Monday, December 31, 2012

Part Two: The Party... And then home again, while The Bad Plus plays at the Vanguard tonite!

 Sarah gives a toast for a happy, healthy and productive New Year. She's doing great with her one kidney.

Sam Newsome on soprano sax. When Sam knew he was good enough to go professional, he got a job teaching music at a Long Island university so he could support his wife and daughter.

Christopher O'Riley, host of radio show From the Top, belts it out on the piano. He played a jazz riff from the Bad Plus's Reid Anderson, from Minnesota, which is where he met Ethan and drummer Dave King.

Ethan plays some Duke Ellington. To his right is Jonathan Sharp and his wife Shannon. He owns a tee-shirt company for children.

Thanks to psychologist Lisa for these three great photos.

Just finished writing all my thank-you notes. I got everyone's email address and wrote something like:

December 31, 2012
Dear "Amy,"

Thank you so much for your generous, tax-deductible donation of $100 to our support group New Directions here in the Philadelphia area.

Your donation will ensure that we will continue our life-saving programs and events.

Thanks for attending the amazing gala last night.

Please retain this note for tax purposes.

Warm holiday wishes,

Ruth Z Deming, MGPGP
Would you believe we raised in excess of $3,000?

I carried the cash home in a paperback novel... and the checks in a small envelope

Sarah met warm and wonderful Kitty (left) when they were both 16 and attended a smart people's academy in Annapolis, MD.

Michelle lives in Cleveland, Ohio, my old stomping grounds. She works in real estate but her real love is her house in Sagamore Hills, her boyfriend Chris O'Riley, and their cats, including white-haired, blue-eyed Elliott.

A contingent of boxers, like 16-yo Chris, gave new meaning to the diversity of the party. What a sweetheart he is. He's applying for his first job.

Maria Venier is a fourth-grade teacher, winner of a featherweight boxing title, and frequenter at the boxing gym where John, 22, works out. Pat Russo, an ex-cop and extraordinary philanthropist, runs the gym and has received many awards.

Sam Newsome takes a bow after performing on his soprano sax. You should've seen his cheeks puffing up as he played. He learned amazing breathing control so he could make that instrument wail.

He also donated two copies of his latest CD - The Art of of the Soprano - to New Directions.

The 6-yo daughter of a saxophonist friend of his was killed in the Newtown CT shootings.

Sarah said someone told her it's good to photograph a person with a plant in the background.  I said, Yes, or against a piano.

Photo: Great party last night! Thank you to everyone who came and who gave so generously. With all the online donations we raised about $2,500 for my mom and New Directions Support Group

Deming at 67. Still has all her teeth and half of her hair. And one happy kidney sewn in last April 2011, thanks to Sarah Lynn Deming.

You never know how people are gonna turn out. Sarah was the governess of young Arielle in the front row when she was growing up in a Brooklyn brownstone with an elevator and an "endless pool" in the basement. Its dressing rooms had fluffy white terrycloth towels.

Now Arielle is a student at the London Film School. She wants to make movies. And she will!

Next to her is a yoga teacher Phyllis Berg, who sat ramrod straight during the musical performances.

We also see tall Cathy (short for Catrinel from Romania like my friend Rodica Milahis.) Sarah admired Cathy's shoes, which had unusual heels on them. That's Cathy's boyfriend Tim next to her. I was wearing my pink diabetic socks from the Sox Lady in Furlong, PA.

This is Arielle's boyfriend, whose name I can't remember. Let's call him Max, as in Max Roach, who was part of the Miles Davis band.

Ethan saw him and said, "Man, what are you doing here?"

Max is a drummer, and a very good one, said Ethan.

Mr Personality: Michael Quinn. I spent a lot of time cooing over Michael Quinn. Told him he should call himself by one name, like Prince or Madonna.

When I worked at Art Matters, I interviewed Robert Woodward, aka "Peanut Butter." Look what that talented man is up to now... doing murals for SEPTA for a $150,000 grant and using Tyler Art School students to help. Wonder if he's still stepping out with Susan Rosenberg.

Memory speak!

We were cooing over Quinn's outfit. Everything was given to him. In the brownstone where he lives on the bottom floor, he's friends with everyone, and is designing a wedding for the couple on the second floor. They'll be married in Yosemite! Sarah pulled out a card Quinn made.... fabulously inventive.

You must visit his house

We all stayed up until 3 am. I couldn't believe it was so late. AND I haven't even mentioned the food that Sarah made in two days for the guests. I behaved myself and had no dessert..... almost

She made a puff pastry filled with jelly and topped with whipped cream. Is your mouth watering now?
We breakfasted on the floor of the living room. The coffee was delicious. I drank mine from dainty cups, part of a service that my mom bought years ago from a woman across the street.

Sarah made a fabulous pumpernickel bread. Where'd you get the recipe? I asked.

It's yours, Mom.

Actually it tastes better than mine. She added 1/2 cup molasses and 1/4 cup honey.

We ate from an assortment of incredible cheeses. My fave was a Bleu Cheese that melted in your mouth. We also finished up the shrimp cocktails - ooh! hot hot sauce b/c of chipotle -  and the marinated flank steak. 

Michelle was the last to wake up. My sister Donna was the first. Her first words to me were "I wanna go home." We left at 1:45. We all toasted in the New Year - only 2 more hours until 2013 from my living room here on Tarbell Road - or is it Cowbell, I forget -the fireworks are starting outside

Chris O'Riley, host of the syndicated radio show "From the Top" is also a magnificent pianist. I was in the other room and suddenly I heard GOLDBERG VARIATIONS on the pianoforte.

Can you imagine the honor of being in the same room as all these talented musicians?

Plus, I was sitting next to Adelaide!  Diva Mestre puts on one-woman shows in New York.

My pensive sister and Michelle, who answers some important real estate questions for Donna, who is hoping for a buyout of her Hatboro, PA condo from the state. Two floods this year had two feet of water in the living room. One of the tenants saw fish swimming through her downstairs.

Alas, time to go home.

Donna drove. Here we are trying to find the Verazanno Bridge.

Luckily, we only went 20 minutes out of our way, and made it home in two hours.

Grids on the Goethals Bridge.

The Jersey Turnpike is undergoing massive construction to improve traffic to and from NY.
Almost home.

Check emails, open mail, check blood sugar, make salad for dinner, send out thank-you notes.

Said Happy New Year to Scott at 8 pm before he walks to the train station to work on New Year's Eve.

As for me..... reading time!

Am gonna find these Willeford books thru interlibrary loan on Ethan's recommendation.


Part One: Getting lost on the way to Brooklyn Fundraising Gala for New Directions

Words cannot express how wonderful it was! 50 or 60 people met at Sarah and Ethan's starting at 8 pm. We didn't fall into bed until 3.

My sister Donna and and I drove down. I drove there, she drove back.

We got lost on the Belt Parkway, looking for the BQE: Brooklyn-Queens-Expressway.

How lost were we?

It took four hours longer than it should have.

Yes, the traffic sometimes crawled but in essence we had no idea where we were going. Altho Donna mapquested it - and yes, she should've googled it - we couldn't read the signs, IF there were signs.

Yes, I was driving and taking pix also, easy b/c of stop and go traffic. Donna was constantly on the phone with one of her kids, finding out how they were spending the day. 

We were headed toward the Verrazano Bridge,

then got off and got onto the Belt Parkway, where we got on n off about four times in our long frustrating journey to Brooklyn.

We noshed on peanuts and pretzel sticks on the way. 

We were joking that we hoped we'd get there before it was dark, BUT we ended up driving in the dark, two women in their sixties with poor nite vision. We noted the lack of lights on parts of the expressway.

Wasn't able to get shots of housing in the Far Rockaways.

The Atlantic Ocean was off to our right. Mucho damage from Hurricane Sandy.

We spoke to Ethan several times who helped guide us to their apartment in Park Slope.

Like the mensch he is, he met us outside and parked our car in the lot.

We schlepped up three flights of stairs with our baggage.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Guest column in the Intell: Shooting Tragedy Shows Dark Side of America

Click here for my latest guest column, "Shooting tragedy shows dark side of America."

Frank Strange, owner of the Abington Gun and Ammo Shop, who I quote extensively, is a really nice guy. I've quoted him on several occasions.

When I went in to visit him one time - he's in the same shopping strip as Weinrich's Bakery and the great restaurant Pho and Beyond - he delighted in showing me some of the firearms he has, including a Glock used by many police officers. 

Now I've gotta pack for my trip to Brooklyn for tonite's fundraising event to benefit New Directions. Donna and I will leave around noon when the roads are hopefully more melted.

These endangered elephants from Kenya wish you HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winter wonderland, December 2012 PLUS tomro's Rent Party in Bklyn

I had no choice. After I shoveled, I had to photograph the b'ful new world of the snow.

Kitchen window w curtains mom made me. What would I do w/o her? She said her memory is going at age 90.

Here's Judy Diaz's porch furniture on the back porch. I last talked to her from her home in Niwot, CO, where she berated me for seeing lousy and violent movies like Jack Reacher and The Hobbit when there's so many good ones out. I couldn't think of a thing to say in my defense.

 A wayward branch from my silver maple flew over and knocked out a segment of the Adams family fence.

 Never noticed the Y branch of the trimmed silver maple.

 Thanks again, Dave Small, for doing such a nice job with the new door and porch steps.

Bought "small red beans" for the first time and made this delicious soup.

Tomro my sister Donna from Hatboro and I are driving in to NY around noon. Sarah is having a "rent party" to raise money for New Directions. Rent parties began in Harlem to help raise money for the rent.

Entertainment will be by Ethan Iverson on piano - Christopher O'Riley, media host and performer - and Sam Newsome on soprano sax.

Sarah will be cooking her fine-restaurant-style cuisine.

Read Sarah's Rent Post here.

Although I long to go upstairs and get to the 8 books I'm reading, for you, Dear Reader, I'm gonna post some bonus photos.

Here is the single parent family of Ruth, Sarah and Dan.

I would go to K-Mart and get photos taken. They lure you in by promising one 5 x 7 for free and then expect you to buy the entire pack.

All I wanted was one photo but you had to buy a $36 packet. So I got one photo for free.

I have a FB friend named Jamie Stiehm. She's a great writer currently at work on a bio of Lucretia Mott, founder of Swarthmore College and freethinking Quaker abolitionist, who lived down Philadelphia way.

When I worked for, I reported on Lucretia Mott

She got her first article published in today's Times. I wanted to encourage her so I left her a comment you can read here.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Thanks Jonatha and Iris - Books, Inc.

Okay, I admit it. I got carried away and am reading 6 books at once. My friend, Coach Iris sent me the one in the blue cover by Aimee Bender, the story of a most unusual family, including the daughter Rose who, when she eats, can taste the mood - angry, resentful, happy - of the person or factory worker who made the cookie or sandwich.

I've always loved fairy tales so when I read of a new translation I checked it outa the POTTSTOWN Library thru interlibrary loan. Not a word is wasted in these exciting tales, all of which have a happy ending. And, unlike real life, the bad people are punished.

"Far from the Tree" is Andrew Solomon's "bible" on people who are very different from their parents. Eleven years in the making, he gained unprecedented interviews with 300 amazing families.

I particularly enjoyed the interview with Sue and Tom Klebold, parents of Columbine mass murderer Eric. Read about it here and watch the video. Well worth your time, this lonely Friday night, with me trying to stay away from eating.

"Diabetes Solution" by Richard K Bernstein, MD, is written by a physician with Type 1 Diabetes who hasn't eaten a piece of fruit since 1970.

Richard Bernstein, b. 1934. Now in his mid-seventies, he's believed to be one of the oldest Type 1 diabetics. He was diagnosed at age 12. Following the precepts of the American Diabetes Association, he couldn't get his blood sugar under control, so he did research and developed his own lo-carb diet to stabilize his glucose, which runs an average of 84.

I learned from him that you can use both sides of your fingers to test your blood, important so your fingers don't become callused, and also that you can reuse your lancets for an entire month.

A wonderful maverick!

How about these b'ful crocheted snowflakes I received in the mail? To tell you the truth, I dread opening gifts b/c I usually don't like em. These I love! Thank you Jonatha Johnson from Vicksberg, MI.

I'm working very hard on my Kidney Memoir. Sarah lent me this book by the late crime fiction writer Charles Willeford which is an account of his excruciatingly painful hemorrhoid operation. This 50-page book, autographed by the author, was purchased by husband Ethan over the Internet.  

I read it in a couple of waiting rooms and I was howling with laughter.

Willeford's autograph barely shows up, but other things do, in this lil collage I made especially for you, Dear Reader!

 Even tho Bob Walmsley installed many new windows in my house a few years ago, when the wind was howling the other nite, the draft was so bad when I was in bed, I had to stuff pillows over the windows and close the shutters the Travis family had installed before I moved in.

You'll notice I hired Mondrian to paint the dark wooden paneling behind my bed.

Here are a few different ways people of note end their TV shows:

Julie Child - Bon Appetite

Tavis Smiley - Keep the Faith

Bill McLoughlin - Bye-bye

Ruth Deming will have to think of her own unique ending. You have 90 seconds, Ruthie!

Ruth Deming - Later!