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.