Archive | December 2013

Sometimes things won’t let us lose them

Muriel from BlogThere aren’t as many umbrellas in my closet as there used to be. Some friends constantly lose them. I never do, but I  give them away. The truth is I find it awkward to carry a walking stick and an umbrella at the same time, so I no longer use umbrellas.

Looks like he can manage both a walking stick and an umbrella, but I can't

Looks like he can manage both a walking stick and an umbrella, but I can’t

What I do, however, use and lose — are scarves, and a few are gone as a result. I have one scrarf, however, that has, to date, refused to be lost in spite of me.

During this holiday season, there are more lunches out with friends than usual, and that very scarf was admired by one friend when I removed it and draped it over the back of my chair the other day. Sure enough, I walked out into the street before I realized I had left it behind. When I went back to retrieve it, I swear I could hear it whisper “Not again!” Or, was that just a rustling sound….

The first time I lost it was years ago. It was at the Arts Club Theatre on Granville Island. I had left it behind one evening after seeing a play. After I realized it, I turned back and was allowed into the empty theatre to retrieve it. I was pleased I found it. I like it. It did not scold me — after all, it was only the first time.

Have you seen my scarf?

Have you seen my scarf?

The next time I lost it it really wasn’t my fault. It was extremely windy and the rain came down in torrents. I struggled for balance and my neighbour/friend Beryl and I giggled like schoolgirls when my umbrella blew inside-out.

We giggled like children when my umbrella blew inside out

We giggled like children when my umbrella blew inside out

Soaked and disheveled, we managed to reach the theatre just blocks away. Not until the movie was over did I notice my scarf was missing. A theatre employee helped me search for it. I didn’t find it anywhere near my seat, so he showed me numerous scarves people had turned in, but none was mine. I was disappointed…..

“Let’s walk home exactly the way we came,” I suggested — it was a long shot.

“It was so wet and windy, even if you did lose it in the street, it would have blown far away by now,” responded Beryl, ever the pragmatist. Besides, we had planned to go back another way so we could pass a coffee shop and after all, she probably was looking forward to that.

“I know, I know, but….”

Beryl had to be right. I began to feel foolish as we walked and was in the middle of apologizing to her when we spotted something in the middle of the road. I stopped. She read my mind.

“It’s not your scarf. It’s a dirty rag.” She was sure and I believed her. Her vision was better than mine, but I still had to step off the curb, walk over to it and poke it, pick it up and study it and…whaddayaknow, it was my lovely scarf, looking anything but lovely right then.

It was soaked and I could feel it trembling with fear and cold. Car tires had whizzed by on either side the whole time we were at the movie. It was so lonely and scared and wet and miserable and dirty, I thought I heard it sigh with relief when I picked it up to carry it home — at arms length because it was dripping. I wondered if it could be salvaged at all.

This poor little guy isn't happy, but we enjoyed the rain

This poor little guy isn’t happy, but we didn’t mind the rain, especially when I found my scarf

Later, I’m sure it gurgled with pleasure when I dunked it into a sink full of warm, sudsy water. “Ahhhh!” Happily, it was not damaged in any way and fully recovered from the trauma.

Serendipity? Perhaps. I didn’t want to lose that scarf and I think it didn’t want to lose me. Sometimes things just aren’t ready to leave us and they insist on returning. Like that chicken did years ago in Los Angeles. But, that’s another story.

I wish you all a healthy and wonderful 2014. Thank you for reading my blog.

Getting old??? Who, me????

Muriel from BlogIn a “Fundraising for Non-Profits” class I took  a few years ago, I was the only gray-haired person in attendance. We discussed money and donations. During a chat with a fellow classmate I realized how much things have changed during my lifetime. I was describing to him how I used to prepare the payroll as a bookkeeper in the 1950s.

In the clothing manufacturing firm I worked for, salaries were paid in cash every Friday, sealed in separate little pay envelopes. It had to be figured out ahead of time, which meant deciding how much was earned either by the hour, or for piece work, or salary — depending on the employee. After deductions were made, I counted how many pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, one, two, five, ten or twenty dollar bills were required  and called the bank on Thursday to order it.

I counted the cash and filled the pay envelopes

I counted the cash and filled the pay envelopes

Come Friday, a trembling me walked over to the bank to pick up the cash, which was probably over $4,000 — a fortune to the scared 17-year-old I was then. The responsibility terrified me and I dreaded it. I saw thieves everywhere, studied every face, and clutched the bag full of cash close to my chest.

I was 17 and terrified someone would steal it from me

I was 17 and terrified someone would steal it from me

My boss had told me if anyone tried to take it from me, to just give it to them, that we were insured. But, that didn’t make it any easier. I would heave a huge sigh of relief each time I made it back to the office intact, where I carefully filled each envelope, wrote on the front of it the employee’s name and details of tax deductions, etc.

“How silly,” the young man exclaimed, “Why didn’t you just pay by cheque?”

“As a business, we had cheques, but the employees needed their money for the week-end, and most didn’t have chequing accounts anyway. I probably didn’t either.”

“Why couldn’t they just use their credit cards??” he asked, incredulous.

The first credit card was the Diners' Club

The first credit card was the Diners’ Club

“Because there weren’t any yet. I remember when credit cards first came out, the  first one was the Diner’s Club, sometime during the 1950s. And, it wasn’t easy to get and besides, it frightened us — we had never dealt with them before. Now, sometimes I think maybe we were right…

Maybe we were right..

Maybe we were right..

Of course, throughout this young man’s lifetime credit cards and cheques have always been available. People now buy what they want today and pay for it later. At that time, we paid for it first and then got it, either by saving up the amount we needed, or using the lay-a-way method — choosing the item and having the store hold it for us until it was fully paid for. We knew how to wait….

This conversation made me feel really old……

Well, I am getting old. I know because I have a child who is 50. I remember that I used to think 50 was ancient. When I turned 50,  daughter Susan, who has a sense of humour, could not imagine having a mother of 50. She searched high and low for a gift that would be older than me — and bought me a fossil. I’m getting ready to give it back to her when she reaches 50 — not that far off anymore. (Ah, revenge is sweet!!!)

I know I’m getting old when I am with family or friends and look around  and everyone is younger than I am. I mention names of movie stars and young people I’m talking to don’t know who they are. I hear on the news that famous contemporaries have died, and note that some of them were much younger than I am.

I can tell what the weather will be like by how much my knees ache. And although my children are extremely patient when I goof with my tenuous relationship with today’s technology, I wonder…. Would I be able to text? Would I be able to handle an I-Phone?

They laugh at my tenuous relationship with technology

I have a tenuous relationship with technology

(My son could not believe I was once trained as a radar technician. But that was eons ago and I was young enough to grasp and remember stuff like that without writing it down.)

These days I know the word I want but sometimes can’t retrieve it — seems like there are too many files floating around in my reluctant old brain. I get invited to more celebrations of life and funerals than I do to parties. I visit friends in hospital, and they’re not having babies.

I visit friends in hospital, and they're not having babies.

I visit friends in hospital, and they’re not having babies.

The professionals who handle my accounting or insurance needs are all kids — I remember when that wasn’t so.

My doctors get younger and younger and I seem to need them more often. My teeth have to be cleaned more than twice a year and I keep thinking how grateful I am to still have them.

Are they old enough to treat me and know what they are doing?????

Are they old enough to treat me and know what they are doing?????

Need I say more???