Archive | May 2015

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Write a blog? Who? Me?

Photo, like so many others, by Susan Kauffmann

Photo, like so many others, by daughter Susan Kauffmann

I feel lucky. My son, Rafi, is loving, warm and considerate — and so is his

Son Rafi, who with wife Chandra and their Remy bring me joy

Son Rafi, who with wife Chandra and their Remy bring me joy

wife, Chandra. I am certainly blessed to have them, and they are doing such a great job raising my grandson, Remy, that I proudly claim all three as my own.

Then, there is Brian and his wife Rebecca. Brian claims to be my #2 son and as such, like Avis, he says he tries harder. I saw Rebecca grow up, but not Brian. I would have liked to. He always manages to make me laugh and I’d love to know where or when he developed his crazy sense of humour. There is also something very special about someone who decides to adopt YOU as a mother and I love Brian especially for that. Plus, he’s a good sport and puts up with my nonsense, and, as you can imagine, that ain’t easy. He listens patiently to how thrilled I am with this blog, and not for the first time, suggested a topic for a post — this one.

Whenever I visit #2 son Brian and his Rebecca it is my birthday and we celebrate

Whenever I visit #2 son Brian and his Rebecca it is my ‘birthday’ and we celebrate

Daughter Susan, who understood what this blog would mean to me before I did

Daughter Susan, who understood what this blog would mean to me before I did

Before that, however, I must attribute the whole idea of this blog, which brings me so much pleasure, to my daughter Susan. Susan suggested it to begin with, set it all up for me, taught me what little I know about managing it, and continues to help whenever I mess things up which I do regularly — very regularly. Because of her thoughtfulness and loving patience, I’ve had a grand time since she talked a reluctant me into it.

I wonder if at times Susan doesn’t feel she’s created a Frankenstein. The poor thing has had to take time out of her own busy life to rescue me again and again when the technology gets the better of me.

It was also Susan, who, seeing how excited I get about the people from other countries who visit my little blog, suggested I start keeping track of where you live. Clever girl — I started doing so in July, 2013.

This is my list so far:

Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China!!! (just today), Columbia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Finland, France,

An outdoor market in Latvia

An outdoor market in Latvia

Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, (South) Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan,

Flag of Montenegro

Flag of Montenegro

Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Republic, United Kingdom, United States, Viet Nam — and any day now, I may be able to add yet another.

A scene in Saudi Arabia

A scene in Saudi Arabia

At the very beginning, it was a thrill to approach and then reach 500 views. After that I looked forward to 1,000; then 1,500; and now, here I am at 6,998 — 7,000 coming up! And, you are the one who makes it all possible. Thank you!

All They Can Do Is Say No……

Photo by Timothy Stark

Photo by Timothy Stark

The car thing

My car is a 1988 U.S. made Toyota Corolla FX, which was never made in Canada. I like it. I’m used to it and it has served me well for many years. So has my local mechanic, whom I am very fond of and who has often been more than kind and considerate. When he said my troubled car needed a new carburetor and that he could not find another for my old faithful, I asked what alternative we had.

My wonderful little 1988 Toyota Corolla FX, not made in Canada

My wonderful little 1988 Toyota Corolla FX, not made in Canada

‘We’ll have to fix your old one.’

‘How much will that cost — about?’

‘$400.’

Was the old car worth it? Perhaps not, but I thought it might be to me — I’m in no position to purchase a new one and not quite ready to give up driving altogether. He’d need it for a week, so shortly after this conversation, I left it with him when I went to Montreal to visit family.

My local mechanic has always been very kind and reliable

My local mechanic has always been very kind and reliable

He had no way to reach me for any changes in cost or confirmation of any kind while I was away. When I returned home and went in to see him, he asked about my trip. I told him I was spoiled rotten as usual, and asked how my little car was.

‘Great. It runs beautifully now.’

‘What’s the damage?’

‘$951.’

‘Yikes! I was not expecting THAT much….’

‘We had to replace a lot of parts, plus rebuild half the carburetor.’

I thought about it for a few moments, what to do? I was ready for $400/$500, but wow. I decided, even though he’s often been very good to me, to ask if there was anything he could do.

‘W-e-l-l, I’ll cut the labor by $200, there’s nothing I can do about the parts.’

I appreciated that. I was also glad I had worked up the courage to ask. $200 is a lot to me. Yes, it was still a lot for an old car, but it is running very well and I am pleased to have it.

telephone

The phone and internet thing

computer

I called my server and the conversation over the phone went something like this:

‘I’m ready to move to another provider for my telephone and internet service.’

‘Are you not happy with our service.’

‘It’s okay, but my friend is paying $45 a month for the same service I pay over $100 for. She also gets free calls to China while I have to pay for every single long distance call I make.’

Poor guy -- has to deal with the likes of me

Poor guy — has to deal with the likes of me

‘But, you realize that’s only for six months, after which her costs will go back up to the regular price.’

‘Six months? Listen, I’m 78 years old. I may be dead in six months. I don’t care about what happens in six months?’ (What could the poor guy say to that?)

‘Well, I could reduce it somewhat for you, but not that much.’

‘Good enough, but I also want free long-distance calls to the U.S. and Canada.’

‘I’m sorry, I can’t do that.’

‘C’mon. You can tell your supervisor I threatened you.’

‘Are you threatening me?’

‘Yes.’

‘What will you do?’

‘I’ll sing!’

‘Go ahead and sing.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes.’

‘Okay. “I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck, Hug

'Hey, I gotta tell you about this crazy lady who called me today...'

‘Hey, I gotta tell you about this crazy lady who called me today…’

around the neck and a barrel and a heap, barrel and a heap and I’m talking in my sleep, about you, about you, Oh, I love you –etc., etc…..” (Right to the very end of the song. The guy never even interrupted. He listened quietly to the whole thing and then..)

‘Okay. I’ll give you free calls to North America.’

‘Ah, you are a dear. Thank you so much — can I adopt you?’

Then he asked if he could help me with anything regarding my internet service. I told him I had taken enough of his time. I’ll bet he had the greatest time afterwards telling his friends and colleagues about this crazy lady who sang to him that day. Right? And … I am very much enjoying the free long-distance calls I have — until October.