Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Talkin about religion and politix at the gas station - third day of Cowbell power outrage

9:45 PM ELECTRICITY IS BACK ON. Thanks, neighbor Linda, for calling me at Donna's.

How long does it take Ruth Deming to fill up at the Giant supermarket gas station?

TWENTY MINUTES b/c I had to keep going inside. Twas there I met Ken Schroeder - which is possibly how you spell his name -  who asked, "Can I get $200 worth of gas?"

"You must be the guy who's getting $200 worth of gas," I said to Ken. He owns a landscaping company in Bryn Athyn, PA.

Are you a Swedenborgian? I asked.

Yep. Been one all my life. Lived in Bryn Athyn all my life.

So, you believe in an afterlife, I said.

Yes, don't you?

Nope. I believe this is IT!

He's absolutely positive there's an afterlife.

What a comfort that must be.

Just yelled upstairs to Donna for her answer.

I'm on the fence, she said. I need proof.

Isn't any, I yelled back, remembering Houdini ("Harry Weiss" who promised he'd give everyone a sign after he a punch in the abdomen w/o warning and hadn't had a chance to flex his muscles).

Then I ask Ken the Landscaper if he was for Ron Paul. Many signs in Bryn Athyn advertised Paul.

Yes, he said, less government is better.

Well, I think we've turned the tide, I said, and those days are gone forever. He said it's never too late and it can be done little by little.

Dream on.

Let's get a nice photo of the gardens at The New Church in Bryn Athyn.

We talked about the great cultural venues on the grounds such as Cairnwood - read my awesome blog post about it here - and the original home of John Pitcairn - is it Cairncrest - thank goodness I just remembered the name in the nick of tine- Cairnwood Estate - dig this, I've never been inside.

Bought Halloween candy for the little beggars

Twenty dollars worth of candy and then I get an email from the township commissioner and the police department suggesting we celebrate Halloween on Saturday due to the dark streets.

My son Dan wrote on FB:

I have mixed feelings about our municipal government rescheduling Halloween. What's next? Postpone Easter due to low egg harvests? Fat Tuesday on a Friday? The line between order and tyranny is a thin one indeed.

Sorry, Dan, but I think it makes sense. I left the candy at home. No way I'd bring it to Donna's, me with my "Diabetes Rules my Life" situation.

But it's not a death sentence!

The fellow I wrote about last nite, Jimmy, who is 62, is fighting throat cancer and a tumor in his brain stem. The man seriously does not care if he's gonna live or die.

"I should've been dead a long time ago," he told us. He is a man of a million stories and I do hope to write about him anonymously.

He is a very good man.

I asked him what the doctors thot the cancer is from. They usually have a theory about this.

I don't care about none of that, he said. My wife goes with me and takes notes, but I don't need to know. I just wanna move forward.

He goes in the PET scan but never brings his dog with him.

I stopped home today for my mail and my male.

Scott was freezing in his house. He left for work at SEPTA at 6 pm last nite and drove. Broken branches all over necessitating re-routing himself and traffic lights were out.

He knows the route so he'll leave home tonite at 8 oclock. What the hell is he doing at home in the dark? "I have flashlights," he said. "I'll figger it out."

When I left for Donna's, I checked the fallen trees on Terwood Road.

Good news....

You can see that the huge tree at Terwood and Greyhorse has been cleared to the side. Verizon trucks are also working in our neighborhood to fix downed wires.

Am gonna watch Love Free or Die on PBS tonite, a documentary about Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal Archbishop who, at his consecration in 2003, wore a bullet-proof vest.

God loves everyone, including YOU and me!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Update on Hurrycane Sandy - Am staying at Donna's b/c power is out on Cowbell

Last nite my sister Donna spent the nite at my house b/c she was rightfully terrified her condo would flood.

It was untouched!

Tonite she's returning the favor and I'm staying here, typing on my laptop at her kitchen counter. Like me, she's into healthy eating

 "Can I eat anything I want?" I yelled upstairs. She was upstairs watching the news.


I made a delicious salad. We both love raw mushrooms.

Who's that gorgeous redhead?

It's either Rita Hayworth or Rhonda Fleming.

Donna made me her specialty: sliced Parm cheese on Wasa crackers.

We arrived at her condo early this morning, surveying the damage as we drove thru Willow Grove and Hatboro.

We got less than 2 inches of rainfall, tho they called for 6 to 8.

Remember the tarp on the previous post?

Say Hello to neighbor Earl who put down the tarp

He's six foot six. Helped Our Donny put all her furniture back. It was up on stilts.

This is why 1,000 houses lost power. A tree down on Terwood Road, taking power lines down.

Do not enter. Go around to Davisville Road. Before coming to Donna's tonite, I ascertained that they're not yet working on getting rid of the tree.

Overwhelming amounts of work for PECO.

At the bottom of Cowbell Road a man from PECO is assigned Guard Duty on this house with a live wire on the roof. Neighbor Matt was walking and taking photos.

Here's one that Matt kindly sent me. I felt guilty about taking a pic of another person's misery.

Ain't that something!

I had huge branches and loads of twigs in my front and back yard. Those you don't photograph. You just pick em up and toss em in the little woods behind the house. The woods with the path that the school kids use, and that Sarah and Dan used when they lived with me.

Here's Matt with his frisky dog Louie. He tangles Matt up in the leash. I also met Benny, a huge German shepherd puppy (7 mos old) who is terrified of people.

Here's what's at stake in my fridge:

Selected items: a pot of chili, salad fixings, yogurt, Hershey's lo-calorie chocolate syrup, nuts and seeds of all kinds, mayo. Donna forced me to open the fridge to get her Parm cheese out, but othan that, I'm keeping it closed.

Scott and I watching a movie on my laptop. It has 3 hours of power. I used everything but 20 minutes.

I also turned on my gas fireplace in the basement to heat the house.

Opening shot of ARMY OF SHADOWS, a 1969 film that was re-released in 2006.

What a great film!

It's the story of the French Resistance during WW2, starting in 1942. These brave men and women know they may very well give their lives for freedom from the Nazis.

The Nazis liked American movies.

Brutality was rampant in this film, an adaptation of Joseph Kessel's 1943 book.

According to Wiki, the film
blends Kessel's own experiences as a member of the French Resistance with fictionalized versions of other Resistance members. Army of Shadows follows a small group of Resistance fighters as they move between safe houses, work with the Allied militaries, kill informers, and attempt to evade the capture and execution that they know is their most likely fate.[1] While portraying its characters as heroic, the film presents a bleak, unromantic view of the Resistance.[2][3]

Filmmaker was Jean-Pierre Grumbach - aka Jean-Pierre Melville (1917 - 1973, dead of a heart attack at 55.

Tap tap tap!

Who is it? I yelled.

The Mailman, he said. It's 8 o'clock pm.

I opened the door and there he was....Jimmy, an old family friend. Donna dreamt about him last nite! She had his baby, little Jimmy.

Okay, gotta go chat with him!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stay safe - Helping Sister Donna at Woodwinds Condo in Hatboro, PA

One and a half inches of rain so far. Blurry foto of barricades at the ready at corner of Terwood and Old York Road, on our way thru Hatboro, so we could check it, and on the way to Donna's.

Daddypop's Diner was open. The PO closed at 9 am, but I got a donation for ND in Box 181. My policy is to never put the check in the mail until I've wrin a thank-you.

I did both and then ran after the mailman.

The deserted parking lot on Drummers Way. Everyone fled b/c the condos are notorious for flooding.

Back of Donna's 2-story condo on the corner. Sandbags are used to prevent water from entering premises.

Sometimes it works! Fingers tightly crossed. After a flood 14 months ago, August 29, Donna had a foot of water and mud in the entire downstairs.

A lovely creek flows behind the condos. Today the creek had risen to the top of the banks. This was five hours ago.

Donna, who knows the flooding better than anyone, says it won't rise or flood until tonite. She'll be safe here with older sister Ruthie.

Explanation please! Okay, this is a huge tarp that a construction worker neighbor laid down over four units. Hopefully, this will prevent the water from coming in.

Twill be interesting to see.

Donna's bundled up as we approach her home. See how the tarp goes all the way up. We dunno the function of the rope he put there.

Will the tarp with duck tape hold fast? Well, lemme tell you something. Other people's plastic was flapping helplessly, having come undone by the winds which were not even a fifth of their full ferocity.

I just lost a tree limb in the backyard and hope the tree doesn't.....

Donna's dwelling.

Donna's got a zillion chotckies lying all over including this darling green frog. Scott, Donna and I scurried about in the cold rain picking em up and putting em in her house.

Stopped at mom's house, which experiences partial flooding. For safekeeping they have some downstairs furniture in the living room.

Mom said she had a good nite's sleep last nite. Who knows what the next 24 hrs will hold?

Then I went shopping at the Willow Grove Giant. I needed carbs, in the form of my Utz's 7-grain pretzels and Brown Rice crackers.

Since Donna's staying with me, we created a snack bowl

I made Scott, Donna and me some delicious salmon, sauteed with mushrooms and balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and steamed asparagus, carrots and onions.

Scrumptious! Donna asked why it's so tender. I don't overcook the salmon but cook it until it's just done. The fridge is stocked!

My son's electricity went out this morning. The PECO truck said it should be back on by four. They couldn't wait and went to spend the nite at Barb's house in Mayfair.

I said if it's a dangerous drive to Barb's, come stay here.

Here's Grace in her princess dress.

When I pulled into the back of Giant, all the truck bays were full with Giant tractor-trailers. Inside, I learned from a man who was emptying out a refrigerated container, that the electricity went out at five Giant supermarkets.

Our Giant was out for nearly half an hour. The store generator was traveling to the Giant in Morrisville. The Giant trucks I saw in the bays were refrigerated, so they can store things there if the lights go out.

Dyou think I could persuade them to...o never mind.

As I walked thru the parking lot, all bundled up, I felt the wind pushing me along.

 Ocean City, MD, from the Christian Science Monitor. Remind me to tell you about Mrs Kultti, my piano teacher, who was a Christian Scientist.

Scott has a barometer in his bedroom and says the barometric pressure has never gotten so low.

My house is silent. Scott is watching the news upstairs. Donna is taking a nap downstairs. I'm tapping on the computer in the living room.

You can hear the rain in the gutters. The leaves are swaying not terribly fast. And the house is cold. It's set for 69 but it's chilly in here.

Scott works tonite at 10 pm. The trains aren't running, so he'll drive to the SEPTA carhouse at 69th and Market, Upper Darby.

STAY SAFE Y'ALL! Btw, I highly recommend your watching the first five minutes of this prophetic documentary about flooding in NYC.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ecumenical concert at Carmelite Monastery in Philly

Mount Carmel, a Catholic church at Broad and 66th St in Philly, was the host to the choir from Ohev Shalom Synagogue in Richboro, PA.

 Here's Ohev's beautiful chapel. My friend Harriet is a member and has been in their choir for 12 years.

I knew the concert would be great, perhaps b/c Harriet was in it.

Every part of the church was lovely.

Harriet and hubby Steve picked me up. Their friend Susan came along too. Susan, a Catholic, was really curious about Judaism so we answered lots of her questions on the 25-minute ride home.

I know the route quite well cuz it's where I go when I go to Einstein Medical Clinic. In fact, I have an appt at Kidney Clink on Tuesday....bring an umbrella and walk fast, Ruthie. They're not about to cancel for Hurricane Sandy, I'm pretty sure.

While I'm bloggin, Scott is making our Sunday nite pizza. I just love beautiful buildings and churches are certainly among them. On the ride home, I pointed out the Frank Lllllloyd Wright synagogue Beth Shalom on York Road.

Yes, Frankie, the roof doth leak.

Fascinating info filled the glass cases. "St Pio Closely Followed Christ the Redeemer."

St Pio appeared to the psychic Theresa Roba and she speaks thru him. I don't believe it! I wrote an article on her for the Times Herald. She's not specific when she speaks of people in the afterlife.

 The choir practiced onstage before their performance.

The choir is directed by the white-haired gentleman Marvin Feld. I sat next to his wife Sandra (pronounced Sondra) but called Sonny for short. She can't sing, she told me.

Sonny Feld. Her daughter has the blond curls.

Here's a beaming Harriet after the soaring performance of the choir. She's an alto. The acoustics were phenomenal in the church. I was in goose-bump heaven.

You've never seen so many iPhone cameras taking photos and videos.

Much of the artwork was done in mosaics.

I walked onstage but was too late to see the CLOISTERED NUNS behind the screen in the background. This priest, wearing a long flowing gown, introduced the program. Very mellow dude who asked us to say Amen, simply by opening his arms.

More mosaics.

Reception in the basement. At this conservative shul, the men wear yarmulches, just like our shul back home in Cleveland, the center of the western world. And we better hope Ohio is voting for Obama.

What a great bookshop they have. Didn't realized my dad's favorite Fulton J Sheen was an author. We used to watch him together back in Cleveland. Is that where I acquired my fascination with Catholicism? And then with other religions like the Swedenborgians, whose world HQ is in Bryn Athyn, 10 mins away.

There was also a book called Homosexuality and Catholics, which I didn't have a chance to look at. We can peruse it together.

At this very moment - it's now a little past 7 pm - we should've been at the New Directions' Annual Bonfire at Tamanend Park. We wisely canceled tho b/c of the arrival of Sandy. We were so looking f/w to it.

Scott just called.

THE PIZZA IS READY! Then it's Columbo on Channel 63 at 8 pm and the watching of many DVDs.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Before the deluge, Day with Sister Donna, Meeting with the Christians, Lo Blood Sugar, Recycling with Scott

Everyone is scurrying around today as Hurricane Sandy gets ready to pound us. Lemme find some recent fotos of her.

 Hey I like this one. Obama is keeping tabs on it. Judy Diaz and I are fearful he's gonna lose. Women watch out!

Eastern Cuba. Dig the old car! And lift the g'dam embargo.

Cautionido while wading thru the streets in Cuba.

Thother day my little sister Donna Cartagena of Hatboro, PA and I went on a fun driving tour of Eastern Montgomery and Bucks County. We're both losing our minds and can hardly remember anything.

Would you like to come driving with us?

Oh, you don't want to?

Look at what you'll miss. But first lemme change the CD from Bela Fleck to Joe Bonasso who I got free when I donated to WHYY-FM, along with Newsweek mag, which will no longer be published after the first of the year.

Dare you to find one interesting article in there, Tina Brown! Other than the Afterlife one.

Me and my beautiful houses. Gosh, I wish I lived there.

Oh, there's mice in the basement? And the inside floor is missing some planks?

 What's this, Ruthie! Oh! It's Solly Farms in Bucks County getting ready for the influx of schoolchildren to pick their own punkins.

You can actually enter this huge pumpkin at Solly's.

We're back in Donna's neighborhood. She lives directly behind Crooked Billet Elementary where her kids Melissa and Nikki went to school.

Two years ago a junkyard was erected right next to the school.

The noise has ruined Donna's life.

From her window she sees these steel beams ruining her view of the tranquil green grass at Crooked Billet.

The owner of the company, she said, is a very nice man, one of her customers at Starbux. At Donna's request he made a few changes, but basically nothing can be done about the noise.

Klang! Klang! Kerplunk!

Dig this house right next door to the junkyard. Pure junk.

Coming home from Donna's I saw these two beautiful matching couches on the grass. I slowed down and looked longingly at them.

What does it mean that I love couches so much? Hmmm, maybe I'll write an essay about it to discover why. Or see a psychoanalyst. Maybe Robert Gordon in Allentown.

 Donna called today and asked if she could sleep over on Monday nite when her condo falls into the creek.

Sure, I said.

Broken bridge across troubled waters, the only way to get to Donna's condo. So you use a bridge further down. They're awaiting a buyout from the township and the state. Donna had fish swimming in her living room.

Last nite I went back to the Willow Grove Bible Church, 7 minutes away on Division Avenue and Everett Street for their monthly COFFEE HOUSE.

 I'd said on FB to Kim Ruby, the event planner, that I would come hungry, and I did.

This is the prior month's food.

The theme of course was Halloween so there were lotsa pumpkin treats. Baby, I was outa control! When I left I didn't go directly to my car but walked at a fast pace around the dark neighborhood for 20 minutes. I only meant to walk for 10 but I got lost.

An awesome band named Lotus Hill performed.

What do they do during the day? Software engineer, electrical engineer (I think), music teacher, band teacher.

Really good.

This foto of the CoffeeShop was on FB but is typical of the family entertainment offered.

I sat with a guy named Kevin McKay and two of his four kids. We played a game with blocks, gosh I wish I could remember the name. Zenga? Junga? Mahjong?

Wanted to converse w someone and Kevin was a great talker. I asked him what his green wristband meant - a horrid disease perhaps? He said it was a reminder to pray for two people.

I told him that as a Jewish nonbeliever I don't pray.

He was really curious about how someone couldn't believe in God.

It certainly has a lot to do, we agreed, with the way a person is raised. I used to believe, but I stopped. Can't rightly remember why.

Told him that I did pray the other day, tho. I'd sent Tom Murt, who's running for PA state rep, an email that Scott's Transportation Workers' Union endorsed Murt, the only Republican they endorsed.

Murt wrote back thanking me for the email and said his dad just died. We were a very close family of five boys, he said, and of course he was upset.

He asked me to pray for him. So I did. I just closed my eyes, put my hands together the way you do in Here is the church, here is the steeple, and asked God to bless their fine family.

Quite honestly, now that I'm thinking about it, Obama's insane performance in the first debate, where he behaved like a boxer throwing the game, seems like an intervention from God. How could this famously articulate man lose the power of speech?

When Judy Diaz and I were talking earlier she mentioned Romney's amazing transformation into a gifted speaker! How could that happen?

I said, Judy they drilled the man. He took off work and they taught him how to talk.

Now, here's the exciting part of the blog, the real reason I wanted to get on here.

So, when I came home from the Coffee House, where I had eaten two scrumptious chocolate chip cookies, an iced soft pumpkin cookie, and a fabulous pear tart (OMG), I looked at my blood sugar.


Then I made my near-fatal mistake, injected 12 units and went directly to bed, exhausted.

Oh dear. Wrong photo. This is when I was 302d (involuntarily committed) for my first manic episode and lying in Bldg 16 at Norristown State Hospital.

Actually, this foto is by the noted Mary Ellen Mark, who did Prom Photos at the downtown Art Museum.

Okay, I'm fast asleep and wake up with a start at 2 am.

Something is not right. I do not feel good. But my mind is not working well.

Aha, thinks I. You're having a lo blood sugar attack.

I pull myself outa bed, turn on the light and walk downstairs into the kitchen.

I don't know what to do.

I can't think.

I lay my arm and head on the kitchen table. "This is how you die," I say to myself.

"Eat something!"

Intuitively I reach on top of the fridge and luckily one of my Kashi bars is up there. I eat them only when I have lo blood sugar. Sarah eats em when she comes to visit.

I grab a scissors, open the wrapper, and crunch it down while I'm pacing thru the dark living room.

Then I reach into my pocketbook and find another one to eat.

I am saved!

Okay, today is Recycling Day at Springfield High School, anything with a cord.

Scott and I set off with the car loaded!

We passed the beautiful Curtis Arboretum.

Look, Scott, I said. Here's the beautiful Curtis Arboretum.

"I seen it before," he said.

"Well, look again!" I said. "Maybe we'll go here on one of our Sunday walks."

Then we spot what we think is Springfield Township High School. We pull in and no one is there. How can this be?

Well, it's the middle school.

A woman is running around the track far away. We ask her where to go and she gesticulates over to the right.

We arrive and everything is beautifully organized with orange cones and men directing traffic.

This is my old MacIntosh computer. I believe this is the one that was donated to New Directions by Rohn and Haas in Bristol PA. I used it a long time. Palatino became my favorite font.

Bye bye sweetheart!

Nice gray keyboard doesn't know what's gonna become of it, but we do. We keep mum.

This handsome devil helped us unload the car.

Oh, dearie me, I'm feeling so sad for getting rid of the Macs which were gathering dust on the top shelf in Dan's old bedroom.

Need a big fat ole TV anyone? With tubes inside?

Three or four tractor-trailers were parked waiting for their cargo. Montgomery County works with WeRecycle and served 10,000 households last year. They earned $34,000 for all these antiquated items that made us so so happy when we first bought em!

On the way over, there was a lotta traffic. We were stopped at a lite and a guy was laying out Obama signs. I rolled down my window and asked for one.

Altho I'm not a praying man, I'll put in a prayer for Obama THAT HE WIN!!!