Saturday, December 25, 2010

For Karen

"I cannot walk an inch without trying to walk to God. I cannot move a finger without trying to touch God.
Perhaps it is this way:

He is in the graves of the horses.
He is in in the swarm, the frenzy of the bees.
He is in the tailor mending my pantsuit.
He is in Boston, raised up by skyscrapers.
He is in the bird, that shameless flyer.
He is in the potter who makes clay into a kiss."
Anne Sexton

For Karen who turns love into stone
Then stone into love
Then love into a kiss
Then a kiss into a memory
Then a memory into a life together.

This spring we will finally turn the old garage into a new pottery studio.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

a face in the crowd

I was asked to visit the radio station yesterday. It was a non radio Tuesday and a bit unusual that we would be there. Six emotionally disturbed teenagers from a private school were touring the station with their teacher and the volunteer coordinator wanted the kids to know about "Don't Dis My Ability". After they talked with engineers and a DJ and saw the broadcast rooms, they met with us in the reception area. The teacher had them line up on a couch and I immediately sensed pain in the air-no I'm not physic. But it was palpable as experiencing rain in a thunderstorm. They were asked to introduce themselves. I sat almost knee to knee with a young girl who had a ragged scar on the left side of her face. She said in a calm, flat voice, "Hi, my name is -----. I was six years old and in a car with my father. He was driving drunk and we got into an accident. Half my face was ripped off. Her classmates reacted like they had heard her unusual introduction many times before. Pray for her. Pray that she becomes older then six years old.-love to all in this harsh world.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Film-"Just One More Day"

I woke up yesterday morning at 4:30 filled with undefinable emotions all mixed together that felt like the Gordian Knot inside my stomach. Our film on suicide prevention was done and we were showing it for the first time to the brave souls who revealed their darkest moments for all to see. It may not have Hollywood production values, but it is a powerful film done by a first time film maker. Once the film began I became absorbed once again. I say once again because I had seen the film through numerous revisions. I should also mention that the consultation that I was a part of was on the highest level between the film maker, professional grief counselor,our radio engineer and myself--never the slightest hint of ego or argument. I was taught the power of having pure motives. No one cared about anything but getting it right and saving lives. The stakes were high though. Six months of hard work could have gone down the drain if the film participants did not approve. The lights came on and the mother of one young man who suffered a brain injury and then tried to commit suicide had tears in her eyes and I knew from the reaction of the others that the film was a go. I could not help but notice when I was sitting in that dark room watching images from last May that the former 400 lb. Ronnie was struggling with breathing and life in general. I really wonder if there would have been a yesterday watching that film if I had not come to my senses and realized I had a problem and I needed the help of my family, friends and a God who never tires of giving His creation "Just One More Day".

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

See,! I'm not the only one.

Last month I was enjoying a quiet bucolic moment of which I have many in the Maine countryside. I was sitting in my recliner feeling wonderful. In the past I would go to bed feeling like a failure before going to bed when I would put on mu sleep apnea equipment so I could breath at night. The ritual was a nightly reminder of failure that whatever else I could and have accomplished in my life, I was unable to breath and walk like a normal human being. I would wake up atom by atom very slowly the next morning as if waiting for a cosmic decision as to whether I should continue. Now, My sleep apnea equipment is gathering dust on my nightstand and I have purchased a conversion kit that will enable the contraption to be turned into a lamp. Getting back to my wonderful Maine morning moment, I was experiencing a quiet euphoria induced by 8 oz. of Greek yogurt, 6 oz of blueberries and 1 oz of oat bran and a God who doesn't know the meaning of absolute failure when I heard strange animal sounds that seem to come from the walls-not sure I planned my day thinking it might be another one of those quite common yogurt hallucinations listed as possible side effect on the container-thank God for the USDA. About an hour later and throughout the day the strange animal sounds came back but each time they were different. My sharp mind deduced an infestation of of small creatures looking for a winter home inside our walls. I was anxious for Karen to come home from work so we could consult about getting a pest exterminator. Karen heard me out and then said the noises were coming from the Audubon clock she had purchased. Every hour on the hour strange bird sounds were emitted. I no longer feel like a failure, but my grasp on reality is as tenuous as ever. Last night, Samaya was sitting on Karen's lap and the clock began chirping startling Samaya who clearly preferred a vegetarian clock like her mother. See! I'm not the only one!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A sofa and a turtle

Every entry should start with an apology. As the full of it banker once said in a W.C. Fields movie, "Allow me to express my heartfelt contrition." The camera panned to his dead fish handshake--a handshake that I emulated every holiday much to the annoyance of my macho uncles who expected a firm manly handshake. My brother and I would laugh til it hurt as they walked away murmuring "What's wrong with those boys?"
Not what I wanted to write about so ignore all that nonsense and for that matter also ignore this nonsense coming your way. In fact, show some backbone and stop reading this stuff write now. O.K. I warned you. Reality shows. I get it. Cheap to produce--let the camera roll and enjoy the train wreck of the dysfunctionites taking place in your living room. And what's next when they outlaw tanning booths in New Jersey -or outlaw New Jersey--even better. They had their chance. Housewives have their own shows, but no husbands. Every major city has a house wives show. There are no ill mannered inappropriately dressed husbands? I'm one for sure. My pants have been hanging on for dear life for decades in public. Anyway, what's next? I have the answer. Even cheaper tv to fit the economic disaster of the times. A turtle and a living room with and a camera. A little water for the turtle--no water needed for the sofa. No actors or pseudo actors. No embarrassing charity events or off key singing. Turtles don't do anything for free--even singing. Watch the turtle slowly and I mean slowly walk across the living room heading for the sofa. Too fast? Velcro a brick to his shell and slow him down. Be lulled into a meditative trance and realize that your life is not so boring after all. I got to go for coffe with my friend. I feel better.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Brief Visit

A Brief Visit

In the distance I saw an ancient face
I walked the polished stone floor in her direction
She did not care for the sunlight of the living
Preferring enigmatic smiles covered in lifeless dust
The beautiful helplessness of armless Greek Gods
All gathered on a starry starry night
I came to late
Perhaps by a minute
Or a thousand years
She had made her decision
No more asking a question
No more listening to the answer
Her eyes were closed forever
Her expression forever formed
She had traveled in
Leaving behind a marker on a pedestal
I leaned over the velvet rope
She whispered only for my ears
"Let the caller and the called disappear
be lost in the Call"*


Thursday, October 28, 2010


Memories are like ancient cities that always seem to have yet another buried existence.
I ended up buying my grandmother's house when it was determined that someone should be around for safety's sake. Personally, I thought she would live forever preserved by hard work in the garden, eating raw horse radish and garlic, powdered donuts and half cooked bacon. The only food of hers that I could tolerate was home bread and pizza. I was always puzzled how someone who could make such tasty bread would sometimes make a sandwich without bread-believe me that is not a pretty sight. It's the conversations we had sitting in the living room while she would make rag rugs by hand without looking or seeming to concentrate on the task that I remember the most. She would complain about being in her eighties and having out lived all her friends and that soon it would be her time to die. I said, "Ma, if you were going to die you would have died years ago. After all, most people live to 75 or 80, but you've passed that age a long time ago so I don't really think you are going to die. Now Ma had no sense of humor, but she was devoted to her family- even grandchildren that she suspected had fallen down and hit their heads when they were little. That look and shake of the head, full of compassion for her not-right grandson was back once again. We also had odd theological discussions. We would talk about God and I said God was unknowable. Again the sad shake of the head for her Jewish grandson. I was Jewish because in Poland they only had Jews and Catholics and since I was not Catholic I had to be Jewish-plus I wore a hat if any more proof was needed. Anyway, she opened up her incredibly large Polish Bible filled with illustrations. Polish Bibles also have recipes for galumpkis(stuffed cabbage) and kruskies(a kind of a cookie). She turned to an illustrated portrait of God majestic in his white robes and flowing white hair. I must say He looked good for his age and bore a striking resemblance to country singer Kenny Rogers. Once again, faced with irrefutable evidence, I had to admit that God was not unknowable. Buying her a Xmas gift was close to impossible. What do you get someone who has nothing, and doesn't want or need anything? I bought for her a small statue of a lady that could have passed for Mary, the mother of Jesus. In the days after the holiday I could tell she was perturbed and puzzled by something. Finally she came into the living room one evening carrying my Xmas gift with a serous look on her face. "Ronnie, why you give me a statue of some guy named "Art" for Xmas?" I was really confused. She turned the statue upside down and sure enough written on the base was the word "Art". By the way, my grandmother didn't live forever. I am comforted by the fact that she is in heaven with Kenny Rogers and she is telling everyone what a great singer God is. God is a great singer. His songs are the lullabies of grandmothers softly singing their grandchildren to sleep.

Friday, October 22, 2010


One Show

I danced with one-legged lady
Far above the shuffling feet of clay
Her dress was torn
There was a run in her nylons
She held me close as a whisper and whispered
"Hold your head up
If you want to dance with me"
I had to ask
"How is it that you can dance on one leg?"
I felt the heat on my ear before I heard the words
"Patience, my love"
With a wave of her hand the music stopped
The air became silent
The room made room for us
Moving dancers became unmoving spectators
"Everyone, please listen!
Only the heart can lok up
Never look down
Never see the garbage in the streets
Never see the crumbling sidewalks
Never see.........................................
The one shoe

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

what a day

Tuesday is my long work that begins at six a.m. and ends with our "Don't Dis My Ability" radio show on Portsmouth Community Radio. Google search and you can listen to shows on audio archives. The guests were the director of Richie McFarland Children's Center and a father of one of the children afflicted with a rare birth defect. Moving story of love and devotion by a staff and a family. Not too long ago families were advised to give up their child to a state facility, but this father and the rest of the family would never, at any time or any place, abandon their son. Hard to keep control of your emotions sometimes when I look love in the face. I often wonder during these interviews what is the purpose of such mysterious events that occur in our lives. This morning I am thinking about this father and this family's obvious daily commitment to give their three year old son ...everything. And in doing so, give the rest of us hope which is...everything.
Last week I went to my old man's weekend job. Strange that I should be paid to live in what is essentially a Bed & Breakfast setting. The eighty year old mother was saying goodbye to her forty something autistic son telling him that he was perfect and asked him what does mommy want you to be. He answered as he always does with one word, "Happy".

I almost forgot. When I was leaving the radio station last night our engineer asked me if I was going to attend the pot luck and station meeting the next night. I said I could not because I had to be at my FA meeting. He told me that I was going to be named volunteer of the year at the dinner. Karen will accept and read this on my behalf.

Dear Friends and Fellow Volunteers,
I am the smallest member of a team of giants that make up "Don't Dis My Ability". Their names are Ali Ketchum, John Eubanks and John Lovering. We interview mountain climbers, who each and every day, climb the steepest of mountains. It is on their behalf that I accept this recognition.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dr. Mary story

How can a Mongol dwelling remind me of a story about my mother? That's not a rhetorical question. I'm reaching out for help, people. I heard the word "yurt" yesterday. Yurt is a Mongol dwelling. Actually, I don't even know if the person said "yurt". They might have said, "I hurt my finger" or "Do you think Gertrude is a nice name for our new baby"? It doesn't matter because I immediately thought of something that happened forty years ago. We had a demented neighbor who lived across the street in a run down house. He was a short little man that had a loud raspy voice which he used to yell at anyone who crossed his path. His name was Art, but for some reason we referred to him as "Yurt" and we were afraid of him. I don't know why we called him "Yurt". We thought it was a funny name for a mythical figure who escaped from violent children's fable. "Run! Yurt is after us! We dared each other to knock on his door but no one ever had the nerve. There was a wonderful elderly couple who lived in a little cottage right next to Yurt's house. They were even more afraid of Yurt than my friends and I. One summer they were painting their little cottage--just the two of them. Yurt was watching their progress every day. He knew that sooner or later they would need to paint the back of their cottage that was right on the edge of his property. Yurt knew that the old couple would have to put a ladder on his property in order to paint the back of their cottage and he was waiting to pounce on them with flying geriatric fists. The old couple came over to my mother, who liked to sit on her porch in good weather and wait for the next patient.
"Dr. Mary! What can we do? Mr. Kass is waiting for us to trespass on his property so he can scream and wave his fists and call the police. We really need to finish painting our cottage!"
I was listening to the conversation and wondered what my mother would do? She said, "Mr. Kass takes his basket and wheels it down South Chestnut Street to buy groceries for the week. You have about an hour and a half to finish painting the back of the cottage. Have all your materials ready tomorrow afternoon when he leaves for shopping and as soon as he gets out of sight paint as fast as you can!" This was better than a low budget crime picture at the shabby theater on Main street where the popcorn was so old and disgusting that the only reason the kids bought a bag for 10 cents was to dump it on someone's head. I sat on the porch way too excited for a lazy summer afternoon and wondered. Would Yurt surprise the old folks on his property and beat the stuffing out of them? Would he catch them high up on the ladder and kick the ladder out from under them? I sat on our porch--front row seating for the main event. I looked at the old couple slapping paint everywhere. Then I looked at Yurt just coming into sight on South Chestnut. So far he hadn't spotted the mad painters. I leaned back and got comfortable. Any moment now I thought. Yurt finally looked up and let out what was most likely a garbled raspy obscenity. He started yelling and running with his grocery cart. The old couple finished putting paint on the last bare spot and scampered down the ladder. They struggled carrying the ladder and paint supplies as Yurt got closer and closer. It was going to be a photo finish and the winner was Mr. & Mrs. Geezer by a nose. They ran into their house, locked the door and pulled down the shades. Yurt was jumping up and down waving his fists until he wore himself out. Defeated, he slinked back with his weeks food to his ramshackle house.
Years later a normal couple bought Yurt's house and a couple of young guys rented the old folk's cottage. The neighborhood was no where near as fun. Everything changed except my mother. Desperate people--either physically or emotionally sick would come to her with impossible problems and she knew what to say and how to help them. Toward the end of her life I came home to her house in Maine and saw a sobbing lady being swallowed by my mother who was sobbing right along with her. They never saw me. I'm confident that she was doing exactly the right thing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Tuesday is the only week day I work and thank God for that. I don't know how I ever did this job 7 days a week. People all over the world say that in different languages. I read a National Geographic article about Chinese men who all their lives pull barges up a river. A whole line of them strapped to a heavy rope straining from morning to night. Strange what we complain about. Muhammad said in an Hadith that "A complaining man complains in paradise". I wasn't aware that He visited America. Goldilocks complained about porridge or something about three bears. I'm not sure I can sympathize with the complaints of mythical characters. Maybe Goldy was upset about stepping in something outside the bears cottage--that at least would be more understandable. There is a joke about an elderly grandmother with early signs of dementia visiting her family in Florida. She asked to take her little grandson to the beach dressed in a brand new sailor suit she had brought with her. After repeated assurances that she would be vigilant at the ocean off they went. Of course the old lady lapsed into dreams of long ago moonlight and jasmine when she could actually see the moon and smell the jasmine. The little boy wandered into the ocean and was going down under the waves when a lifeguard saved him. He was brought to the grandmother and given mouth-to-mouth to revive him. After some tense moments the boy began to cough and the crowd cheered. He was placed in the old ladies' arms. She looked down and then looked at the lifeguard and said, "he had a hat".
In an another era, an ice wagon would come to your house and drop off a block of ice to keep your food cold in an ice box. The idea should be revived except it should be a complaint wagon that comes to your door. I would gather all my complaints and hand them to the driver and he would complain "That's all? You must not be really living if you did not suffer disappointments yesterday. Did you not fall short of perfection? Were you not trying hard enough. Did you not have your love discarded like a used piece of gum?
What a world when the man who drives the complaint wagon complains better than anybody else. A final word. I am surprised as you are that this bit of fluff congealed and became serious. Oh well, I'll just try harder tomorrow.

Monday, October 4, 2010

a bit abstract

Each day on this new program, which is saving my life second-by second, new doors and windows keep opening up to the wider inner and outer worlds. I came into the bare church hall in downtown Portsmouth almost three months ago at 400lbs and nothing was working on my body except my ability to chew the wrong substances. Like most people I thought this was just a diet program cloaked in the trappings of spirituality, but found that it is a spiritual program cloaked in the trappings of a diet program. New revelations about myself as a Baha'i, about the mysteries of people and life grow like an out of control virus. The latest is an observation is about the wisdom of god reflected in the changes in my life. When I stopped poisoning my body with the wrong foods I began a rapid loss of weight the speed of which made those changes blatantly obvious. What is also obvious is the wisdom displayed in those changes, again second-by-second, as the weight disappears from areas most likely to threaten my existence. I lose a pound every two days mainly my stomach and not from my head or heart or lungs. Think about that a moment. This a continuous display of mind boggling intelligence that I have not noticed before. My intelligent food choices have open the door for the wisdom of God to work a miracle on a physical level. Conversely, slowly gaining weight every year was killing me. Despite my prayers, my behavior prevented the answer to my prayers from reaching me. To carry the comparison further, allowing the poison of materialism and ego and all the other poisons to enter my spiritual being prevents the spiritual wisdom of God to reach my spiritual reality. Bahai's believe that the spiritual world is a reflection of the physical world and that the main purpose of the physical world is for the individual to continually ask the inner question, "I observe this reality in the physical world what is the spirtual counterpart?" An obvious example is that we understand spiritual laws because we live with physical laws every day. To sum up; I am experiencing new insights on every level of the wisdom of God on a daily basis instead of experiencing new insights into my personal ignorance. Maybe there is hope for me yet.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I haven't written much because I feel like a one note guitar player with no amplifier. I'm putting all of my diminished energy into becoming normal--I hear the laughter and shouts of "not possible". In ten months I will weigh 190 lbs. I last weighed 190 in High School. My family has never seen me normal in any sense of the word. I have heard so many stories of desperate, courageous people at the meetings I attend. Last week this little bit of a lady stood up and told her story about weighing 300lbs. About having high blood pressure, sleep apnea, acid reflux and migraines. Now they are all gone leaving only the human being. I have heard variations on that story for the past 9 weeks. People filled with so much low self worth that they can hardly walk-- literally and figuratively climbing out of a dark pit. A word about that dark pit. It is very small and gets smaller with time. Then one day the sun shines through the new spaces of your moving frame-areas of your being become re-illuminated. For me that means poems and books to write--crazy projects like the radio show and the film we are making on suicide prevention. Classes to give and people to meet, places to go without fear of becoming a burden-and grandchildren to tell stories too--about enchanted hummingbirds and how when their Aunt Julia was a child she helped put the color blue back into a rainbow and on and on.

Friday, September 10, 2010

thinking out loud

My second weigh- in is coming up on Monday, Sept. 13 and I am thinking more about the future than ever before. At the rate I'm losing weight in seven months I will be a normal weight. Sounds incredible to write about the future when I had made my peace with moving on to the next world. Now, I have to readjust my thinking. At my beginning weight of 400lbs. my world was small and getting smaller. There is an inverse ratio of physical size and the size of the world a person lives in. There is so many things I couldn't do--such as going for long walks with my wife--even strolling down to beautiful Green Acre with my grandchild seemed like a trip to the moon on gossamer wings. Fears change. The world is suddenly quite large and more unknown than ever and the unknown generates fear. In this case the fears are welcome--embraced even. As life should be embraced. Life should be so vast that it becomes impossible to put your arms around and not the other way around. By that I mean life could not embrace me--could not get its arms around me. All this is not to say physical size is the only factor in creating a too small world. I have friends who suffer from severe depression that certainly shrinks the world they live in. I also work with individuals and interview individuals with disabilities and that can shrink your world. I have a memory of my friend Kathy coming to the radio station for an interview. Although we are on the first floor, the front entrance had about a two inch lip that was really difficult to get her electric wheel chair over. We strained to push the chair. I thought and still think about how at that moment the horizon of her world was two inches away--not somewhere faraway where the sky meets water or earth-- beautiful pristine line that separates two very different kinds of beauty. Kathy's horizon was a grimy strip of two inch high concrete--a formidable wall of a prison. So my prayer and hope for all my friends is that you walk your entire life around a beautiful mountain lake where the clouds come down for a swim on a warm summer afternoon and that this "sea of joy" be able to contain your reflection.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Google voice

In my new life of calling strangers getting up at six a.m. and going to meetings I need an economical phone-especially after a 624.00 cell phone call has made me an outcast. I am currently living in a van by the river and my family says I have joined the Peace Corp. Free Google voice to the rescue, I still wet my pants calling strangers and talking about being a food addict but now I can do it for free--wait a minute! That doesn't sound right. I should be charging to humiliate myself. Verizon charges 10cents a minute. I should at least charge 20cents for a simple humiliation--40 cents for a soul baring-I need to move and grow a mustache humiliation. But I digress. How about Google Buttons? No one sews buttons! No one! Even the Pope wears robes because no one sews buttons!! Now that I have lost weight I have to pay to get buttons replaced when I inhaled and shot buttons out across the living room causing the cat to go deaf. Now people are afraid of me and my buttons. I have to take them to complete strangers at a dry cleaner to sew them back on. How about Google buttons? Hold your garment close to the computer screen and mouse click on Google buttons. What good is a lousy computer if it can't even sew a button a shirt. I think the Pope said that first-I don't know. I'm just a fat man getting up at dawn eating low fat yogurt. Don't ask me these questions until I'm normal.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just One More Day

Getting down to the end with our film on suicide prevention. I can't describe the filming today. Better to let the film and the participants speak. Here is my introduction:

Just One More Day

Our only desire in making this film is to help one person. We don't know the name of this person and maybe we never will. If you're watching this film, and you choose life, then everyone involved has been richly repaid.
We do ask the audience to keep in mind that anyone of us could be sitting in those chairs trying to live with a severe disability and that anyone of us could be struggling to stay alive "for just one more day".
I ask myself: "What have I learned?" Why did these individuals survive?" The answer I have learned listening to the interviews is that they all had someone they could reach out to in their most dangerous moments. Those moments when they looked north, south, east, west, above their heads and below their feet and could find no path to safety. Someone provided a glimmer of light and they were able to see the first step out of hell. That someone doesn't need to be the world's wisest therapist--just someone who cares.
We have one request. Be that someone who cares.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A miracle a day...

...keeps the doctor away. As I lose almost a pound a day, I gain a miracle in exchange. Not a bad trade. I am at Green Acre this week doing my part to encourage fellow writers of books and other art forms for children. On the third floor of the 19th century inn is the preserved room where Abdu'l-Baha stayed in 1912. I have not been there in years because of weight and bad knees. Today's miracle is that I will go there after the morning class and prayer for a particular family. This poem appeared a few mornings ago left on my pillow by the Poetry Angel. I know I did not write it or wish to write it because I will attach a memory to it that will live as long as I live.

A Thousand Balloons

I am a leaf in the wind that has
fallen from the Tree of Life
no matter where the wind takes me,
it is still Your Sky.
I awake with the dawn currents
I go to sleep with the night breeze
and in between I listen for Your Wisdom
heard in the rustling of the trees
in the impatience of the waves yearning
for Your Shore
It is Your Breath that has filled a thousand balloons
And when You inhaled, they returned to You.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Of Dreams of Dignity

Lots of old friends this week at Green Acre. One friend of my youth is bound for Croatia in a few weeks. He wanted to play pool last night and I obliged. I also invited another friend that I usually play with albeit infrequently. We laughed better than we played. I had to call it quits after an hour and a half. On this new plan where I am losing almost a pound a day, I run out of steam quickly--especially at night. Another old friend is here who lives in Italy. It is her sister I want to tell a story about. I woke up in tears thinking about her. For me, love comes easy, but this lady I truly admired. We served on a Baha'i Summer School Com. in N.Y.. Her family background of Persian and English might explain the aura of dignity that surrounded her. Debbie had an unerring sense of what was respectful in all situations, but I don't want to imply she was stuffy. She put up with my calls during meetings when I would go crazy with being in a meeting and declare "free form dancing time" She smiled when I danced on my hand- made oak coffee table in our living room. Our summer school group would meet on our enclosed porch. Maybe it's my own lack of stamina after a long day that makes me understand the memory of her getting to her feet and wordlessly leaving the meeting. We knew it was brain tumor pain getting to be too much. Not a word of complaint--just a ladylike departure back to her two adorable children and husband to recover. She passed away a month after the school session that summer. I don't have too read musty history books to learn about heroes. They bounced on my knee as a child and clapped along with her sister as I played ping pong with their father. Now for the "Of dreams of Dignity" part. Some months after that summer, our beloved treasurer was looking for a Baha'i book. She found the book in a box she had brought home from the summer school. Now I should say none of us were really qualified to run a ten day all volunteer summer school. Our treasurer was irreplaceable though because, despite all the scholarships, we dispensed there was always lots of money left over. We attributed the excess to God the Humorous(Actually attribute of God in the Writings) rather than bookkeeping error. Anyway, inside of the misplaced book she finds a sizable check for the summer school that was donated by our late lamented Debbie during the last session. It was in memory of her Persian husband's uncle. The summer school had an "In Memoriam" fund. Our treasurer was horrified and immediately called the husband. He had been having dreams of his uncle and Debbie. They were greatly concerned about money for the Baha'i Fund. The husband thought the meaning was that they were urging more contributions to the Baha'i Fund. He had called his far flung family telling them that Debbie and Uncle so-in-so. wanted them to give much more. Two mysteries were solved. The husband had been unable to balance and close out Debbie's checkbook because there was still a ck unaccounted for six months after her passing and a large sum of money in the account. He wrote out a new check and explained to the relatives. Her sense of dignity for her and her family would not let her rest in peace. I woke up with the memory of Debbie and this story. I can never think about her without crying. Heroes should never bounce and laugh on my knee and leave this world too soon. I wrote in my journal earlier this morning. "Too beautiful for this world. No garden, a fitting setting. The aromas fail to envelope. So off she went to the Garden of God. Her flower blooms on the highest hill and we--poor bound souls to this dust can only swirl around her."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Eliot Days

I know the world is nuts-terrible things happening to wonderful people. But in this little corner of Maine the asylum has passed us by. The townspeople have been planning for four years to create ten days of Bicentennial events. Our town is two hundred years old. There was a play at Green Acre that depicted a 1910 planning meeting for the first hundred years. The actors dressed in period clothing which for most of the actors meant opening their bedroom closet and making a selection. Each day has been filled with activities. There was a Ballroom dance with three hundred people dancing the night away. My dear friend Lorraine arranged for my books to be sold at a craft fair exclusive to residents of Eliot--nice pocket money. My favorite event was held at the ancient Grange Hall. A waterproof rubber mat was place over the floor, the lights dimmed, a hum of excitement traveled through the audience--the big show was finally here! "Octogenarians on Ice" A gallant troop twirled and whirled, jumped and spun. Their costumes were provided by the sponsor--"Maine Artificial Hips". The hips are made from super hard and flexible recycled lobster shells. Federal stimulus money provided the start- up money. Some of the hips have been recalled when the individual attempts to sit on the pot. The embedded memory in the shells sometimes recall their demise in a boiling pot of water at the Weathervane Restaurant makes them spring a foot in the air. Now, some elders with bad knees appreciate that boost to a standing position, but most experience worrisome heart palpitations and want a refund or a side order of onion rings. Anyway, a grand night out. I caught a wool garter belt from the star which I have been using as a sweat band during the recent hot spell. Well, goodnight all and watch for things that go bump in the night--it might be two eighty year old skaters colliding.

Friday, August 13, 2010

When a loss is a gain.

I have a long way to go and important not to get overly excited, but I did lose 28.4 lbs in one month on my FA program of eating three meals a day. The next weigh in is Sept 13. I was able to take Samaya in her stroller down the road to Green Acre and up the steep hill to have her eat breakfast with the staff. I was also able to put together beds for Samaya and Julia. It wasn't that much work, but no way I could have walked with Samaya or made beds last month. I'm not getting on a soapbox(it might break). I have hope and a future--two visions I did not have a month a go. And two visions, like all visions can only be attained through discipline. So my day begins with gratitude for God who never gives up on wayward souls and all the wonderful supportive people in my life.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Small Victorys

Since the beginning of my new work schedule I have been busier than ever trying to finish writing projects, preparing for Spirit of Children week at Green Acre, getting up at 6:30 a.m.(who knew there was a 6:30 a.m.?) to start my day calling my FA sponsor--trying to get rid of the "subtle insanity" of addiction. First weigh- in is next Friday. Meetings still provoke a smile. I am atleast three times the size of whoever comes to the meeting-all thin after losing a zillion pounds-now just maintaining for years. I am thinking of inviting the mother of "Gilbert Grape" enticing her with the offer of a free floor jack. I wonder if Casual Male(euphemism for terminally obese) sells floor jacks. Anyway, my small victory story. August is vacation time and work is short staffed. I worked a few hours filling in with a very nice young man who has down syndrom. I was told-very easy, sit in corner and read the paper. We arrived at Dunkin Donuts where we were both hustled into the back room and told to restock the large beverage cooler. D&D is chaos in the morning. I worked like hell weaving in an out and only trampled one college girl who was dreaming of a life beyond donuts--she will need a donutectomy--my bad. The thing is I could never have done this 26 days ago-I would have collapsed. I work in the field of small victories as some of my friends out there are familiar with who are in this line of work. Sometimes the victories cannot be seen with the naked eye without really looking for them. There was no round of applause accompanied by a gift of a silver donut from the manager. I do believe the small victory angels that hover above as we go through our day dance with joy, flap their wings dispersing the gray clouds that block the sun and advise when we sleep"Just a little bit more tomorrow".

Thursday, July 29, 2010

can't sleep

I can't sleep-the well of dreams is dry and so I will tell you a story about how love and marriage always ends up with the husband wearing a loaner toupee. A young friend is visiting Julia and I was thinking of her grandfather who she never met. Something we have in common. My grandfather passed away the same year I was born--but I didn't take it personally. Her grandfather, Peter, was a rare gem. He worked for the railroad in New York and had a late in life cushy job riding around in a little yellow truck. He would visit my store in the morning to partake of our coffee pot. I love coffee, I love pots and when you put the two together you have a coffee pot. The aroma seeping out of the spout, the death rattle gurgle of the dark beans clinging to life... until silence. a silence that comes to us all. Except no one is going to put you or me into a cup and add cream and sugar. But I digress. Peter would turn up the work radio on his truck in case their was a problem on the tracks and park in back of our store. We would keep the double doors open so he could listen with one ear and carry on a conversation with the other. He wore a jump suit. A man over sixty should never wear a jump suit--it looks like a giant diaper. Peter, as long as I knew him always wore a toupee. It was a very nice toupee. I was quite fond of that toupee and so was the staff at the furniture store. We would pleasantly waste a good hour drinking coffee and admiring his toupee-sometimes he would let us touch it. Then he would be off to mysterious destinations until the next day. I would miss that toupee--some days more than I missed Peter--although I never told him lest I hurt his feelings. One day Peter's truck pulled up in back of the store and we heard the chatter of his radio competing with our coffee pot. I was expecting an unchanging universe but oh how I was wrong. In walked Peter with a blond toupee. If he walked in sobbing his eyes out and asking God to end his embarrassment it would not have been funny, but he walked in, filled a cup with recently deceased coffee added cream and sugar and acted like it was yesterday. We tried, we really tried. Alice in the office tried so hard when she saw him that her face turned bright red and a trickle of blood rolled down her ear lobe, but the dam burst and laughter drowned out the truck radio and the coffee pot and the war in Vietnam. There was beloved Peter, a man who deserved better-looking hopeless, helpless, who never had a chance. He told us a sad tale. His long time toupee (a personal friend of mine) had begun to show wear and tear (so what! You don't potato sack the family cat in the Hudson river because he has a bald patch on his ass). His long time wife 9 who wore a wig) had brought his toupee to the shop for repairs ( who knew!)and they had given her a loaner toupee for Peter who had lost his will years ago sometime in the third decade of marriage. I miss Peter-- he died too young at heart. I miss his big diaper jump suit, his little yellow truck and his chattering radio. He was so blissfully happy that he wore a blond loaner toupee and couldn't care less. Peter may be gone, but his toupee lives on now worn by an ex-nun in Baltimore--but that's an another story for a sleepless night when the well of dreams runs dry.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

another proverb

I have been working on packaging a version of the proverb game that has good friends illustration on the cover. The printer is making me up twenty to begin with and I'll gauge the response. One day, a day that I may never see, this game will be used in classrooms and help to produce prejudice free world citizens.


This proverb explains that what you learn when you are young,
stays with you forever.

"What is learned in the cradle lasts till the ------------."

A. Next diaper change.
B. Bus leaves for Cleveland.
C. Grave.
D. Time when you have your own children.

Monday, July 19, 2010

2nd meeting

I went to my second Food Addicts in Recovery meeting to night with my wonderful daughter Julia. I'll make it up to her if it takes the rest of my life. Some good-some bad. I wanted to kill the lady who was moderating. She spoke forty minutes and I thought about that book series and movie "Lemony Spicket and a series of unfortunate events. She told the story of her life five times--I zoned out when she fell into Mt. St. Helens and now must live a hairless life forever. I'm venting. The good--an enormous lady waddled up to tell her story. I'm ashamed to say I thought it was her first time. She had been in the program ninety days plus three weeks and had lost 77 lbs. She spoke of love. She talked about the feeling in the pit of her stomach in college when she realized she was in love, a love that is still strong after 25 years of marriage. She said she wants that same feeling about the rest of her life that she could only have if she could be freed from addiction. I told Julia it was what the lady didn't say that I was thinking of. She didn't want to lose her husband. I tried to explain to my daughter. I said what if someone put a bag over your head and took you out of my life and I never saw you again. I would be beyond anger-an anger I would never survive. But what if I was the one who put the bag over your head and put you out of my life because I ended my life prematurely because I lost the addiction battle. The result would be the same-an anger I would never survive. That is why it is so important to win this battle. Win your battle people.

Friday, July 2, 2010


At the staff meeting last night they gave me a card signed by the bosses and fellow staff members, gift cert., ice cream cakes accompanied by speeches-one boss gets emotional when he talks about me. All because I'm semi retiring-not totally retiring and not even dead(pardon me while I look in a mirror to be sure). The owner of this huge company encourages me to send ideas directly to him that I think would improve his company. Friends from around the world say wonderful things about me, our classes at Green Acre based on a book I co-authored fill up and get great reviews. The straw that broke the camels back was an email received yesterday of a group of prisoners in Arizona who hold classes using our classroom workbook. I also have two books published and more on the way plus innumerable mag. pieces for children. And every time I get a compliment I smile and look inward and say to my self. This man you praise most likely would not have made out of his twenties. He would have died a despondent alcoholic-would never have found the love of his life, or been blessed with two wonderful daughters and an incredible granddaughter.
One day made all the difference almost 46 years ago to the day. My mother dragged me up to Green Acre Baha'i School even though I told her I wanted no part of religion. I believe I became a Baha'i that first day. I stayed the summer and painted cottages and went to an occasional class and loved every moment of it. Maybe it was the people that first attracted me or blame it on the bossanova, but in the end a particle of dust landed on me from the robe of Baha'u'llah-the founder of the Baha'i Faith and it changed my life. It is all about honesty and this is something I will say this once. Ronald Tomanio, the guy I grew up with, well he died on a bar room floor. He never did anything noteworthy or added one grain of sand or blade of grass to the world or improved it in any way. So, don't ever worry that if you praise Ronald Tomanio he will get a big head. I will take any compliments and smile-later I will take that smile and inwardly turn it into a flower which I will lay on his grave.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


My first week of my new pared down work week. Gym and swimming with Karen yesterday--muscles sore, but in a mentally good way. I'm taking a break from final go over a story I'm sending to England. I find myself thinking of phony jobs I could tell people I do, and who among the dwindling friends that still believe anything I say, would actually believe me. Anyway, I have taken a job(delusional thinking alarm) writing those random non sequitor security codes like " cement frog" or "toe jam sandwich". Or, how about this. Last week our landlord had an electrician install carbon monoxide sensors-a new law now. Why not bull**** sensors. A salesman comes to the door selling swamp land in New Jersey. Immediately, an intermittent screeching sound followed by a loud warning "b*******t!" fills the house. There could be a phone version that would break in upon hearing the words "time share" or "subscription".
My late much loved Janet from Norwegian told this joke from her old country. Two friends get laid of from the factory and go the unemployment office to get a temporary check. Olaf goes in the office first while Eric stays in the car. Olaf meets the benefits manager to find out how much he will get from unemployment insurance. He comes back to the car all happy and tells Eric that he will be given 400.00 a week. "Wow" said Eric. "If you got that much and you are only my assistant, I'm going to get a lot more!" So Eric meets with the manager who asks him what he does for a living. Eric answered, "I run a sewing machine that sews ladies undergarments." The manager looked in his book and said, "As a sewing machine operator you will receive 200.00 a week." What! You gave my friend Olaf 400.00 a week."
"Olaf told me he was a diesel fitter--that's quite a responsible job in the official book" "Diesel Fitter", shouted Eric. I sew the woman's panties and Olaf puts them over his head and says "Diesel Fitter". Oh well--a nap and then back at it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

sad news

One good thing about FB and blogs is that we instantly know when a friend is undergoing a crisis. I find myself praying sincerely for people I barely know. Now my beloved wife Karen is suffering and needs your emails of concern(she is not on FB). She has been diagnosed with piratitis. The symptoms are odd and it is not fatal. She has been walking around with a bright green parrot on her shoulder shouting "Arggh" and "Avast ye maties" (don't know what that means). She tried to pay for her Dunkin Donuts coffee with a fake gold doubloon which was not really gold-chocolate with a gold color wrapping from a bag she bought at the Dollar Store. She has taught the parrot to order her coffee and ask for a senior discount(the parrot is 65 years old). She also gets the 10% pirate discount that Dunkin Donuts offers. Anyway we are signed up for a cruise this fall and life keeps getting more interesting. Words of sympathy can be addressed to Karen.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

There is no MCAndy

Well tomorrow is my last day of full time work. I am leaving a world that has taught me so much about human beings-maybe more than I ever wanted to know, but I want to leave you with a laugh. I want to remember the laughing and hope when I go to sleep at nights it will drown out other memories. I hope I do this story of what happened yesterday justice. We went bowling. My client this past year loves bowling, but his brain injury impacts his balance as well as his emotions. He is all emotion which means that sometimes he is pure joy and sometimes he is a tangle of agony and anger unchecked by his mind. Anyway Karen was with her 75 year old full of fun client who is a surprisingly good bowler. Another client, a young man, Andy, who is non verbal, was supposed to join us. I set the electronic scoreboard-MCK(my clients nickname), 75 year old Dickie and Andy. We begin the game without Andy but it became apparent he would not get there on time. So my client MCK was asked to bowl for Andy. We called him MCAndy. The game began with MCK, Dickie and the imaginary MCAndy bowling. MCK and Dickie were bowling very well but MCAndy was lights out. I turned to the other staffers and said this is going to be an interesting disaster. My client, MCK, has a melt down when he looses, but what happens when he beats himself. We always encourage whoever is bowling-real or imaginary. So we cheered MCAndy-"Great shot, MCAndy" . The doomsday scenario played out to its most perverse conclusion. MCAndy beat MCK by 4 pins. I asked MCK how he felt. He said, "Horrible! I lost." I said, "You played great, but MCAndy was just having the game of his life." MCK replied, "I'm MCAndy!" All the way home I could not stop laughing promising that we would beat MCAndy tomorrow. "There is no MCAndy! Cut it out you guys!" I was hoping to leave on a high note of maturity, but it was not in the stars. As the sun sets, I will play with Samaya and hopes she doesn't notice that her granddad is only slightly older than she is.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

another proverb

When we were trying to create a game for schools we removed the few religious proverbs because we figured that could hurt our chances. It is delicate to present this kind of proverb still keeping the humor, but not being disrespectful. This one is from the Hadith-an Islamic proverb. A good teacher could generate a discussion about the meaning and wisdom of this proverb.


"Trust in God, but ----------- your camel.

A. Kiss
B. Smoke
C. Ride
D. Tie

"Tie" is the right answer.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Proverb game

One of the seemingly endless flood of ideas that are only held in check by bags of mental sand is our proverb game. Years ago when we lived in New York, my good friend Diana Metreaud and I created a world proverb game. We called it "World Quest" and in those pre internet days we created a form letter asking for submissions from countries that had U.N. Missions in New York. We asked for some favorite proverbs and much to our shock we received many, many proverbs. We augmented what we received from books of proverbs. Our purpose was to create a game that showed that all the peoples of the world had wisdom--not just Americans. And that wisdom transcended imaginary lines on a map. We thought the schools would love such an idea. ANother friend even created some wonderful illustrations. Here is an example:


What is the correct word or phrase that completes this proverb:

"What is learned in the cradle lasts till the --------------------"

A. next diaper change
B. bus leaves for Cleveland
C. grave
D. time when you have your own children

I had such a good time playing this with children and teenagers. In a class I would have the kids form teams. They received one point for the correct answer. Another point for the best explanation of the proverb. I would only except answers that were the product of the group consultation. So they were learning the value and process of consultation while thinking they were just having fun. Another wrinkle was having one from each group try to find the country first on a world map for another point The kids would never tire of the game and we had so much fun. I really tried to get this pub. using a professional to make submissions, but always got turned down. This is another retirement project that I will get pub.--even if we self publish.
I will post proverbs more if my friends wish.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Thoughts

I'm sure my mother, being a sincere Catholic at the the time, figured she would be married forever. Such was not the case in my parents case. Two good people from different galaxies who could not find a compatible third galaxy to live on together. And I think that is the challenge--the marriage, the relationship must find a third galaxy that the couple must somehow be able to live on together. So, on this father's day I think about my mother who raised my brother and myself. I don't recommend it. The strain of being a good mother or a good father is considerable. And there is the sheer hard work and time required--no please take the boys to the park so I can get some sleep. A single parent fills both roles--or tries to until they become numb or break. I did not know my mother broke until my aunt told me recently in a matter of fact manner why my brother and I stayed with her and my uncle for a year and a half. One question I want to ask the Powers-That- Be in the next world is why we remember certain moments out what must amount to are millions of moments. My mother would come home from working in a nursing home after going to chiropractic college at nine at night. Not very often, usually during the unbearable heat of Iowa in the summer, she would come home with this tiny container of ice cream--not really enough for one person and she would split it three ways. It was the coolness of heaven if only for a minute. I see the faces and hear the words and feel the emotions. I'm sure my mother would like flowers on her grave but she would be over the moon ecstatic if a gallon a butter pecan was left on her grave. After all, she always told me that they gave you free ice cream in heaven.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I have been running on fumes for a while and the stars recently aligned for me to semi- retire. Not that I have a strenuous job-the driving is getting old though. Sounds ridiculous retiring from a job where I swim and go bowling. I'm glad I don't sit in a hot tub sauna--that would be embarrassing to say I've retired from hot tubbing. "I just couldn't handle the stress or splinters any more." I have been thinking about what I will miss. My brain injured client bowls with another client who is basically non verbal and will always be a little girl no matter how old she becomes. We are all quite close, but she likes me to put on her bowling shoes-a size six and then when the game is over she puts her feet on my knee and I put her sneakers back on. I will miss doing that.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

two kinds

The world is divided into two kinds-no, not men and women. Night owls and morning people-or infidels. I get up and my only goal is achieving consciousness and some mornings it is an elusive goal. I make my way into the living room and if I'm lucky, Karen has either made or brought me coffee. If I am unlucky, Karen wants to discuss a life or death issue--a matter that can't possible wait until nighttime. I am suppose to contribute intelligently, but, when I open my mouth, only drool comes out. There are very few life or death problems that can be solved by drooling. Today, was a challenge in that I had to register my car(only five months late a kindly trooper informed me) and my car battery was waning. I went to the town office before work barely coherent and was fortunate the clerk could see me right away-God bless the civility of small towns. I handed over my paperwork and waited. The clerk had no idea I was a mere shell of a human being only able to remain seated because of tight fitting underwear. The next part you are not going to believe. I looked over at the wall and there was a sign listing what services the clerk provided. Halfway down the list was "Deer and Moose Lottery". How shameful!" I thought. "What a sorry state of affairs that we are trying to balance the state budget on the backs(antlers?) of deer and moose--and where does the State of Maine think that deer and moose can come up with the money to buy lottery tickets? And even if they could, any revenue would be offset by the terrible social problems created. How sad to be sitting at a gamblers anonymous meeting and here someone say, "My name is Bambi and I have a problem" Just then another clerk walked by reeking of morning coffee breath. I inhaled and quickly came to my senses. The lady who was waiting on me gave me back my new registration. I asked her if I had mentioned anything about deer and moose. She said no and I breathed a sigh of relief--and so my day begins.

Monday, May 24, 2010

rare day

Milestone day. I looked at the $ numbers and it make sense for me to only work Tuesdays(radio day with a client) and my weekend with the autistic man where I basically have to remember to breathe--its that easy. By the way, turns out he is a savant. I give him a date and he will tell me what day of the week it is instantly--go figure. I sometimes can't remember what day of the week. Anyway, a combo of a little work plus SS$ gives me the same money as if I worked full time. Give me a sign God, I thought, after leaving the SS office. Am I doing the right thing? Soon after I not only got my sign but also was given absolute proof of the existence of a higher power. I just got out of the gym and was having a great day off--checked my phone and Karen had left me the best message in 28 years of marriage. First let me back up a day. Yesterday, our landlord spread some beautiful top soil and and spread grass seed. The place was looking good.-all storm damage to the yard gone--gigantic sink hole an unpleasant memory. Karen placed two brown flower pots right at the edge and gave me explicit instructions to be careful backing up into the driveway. So of course I backed up crushing one of the flower pots--the sound of screaming annuals will stay with we for a long time. She came home and gave me the hopeless doofus stare. I said the pot was brown--it blended into the brown dirt! No matter case closed--all verdicts final--pay the clerk on the way out. Now for my moment of my sign from God that he is on my side. I checked my phone when I got out of the gym today and Karen was laughing so hard. She came home for lunch and crushed the other pot!-sweet! The future is bright! The world is collapsing all around me-oceans dying-religious fanatics blaming earthquakes on pretty girls. Europe and the U.S. bankrupt. The Korea's on the verge of nuclear war. Iran on the verge of nuclear weapons. With all these wrongs for the Hand of God to swoop down from heaven to right, He takes the time out of His busy day to somehow distract Karen so she crushes the brown flower pot with her Toyota. Life is good my friends.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

still crazy after all these years

My good and dear friend who was the first person to encourage me to write years ago reminded me that my tenuous hold on reality is not a recent phenomenon. Janet Ruhe-Shoen came back from Chile with her husband and daughter over twenty years ago and ended up settling in my home town of Beacon, N.Y. Janet was a genuine writer and was doing research on a book that was eventually published. No matter what I wrote she managed to find some of the words worthwhile. In my fantasy world, I was remaking the town and the surrounding area with the Rent-A-Nun store located next to the Moose store, where one could buy a used(I shudder to think what I meant by that) or new moose-all sales final. The Melzingah Buffalo Preserve flourished on the top of Mt. Beacon where pampered buffalo were transported to the bottom of the mountain in a wheel barrow. The caretaker, whose name eludes me, suffered from massive disfiguring hernias and was always in need of a new wheel barrow. I think from this caretaker's behavior came the physiological term "enabling". The buffalo also participated in illegal races in the Melzingah reservoir--a major source of revenue in our poor, near- death factory town. Consequently, repulsed Beaconites also built the first bottled water plant in New York. In most homes tap water was sniffed for chlorine, but Beacon water gave off a distinct odor of bison. The area also had other firsts. One weekend a family friend who had never ventured north of NYC. came for the weekend and requested a tour. I took her to nearby Wappingers Falls. While standing on the bridge that spanned the river, I pointed to the river bank where the the first factory was created on the banks of the Wappinger's river. Using water power the Indians would sit assembling tomahawks that moved briskly past them on a conveyor belt. Janet reminded me that my fantasy town also had the world's only totally blind dentist. Karen had to jar my memory, but she remembered the dentist had an incredible seeing eye dog who functioned as his assistant. The combination of braille x-rays and the dog barking--one bark for a cavity, two barks for a root canal and three for an extraction worked quite well. The dog, wearing purple gloves, handed the dentist the correct instruments. Being a German Shepard, one growl and a flash of teeth, was all that was needed for prompt payment. Otto the dog was deaf so complaints were useless--unless one knew German sign language. As i"m writing this I suddenly remembered that on his office wall he had a plaque inscribed "Blind Dentist of the Year-1965"-a fact the doctor was inordinately proud of and shared with every patient.
In real life I played whiffle ball in the backyard with my brother. A home run was a ball hit over the cherry tree. The voice of Red Barber giving the play-by-play on a hot, lazy Sunday afternoon drifted over the fence from the Nelson's back porch. That should have been enough back then--it would be now.

Monday, May 17, 2010

beginnings and ends

I just finished my sequel to "Lilly&Peggy" and found myself thinking about beginnings and ends which led to passage from the "Seven Valleys", a mystical book written by Baha'u'llah in response to a letter from a Sufi. The number seven has great significance to a Sufi. It refers to the seven days of creation out of which came a belief that there are seven stages of self-knowledge. Another fact worth mentioning is that this particular Sufi held the belief, unlike others, that the condition of prophethood was an indispensable link between the condition of servitude and the condition of Diety. This indispensable link was eloquently voiced by His Holiness Christ who said "I am the way...".
Anyway in the "Seven Valleys" Baha'u'llah says "but the people of the Valleys above this see the end and the beginning as one; nay they see neither beginning nor end,"
When I wrote the last paragraphs today for "The Imperfect Pilgrim" I had that experience of closing a circle, blinking, and then not being able to see where the circle began and ended. I then thought of the other non-fiction book I recently finished with Phyllis Ring and Diane Iverson. The heart of the book is an essential practical step based on the premise that down deep we are one and interconnected--that the only logical act is an act of service to members of our family which, when done with a pure intent, is simultaneously an act of service to ourselves. I have been living, or more accurately trying to live like this for decades now. Again seeing the beginning as the end, blinking, and then not being able to tell the difference becomes reality. I will explain. When I was younger I was much more concerned with the the last stage of an act of service--namely the visible act. Someone needs a ride to the doctor and my focus was primarily on the outward act or the end. As I aged I began to pay more attention to the beginning. What motivated my outward act of service? Was it selfless? Did I expect some quid pro quo? At this time of my life I definitely saw a well defined beginning and end-the act and what motivated the act. Now at this stage of my life, almost 63, the beginning and end are blurring somewhat-enough for me to see where this path is leading. Now I spend more time contemplating what attribute of God should motivate my act of service-is it generosity, kindness, some mixture of justice and mercy maybe. The outward act is the visible vessel carrying the divine quality. In essence what I am seeing is kindness moving out in a circle and coming back to me completing the circle. I blink, look again, and see only one circle. The beginning was kindness and the end was kindness-the end and the beginning had become one. All I can take with me in the next stage of my journey are the infinite attributes of God that I have made my own through countless acts of service. It is definitely a feeling of contentment-not worrying so much about how my efforts are received. This line of thinking also leads to in time contemplating acts of service to a relationship you have with that person because the relationship is an endless circle of acts of service circling back and forth between you and the other person. So now I ask what is the attribute of God this relationship needs at this moment and how can that attribute be incorporated into an act of service. These are just my ramblings-no claim at being authoritative in the least. The end--or is it the beginning?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I know it is late

I don't know why sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night--well, someone has to pay for it. Round up the usual suspects. At the top of my list is Santa Klaus and the Tooth Fairy. For years I've gone back and forth by this puzzling question. "Who has the more difficult job?" Lets look at Santa. Only really works one day a year. On the other hand-- Arctic weather, icy roofs, wind chill factor while flying, must make character assessments (who is naughty or nice?) while delivering a zillion presents all over the world. Also on the down side--surrounded by little people who are always under foot, must drink gallons of cheap wine to stay warm on annual flight. New international rule re disposal of waste products at high altitude require him to wear a diaper and carry a coke bottle.
Now let us consider the Tooth Fairy. Works every night of the year. Must carry huge bags of quarters and tiny teeth using public transportation enduring snickers from from the public. Has politically incorrect name that makes no sense. New laws re toxic medical waste(baby teeth)limit disposal to a large cave beneath Newark, N.J.
When Laurel was seven or eight she came to Karen and I around bedtime very excited holding a tiny tooth in her hand. A huge smile and dreams of riches went with her to Dreamland. Only problem was that we were brok. Iwrote her a note and put it in an envelope-From the Tooth Fairy to Laurel Tomanio; "Dear Laurel, Please except this I.O.U. for one dollar. So many children lost a tooth tonight that I ran out of money. I will be back tomorrow night with your dollar. Thank you for your patience-love The Tooth Fairy.
The next morning there was a look of awestruck wonderment on her face. What a thrill to get a letter from the Tooth Fairy. Sure enough the conscientious TF returned the next night with a dollar under the pillow.
Thank you Santa and Tooth Fairy for being the cause of that special look on the faces of children all over the world. And thank you for all the hard work you do under difficult working conditions-sleep with the angels.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Dollar goes a long way

If you are in the mood for profound thoughts then I would skip this entry. Blogs should have internal weather reports such as "Mr. Tomanio is being influenced by a whimsical wind this Sunday"
Every Saturday morning I meet a long-time client and his staffer in Exeter where I stay at a respite house with an autistic gentlemen, but I can get away for short periods. I was in line waiting to buy coffees at Dunkin Donuts when I noticed the sales person was asking if the customers would like to donate a dollar to cystic fibrosis. If they said yes, the lady would write their name on a paper foot and tape it to the window. I could not wait for my turn I was so excited. "Yes, certainly. My name? That would be 'Bongo Smith'". At this point the lady is turning red and trying desperately not to laugh and offend a customer. I'm also desperately trying not to laugh. I look at the D&D windows covered with the paper feet of children in order to get serious, but then I think what if they were trying to raise money to cure jock itch? What would the paper cut outs look like? Later on that afternoon my wonderful daughter and grand baby came down for lunch. We went through the D&D drive thru where my daughter said that her father would like to donate a dollar. "What name please?" "I leaned over and said "Elmo Buff. That's Buff with two f's".
I know a sixty-two year old man should not be doing such infantile things. And I should not be wearing "dandruff" and "halitosis" rubber support bracelets". Quite a mystery. For only two dollars I helped cure an awful disease and laughed the whole day thinking about the look on the saleslady's face--correction Bongo and Elmo helped cure cf. Ronnie Tomanio helped cure sadness.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Another mystery

I'm almost finished writing the sequel to "Lilly&Peggy"--a slight book for children published in England . The sequel, which was intended to be a slight follow up book, has reached 160 pages and counting. None of this is my fault. If the characters had been honest, they should have told me it would turn into "War and Peace" and it would take a lot of hard work involving deep thinking and research. My innate sense of laziness would have wisely counseled me against such a project. All in all--very annoying. Also annoying is what they say. I will give an example from one character:
"When a heart is broken the pieces are not smooth and soft to the touch. The pieces do not float harmlessly on a meandering river to the sacred resting place of broken hearts where they are interred with solemn dignity. When a heart is broken jagged pieces fall on the innocent hopes and dreams of others. The bloody remains are tossed, kicking and screaming, into a vacant lot where no flower has ever bloomed and the air is unbreathable."
Another character has this to say about the material world: "There are only two choices. In the end, you will give away everything or everything will be taken from you."
Mind you, these are fictional characters with intelligent thoughts and they don't even exist! I exist. I have a mind, but I certainly don't converse in such a deep philosophic manner. So what does this say about me? If I ever meet these characters face-to-face, I'm going to give them a piece of my mind! Oh wait! I have!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hiding in Argentina

I am going to feel better after writing this-BP will decrease and I will dream of sugar plums. Also it is fun to be an out-of control-crackpot like the guy who writes a furious letter to the newspaper three times a week about aliens who are drinking his orange juice-straight from the carton no less!
I was out and about on an idyllic Sunday with my family and had to use a public rest room in a restaurant. The tp rolls weigh 50lb. and consist of super thin paper that turns to dust when you try and pull it off the cylinder. I had to lay down on my back sans pants and wiggle my arm up into the tp holder in an effort to turn the fifty pound roll and with the other hand try desperately to secure a few squares before the inevitable rip. My arm got stuck and I began screaming. A restaurant worker from Antarctica who spoke no English screamed and called 911 and the police. In a panic I tried to extricate my arm but the whole unit ripped out of the wall. I tried desperately to put my pants back on but it was impossible. I ran through the restaurant yelling "Help! Aliens are drinking my orange juice! and can you put my lunch in a to- go container." I tripped over my pants and knocked myself out. I woke up in a padded cell wearing a straight jacket and the tp contraption on my right arm. I took part in one group discussion with other patients, but we had to raise our hands if we wanted to speak. I did, but knocked my self out with the tp holder. Next time I will raise my left hand. Other than that the food is good and I have been making a few extra bucks selling extra tp to the other patients. I am not sure how often I am allowed to write letters. Now, I feel so much better-all the hostility has ebbed away. The birds are singing and they are bringing me a glass of orange juice.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My world

In my world of broken bodies and damaged brains I recently had a conversation at lunch with a young lady who was beyond silent. It is a rare moment when she strings words together to make a sentence. I asked her if she had always been so quiet. She said that since her brain injury(she was found after many hours unconscious at the bottom of her cellar stairs) her mind has slowed to a crawl. It takes her more than a "normal" amount of time before she can answer the simplest question and in this frenetic world that is unacceptable-even within her own family. She is made fun of by her family and even her eleven year old daughter has learned that she is fair game.
Tonight, after a wonderful, joyous dinner with my family, I sat in the stillness of the afterglow of the warm memory of the evening-not the stillness of a great distance that she breathed every day. This old poem of mine intruded-not the words, just the emotion of it.

Fragile Light

Pale green glow of the jaded
Wearing blue jeans that have faded
A tangled tree of curls
The life of the sidewalk unfurls
Oh my, all about me cries
All about me tries
To separate the branches from the trees
To say goodbye to the birds and the bees
To remove the rays from the sun
There! Do you see? What I have done
I've darkened the heat and the might
Leaving only the cold and the fragile light

So many fragile lights out there-one puff of cold wind is all it takes to make them feel alone.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

cheap therapy

Someone asked and I said. It's just cheap therapy. Once I get an idea on paper it is out of my head. And I have kind friends who don't say "hey, I'm sending you a bill if I have to read this nonsense. Woke up early which is far better than not waking up-but it is a close second with this crazy thought still in my head. An inter-generational reality show for PBS designed to increase trust and humiliation. It is a hybrid show combining the poor unfortunates of the "Biggest Losers" It is one thing to be terminally fat (English translation of Tomanio) in private, but half-naked on tv sweating under the lash like Ben-Hur on a nightmare sea voyage. So, imagine this show combined with Sesame Street. " Elmo we are going to learn about trust today-that begins with the letter"T". Here is your new friend-500lb Leo. He is going to fall backward and you will catch him."
"Fall backward on me! May I remind you that I'm just a sock with a hand up my ***"
Ok-I feel better-head empty. Back to sleep

Monday, April 26, 2010

A ride to the ocean

Our nuclear(as in ticking bomb)family went on a ride to the ocean taking some scenic back roads. Julia came home from her lab job in Amherst, Mass. My wife Karen drove with Julia, baby Samaya, older daughter Laurel and I on rare outing together. Five absolutely disparate personalities and I suspect that holds true for most families. Look at the "Waltons" for example Jim Bob and John boy had nothing in common except a vast hatred of having "Bob" and "Boy" added to there first names. As adults they probably spent a fortune on therapists. "We would like to hire you Jim Bob to fly for our airline, but our passengers would be terrified of flying with a pilot named 'Jim Bob'. They would be fearful you would hijack the plane to a BBQ festival in Louisiana." And John Boy with his overly serious writing style-"The mermaids would often smoke corn cob pipes with a family of squirrels at the summit of Walton's Mountain." He would reminisce at the end of the episode. "I can still smell the singed fur of the hallucinating squirrel as he wobbled into the pitch black night. And I am still haunted by the sight of the tiny dope embers clinging to his smoldering tail."
So that is our family--a collection of mermaids stranded on the top of a southern blue mist mountain and wobbling squirrels with smoldering tails trying to see their way through the smoke searching for a place to have a picnic lunch on a Sunday afternoon. I do love the Waltons, but not as much as I love my family and I would not change them a bit.
P.S. I was going to write about a fantasy reality show, but will try to focus better next time.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Real reason for this blog is to preserve some stories for our grandchild (one so far-but so near to our hearts). I just can't think of all the stories at once. Some hide behind the gray hairs and I have to lull them into a false sense of security and then pounce!--throw a net over them before they elude me. It is a game with time and we all lose to its delaying tactics. This is a classic story about my mother that I hope Samaya will appreciate one day. My mother showed up in the dead of winter at my grandmother's house in Beacon, N.Y. after five years of chiropractic school with two pennies in her pocket. She went to Iowa with a GED--like many children of the depression she dropped out of High School to work help her family survive. I marvel at the belief she must have had to think that she could take classes such as anatomy and organic chemistry with only a GED. Belief in herself?That God would help her? I don't know the answer. She just knew that she would succeed. She worked in a battery factory in Cold Spring next to our home town of Beacon, N.Y. and slowly began going to peoples homes to give them treatments. Finally, she opened up her first office in my Grandmother's house. Our living room was her waiting room for years. Slowly her practice grew because her belief was contagious. She would not give up on anybody and she did not permit anyone to give up on themselves. At some point our living quarters moved to the second floor apartment and life became normal. I know the word normal and my family is like having oil and water in one sentence, but to us everything seemed normal. You would think that my mother that had used up her allotment of belief, but nothing could be further from the truth. She had become a Baha'i in college and was so overwhelmed with the belief that Jesus had returned that she had to tell the world. Her dream was to form a Baha'i community in Beacon. At that time there was only a few Baha'is in the Hudson Valley. I remember some elderly Persian believers. Wed. was her day off. Grocery shopping in the afternoon and then in the evening she would sit downstairs at a dining room table. There would be nine place settings--cups, saucers, plates etc. She would sit at that table every wed. night saying prayers and envisioning a Baha'i community that would join her. Slowly one by one the room began to fill up. Her goal was a community of nine before she left for London in 1963. It was the First Baha'i World Congress with some seven thousand Baha'is from all over the world. The day before the ninth person became a Baha'i. The point I want to get across to Samaya and others that I hope will come along is that the people you read about in the history books--the pioneers who discovered new worlds of the body, mind or spirit had belief in common. They turned their eyes inward and saw a dream and they believed in them selves and in their dream--seeing the two realities intertwined--inseparable. I don't know what Samaya will see when she looks inward. That is for her to find out. At her dining room table may be nine inventions or books or paintings or cures or a cause or a God. I just want her to look and believe.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lousy Dreams

Once again I had another lousy furniture dream. And I'm the only poor b****** in the whole world that has long, drawn out, totally annoying furniture dreams. I woke up roaring like a fat lion with a sharp clothes hanger in my ear. "Karen! This is not right!. Most of my uneventful working life was in the furniture business. I unloaded it, loaded it, put it together, took old sofas to the landfill which I immorally bounced off Ralph Nader's head. I made it, sold it, delivered it, fixed it, cried over it for thirty years. I observed a stylish sales woman try to sell another stylish lady a beautiful oak dresser when at that moment a raccoon decided to take a voluminous leak through a a ceiling tile right on the ok dresser! What are the odds of that? Who could ever believe again that God likes furniture? If I make it to heaven there better not be any furniture there! I need to believe that Jesus making furniture is just a bad translation!
Anyway, back to the dream. Most of the night I was trying to deliver some furniture and I could not make out the address on the sales slip. I went from one house after another getting increasingly frustrated. I went up to one house and rang the door bell. This old lady tells me "You have exquisite flesh" I know no one will believe any of this, but it is sadly ever last word true-"Exquisite flesh" who talks like that-even in a lousy furniture dream! I felt like mooning her, but then I would have lousy prison dreams for the next thirty years. Big breathe in. Big breathe out. Relax...relax.. go to sleep.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My daughter's advice.

We have serious children. Correction, we have serious children who have grown up to be serious adults. I suppose God will hold me accountable for this in the next world. Is there an appeal process in the next world? Johnny Cochran is taking a dirt nap. He got O.J. acquitted. Anyway, Laurel told me this morning that there is some house wife who no longer bothers to get dressed in the morning. She writes a blog every day about family life and gets a fortune for it. Laurel says she was invited to the White House for a visit with Michelle Obama. Laurel did not say if she was wearing a ratty bathrobe (the blogger, not the First Lady) with oatmeal stains to the reception. I want to make it clear. I write my blog fully clothed--proper clothes at that! Not like Dru Cederquist who writes her blog dressed like a sailor. I suppose if I wrote my blog in my skivvies the money would roll in--well forget it! I have my principles! I had not intended to write any of this today. I was in the waiting room of my dentist sitting beside a small, narrow fish tank getting bored (no pun intended). I told the long time receptionist that if if owned this place I would put a sign on the fish tank: "Please be advised that the fish tank will be closed April 24 for the required annual dental check up." The receptionist smiled politely. Laurel would say "Dad, you can't just respond to the voices in your head and amuse them. You have to write for normal people." She has a point. But how do I know if the people who read my blog are normal? Are they dressed properly? So, we need some rules. Post a photo of your self on Facebook reading my blog. Try to appear normal. The things I do to please my daughter.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Making a Living

Here we are in what is being called the worst crisis since the Great Depression and I am gainfully employed. Even got another raise and praise for my work ethic. Any day I expect the President to make a televised speech blaming the economic woes of the country on me. I can see his grim expression and pointed finger. "This man in Eliot is unemployable yet he is working! He has no discernible skills. He swims, works out at a gym and...and...(his face turning beet red) he received a raise the same day he played chair volleyball! The ball hit his foot , knee, head and he was heard to exclaim. "I have body parts playing volleyball without my knowledge." People with severe disabilities are in his care. All they do is laugh all day long." I need to go to an LSA meeting--see ya later.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mt. Beacon

Something jarred my memory this weekend. Our grandchildren definitely need to know this story.
We grew up, as did the previous generation, in the shadow of Mt. Beacon looming like a friendly behemoth hovering over the town. "Woe to those who would harm my faithful subjects" he would bellow on stormy nights-or maybe it was all my imagination. My mother, when she was a child of eight, emerged one fine morning from the front door, turned around and had the most wondrous vision that caused her to become a starving seeker after truth (and donuts) for the rest of her life. On the side of Mt . Beacon, near the top, but not on the top, stood a beautiful lady next to two golden doors. My grandmother told her to cut it out or get a spanking. Visions, or anything that could not be put in the soup kettle, were not allowed in their house-not with eight mouths to feed and the wolf always howling at the door. Visions were for wealthy families with time on their hands. I doubt my pragmatic grandmother even turned around and looked at the mountain to see for her self. As a young adult my mother consulted a fortune teller on main street who told her that what she was looking for would not be found in Beacon.. So she moves to Iowa, becomes a chiropractor and a Baha'i and eventually goes on pilgrimage to Israel in 1970--about 45 years after her childhood vision. She walks up to the Shrine of the Ba'b rising majestically on the side of Mt. Carmel. She quietly stands and stares at the two massive golden doors --52 became 8 once again.
So what do I think of visions. They come in all sizes and shapes and they show you a part of heaven. I have never had a vision of two golden doors, but I have had a vision of two tiny dark eyes smiling at me from her mother's arms. This vision is named Samaya--which means "heaven" in Amharic. One day she will grow up to be a beautiful lady who will stand and stare at the two golden doors just like her mother, father, grandfather, grandmother and great grandmother and she will tell the story of the two golden doors to her children who will stand and stare...

Monday, April 5, 2010

history of disease

Television commercials are a video history of disease in America. My first awareness was viewing the horrific suffering of a young woman on tv in a black sweater. Her shoulders were covered with tiny white flakes called dandruff. I had been living in a dream world! This epidemic had been sweeping the country destroying the self esteem of young women who wore black sweaters and here I was--a young man in his twenties ignorant of the suffering of others. These commercials ran for years. The young woman looked more distressed as time went by. The flakes became larger causing her shoulders to sag under the weight and still no cure!! What was the government doing? What if I found an undiscerning young lady and we wanted to get married. Would I have been mature enough to overlook this disability-see the inner beauty? Luckily by the time I met Karen I was in my thirties and the epidemic had subsided because the dandruff commercials had stopped. I mean I still examined her shoulders when she wasn't looking, but she was disease free--whew! Time has flown by and other epidemics have come and gone. Restless leg syndrome comes to mind. After seeing nonstop commercials of some guy's leg karate kicking the covers off I had a hard time sleeping. What if Karen caught restless leg syndrome and kicked me to death? How is that for an obit--"Ronald Tomanio kicked to death in his sleep when his wife was overcome with restless leg syndrome." In lieu of flowers just have a good laugh at his expense.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


More info on the stories. Both the Winter Cloak and Edith Rose run about 70 minutes and have breaks of a few seconds built in along away. They are suitable from about age ten to 110. THe Winter Cloak is available with a musical background-please specify. As long as I can afford it please send 15.00 for each cd. This includes shipping. Make tax deductible checks out to Educate These Children. This is Rose Cabot and her families non profit that sustains an orphanage and school in Malawi--one of the poorest countries in the world located in Africa. Much love to all.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

71 Minutes After Midnight

A long time ago I made a promise to my dear friend Rose Cabot. She has emerged, not unscathed, from a childhood living in one foster home after another. On a rainy day when I thought I could cure a rainy day I promised her I would write a story about a foster child. I didn't want to know the details of her reality. It was more than the FDA's daily recommended daily dose of pain to hear the story of her typical birthday celebration-not on her real birthday, but added on as an afterthought when the "real child" in the family had a birthday. I was soon over my head and very little was falling off of it on to paper. I got stuck, unstuck and one day I had to put the story down. I had painted myself into a too odd corner. Then in the middle of the night after a hectic day I woke up in the middle of the night with the rest of the story in my head. I wrote it down as fast as possible through the dawn hours. I don't have that kind of energy anymore. I continue to write stories but get tired at the computer-it is a snail's life now for me. I have been fortunate-two books published and I know how lucky I am, but I always felt that this one story should have had a chance to be read-not only for this Rose, but for all the roses that never survived the harsh winters of this world. So now at least it is on a professionally recorded cd with a disc cover of Rose as a child waiting for her when she comes up this weekend. "Edith Rose"-71 minutes. So on the scales of give and take are we even? No, it can never be.
Years ago my brother was with us in Maine for a short stay-dying before our eyes-- refusing to see a doctor-him dying--friendless--legs oozing-Rose washing them--legs I couldn't look at--more than enough cleaning the bloody piss off the bathroom floor. He said to her. "Rose, you are a friend" New strange words from him--never heard before or after. A little while later back in New York they talked late at night. He promised not to take his life on her birthday. He waited until after midnight for her--to keep her birthday free of at least one lousy memory. Why am I telling you this story? Because Rose is a real pain the ass-always with that way too needy heart needing to be told by her friends that they really do love her. Rose, listen closely. I really do love you.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

getting in shape

My friend Carolyn wrote in her blog about getting in shape for the good weather. I was thinking about my odd work life-easy as it as, some mornings when everything aches, I think about retiring. Or maybe it's my knees that are thinking about retiring. Maybe there is some internal civil war going on. My ears want to keep working, but the knees yell "quit". My liver is neutral. Anyway, I'm swimming at the Y after working out at the gym for an hour with a client-and getting paid for it. I turned to a co-worker in the pool and said I was up for a raise because I had learned the backstroke and my Australian Crawl has me in the running for a promotion. Periodic visits to the doctor urge me to work out and go swimming. So if I do retire I will be spending my days spending my own money to do what I am now getting paid for. I am not the smartest guy,but I think I can unwind this conundrum.
Other news-- Maine is being deluged. I saw a game warden giving mouth-to-mouth to a trout. I sincerely hope the reason was that the fish was drowning. More tomorrow-I'm boring myself.-love to all

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Yesterday marked the 28th year of marriage between Karen Mummsen and Ronald Tomanio. The ceremony took place at the Quaker Chapel at Oakwood School in Poughkeepsie N.Y. Our wonderful friend Frank Post, who was the cook at the school, cooked all the food which included a make-your-own -sundae. For those friends out their of other Faiths, a Baha'i marriage ceremony is not official unless there is a make-your-own sundae. KAren had disies in her long blond hair while I had color in mine. The daisies, the blondness and the color in my hair are long gone, but love has filled in every material void. We had a short couple of days at Lake Mohonk-significant to Baha'is because Abdu'l-Baha was invited to speak there in April of 1912. They still have a huge portrait of Him in the hallway. Whatever event would have my mother and father seated side-by-side at the main table. My mother's least favorite sister walked by and could not resist a passing broadside volley. "Look at the two lovebirds."-my parents, who struggled to be in the same room together, shot back invisible poison darts. Weddings are a gathering of individuals that occur like comets with an extremely long orbit-once in a few million years. Which means I will one day struggle to fit into my wedding suit and Karen will test the fortitude of her white wedding dress. Lovebirds will gather for real having been reprimaned by St. Gordo, the patron saint of obese divorced couples to forgive and forget-but I will never forget the bright wake of the comet as I look back in time.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Today's show

I am having a difficult time letting go of the emotions from today's radio show. A young mother of four who is recovering from a brain injury suffered when she was thrown from the backseat of car and hit her head on a guard rail. Everyone thought she had a perfect life-beautiful new house, hardworking husband and four beautiful children. She had a good job in a bank as well. Inside she felt lost and her marriage was falling apart. She accepted an invitation from a female friend to attend a concert and even though she had to get up early for work the next day and get her children off to school--drank too much--fell asleep in the back seat and woke up weeks later. Given up for dead twice, told she would not walk again or lead a normal life. I ask her why she went out in the middle of the week? Her husband encouraged her to go out because they could not stand to be in each others presence. She said "I was self centered. It was all about me and my spotless house and my beautiful things." You would think I was describing a monster and good riddance to her. But, four years later, she has become a beautiful soul committed to being the best mother she can be. Back to work and determined to help others to make better decisions. She is not out of the woods yet-racked with guilt that her friend died in the wreck. She says she is getting better but she still feels lost. She is more spiritual now and I am curious where she will be in a years time. A hard thing to go on live radio and tell such a story, but she believes if one person listening stops and thinks it will be worth it. This show and the next one are on the same theme, but with different guests. The shows are timed to coincide with prom season. 1400 teens are injured and 15 die every day from auto accidents-alcohol involved in 40% of the accidents. The numbers are greater during prom season.
To listen Google search audio archives--Portsmouth community Radio look for "Don't Dis My Ability"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

unique talent

The Baha'i Writings inform me that each individual is endowed with a "special virtue and special excellence". I have always wondered what my unique talent was and I am thrilled to announce to everybody that I have discovered mine. Now I can relax and simply coast these last few years of mortal life. While swimming with a client at the Y I noticed that I can stand straight up in twelve feet of water and, without moving a muscle I float. There doesn't seem to be a time limit either. I just hover in the water in a timeless nether world. There are emaciated gurus sitting in caves in India trying to achieve such a state of Nirvana and here I am, owning not even one diaper, and I have reached this pinnacle of statutory aquatic bliss. The next step is to develop a brochure and offer classes charging an exorbitant fee. There would be photograph of me defying gravity and Neptune. In fact, I could be thumbing my nose at an angry Neptune. How many of us at one time have wanted to thumb our nose at an angry Neptune?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tribute to a too tall poet who has taken the pledge

I woke up at a quarter to three not hearing Frank Sinatra singing "set em up Joe" (with apologies to those under a certain age) but with a thread of a line that pleaded to be pulled from another world and I knew the reason. Somebody ! owes me precious hours of sleep! And I will be checking the mail!


Carried by the Rhythm from the Ancient
Melodies and letters rattle free
From a horse-drawn wagon
Descending from snowy mountain passes
Where icy water is borne
To starving hermits clinging to the Hem of the Robe
Bearing the heavy weight of memories
Of smiling Janets emerging out of a blue glass light
From a house on a hill