Monday, February 27, 2012

How I Love Houses!

While traveling with Mom today, I took photos of some houses we passed.

This house is up the street from me. I wrote a poem about it called "I Pick your trash, John Leonard, Now that you're dead."
This stunning green house is nearby on Division Avenue. Of course, the green is the insulation, a company I'd never heard of. I'll find out tomro what it's called and will write it on the pad I keep inside the car.

What did I ever see in this house? I wanted to move here. It's the subject of my short story Spanish Arches.

One of my fave houses in Hatboro, PA, is the former mayor Joe Celano's house. When he was in his 70s he played volleyball at the Hatboro YMCA and I wrote an article about him. His wife Arlene worked at the now-defunct Hatboro YMCA thrift shop near the post office. She passed away several years ago.

Celano is now in his 90s. I'd like to pay him a visit sometime.

You're probly wondering what the great music is that I'm listening to. It's Road Movies by the great Pulitzer-prize-winner John Adams, b. 1946. Listen on YouTube.

Mom and I have an adventure - My new grasscutter

On the few occasions Mom and I go out together, we always have a great time. At least, I do. She had a little extra money and wanted to open a money market acct at my credit union. The interest rate, while terrible, is still less terrible than a certificate of deposit.

I picked her up and was absolutely amazed at how well she was walking. She has physical therapy three times a week with a woman named Laurie. Whatever they do, my 89-yo mom has made a remarkable improvement.

She learned how to walk w/a cane and actually uses it. I'm so proud of her! I emailed my four sisters and my two kids about it. Little Grace Catherine is too young to have her own email address, but not her first pair of Chucks.

Grace luvs my phone. We unplug it so she won't accidentally call Chief Nestel at the police department.

Mom and I sit at the bank and wait. And wait. And wait.

We're chatting away so we barely realize so much time has passed. She starts talking about her favorite topic - her declining health - and I tell her to shush, people in line can hear her.

Oh, well, she says, I guess they know everything that's wrong w/me.

Forty minutes goes by.

This isn't right, she says. Why haven't they taken us yet.

There are two closed-door offices that are helping new members. I stride up to the reception counter and say, "Nichole, this is very poor customer service. We've been waiting 45 minutes. What shall we do?"

"Well, you can always fill it out online."

My eyes light up. "Online! Well, can you make photocopies of my mom's identification documents?"

Begrudgingly, and I do mean begrudgingly, she photocopies the documents.

And then I see Vernell, the asst manager, at the bank. Why didn't she help? These people are frigging incompetent!

When we leave, my mom says, "I don't know if I wanna do business with these people."

I tell her, if she wishes I'll help her sign up to become a member over the phone.

When I told the story to Scott, he said he knows how incompetent they are and reminded me that when one of his CDs came due at Wachovia, he called Ricky at my bank, several times, and the guy never got back to him. Needless to say, the huge chunka change went elsewhere.

Okay, it's the end of February. The crocus are in bloom. I only have three purple ones, but when I walked around the block this morning, one lawn was studded with crocuses. How b'ful it looked!

Soon the lawn will need to be cut.

I'm not using the same guy as last year b/c he was unreliable and when he came to trim my flower-beds, he got rid of my peony bush, my groundcovers, and most of my red poppies.

What an idiot! Nice guy, but a real dunderhead! He's married and has 6 children.

Perhaps a high school kid. None of them live around here, so I call the Upper Moreland High School. Mrs Bradley says to come over w/a flyer she'll post on a job board.


When I arrive at the school, a good-looking blue-eyed man is unloading snacks for the cafeteria. I walk into the receptionist's office and hand her the flyer.

Upon leaving, a guy is unloading two huge boxes from a big white truck.

I peek inside.

What's in there? I ask.

Snacks for the kids, he says.

So, what do the kids snack on these days, I ask.

Junk, he says.

I spy some delicious Combos, those pretzels filled w/either cheese or peanut butter that I used to devour when I worked at Bristol-Bensalem therapy agency.

I can't eat junk, I say, I've got diabetes.

Me, too, he says.

Are you serious? You're not fat!

He found out by accident, when he was getting his CDL license, and needed a physical. His number was 499. Normal is between 80 and 120.

Hold on, I'm gonna check my sugar now. Wanna do it before I go to bed.

Perfect - 116. I only injected 12 units of insulin today. When it got high, I walked around the block or jumped on my bike for 25 minutes while watching an Ingrid Bergman/Tony Perkins/Yves Montand movie.

So the guy and I chatted. I gave him a crash course on how to eat. He pretty much knows. He's always on the go, has two jobs, and I mentioned why I was at the high school, to find a grass cutter.

I'll do it for you, he said. Me and my brother.

Ecstatic, I wrote down his phone number. When I got home, I talked to my neighbor across the street, who's also interested.

Coincidentally, my former grass cutter was walking down the street, a 45-yo jailbird named Bill, who lives w/his 84-yo father on a nearby street.

Bill told me he's looking to make some money.

Bill, I said, the reason I don't have you mow my lawn anymore is b/c the last few times you did, you were inebriated and threw the beer cans in my bushes.

He didn't say nothing.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Leadership Training Seminar takes place at Sugar Factory

Just what I needed. A rep for John Weinrich, realtor, left me a coupon for half a dozen melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts from Weinrich's Bakery.

Since today was our Leadership Training Seminar at my house, I dutifully drove to Weinrich's this morning, arriving shortly after they opened.

I am not used to being up and about at 7 a.m.

It was wonderful! Snow flurries were falling and the world was clean and beautiful at that hour. I had the road all to myself.

Only two customers were at the bakery and I was taken right away. I picked 6 assorted doughnuts.

Lemme tell you something. I used to abbrev "doughnut" as "donut." But it doesn't do the confection justice. Look at the full and b'ful word "doughnut." Doesn't it make your mouth water?

Weinrich's donuts, photo from the Internet

Since our Leadership meeting ran from 11:30 to 1 pm, I needed to provide sustenance for the eleven people who attended. The leaders of our Family Member Group - Carole and Greg Hodges - were vacationing in Cancun.

From Starbucks Huntingdon Valley, I got a box of Decaf and a box of Regular, plus leftovers from the day before.

The manager, Matthew, had filled a huge bin with enough sugar treats to render comatose every insulin-dependent diabetic in the room.

plastic container from Starbux which I'll return tomro.

Half the people left by 1:30 and here are the remaining people.

We all wore name badges like at our meetings. I conducted a simulated meeting, giving people roles to play in the group. I wanted to teach them how to deal with difficult people or situations.

Phil, standing by the door, played "the intrusive person" who constantly must comment on everything a person says. The group began laffing, he did such a good job and was in everybody's face who tried to talk.

Fontaine played the "monopolizer" - I had her talk about her fave hobby: shopping - but people thot she was so interesting they didn't mind!

Fontaine, a family member, is personal mentor to several family members. She does a superb job.

Johannes said he enjoyed learning about Fontaine, whom he had seen at group but never spoken to.

I'd wrin a 12-page Leadership Handbook for everyone - find it here on the ND website - but, after the group, I needed to add a few new informative grafs.

Par example, she said en francais, a physician and his wife brot their son to the Beck Institute in Bala Cynwyd. They were told to make a list of all the unusual words their son spoke when he was getting manic. These can serve as a guide to recognize mania.

When I was first manic when I was 38, I also used an entirely new vocabulary. I had no idea where it came from. I declared myself "a spiritual healer" - "a codebreaker" - and used the word "energy," emanating from the sun, to describe myself.

To prepare for the meeting, I cleaned my house from top to bottom. What a great feeling! I also prepared the handout well in advance.

But I had no idea how to conduct the meeting. Sitting on my steps the entire time, I decided, as I called the group to order, to have a simulated meeting.

We did a go-round w/everyone introducing themselves, such as, Hi, I'm Ruth Deming and as you know I had bipolar for 20 yrs but it's been gone for good. Sometimes it goes away later in life.

"Vince," a bipolar guy w/a great job, brot his 13-yr-old dtr Caroline b/c he didn't want to leave her home alone.

When it was her turn, she said she was glad her father was all better cuz it was really scary living with him when he was manic and angry.

We reassured her he'd be fine b/c he "obeys the rules," that is, takes his meds.

Vince had been an insightful group member so I wanted him to join our team.

Helen has been w/us for 20 years! She runs the Giant daytime meeting and the Bonfire of the Vanities. (I have no idea what that is. A book?)

Here's Ada Fleisher, while Ron Abrams descends the staircase at Tara. Ron brot up some important points concerning suicidal individuals in group. What to do?

He and Fontaine role-played about this.

Johannes and I later spoke about this on the phone and have come up with a new strategy to help people.

These meetings are so helpful! Brainstorming.

I thanked Helen for helping clean up. She made sure all the goodies were out of my house. Everyone who wanted took something home.

Phil had made a resolution - no sweets! - and stuck to it.

Diabetic moi only had two bites of a cinnamon bun, a bite of a chocolate raspberry truffle and two cups of delicious steaming hot decaf.

Tonite is movie nite! Right now, Scott is baking the pizza next door, and he'll surprise me w/one of his films or we'll put on selections from the Twilight Zone, which I only watch when Scott is with me.

I'm a lifelong 'frady cat.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Clean-up house day for tomro company comes / Poems: The Last Mania and Dining with Thich Nhat Hahn

Just went on a vacuum spree. Ever look what the vac picks up? Loads of dust, new carpet fibers, sunflower seeds, peanuts, toothpicks and one left toe.

Sarah and Ethan's sixth anniversary is coming up and I wanted to send her something really special. Can't spend any more money b/c February Madness got me new carpets and painted walls so I decided to paint her an anniversary card.

Look at the photo up yonder. See the coffee cup? When Sarah went to Brown, she and I visited neighboring Rhode Island School of Design, known as Riz-dee. At their craft show I bot that cup, a small ceramic bowl I keep my SOS pads in (is that okay?) and a beautiful wooden bowl that I just realized is gone.

Using the techniques I learned when I took Acrylic Painting at Abington Night School, I pulled out my Kremp Florist bag filled with paint supplies. I spread out a huge towel/rag on my new carpeting and went to town.

My teacher, Chris Hall, taught us to fill in the background first. I looked at the paper and thought, What color would look good here for their anniv?

Orange. It's a very sensual experience painting the background. The whole painting experience was wonderful, tremendously relaxing, as well as exacting. Luckily I didn't have lithium-shaking tremors as I once did.

It took me a long time to come up with the 'coffee cup' idea of having the cup wish them Happy B'day. I simply paced the living room thinking of what to do.

Chris taught us to have an object nearby and paint from that. Over the paint, I outlined the cup in pen.

I kept imagining Sarah saying, in her musical voice, "Oh, Mom, this is so b'ful!"

But it was as far from beautiful as a rainy day in Willow Grove.

Altho everything was hard, the hardest part was writing the anniversary wishes. I certainly couldn't paint it. I'd have to type it.

Which font? Calibri. Let's look that up.

According to Wiki, Microsoft Word replaced Times New Roman with Calibri for its default font. Calibri is sans serif while Times is serif. Here's Times New Roman. See if you can figger out what 'serif' means

Lucas de Groot (born 21 June 1963 in Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands), known professionally as Luc(as) de Groot, is a Dutch type designer. He is the head of the type foundry Fontfabrik.[1]

He is mostly known for the very large font family Thesis (TheSans, TheSerif, TheMix, TheSansMono and later TheAntiqua) [2] and Corpid (previously AgroSans).

De Groot has also designed various custom fonts for particular clients: Calibri[2] and Consolas for Microsoft; SunSans for Sun Microsystems; SpiegelSans and Taz for, respectively, the German magazines Der Spiegel[2] and die tageszeitung; and FolhaSerif for the Brazilian newspaper Folha.

De Groot teaches at the Design Faculty of the University of Applied Sciences, Potsdam, Germany.

After I printed out the Happy Anniversary 'label,' I glued it onto the painting with Elmer's Glue. Aside: Remember when you were in kindygarten and the paste smelled so delicious you wanted to eat it? I never did. However I used to eat dirt. Pica. LOL. Oh, don't you just hate when people write LOL.

Well, sir, that glued-on message took on a life of its own. It wanted to look like an accordion, so we had a little tussle, just the two of us, the label and I.

Ever heard of the book, The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald? Me neither.

Anyway, since I'm the one who's a sentient being, I decided to strike back. I knew I could not remove the label. So I typed up another one and scotch-taped it on w/Double-Stick Scotch-Tape (tm) that was moldering in my desk drawer for 10 whole years.

Would it work? Yes. Before and after shots, please:

It was only 1:15 pm when I finished the painting. Acrylic dries really fast. I zoomed it down to the Bryn Athyn post office and told Maria to stamp something on the outside indicating it was fragile.

"Do not bend" she stamped all over the white envelope. She is good.

I also mailed David Kime three poems for the next issue of Transcendent Visions. Inside I put a $20 bill to bribe him to use all three; actually it's to help him pay for the endeavor.

Most of my poems are in a foot-high pile and I searched desperately for The Last Mania, one of my fave poems. In our support group thother nite , I told a new guy that he sounds exactly like the man in my poem. I emailed him a copy.

Before I print the poem, here's a conversation I had w/Denis Hazam, who runs a support group similar to mine, but at the Hospital of the University of PA.

Since I couldn't find a photo of Denis on the 'net, I found instead the great Christian brother, Thomas Merton. Fittingly, at the end of my conversation w/Denis, I said, God bless you, Denis Hazam. He said, "Thank you God."

I told Denis that tomro I'm hosting a Leadership Training Seminar at my house. I'm expecting a dozen people from New Directions, all of whom are either leaders of the small group discussion or wish to be.

I told Denis that I'm handing out a Leadership Training Guide.

Who wrote it, he asked.

I did, of course, I said.

Denis told me that DBSA - the Depression and Support Alliance - his group is part of, has their own training guide.

You must've gotten it, he said.

Well, I said, we haven't been members in many years. All of their literature, I said, was inferior to my own or the National Institute of Mental Health.

Denis laffed his big, hearty laff. I said I'd email him a copy of my Guidelines. They'll appear on the ND site.


When you don’t need it anymore,
when it’s imparted its last
gifts of manhood and of shame

When its hands cuff your neck
with a forest fire of remorse
and they march you off
quicker than a red fox vanishing

and you can barely glimpse
its sun-sequined back
too glossy for the moral eye –

Then, finally, there’s nothing left,
no one left to call
or shower with your gifts or laughter,
you’ve used them up
one by one
each of the many faces
you thought were yours forever.

So they buy you a trailer
and stick you inside,
the better to sleep away your princely dreams.
A dog twitching under a glass table
couldn’t resemble you more.

You rise up and stand on a box.
With your one good eye
you squint through the narrow window
at the grassy fields outside

and sing.


When I began eating my omelet

sprinkled with scallions

and melted cheddar,

hot to the tongue

and thought of my Christmas shopping

and the places I’d go

I asked Thich Nhat Hahn to

sit with me in the kitchen

to help me savor my food.

In dark robes

he bowed his head

over black tea I prepared,

delicately lifted the white cup

as he bowed again

meeting my eyes,

eyes that have seen much

some of it wrapped into books

or poetry or praying for peace.

Taste returned to my tongue

the omelet and the goodness of

the hen who had given her life for me

I became one with the morning

The sun shone into my living room

I bowed my head in thanks for its

arrival that morning

Then lifted my glass of water

stared at the clear cold liquid

then drank,

it is cold and it is good to me.

And the master across the table


pinkie lifted as he drained

the last of his jasmine tea.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Outraged? Do something about it

My colleague Judy Diaz and I were discussing her favorite subject: politics. She told me about a bill introduced in both houses of the Virginia legislature. Shockingly, it was introduced by a woman. Before having an abortion, a woman is required to have a huge penis-like ultrasound introduced into her vagina - even if she is a rape victim - to take an ultrasound of the growing embryo or fetus.

Personally, I've had lots of ultrasounds, mostly for my kidneys, and I don't understand why it can't be done directly on the belly.

I guess congresswoman Julia Byron hates women who want to abort.

When I got off the phone with Judy, I said, I've gotta do something about this. I was furious. So I went thru my postcard collection, selected one of the Shenandoah Valley, and wrote a brief note. AND, of course, signed my name and let her know where I'm from.

I am proud to have castigated her and signed the postcard.
Dear Delegate Byron --

Outrageous that a woman introduced the vaginal ultrasound bill.

Where is your compassion?

I dare you to try it out on yourself and see how it feels.

I hope you are never again elected to public office.

Ruth Z Deming, MGPGP
Here's a Jon Stewart video about the whole dreadful nonsense.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Steve Hurvitz, guest speaker at New Directions on Disability

Stephen C Hurvitz of Trevose, PA, spoke about Social Security Disability.

A person must be disabled for a whole year before they apply.

There are 2 types which people always confuse. From his info packet, here's what he says:


1. Social Security Disability Insurance - requires disability and is based on work history. No financial evaluation.

2. Social Security Income - requires disability and is based on financial eligibility; similar to welfare.

B - General eligibility standards

1. Sequential evaluation (see attached)

2. SGA - substantial gainful activity

C - Application procedures

1. Phone consultation, computer, in person

2. Role of attorney

COUNSEL FEES (this means attorney fees)

- 25 percent of arrearages or $6,000, whichever is less. Arrearages means "overdue" or "unpaid."

- Difficult process. Most claimants lose after the initial decision, right to appeal to administrative law judge. A hearing will be held where an attorney's presence will help.

- Further appeals to SSA Appeals Council or US Federal District Court. Attorneys can win almost 50 percent of cases filed in US Federal District Court.

- Be persistent.

- If you make more than $1,000 per month, you will not be considered disabled.


Most people are turned down on the first attempt.

SSDI is for people who are completely disabled and can't work. When approved, they get reimbursed for the past two years. Medicare kicks in after two years.

SSI is for young people, including children, or if you haven't worked in a long time. They look at your finances, assets, what income is coming in.


- can you do any type of work at all?

- SGA - can you do any substantial gainful activity?

- can you do your former job?

- can you do anything? well, I can whistle.

Different ways to apply:

- come into his office

- have a phone consultation and Social Security will do the application over the phone

- apply in person

Social Security asks you to sign lots of forms. They want the names of all your doctors and all your records, including hospital records.

An attorney facilitates the process, helping you to get forms from doctors, which are notoriously hard to get.

Most important proof of disability is from the doctor, the medical records. Need cooperation from the doctor.

Here are some Qs the lawyer will ask you:

Do you have problems concentrating?

Can you follow instructions?

When under a lot of stress will it cause you to decompensate or get worse?

How do meds affect your ability to work?

If you're turned down in round one, you have to wait 13-14 months before seeing the administrative law judge. Some of these judges do not understand mental illness at all and will deny you, even though you deserve it. It's the 'luck of the draw.'

The attorney makes arguments on your behalf before the judge and tells you how to conduct yourself. You, yourself, may not be the best historian. But family members who testify may give testimony unhelpful to the client.

50 percent who are not approved in the second round, get disability when they see the judge.

A person will not get disability if their first diagnosis is alcoholism or substance abuse. However, if it's a secondary diagnosis, they may.

Some judges are not friendly to the claimant and will pull out stuff from the medical records citing the person's abilities.

Back-to-work programs are in place should a person resume employment. They provide for benefits in case of a relapse.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Memories of Old Carpets and Art Matters

Watch this Times video of Kidney Tranplants, scroll down.

A couple friends stopped by.

I gave them a tour of my house. Showed them the new carpet I got before my kidney t'plant last April. I spilled coffee on it last week - I could not believe my carelessness - but got it out by goggling How to Remove Coffee Stain. Well, most of it, anyway.

It's so much fun showing people my house. It makes me appreciate it even more. At the end of this blog I'll show you the folks who put it my newest carpets.

Here's what I had for lunch. Dig those peas in the pod.

I'm reading short stories by Andre Dubus, all of which are love stories. The one I read last nite was mercifully short - about a married 25-yr-old guidance counselor who is having an affair w/a 16-yr-old student. She plots how her young lover should kill her husband. It's so ridiculous, the thot that they can get away with it. Dubus failed to provide a sympathetic portrait of the woman and the underlying reason she wanted to kill this good man.

When I worked for Art Matters, I interviewd Sam Maitin in his Center City apartment/studio, he had two huge white pillars he'd made. I always wanted to make something like that, but never have.

Below are 3 pieces of artwork, the top is Outdoor Sculpture by Maitin, I think.

My 2 collages above were unearthed when I got new carpets and all my furniture was moved around. A good opp for me to reacquaint myself with who I am and what-all I've done.

Here's DeWayne Moore of Abington putting in the hall & stair carpet. That man was fast! He finished in about three hours, leaving a thick coating of dust in the living room.

Old stair carpet.

Here's Nick DellaGuardia, owner of Specialty Flooring in Roslyn.

Nick came out to the house so he could advise me about the best-looking rug for my stairs and middle bedroom.

I always buy 'remants' b/c it saves loads of money.

My laundry room is carpeted with the same brown carpet as at the Willow Grove mall!

No wonder whenever I go into the laundry room I wanna go on a buying spree. 

Can you believe how awful the old pink carpet looks? This was Sarah's room before she flew away into adulthood.

After she went to college, she never came home again. That's next-door-boyfriend's Scott's house.

Flecka Valasquez from Puerto Rico, who Nick said is very strong, not a woman to tangle with, lays floors w/her ex-boyfriend Darwin can't-remember-his-last-name from Ecuador.

I invited my neighbors in to show off the eggshell white carpet and matching walls.

Nick sent me Rich Claire to paint Sarah's room. Very interesting guy who fought in Vietnam.

Sarah's room before it was painted. I used it as a huge storage room but am turning it into a "sitting room."

Your team at Specialty Floors. Son/law Doug, in the white shirt, will take over when Nick, on far end, retires. Wife Sandy helps out and crochets. I've bought several of her scarves and a blanket for Baby Grace, who ain't no baby no more.

INDEX of ND Special Programs

Below is a list of special programs presented by New Directions OR other agencies:

Sharon Katz, RN, owner of Collaborative Care in Abington, PA talks about bipolar disorder, March 10, 2012

Psychiatrist Kathy Schramm of Southampton Psychiatric Associates talks about children and adults with mood disorders - February, 2012

Talya Lewis "Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder, Feb. 2012

Psychiatrist John P O'Reardon speaks about hard-to-treat depression - June, 2011
. Note, Dr O now works here.

Psychiatrist Terrence Boyadjis talks about TMS - transcranial magnetic stimulation - Oct., 2010

Ruth Z Deming, MGPGP, talks about Keys to Recovery for Depression and Bipolar Disorder, April 2010

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Coffeeshop Writer's Group in which I advertise K-Mart, Coco-Cola and The Giant / Poem: The Queen of Korea Arrives in America

Before our Writer's Workshop - we missed you Beatriz, Carly and Mary - I stopped at Matt's Camera Shop right next door to the Giant and gave him a gift for fixing my camera: an autographed copy of Suspicious Activity, done by my son/law's jazz trio, The Bad Plus. Right now I'm listening to Dave Brubeck, while eating pistachios I bot today at the Giant.

Always eating, always blogging.

Am waiting for Scott to come over. Hopefully we can go for a walk before it gets dark.

Half an hour passes.

We just got home. A terrific walk thru our backyard and out onto Davisville Road where we visited several industries including the vacant Elmar Blinds.

Five people presented at the Giant.

Kym Cohen read a terrific short story called "Rudy." It was about a handsome man she met while attending the University of Arizona.

There is something wonderful about basking in the presence of beauty, whether it's a man or a woman. Thother day I was eating meatballs at Flori's Cafe. A woman I've met before was eating there and I made sure I plopped myself down several tables away b/c all she does is complain.

After she left a tall man came in. I paid no attn to him b/c I was talking to someone else who was eating BBQ chicken wings. Like me, she has diabetes.

After she left, the tall man, carrying a cup of coffee was heading for the door.

I looked outside and saw a Cadillac w/New York plates.

As you know, I can make conversation w/just about anyone.

"You're from New York?" I said. "And you drove all the way down to Flori's cafe."

The man was incredibly handsome, tall and with a shaved head. I wanted to keep him in my eye-view for as long as possible, simply b/c he was such a succulent peach!

Clearly, he wanted to come across as a wealthy man. In fact, he told me he didn't have much money.

"I rented the car in New York," he told me. "This is my first trip to the East Coast."

I was flabbergasted.

He's from Portland, OR. Of course I told him my sister Amy lives in Eugene and it's beautiful country.

He works at an insurance company in Portland and was meeting w/several financiers in Langhorne, I believe, and wanted to introduce his company to them.

We bid each other adieu and wished each other luck.

"Maybe we'll meet again at Flori's," he said, after I recommended the food to him.

Am so glad I blogged about this. No great experience should ever go unnoticed.

I liked this shot of a pensive Linda Barrett. We all loved her poem "The Course of True Love Never did Run Smooth," inspired by Valentine's Day.

I think it was Martha who suggested she give it to a married couple. I walked out of the Giant w/Linda who loves nothing more than to walk home. She carried a bag of Giant groceries but was determined to walk home, altho I offered her a ride.

"Doesn't it feel great to walk," I asked.

"Yes," she said. "I wanna lose a couple of pounds."

I told her she looked great.

As you know, I had back surgery last August, so the feeling of w-a-l-k-i-n-g and swinging my arms is so sweet for me.

Donna Krause began the workshop by showing us photos of her absolutely adorable grandson, John. Then she read a fine poem called Fred. The first and last lines were "Flup! Flup!"

Nails of Donna Krause

Fred was a poem for children and we encouraged her to send it to Highlights for Children. She'd already submitted one and the editor gave her constructive feedback, which is practically unheard of unless they really like your work.

Lastly, Martha Hunter, who gets paid big bucks for advertising Coco-Cola, read a fascinating poem about her 12-yo granddaughter who went on a retreat for Christian children at a conference center up in the Poconos. 300 kids were bussed up there from this area.

It was a fine poem w/some really good lines in it.

Since I only wear nail polish when one of my children gets married, I admire other people who wear it. Here's Kym's beautiful painted nails.

This reminds me of my experience Saturday nite at the K-Mart. I needed curtain rods - see my poem below - and drove to the "Big K" 7 minutes away from home.

Altho it smells awful when you walk in, dunno why, they have lovely items.

A Muslim woman named Heather helped me choose rugs and find the curtain rods. I made FOUR TRIPS back and forth to K-Mart yesterday, returning a rug, and then buying two Jaclyn Smith rugs for the price of one rug, materialist that I am.

A young man with gorgeous long painted nails rang me up. I told him how beautiful they were. I was feeling overjoyed b/c at last I found two rugs for the price of one. Cost me a pretty penny - $40.

My poem is about the pants I'm wearing in the photo, not about the stapler I brot from home.

Before we get to my poem, lemme tell you what Scott and I are doing tonite.

The Giant has raw pizza dough that has already been shaped. Right now, Scott is sauteing veggies to put on top, he'll top it w/spaghetti sauce from a jar, and then add mootz-a-rella, as he pronounces it.

Then we'll watch "The Fighter" w/Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. My friend Judy Diaz told me it's a great movie and to watch for the performance of Melissa Leo, who is finally coming into her own. She was married to an abusive man who held her back.

Even tho my Gramma Lily was an expert seamstress, I can't sew a stitch. When my clothes need alterations, I take them to Star Cleaners in Willow Grove.

Yanie Choi and husband Ken run Star Cleaners. Here's a poem I wrote about her.


Note: "Yoni" is pronounced "yahnny."

you called and said your husband overcharged me
come after noon and your jeans and curtains will be ready
your voice rivaled the sparrows at my birdbath
but when I arrived
you were not there

clothes hung obediently in plastic bags
a woman’s dress
a man’s suit
awaiting further adventures until
death took them cruelly or with kindness

the door jangled with bells
in you walked


this, his wife?
Ken looked tired
a rugged old oak
with crisp falling leaves
that mistook themselves for birds

she scurried around the counter
apologies apologies
i live next door and the
furnace man has come

she placed the jeans on the counter
a scrubs-color green
and the torn curtains,

hair black as the raven
an opera star
cheeks rouged just so
i wanted to call her your ladyship
your majesty
a woman of stature
sewing hems on desiccated curtains

your beauty could fill a byronic poem
may Ken praise you to his Jehovah,
his Watchtower spread on his desk
your beauty transcends the visible
i glimpsed your spirit behind your beating heart

I spread the green scrubs upon my floor and
moaned: she stitched the hem in white!
then noticed all the stitching is in white.

the sheer curtains hang dutifully in Sarah’s old room
faded, gray, their time has come

Yoni will make me new ones
for a song
rhapsody in blue? madame butterfly?

A fine excuse to see her again.
I am nothing to her.
No matter.
She is everything to me:
My Yoni.