Monday, January 29, 2018

The Walmart Blues

Daybreak from around the world from the NY Times.

Click here and turn up your speakers.

Absolutely beautiful.

New York City, Los Angeles (goodbye Jerry Brown, I agree with your bullet train, must move forward, Mumbai, Beijing, Mexico City. Look at the huge palace. Dunno what they do there.

Today after my stint at Adult Daycare, Ellen and I drove to Walmart on Jacksonville Road to buy me a printer.

We got lots of other stuff, too.

When I went to pay with my credit card, Susan, who looked like the late Cel Savino, who lived next to Mom, said, that'll be something like $19.

Gee, that was cheap I said.

Then I realized.....the new printer was in the cart.

At this moment I cannot find the receipt, but I know it will turn up.


If it's true that 'everyone hates Walmart,'
why do we shop there?

Walmart has everything. Scotch tape,
warm socks, rows of rows of
sneakers, boots, and hats
for the winter. Inventory
I think it's called.

I bought frozen fruit, strawberries
and bananas, I'd eat for
dessert, while wondering
how the new printer would work.

Robert helped me find it and
laid it down gently on its
side as if it were a newborn babe.

The cart was heavy and wobbled
like an old lady at Castor and
Cottman coming home from
the corner store.

My legs killed me when I got home.
These legs are not young, but
they're all I have and they've
gotta last a long long time.

Image result for walmart HP printers

Sunday, January 28, 2018

How many days in January? 31

I have the awesome responsibility of thinking of titles for my blogspot posts. Am sure I mentioned that when I worked for the Intell/Record I did the headlines for the Help Columns, Polly's Pointers, Dear Abby, Dr Gott, and Ruth's poems.

Medicare mandated I go to CVS to fill my prescriptions. Huge waiting lines at the Fitzwatertown Moreland CVS. Shall I bring a book?

Decided to keep Roald Dahl's Omnibus, perfect bedtime stories for sleepless nights. Brought it to the library to read there and decide if I should continue reading.


Also checked out an Ursula Andress, oops, I mean Ursula K Leguin book that contains Left Hand of Darkness. I will begin it tonight.

So, the first time I go to the CVS, I have six items to mail in my car.

No mailman in sight but you never know....and there he is!

Have I told you this story before? Bear with me, as my old friend Felicia Kelly used to say at the Record.

After I huffed out of the store, they wanted to charge me about $600 - true - for my first payment - a deductible - AND they were correct - I saw the mailman across the street. I blinked my eyes to make sure he was a mailman and not a long distance walker.

Grabbed me mail and stood at the four-lane highway waiting to make a dash for it.


You know, those bastards actually tried to run me over.

We do like photos, don't we, so hold on, and I'll give you photos.

I've been submitting short stories to Bella Mused Online. One fantastic story called Summoned would not load onto her site.

Was at Mom's today and even Ellen liked the idea of the story.

Guess what! I just succeeded in loading Summoned. Whew! 

Mom was sitting in bed going through her papers! Ellen went out for Starbucks. I had a small one that Mom and I shared. At first it was too bitter, but it grows on you.

Ellen, a master with the Internet, said that certain kinds of coffee had the best antioxidants in them.

Mom said she read you're not supposed to drink coffee.

"You say potato, I say pototoe" all day long. 

This is what it's like being at Mom's.

Crazy-making by Virginia Satir, I believe. Look it up! We studied this in grad school at Hahnemann.

I just looked her up. Click here.

In the above video, a little boy is being physically hurt by his mother.

How can I stop this with someone in my own family?

Finally, I left and went to the library before it closed. I love to pack in a lotta stuff in one day.

The founder of Ikea just died. Read his obit in the NY Times. Eccentricity incarnate.


Would anyone want it
after I pass?
Get one of those
green Dumpsters
and pop it inside.

It's as sturdy as
an old war horse.
A remnant of the
Tooheys. Sean,
then Nicole and Dan.

What about my white shelf?
Bought it new at the
Conshohocken enclave.
A prison devoid of
light. And look at me
trying out all the sofas.

Yes, ma'am, we'll take
the white shelves, as I
handed her my card.

Not Ace Spade or Joker,
just a simple piece of
plastic that now rules
our world.

ONLY 37 minutes before pizza, not that I'm counting. Scott made a cauliflower crust. Fab!


You must always look up
when you disappear into
the dark night as I
did just now

The moon was straight overhead
with a piece bitten off
like a child being caught
in the cookie jar

The tea kettle just
whistled. A universal
sound from Norway to
Ukraine to Willow Grove.

Hotness is what's
needed now. I warm
my hands and prepare
to take a sip.

Just plain water
like I drank today
at our writer's group.
All seats filled
Bonnie Raitt
intoning about her
biological clock.

Another whistle
goes off. Scott's
train. The man's
gotta work tonight.
Tomorrow he gives
a seminar to two
friends on
how to eat right.

"Would I lie to
my Ruthie," he
says after
kissing me goodbye.


So many writers have come and gone. Betty MacDonald was one of them. She wrote a memoir called The Egg and I, which I thought of when I wrote The Moon and I.

Take a look at the adorable cover. I'm not permitted to.

More poems from FB


in honor of Coach Iris

Once there was nothing like
these cold winter months,
when I'd walk up the street,
stew pot in my gloved hands
and ring his bell.

He lived alone with his
drunkard son, as nice as a
guy can be, who drinks from
morning til night. Waiting
just waiting for Jesus.

Luther and I became friends.
He of the big pot belly
checkered shirt and collection
of Hummels, his late wife
so loved.

We'd eat together in the
kitchen. "Sure is good," he'd say
in his southern drawl. "One bowl's
enough for me."

And then came the coffee.
Folger's from the red can.
He made it strong and I'd
have two heavenly cups.

He'd walk me to the door
where I'd feel like the
missus of the house
and walk back home.


Pere Goriot, The Waves,
Mrs Dalloway, The Catcher
in the Rye, Nine Short
Stories including
The Bananafish.

And now this new one
Conclave about choosing
a new pope.

The morning sun
shines on each
fresh page with the
perfectly readable
fonts, the strong
binding, and the
words we always look for:
Made in America.

Much of my life,
is bound in
paperbacks. Once
walking around the block
a woman with a "For Sale"
sign in front of her house
handed me a Clive Cussler.

It's on a pile as high as
The Seven Storey Mountain
awaiting its turn.


Am reading a new Dean Koontz book, scary as hell. Lots of nightmares. It's damn good, though. Lotta surprises, which we love.

Image result for dean koontz  Read about him here in Wiki and then I'm off!

He's born in 1945, same year as me. Maybe I still have time to get a novel published.

Wish me luck, Pope Francis!!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Poem: Hazardous Driving Conditions - Worst Talk from the UMHA - Poem: Driving to the Library in the Dark


Good. My car will get
a much-needed bath. I'll sip
my Tortuga Rum Coffee
to the tintinabulations
of the rain drops, and
remember the good dinners -
was that you, Medori,
I dined with - on the
Caribbean not long ago?

Shhh! Caribbean is a
secret question on a
"favorite vacation place."

I note the bar code on
the bottom of the now-
spent coffee bag, which
will make its way to
my Coffee Bag Pavilion
on my Wall.

I must make my mailbox
ready for a birthday
card for my friend Judy.
Old age has treated her
badly. So many things
I learned from my
Arundel Road pal.

In the light rain
I've placed two
indoor plants which suffer
from Failure to Thrive condition.

The rain feels good on my
bonny red hair, so I let it
wash over me. Not a soul's
about and I chance to see
Judy of Arundal's ceramic
pot, awaiting the coming
of faire April.

This is where I listened to the final chapter of The River by Richard Peck. Superb!

At the library tonight I tried to find the next book in this five-part series, to no avail. I did check out two more audio books, one for the car and one for the kitchen.

Then I stepped briskly across the street for the Historical Association's talk on The Johnsville Airport. Click here.

NavalAirDevCent WarminsterPA NAN10-73.jpg Our presenter J im  Rubillo did a great job in describing the corruption of the Brewster airplane company.

His research was based on newspaper accounts by Time magazine, the Today's Spirit, a daily back then, and The Inquirer.

The audience loved the talk and assailed him with questions afterward.

I could not wait to get the hell out of there. It was the most boring presentation I'd ever heard.

Before I left, Scott told me to brush my hair. It always looks terrible!

Shall I wear my beret for the rest of my life?

Morning photos.

Barry Bush gave me the jade plant and the fig plant, the most pathetic houseplants you've ever seen.

I thought an outdoor rain might shake them up.

Now, I wanna go back on Facebook but I need to write a poem first.

Let's see. Any ideas?


As a young pup, I was fearless. No more.
I buckle myself in with the harness. Some folks
in the buckle factory said in Japanese, let's
play a trick on the driver. The buckle will
take the strength of a Yukio Mishima as
he disemboweled himself with a sword.

Finally I backed out the drive noting a
moon of some sort, will look you up
later, I thought, as I trotted down
the street.

I wore my oatmeal-colored socks
poking out of my clogs, trend-setter
that I am, and turned up my
audio book, never knowing what's
real or fantasy or who I am now.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sunday night - I watch my shows and munch pretzels - Poem: Judy and I Visit Staples After our Writing Group


She wrote a lovely poem
about her mother, as
beautiful as the sculpture
Pieta in the Vatican

I wrote Red High Heels
a fanciful story about
Goddard, my college
in the foothills of Vermont

Every month, it seems, my
printer runs out of ink
so I paid $60 to get black
and color cartridges

Is there no fairness in the world?
No justice? Robbed blind every time
I write a letter, a poem, a story.

In the writers' group, Ken gave us
gifts. To every writer, two pens.
Justice is served.

They're the fun kind, like the old
Papermate Jotter. Remember? If they
need you for the rhythm section and
you're no Elvin Jones on drums - cigarette
dangling from his now-dead mouth - merely
click the top, off and on, on and off.

The first thing I wrote with my new pen
were all my passwords. Variations of
"creatinine level." But I jest.

And now, picking up my pen again, I see
it is no better than my $60 cartridge.
Dead, spent, wore out, crappily made.
Justice! I scream. Justice, where on
earth is justice?


My 'new' printer cost $45 and the cartridges $60.


Scott made us homemade pizza. I helped myself to my pizzelles which I keep away from temptation on his kitchen counter.

We were surprised to find the Sunday night TCM film was The Titanic, 1953, with Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Wagner and his new love,

Audrey Dalton Wagon Train 1959.jpg  Audrey Dalton, born in 1934. How lovely she was in the film. Still kicking at age 83.

Iris liked my short story Red High Heels, esp b/c I put in details of real life in it.

Image result for goddard college   The main character Meredith had plans to stay in Kilpatrick Dorm, but things didn't work out that way.

I wanted an unusual first name. Meredith is my dental hygienist. 


The moment I rolled into bed to watch
the 1953 version of The Titantic,
I began to panic. I knew what would
happen, they did not.

What could I do to comfort myself?
Scott was dead to the world with
exhaustion. I thought of going
downstairs and eating three
more pizzelles, but then I'd
have to move.

Instead I groaned inside,
finger-combed my new "do"
of red hair - was I reminiscent
of Norma Desmond in last night's
Sunset Boulevard?

"It's not so terrible," said Wm Holden,
being age fifty!"

Now they are getting into the boats.
Clifton Webb, a dreadful cad, will
have a change of personality and
become "useful," his lovely
cad-wife Stanwyck whose
ermine stole will glow nicely
as they row her lifeboat away

Oh, it's not half so good or
nervewracking as the "epic"
1996 film - take it away
Leonardo DiCaprio and
Kate Winslet - both films
possess the lovely touch of
playing music as the ship
goes down. Sinks. Lights off.
Every room flooded and dark.
The ship gone, a goner, as if
she never existed.

And 22 years later, we wonder
how the Eagles are doing.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Poems: If Only I Could Stay Awhile - A Good Death - For Tree: Let it Snow, Let it Snow - My New Reading Chair - Short story Japanese Doll


Let me perfect the art of
relaxation, as I sit on
my red couch with tiny
crumbs from pretzels
and peanuts.

I look around and see
all the things I love
my Christnas cards on
the wall

My blue shovel, two mobiles
hanging from the rafters,
a fancy chandelier a la
Liberace that needs a
good dusting and a
colorful wall-hanging
from Ecuador.

And there's Denis, not
dead yet from kidney failure,
and a long turkey feather
I could use as a quill if
my pens go dry.

Seen any good films lately?
Read any good books?
Tell me if you know.


The poem below was just published in Kaleidoscope. It's an online magazine by people with various disabilities, or caregivers of same.  Click here. Very fine writing.  Theme is Unpredictability.


The doctor told me my kidneys would fail
I wanted to know when
so I could start practicing being dead

Empty house
filled with things
my jar of feathers
the bird’s nest
pine cones and shells
on the windowsill

She loved nature so much
someone would mutter
The rosebush I clipped
so the mailman wouldn’t get bit

the maple I watched from the high
bathroom window
framed just so
a Van Gogh

From my bed with the cool
breeze caressing my hair
I sniff the smoke from
the furnace that dispenses
with the little girl that

loved her bike and
rode no-handed down the hilly streets
and back home to feed her fish

Summers, she would ride to
Uncle Marv's
read gloomy Dostoevsky
on the porch steps
and dream of
George Gordon, Lord Byron
in love with a dead man:

The girl was finished
kidneys useless as if
raisins grew there
she was not old yet
still enjoyed snuggling with the
one she loved

he would get her ashes
as would her children

Toss the red berries on her windowsill
the feathers, the shells
the Christmas lights
into the landfill

Still she sees the moon
shining on the For Sale sign
of her yellow house
swaying in the breeze.

As my many readers know - how many are we now? speak up! - I stay in bed awhile and read. Oh shoot, just checked my chart. The Pope book was due yesterday. He's got some great parts in there. Women, he says, should play much more important roles in the church. He travels around the world giving talks.

He spoke about genital mutilation in countries that don't respect women. He's very psychologically insightful. Puts it to a false sense of power when it's really fear.
Image result for pope francis book 2017    Here's his photo, but my book is called Happiness in This World.

My friend Harriet wanted to buy me a new bowl bc the one I use has tiny cracks in it. It's from my late friend Elinor Schuler. She and hubby George moved to Ann's Choice and both conked out for good. Shhh! Don't tell anyone but that's gonna happen to us.

Oh! I almost forgot. Was listening to WRTI-FM, when a phenomenal piano piece came on. Then the guessing game began.

Brahms? Certainly as b'ful as, but not the tinge of melancholy. Schubert?

Greg Whiteside announced the name. It was by Beethoven but was never given an opus no. b/c it was not one of his favorite pieces.

Here's what it's called. 

Beethoven 8 Variations on a romance by Gretry 

Listen to it here.

Oh, so I told Harriet to send me a book instead of a bowl. Now the hunt for the right book. I did find it on Amazon. I goggled 'the best stories ever written about sports.'

What I'd really like are two little Golden Books, one about Jesus, and the other about Life on a Farm. When we moved from Village Green to my own home I left them on the high shelf where my kids couldn't get em.

Have the very best day you possibly can!

PS - My friend Tree sent me a wonderful gift. To thank her, I wrote her a poem.


Mailman Dante wrapped up for
the cold like a babe in a snowsuit
drops the mail in my hand-painted
mailbox that says Hello when you
open that.

You did that for me? said former
mailman Ken, before he retired.
He couldn't stand happy people
but I paid no attention to him.

In my warm blue diabetic socks
from the Sox Lady in Furlong,
I padded into the kitchen to
dispense of the mail.

Into my carton go the huge
cartoon-like ads, the
envelope for my healthcare
payment - already? - and next
a fat pillow-puffy letter
from Bennington Court.

I'd know that address anywhere.
Trudging through the caves of
Altirmira, with bison on the walls,
dining in style with Sarah and Ethan
at The Reading Terminal - save room
for Bassett's Vanilla with Chocolate Sauce

Tree's gifts are always practical, usable,
surprising. They make me wanna do my best
with what I've got. Such smarts she's got.

She'll be happy to know I've made an appointment
with one Daniel Paul Deming, mon cher fils, to learn
how to use APPS.

The fear will fly away from me like sparrows
on wing and my head held as high as Madame
Bovary before she flung herself in front
of a train.



What is purple
and swivels
and is as
as if it were
fitted just for me.

Why have I never
thought of reading there?
Old habits are hard to
break. For years I
read in my messy

Lying down, so I always
fell asleep.

Now, sitting up I will
finish at last Happiness
in This Life by Pope
Francis. His faith
is unshakable, as is mine.

I will tell you this: While
I read his book, I'm a
Catholic. When I put it down
I'm a child of god,
a Jew living on borrowed time
under the roof of heaven. 

Click to enlarge the photo on the side of my fridge of Walter Straus. Once we were pals. Now I have no idea where the man is or if he's dead or alive.

Actually I did find the married couple he's living with - I think they live in Germantown or Mount Airy - to think he'd end up living with them. To me, it's tragic, but I ain't Walter Straus, born in 1918.


A friend of mine doesn't drive in the dark. Not surprising at our ages. 65-plus. I emailed her my short story The Japanese Doll, which evoked fear in her. That's good. She felt my own fear. Click here. It's from Bella Online.

Mommy? Are you home? Gonna stop over.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Waiting Room - Meeting my Friends at the Giant - Poem: Wheeling my Booty to the Car

 Last night I made Scott and myself a special dinner:

 Scallops with veggies on a bed of brown rice.
 Stewed pears for dessert.
"That was delicious," he said.

Here's what I did this morning:


When I left home, snow
peppered the neighborhood
my car door and I sparring
to make it open

Up the Duke of York Road
I traveled, and into the
parking lot of Cloverly
Plaza, then trotting in
the chill to the well-
attended waiting room.

A dozen sat in chartreuse
chairs, while I pulled
Tom Hanks from my pocketbook.
Everyone stared. Tall, receding
hairline, with that unmistakable
voice of his.

Relax, ladies and gentlemen, he
said, holding up his book of
short stories.

We did as he said. I kicked my
leg and looked out the huge window.
Across the street was the former
Strawbridge and Clothier.
From the era of department stores.

We used to have lunch there, Mom, Dad,
the kids and I. Chefs in white hats
prepared meals and the carpet glowed

Finally, Jane called me.
As the needle went in, it hurt.
I breathed as I watched the tubes
fill up with the elixir of
the gods.

"You done good," I said to myself
as I dressed for the day ahead,
clamping my blue beret on
my head.

Here I am, home on the red couch,
sipping on - what else - hot water,
not ready yet to remove my beret.


So long Christmas Lights for the season.

Every little thing in my window sill is precious to me.

Now, yes, right this minute, I am doing something very difficult.

Enough procrastinating.

Am talking to Jasmine from Verizon. Got my password to get on Verizon. Thank you, Jasmine, from Dallas, Texas.

It's 19 degrees down there.

I'm laffing now at the ridiculousness of our world.

She and her fiance will take a road trip cross country.


I invited her to Philadelphia and said they'd enjoy this cradle of democracy.

Sensible people believe the current administration has set back democracy, but not everyone agrees.

Image result for jelani cobb        Jelani Cobb is hopeful.

A gregarious individual like myself can only be cooped up for so long.

What time is it now?

3:11 pm.

We're waiting to see if ND will meet tonight or not.

You decide and lemme know

I'm hiding my eyes.


Bought two important things at the Giant. Olive oil and a flashlight with batteries. I need the flashlight to see what the temperature is in the living room. I turned it down to 64 b/c I biked for 20 minutes.


Ate delicious Chinese food that Helen served me. Does SHE know how to save money? Into a small Styrofoam box, she ladled two orders - noodles and chicken and broccoli.

Image result for chicken and broccoli on noodles chinese 

Ate it in the Starbucks section, where I saw Sally and Danielle from my nephrologist's office. You can't miss Sally's gorgeous curly hairdo, or Danielle and her tiny nose ring.

Also bought a Rotisserie Chicken, an impulse purchase.

Cathe at Starbucks - blue nails today - gave me a small black coffee and a warm chocolate croissant. Really enjoyed the the food.

Remember, Ruthie, the napkins are on the left of the Starbucks counter.


Image result for starbucks cup  

Careful, as we cross the bumpy keep-the-carts-out section,
to my car, parked as far away as possible.

We don't wanna lose one precious drop of coffee,
as we sail across the lot, my strides as long as

a pony. What does this coffee cup represent?
Cathe made it for me. The beans are a

dark roast and come all the way from
across the Pacific.

As I sip, I feel warmed all over. And
maybe I can even write a new

short story I stumbled upon last
night while watching Antiques Roadshow.

Image result for antique watch from tiffanys

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Just learned about great guitarist Tommy Emmanuel - My Friend Frankie just published in Literary Yard - Ruth Roth and blowing out the bday candles

Let's see. It's 9:25 pm. Not late, right?

It was pizza night at Scott's. After the great pizza, we went upstairs to watch TV. We fell instantly to sleep to Skull Island, a King Kong movie, an update from the original King Kong.

We were each gone after five minutes. The film was terrible.

I woke up and walked home in the beautiful darkness, staring up at the sky. Such a pain that I'm so uncomfortable walking in the cold.

Raise your hand if you've heard of the Australian guitar player Tommy Emmanuel? He's 62 now and is touring the country.

Image result for guitar tommy emmanuel plays      Tommy, lemme shake your hand. You is one fine geetar player. What's more you will be coming to our local Keswick Theater in Glenside on Feb. 3. Lemme check my calendar - I keep it under this laptop - to see what day of the week that is.

Saturday night. No way am I gonna drive. Thing is, should I make an effort to go? My friend Neal is an Uber driver. Will give it a think.

Image result for frank kelso wolfe   Self-portrait of Frank Kelso Wolfe.

Read my story MY FRIEND FRANKIE which appeared in today's Literary Yard. Thanks for publishing it, Onkar Sharma. Click here.

I sent it to loads of people, including Tony Salvatore of MCES, who said it was a powerful story but very sad.

What really got me about Frank's death is that I think it was caused by kronic pain. Nuff said.


Ruth Roth, the smartest girl
I knew at Shaker, had a face
like a frisky palomino,
blue eyes and blond hair
and a smile as wide as
the moon, wanted only
one thing. To know how
to dance.

She was shy and couldn't
make herself jitterbug at
the dances in the crepe-paper
decorated gym.

Dance lessons were mandatory
with my parents. Calvin, my
father's chauffeur, drove me
to Carlos and Kaye. I stared
at the brace on his leg
as he drove.

Was there anything worse than
dance lessons? As a grown-up
now, I can think of
a million bad things, over-
shadowed by one great thing.

I look out my upstairs window.
There's my car with its
powerful radio. It looks like
a rhino who took a bath
in the mud.

I always wondered how cars
got so dirty with the ice
and the snow. I've joined
the fleet and hope it don't
drive over the edge when
I watch Lynn Levin's documentary
on the Galapagos later today at the library.


B/c of the freezing cold weather, only three people attended Lynn Levin's LIFE ON THE NAPO RIVER:  Life on the Napo River, A Glimpse of the Ecuadorean Amazon, its People, and Their Traditions.

Lynn went on two trips. First to the Galapagos - maybe a dozen folks were there -  and then to the Amazon, where half a dozen were there.

She went all by herself. Lots of walking. She tried going to her gym more frequently to get into shape. Lynn is short and slender.

Image result for lynn levin

I was late to the program bc I couldn't remember how to get to the Huntingdon Valley Library. I started off and headed toward Olive Garden, knew I was wrong, said Do not panic, I'll get there, panicked and said I'll never find it, came home via Davisville Road, pounded on Scott's door which was locked, uncharacteristically, then looked it up on my laptop.

The key was Terwood Road. Was very nervous driving, plus listening to my audio book, but got there fine.

The front parking lot was empty. I allus back in.

Gonna send the Upper Moreland Historical Assocation a note asking if they want Lynn to give a presentation. Look, she did all that hard work and it must be seen!

And so it goes.

(Dyou like this as a closer?)