Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year - The Countdown Begins

Cokes leftover from my b'day party
Morning coffee. Robin Franklin from the Giant gave me this hat for my whistling tea kettle, Helene gave me the fragile glass cup which holds hot coffee from of all places Israel.
New home for fragrant paper white narcissus.
Delicious egg with everything on it. And some of the 5 bottles of vitamins I take.

Came home from Scott's just now with his book MIRACLE AT MIDWAY by Gordon W Prange and others.

I'll stay down here on red couch so I can be part of the excitement.

Sonny Mehta in 2001, when he was president and editor in chief of Alfred A. Knopf. He had an eye for quality but also knew how to deliver sales through savvy marketing.
Sonny Mehta, famed publisher, dead at 77. Complications of pneumonia.

I've never heard of him.

Let's get a pic of him and his wife. Pics from the Times.

Sonny Mehta, left, and writer Gita Mehta attend the BookExpo for Knopf cocktail party at The Ramscale Penthouse in 2010 in New York City.

Ajai Singh "Sonny" Mehta (1942 – 30 December 2019)[1] was an Indian editor and the editor-in-chief of Alfred A. Knopf and chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Deadline for Addy Review 12-31-19

I had no doubt I'd make the deadline for Adelaide Review.

Submitted a bunch of poems: Helene Ryesky, Mary Oliver, White Wicker Furniture of Judy Diaz, and a couple of others.

BTW, I am exhausted now.

Then came the fiction or nonfiction.

Nothing can be previously published, so I happily composed stories:  MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH BILL HESS and WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JUDY and LETTER TO STEPHEN.

The first two disappeared.

They could not be found anywhere. I was so tired, tho, I didn't even panic.

Letter to Stephen remained on my upstairs desktop.

I heard the voice of my former boss Kathy Decato who shouted at me when a patient's chart disappeared THEN RECREATE IT.

I saw Decato thother day at the Giant where she was hunched over a shopping cart. As I passed her by, instead of ignoring her I said, You probly won't remember me but I'm Ruth Deming. Like Lot in the Bible, I did not look back.

A former enemy, which she was - she did not like that I was different or that my clients did well with me - and I had lost my contempt for her.

What was the place called? Family Service of Bucks County. Audrey Tucker was the boss. This is where I learned about working in a hostile environment.

This is really depressing. Quick change the subject.

The furnace is going full blast, tho I keep it at 68.

Am wearing warm wool pants, tho they're really polyester, my grey sweater made by George, bought at Walmart, polka dot PJ top and a warm cap pulled down to my eyebrows.

Ya know what I found from my birthday bash? Club soda. Really nice.

Will lie in bed now and read.

Just found these in notepad. Photo of Helene when younger.


It’s chilly down stairs
I plunge my hands deep into the dappled well
How many times have I done this since Mother
Bought me my latest Lady Kenmore?
Out they come, the washed, the chastened,
The damned.

This is not the Ganges in India
Where deadly bacterium coat the waves
And fishes of all kinds lay dying on the beaches
Beseeching the heavens to preserve their species.

I carefully place my white hankies over the rack,
Smooth down my favorite pink and grey blouse
From Paris, drape my oversized panties catty-corner,
And fit in half a dozen old washcloths with hanging
Threads. I cut them off with nearby scissors, as if I were
deadheading mums.

Here come the wet washcloths, a cold, wet pile. Here is one that is pure
Beige. With my fingertips I pick it up and mop my forehead,
my freckled cheeks and chin. Refreshment is mine. Refreshment
And a sense of purpose.



When the Travis family moved out
And I moved in to my house on
Cowbell Road
They left a simple white cup with handle
And two lime-green stripes as decoration.
Can you see them?

It wasn’t ‘till days later I found the sofa.
They wanted to sell it to me, which I declined.
Dying slowly in the woods behind the house
My mouth opened like a fish
At their insufferable nerve!

What kind of people would so disrespect a sofa?
Bought perhaps at Gamburg’s,still there
in Hatboro town.
It’s stuffed now with decades of autumn leaves
Mice, raindrops and rainbows, rolls of white lace
From the bridal store long gone but Keystone Screw
Is still there.

Walk across their parking lot and you will
Find brass and aluminum screws. Collect them if you wish.
I myself continue to collect letters of the alphabet
To see if I can make words out of them. 



My heart sighs for the simply named Mary
And how she used her abusive childhood – oh, don’t we hate that phrase –
And wonder if all of us were abused, Mom washed my mouth out with soap
Gramma beat me with a yardstick on my back – and Dad did something unmentionable
When my flight feathers started coming in.

Worst of all, my privacy was invaded.
I’d head to the basement to read but my parents snuck down to see
What I was doing.
Reading. Reading. Reading.
I haven’t a quiet stream to sit beside as did Mary
But here’s what I'd do, a smart girl like me.

I sit on the screened in back porch in my warm lavender jacket
And knitted polyester cap which looks like it has owl feathers on top.
I close my eyes and meditate, listening to the sounds of the pileated
Woodpecker – tap tap tap – the black capped Chicodee – tee tee tee
And the lonesome sound of the choo-choo train
Taking me away to far-off lands.
Alhambra with its golden domes
Taj Mahal with the reflecting waters
And Sitka, Alaska, at the Veterans Home
Where old men recline in utter peace
Their veterans caps upon their knees.


HAR: Helene Ann Ryesky, b. 1929

When she moved out the house to the home
she gave me blue and white clattering plates
from Copenhagen, smaller desert plates
to put in the compote she once made,
dried apricots, prunes, and pears she found
at Sam's Market

She and I once traipsed all over Philadelphia
she'd take the photos, I'd write the stories,
Robinson Fredenthal, Sam Maitin, all still alive
in her pictures as she dies slowly in the home

How come I never knew until this very day
how much I love you!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Splashing thru the rain to Hatboro PO and compost heap

Just finished eating Lynn's scrumptious Shepherd's Pie, leftover from Sundays with Mom.

Listened to the audio book Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware, beautifully read by the main character Rowan, who has been found guilty of murdering one of her 5 charges.

The book is most unpleasant but very realistic.

It's as if this dreadful family - and I do mean dreadful - are living in the lower level of my house with the occasionally appearing jumping spiders - and I must listen to them.

Let's see. The shepherd's pie goes into the garbage can just outside the downstairs door.


This morning, in the pouring rain, I took the leftover Fish Soup and spilled it onto the compost heap in Scott's back yard.

Yoo hoo, all our critters - put on your bibs and come and eat!

Where are the little beasties?

Now, to get rid of the fish taste in the huge pot, what dyou think I did?

Poured boiling water in there and then added Giant rich roasted coffee.

Put it in the Travis's cup that Sarah Lynn found in one of the cupboards.

Travis were the first owners of my yellow house on Cowbell Road.

People think their problems will go away if they retire and move to Florida or South Carolina.

Lynn brought her friend Joanne to Mom's for Sunday lunch.

Joanne loved her job at Norristown State Hospital.

Picture picture please

I spent the worse three days of my life in then bldg 16 of the grounds of the hospital.

The start of bipolar d/o.

We have no idea why it went away.

I'm happy as a clam it did!

Stay on your meds, kids, and get both therapy and meds.

Lithium blew me up like a balloon and then of course it ruined my kidneys.

Scuse me, gonna take one more sip of coffee and then, one-kidneyed moi, is gonna get the hell out of here.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Dining at Home with the Sisters and Sarah - Poem: Willow Grove Mall


Three floors filled with sandwiched in shops
Footlocker, Apple unfit to eat but you'll wanna get
the next generation phones here, Hair Stylists with
African American clients sitting before mirrors and
under helmet-sized dryers

Transportation made easy
elevators, escalators, buy a helium balloon
and sail to any floor you choose

What's that POP?

I walk in pain, my sciatica's back

Sarah takes my pic in Bloomingdale's Carpet Department 
Dizzying array of red carpets, blue ones, gray ones like
the waves in Atlantic City

We landed home, having saved
a thousand dollars on things
not bought.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Best Birthday Bash Ever

 Heavenly aroma from the Paper-white narcissus.
 Ethan and Neal O'Keeffe.

Why is Neal's name difficult to spell? For the correct answer, come to my house and we'll have latkes for breakfast - frozen, now - a gift from Judy Kroll.

These TV tables come in handy. I bought em about 10 yrs ago from a Christian Scientist who lived down the street and refused to take meds. She had bipolar d/o and would go on buying sprees. When they moved to a "home," I bought the TV tables plus a jacket where she had sewn many pockets on the inside ... clever!
 Sarah brought her book Gravity. She generously said proceeds from the book would go to New Directions Support Group.

Amazing to think that most people have never suffered from bipolar d/o which is so natural to us.
Sister Lynn from New Hope. Gift is pink thermal cup.

Can't wait to drink coffee from it - we bought a Box o Joe from Dunkin. Lynn said they changed their name and now omit the word donut.

True or fake news. One of the guests at the party has Trump banners across his front yard. To me, that's like having a banner saying, Climate change is a hoax perpetrated on the American people. 

 Mom, 97, is an amazing woman. She wore a pendant from our late Aunt Sylvie. Is anyone named Sylvia today? Watch! The name will come back and become #1.

Our great friend Margie Lawlor from Horsham.
 Neighbor Patrick. It doesn't really look like him. He is a really handsome dude.
 Which one is the mother and which is the daughter.
 Mom was in fine form. Ah, here's Lynn. She's one of the readers of my short stories. Finds inconsistencies.

 Judy Kroll has a great outgoing personality. Husband Barry and son Max were at the Sixers' game today which is always played on Xmas day.
 The food was outstanding. Hot Butternut squash lasagna, bouillibase - fish stew - broccoli - salad brought by Donna, and a spectacular caramel b'day cake.
 Tyler, Scott and Ethan.
 Tyler has a reddish bushy beard. He put half a dozen of my earrings in his beard. Hilarious! First time I knew he had a sense of humor.
I never drink Coke but I took a sip of it - it's all sugar - and it was DEE-LICIOUS! 

Stop, I said to myself. 
Scott and I sat with Paddy in the empty kitchen and chatted. I did get to know him a bit. 

Martinelli's Sparkling apple cider has always been part of our holiday celebrations.
 We needed beverages so Ethan went to Wawa and bought fruit punch which when he was a kid they called GIGGLE JUICE.

Ethan and David. Later Ethan and Paddy jammed.
 Singing of Xmas carols. My fave is GOOD KING WENCESLAS looked out on the Feast of Stephen.

Mom remembered many of the lyrics from the Xmas carols, which Ethan printed out.

Judy Kroll still rides her bike outside.
Donna sitting beneath banner of Xmas cards. My friend Marcy called and sang Happy Birthday over the phone. My sister Amy called from Oregon with some good news!!!

I like to sit on the steps.

An hour and 12 minutes left until Xmas day ends.

Now it's the next day. Was reading the Times and learned that poet Mary Oliver had died on Jan 19 of lymphoma at age 83. She had it since 2015.

The poet Mary Oliver with her dog, Ricky, in 2013 at her home in Hobe Sound, Fla. Throughout her work, Ms. Oliver was occupied with intimate observations of the natural world.

Mary Oliver and Ricky.

Half an hour later I heard the HOOT of an owl.

Ethan, upstairs in my bedroom, heard it too, as did Sarah in the kitchen.

"She's saying goodbye to us," said Sarah.

An hour ago I felt very strange. What was the matter with me? I took two baby aspirins in case I was having a pre-stroke, and checked my sugar level which was a bit low - 76 - so I very calmly found some healthy food - hummus and Triscuits and began to eat.

Then I thot, maybe I'm having an allergic reaction to eating the fish soup as I had difficulty swallowing.

I definitely feel better now. I tested myself - I am not speaking gibberish and I can smile and use facial expressions.

I did laugh a lot today, genuine laughter, which I haven't done in ages.

To fall asleep I'll watch YouTube.

Hoot!  Hoot!  Hoot!

I woke up the next morning listening to Christopher Hitchens giving a great talk and answering questions.

1949 - 2011. Death from complications of esophageal cancer. Age 70, right Mrs Hess?

Today is my birthday - 74 - childhood memories

Went to sleep on the red couch watching movies. One film ran into another. Awoke at daylight with a dream. I was adopting a bronze-colored baby boy and I wondered how he would make out in my world of mostly white people.

Finally turned off my laptop and lay in total silence.

So important! You let your thoughts run free and see where they go. I spose it's a kind of meditation.

Sarah just woke up and wished me Happy Birthday.

What I really wanted was for Mommy and Daddy to wish me happy birthday.

We lived at 2929 Glenmore Road, Shaker Heights 22, Ohio.

Maybe Susan Diener would call me, too. We were love/hate friends. Her parents were Blanche and Stanley, long gone. She was born bc her older brother had encephalitis, I think, and died.

After I woke up I started unloading the dishwasher, Frigidaire, as I said yesterday. The mugs n measuring cups n everything in there were so clean they looked new.

Freddie Jacobs, Susan Held, Judy Glicksberg, who told me she had an internal rhythm inside her, Julie Grodin, whose father was a psychoanalyst, Mrs Evelyn Hess, my favorite teacher - she thought my dad was a rabbi - Mary Truby, of course, Mark Schulman, who gave me a box of Forever Yours for my birthday. I kept them buried in the snow so they wouldn't melt and so my little sisters wouldn't find them.

They did.

Skippy the turtle, my ant farm, The World Book encyclopedia, Zaner Blowser terrible pens, a Schaefer pen, Jane Eyre, one of my favorite books, Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkavicz (am just guessing the spelling), The Robe by Lloyd Douglas.

I went thru a Christian-reading period and thought about converting.

My hands are absolutely freezing now. I used Lantus last night but my BP is still high - 191. I made two trays of ice cubes this morning. Ice cubes used to be a tiny chocolate candy.


I would lay in bed in my warm pajamas
We usually needed permission to get out of bed
I'd  s-t-r-e-t-c-h  and wonder what presents
I'd get.

I asked for things I never did get:
a chemistry set and Lincoln Logs
once I got a red record player
that played 45s, 78s, and LPs

It came with a filler so you could
play 45s.

My mind is being stretched as parts
of my brain I never use is tingling
like a French kiss

And of course I believed in Santa
and God and that I'd live forever.

The Paul Taylor Dance Company

 Caramel Cake
Vegetarian Butternut Squash