Saturday, June 28, 2014

Coffeeshop Writers' Group - The Winsome Trio meets - My poem: Fireflies at the Nature Center

The moment I walked in the house, who should call but Beatriz!

She wasn't able to attend the group as she was feeling too weak. And this is her "week off" from chemo. She is a stubborn and determined woman and hopefully her strength will return post haste.

Photo: They tellme this is a happy smile. I think it looks like I'm up to something, which I just might be.

Happy 65th Martha! She was home celebrating. Marf, great photo I stole off FB.

And there he was, sitting and eating a chocolate cream-filled donut.

 Bill Babb himself. I see him once every two years at The Giant.

 We met at an acrylics painting class a few years back at Abington Adult Evening School.

His son Steve just started a landscape biz. So my problem is solved. My teenagers - Tommy and Timmy - vanished.

Alien abduction?


But the Archduke Trio had a wonderful time.

First order of business.... sipping on tea or coffee. 

Cathy, our server, had simply beautiful nails. A Vietnamese nail painter in the Olney section designed her black and white nails.

Such a little thing that can bring so much joy!

Oh! Is this what they look like?

Donna wrote a "flash fiction" piece that was very imaginative. The title was something like "Stanley Does His Job."

Why, I asked her, did you choose that name.

I wanted a "dorky" name, she said.

Well, the name hit the nail on the head, said Carly. I was reminded of Carly's short story, "Nails."

Should I give away Donna's story? Stanley is a for-sale sign. Donna is selling her twin home, since she lost her husband John and needs to move out.

Personifying the for-sale sign was a brilliant idea. Kym Cohen who used to attend our group did that in her San Francisco earthquake poem.

Kym Cohen

Donna named some apartments to look at.

I told her Meadowbrook Apartments are simply awful. Paper-thin walls, shabbily built, you can hear every word of your neighbors. I've known four people, including Scott, who lived there.

Here are the dismal ratings on the Internet. 

Carly read an essay "Slipping into Old Habits," which was a great concept - about self-sabotage - all's it needs is to be shortened.

Carly had to leave early to buy some gifts for her dtr/law. They'll celebrate her b'day at KitchenBar in Abington, a really fun place to dine.

I bought this comfy shirt a couple yrs ago in Ocean City, NJ.

Told the girls I just celebrated my 68.5 birthday on June 25.

Here's my poem Fireflies at the Nature Center. You can see I'm drinking tea - cinnamon spice by Harney and Sons.

I also shared my 13-page short story "An American Love Story" that I began last night and finished off this morning.

I told the girls I never feel like writing, but force myself to. Donna said the same thing, but not Carly. Carly said she does all her stitching outside of her home, but loves writing at home.

  The story is about an odd couple who fall in love. A Jewish man and a Chinese woman.

Problem is, the woman has a face like a standard poodle

  How'd I get that idea? Easy, my friend Freda gave me a paper photo of her deceased standard Lucy, which hangs on my bulletin board above my computer.

The story is based on a true story about a man from my support group who was introduced to a fabulously wealthy Chinese woman.

Or so the tale goes.

The people who introduced him were a married couple who I kicked out of our support group.

When we all left our table, I went over to the corner and meditated for 20 minutes.

Just remembered.Wrote an Amazon review about my Cooktop Stove. I gave it the worst rating possible. A man I don't know emailed me and offered me $1,000 for it. Hey, move the comma over and it's yours, Richard.

It's impossible to clean the damn thing. Read review here.


It was like a dream, a hallucination,
a marijuana reverie, a psychedelic
experience, walking along blind trails
following the leader, a man in black
glasses named Brad, watch your
step, he’d say, as night descended on these
hilly meadowlands which rose and
fell like heaving bosoms, don’t get
your foot tangled in a tree root
and at first we saw nothing
the land was black
a despairing Mark Rothko painting
and I too began to despair, sorry I
had come all this way, my sciatic leg
feeling numb and then suddenly the
rip of pain going up my leg, a veritable
rape of my innocence
when, like a switch turned
suddenly on, the land was overtaken
there they were
swarming unstoppable
blinking in hieroglyphics
I want you!
I want you!

My joy was boundless
as I surrendered and
let myself fall to the earth
I lay there stunned as they
found me and covered my
body with light
I raised up my arms
to the heavens and
light as a creekstone
felt myself carried up
to the stars, blinking
and tireless, spending
the night near the
smiling half-moon
and the day after
found myself home
in my bed, exhausted,
sleeping it off, telling
no one, as my belly
blinked on and off
on and off. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

On the hottest day of the year I visit Helene - Serendipity and the Mailman - A Home of My Own

 Called Helene and was determined to visit her today.

Not a good time, she said. I've gotta get ready for dinner at 4:15.

I'd called her two hours before dinner.

I'm coming anyway, I said.

What could I bring her?

  Bouquet of flowers from my own garden, including the mandevilla. I put it in a plastic Crystal Lite container. Dyou believe I used to drink that all-chemical drink? I could probly spray it on my aphids and kill them.

Photographer that she is, Helene told me to take two shots of her.
Since it was an 88-degree day - and I rarely use my car A/C - I was sweating plus I just walked up 6 flights of stairs to get a good walk in.

The only people who use the stairs are the people that work there and rapists.

 Found this beautiful sundress hanging on a rack in the Laundry Room. My sister Donna had brought lots of close over, thinking she was gonna move in this summer.

We don't know when the buy-out at her condo will happen.
 When I'm home on Cowbell Road, I've gotta wear sox in the house b/c my feet stick to the linoleum floor in the kitchen.

Helene's mind is very good. She thinks she's going senile, but she's not. Did your mom get senile? I asked. No. Did Aaron, her husband get senile? No.

Neither will you, I said.

She participates in a monthly book club and is reading a book by Ann Patchett.

  We discussed it, since I'd also read it. We are not thrilled with the book but finished it anyway.

May I digress?

Sure, Ruthie. It's all about YOU. You never think about anyone other than yourself. Actually, this is what this woman said about me.

This morning I finished our library selection Snow Country. I've memorized the author's last name only: Kawabata. He won the Nobel Prize in 1968.

  Now that I've finished, I can 'cheat' and look up the deeper meanings of the book, which is very mysterious and superbly written.  

Helene had some NY Times Book Reviews she was saving. In the March 2014 issue was a reissuing of works by the great Bernard Malamud.

I'd never seen his pic before.

  Malamud w his typewriter.

Malamud, said the article by Cynthia Ozick, are known as the Jewish Mafia, and include the likes of Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Bernard Malamud, and Ruth Z Deming.

I begged Helene to let me help her. Her cousin Jerry is a big help as is her friend Naomi, both of whom have FT jobs.

She's always complaining about the terrible food, so I told her we'd go out to lunch.

It'll never happen.

As my 19 faithful readers know - yes, the census has gone down - I had Judy and Blanche over yesterday for scallops. So I hied on back to the Giant and asked for two scallops. They cost $3.46. I cooked em in veggies AND fresh herbs from our garden.

I cut the scallops into little pieces. 

Let's just say I was celebrating my half birthday, which occurs on the 25th of June.

So, I'm chasing after the mailman this morning as I have two important letters to mail.

Ken saw me on Division Avenue and waited for me in his truck. As I was trotting home in the car, I saw one of those big landscaping trucks.

I won't hire a big company with lots of people..... way too expensive.

So I rang someone's bell and asked about the truck.

The high school girl knew nothing about it, but said Her brother cuts lawns.

Now my two high school boys disappeared, so I've been wanting to find someone else."

 Stephen A Danastorg, Esq was happy to be photographed. His "Diversified Settlement Services" is located in the old Delhaas High School in Bristol, PA, a quick 20 minutes from his home in Newtown.

What's he doing at mom's house?

Her accountant advised her to get her name off all deeds. She owned some property, including my house and her house.

So how do I feel as the sole owner of my beautiful house?

Happy as a bird.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Driving Rosemary - Dinner Guests - Firefly Walk at Pennypack

After dropping off Rosemary at the Gary Charles Salon in the Fox-Chase section of Philly, I pulled into Dunkin Donuts for my first Iced Decaf Coffee of the year.

I ordered a Small, and then, after reflection, decided to buy a donut. Diabetics just love donuts!

There were teeny tiny ones called Munchkins.  How many? asked the tall young man.

Just one.

He handed it to me in a tissue paper.

Aren't you gonna charge me? I asked.

He shook his head no.

Back at my table for one, I sat down and dunked it in the black iced coffee and munched away. Absolutely delicious!

Then I went for a 40-minute walk-off-the-sugar strut down the streets. The object was aerobic exercise, not to stop in the thrift shop, or the Fox Chase Library.

B/c of street construction, I continued my walk by going inside McDonald's thru one door and out thru the other. It was quite fun.

   My heart LEAPT when I beheld the Krispy Kreme Donuts place that Scott and I always drive past.

Did I go in?

Hello, said Sarah behind the counter.

I went right up to her.

I just came in to smell the delicious donuts and coffee, I said.

You know what she was doing?

Offering me a 'donut hole' - a munchkin.

Oh, I can't, I said, then whispered, I have diabetes.

It was delicious!


Meantime, my iced coffee was in my car, along with my book, Snow Country.

When I re-entered DD, I got a refill on my ice and purposely sat down near a woman so we could converse.

She lost no time in talking.

Mabel, who is 80, was drinking hot coffee, and her cane leaned against her table. She lives in an apartment just down the street.

Eight yrs ago she was walking in the neighborhood when she was hit by a car. The automobile just rammed into her. It took months for her to walk again.

That woman and many city people walk everywhere.

You mean, I asked her, you walk from your apartment all the way to the Presbyterian Church? (I had passed it on my 40-minute walk)

It's nothing, she said. Nothing. I live right down the street.


Company was expected for dinner at 4:30 pm. We had scallops with mushrooms and a variety of colorful peppers, sauteed in lotsa fresh lemon. And also one of those salads with everything in it.

They went wild! For dessert, Judy brought unsalted pistachios.

Oh, c'mon Judy, cheer up. Her mom Blanche is a svelte 89 years old. She walks very well.

Oh, the stories we shared.

First, tho we toasted our being together, to our good health. Judy said a brucha. She attends shul at the Frank Lloyd Wright synagogue.

The former Blanche Stuckleman attended Temple University and got a degree in journalism.

She found a great job and remembers calling her father, who owned a men and boy's apparel firm.

"Impossible," he said to her. "You couldn't have gotten a job at Curtis Publishing. They don't hire Jews."

This was after the War Years, she said. Did they know she was Jewish?

Blanche worked in advertising with Don Draper. They were an item. "I've always loved smart Jewish women," he said to Blanche.  

Back then Curtis published

This once iconic magazine folded in April 2014.  It survives as an online quarterly.

Jack and Jill magazine was launched by Curtis and is still around. One of the oldest children's mags in America, it's a bimonthly.

The beautiful Curtis Publishing Company, founded by Cyrus Curtis.

This, too, folded.

Blanche's son Rob is a disc jockey in New York State. Here's his morning show.  

He was interviewed here. Read about how he got interested in music.  He listened on his dad's

Blaupunkt tube radio - Rob still has the radio and it plays!

Blanche and Judy are readers. Blanche recommended


Now it's time to go on the Firefly Walk at Pennypack Trust.

 It takes a long time to get dark.

The walk began at 8:45 pm after the kids had their treats in the Picnic Grove. Luckily I got there late so I didn't smell the S'mores. 
 Brief intro in the office on fireflies.

Even their larvae glows and are called glowworms.

We went out on the trails, perhaps 20 people including loads of kids who had a great time!

Boys bought 'glow sticks' which can be purchased at Target. Hmm, good gift for Grace at her fourth birthday party in August.

What you can't see in this pic are thousands upon thousands of male fireflies blinking to attract females on the grassy stems below.

The kids had an uncanny knack of catching em mid-air, or finding females on the ground or on stems.

A different species of female firefly lies in wait for the male.

Oh, you are so hot! thinks a male we'll call Blaze.

He swaggers down right into the loving arms of the Marilyn Monroe of fireflies.

She gobbles him up.
  Our leader was Brad Nyholm, on the extreme right. His 10-yo son Jack or Jake was there. A really nice kid.

We walked over an hour.

I was so hot when I came home - I wore long pants and long sleeves, so I wouldn't get bitten up - that I stuck my head in the shower to cool off.

Earlier in the day I had spilled this expensive Nioxin Shampoo in the tub. Rathan waste it, I cleaned my entire baffroom with it, and when I put my head in the shower to cool off, I used it as shampoo and also washed my arms in it.

Anything else?