Tuesday, January 31, 2012

G'morning Pink Buddha - G'bye Pink Bedroom / Poem: Going Down

Buddha and I spent a couple minutes meditating together on the front lawn. Buddha seems perfectly happy in his new home. Wonder how the birds and squirrels will feel about him.

Rich Claire, a self-employed painter for 39 yrs, will paint the pink room an ivory color. I'm turning it back into a bedroom. Will buy a sofa-bed and put it in there and go upstairs and read on my lunch hour. Current reading material: Diabetes Forecast mag, Street Lawyer by John Grisham about homeless people, and Jacob's Room by Va. Woolf.

Richard is a talker! Like me, he takes photos. I told him about the Times' Lens Blog and when he returns on Friday to paint the room will tell him about Bill's photo-journalism blog up in AK where he recently wrote it was 30 below.

On my CD player was Karl Richter playing Bach Organ Toccatas. Rich said he likes harp music and Spanish geetar. I told him to look em up on YouTube. My latest find on there is Old Dog Blue, a blues classic, sung by Jim Jackson, tho I prefer a woman from Appalachia whose name I can't remember. Alan Lomax traveled the country - and indeed the world - preserving these songs on recordings.

Sarah's old bedroom became a huge walk-in closet.

My poems were in neat piles on the pink carpet according to categories such as Birds (The Bluejay's Day), Animals, Intake Clients (Backseat Motel), Neighbors, Famous People (Ode to Gandhi), Love Poems (The Third Time He Died).

I brewed myself some decaf, sat down on the floor and put them all in a big pile.

Sarah made the above border on the door of her bedroom when she lived here. At 17, she went to college, and never came home again.

Here's a poem I found in the pile called "Places or Institutions." It's from the days when I worked as a therapist at Bristol-Bensalem Human Services. The agency was housed in a former elementary school. Today it's nothing but a big housing development! No trace of any of us except droplets in the air that are still resounding with all the conversations we held.


I knew by the way my boss moved across my office
toward the empty chair,
a man who never sat,
a man who never rested,
full of loose grace and a misplaced
assurance that he was - to what avail? -
descended from a line of Scottish royalty,
knew without a word that I had lost my job.

Knew, too, by the way he sank in the chair,
the whoosh of it,
the sigh of it,
that it was something greater than myself,
greater than my endless worries of pleasing my clients
or whether my charts were done up
in the proper shade of blank ink.

Finally, he said, it's come to this:
our flawed, failing, panic-stricken
agency was shutting down for good.
Bankrupt on promises.
He sat in one of my for-company-only chairs
an impossibly gorgeous blue upholstered
chair with dust so old I couldn't
budget it from the corners
even with moistened fingers.

Now he was seated,
the man who never sits,
one tree-trunk leg crossed over the other,
shiny black policeman's shoes
reflecting the light of day,
the future King of England
had things gone his way.

I loved our newfound virgin closeness, the
pretense that he would share with me the rumble of
his discontent; his massive ambition knocked silly,
the man who sat atop tables at meetings and consulted his
watch with flourish. Henry the Eighth I called him,
and waited for them to take him down, his
incompetence legion.

Instead, we'd end our lives together,
and an I, an odd, out of sync pair,
sinking together.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Welcome to your new home, Buddha - Bubby visits Grace on her lunch hour

Donna and I hung out together yesterday and she introduced me to the Art of Shopping. She's an expert. As a reward for our shopping spree I introduced her to Heavenly Ham at the Marshall's shopping center in Willow Grove.

She was also unfamiliar with the concept of Park far away and walk to your destination. You not only get exercise but you stay away from the congestion of people pulling in and out. We did in fact see a fanny-to-fanny crash.

She loved the Heavenly Ham. Here's what I order when I go there once every four years: Croissant w/ham, lettuce and tomato - I don't want cheese to deter from the delicious taste of the ham - and honey mustard dressing.

Donna introduced me to HomeGoods, at the former Toys R Us. It's huge. It's also a mish-mash of assorting bright and shiny things - and damaged things - for the home, which probly explains why the prices are so good.

I bought a beautiful 'throw rug' which, when I examined it at home - was full of white sputters. I returned it this morning and got my $30 back.

I did, however, purchase the below Buddha - be sure to spell it right - you know, laffing BuddHA - who was damaged, so the manager reduced it from $25 to $15 and told me to spray it with a sealant.

Since A C Moore is in the same shopping center, I went over and bought a can, in addition to pink spray paint, to paint my Buddha and put him outdoors. My late friend Elaine Restifo had a Buddha in her backyard.

A few years ago I made the above painting with spray paint. I went out in the backyard, laid some interesting shapes on it like leaves and pine cones and this is what I got.

There was also a fence in the backyard where I spraypainted huge swatches of black and red. Looked very dramatic.

Here's some of my tiny clay sculptures, some of which I paint w/ acrylic. Jilly at A C Moore and I were discussing our art work as I paid for the spray paints. They have astronomically high acrylic painting classes there but a reasonable make-your-own vase for Valentine's Day which I signed up for. I wanna get back into the visual arts.

Guess who I had lunch with today? Nicole started work today. Her mom, Barb Toohey, will watch Grace during the week. "It's just like being a new mother," said Barb.

I joined them for lunch, bringing my shrimp and cocktail sauce and a spinach salad with thousand island dressing. Grace didn't even cry when mom left for work. She was in a fantastic mood when I was there.

Like Scott, I try to make enough food to last a few days. Here's my bean-vegetable soup w/ frozen tiny scallops. I used three types of beans.

After I drive Scott to the train station, I'm gonna work on a new short story. Got the idea today when I returned the film "The English Patient" to my library. I spoke with our library director, who I love, and got an idea from her.

It's about a swimming pool.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Home movies - Part Two

Donna's former BF Jimmy Argeros at mom's Passover seder. Donna and Jimmy met at a meeting and we all liked him. When my BF Chris Ray broke up with me and my heart was broken, Jimmy took me for a ride on his motorcycle. I literally went screaming thru the streets of Philadelphia. It was like riding a roller coaster.

Okay, we watched the movies at my sister Donna's in Hatboro, the condo which massively flooded about three months ago. Donna now has a whole new downstairs thanks to the flood money. Looks great. Here's her grandson Paddy tickling the ivories w/a jazz composition. Both Paddy and big bro Quinn have performed at the downtown restaurant Opera, where waiters often break out in opera tunes.

Much of the home movies focused on my niece Jade, now 23, who will be married in June. Watch for your invitation. Donna will do the calligraphy envelopes.

Donna used to babysit for Jade several times a week while her parents Lynn and Warren worked at the Now and Then Shop in New Hope.

It's extremely hard getting a decent photo off a moving screen.

You can barely see this beautiful lounging lady on Aunt Ethel's sofa in her living room. She has thick white hair and is talking on a phone with a chord. She also takes lithium for her manic-depression and it is slowly ruining her kidneys. She is 44 years old and is going to grad school to become a psychotherapist.

Ruth lives with her two children. Here's Daniel. In a moment he is going to slide down the banister. He is about 12 years old. When he is 13 he persuades his mom to have him fitted for contact lenses.

Here's Sarah, about 15 years old, doing her party trick of sticking a spoon on her nose.

Here's Ruth again with that thick white hair. On the wall above the couch is a framed poster of an aerial view of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Wonder where it is now.

Here's teenager Sarah at her grandmother's house. Donna and Cousin Melissa are in the b/ground.

Passover Seder at mom's house. I believe mom is 70 years old, a mere 19 yrs ago.

Donna, at the Seder, has always read the part in the Hagaddah of The Rebellious Son.

Jimmy's daughter Athena is bored out of her mind at the Seder. When Sarah and I left (Dan wasn't there), Sarah said on camera, Gbye Athena, sorry you didn't have a good time.

Lynn and Jade at the Seder table.

Paddy was asleep upstairs, but Quinn got to watch movies of himself as a little baby.

Hello baby Quinn, kick your feet for us, smile for us, coo for us. He did all things which you can't capture in this 'still' shot.

Family gathering in New Hope, PA - Part One

Main Street, New Hope, PA

The famous Havana's restaurant. Imagine eating outside in January!

I just came back to life after going on the exercise bike for 17 minutes to work off one of the best dinners ever! My blood sugar is 116 after a meal that included at least six Girl Scout Cookies for dessert! And a dish of chocolate ice cream on the side.

The first newspaper article I got published in the old Philadelphia Evening Bulletin was on Girl Scout Cookies. The last two sentences were something like: Make mine Thin Mints. Please pass the milk.

Sarah was in town to help her cousin Jade w/the marriage vows she'll take w/ fiance Matt. This will be the first marriage Sarah will perform as an Internet minister.

I picked up my sister Donna and we drove to New Hope. Our plan was to eat in New Hope but then we decided it would be cheaper to eat at my sister Lynn's house and more delicious b/c Sarah would be the chef.

She made one of the most exquisite meals we'd ever eaten - a fish stew w/mussels, shrimp, scallops, mushrooms, and the delicious spice Tarragon.

For my beverage I chose a glass bottle of Perrier Sparkling Water. We all drank green tea.

Afterward, we drove to Donna's to watch Home Movies.

New Hope is famous for its small craft shops. What beautiful cowboy boots, Roy, Dale, Gene and Hopalong.

I give up! Don't shoot. Two guns yet! Hopalong was played by William Boyd, who his close friends like myself called just plain Bill.

The leather shop also sold hand-made knives inside, a nice addition to the American killing trade.

My sister Lynn once lived here on Waterloo Street w/then-husband Warren. They had a b'ful view of the Delaware River.

Warren now lives in Venice CA on a houseboat. In the Waterloo house Warren, a very creative and daring man, bot an Orbitron exercise machine for the back yard. B/c of its strange nature - it whirled you upside down - it was cemented into the ground.

It's still there, said Lynnie!

Careful of your pocket change when you flip upside down!

View of the Delaware River and the chain-link bridge to Lambertville, NJ.

Kidney pals, Sarah and Mom. Now we're at Lynn's condo in New Hope where she raised her two kids to adulthood - Jade and Miles. Miles is now studying in Madrid. Lives w/a wealthy family who have a cook. They're not allowed to speak English to Miles.

We hung out in the kitchen and helped Sarah make dinner by chopping parsley, and preparing the cauliflower and asparagus for baking.

Nikki's boys - Quinn and Paddy - watched TV dans le living. One show they watched was Home Run Derby. Never heard of it, did you? Another way of making money and wasting people's time instead of contemplating the nature of the universe and why we're here.

Bon nuit Paddy and Quinn.

Quinn likes to set the table. His full name is Quinn David Roche. Never knew his mil name was David. Probly named after my late brother.

Sarah ran eight miles this morning on the New Hope Towpath ending up in Stockton, NJ, and then running back. She said it was wonderful, really peaceful.

Oops! A lovely wine glass broke and Neil cleaned it up.

I had mussels for the first time. Delish! I'll buy em at the Giant from now on.

Thin mints, as good as they ever were. Samoans. Name changed to something forgettable.

Magic Eye Book.
Magic Eye is a series of books published by N.E. Thing Enterprises (renamed in 1996 to Magic Eye Inc.). The books feature autostereograms (precisely, random dot autostereogram), which allow people to see 3D images by focusing on 2D patterns. The viewer must diverge his or her eyes in order to see a hidden three-dimensional image within the pattern. (accdg to Wiki)
The moment you're able to 'see' the pattern change from flat to 3D is, like, WOW, I can't believe this is happening.

Find Sarah's book in Lynn's hallway book shelf.

Ah, here it is now. Every home with a child should have a copy.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Got our grant - Reactions to my new short story The Seminarian: Tommy boy on the Ladder of the World

I'm sitting on my flowered couch typing yet another draft of my new short story - The Seminarian - when the phone rings. I see from the above photo she called at 2:35 pm.

I knew, of course, who it was, and why she was calling.

"Hi, this is Ruth," I said.

"This is Laura McKenna, and I have some very good news for you!"

"Wow, this is fantastic, Laura," I said.

She said the board of directors had met the day before and had discussed all the good work we do and were so impressed they would give us X amount for the next three years.


"Be sure to tell your group about it," she said. "When's the next meeting?"

"Tuesday nite, January 31," I said.

I never know the date of the next meeting but I'd just uploaded our website.

As soon as I hung up, I went back to The Seminarian.

The story was inspired by a former member of our support group who was sexually molested by a 'brother' at LaSalle College.

In my original story, I have a fantastic end scene where Tommy Boy, the hero of our story, is molested by Father Monaghan his very first day at seminary.

My friend Martha, however, nixed the idea saying Ruth, most priests are fine, why ruin the b'ful story by something that rarely happens.

Well, I took her advice. But I still have the wonderful ending I had where Tommy Boy repulses the advances of the priest.

Can't decide which one to stick with.

Also reading the story was my devout Catholic friend Carolyn Constable, who loved it. She enjoyed one of the sex scenes that Tommy Boy had before he entered the priesthood. It was a Bill Clinton type scene, however, if you know what I mean.

Dan and Nicole were here this morning. They helped me unfriend someone on Facebook. A bipolar man with a big following who never pays any attention to anything I write him.

We also changed my Facebook photo. In the new photo, I look really terrible, but the truth is the truth.

Grace, 17 mos old, stands by the coffee table. Underneath the glass, I have old photos of The Three Demings, Ruth, Sarah and Dan. Les Trois, as I call us.

Dan showed me a photo of a meatloaf in the shape of a baby, made by his high school friend Laura.

At nite, I felt the need to go out and celebrate our successful grant. Who wrote the grant? My grantwriter , also the bringer of the Kidney to her mama: Sarah Lynn Deming!

Photo is a representation of a tomato pie and strawberry ice cream w/chocolate sauce.

I decided to go to Dunkin Donuts and bring home a cup of decaf and a donut. I went online and discovered donuts don't have too many carbs!

But on the way I passed a pizza place and thot, hmmm, you have five minutes to make up your mind.

When I got to Fitzwatertown and Easton Roads, I turned into Tony-Roni Pizza and ordered a slice of Tomato Pie and a glass of water. The pie had a delicious crisp crust and altho I enjoyed the sauce it obviously came out of a can and was not specially made.

They had no dessert, so I drove right across the street to a Chinese restaurant, where Walter and I used to go, and ordered strawberry ice cream to go.

At home I poured on my special - half the carbs but w/ no artificial ingredients which I never eat - Hershey's Syrup.

I ate the delicious ice cream while talking to Carolyn about The Seminarian.