Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Surprise Visita from Terisita - and her family - Trying to fill our Religion Program

Was upstairs on my stationery bike talking to Marcy from Grenada Hills, CA, when who should stop by the house?

Why, it's Terry, her son Nicky and husband Mo, short for Mohammed. Mo is originally from Germantown. Nick is a very talented viola player and will be part of a string quarter this Sunday. I haven't checked my sked, but I may indeed go.

Both Terry and Mo are nurses. He works at Jeane's Hospital, while Terry works at Temple.

I gave them a brief tour of the house before they left. I gave Terry the book Flicka Ricka and Dicka that my 'ungebroid' granddaughter didn't want.  So now a new generation of children will have a chance to read these delightful books.

New Directions will host a Scrabble Night the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at the Willow Grove Giant. Altho this looks like a foto off the Net, the game is actually sitting on my living room bench.

My mom bought me the bench about 26 years ago when I first moved into my house. In fact, I called her today to ask if I could come over and play a game with her.

My sister Ellen had emailed her that she thinks Mom is lonely, but Mom said to come another time. I didn't ask if she were lonely, but I did inquire if she ever got bored.

Never, she said.


Spent part of the day phoning people for my religion program at the Giant. Wrote two people letters. The head priest, called Rector, at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Southampton. The neighbors who live behind mom - Austin and Margie Morris - go there.

I remember Austin saying to me one time he never understood what people meant by having a bad back until he got a bad back.

Terrific conversationalist. Unfortunately, I canceled my insurance from him so we never talk. Darn.


These feathery fluffy puffs are from a shrub called Fothergilla. They're right outside my door.


We had our third and last Poetry Class with Lynn Levin last nite.

We read a couple more sonnets. Very enjoyable!

Linda Barrett was the only one who wrote a sonnet. I didn't even try.

Linda wrote two of em, which I published in a previous blog post.

Lynn gave us an update of poet David Simpson, who is dying of ALS in his own home in Glenside, Pa. His wife had gotten strep throat so he's in a hospice at Holy Redeemer Hospital, so he won't get even more sick. Breathing is one of his main problems.

Lynn had visited with him in his home and they had a wonderful conversation of what's going on now in the poetry world.

Reminds me of when I'd visit my dad, 40 yrs ago, who was dying of a brain tumor at home. All he wanted to hear about was what was going on in New Hope, where he ran the Now and Then Shop.

Image result for david simpson poet

"The Way Love Comes to Me" is David Simpson's new book. 

I feel like making a pilgrimage to visit David. I'm not in the 'inner circle' - dyou think I should go?

In our poetry class, we read "The Facebook Sonnet" by Sherman Alexie, b. 1966. Then we all discuss it. Lynn has a nice way of saying, "Good insight."

Read the sonnet here. 

Another sonnet was by Gerald Stern from Lambertville, NJ.

Titled September, 1999, it begins, "I was thinking about pears"

Let's see if we can find it.


Scott is staying home from work, resting his back. Am going to his house to watch "Last Days in Vietnam." What an American tragedy that was.

Wonder if anyone has written an opera about it?

John Adams? C'mon! 

Image result for john adams composer


Forgetting it was spring
I went outside and watched
birds come out of their
hiding places and swoop
before me, leading me onward.

I followed across green
grass, kicking off my shoes
and running like a deer
through our sunny
neighborhood, hair
on fire from the sun
while the silent half moon
nodded in approval.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Hikers Visit Robbins Park in Ambler, PA

I love visiting new places.

Although Robbins Park of Ambler, PA, is only 38 acres compared with Pennypack's 900, there was plenty to see and do.

Here's some lesser celendine from the butter cup family. Native to Asia and Europe, it's considered an 'invasive plant.'

Happily, it invaded my back yard.

Let's have a quick history lesson about Robbins. From their website:

Robbins Park is a unique joint venture between Upper Dublin (U.D.) school district and U.D. township. Founded in 1975 through land donations by the Cheston Family, Robbins Family and Westrum Properties and the foresight of school district science coordinators, Dr. William R.H. Ritter and Daniel Jaycox.

Dr. Ritter was the first director of science education and Robbins Park. Ruth Almond was one of the first environmental educators at the park in 1970’s and 80’s.

I DO know Ruth Almond who's a friend of Helene, when they were next-door neighbors in Maple Glen. Helene, of course, is now at Rydal Park Assisted Living, where she's wasting away, her choice.

Renu well remembers the park since she graduated from Upper Dublin High School ten years ago. They would take field trips to the park. She remembers an amazing amount of things so served as our tour guide.

She and I were the only ones to bring our picnic lunches. We ate on a bench in the sunshine. 
 Algae-filled pond. Sorta looks like a painting. Monet at Giverny.

Randy took some photos with his Nikon, which made a lovely clicking sound. We saw a huge turtle basking on the log, a couple of mallards swimming by, and minnows.

This is the third time I'm posting. Blogspot destroyed the first two.

Earlier, I felt an itch on the lower part of my scalp.

It was a tick! I peeled it off and headed outside to the birdbath. It stuck itself onto my hand. I dug it off and then left it in the bird bath to .......

Obviously I do not practice "ahimsa."

See the bulrushes growing from the pond? Methinks baby Moses may be hiding in there. Dyou know the story? The Egyptians had an edict that every male Hebrew must be drowned. Moses' sister hid him in a little basket and the Pharaoh's daughter brought him home.

Moses was one of the greatest men of all time. As was Jesus the Nazarene. Not to mention The Buddha.

The California condor has the largest wingspread of flying creatures. My wingspread is about five feet? I wonder if it's commensurate with one's height. I'm four foot eleven.

Renu was our wonderful tour guide. She took us to an adjacent field of donkeys, privately owned.

 As we approached the donkeys, Brett started laughing. What a good mood he was in on this halcyon day.

Owner of the donkeys is a German fellow named Horst S. Ahss.

 Bat breeding house. Is that correct, Renu?

Info about bats who will return from migration in May. It is RARE they carry rabies. They're an important part of the ecosystem.

 Listen to the delightful sound of a babbling brook.
Nice mix of blue flowers with Mayapples aka Mandrake Root.

We were walking down a fairly steep hill which reminded me of Bowman's Wildflower Preserve. Here's a trip we took there.

If you've never been, it's a MUST!

 The above KNOT is a guidepost created by the Lenni-Lenape. They tied together roots of a tree and stuck em onto the tree and then this huge knot grew. Is it also called a burl?
 Lesser celedine, member of the buttercup family, is originally from Asia and Europe. See it popping up from the decaying leaves?

Stopped into Danielle's Cafe in the Upper Dublin Shopping Center. Bought a strong espresso, sipped on it in the car while listening to a crime-thriller by James Lee Burke.

When I got home, I took a half-hour nap. Am still nursing the coffee.

Ate at Dan n Nicole's. We ate out on the patio.... delicious cheeseburger, no bun for me, baked beans, mac n cheese, and a clementine for dessert.

Max, 2, is learning to talk. Instead of saying Hi Didi, he now says Hi Bubby!

OH! I almost forgot. Bought a ticket tonite to see Richard Thompson at the Keswick Theater on June 6, I believe.

What? Never heard of one of the truly great performers of our day - a folksinger - he sings three songs I listen to frequently on YouTube:

The Wall of Death
St Vincent's Inferno
and Sumer is a Cumin Inn.

Image result for richard thompson
We knew someone who was a friend of Richard's.... the late Joyce C. They met in a commune. Read more from Wiki

It was not apparent from their records at first, but the Thompsons -[Richard and his former wife Linda] -  had embraced an esoteric Sufi strand of Islam in early 1974.[19] ..... It was Pour Down Like Silver, with its cover photo of a turbaned Richard Thompson gazing out at the world, that tipped the public off to the Thompsons' growing preoccupation with their faith.

The trilogy of albums released either side of his sojourn in the commune was heavily influenced by Thompson's beliefs and by Sufi scripture, but in the long run his religious beliefs have not influenced his work in an obvious manner. The outlook expressed in his songs, his musical style, the subjects addressed by his lyrics have not shown any fundamental change.[20] He remains a committed Muslim.[12]

Listen to Wall of Death here.

My former client John C O'Reilly (ok to use his name.... we published something of his in the Compass) introduced me to him. 

Otherwise, how in the dark I would be!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

My sister Donna finds a new place to live - Visit to Mom's today - Donna's artwork

 Donna came over late on Thursday night after she and a team of movers cleared out her condo in Hatboro. She was so exhausted we barely had time to talk.
She's on her iPhone talking with daughter Nikki.

She slept in my bed, while I slept on the Red Couch - they're twins. Donna has fabulous taste and the dragon rug in front of her now belongs to me.

She and Mom went to settlement so she could move into her new house in Clarksboro, New Jersey. Yesterday I mailed huge "Sand Mandala" cards to her new house and also to her daughter Melissa and some other folks. 

After my writing group today, drove to the library and checked out

Image result for homeland   Scott thinks we've already watched Season Three of Homeland.

 At the writer's group they liked my namaste blouse, which I bought at The Sweater Mill in Hatboro.
 Jolly Jump-Ups in front of mom's house.
 I was astonished at this Rainbow on her dining room etagere - where did that word come from? Mom was familiar with it. Very sharp mind.

Ellen wanted to discuss where mom would be buried when she passes away. She and dad bought cemetery plots in Cleveland.

I told her I'd never go to Cleveland again, so I voted to have her buried here.

We sat in the living room. Ellen had a stack of paintings Donna did when she was in Mercer Elementary School. Also some work by our next-door neighbor Libby Turnock.

What an unusual last name, I said to Mom. What dyou think the derivation is?

No idea. She and her sisters - Judy, Susie, and Tommy were debutantes.

Oldest sister Judy wrote some books. Here's Tommy's website. She's a therapist.

Below is a selection of Donna's paintings she did in 1955. She was born in 1949. Mrs. Viola Wike must have been her art teacher. Mrs. Wike was my teacher. She wore black ballet slippers. And taught us the word "technique." When I remembered the word and said it aloud, she came over and picked me up off the ground.

I was a cute little bugger.

 We had swings in our back yard. Look at the upside-down guy on the left. Is that Teddy Biskind on the swing?

What an attention to detail! Take a look at the sunglassses and the belt on the yellow dress.
How we loved birds as kids! Dad bought us a bird whistle to attract them. Never worked.

I'll tell you, when I saw this picture, I thought I had drawn it. In my green file cabinet I have lots of crayon pictures of birds.

 Let's go skating on the frozen pond. Oh dear, a couple of kids have fallen. And - there's a couple of twins.

Sans doute, Donna has enormous artistic talent.
Don't get wet... look at the stop sign on the right.

 Do you believe this? And, yes, it's signed by Donna. Look at the saddle shoes and 'crew socks.'

Mom, I said, you dressed us in the most beautiful clothes. She said it was her great pleasure to do so.
This is Donna's report of a vaca we went on. She mentions she got a polio vaccination. Click to enlarge.

 Mom has a patch of "weeds" - here's a "lesser celandine" from the buttercup family. When I brot it in the house, it had closed up due to the coming of darkness, but I set it down beneath the light and it opened up.

Ah nature! Then I ran into the kitchen to save it... plopped it into a tiny vase.
 This candelabra was Aunt Ethel's. It was just her yahrzeit.  Mom lit candles for our beloved Aunt Ethel.
Figures. The sparrow flew away as I aimed my camera.

Anything else, Dear Ruthie?

It's only 9:08. Go do something important with your life!!!

Coffeeshop Writers - Poems by Kym Cohen - 2 Sonnets by Linda Barrett - My new poem: Aqua

Kym - The Chemo Kid - wrote some sweet little poems. Allan commented they were almost like haiku. I was reminded of Rumi, 13th century mystical poet from lands that are now The Afghan.

Kym's numbers are rising, which is good! She won't need a blood transfusion, which is great,


Fallen is he
I am the wind that lifts his chin
Caresses his fingers
Helps his spirit soar again
May he always feel I care
Wishing him peaceful calmness

I whisper in mind
He hears
"You're never alone"


As her world crumbles
He was the light
Her air
The Love in her heart


Thinking of our first day
sharing the sea gulls with you
I smile at the memory
Oh how we laughed

Kym maintains her positive cheerful attitude and we all believe she'll defeat her disease.


Here are two sonnets by Linda Barrett. 

 A Ministry of Love

@2015 Linda Barrett

I searched for you among the years

Each decade filled with longing

Faced my loneliness with tears

Looked for a sense of belonging

Among the crowds of humanity

None of my choices turned out right

In the end, they all disappointed me

Gave me many a tearful black night

God knew that He had you in mind

When He sent me onto my journey

I had the soul so understanding and kind

the one whom He sent on my ministry

to spread His word high and low

and erase your lonely sorrow.

The Tides of Time

@2015 Linda Barrett

Clocks and watches measure you

Digital and with many hands

They count off your steady numbers, too

From cell phones and wrist bands

Each second becomes an hour

An hour turns into another day

The sun shines on morning flowers

Then black night sweeps it away

Time, you move and flow

Independent of every time zone

We measure you either fast or slow

Try to capture you as our own

We curse you when you fly faster

Or lag behind our busy schedules

We cannot be your hard master

Foolish, we should soon tell

You rule this planet by your design

Independent of the tides of time


Linda Barrett, who, like me, takes Lynn Levin's "Sonnet" class at the Huntingdon Valley Library, wrote the above sonnets, including "A Ministry of Love" which contains the lines "searching for you among the years."

Allan, poet laureate of Hatboro, doffs his hat, and read two flash fiction pieces. One of them was "Which is witch?" As always, the end was a shocker.

The other "Safety First" was based on those "safeties" as we called hall guards or when they stood outside to help students cross the road.

He has a particular facility with choosing names for his characters such as Clem Bagley or Brad McGinniss, the man character, who gets his in the end. 

Allan plans to publish them in a book of 40 flash fiction pieces.


Carly and husband Charlie are in the midst of moving into Gloria Dei Farms assisted living facility off Davisville Road in Hatboro.

Before they got the job as Night Managers, they needed to respond Yes to two Qs:

Can you take your medicine by yourself?

Can you go in and out of the apartment by yourself?

They passed.

In a lovely gesture, Carly gave a huge desk that wouldn't fit into her smaller apartment to Adryn, one of our wonderful coffee ladies.

The coffeeshop will most likely be operated in June by Dunkin Donuts. Our baristas will be laid off. Hands up if you think that stinks?

In Carly's new place, they have a heated pool. I told my mom about this when I stopped over afterward. She said I'm the only one in my family - besides my dad - who likes to swim.

That's bc of you, Mom, I said. You took me to swimming lessons when I was 5 to Cleveland Heights High School.

When I was a little girl, I'd look out my window to find out what time it was. It was on the cupola. This photo is an artist's rendering of the proposed high school renovation.

Donna's poem "A Fortress for the Aging" was a description of Carly's new apartment. Many wonderful lines. So graphic you definitely want to visit.

Image result for downton abbey

The group read the short story I wrote this morning, "My Daughter, The Zookeeper."

Will refine it the morrow and send it off. Perhaps.

My new aqua-colored hallway.


Ed, the talkative color consultant, and I
confer. He flips
color cards back and forth,
talking nonstop.
Stop! I say, grabbing his thick white hand.
That’s it! I say.

My sojourn is over.
I paddle down aqua rivers
in my kayak, the sound of
the rapids in the distance,
the high Rockies
frighten me. Make me feel
alone. Lonely as the single
maple without her leaves.  

My aqua hallway brings me
joy and grief
Where is my childhood
back on Glenmore Road in
Shaker Heights?

An artist painted a mural on
our dining room wall
Rivers of aqua sailed behind us
when we had our seders
as a town in Sienna, from
the mural, looks our way.

Once, they were overrun
by Il Duce, who had the Jews
rounded up, as if we were
lice he picked off his ugly
bald pate.  

Time immemorial is writ
on these walls.
My children and grandchildren –
yes, I have reached that august age –
running across the walls, as if there’s a finish line,
and now, the endless cups of coffee I
drink, pinky lifted, from fine porcelain
cups, my whole life buried in these
walls, while an unknown sarcophagus
awaits me, as I sip, pinky lifted,
on an aromatic brew called 
Hot Cinnamon Spice.

* ****

Spent all day yesterday watching movies - Netflix, You Tube, or from the library.

Watched The Winds of War, a mini-series by Herman Wouk, who also wrote the screenplay.

Born of Jewish parents in the Bronx, he's still alive at 99. From his photo he certainly looks "with it."

Got the idea of Il Duce from Winds of War.