Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Milk and Bread Run to the Giant - Poems for Adryn and Cathy - Photo of Bald Eagle in Hanover, PA

Scott will be shocked when he visits the new Produce Aisle at the Giant.

Shall I keep it a secret until he goes shopping on the weekend? 

The new arrangerment was accomplished, said Ed the Produce Man, in two late nights. Funny, I told him, b/c I had an urge to go out late last night.... just to do something different.... since I'm such a "creature of habit."

In fact, I went out halfway down my walkway and photographed the beautiful night world. What I really wanted to capture were the high mounds of silky-shiny snow.

It was pitch-dark out but a street lamp glows bright as the sun.

Was it Heather who said they took a survey and this is what the customers want?

I doubt that very much. Look at what a cynic I am at my young age.

Of COURSE I saw Bill Babb. He had already eaten in the Coffee Shop. I told him I would do the hard work first - shopping - and then reward myself by eating.

He had a huge shopping list.

Here's Jim, the sales rep for Boar's Head Cheese.

He urged me to take handfuls of samples of their cheese.

"You won't get an opportunity like this very often," he said.

Jim lives in Bristol but I didn't see him do the Bristol Stomp! 

I will do the Stomp after I finish bloggin. Nice lookin' white boys. The Dovells. I always thought they were black. Wonder where they are today?

 Nice wide aisles so you won't have to play Bumper Carts with the other shoppers.

Image result for bumper cars 
We had these at Euclid Beach in Cleveland where I grew up.

Ed the Produce Man, retired teacher at LaSalle, has a three-tiered cart he's unloading. Told me a lot of of produce managers came out to help with the new arrangement. Said that a guy named Ron was the head of it.

When I spoke to Ron he denied it.

Look at these nice wide aisles.

Organic section.

Oh no! I thought. I am really out of it! Look at these new beige-colored fruits they've imported and I have no idea what they are.

They're sponges to clean things off with.

Huge check-out lines. They moved quickly.

I ate an enormous salad in the Coffee Shop. One of my containers had delicious tuna fish, another a slice of water melon that wasn't very good so I didn't finish it. Look, if I'd been at Stalingrad during the siege, I'd have split it three ways so my kids could have some.

 Turned off my heat and am sitting with the storm door shut. I wanna be a part of the snowy day.

Canceled the ND meeting for tonight. Too bad b/c we had really important work to do.

So do I. Gotta work on some writing. Freda thought my story "David's Photo Album" was exquisite. She also gave me a few places I've gotta fix. The woman is 89 and still has a great mind.

She and husband Bernie's photo are on my bulletin board at my upstairs computer.

Finished the three poems for the three baristas:  Adryn, Cathy and Kiana.

Gave Adryn and Cathy their poems today.

Adryn loved her poem. Her goal is to own her own restaurant - southern-style food. What a great achievement that will be. She may start off with a Food Truck, to get her name out there.

Her name, Adryn, was selected by her mom who sat down with pencil and paper, writing down various names until she came up with "Adryn."

Here's Cathy with a "C" I had noticed. She always has beautiful nails which I referenced in the poem.

Let's take a peek at the Bald Eagles and their two little eggs. Click here. Their home is in Hanover PA.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Last photo for The Compass - Writers Group photo - finally used manual popcorn machine

Scott, I said, Come over early - he leaves for the train at 8 pm - I'll drive you, I said - and We'll figger out how to work my new popcorn machine.

First, we 'seasoned' it. Then I used 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels, turned the heat to medium, and FINALLY, we heard em popping.

A mighty thrill!

The popcorn is good, but not great. Am munching it now as I type.

Just bit into a huge chunk of butter in the serving bowl which didn't melt.

Woke up today and said, This is a day of rest.

Then I remembered... had to advertise our ND meeting tomro nite plus our Meditation Program on Saturday.

Whole lot of melting went on plus salt trucks n ploughs came up n down the street, thank you Upper Moreland Township!

What I particularly like are THE SHINY MOUNDS OF SNOW. Never saw anything like it.

Image result for the piano lesson movie Damn good movie, made in 1995, based on a play by the recently deceased August Wilson. It's part of a series of plays about blacks living in Pittsburgh during the Depression.

At 1:30 pm, five women from our Writers' Group met in the coffee shop for our group photo.

Cast of characters: Martha, Carly, Donna, Ruthie and Linda.

Adryn took the pic. Our assignment was to write poems about the baristas. I'd wrin one about Kiana, but she wasn't there. It was in the form of a cinquin, but I said to myself: This is silly. That form means nothing to her. Let me expand it. So I did.

YOU will be the first to read it.

 Scott asked me if I was wearing a new sweater. No, I said, I have so many sweaters they hide from me, and I just found it. It's very warm!

Martha's nail polish cost 99 cents from K Mart. Donna and Marf do their own nails. Not me. I don't have the patience.

It's a beautiful night out there.

Wish I could capture the quality of the shiny mounds of snow.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Willow Grove Bible Church - morning services from Revelations

The snow was falling lightly when I left home at 10:35 to attend Sunday services at the Willow Grove Bible Church on Division and Everett Roads, seven minutes away from home.

Went back inside to grab my broom, hoping I would not need it after services.

On Sunday, March 1, the snow blankets the ground.

Had no prob coming home. Kept switching gears.... from one to three....

Unlike Tom Selleck in Magnum PI, who has a Ferrari

Image result for magnum pi car This is one of the Netflix films I chose to watch last nite, while Scott snored next to me.

Am listening to WRTI-FM. Christopher O'Riley is playing the Rite of Spring with someone named Sean, I believe. I went on FB and told him I'm really digging it!!!

Lori Meed made me feel very comfortable when I walked into the church.

She told me a story about how The Lord has personally helped her. Her daughter, Rebecca, is getting married on June 6 in Bethlehem, PA. Lori prayed to find a dress for herself. For $25 she found a navy short-sleeve, below-the-knee dress from Impact Thrift on Route 309.

In addition she found pots n pans reduced from $1,000 for $250 online.

We live in so many worlds.... the material and the spiritual and the emotional.

I told Pastor Ken Barkley that worshipping with them was intensely emotional. I loved it!!!

I sang along. My throat actually hurt a bit cuz I'm not used to singing.

It was quite cold in the huge room - it's actually a basement - just like the "lower level" of my house - which is ffffreezing. I drank a couple cups of coffee to warm up.

I asked Pastor Ken to pray for a friend of mine who is out of control with bipolar disorder, whereabouts unknown.

Stranger things have happened than having this prayer answered.

The music team is SUPERB - Lori's husband, Mark, plays guitar and also had a solo. Pastor Ken's wife has a beautiful singing voice.

Young man Ruby plays guitar. His folks - Kim and Bob - were playing keyboards off to the side. We prayed that his older bro, Eric, would pass his Helicopter Test on March 3 in San Diego, where he's stationed in the Navy.

We prayed about a lot of conditions, including drug addiction.

I said, truthfully, that the only way a married couple would remain addiction-free is if they receive Christ as their personal savior.

You have to know where people are "coming from" in order to help them.

Burt Plaster
Pastor Ken Barkley
 Joni Plaster

Wrote about them in a previous blog post. 

Am ecstatic about having their photos.

Image result for laszlo gyulai  Dr Laszlo Guylai, psychiatrist at Penn, once asked me if I were a Buddhist.

Read my post about visiting Buddhists in Bensalem, PA, near where I worked as a psychotherapist.

I answered the Jewish-born Laszlo by saying, "I'm probably a combination of many different religions, including, of course, Judaism."

His parents survived concentration camps in their native Hungary.

His wife Peggy is an artist.

Pastor Ken, on the right, is a powerful speaker, charismatic, I'd say.

"We pray to you, Oh Lord, to help us become who you want us to be."

I really liked that line. He preached about what it would be like to see Jesus in the flesh.

A marvel for those who love him, but a terror for sinners.

In the Baghavad Gita, there is also a portion where Arjuna meets Shiva. I read the Gita after my first manic-psychotic episode in 1984.

I walked into the Upper Moreland Library and walked straight back to the right book shelf.

Image result for arjuna meets shiva

In an interview, I heard the late William F Buckley, Jr. say, he was most concerned about whether or not he was going to heaven.

Pastor Ken, facing the 40 or so people in the large room, which included a couple of children, spoke about meeting Christ the Savior:

John’s Vision of Christ


I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[d] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.

  16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels[e] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

LORI Meed, originally from Ontario, asked me if I had a Jewish bible. What this means is The Old Testament.  

Yes, I said. I got it when I was confirmed from Temple on the Heights or B'nai Jeshurun in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.

When I got my BA in psychology from Temple University, took a wonderful lit class in which we studied several books of the Bible, including my favorite, Job. When I was suffering from bipolar d/o, I would read passages from Job, esp. these. Click here.

The snow is still tinkling away outside, the sound of little ice crystals.

Am gonna visit Scott next door. He leaves for work at 7:30 pm and will walk to the train. 

Hopefully the train is running.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sarah Hope Kagan, PhD, RN, on Mental Health and Well Being as We Age

It was easy to see why Dr Kagan is an award-winning teacher. Before I got there, she and a couple of others, pulled the chairs into a circle so we could all see one another and have a more intimate setting.

Since New Directions is a nonprofit, we got a gift card and Robin Franklin and Suzanne provided coffee and snacks.

Sarah hails from a farm in Michigan and currently lives in Center City. Altho she has a car, the very safe Swedish Saab, she learned about when she gave a talk in Sweden, she walks everywhere, including to work.

Her friend Angela, also a nurse, drove her to the Giant. Angela was surprised to find it had metamorphosed from a Home Despot.

They enjoyed the time to talk outside of work.

We went around the circle, said our names, why we were here, and asked a question.

After everyone spoke, Sarah remembered everyone's names, and said, Great question. She makes you feel good!

Ron Abrams came in late b/c there was an accident that held up traffic from downtown.

Sarah, who will be 53, brings 30 years of gerontological experience to her talks which she gives all over the world.

  She and Herb Smith, PhD, head of Penn's Population Studies Center, studied demographics - the statistical data of a population, especially those showing average age, income, education, etc. - on Growing Old Around the Globe.

Sarah plus another nurse teach the course at Penn. We can take it if we choose!

Current lifespan in the USA is 79.  Fifty years ago, lifespan was about 65.

The longer you live, the more your life expectancy will increase. 

Women live longer than men. One reason is their ability to socialize. Isolating yourself if you're old is the worst thing you can do. We must have interpersonal relationships and see other people.

The longest living women in the world live in Hong Kong and Macao, both are part of China. BUT, there's been so much modernization in China, including unhealthy air pollution and cigarette smoking, we wonder how long that distinction will last.

Orange County, CA, she noted, has the healthiest populations in the country, due to tobacco cessation.

Wiki - Orange County is included in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Image result for orange county ca It's also a wealthy community. In poverty-stricken communities people die young. They are uneducated and fall into bad dietary habits that bring on obesity and a host of other problems.

In Russia and Japan, men die 10 years younger b/c they smoke.

Image result for freud smoking cigar
Interesting Aside: Freud was 83 when he died of jaw cancer via euthanasia. He smoked 20 cigars a day. Read about it here. Just b/c you read about it doesn't mean it's true. 

Demographics show that Pennsylvania has the oldest population and Pittsburgh has the most old people, with 24 percent of the population.

Older adults also reside in Philadelphia, Buffalo and Boston.


Sun City, Arizona was developed specifically as a retirement community.

Oh, goody-goody. Let's move to Sun City, relax and do nothing.

 Image result for picture of casket
In the old days when America was an agrarian society, people worked on their farms from sundown to sunset and died, often while they were hard at work.

Image result for mule and plow

We must think of "age-friendly" places.

Ada and Rich touted the memory unit of Brandywine at Dresher where 105-yo Lillian Moss lives.

Image result for brandywine at dresher

Sarah Kagan had some encouraging words about dementia.

Meds can slow the disease process. As can a healthy diet and exercise.

And learning new things, particularly a new language or playing a musical instrument.

Image result for banjo player

Rich Fleisher.... is that YOU playing the banjo?

The Music Department of the brain is different than the language part and may still be quite active. When visitors arrive in dementia units and sing or play the piano, the residents may participate, as that part of their brain is still active.

Larry Kirschner plays piano in several nursing homes. 

She discussed the importance of intergenerational relationships.

It's important to me and also to Max, nearly 2, that we have a close relationship.

Sarah cited a Pew Foundation study - Growing Old in America: Expectations vs Reality - view it here.

People age in different ways and we should value the way each person ages. Stereotypes include wrinkles, stooped over and white hair. These may be genetic traits. There are, however, ways we can get beyond our genomes. More later.

Sarah teaches college students and asks them to share experiences about their grandparents. And how they can learn from them. Wonder if they ever thought of that before.

She surprises them by saying, You age from the moment you're born. You're aging right now sitting in this class.

Image result for student in class

This was interesting.... the older we get, the more we're like "ourselves" and not like our peer group.

Hotel Maids Study. Maids were generally poor, immigrants, and uneducated.

Two groups. Both did the same things. One group was told "Your job keeps you really healthy." That group had lower blood pressure and lost weight. Read about it in The Times.

A Yale study showed the most insidious form of 'ageism' - prejudice against the aging - is self-stereotyping. "Oh, I can't do it b/c I'm too old."

Image result for clint eastwood Does 84-yo Clint Eastwood believe he's too old to direct movies?

It's a sad fact that as we age, our contemporaries die.

Rich Fleisher had spoken to his mom/law years ago. She told him she was depressed.

Why, he asked. You have everything!

All my peers are gone, she said.

Talking about it helps. My 92-yo mom always calls me when one of her friends dies. I commiserate with her.

We all grew up in a historical time period, said Sarah.

At Brandywine, when I visited Ada's mom, they have reminders of things like

Image result for washboards

Image result for old tvs  and of course

Image result for papyrus

Sarah writes the "Myths of Aging" column for Calkins newspapers. She went to school with one of the Calkins family members. Read her column here.

He was a CEO and told her There should be a mandatory retirement age.

There should NOT be a mandatory age, she said. Think of what the newspaper would be missing if he/she left. All the wisdom he's gathered and can share with the rest of the staff. Plus it's more economical not to hire and train someone new.

When Sarah gave a presentation in California at a nursing home, Sister David asked her, Would you like our memory games?

Yes indeed! These can be found on the Internet and can be useful tools in strengthening the memory.

Many of us in the room - including Rich, Ada and myself - are frequent exercisers.

B/c we exercise, we are actually changing the genomes in our brain. This is good to know!

Helpful handouts:  Click to enlarge.

Afterward, we all went downstairs and sat in the Coffee Shop and talked. Teresa was raised by her beloved grandmother in Jim Thorpe, PA, hence her accent. When her grandmother developed Alz's disease, Teresa's mother had no patience with her and once hit her in the head with a broom.

Sarah Kagan commented on this saying that elder abuse is common and is usually caused by uncontrollable stress in dealing with an elderly person.

We suggested that Teresa volunteer in a nursing home since she so enjoyed caring for her grandmother.

The Kirks - Betsey, Raighney and Will - were gonna see the movie "Still Alice" at the Hiway in Jenkintown.

Image result for alice film alzheimer's

Betsey said, "Let's not ruin the optimism I'm feeling after today's program."

I could never see those films - or read the books - about brilliant individuals - such as author Iris Murdoch - who undergo these horrific illnesses.

I've written about several of them, though.

Here's "Suite 1104," or whatever it's called, published in Writing Disorder. 

I am totally inspired by Sarah Kagan's talk. If you'll excuse me, up the stairs I go to my stationery bike, where I'll be mindful, like the hotel maids, of how my Ride to Nowhere is actually a Ride Toward Good Health.

And tomorrow, I'm doing something new, which invigorates our brains.

Am going to hear Pastor Ken Barkley give his sermon at the Willow Grove Bible Church just around the corner.

Image result for sermon on the mount