Monday, February 20, 2017

Whew! What a relief I finished my short story Invisible Shadow

Thanks to Marcy for reviewing my story Invisible Shadow. She liked it, so I'll submit it to the Montgomery County Community College Writer's Contest. No mail, tho, tomro, President's Day.

I liked this story and how it is told. You really did a lovely job.

The influence of a good poem is apparent.  I'm glad you kind of explained the gist of the poem in the first paragraph though; otherwise I'm not sure the excerpt would have made sense to me. 

I like Claire's history and strong, dignified character.  Plus, I admire her self-confidence. 

All the characters are genuinely human and seem to have respect for their fellow humans, too.
The original story did have possibilities but was not fully developed. Both stories made use of the Robert Frost poem THE LOVELY SHALL BE CHOOSERS. When I first read it, I misconstrued it to the opposite...if you're beautiful, you can have anyone you choose.

The Voice said, "Hurl her down!"

The Voices, "How far down?"

"Seven levels of the world."

"How much time have we?"

"Take twenty years.
She would refuse love safe with wealth and honor!
The lovely shall be choosers, shall they?
Then let them choose!"

"Then we shall let her choose?"

"Yes, let her choose.
Take up the task beyond her choosing."

Invisible hands crowned on her shoulder
In readiness to weigh upon her.
But she stood straight still,
In broad round earrings, gold and jet with pearls,
And broad round suchlike brooch,
Her cheeks high-colored,
Proud and the pride of friends.

The Voice asked, "You can let her choose?"

"Yes, we can let her and still triumph."

"Do it by joys, and leave her always blameless.
Be her first joy her wedding,
That though a wedding,
is yet--well, something they know, he and she.
And after that her next joy
That though she grieves, her grief is secret:
Those friends know nothing of her grief to make it shameful.
Her third joy that though now they cannot help but know,
They move in pleasure too far off
To think much or much care.
Give her a child at either knee for fourth joy
To tell once and once only, for them never to forget,
How once she walked in brightness,
And make them see it in the winter firelight.
But give her friends, for then she dare not tell
For their foregone incredulousness.
And be her next joy this:
Her never having deigned to tell them.
Make her among the humblest even
Seem to them less than they are.
Hopeless of being known for what she has been,
Failing of being loved for what she is,
Give her the comfort for her sixth of knowing
She fails from strangeness to a way of life
She came to from too high too late to learn.
Then send some one with eyes to see
And wonder at her where she is,
And words to wonder in her hearing how she came there,
But without time to linger for her story.
Be her last joy her heart's going out to this one
So that she almost speaks.
You know them--seven in all."

"Trust us," the Voices said.

Several yrs ago I attended a two hour poetry session at the Abington Libe given by Richard Tyre, co-author of a book about Robert Frost.

Tyre was going thru a personal tragedy.

His daughter was killed in a scuba diving accident.

He and his wife believed she was murdered by her husband who they believed was having an affair with another woman.

Here's the result of the trial. Click here.

Just chose two songs for tomro's Now and Then Group at the nursing home.

Hey Jude and

Light My Fire.

There's a relatively new show on PBS called ACTORS ON ACTORS. I sat on my bed and took notes. Two actors paired up and asked one another questions. Great questions. Am gonna watch something tonight on Netflix with Michael Shannon.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Scrabble poem - Writer's Group - Purple Crocus - Hobbies

Image result for scrabble board

Mom and I Play Scrabble

The first thing you gotta do at Mom's
is eat. I proffer a Cinnamon Raisin Bread
I bought at the Giant after Lauren from
the Lancaster Company makes an irresistable
pitch. I bring it home and have two sinful
pieces with whipped cream cheese.

What? Wanna go blind? Lose your toes?
The curse of Diabetes.

Mom can eat as much as she wants, so
Ellen makes scrumptious toast. I toast
them with hot water and have one more
piece.

The Scrabble pieces clatter on the Board.
Mom can barely remember what it looks like.
All those colors that mean something. Best
of all is navy - like our gym clothes at
Shaker - TRIPLE SCORE.

Couldn't you just kiss those little
wooden racks that hold the letters?
I tell her I used to beat my former
boyfriend, Paul Surovell, whom she
couldn't remember, damn, before he
studied the ways of the Board and
whipped me silly

Yes, I said, "tine" is a word but
I can't remember what it means.
"A sharp point," she said, "like
on a fork."

The clock ticked on. I've gotta
leave before it gets dark, I say.
It's getting darker for me, said
Mom, and I haven't very much time.

***

Earlier that day, Ellen drove Mom to the funeral of Margie Bellamo at Goldstein's. Read about it here. My spelling was all wrong, even tho I was spelling champ at Mercer in the Fifth Grade.

Margie died on her 95th bday. Mom had actually called her on that very day, but got no answer.

***

Scott and I celebrated Valentine's Day at Bonefish Grill. We arrived early and when we left there was a huge line waiting to get inside.

Waitress Caitlyn was very helpful and I commended her on FB.

Scott and I had planned to go to 56 York Road but I learned it had closed its doors at our Writers Group. Judy L and I visited there awhile ago. View my blog here.


  We had a full house at our Writer's Group.

Rem, Donna K, her bro Bob, Linda, Marf, Judy L, Bea and moi.

I had no idea what to write about, unusual for me. But then decided, Look, Ruthie, you were just on a Jazz Cruise to the Caribbean, write about it, before you forget the details.

I called the story THE INVISIBLE SHADOW, which has nuffin to do with the Caribbean and I - I - need to remember what the story is about.

A neighbor, Jolie, was passing by with her two adorable girls, Ava and Izzy, short for Isabel, and I told her the name of my story about buying this house is called SPANISH ARCHES, which has nuffin to do with same.

Wanna submit it to the Montgomery County Community College Writer's Contest IF two of my fans endorse it....sister Lynnie and Scott.

Did I tell you the incredible amounts of work I had to do after my cruise?

The worst was submitting many stories to Bella Online. Lisa Shea, the owner of this "charity project" as she calls it, said to take my time.

As yet haven't yet wrin my daily FB poem. Some of my "friends" on FB write vituperative comments. Next time I read one I'm gonna 'unfriend them.'

Why saddle yourself with unpleasantness in this short life of ours?
Image result for purple crocus

PURPLE CROCUS

Amidst the detritus of mud, twigs,
and dead leaves, you wend your way
unstoppable to view the world and
show us the courage to face life
anew this spring.

Remind us, Dear Crocus, that every
day is precious and new. As I brew
my coffee from Iris, I view a red
wagon on the sidewalk and run
out to greet them.

Jolie towers over me, a tall goddess.
Her little ones ride the red wagon.
But you, O Crocus, remain tiny
and give me strength to carry on
until evening when I will step
outside to view the van Gogh's night sky.

***

HOBBIES

These are the last remaining
days of your life.
Find a hobby before you croak.
Canasta? Mah jong? Dominoes?

I've taken up Scrabble again
with Mom. Netflix is no hobby
it's like snoozing your life
away.

What about singing? The Gallagher
woman in Hatboro next to the diner
awaits my call. "Lullaby of Birdland"
is my next onstage solo at
Carnegie Hall. Perhaps I will
tour your city. Free tickets
to all. 




Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Scientific Discoveries - Poems: The Peripatetic Omelet Eater - Ed Twiski basks on his front porch and I wave

THE PERIPATETIC OMELET EATER

With a spritz of mild green
Tabasco sauce, Omelet and I
ventured outdoors in the
mild 40 degree weather.

Traces of snow dotted the
land like whipped cream
on pie.

Today is Wednesday
Nick's day to answer the
phones. I often find him
reading in a rocking chair
at the Abington Libe.

I've done it now, for sure.
Six books checked out
from Upper Moreland. Brave-
hearts, Whistleblowing in the
Age of Snowden. "Deep Throat"
in this book is called "The
Third Man."

The whistle blows. Can you
hear it? Miss Ina, the counselor
at Camp Cardinal in Rome, Ohio,
summons us to swim. Hazel Berry
I hope you'll be there. I've got
some Blackjack Gum we can share.

  When I goggled the camp, look what came up? Jade's baby shower!

Also many photos of these religious dudes

Image result for camp cardinal rome ohio  Lovely portrait but dunno who did it in the 1500s

Image result for penicillin discoverer
Alexander Fleming of the UK discovered penicillin 


Henri Becquerel
The Discovery of Radioactivity. In 1896 Henri Becquerel was using naturally fluorescent minerals to study the properties of x-rays, which had been discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm Roentgen.

Image result for radioactivity

Ever heard of the illustrious Christine de Pizan?

Image result for Christine de Pizan?

Read about this remarkable writer below.

1364 – c. 1430) was an Italian French late medieval author. She served as a court writer for several dukes (Louis of Orleans, Philip the Bold of Burgundy, and John the Fearless of Burgundy) and the French royal court during the reign of Charles VI. She wrote both poetry and prose works such as biographies and books containing practical advice for women. She completed forty-one works during her 30-year career from 1399–1429.[1] She married in 1380 at the age of 15, and was widowed 10 years later. Much of the impetus for her writing came from her need to earn a living to support her mother, a niece and her two surviving children. She spent most of her childhood and all of her adult life in Paris and then the abbey at Poissy, and wrote entirely in her adopted language, Middle French.

Image result for smoked butterscotch latte calories  Question:  Is the Smoked Butterscotch Latte worth $5 plus tip.

Yes! There's no other way to know how it tastes. I sipped it in the car as I was driving home.


POEM - ED BLISKI RELAXES ON HIS FRONT PORCH AND I WAVE


(changed his name)

Can you imagine the derring-do of this man
Showing the world you needn't busy yourself
every single minute?

A dogwalker, he and his new black dog Maggie
parade up our hilly street, a real show-stopper
tho gotten from the pound, Ed's trained her

to believe in her own beauty, stature and
importance. I will follow in Bliski's footsteps
and stand at attention on my porch step

and sip the rhapsodic remains of my Smoked Butterscotch
Latte, which I learned of three days ago at
LaGuardia Airport, tasty, sweet, and smooth as
a piece of wedding cake. 

MY BISSELL SWEEPER GAVE OUT. I spent 15 minutes going thru my papers until I found where I bought it. From Best Buy for $37.09 on March 19, 2014.

How quickly time passes. And no it is not under warranty. My mother's 40-yo Electrolux still works!

I studied the prices online. Called up Walmart but the woman would not help me purchase it online, so that cost Walmart $50, but gained Amazon the $53.07 including tax.

What's for dinner?

I bought a huge salad and will eat it after I ride my bike from the hi-carb Butterscotch drink.

Whoever invented butterscotch deserves a large pension.

One is its obvious connection to the country of Scotland. Buttery toffee is sometimes called butterscotch. Another that the word Scotch was derived from the word "Scorch." The word "Butterscotch" was first recorded in Doncaster, a Yorkshire city in England, by Samuel Parkinson who began making candy in 1817.

Image result for who invented butterscotch

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Jazz Cruise to the Caribbean

Hello family from Boston, we met at the airport. I love kids which is why I photographed them.

More than half my photos did not come out. How frustrating!

Had a great time on the Jazz Cruise, a b'day gift from Ethan Iverson of the The Bad Plus and his wife, my daughter and kidney donor, the great Sarah Lynn Deming

Got home last night, saw my darling BF Scott Sherman, who had the house ready for me. Loads of mail and the heat on. We cuddled up like always while watching a very strange avant garde film The Lady from Shanghai with Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles. She died at 68 of Alz Disease.

Got home via Uber, a 2.5 hour drive from LaGuardia. Mento, orig from Bangladesh, was my great driver, a Muslim citizen, as is his wife, who he met here on FB. Fortunately they're both American citizens.

Scuse me a sec. Am gonna pour myself anudder cup of Rum Coffee, which I bought aboard the ship.

While we awaited to board our plane at LaGuardia, I kept walking about and saw an interesting flavor of Starbucks...Smoked Butterscotch Latte.

Image result for starbucks smoked butterscotch latte

Sarah was in a wheelchair so we got preferential treatment and were whisked through various security points.

One of our Shore Excursions. Victor, narrator, brought us to the top of a mountain in the Dominican Republic, to the east of Haiti, where we viewed a $1 million hotel. My late sister/law Kay Deming Graham was a Peace Corps volunteer in DR.
Map of Dominican Republic

 
 Here's what we got to eat in the million dollar hotel.

Sir, I said, I don't want this. I'll await the next course.

When Sir said this was all we'd have to eat, I said, Okay, don't take it away. I gobbled it up I was so hungry. We'd been on the bus a couple of hours.

Refreshing swim in one of two freezing cold salt water pools on deck 10. I don't wanna get tan as "cancer" is one of the side effects from kidney antirejection meds.
Ethan, Sarah and I walked along the South Beach strip, in Miami Beach, lit up in the darkness. Unfamiliar vegetation. Elijah was our server at The Icon.

Sarah and I walk down a street in San Juan PR.

We're looking for a restaurant and also a place to buy gifts.

One of the shops was selling sheets and towels made of BAMBOO. I bought Ada and Rich soft white towels, which they received, and bought Scott blue towels as he likes colorful things (like his Ruthie).

Private beach at Labadee Haiti. 


 Below is interior of $1 million hotel in DR.
 Nice tiles.

 On the way back to ship.


 They give you cold drinks before you go aboard. Also small ice-covered towels.




Canyon Ranch Spa did my pedicure for $80 including tip.


On the beach - great dystopian film - I sat under this coconut tree.
This is Sergio, whose wife Connie, is in the water. They're part of an Italian community in Toronto. We also met at the Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale Airport on our way home.


 Great Haitian food we ate under a pavilion that protected us from the broiling sun. BBQ pork, fish with sauce, potato salad, honeydew, rice n beans, etc.



Ah, this is what I was waiting for. GIFTS. There were many small booths.



The Haitians wait all year for the cruise ships to arrive so they can sell their wares. They are high pressure sales people. 

How much for this (white lace) blouse? I asked. 

For you, ma'am, one hundred dollar.

We bargained and I got it for $22. They also give you free merchandise as an incentive to buy. I'd brought $200 with me.


 
 I bought a couple of Elijah's Passover Cups, which were hand-carved and quite lovely.

After I bought from three stands I asked Frandy above to escort me out, as everyone tries to pull you inside.

As you can see, the people are quite beautiful!
 Hard to see but Frandy made his own paintings. I bought an unusual blue and white one, moody.
 Hadn't realized these trains were free to ride. Again, I had to husband my moolah.

BTW, Scott got the gift I bought him today. A towel set made of bamboo. A cool blue. He loved it.

I sat in a seat next to two women, one was from Idaho. I mentioned that Ernest Hemingway died there. Killed himself as he believed his brain was not functioning well. The woman said he left a long legacy of suicides. 

Wiki - In 1961 Ernest Hemingway committed suicide at the age of sixty-one. There have been five suicides in the Hemingway family over four generations -- Hemingway's father, Clarence; siblings Ursula, Leicester and Ernest; granddaughter Margaux.

I must look pretty old as several people offered to pop me into a wheelchair and roll me toward our cruise ship, called The Celebrity. Read about it here, Lesley Reed!







Am carrying a free blue backpack which says "Celebrity Jazz Cruise." I tossed it when we left the ship.

Dancers made a pretty sound as we approached the ship. I tipped em a couple of dollars.




David Sanborn interviews drummer David King of The Bad Plus and another drummer.

Most of the musicians aboard teach at various colleges. And have had wonderful mentors.


The food was various and new aboard the ship. Superb grilled salmon with mushrooms, onions, curried rice and fruit. Coffee was strong and dark.

Joshua Redman, son of Dewey Redman, both great sax players, and Reid Anderson of The Bad Plus on bass.





Took all these pix so I could have good views of The Boys.
In every concert, people in the audience came and went. Such short attn spans!


This couple was on the elevator with me. Here's the menu of drinks.
I'm tanning my legs, sort of. When you take kidney antirejection meds you're prone to skin cancer so I eschewed a proper tan.
I will finish the book. I will finish the book. From Sarah and Ethan's huge collection.

Look! He's even written about new crime mysteries he's discovered. He just started teaching at New England Conservatory of Music. Due to his busy sked, he writes lessons while on airplanes.
On the previous cruise I took before my kidney transplant, I never got good pix of my state room, so I made sure to capture how it looks.
My bedside table. Dyou think I've stolen more pens from American Heritage than any other patron? The pens have a nice CLICK to them and have longlasting ink.

Nancy Stratton, my new friend who I'll never see again, cuz she and husband Lee live in southern CA, told me the skin lotion on the ship is a well-known brand.

A good many seafarers had mixed marriages - black and white. I thought it was fantastic! Nancy, who's black, and Lee, a white man, could not marry as they lived in Alabama, so they went north to get a marriage license. Nancy told me that in Alabama mixed couples would live together and bear children.

They pretended the black woman was their maid!

Lee, who has had diabetes for about 40 years, has no complications b/c Nurse Nancy takes c/o him. Of course I took photos of them, but who knows where they are? Although I took hundreds of photos - many repeats cuz I couldn't tell if the iPhone was working or not - some of my best pix got lost.
Did I tell you how much my pedicure cost? I thought it was $69, but then on my final bill it showed $80. Guess that included a tip.


Every night I'd step into the shower and let cold water pour over my walkin-sore feet. I'd wash all me clothes in the sink, roll em in towels to dry out, and hang em in the shower on a small line. By morning, they were mostly dry.
On the way to the Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale Airport. Our driver, Manny, did not speak English.

Ethan and Josh Redman talk on the bus. Josh lives in Berkeley, CA. Told him I lived in San Francisco a couple years with my BF Curtis Branch. We slept in a Murphy Bed that pulled out of the wall.

Image result for murphy bed Except we lived in a dump. The Russian landlord had a crush on me and would bring me red caviar to eat.

Oh no! The memories are flooding back. A Catholic woman I was friends with built a shrine in her closet. I consider myself part Catholic, tho I'm all Jewish, b/c I'm attracted to the pageantry, as well as Christ himself, since we share a birthday. I also worked at Maryknoll Missioners in Ossining, NY, when my ex and I lived up there.

Image result for christ by el greco

Thanks, El Greco, for your blessing.

I slept exceedingly well aboard the ship. In the morning, I would report to the Fitness Center and get aboard the Treadmill. I'd trudge for 15 or 20 minutes - was that hard! - and kept going faster and faster as if that would subdue the boredom and get me finished fast.

Then I noticed you could watch a scene. I chose Lake Merced (where dat?) and a bike ride around Marin County. Some woman was running on the treadmill and not even holding on. 

Sarah and Ethan had a large state room with a sliding door that led onto a balcony. One night they invited me down to watch a film.

Image result for come hell or high water movie


Image result for come hell or high water movie  That Jeff Bridges was so damn good you couldn't even recognize the Dude. Requested it at my library. Since it's a new film, 2016, there are 90 requests before mine. The Rolling Stone liked it.
 
So, as most normal people know, the Grammys were on last night and Adele won once again.

I have heard of Adele, but I never paid any attention to her.

The woman is fantastic! I listened to her on YouTube. Emotion, raw emotion, that touches you deeply. Her famous song, HELLO, who now even I have heard of.

Before I drove in the howling swirling winds to my Monday job at the nursing home, Symphony Manor, I wrote a poem on FB, like I did before the cruise ship. My friend Ellen Rosenberg, who I spoke to this morning, told me I should write about my trip.

I had actually forgotten about it.

LABADEE HAITI

Sandals off
my feet sunk
in what once were
seashells a million
years ago, now ground
to soft powder we
call sand

Connie in green bathing
suit plunked her
lawn chair in the
rolling green waves
eyes turned toward
heaven, while her
husband Sergio
smoothed lotion
on his big hairy
belly

From under the
coconut tree I
gathered courage
trotted on hot
sand to freezing
salt water, sat like
a baby in peaceful water, then
allowed salt water to
carry me where it would
how fine it felt, dreaming of
nothing but the amniotic sac surrounding
me and peerless blue sky, sailing
me right back home to the living room
bathing suit dry, garbage men chugging
down the street the beginning of
a new day for 7 billion people including
The Bad Plus and the Hollywood remains
of Rita Hayworth.