Thursday, March 21, 2019

WORLD POETRY DAY - The Hasids of Chernobyl

Just saw Friendly Dave at Staples, where I lugged my downstairs laptop out in the rain.

All is well, he said, and it is.

Correction. It may not work right.

Rem Murphy nominated me to be part of MARQUIS  WHO'S  WHO.

Danielle called me up this morning and we were on the phone for 20 minutes, while I prepared my morning omelet.

She asked me great questions, what I'm most proud of, am I involved in volunteer work. The longer we talked, the prouder I got.



Twenty minutes, a total waste of time.

There's a huge fee to appear on there.

I told her I'm not spending a cent to promote myself and New Directions. She kept pleading with me.

Today is WORLD POETRY DAY.

CLOUDY DAY

There's music all around
on this drizzly day
Close your eyes
and hear the harp notes
on the roof
the jazz trumpets
on the jonquils
in the back yard
and your steady
heartbeat
playing the most
important music of all.

THIS IS YOUR THING, wrote Ed Quinn. He painted part of the interior of my house with bright colors.

MY PINK BEDROOM

At the end of the day
I retire to my pink bedroom
It embraces me like an old friend
Everything I need is in this
master bedroom, and everything
is painted.

The border of the television
The two closet doors
The wall behind the bed

From the ceiling fan
hangs a painted mobile
made from a styrofoam insert

My pink bedroom
tells me it's time
to sleep. I yawn,
lean back and am gone.

* * *

Finally am listening to a wonderful audio book in the kitchen, THE MONUMENT MEN. Ooh, I have to tell my friend Tree!

Am making pear sauce with three ripe Anjou's. Took forever to ripen. Am shoveling peanuts in my mouth.



Hey, that's a chipmunk not a squirrel.

Click here for pix of Hasidic Jews from Chernobyl.

Anything else Ruthie?

 Yvonne works for her BF Bob Walmsley and came over to pick up a check for $3,000 as a down payment on a new roof.

As long as it rains, they can't work.
I asked her to take a picture of me, also.

Dyou think it's too late to email Tree?  Amazing bc we don't need to know their email, you just type in a couple of letters.

I'm going up to my room and start reading on my bike.

I'll tackle the Beaver book.

Oh! I signed up to receive the Glenside Chronicle, which comes out every Thursday.

Gonna sit on the living room carpet and read read read. Maybe with a cuppa tea or coffee at my side.

What are YOUR plans, mes amies?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Purple Heart - Lunch at Tim and Terry's - Poems: A Sky-Watching Tip from Sandy Wood - Mom at Ninety Six

Scott put out our Four Boxes of taped-shut goods for Purple Heart yesterday.

How good it feels getting rid of unwanted stuff. Where did I get all those sheets? Dozens of them.

Plus a Kandinsky-style carpet in the laundry room. They're all on Scott's front porch now.

Purple Heart will return next week.

Went to Mark's at Buxmont toe get 100 copies of my Letter to the Editor in the Glenside Times and Public Spirit.

I had told the editor, whose name I forget, that I had written dozens upon dozens of Op-Ed columns for the Daily Intelligencer while Alan Kerr was in charge. He retired a couple of years ago. I've never met him though I worked at the Intell/Record which is now closed up on Easton Road.

Tried something new and delicious at TNT. First, when I walked in, I called the owner Terry. That's his wife.

Rowan was my helpful waitress. I refuse to call them servers. Whose idea was that?

French toast with raisin bread and plenty of whipped butter and syrup.

I injected a lot in my belly.

Drank cold water which they served w/o a straw - good for them! - and drank their delicious coffee.

Finally I finished the book BECOMING by Michelle Obama. I probly sat there a good two hours.



When I returned to Mark at Buxmont Stationers he thought I had forgotten.

I can always count on you, I said to Mark.



A SKY WATCHING TIP FROM SANDY WOOD
Sun rises at 7 06  And sets at 7 11

For years I have listened to Sky Watch
the way as I kid I listened to The Time Lady
and The Weather Lady.

I must present a portrait
of Sandy Wood, though I only know her
by her plain but trustworthy voice.

At home now in her high rise in Houston
She goes to her window and views
the silky bayou with big swaths of
green. She wears yellow silken
pajamas and has a dry martini in hand.

She's been up all night recording
and is ready for sleep. Her bed is
fluttered with fan letters from
all over the world, including
one from Willow Grove, Pennsylvania.

MOM AT NINETY SIX

Like we did in Cleveland, our ancestral home,
we viewed the Christmas lights. Time disappeared.
Mom became an athlete again, playing tennis with Lenore
whose husband recently died of dementia.

Her dog Snappy Lou, a gift from her father, was a
barking and petting delight. Mr. Lucas from down
the street was knocked down by the exuberant terrior
and Mom was forced to put him down.

How we loved the Christmas lights. Reminded us
of the neon lights at NELA PARK in Cleveland.

Every color of the rainbow, especially Blue lights
on roofs and dangling from real Christmas trees
made the world feel young again.

Driving up the driveway of Mom's huge house
with white mailbox and huge front porch
I cautioned, Stay in the car until I come get you.

Her white hair gleamed like the moon.

When I came to get her after opening the house door
she was nowhere to be found.
Mom! I called. She had toppled to the ground.

When you're that old every fall is like
an arrow to the heart.

Sure, she delights in visiting her doctors
Sister Ellen, surely a saint, takes her after
folding up her walker, brilliant invention
for the Hobbled Ones

We meet on Sundays, with sister Lynn from New Hope
prancing in with quiche and cupcakes, and chocolates from Asher's.

It's important to pay attention.
To remember Mom's words, though her
heart is strong, and we expect her to
celebrate her centennial.

I never appreciated the woman. Her fortitude
and refusal to die is now an inspiration. Finally
I can say - and it took me over fifty years -
I love you Mom.

* * *

Mom has a great appetite and so do I.

Scuse me while I raid the refrigerator.

Should I make something?

It's nearly four o'clock.

One more thing. I wanna watch the trial of "The Butcher of Bosnia." He eluded capture for 16 years.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Great concert at Annenberg, followed by dinner at Paris Bistro in Chestnut Hill

March 15-16  Dance Heginbotham Easy Win in Philadelphia at Annenberg Center.
Both sold out!
Here we are at the Paris Bistro in Chestnut Hill PA waiting for our orders to arrive. We ordered Perrier Water which made me thirsty so I switched to regular water in bottle on left.

 Mary Creamer one of the most lovable people you've ever met.

 Here's her husband Tony. We drove from their house near Morris Arboretum in his white Porsche SUV. Very hard for me to get in with my bad left leg. I do exercises every morning and am hoping the leg will improve.

 Tony couldn't find parking, so he parked and kept his parking lights on.

Mary and Tony made us appetizers at their home. I believe they have about six cats now. One named Grayson is a dead ringer for our Blank except he is fatter but has the same green eyes. I reached out to pet him but he tried to bite me.

They also have a huge painting of a black cat, as if he rules their house. True, perhaps.

Forty degrees now, says Bob Perkins on the jazz station.

 Mary ordered a salad and shared some with me. I tasted arugula, as well as the usual greens and tomato. Very subtle dressing with a hint of lemon.

Trout Almondine with haricot verts - green beans - and some taters. I cleaned my plate and injected in my belly. When I got home my sugar was normal. 

Mary's order. Delicious mashed potatoes, devilishly high in carbs.

Mary's friend Lisa.

When I got home I got a 'fraud alert' call from my credit card company.

Someone tried to charge $6.06 at a restaurant in Virginia.


baI brought 4 copies of the Compass in my huge backpack.

The first copy I gave to Catherine the Uber driver. We had a very intimate discussion on the way to Annenberg.

Sarah found us - we were early - so we stopped in at a little bar across the street. We split an order of everyone's favorite - Deviled Eggs.

Earlier today Scott and I watched HIGH SIERRA on TCM's film noir.

Highsierra.JPG

Ida Lupino was b'ful. Bogey paid for a club foot operation of a woman named Velma, played by Joan Leslie.

Remember. movies are available at your local library!!!

Like Columbo, I always remember one more thing.

When we were about to leave the cafe, I said, Wait a sec. I have gifts for everyone.

I reached into my backpack and pulled out an envelope filled with tea bags.

   This is what I sipped on while watching Film Noir.

Ethan just sent out his blog with a great photo of the Dance Heginbotham Easy Win

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Off to the concert tonight! Wait for me, Ethan, Sarah and Guests


IDES OF MARCH

A SIMPLE CUP OF COFFEE

Pleasure seeker that I am
was going to say hedonist
but it doesn't jibe with
a simple cup of coffee

For days I've wanted to
sit down somewhere
with a cup of coffee
and finally I got my wish

Welcome! said a smiling
Indian at Dunkin Donuts
near the Staples Shopping Center

Medium sized, black, no cream,
I said. In a moment my styrofoam
cup arrived. (Not recyclable,
I thought)

At home I placed it on my wooden
Ikea tabletop that once belonged
to Sean and then to Dan, pried off
the lid, stared at my favorite
elixir, inhaled, as if I were
Julie Christie in McCabe and
Mrs. Miller - she was an opium
eater who would stare longingly
into space -

and finally finally I took
a tiny sip. I looked at
my purple African violets
basking in the afternoon sun
on shelf.

Soon I knew everything would
look beautiful, so I carried
the steaming cup around the living room
then sat on the Red Couch marveling
at my good fortune.

A cup of my own.


***

I made the 11 o'clock free show at the HV Library of A STAR IS BORN, with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

Right away I didn't like it. Rowdy characters, drinkers, druggies, foul language, disrespect for women. I waited half an hour for it to get better. When it didn't, I pulled off my driving glasses - to see better up close - got my backpack from under the seat - and stiffly walked out.

When I told Mom about it she said she probly saw the original with Janet Gaynor, tho she didn't remember it.

Told her I am reading BECOMING by Michelle Obama and that it's very good. She asked me if it deserved to be a best seller. Absolutely, I said. Good question, Mom.

Finally talked to Nancy across the street. She was on her front porch sweeping. I had walked up the hill in clogs, not the best of shoes, and we talked about half an hour. Her daughter Linda broke her back. Nuffin to do about it but rest and go for physical therapy.

Then we shared stories of the dead. I couldn't think of the name of the Adams' family dog. Daisy.

***

76 degrees, said Blitz Nicholson of WRTI-FM. "I just like saying that," she said.

***

WHY I'M GLAD I WENT OFF FACEBOOK. Stealing my data is one thing, but, of course, anytime I go online, they've caught me like a wiggly fish in a net. Fine. I've gotten used to that. There are a few folks I miss. Carl Yeager. Bill Hess of Wasilla AK. C'est ca.

What I really can't stand is the mockery on FB. People make fun of everything. In words, certainly, but also in images.

In 40 minutes dinner will be ready from Scott. He's getting his second floor deck Eand got the final total from Bob's Home Improvement. Bob came over today to take a look at my roof. I signed a contract to get it done. He'll get the paperwork from the Township.

***

On page 300 of Becoming by Michelle Obama there was a sentence of import on the day of their inauguration: Barack and I felt a kind of sweet relief (in their Beast, limo). We were the first family now but we were ourselves.

FACEBOOK FRIENDS    I highly recommend this book.

When I read those words, I had an idea for my next short story. "We were ourselves."


***

My downstairs laptop is FIXED.

It was free due to a promotion.

UBER is picking me up around 12:30 pm.

So amazing that now I'm here on Friendly Dusty Red Couch and in 90 mins I'll be at the Annenberg Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
Went to Mom's hoping she'd enjoy painting with KWIK STIX. She had no interest but I painted this TREE OF LIFE.

To the concert I'm wearing this top plus black n white pants, a gift from Ada, in a herringbone tweed.

Did I tell you I went shopping earlier today? Bringing a list is tres important.

At the orders of my diabetes doctor I'm losing weight.

Doubt I'll be able to fit into my size 5 white thigh-length wedding dress from Evan Piccone. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Photos - Poem: Air Force Pilot 1943






I finally figured out how to upload photos to my blog.

Scott and I watched great nature shows. Did you know orchids are the largest species of plants in the world?

Photo no. two above is an orchid Scott bought me for Valentine's Day. It did well for awhile but is now fast asleep with its long dog tongues.

And of course Winnie's Philodendron is doing well, long after she died.

Scott also bought me this unusual plant he found at the Giant. It's on one of my old Johnson Brothers' plates with a Laura Ashley Design.

Here's one of my altars. I have many in the house, my sacred objects.





AIR FORCE PILOT
PHOTO 1943

Great grandmother Julia
How proud we are of you.
Though I never met you
As you died before I was born
Your legacy lives on in my
piloting career.


For a while I flew commercial
jets all over the world. London
Bangkok, Belize - and yes my
friend Stephen Weinstein was
aboard - and ecstasy is the only
word that describes the beauty
of flying on top of the world.

Helipcopter pilots were needed
for rescue missions. The bleeding
the wounded in car crashes, the
stroke victims with their twisted
faces and useless arms belonged
to me.

Off they went to Abington Hospital
or when things were dire, downtown
to Jefferson, landing safely
on the roof, hoping for a
recovery. The surgeons
took over then with their
green surgical scrubs
as I piloted onward
to my next rescue mission.

The controls of the helicopter
were as complex as the John Wanamaker
Pipe Organ, located now in a court yard
of Macy's Center City.

If I pass, my legacy lives on.
Forget me not!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Driving the Horsham Clinic to Deliver the Compass - Poem: Hire Me at Burdick's Newstand

My son Dan routed me to Horsham Clink so I could deliver two cartons of the Compass to Dave Mauermann. They had given us a nice donation for the Compass.

I found it with no problem. For long drives - 20 mins there - I wear shoes that won't fall off my feet.

Gardeners were working nearby.

I walked over and asked the first one if he'd help me carry my cartons inside.

NO, he said.

Jose, on the other hand, said he would.

Michelle at the front desk remembered me from last year.

I asked if the food was good here and she said Yes, quite good.

People were waiting in the former living room of this former home. All I saw was someone's pocket book tho I longed to look in.

When I worked as a therapist at the late Bristol Bensalem Human Services, I actually drove a mom and her daughter, Hannah, to the clink.

Once you have a record, your life is never the same again.

1984 Ruth Z Deming was committed against her will to MCES, Montgomery County Emergency Service, and there I stayed for the three worst days of my life.

But that was yesterday. At 9 tonight Henry Louis Gates Jr will present two hours of history. Fifteen minutes to go.

Hurry Ruthie Hurry.

HIRE ME TO WORK AT BURDICK'S

Did I tell you I met Carl Burdick at the Giant?
He of the iconic Hatboro store, nearest thing to
the old Woolworth's that no one's heard of anymore.

Magazines? Hundreds
Newspapers? From the Wall Street Journal to
the Times Chronical in Jenkintown, PA.

This is a store where I'd love to work.
A cash register with its dozens of
rings, that only Carl and his wife Lillian
can operate.

She's out temporsnarily, as my dead boyfriend
Simon would say. Hip operation.

You can smell the aroma of newsprint
and see-gars all the way from Cuba.
Boxes are free as long as they're
not from Cuba.

I took a couple home with me.
Kept them on the bench in front
of the living room window Mom bought
me ages ago from Bloomingdale's.

What can you do with an empty box?
Save it perhaps for your burial chamber.


UNCLE JOE DAUTCHER'S FARM MARKET

On my upstairs bulletin board
their business card. Ellen and I
stopped by one hot summer morning.

Hiring? I asked.
Sure, said a portly woman.
Can you cook?

You tell me what to do,
and I'll do it, said I,
mopping my brow.

I wasn't fast enough
and Dautcher's went under
the wrecking ball.

Not another condo
on smothered farm land.
The pumpkins were large
as tiny planets,
the tomatoes cuddly
as baby does,
and the cinnamon buns
were weighed on the scale
and packaged in boxes
white as the winter sky.

Sure, they made a fortune,
and now they have time
for themselves. Sitting now
on the rocking chairs
on the porch, with Uncle Joe
calling, "Babe, how bout
some of them cinnamon buns?"

Just a sec, she says, going
into the house where the phone rings.
"Always wanted
to hire this woman."

I HAVE BEEN ORDERED to lose weight by Cecilia, my diabetes nurse.

Lost two pounds when I weighed myself on Scott's scale.








Monday, March 11, 2019

Op-Ed Published by Montgomery Media News - Fog Poem

We'reWe're having a problem here. The left margin cannot be seen by me. Click here for my Op-Ed.

I'lle print out the entire column

Many of us watched the Oscars on Feb. 24 with the beautifully dressed and coiffed men and women in designer clothes and jewels. It reminded me of the many individuals in New Directions, a support group I founded in 1986.
Despite being attractive and well put-together, we suffer from the challenging conditions of depression and bipolar disorder.
With a combination of medication and psychotherapy, many of us do fine and go on to live healthy lives.
A few of us in New Directions, myself included, were surprised to learn that our illness vanished. It disappeared like a fast train speeding through town.
We strongly urge you to stay on your meds. Sadly, nearly 15 percent of people with bipolar disorder die by their own hand.
When bipolar disorder assaulted me, I was faithfully taking my medication. Yet, mood swings still occurred. I would wake up leaden, as if I were chained to the bed, and could barely take care of my two young children.
When psychosis — or out-of-reality thinking — bore down on me, I felt people were spying on me, as if this was an episode of “Homeland” with Claire Danes.
Over 219 million people in the U.S. suffer from bipolar disorder and depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Illness.
Many famous individuals come forward to publicly announce their illness.
The latest individual is Michael Gerson. He is a political columnist for the Washington Post and a contributor to the “PBS NewsHour.” On Feb. 17, he delivered a sermon at the Washington National Cathedral that focused on his battle with depression.
“There should be no stigma about having depression,” he said.
“Right on, Mr. Gerson!” I say.
Shortly thereafter, a comic book character named Nadia Van Dyne revealed her own illness. In issue No. 5 of the “Unstoppable Wasp,” Ms. Van Dyne cries, “I need help.” I think I have bipolar disorder — “and I don’t think I can handle this alone.”
She writes that if mania is not treated, “a person can have episodes — intense changes in mood — especially in times of stress.”
How wonderful for young people to learn about these treatable illnesses from a format they love and trust.
With a combination of medication and psychotherapy, many of us do fine and go on to live healthy lives. Our support group boasts a house painter, a mail carrier, homemakers and social workers.
A support group or family support is vital to keep people healthy and hopeful.
Believe it or not, the symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder have been recognized as long as humans have been around. We learn from Healthline.com that Aretataeus of Turkey detailed symptoms in the first century.
The ancient Greeks and Romans were responsible for the terms “mania” and “melancholia,” which now are the modern-day “manic” and “depressive,” according to Healthline.com. The term “manic-depressive illness” is an earlier name for bipolar disorder. The early healers discovered that using lithium salts in baths calmed manic individuals. Today, lithium is a major medication used for people with bipolar disorder.
A word of caution, however, about lithium. While many people do well on the drug, others find it damages their kidneys. I personally took lithium for nearly 17 years, and it ruined my kidneys. Fortunately, my daughter, Sarah, was a match, and I had a kidney transplant in 2001. If you are on lithium, be sure to get lab tests once every six months.
Today, we’re aware of hundreds of artists and writers with mood disorders. They include Ernest Hemingway, Jimi Hendrix, Jane Pauley and Mariah Carey.
Take heart! Scientists are working diligently to come up with newer and better drugs and treatments.
If you need a psychiatrist for yourself or a family member, visit this website you findtreatment.samhsa.gov.
As you remember, The Intell refused to publish me. Long story. At Giant I sat in the cafe and and got a copy of the Times Chronicle. Good paper. That's how I decided to write for it.
I continue listening to In Their Father's Footsteps by Danielle Steele. There is not one original sentence in it. Yet I will read until the finish. In the car I listen to Fear by Bob Woodward - a book about Trump. Finally I couldn't stand it anymore and put it back in its darling plastic case, which is the best thing I can say about the book, carefully wrin by journalist Bob Woodward.
I wrote a lovely poem about the fog when I was coming home from Mom's. I stayed with her all day while my sister Ellen went to the Flower Show. I have enormous patience when I'm wirh her, unlike at home where I do this - do that - and the other thing. Well, my fingers can type fast so that may be the start of it.
This could be the start of something good, I sing in my operatic voice. I can't see a damn thing. 
DRIVING HOME FROM MOM'S IN THE MIST

Lights on
Go slow
Who knows what will drive by
A yellow schoolbus coming home
from a hockey game
An ambulance tearing across
the road
A black Ford truck
heading home from
fishing in the Poconos

All I saw was beauty
Abstract outlines of
giant trees
They could have been
Sequoias in California
Magnificent
Standing the test of time

How can I remember the
astonishing beauty
beauty
beauty
I think I am. 





— Ruth Z. Deming, founder/director, New Directions Support Group in Abington and Willow Grove


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Poem: We Love Our Pens - Two Men, submission to Into the Void



WE LOVE OUR PENS

I've stolen more pens
from my credit union
than any other. If it
goes into Chapter Eleven
blame it on me.

A writer needs all the pens
she can get. Why? Because when
you need a pen, there's none
to be found.

Finally I had a couple of
George Washington singles
to buy two pens from my library.

I wish I had a grandchild to sit
on my lap. Her name would be
Laurie Ann. I'd show her the pen
and how it works. She'd laugh
and make the buttons go up and down.

Then she'd lie down on the living room floor
and draw stick figures - a huge house filled
with windows - and I'd tape it up on my
dishwasher, part of my Barnes collection
in the kitchen.

***

My sister Lynn okayed my submission of TWO MEN to Into the Void.

The editor, Philip, said submissions were free.

I would NEVER spend money to submit, but in order for them to accept my story I was required to spend $5.

***
Would love to write more, but am going upstairs to watch a special on Dick Van Dyke, who's in his 90s.

My short story, and you know how seriously I take my stories, was influenced by Netflix's Paddington, where two men loved each other to death. And, yes, one of them was dying and took the death elixir.

Note to myself: Don't berate yourself for spending the $5.

Library book: THE MARTHA MANUAL, How to Do (Almost) Everything.

Missed our Library Book Group as I was at Mom's. We had a great time, remembering the past.

In the kitchen, I'm listening to a terrific Danielle Steel book called In the Footsteps of Our Fathers. Emailed it to Aunt Selma via Cousin Linda.

In the car, it's FEAR by Bob Woodward. Trump thinks he's gonna lose the election and after he wins - Lock up Hilary Lock Up Hilary - he asks various people to be on his team.

Most reject his offers.

Would you if he gave you a million dollars?

I'd move to DC faster than you can say, anti-dis-establish-ment-arianism, a big word Dad taught me when I was a kid.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Nirvana and other things of interest - Poem: Lemon Girl Scout Cookies - Poem: Nirvana


NIRVANA

Sharing the drawer
with the pink socks
the red Wolf Sanctuary sweatshirt
my passport with my unsmiling face
lay my PJs filled with
blue doo-dads
that clung to my body
like Pantyhose
when I wore them
for the night.

At dawn when the purple light
slithered through the drapes
I lay stock still
remembering.

The cold. Near zero.
Only inches from the window
I felt beloved by the world
the cold sun
my ice-covered roof.

***

LEMON GIRL SCOUT COOKIES

Cookies, like homo sapiens,
are constantly evolving.

The Girl Scouts have a
taste for adventure

Thin Mints, Samoas with the
coconut that sticks between
your teeth, shortbread, plain
as toast but awfully good,
and finally Lemon Cookies.

Sort of like a lemon pound cake
but compacted the way they do
the cars in a junkyard

One more Lemon cookie, please,

***

What's a Golden Birthday? asked Gregg Whiteside
of WRTI-FM?

The day your age is the same as the year of your birth.

A milestone has been reached in the treatment of depression.
A nasal spray approved by the FDA that banishes depression in minutes.

Margie mailed it to me last night and I read it after our ND group.

Click here.

***
After I woke up I put my breakfast in the oven to warm up by pilot light.

Oatmeal with frozen fruit on top.

***
Am listening in the kitchen to Danielle Steele's IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS.

Starts off in a concentration camp.

Will email it to my centenarian Aunt Selma in South Euclid, Ohio through her devoted son/law Jack.

***
Andre Watts was playing a work by Listz which led me to look up Watts.




And then on to Seiji Ozawa, who championed new music.

Was despised by many in his orchestras who refused to play the music. He's 83 and still playing.



Here he is with Haruki Mirakami in a discussion they had. I believe Haruki wrote a book about it.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

I had a dream - Poem: New Word for Snow - And of course I ran after Mailman Dante



On the CREATE CHANNEL I watched a dynasty of divers go after mussels. 

The host was a fellow from the Hebrides, an archipelago off the northwest coast of Scotland. 

The divers can stay underwater for 13 minutes without getting sick or getting the bends when they come up.

I had a lucid dream. I had decided to stay under water and die. Why I do not know. There I was, under water, watching the same beautiful scenery as in the documentary.

It felt good at first but then I began gulping air, so I didn’t die. I was mad at myself for my lack of courage.

Last night, March 1, I stayed up late sending off an OpEd to Montgomery Newspapers. Ada was most helpful! I also changed the New Directions calendar to March.

Dreaded tasks which must be done if you're the Leader of the Free World.

This morning when I sent an email alert to members of New Directions, I wrote this poem.

NEW WORD FOR SNOW

The Icelanders have 46 words for snow.
The Inuits, 50.
Is this really true?
We'll skip over the question
with its myriad answers
as I walked last night in a
constitution of snow
I have never met before. 

Hoping not to meet it head-on
I bent my knees and walked
in the slush - it sounded like
I was shoveling with my feet

And more of this strikingly beautiful
slatrickular
slooping from the skies.

***
A woman from our support group called last night.

The problems she has with her husband and daughter are, on a scale of 1 to 10, a number 8, so they could be worse.

I must send her a card.

Dante had already been here, leaving two tax forms.

I put them in my shoebox of tax forms.

I wrote her a lovely note, saying Your OY VEY List is getting longer. I gave her some pointers of what to do, including drinking fresh squeezed blood orange juice.

Also asked her to ask GOD: Why have you chosen me above all people to bear the troubles of our Family Circus?

Scuse me. The phone just rang.

AND wish me luck as the time has come to write a short story for THE BEEHIVE.





Friday, March 1, 2019

Mailing the Compass and other trivialities - Poem: Cold, Colder, Coldest

Earlier today I got a phone call from Blanche Lipshutz. I had sent her a card saying what a great person she is and also her daughter Judy. She said she would never forget when I drove to her place in the pouring rain to borrow some Cogentin, a side-effect pill for my trembling hands from lithium. Who would ever believe lithium would eventually kill my kidneys and I'd need a transplant from Sarah Lynn.

Wrote an op-ed column for Montgomery Media. Ada is checking it right now. I think it's pretty good. Remember when you were a kid and learned about the order of paragrafs? That was a problem for me in the essay.

Earlier today I plopped onto the carpet to address envelopes to mail out the Compass.

I still have free envelopes someone gave me. Dozens.

I used different color Magic Markers and tried to write as neatly as I could. Mailed to cover photographer David Robertson - wrote Many Thanks on the outside of the envelope - Nancy Wolen had the back cover - she wanted 7 copies - Freda Rose Samuels wanted 2, which I sent her.

Went to the Willow Grove post office where Robin helped me. Never met her before or the other posteristas. I have such an affinity for mail carriers. Possibly it dates from when I lived with Curtis in San Francisco, left him for cheating on me, and when I got home, would always watch for the mail truck to see if he'd written me.

He was a great cook. Shrimp and spaghetti. As a teenager he went to a juvenile forestry camp for robbing cab drivers. He'd sit in the back and then put his hand around their throats and threaten him.

Just watched Amanpour. Walter Isaacson interviewed Jill Abramson about her new book Merchants of Dreams. She was fired from the NY Times and accused of plagiarism for this book. Of not giving proper citations.

Her voice is like a southern drawl that draws out the longer she talks. Passing strange.

So in my new Op-Ed piece, which is 186 words too long, I do not give proper citations and I do plagiarize.

Am I too tired now - it's past midnight - and it's March 1 - to work on it now?

COLD, COLDER, COLDEST

I had a ridiculous fantasy

earlier today. Having just made

a gorgeous egg with associates

sizzling in the copper pan

I thought What fun it would be

to eat it on the back porch.

Unlocking the porch door

the wind blew me like a

piece of toilet paper

back into the house.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Peanut butter cookies

Just in!

I burned an entire batch!

***

The whole house smells of peanut butter cookies. Was it an impulse purchase that made me buy the Betty Crocker mix?

Not all all. I wanna bring them to the Beehive at 2 pm.

The timer just rang. The cookies look great but they're soft in the middle like me.

Four more minutes.

Meantime I'm reading EDUCATED, a Memoir by Tara Westover, which I've described as living in a medieval torture chamber.

When I woke up I mis-read my clock and thought it was 10 am.

It was actually 8 am.

Ran downstairs and ate my oatmeal and peanut butter, waiting for me in the stove.

Ate slowly while listening to a Passage to India by EM Forster.

Followed the directions for the Betty Crocker peanut butter cookies mix.

You needed tablespoons of things.

I had no tablespoons, only teaspoons.

Twice I lost everything I wrote on my blog so I'm typing it now onto Wordpad.

My short story for today is tentatively called IVAN.

His real name is Arnie but ain't Ivan a great name?

The proofs came in from Rene, the graphic designer.

Lots of corrections must be made.




PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

Betty Crocker in her Starbucks Apron
has made one batch of peanut butter cookies.
They are good, maybe even delicious.

Tiny cracks like rivers in Minnesota
jigsaw across each delicacy, which
Betty, really me, Ruth Z,
thinks, What could be better?

Cookies for breakfast, baked in
total silence so I could focus
on what I was doing.

Mrs. Evelyn Hess, my fifth grade
teacher in Shaker Heights, would
have been proud of me.

But who will save me if a prowler
breaks in at night?

Can I talk him down?

Friday, February 22, 2019

2019 Compass - A Thousand Oy vehs! - Poem: The Fear of Insolvency - It Grows and Grows

Numerous problems have arisen, but Rene and I will take care of them.

Entered my short story Finding Mailman Dante into Pure Slush.

One of the best YT videos was about a runner who was brutally attacked by a young mountain lion in Colorado and finally killed him.

Check it out here.

Also watched a very long video about the daughter of a serial killer in Wichita, Kansas.

Here's a video. From Feb. 15, 2019. Gruesome, of course.

How did you NOT know? is the question Kerri was asked. I think that's her name. She has a happy marriage and two children. Of course after she found out, her life was ruined: panic attacks, psychiatric hospitalizations, suicidal ideation or attempts.

Scuse me while I get my oatmeal w peanut butter and almond milk which is soaking via pilot light in the oven.

Wore my Starbucks apron so I wouldn't drip onto my clothing.

Scott stopped over with the greens and lo sodium matzo ball soup I'd requested.

Who should I write a postcard to, I asked.

Bernie Sanders. So I did.

THE FEAR OF INSOLVENCY

Once we were honored by grants.
That day is no more.
The first thing I'd do
was buy a new CD or two. Glenn Gould,
of course, maestro Karl Richter on organ,
Rubinstein playing Debussy.

The performers are dead, while
the music lives on.

What a wonderful breakfast I ate
Waved to the trashmen
While sipping on vanilla sugarbush tea
and celebrating the craziness of life
one sip at a time.

***

That was yesterday's poem.

Lemme write one for today.

IT GROWS AND GROWS AND GROWS

A spikey plant called Dracena has made its home
with me on my front window sill.

Its stalks, slender as a high heel, bend toward the
light

The other stalk touches the high ceiling.

A strange sound squeaks from above

Fee figh ho hum

I smell the blood of an Englishman.



Why, tis the young Albert Finney, newly dead at 82.

Scott and I will celebrate Valentine's Day at 3 pm today at Bonefish Grill.

I'll bring my champagne and drink only a tiny bit.

Readers, whomever you are.

Celebrate Valentine's Day, the Day of Love, EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

It's snowing, it's snowing

No telling, honest to God, what will thrill us - or me  - next.

I wanted to discover the very first snow flurries.

They began coming down at ten minutes to ten, or 9:50.

We had our support group last night. Small but mighty.

Helped a lotta people.

Ada and I drove Margie home. She lives in a lovely area in Horsham, townhouses.

Cars were parked in the street. You had to squeeze through.

Just found a poem I wrote about Horsham.

PASTOR RON

The trail of breadcrumbs led me
to a living room in Pennsylvania
part of a development whose name escapes me.
They had a gas fireplace in the living room
and islands of creamy white Corleon countertops
in the kitchen.

It was a book discussion group,
led by Pastor Ron, his home
before leaving for the temple. 

There were eight of us gathered around
The usual seven plus a new man who sat beside me
I watched him from the side. A face like any other,
large nose, hooked a bit,
curved mouth bespeaking ill fitting
but ardent false teeth. 

He spoke and his arms waved in the air,
I watched those arms, followed them
wherever they went,
waving
like an orchestra conductor,
Leonard Bernstein
nearing crescendo with swords.

Or Moses
standing on his mountain in Canaan
commanding
his people to behave themselves. 

And then from my seat beside him
I saw the way his shirt cuffs
were unbuttoned at the wrist,
Unbuttoned, so he could be more comfortable.
And I wondered what it was like
to love a man so much.

It was really a Bible-discussion group but they
didn’t call it that. They called it a book discussion group
And they were all moved by the call of God,
except for the man with the shirt cuffs.
He lived in a house by the water and walked
along the beach. He didn’t say it,
but the man was looking for God. 

And Pastor Ron said, “I was called to the Lord
when I was eleven years old.”
He lived in Oklahoma back then,
still had the twang, huge as a smile,
and round eyeglasses.

You could see him under those vast Oklahoma skies,
more sky than earth,
a boy swinging on a tire swing, round as a Cheerio. 

And the pastor spoke and he was telling his story
and you wondered how many times
he had told that story,
hundreds certainly,
a man with the face of the kind of boy
you’d sit next to in the third grade
and never in a million years pick
for your side of the baseball team. 

And he looked out into the middle of the room,
maybe at Lillian or Herman,
eyes blazing,
his beautiful wife Shari of
thirty-three years sat next to him, her face
radiant, this was her husband Pastor Ron speaking,
she sat in a flowered chair with a look
that can only be described as rapture,
and I sat there, too, watching her rapture. 

Ron was leaning forward in his chair,
one of those little
mock rockers that look like a real chair
but rock
when you sit down. 

And he looked at me sometimes
and I sat there taken in,
oh, boy, was I taken in,
big time.
consumed with white fire
- it did no harm – just
seared my insides hot to the touch. 

He wasn’t talking loudly, mind you,
not spewing out spitlets that glistened in
the lamp’s glow,
but just reporting, 

just put himself back there when he was eleven years old
and the Lord came calling one morning
and swallowed him whole.

***
It was published somewhere. Where, I do not remember.

***

I am sipping lukewarm Dark Roast Coffee, Giant Brand. Quite good, but, baby, some like it hot, and I'm one of them!

Lemme check and see if the mailman is on our street.

He just came. Brought only junk mail.

I had one item to mail, so I hobbled across the street to give it to him.

A very important note. 

He said it's very difficult to drive and to walk. He was all bundled up like a downhill skiier. 

***
Just added hot water to my coffee, which I'm drinking in my celebrating the marriage of Harry and Meghan cup.

So many different cups to choose from.

I'd like to have a party in the Spring, after the snow is gone.

***
Damn! Won't be able to invite Ron Abrams. 215 627 1012. 



Or Stephen Weinstein, whose photo I can't find.

Pastor Ron and his wife moved to West Plains, Montana.

All things are possible with the Lord, he writes.

IT'S SNOWING

Throughout the night
I pulled back my lavender drapes
and stared.

Nothing.
Nothing.

The first flakes came down
at ten minutes to ten.

I was there, like Jesus at Golgotha.

Kalie, the dog who lives across
the street, is barking.

Has Jesus come, or is it
the Mailman?

The roofs are now white
like spun sugar or
frosting for a wedding cake.

On the backyard deck
tiny feet have left an
imprint.

Let the snows come
Let the birds scurry to their nests
Let peace be upon the earth.


Image result for jesus at golgotha

Watch John Oliver on Mike Pence. He also discusses James Dobson, Focus on the Family.