Monday, December 29, 2014

The Importance of my Window Sill

Note the Limoges porcelain dish my Aunt Hy bought me years and years ago.
First, let's talk about the importance of my sneakers.

As Scott and I walked at Masons Mill Park on Sunday afternoon, I noticed to my shock the hole in the toe of my Nike sneakers.

Nike is a company I boycott b/c I read how little the factory workers make and of course the owner is a multi-billionaire.

But I have trouble finding sneakers that fit so, yes, I hypocritically bought Nikes about a year ago.

My long-lasting socks - how bout these neon-greens! - I bought at the Sox Lady in Furlong, PA.

I successfully sewed up the shoe, having a devil of a time threading the needle, or "nodule" as we used to call it when the kids were growing up, that was also for noodles.

It took me a good four hours to clean off my living room window sill last week. I had several empty receptacles that I needed to fill up.

My brother David made the ceramic birdhouse in the center. I found a picture of an owl with big eyes and taped it over the entrance to the brilliantly colored bird house. David loved bright colors and wore snazzy striped shirts.

Claudia McGill's large clay container on the left is now stuffed with some colorful items I found in a calendar. It's the color I'm interested in, not that they're from a calendar of birds and other animals.

The rocks to the right on the photo I took from Helene Ryesky's back porch when she lived in Maple Glen.

Last night while napping with Scott I watched The Drexel Interview with Paula Marantz Cohen.

   Here's the prolific Paula. Read her bio here.

Her guest was the Israeli filmmaker Eytan Fox.

Read about Eytan here.  

When I go home I check to see if Netflix has any of his highly-acclaimed films.

To my shock and delight


Writers' Group and More - My new story "The Mail Truck" - Poem: The Kitchen Window

Had dinner last nite at The Fleishers. Drove over in the dark with nary a problem since I had cataract surgery this July and August. Before that, I could not judge distances.

Ada's older brother, Edward Moss, was there. He's a radiologist at Cooper Hospital in Camden. The top exec at the hospital and his wife were brutally murdered. But by whom?

Edward has had diabetes since he was in his early 20s. He wears an insulin pump which he likes very much. The only complications he's had were corrected by laser surgery.

I told him one doctor - Rachmel Cherner - told me I had a mild case, if that's possible.

Yes, said Edward.

Before I left home my sugar was 93. After 15 minutes, I injected 10 units, and another 10 units during dessert. When I came home I rode my bike for 20 minutes.

We had daube - say DAW-bay - a 'peasant stew' made with meat soaked in wine and fat pieces of onion.

  Ada served it over rice. We also had fresh green beans and the most exquisite salad that featured raw onion slices, pear, and carmelized pecans. Balsamic vinegar salad dressing.

For dessert, we had a delicious but tasteless Portuguese custard in a tin foil tart container.



And lo-fat brownies.


Ada got the recipe from America's Test Kitchen, Chris Kimball. Rich said he'd been married three times. I said he was a "Dead" fan. I said, cooking shows are no longer shown on WHYY.

Hold on, lemme send them an email. Just did and CCd it to Ada, Rich and Scott.

Edward brought over three white albums of photographs from yesteryear, including his own bar mitzvah and Aaron's bar mitzvah.

We marveled at Ada and Edward's mother, Lillian, and how nice she looked. She don't look so good now at one-hundred plus in her nursing home.


In one of Edward's white albums was a photo of a rabbi, a very popular man who had a large congregation in southern Jersey.

He was later convicted of hiring someone to murder his wife. People who knew him could not and would not believe it.

When Ada saw him conduct the bat mitzvah ceremony of Edward's daughter, Allison, she said to Rich, "He's a pompous ass."

Read about him here.

Today it's a sunny and beautiful Monday afternoon. Ran after the mailman, whomever he might be.

Which law should I break, I thought, as I gathered my two envelopes. Okay, I tucked my red wallet with my driver's license under my arm but did not buckle my seat belt.

Found Mailman Craig, a black guy, who was on Division Avenue, at a house on an impossibly high hill.

No way was I gonna climb that hill, Jack. So I waited for him to descend and got my letter out to my college chum Iris and another to Kim and Bob Ruby.

My story for our Writer's Group was called The Mail Truck. The group gave it good reviews.

My new reader - Marcy Belsh - from southern California - also liked it.

Thank you Marcy!!! She and her mom used to live on Susan Road in the Northeast but their house burned down and they moved to California to be with family.

She is the basis of my new unpublished-as-yet short story "Saving Charlotte."

Ah! Here they are now.... our Coffeeshop Writers Group, all accounted for except Floyd. I bought 4 bottles of beer for him, left over from Scott's bday party.  Grrrr!

 I didn't take many notes. Martha, what did you write? But more important, what are you eating?

I think everyone was eating pudding. Soft, smooth, creamy. I love pudding. I love KozyShack, over in the dairy case.

Donna wrote a poem about what happens to all of us. We lose friends. We like these people but they just don't like us back. For some reason. I remember I was friends with Mona Don and her husband Harold. And then one day, they dropped me. Will I waste time and goggle them? Nope.

Beatriz felt lousy from chemo but like the trooper she is managed to get there. She brought her step-daughter Janie Peters with her.

Janie is one of five "steps" Beatriz drew on a bookmark that I mailed a few people cross-country.

Beatriz starts chemo this week. She beat cancer three other times. Make it four, please!

Kym Cohen had just gotten a wisdom tooth pulled. Ouch! I believe it's next week she'll check into Aria Hospital for chemo.

She'll join the group via Skype. 
Carly wrote the fascinating "A (Scary) Peak into My Mind" which did hold some surprises.

And Martha wrote "My Dark Companion" a brutally honest look at her dark side.

Question: Do we all have a dark side? I certainly do.

Allan Heller, who I had the honour of picking up and driving to the group, brought in several terrific poems. He submitted one to The American Dissident and got a haughty reply from the editor.

I esp. liked his Of All My Dulcineas. Dulcineas, of course, being Don Quixote's idealized love whom he never met.

Let's find a snappy picture of the Don.

Donquixote.JPGThis famous sketch is by Picasso. I never knew dat did you?
Linda Barrett, what did you write? Methinks it was a poem about...... Oh! Now I remember. A great poem about when she got a CAT Scan at Holy Redeemer hospital. It was a couple of years ago and she compared going into the tomb of the machine with Christ when he ascended the Cross.

It's going straight into the Compass. She came over yesterday with my b'day gift.

   Stuffed mushrooms. Delicious! Herbs but no salt, just how I like em.

On her home computer - Linda lives five minutes away - she's not able to submit poetry to online publications, so I'm doing it for her. Told her I'd do it today.

THE KITCHEN WINDOW

I stand at the kitchen window
tongue cleaning teeth from
the last of the ham
two minutes ago I was
out in the back yard I look upon
plenty warm in
my new pink cowl-neck sweater
this latter day in December.

The Rose of Sharon bowled over
dead
the shed I painted when we first moved in
gone to rust and growing hair on its gabled roof
shall I remove the things inside before I die?

The people who lived here before me
were sneaky
still are
they come to visit across the street
yet never visit their old house
Arlene Travis, now in her eighties, asked me
“Do you want this pretty green couch?”
When I said no, I found it in the little woods
beyond my house. Decaying slowly, the bitch!

How the little woods is changing.
It’s an important path for the deer
the schoolchildren and Scott when he
walks to the train.

The fallen tree is new
a long curved runner from a rocking chair
I step over carefully
then under a bridal arbor
whose crisp dangling leaves
tickle my hair
I glance toward the green sofa
off to the left, very far, and wonder
of the mice and snakes dwelling there.

The ham is tasty
I spit out bits of fat
nothing gets wasted
in these woods
which will be here
long after
I’m not.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Leftovers at Donna's - Google's Invasion of my Privacy - Poem: Lavender Nails

On this beautiful day after Christmas, I visited my sister Donna at Woodwinds Condo in Hatboro. First, tho, I stopped at LeRoy's Flowers where I said hello to the lovely statue, which is about my size.

A sign beneath it read "Make an offer."

Leroy's son, Bob, said his dad got this at one of the Philadelphia Flower Shows.

I would LOVE to have it and put it in my front yard IF it could withstand the weather. It's a copy of a famous statue somewhere.

Sarah, my zen daughter, might you know?

Sarah and Ethan are spending the holidays in Minnesota. Ethan had played piano in an old-age home, which I think is fantastic!

They also visit his adoring little brother Spencer, who lives in a group home there.

*

Went to Donna's today.  Many darling mishpoochah were there.

How we love them all!  Melissa had a new short hair cut that looks FAB!

Nikki, Steve and the kids are driving to the Catskills today to go skiing!

On Donna's huge TV they were playing a disc of family photos... wonderful! I was drinking delicious Starbucks coffee. Had a piece of my toasted cheese challah. Had forgotten my insulin pen but shot up the moment I got home.

Mentioned that Goggle had emailed me a minute's worth of my photos, asking me to share them, which I will not! Who cares about Ruth Z Deming's photos?

Another invasion of privacy in our Facebook/Goggle world.

*

After explaining the meaning of 'film noir,' I read them my newest poem "Lavender Nails."



LAVENDER NAILS

The green gel wowed us all
but stays on until
forcibly removed
that’s why I stopped at
Abington Nails
each salon as stylized
as Edith Head gowns
in MGM films

How ‘bout that
long black leather couch
a movie star couch
where starlets once got parts
in the days of
Double Indemnity
Scarlet Street and
Blond Ice.

 “Hello” said an
acrobatic man
named “Ozzy”
“like in Ozzie and Harriet”
his English fine for a
Chinaman.

He showed me a
card, like a many-colored
lollipop, and quickly, I
pointed out lavender,
which would match my
new lavender wall-to-wall
in my bedroom and drapes
dyed to match with two
plastic bottles of Rit
dye

Ozzy, who knows nothing
of the reruns of his namesake,
nor even the proper spelling,
paints my old Christmas green
nails with layers and layers of
lacquer to remove them
then secures them
with aluminum
foil. I close my eyes and
meditate.

May I have good health?
May the people I love prosper?
May my creativity increase?

The soft sounds of the salon
lull me into tranquility
as each client leaves
their name repeated
along with holiday wishes

They remember names!

Before I stopped into the salon
I went into Santander Bank on
the corner, where I stood
unacknowledged, behind the
teller “Lucia,” then clucked my
lips and fled.

“Ruth!” he interrupted.
“Ready!” I swiveled my
chair around and lay my
hands on the white-topped table.
My naked white hands were revealed,
small hands with green pop-up veins
like maps of the back roads of Ohio

The green gel was peeling off
green, the color of an unusual
gown by Edith Head, but lovely
nonetheless
we mustn’t all conform

To think that the twenty-first century
has brought spaceships to Mars
tiny telephones with photos of our loved ones
the mass exodus of Chinese and Vietnamese
to purchase useless buildings and
put nail salons on every corner

My lovely green gel was peeling off
but I had no time to mourn, as Ozzy scraped
it off, dead now, of no use to anyone
a mangled bicycle thrown out on the curb.

His sister Jen painted on the lavender gel.
A longer process than your normal polish
but this is the age of
spaceships to Mars
so I sat and let myself dream.

See me on the starlet’s couch?
Instead of watching a film noir
I’d rather be in one.
The mobster’s moll? No, they’d
just as soon kill me.
The rich woman in furs and pearls?
Yes, c’est moi, shirking my people
and running off with an
acrobatic Chinaman.



Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Birthday Dinner with the Demings - Mom is the hit of the party with her desserts

It wasn't easy but we pushed and pulled and finally got Mom in the house. Here she is sprinkling powdered sugar onto her delicious pumpkin roll, filled with cream cheese.

Outstanding!

That's me in what I call my giraffe shirt. Dan was teaching me how to use my new iPhone, which used to be Barb Toohey's.

Barb, you look great in red, I said.

It's my favorite color, she said.

See the beer on the table? I had one delicious sip. Dan said it has twice the alcoholic content of regular beer.

Nicole worked really hard preparing the meal.

Not shown is her delicious baked ziti. Yumpers!!!

We also had steamed broccoli, which we all loved and marveled about what healthy eaters we are.

While Mom's pumpkin roll was a new addition to her repertoire, these chocolate cookies covered with whipped cream - give them a name! - were something we used to eat as kids.

Made with
The recipe is right on the package. One Internet site calls it a Zebra Cake.

Mom and I love anything sweet, including Nicole's sweet potatoes with marshmallows.

Who's this little cherub? She was wearing a dazzling white dress with pink tights. She loved how the dress trailed behind her when she ran and how it spun when she twirled.

Dan was full of energy and very helpful.

What should I play with first?

Mom gave her a doll that used to be Ilene's. Ilene is an old friend, orig from Ireland, who passed away years ago.

Mom, who is very talented but way too modest, made these doll clothes. She can barely sew with her arthritic fingers.

Max is faster than the wind. I looked from my seat in the dining room and saw him pushing a sliding board across the kitchen floor. It was hilarious, as if it's something he does from morning to night, moving furniture.

Will the real Max please push your ladder across the floor?

 Dan told me my friend Helene Ryesky gave him three gifts which he still has. He passed this magnifying glass with light along to Grace.
This is a door opener which shuts the door with an easy kick.

The third was a Random House Dictionary.

Needless to say I was quite surprised he remembered. Told him she used to measure my kids when we visited her house in Maple Glen and made pencil marks in the wall.

Here's Helene before she moved to Rydal Park. She called me this morning and turned on her Happy Birthday Music Box for me.

I brought over a delicious cheese challah.

I injected 16 units of insulin and when I got home my sugar was 134, which is great.... considering. I left all the leftovers in the car so I wouldn't be tempted and will bring em to my sister Donna's tomorrow morning.

Luminaries on the streets. They are candles stuck in sand and covered with a paper bag. I think! I've never bought them.
Since Mom was a captive in my car going home, I showed her the Christmas lights, including the spectacular ones on Terwood Road. She'll tell her next door neighbors about them and how to get there.

My sister Lynn got me a red scarf and this cute little pan for the stove that says "Ruth's Kitchen." Barb got me some Body Butter.

I just rubbed it across my lips and it's, like, well, soft and creamy and delicious. 

Christmas Birthday - 12-25-45 - Christmas Cinquin

Watched a terrific show on PBS last nite about Jesus, who then becomes Jesus the Christ. Watch it here.



There are so many images of Christ.

You can't help but wonder if the Jews had done a better marketing job if Judaism would be one of the world's most populous religions.

I did think to myself that of all the historical figures out there, Jesus is the one I'd like most to meet. I did write a story about that and submitted it somewhere.

When I awoke to Sesame Street on Channel 12, I ran downstairs to take the cheese challah outa the freezer. It's waiting now on the table until it's room temp.

Dinner at The Demings is at 5.

Here's what I asked myself this morning.

What would you most like to do right now?

I'd like to buy a delicious cup of coffee.

There is only one place where you can get consistently delicious coffee.

Went to the Huntingdon Valley Starbux where my sister Donna works but has the day off.

At 8:11 in the morning, I drove to the train station to pick up Scott from work.

He wasn't there.

Then I drove to Starbucks, and then went home.

As I got outa the car, I heard the train whistle.

Drove back to the station - it's about 12 minutes away - and saw him walking down Davisville Road.

I pulled into the driveway of Kremp Florist

  and he was so surprised to see me. He kept smiling.

Then I went home and finished off my chicken dish for breakfast.

Really good!

Went for a short walk around the block, then meditated for 15 minutes, falling asleep. Went upstairs to my purple bedroom

got under the covers and commenced reading - and sleeping - my Robert Crais book, which is getting better.

The detective Joe Pike is sposed to be a zen-like dude, whose fave beverage is a bottle of water. Every time he mentions chugging down a bottle, I lean over and take a couple of sips from my covered water glass on my bedside table.

Dan gave me the glass. Donna and I bought the Sony radio years ago at her Sam's Club. I bought the lamp years ago at Staples and had a burgundy-colored shade over it, which meant I couldn't read a g'dam thing unless I removed the shade.

So when I went to Walmart to buy the Rit dye for my curtains, I asked Stacey to lead me to the lamp shades and bought this. Of course my fave way to read is with light streaming from the tiny window over my bed.

What a beautiful day it is today!

Blue skies and a 50-degree temperature.

Hey, guess what song is playing on WRTI?

The Hallalujah Chorus of the Messiah. The King of England is standing up right now he is so moved by Handel's creation.

Oh, heck, I'll stand up too, so I can appreciate it!

King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and he shall reign forever and forever.

Forever, King of Kings, Forever,

Halla...lu...yah!!!

As a teenager in Shaker Heights, I had the Eugene Ormandy version of The Messiah.



Wiki - Ormandy was born Jenő Ormándy-Blau in Budapest, Austria-Hungary, the son of Jewish parents Rosalie and Benjamin Blau, a dentist who was also an amateur violinist.

On my agenda for today is to write a poem about the Abington Nail Salon and my new lavender nails.

My hand is against the Starbucks apron I wear when I knead.

Darn! The bread is still too cold to knead. That means I've gotta work on my new poem now.

My cinquin poem was published on a Toronto blog.

It concerns BLUE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS that used to appear on Kirk Road in Northeast Philadelphia, just beyond the Huntingdon Valley border.

My sister Donna found them.

Sadly, the lights are gone.

A cinquin, as taught to me by poet Lynn Levin, has the following syllables
2 - 4 - 6 - 8 - 2

Blue lights
framed the house we
saw from afar. Drove like
we were on camels coming to
The Inn.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gouging of the eyeballs at Dr Clark's - Scott's Christmas Meal

I had successful cataract surgery in July and August of this year. Dr. Clark wanted to see me for another post-surgery appt.

Instead of telling you what happened, lemme post a letter I hand-delivered to his office this morning.

Dear Dr Clark –

I had a 5 pm appointment with you yesterday, December 23, a post-cataract check-up. [my second]

During my appointment, several types of eye drops were administered by one of your female aides.

I did not catch her name, but when she put in the drops, her fingers touched both my eyeballs in a very painful manner. This was shocking, but I said nothing.

The woman was tall and had long blond hair.

I am not allergic to any of your eye drops.

After I got home, my right eye began to tear-up, with considerable pain, and got worse and worse as the night wore on. Tears streamed unstoppably out of my right eye for the rest of the night. Mucus poured out of my nose. The pain was so severe I considered going to the ER. 

Fortunately, I was able to fall asleep and my eye is much better this morning, although it is still tender.

Please tell this woman what happened to me and make sure it never happens again. I would hate to have this happen to someone else and for it to cause permanent damage and your office be held negligent.

Sincerely,

When I got home, Toni from the office called and apologized for Dr Clark. "It was an accident," she said about the woman. Then she tried to blame me. "You should have called us."

Trust me, they are going to do nothing about the situation, and trust me, I am never going back to Dr Francis J Clark in Hatboro.

Picture getting eyedrops. All you do is pull down the lower eyelid.

This woman had two fingers right IN my eyeballs, of both my eyes, while she put the drops in.

Is that screwed up or what? 

*
Mercifully, I was able to sleep after drinking some wine I had just bought at the Giant. In bed, my eye and my nose kept dripping unstoppable. I brot a towel in bed to wipe my nose.

Looking in the meer, the eye was not bloodshot. It was half-open. I couldn't believe what was happening to me!

My friend Ada Fleisher was outraged. You mean, he didn't ask you to come in to examine your eye this morning?

No he didn't, which would have been the right thing to do. It's called being conscientious and about caring about your patients. 

Right now, 7:15 pm, the eye is still not one hundred percent. If I focus on it, it feels slightly swollen.

It's funny b/c I just finished a Jack Reacher crime thriller in which terrible things like this happened to people.

Scott was also shocked.

Years ago, when he lived on F Street in the Northeast, he was making something with metal in his basement workshop. A piece of metal flew into his eye. He went to Wills' Eye who took very good c/o him. They told him that in a year the pain would return.

When it did he went to a local eye doctor. The person was supposed to have numbed his eye but did not. Scott jumped out of the chair and said, "You're hurting me. I'm not letting you touch me."

Unlike Ruthie who, for some reason, said nuffin.

Here I am in my Chico's peach-colored sweater with cowl neck, a birthday gift from Ada and Rich.


Was listening to WXPN this morning while making breakfast. Their former traffic reporter, Lauren Valley, moved to Texas with her husband. She mentioned she was making tilapia for the two of them, Texan-style.

Well, I'm no Texas, though I spent about three years in Houston and Austin during my marriage, so I went online and found mine own tilapia recipe, made with two large pieces of tilapia, butter, Chardonnay, garlic, lemon, green scallions, cherry tom's.

Scott loved it. This was his Christmas Dinner since he's gotta work night shift at SEPTA tonite and tomro. 

I used place mats and napkins Mom had given me a couple months ago. 

"Who wants to do the dishes?" I asked.

He volunteered tho he said the

gloves "dry up" when you don't use them.

When I was a kid my favorite gifts were dolls, like these

  Madame Alexander Dolls with their pert little mouths. The company is still producing their dolls. Lemme suggest they don't make any of the North Korean leader and his family.