Saturday, April 22, 2017


"All animals eventually grow old and die. It's an inevitable fact of life - except when it isn't. Some animals, like tortoises and lobsters, never grow old, and learning their secrets could let humans live as long as they want."
"For most animals, there are three basic ways they can die: disease, injury, or old age, which is also called senescence. But a select few species are seemingly immune from aging itself, a phenomenon known as negligible senescence. The gradual accumulation of cellular damage and degradation that will eventually kill other animals (including us) slows to a virtual standstill, prolonging the life - and, in fact, the youth - of any animal lucky enough to be negligibly senescent."
(see the Link for this article)
I was at the clinic early Friday morning to check out the results of various tests with a fine young Doctor who was thorough, intelligent and willing to spend time explaining every detail. The details were somewhat daunting.  We are most concerned over very high blood pressure that she feels needs medication. It could be chronic hypertension (stroke or heart attack danger). I came home with ten pages of material to review and an Rx waiting for me at my druggist that I'm not yet sure I'll take till I've read and understood everything.  Another blood test was taken for more specific check of potassium levels with a follow up for results to be reviewed May 5th. And X-rays show the knees are definitely problematic-the probable cause of leg instability and there's been significant deterioration. A course of eight physical therapy sessions has been prescribed.  My sweet friend Michael ('Archangel') accompanied me bless his golden heart, and afterwards we stopped by a favorite eatery on 14th Street.

"It was first observed in 1970, but its roots go back to the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson's landmark book exposing the effects of pesticides and other chemical pollution on the environment. Troubled by the lack of attention pollution was receiving on the national stage, Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson began going on speaking tours, trying to educate people and politicians about environmental issues, and while the public was concerned, the politicians didn't pay much attention. During the late 1960s, Senator Nelson had the idea to harness the energy and methods of the student protests against the Vietnam War to organize a grassroots conservation movement. At a press conference in 1969, he announced plans for a nationwide demonstration, to take place the following spring. It was a gamble that paid off, and the public's response was enthusiastic. Gladwin Hill wrote in The New York Times, "Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam." Twenty million people nationwide participated in the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, and the government finally took notice, forming the Environmental Protection Agency and passing the Clean Air, the Clean Water, and the Endangered Species Acts. According to the Earth Day Network, Earth Day is celebrated by a billion people, making it the world's largest secular holiday."
(Source NPR The Writers Almanac)

I'm heading out to Fifth Avenue with Wendy Daly to see what we can see. The city bikes are free and the Avenue is closed to traffic with events from the Battery to Harlem.
Wendy  brought gifts of rice pastas, but had to go home after a short visit sgarubg tea at my place but I walked anyhow--crossing 23rd Street East to 7th Avenue, I ran smack into the end of the Sikh Day Celebrations. Yellow school buses lined the street, and colorfully garbed Sikhs crowded the sidewalk for many blocks. I took no pictures of them out of respect. There was an unrelated Hoop Troupe at Madison square...
...just finishing their routine
 for Earth Day
and then a lovely visit with my friend Joanne up at Dharma Mittra's yoga studio where she works.
 Grey with billowing shades of grey clouds occupied the skies all day and it rained lightly now and then.




Thursday, April 20, 2017


The long-living Turtle carrying a baby on it's back resting in this disembodied open hand has been decorated by a bracelet meant to symbolize all the gifts, calls, cards, kind words, caring and generous giving of many friends over my recent month + of illness. It signifies an upturn in my health. Although I'm not entirely out of the woods, I am most definitely up out of the dark ditch and standing.
Thank you

I'm avoiding wheat and found Rice Pasta to make this Mac and Cheese - not bad.
Good choice - Blood Orange for juicing
Not so good choice - Oreo cookie
I returned to my Writing Group Monday and It was productive.

Tuesday I registered with the 'Stein Senior Center two blocks away. They had an after lunch program of Broadway songs ending with a sing-a-long
"There's No Business Like Show Business"
Lunch Volunteers

 Food Cost $2
Mostly nothing I can eat partly due to my dietary restrictions, partly personal choice and a strong preference for organic, but others were glad to accept what I did not eat. The task of feeding so many on a daily basis is amazing when you think about it, and community is a big part of the process. Too many seniors are isolated. I saw several people I've known casually from the neighborhood for decades. Here, food is served with love by mostly volunteer assistants to the paid, hard working professional staff. A fifteen minute Dancercize session before lunch was fun, and good for all who chose to participate. Easy music and easy steps. Energizing. There are other services and benefits offered as well (see LINK), including $2 theater and concert tickets.

Media Scored This Week
Audio Book $1 at Stein's Sale table
"When journalist Maureen Paschal begins the research for a new book, she has no idea that she is stepping into an ancient mystery so secret, so revolutionary, that thousands of people have killed and died for it. Two thousand years ago, Mary Magdalene hid a set of scrolls in the French Pyrenees: the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, her version of the life of Jesus and the events of the New Testament. To search for the scrolls, she must unravel clues that link history’s great artistic masters, dynasties, and scientific minds. Ultimately, she comes face-to-face with Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene, and a love triangle that changed the course of history in a deeply moving and powerful new gospel."
 Video $1 at Goodwill Thrift next door to the center
"K-Pax is a 2001 American science fiction-mystery film based on Gene Brewer's 1995 novel of the same name, directed by Iain Softley, starring Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Mary McCormack and Alfre Woodard. The film is about a psychiatric patient who claims to be an alien from the planet K-PAX. During his treatment, the patient demonstrates an outlook on life that ultimately proves inspirational for his fellow patients and especially for his psychiatrist."  I viewed this and it is quite brilliant.

Good Advice

Gramercy Park blooming beautifully.
An Eastern Redbud in the distance.

Wednesday I returned to the New York Zen Center
 and spent some time in the library there
 before the sitting.
Today it's cold again and rainy.


Stein Senior Center


Kathleen McGowan

Eastern Redbud 

NYZen Center

Sunday, April 16, 2017


In American supermarkets there's so much everything.
Everything one needs and everything one doesn't need at all is laid out in an acre of displays with isle upon aisle of multiple versions of the same category of product. Look for Lettuce and you'll have fifty choices, for cheese, eggs or milk, you will be faced with daunting decision making. Having passed two homeless wanderers on the way to the store (one a teenager with her tiny dog in her lap was holding a crude cardboard sign stating "Anything Helps", the other a middle aged man wearing shabby military fatigues and torn sneakers was dozing in a patch of sun outside a bank), I noticed an old woman in the check out line leaning on her walker counting her change who, like me, had just a few items. All that 'everything' seemed obscene. I stumbled upon this poem by D.H. Lawrence:

There is nothing to save, now all is lost, but a tiny core of stillness in the heart like the eye of a violet.

A poem like "Nothing to Save" in 'Last Poems' suggests a little of what it was like for Lawrence during the last months of his life, feeling almost given up to illness and death and yet, somewhere, still miraculously alive. That was what living meant, to him."

Holy Saturday commemorates the day that Jesus Christ lay in the tomb after his death according to the Christian bible, and on this day his "Blessed mother Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows is assigned the title Our Lady of Solitude, referring to her solace and grief at the death of her son", and while Jews say special additional prayer in the morning and Shabbat or Shabbos or the Sabbath ends after nightfall, I travelled across town to visit my friend Joanne at Dharma Mitra's Yoga Studio
and had a lovely moment with Dharma.

Today Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, while Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It is also the day that children wait for the Easter bunny to arrive and deliver their treats of candy or painted eggs symbolic of rebirth. Most historians, including Biblical scholars, agree that Easter was originally a pagan festival. According to the New Unger’s Bible Dictionary says: “The word Easter is of Saxon origin; Eastra or Eostre is the Germanic goddess of spring, in whose honor sacrifices were offered each year."

(forty two minutes)

(two minutes)

(10 Minutes)


 D.H. Lawrence Last Days
Holy Saturday

Thursday, April 13, 2017


The Hawthorns are flowering all along local streets where they were planted a decade ago. Now strangled by stone in insufficient tree wells, their tortured elephantine roots pushing upward against the earth, cracking cement, they endure. Neglect and abuse have not deterred them from their natural inclination.

I continue to be self obsessed,
as though I were still trying to discover myself.
Precisely because everything that lives changes, I'm constantly changing, experiencing myself at the mercy of thought winds whatever way they drift. Yet, I remain grounded. Because of this intensity of attention, I carry a short list to remind me just what errands I meant to accomplish while out, and in what order. They get done, and in the right order, while I float through the few hours accompanied by my stabilizing 'walking stick'.
That night I arrived at the murky East River where I was due to meet friend Wendy Daly at 7PM. Twenty minutes early, I sat on a boulder staring through the streams of runners like a musical score punctuated by several bicyclists. I speculated, hearing music from Bach to Bernstein in my mind. Families with active young children and those with new babies in prams, professional dog walkers and individual dog owners all passed by in a moving picture of the current world at this location. I was mesmerized until I asked the time.
7:05.  'She's late' I thought walking to the rivers edge. It seemed more viscous at closer range ; a thick soup.
Then a circled back looking down.
At 7:20 I asked the time again, turned to look up at a seagull just moving out of frame, snapped this shot and continued on to her apartment across the street.
The funny part was that she said she had spotted me but wasn't sure it was me at a distance, and since I was circling around that plaza and so was she, she kept losing me.  When I got to her place, her son phoned her and she returned. We spent a few hours in pleasant company sharing rice noodles and soup. Then she walked me back to my place.

Posted small packages to two more friends and a request to my MD for a letter excusing me from Jury Duty, then down to Union Square and a surprisingly quick purchase of Turkish Honey and Liquid Stevia at Trader Joe's very reasonable price.
On to the Mt. Sinai Beth Israel radiology clinic for Xrays of both knees, emerging hours later into the still balmy evening.

My dear friend Nayra sent many useful gifts including a new companion for "Teddy".  He calls her "Little Bear"

 Invitation to break bread at Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square
Maundy Thursday - also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, among other names - is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels. In the context of Holy Week, the word Maundy refers to the commandment Jesus gave to his disciples while washing their feet, as recorded in John 13:34-35:

"Love one another.
As I have loved you,
so you must love one another."


Monday, April 10, 2017


In the sunlight, round Gramercy park, down Irving Place, across 17th Street to union Square, visited Gandhi, then purchased another file box at Staples, headed East on 14th Street and stopped to photograph George before continuing back home.
Tea and a Movie
"Waiting for the Light"
A former vaudevillian magician (Shirley MacLaine) moves her straight-laced niece (Terri Garr) and her two mischievous children to a small town. When the two kids get in trouble with a neighbor for stealing vegetables from his garden, the aunt concocts an illusion of ghosts in revenge. Only trouble is the whole town believes it is real and soon the press is swarming the town and a major magic trick is required for everyone to save face.
(Two minute Trailer)

At the computer early, simple breakfast, hot bath
10:00AM and climbing into the Seventies!
 Off to Library, Post, and then across town bus to the Hudson River with my long time neighbor Ron Sherbet. We saw a flotilla of contented ducks in murky water.

 The carousel Ducks and Horses and more.
 Spent a lovely hour in the bright sunshine over there and took the bus back home where a very thoughtful gift from Dee Mallon awaited me.  Because of the plethora of kindnesses that have come my way since I've been ill, each new arrival tears me up a little. Funny how kindness can make one feel both sad and glad at the same time.  Sad I suppose because I'm reminded of my limitation and glad because it feels good when folks care.
This wonderful old video was gleaned for .99 recently so I'll spend some time resting and watching before supper.
 (A three minute clip which may seem like a spoiler, but take my word for it, the film leading up to this ending needs to be seen in it's totality. It's a charmer.)


Saturday, April 8, 2017


My bathroom line has no heat pipe and since I have the old version, it also has no outlet to plug a heater in. It's always been colder than any other room, but since the apartment that backs it is being rehabilitated and has no windows at all yet, it's damn cold.  i can usually warm it a little by running a hot tub.  Still, I've decided to track the temperature in there and maybe write a letter. That was the plan but it doesn't work so I'll return it and see what else they have to offer for the purpose.

Every Friday they put out a box of free offerings. I got these two items thinking of my friend and fellow music lover, Barbara H.

My yogi friend arrived bearing shopping items I needed from Trader Joe, and sat for a nice long chat too.
 Then left me with a comforting hug and these oranges.

A local Tree well ready for Spring
Uptown by bus to the Three Decker to meet with my friend Michael. We commiserated, exchanged gifts and cheered each other on.
Home again to 22nd Street
In the mail a package of Cards from Hazel
Each a photo of her Cloth work