Saturday, May 31, 2014

Coffeeshop Writers' Group - Beatriz returns to us, but not Martha - Two poems" Rhodos - Manuel Far From Home

Like any person with diabetes lusting after the perfect pretzel, I found these on the Web and then on the shelves of the Giant.

"Anyone want a pretzel?" I asked the writing group.

A few people enjoyed them and so did I.

I had two measly pretzels. When I got home my sugar was an outrageous 181. Hey my Hatboro PO Box No is 181. Please mail checks made out to Ruth Deming to Box 181, Hatboro PA 19040. Thanks in advance.

Excellent work presented today. We reviewed poetry and three short stories.

Excuse me while I slurp up my Cream of Mushroom soup, made with Rice Milk. I am hungry!

It is fan-tas-tic. I hate eating alone, but YOU, Dear Readers, are keeping me company.

 Linda Barrett wrote her latest draft of The Kiss of Death.

Almost there, Linda, almost there.

"Should I submit it to Ellery Queen mystery magazine?"

"Sure," I said. "When it's ready."

There's no person named Ellery Queen. Who was Queen? Only The Internet knows.

Allan Heller, poet laureate of Hatboro, has spent the last 4 years with Parkinson's disease. His wonderful poem Absolute Zero exclaims "The best medicine was invented in 1967."

Other lines were "Job would hurry to the door." And  the great finale which he read with great speed is "Lord, it's happening, my arms and hands hurt and my fingers are Stiffffening!"

He uses the software program Dragon. When he asks for a new paragraph, it prints the words "New Paragraph."

When I drove Allan home to the Moreland Towers - landscaped beautifully - I heard him say Hi to Brian, not his real name.

"Does he have schizophrenia?" I asked.

"Yes," said Allan.

"I think I know him," I said.

I parked and went over to Brian. Asked if he used to play volleyball at Masons' Mill Park. He did not. He used to live with his folks on Wheatsheaf Lane, he told me. He also has a job, I believe at a bowling alley.

Allan's autistic brother does very well. It's b/c the family is so smart. He walked into a restaurant and asked if they needed a dishwasher. He's been working at the place for 30 years. He's also married.

Here's Donna of the Lovely Fingernails. I stopped getting my nails done so I could save $20 a pop which probably paid for my gardener. You'll read the poem below.

She wrote a beautiful poem about her brother Bob. She hadn't seen Bob for many years. But when her dtr Mariel died, they re-entered one another's lives.

Donna was very honest in her poem when talking about her late manic-depressive mother. She would get very angry with her mom, while Brother Bob was able to comfort her. Donna ended up with the disorder herself, as did I.

When her mom was ill - manic or depressed - the children would be shuffled off to stay with various relatives.

 Debra Dix shared a new chapter of her sci-fi novel for middle-level school children. While the idea is quite good, parts of it need clarification and condensation, which Carly and Beatriz were very helpful to point out.

The group learned that Debbie is part-Russian. The moment I heard this I thought about a paragraf in my short story "On a Good Day I Remember My Name." The main character, who lives in a nursing home, hypothesizes that Valentina, the blond Russian aide, stole her alpaca sweater.

Deb's great grandparents stole out of Russia. Altho not Jewish, they wanted to express their religion, and had buried their Christian cross in the back yard. If you're following the news, Putin had a Catholic church dismantled as it was too close to a major highway. He prefers Buddhists to Christians.

Jews he loves.

Off to Siberia witcha.

Carly, the well-tempered writer and critiquer, celebrated her husband Charlie's 70th b'day. Donna Krause and boyfriend Denny attended the surprise party at.... Speak, Brain, Speak - what's the name of the place.

The Jarrettown Hotel. I ate there once and have never forgotten it. Scallops on forbidden rice.

B/c it was a surprise party, Carly had to go thru a lot of machinations to get her husband there. "I should have won an Oscar for lying," she said.

His brother Larry flew in to be there.

Charlie was indeed surprised. 

She read us the beautiful poem she wrote for her man, To My Husband.


No, you aren't just my love,
Not merely my soulmate.....

But you are the dreams of my younger years
My rock for the ages
Without you in it
There would be no life.


How many people can say that about their husbands? That's why we have divorce!

Carly has two children - Eric and Jason - and one darling grandson, Cooper.

My first cousin is Cooper Begis who lives in TX.  He's 43, according to the Internet, and I haven't seen him in 42 years.

Carly's son Eric can't seem to meet a girl. Hence, her terrific poem:

How to Lose a Girl in Ten Seconds

Tips include "Talk about yourself the whole time" and "Never ask her any questions about herself."

The people across the street from are the same way. Their daughter just got married. I pump them for info about themselves and they have NEVER asked me a thing about myself.

I'm wearing a necklace made by Robin Franklin, Community Coordinator for the Giant. It's made with covers from the New Yorker magazine.

We were overjoyed to see Beatriz. She's undergoing chemo - a shot in the belly - for her multiple myeloma. She looked great and actually gained weight at Abington hospital. They fed her Ensure b/c they wanted to strengthen her, until her doctor said, "Stop!"

I made a donation to The MMRF which has come up with four new drugs to treat this form of cancer. Beatriz's prognosis is quite good.

Beatriz picked up the tab on our drinks. I had my usual "hot cinnamon spice tea." Its strong flavor lingers. 


Tried to grow them when I first moved in
the magenta ones
sticky to the touch
but like a child destined to die
they soon wagged their pretty heads
folded over and wept to the earth.

But what’s this sitting on my desk?
What’s this sticky magenta flower
far from its home?
Tiny purple tendrils
like proud soldiers
arch toward the ceiling
they seem content
in their new home
far from the buzz of bees
and the breezes of late May.

Patience, they say.
Patience and faithfulness.
Trust yourself and the
seedling you once were
after sliding home.

Bill Johnston and Manuel - doubtful he's Manuel de Falla- turn up your speakers, Darling!

Definition of Sibilant - making or having a sound like the letters s or sh. 


The expensive people on the street
would hire Bill Johnston
His truck would swagger by
loaded down with
devil-may-care mulch
and loamy wormy dirt
this girl could never afford.

When I called
the secretary said
he’d call me back.
Instead, Bill came out
in one of those big cars
I think are called SUVs
be precise, and call it
like it’s spelt
suv, with a nice
sibilant S
like in some of my favorite things
sleeping with
soaking in a Jacuzzi down
at the shore
and imagining drinking
a delicious sibilant soda
how about a root beer float
back at Rexall’s drug store
in Cleveland?

“Tastes so good at the back
of your throat,” my sibilant
boyfriend Scott would say

“I got these terrible weeds,”
I told Bill Johnston. In his
swept-back gray hair
he looked like a country
western star,
but I never did hear the
stations he played on
his SUV

Picking up a tuft of
foul-smelling weeds
that are actually fleurs,
I shoved them in his face.
Get rid of em, I said.
Use poison, if you want,
I hate them so.
Naturally I thought of
the lethal injections
in Texas that had the
banditos twisting with pain.

But weeds aren’t sentient
beings, I thought. Best not
to discuss this with Bill Johnston.
Want to maintain his respect, for
this “rich woman” on Cowbell Road.

He told me he’s sending out his best man,
Manuel, who backs his truck carefully
into my slightly cracking driveway.
Who has money to pave it?

Tiptoeing from the house lest I
scare him – who knows what travails
he had coming up from Meh-hi-co? –
I watch his lined face, yes, he has
seen hardship,
he lifts a wide shovel
and exposes the dainty
white roots of the evil weed.

Weeds, Bill Johnston has reminded
me, are anything you don’t want.

Good! I say, nodding my head,
speaking not a word of Spanish.
Good. Good.

A black tarp is spread across
my drive and in go the weeds,
the lava rocks my last gardener
put in, and the maple tree that
was growing there.

“Weed!” Manuel had pronounced it
in English.

Fragrant black mulch
which smells like licorice
has been shoveled over
the bed, which now contains
a tall green plant that in Fall
will attract monarch butterflies
that like Manuel are migrants

I tell Bill Johnston the check
will be in my mailbox.
Far more than I can afford.
But, upon occasion, it’s fine
to be a rich woman.

Hard to make out, but see the upraised earth?


I have had an ant colony in the same place for 25 years.

Am gonna go and check on them now. It's fun to watch their purposeful lives.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Happy Birthday, Ellen - We celebrate at Lemon Basil on The Pike - A cinquin for Ellen

La Cafe Preeya but the owner sold it. Now it's Lemon Basil. Our waiter Hic, from Cambodia, poured our water and decaf.

When my sister Donna arrived, she asked, Is this BYOB?

Yes, said Hic, so Donna went to her car and brot in a bottle of red wine.

L'chaim we said touching glasses many times. Donna is expecting her first great grandchild.

Gee, said our waitress, you hardly look old enough.

We all grinned.

We arrived at Lemon Basil shortly after 5 pm. Dyou think anyone else will be here? I asked.

Yes! They had a nice crowd this Wednesday nite. Everyone was celebrating Ellen's 63rd b'day, unbeknownst to them.

Hello! Ellen called to a tall, jeans-wearing guy.

Here he is, Chuck Carr, retired postmaster at the Bryn Athyn Post Office, 19009.

I took a photo of him but the flash didn't go off.


Ada's husband Rich Fleisher is a huge fan of Chuck, the ultra-efficient master behind the counter. I do like Maria, orig from the Philippines, whose daughter is in med school at the Univ of Pgh. She told me a horror story about ticks when I showed her my healing tick bite.

You know how much I like to talk, right? Well, I have never told anyone the story about Maria's ticks or her treatment with antibiotics.

 I ordered three appetizers and asked everyone to dig in. Scrumptious! Mushrooms on Baguettes, Edamame in the middle, and Lobster Spring Roll on the Right.

Ellen ordered Thai Iced Coffee. It's made with sweetened condensed milk. I took the teeniest sip imaginable, person with diabetes that I am.

In fact, I just got off my stationery bike.

"What's that noise?" said Rhona, who was on the other end of the phone. It sounds like a saw mill.

We also discussed the unseasonably cold weather. Look, the weather can do what it wants, not like you and me who must follow orders.

Shall I turn up my heat?

When I climbed into bed last nite I was shivering uncontrollably. But, six hours later I was fine. 

Earlier today Scott heard a CRASH in the little woods behind our house.

Remember the wind storm we had last nite? A tree fell down, severely blocking the path to get to the train station or the high school.
The three of us sat around for a couple of hours just jawing. It felt great meeting with my sisters.

We packed up some left-overs for Mommy, as we call her. "Marmee" they call her in Little Women.

I heard a wonderful poem on the radio. I knew it was Walt Whitman. Here's the whole thing. It's from Leaves of Grass. 

When I was at Winterthur Museum in Delaware, I went into the gift shop. Looked at the half-price shelf and bought Ellen some beautiful place mats which she really liked.

We need to feel special and appreciated more than just once a year.


Zev, the
man with the pig
valve caught her but she pined for
her kin. Devoted, she flew home
for good?