes equipment. Our leader, Lynn Sinclair, LD, is extremely knowledgeable.

LD? Dunno.

Edmund sat next to me. He loves his meter, lancets and test strips so I called the no. he gave me and ordered em. His meter speaks, which I find totally obnoxious, not to mention it takes valuable seconds before the woman shuts up so you can get on w/pricking your finger.

Said the guy from TN who I spoke to and gave my address to:

"And is this a house or apartment, Ruth?"

"House... It's actually a mansion."

He didn't sound as if he believed me, so I elaborated.

He said, "Sounds like it'd be a difficult place to keep clean with all those rooms."

But we shore do eat well 'round these parts.

Salmon, Tomato, Asparagus Chowder

Mom finished sewing curtains for Sarah's old bedroom. Here they are:

Nothing more beautiful than lace curtains. I put the old curtains in the washer and will cut them up and use them to blow my nose in.

Remember the story Rumpelstiltskin? A poor miller boasts to the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold. Brothers Grimm collected this for their tales in 1812.

This is a poor analogy. Let's turn instead to the Augean Stables, the fifth of Hercules' labors:

Cleaning out and redoing Sarah's old room was my Augean Stables. The last part was organizing my poems. I bought two accordion folders in the stationery aisle at Giant and hand-wrote labels for the poem categories.

Categories include Bugs - Animals - Birds - Flowers & Fruit - Spiritual/Religious - Metaphysical - Death - Boyfriends - On Poets - Famous People - People I know - Objects ("The Tarp in Winter") and Houses ("The Tyvek House").

At blog's end I'll regale you with "On a Poet Taken Away."

My poet friend Carolyn Constable's advice has finally found fruit in this girl's brain. She's always urged me to publish my poetry. Since no one will ever discover me, perhaps I'll put out my own book in a similar format to my Yes I Can book:

"Yes I Can" story of my manic-depression and a dozen poems including The Lucky Seven.

My poetry book will be as fat as it can be. I myself am trying to lose weight. Aren't all women?

As you may know I'm a psychotherapist, trained in group therapy. Am now running two Goals Groups which is totally expanding my mind.

Said Frank in one of my groups: Hope is the swlrd that vanquishes depression.

How is my mind expanding? What am I doing different? Of course, I am always reading. I have several pages left of the classic Call of the Wild, about Buck the lead sled-dog on Alaskan treks for gold. This book defines what a classic is.

My facility with language has improved. I journal often, with great ease, and allow my unconscious to surface unafraid.

But it is in my groups where I meet disparate individuals who struggle as we all do through the joys and terrors of life that my brain is seized by a desire to stir the pot of their minds and bring it to a simmer of delicious flavors that have been denied them for one reason or another.

Today I booked three fantastic speakers for our New Directions' Meet Your Mental Health Professionals series.

Imagine my shock when the gr-reat Norman Cotterell of the Beck Institute called me back the same day and said he'd love to speak!

So did Anthony Matteo PhD of Montgomery County Emergency Service! I found Anthony in an MCES brochure I received in the mail. And Dr Ruth Prahol from Southampton Psychiatric Service will talk on Couples Counseling.

I do love setting up these free programs. As someone said to me recently, put the word "free" in front of anything - free poop - and people come running.


in memory of Jane Kenyon (1947-1995)

I was looking for
a book of poetry
skinny books being
easier on one's chest for
bedtime reading.

Finding one,
I brought it to the sales girl
who sighed and said,
"Oh, dear,
it doesn't have a bar code."

Ah, blessed day
for poets and for me.
I looked at the back cover,
clean, unmarred
by that fat
disorderly line-up of sticks.

"No wonder," I said to the sales girl.
"The author has just died
and probably took them with her."

On my way to the car
I invited the poet
to slip inside me.
"Use my body any time you wish,"
I said and waited, my feet
pattering on the pavement,
for some sort of inner settling
that never came.

I showed her
the cluster of winter weeds,
their tassels dark with age.
Somehow, in the construction
of this aromatic new bookstore,
they managed to escape
the carnage that befell the
more obvious trees and woodlands.

Did she miss them?
these earthly sights -
thick-maned dogs, ponds, frosty maples -
images from her poems.

I will miss them,
when the time comes,
something as simple as
the back of my hand
creasing with wrinkles;
fingernails, all without
a trace of moons,
a family trait.