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Stuff is falling apart…

Muriel2017Things are falling apart all around me. First, I replaced my old computer, then the brand new one wouldn’t function, but you know about that already. Now there’s more happening. What’s going on??

Next to give up was my shredder.

scarfshreds

Next to quit was my shredder.

That was understandable. The poor thing served me faithfully for years. Son Rafi helped order a new one online. (In the midst of COVID:19, stores are closed.)

 

newsshred blk

Something like my new heavy shredder

It’s bigger, much heavier — and more complicated. It not only shreds in one direction, but in several at the same time. But, there’s no place to store the papers-to-be-shredded like I could in my old one. So the old shredder’s basket remains, adding more clutter in my office. Oh, well…

The latest to quit??? My toaster oven! I had one that was just that, an ordinary toaster oven. The new ones I saw locally aren’t that simple.

Photo on 2020-07-03 at 10.28 AM

Sad goodbye to old simple toaster oven

The one I bought is also a ‘Convection’ oven. (I don’t even know what that is.) It came with l-o-n-g instructions — in several languages. The printing is so small, a magnifying glass was required for me to read it. I did. By the end, I was so confused, I had no idea where to begin.

It came with several parts but I had no idea where they were supposed to go. It didn’t say. Is it a secret? It has knobs which do various things, most of which I’m not interested in. Said knobs have tiny little things written on them here and there which I can’t see anyway.

Photo on 2020-07-03 at 10.32 AM

New toaster oven: blue pen points to spot I painted with red nail polish

Thank goodness Andrew came by and set it to just make toast. After he left, I painted the spot he’d told me to use with red nail polish, because the original mark is so obscure, I would never find it. I had to tip the oven over on its side to see it. You can’t do that while it’s going.

I sure hope nothing else goes. I can’t cope with more ‘improvements’. As it is I still need to pull out the instructions twice a year when they change the time for the no-longer-new clock radio I use in my office. You can set multiple alarms and it has so many possibilities I can’t keep straight. If I were really clever, it would probably fix dinner and walk my dog — if I had one.

And, this week I’m having another birthday. Talk about falling apart. I may be next!!!

funnykady

 

I want a rat tail like Remy’s…

Remy's rat tail2020

Remy’s tail

The last time my San Francisco crew visited, I teased Remy about his long braid. After admiring it, I suggested he not dare fall asleep at night because I would cut it off and glue it on for myself. He laughed. He wasn’t terrified. (I’m using his photo here with his permission.)

I had no idea it was called a ‘rat’s tail’. Why would I? It was my patient friend Celine, who made my first real braid and commented that’s what it looked like. I thought it was because my hair is grey and Remy’s is black, (like mine used to be).

Then, son Rafi told me it WAS called a ‘rat’s tail’. Imagine! I keep learning folks. Don’t we all NEED to know these things? Aren’t you glad I’m telling you?

I’m a determined sort. Ask my kids. It drives them nuts.

Photo on 2020-04-22 at 10.18

All I could do was make a small ponytail

So, I continued to let my own rat’s tail grow, but now I’m isolating because of COVID:19 and giving friends and others I love a break by not seeing anyone. I’m definitely not talented enough to make a braid for myself in the back of my head. Forget it. All I could do was make a small ponytail and hope for the best.

Photo on 2020-04-25 at 09.12 2

The lovely braid Samantha made

Then, finally Samantha visited wearing a mask, washed her hands 100 times, etc., etc., etc. but still beautiful. What a treat. She made a lovely braid for me. I loved it. The next morning, it was stubbornly curled up to the left and no way was it willing to straighten out.

Photo on 2020-04-26 at 10.49

Note the stubborn curl toward the left of photo

Want some good advice? Watch out what you wish for. You may get it AND regret it. I had straight jet-black hair and would have sold my young soul to the devil to have it curl. Well, now I’ve got what I then wanted so badly. My grey hair IS wavy. I hate it! It drives me crazy. It won’t wave the way I’d want it to. It is totally uncontrollable. Sometimes it looks like the 1920s. Oh, woe is me… I’m back to nothing but a silly little ponytail.

You mean I didn’t make you cry with this very sad tale about my tail??

A sense of humor?

Muriel2017

I’d been there before. Several times. Still, when leaving, I headed in the wrong direction. I do stuff like that — very often.

Andrew and I were at a local hospital where I’d had an appointment with my hand surgeon. I wasn’t sure what the doctor would do about that troublesome hand, so I asked Andrew to come with me ‘just in case’.

As I was leading the poor guy astray, he gently reminded me we had to go in the opposite direction.

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Andrew looking serious. (He hates taking pictures.)

‘I told you I have no sense of direction,’ I laughed, ‘You can believe it.’

‘A sense of humor is much more important,’ Andrew responded. He is SO wonderfully clever.

cutequestion

Where am I???

I burst out laughing. I do that a lot. As for a sense of direction, forget it. Turn me around in my bedroom and I probably wouldn’t find my own bed.

Andrew is right. My crazy sense of humor is helpful. I had just had the doctor cracking up because I asked him to marry me. (He said he would except he loves his wife.)

Then he showed me videos of his new baby, born one day before my birthday, and his little girl. He has told me I can ALWAYS get in to see him, which is terrific for me with my  arthritic hands.

betterlaughingdr

My doctor cracked up when I asked him to marry me.

I often get great service because of my nutty humor, bus drivers remember me and smile when I climb aboard and make sure I’m seated before they restart the bus. Busy professionals try to fit me in, and, admittedly, I sometimes take advantage of that.

This year, my wonderful, caring family doctor gave ME a Christmas present! I’ve made her laugh often, but she put up with me in tears when I was very dizzy. I adore her….

During the present crisis, I’ve agreed to not be stubborn and I’m staying in because everyone is reminding me how old I am. Old?

Well okay I AM old! And I tell my loved ones I intend to stick around until the last cheque/check bounces!

I just didn’t see you….

cutelittlegirl

I wasn’t so cute, but wore glasses early

My vision wasn’t that great to begin with. I wore glasses by the time I was three and I’m surprised and grateful I’ve done so well. Still, I can walk by you and not acknowledge you — don’t be upset. I just didn’t see you. I’ve been known to do that, but never on purpose. Honest….

she didnt say hellobaby

Don’t be upset or angry, I just didn’t see you

So you’re all on notice — if older friends like me walk by you and don’t say hello, give yourself and them a break. Know that we who are older treasure our friends more than ever. After all, we’ve already lost so many.

Here are a few tips from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind: As we age, we require more light. Make sure to have a bright, even and constant light source. Light is good, glare isn’t. Our eyes have more difficulty adapting to changes in lighting, so bright sunlight, glare from windows, or reflections make it harder to see.

Okay I don't smoke but

Okay, so I don’t smoke but I like this picture with contrasting colors

Contrasting colors are helpful. Similar colors may not be a problem for younger eyes, but old-timers have a harder time discerning the edge of a carpeted stair or the rim of a white plate on a white tablecloth.

Being organized can also be extremely helpful so get with it. If things are always in the same place, life is less stressful.

angry

Being organized can be helpful so get with it

You can make larger labels for spice jars, tins and containers by using a black marker. Rearrange furniture to reduce the possibility of tripping and do, do remove all those deadly scatter rugs.

Old lady baking. jpg

Mark labels with black marker

Be creative and develop a system that works for you.

 
Happy Holidays to all. May 2020 be kind to us all.

Where did 2019 go?

Muriel2017It’s December. Where the heck did 2019 go? I remember when it started. Seems like yesterday. Is it a plot? Whatever, it surely is a despicable act. Whoever stole it is a truly evil villain and should be hung from the rafters.

 

In January I was extremely excited

Ginsburg

I was thrilled with this 2019 calendar

about the new calendar my Chandra gave me. It featured Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doing her exercise workout. I was thrilled with it. I also remember wondering what to get Joe for his birthday. The guy is so creative with surprising me with unusual gifts for my birthday or whatever, it’s hard to do as well. ( Of course I know I don’t really have to.)

old yellow telephoneWasn’t that just yesterday? What happened? How did it ever get to be December? Today, I started calling around to see if I may have forgotten 2019 somewhere in the neighborhood. After all, I AM becoming a little forgetful.

SafewayKitsilano

My local Safeway

 

I checked at my local Safeway. The gal at the service desk had no idea where it could be. She looked at me in utter confusion. She must not be too bright….

 

Then, I tried the Apple Farm

AppleFarmactual

My local Apple Farm

where I buy my fruits and veggies. They had my gray gloves behind their counter and were happy to get rid of them, but nowhere did they have the year I lost.

Terra Breads

I enjoy breakfast at Terra’s

 

I’m a determined sort. I went over to Terra’s, where I like to have breakfast. They once found my hearing aid, which fell out of my pocket, surely if they found 2019 they’d keep it for me. But, no, they didn’t have my year either.

The bakery where I sometimes buy bread?  ‘2019? You’re looking for 2019??? Lady, have you lost it?’
‘Yes. I’ve lost it.’ What doesn’t she get?

angrywoman

I’m no quitter

If I were a quitter, I’d have given up, but I’m not. I decided to check at home. It can happen. I sometimes misplace stuff, don’t you? I looked under my bed. Nothing but dust bunnies there. Was it in a closet? No. A kitchen cabinet? No. The linen closet? No, no, no! Goodness me. I REALLY can’t find it.

 

Hey, we can use a little help here. Do you have it? This just isn’t fair….

I owe an apology to my mom…..

Muriel2017

How interesting to look back at childhood from this vantage point. I currently see things so differently. Does that mean there’s hope we garner a little wisdom with age? Perhaps… I now realize I owe my mom an apology.

I was the youngest of five children. We lived in Quebec when birth control was illegal so our family wasn’t considered that big.

Ruch Muriel 5 yrs. approx

finally five

I was finally five and expecting to go to kindergarten. All my siblings attended school and I could hardly wait to go too. I was so excited. Woweee!

 

crying girl

they refused to accept me

Mom dressed me up in a starched dress for the occasion and we walked hand in hand to our local school to register. They refused to accept me. Why, I’ll never know.

Perhaps they had too many students or something at the time because the next year they put me directly into first grade. They surely didn’t ask me what my opinion was about their dastardly decision. All I knew was they said NO!!!

childgreendress

I cried….

I howled

I didn’t cry, I howled

My mom probably tried, but was not prepared to argue for too long. I was heartbroken. I cried all the way home. Actually, that’s not at all true, I didn’t cry, I howled in five-year-old frustration and despair. It just wasn’t fair!!!! Everyone else (in my family) went to school. My poor mother tried her best to comfort me, but it wasn’t possible.

Now having raised children myself, I realize what a break those few hours each day would have been for my poor mom. She was probably looking forward to having some time to herself even more than I was looking forward to going to school. Being older today, I can’t help but imagine how disappointed SHE must have been herself.

poormom

The poor soul had to wait a whole year before having me at school

After all, I don’t think we ever had a babysitter — preschool may not even have existed yet, so my mom had to wait a whole year before having a few child-free hours.

I feel I was cheated out of the kindergarten experience I never had, however I also wish I had thought to apologize to mom…..

Appreciation for supportive friends….

Muriel2017I met Bill and Nancy Keuntje on a train in 2017. They’re a warm couple who were kind to this old lady and very worth keeping in touch with. (I think they live in New Jersey.) Bill collects miniature toys and promised to send me some — and immediately did so. He also composes beautiful music, some of which I get to listen to on my computer.

supportafriend

Support your friends when they need you

‘I’m just a blue-collar guy who’s made it to age 70 and knows but for the grace of others, I would be much worse off.’ Bill says humbly, but he’s no ordinary guy. So, during his recent chemo treatment for cancer, Bill thought about all those who gave him love and support during the harrowing experience and wrote this for all those who love and supported him:
.
maninbedAnd I don’t know what special is –

Don’t know why it is –

chemo

grateful to support during treatment

How just a moment alone or among a crowd,

Can become the why of a lifetime –

How sometimes it appears…. or just happens –

How the solitude of a whisper within a passing cloud

Can become the dominant essence that pervades and envelopes

That which wasn’t there just a thought ago –

But I do know what’s special –

The value that it holds, the power it possesses –

How it can overwhelm and dominate –

Or be the gentle note a bird might sing as glimmers of the

first light of day appear –

The first breath of a newborn today.

And I do know that it’s always there –

Impatiently waiting – biding its time –

olddoctor

Doctors know friends help

Needing to nourish – to be nourished –

Whether by a congregation of souls

Or an unknown entity X-degrees separate,

Alone and distant within the depths of a shadow

But more importantly, I know the Who –

Maybe not by name or familiarity –

Couldn’t pick it out of a crowd, for the crowd might be it –

But you are there – amongst the throngcup

As a color within a rainbow graced by its hue –

Unique as a dewdrop upon a blossom kissed by the sun.

Yes, you are special!     More so than you realize!

Yes, you are special!   More than you could ever imagine!

YES!

YOU ARE SPECIAL!!!!

You can send Bill good wishes for complete recovery directly to: bkeuntje@gmail.com

Precious memories….

Mom and Remy, SM

I fell in love with him the moment I saw him

Sometimes I have to admit nature figured a few things out right by giving children to young adults rather than to their elders. Occasionally one reads about some woman somewhere who decides to have a baby at the age of 60. All I can say is rocks of ruck lady, it won’t be easy.

When I think of raising my children, I’m amazed I survived all the challenges — illnesses, sleepless nights, accidents, traumas and everything else parenting requires. Besides these, think of the wear and tear parents endure attending to their off-springs’ intellectual and moral development. How did I manage? And, could I do it now?

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A favorite photo of little Remy

Yes, I love my grandson with all my heart. He’s definitely worthy of my love and surely,

Remy young

All photos of little Remy are favorites

as the grandma in a Turkish series on Netflix often says to her grandson, I would die for him. Still I didn’t do much babysitting. I would have liked to, but wasn’t physically up to the task by the time he came along. The few times I did, I worried because….

My children live in a home with about 30 rather steep stairs to climb. I deal with a vestibular disorder which causes imbalance and dizziness. I once watched him (he was an infant) so my son and his Chandra, as new parents, could get out for a rare dinner alone together in the neighborhood. I worried. I’m good at that as you know.

Muriel:RemyReno2017

2017,taller than me already

What’s if there was a fire? How would I get my precious, little grandson, asleep in my arms, down those stairs? I devised a complicated plan. I would place him on the floor at the top of the stairs, sit on the top step, take him back into my arms, and bounce down on my bum one step at a time. I don’t know if it would’ve worked, but it made me feel better. It was never tested thank goodness!

Many of us, as we age, live with a common condition — arthritis. Babysitting with this active, clever child when he was little required the playing of games. When he was about three, he seemed to have the wisdom of a sage. Did he know I was hurting?

He had just been given a new little suitcase, so we played going on vacation. We walked around and around the kitchen counter in opposite directions, he dragging his empty suitcase, with both of us declaring ‘See you later alligator.’ whenever we passed each other. The next time, the greeting was changed to ‘In a while crocodile.’ We laughed a lot. Afterwards, I was exhausted. I’m not sure if he was truly amused, or just babysitting me.

Remy'staller2018

2018, much taller than me

When my son Rafi was about 14, he’d come up behind me as I cooked breakfast on the stove, give me a morning hug and rest his chin on my head. Remy can’t wait to be able to do the same. He’s rapidly getting there.

Yes, Remy, like that grandma in the Netflix series, I WOULD die for you!

Who will talk to our children?

Muriel2017

Chandra took this photo

During one of my usual breakfasts at a local cafe, I sat next to a father, mother and son. The child seemed about seven or eight. Dad was busy on his cellphone. Mom was busy on hers. The boy stood next to his father and tapped the man on his arm. He wanted to say something.

The father impatiently pushed him away, saying: ‘Leave me alone.’

I see this kind of thing too often. I don’t like it, but usually don’t intervene. It isn’t my business, but I was so sad and angry and bothered by it this time, I took the liberty as an old crone to butt in.

fatoldangry

Your son needs to talk to you

‘Excuse me sir,’ said I, ‘Your son wants to talk to you. They grow up so quickly, before you turn around, he’ll be married. Please listen to him now.’

Much to my surprise, the parents didn’t tell me to shut up and mind my own business. Instead, the dad explained he was working.

boredchild

What will happen to all these children?

I suggested he take a little time off during breakfast to listen to the child. Then I went back to my coffee and book. The next time I looked up, all three were on their cellphones.

What will happen to all these young children I see who sit quietly while parents are attached to technology and are encouraged to do the same?

I also worry about the damage being done to the vision of toddlers I see on the bus in strollers, kept quiet and occupied with mom’s cell phone.

tooyoung

I worry about the damage to their vision

Parents are so attached to those blankity-blank phones everywhere — walking, in restaurants, and one can safely assume, at home as well. Will their children even learn how to talk?

2tooyoung

C’mon folks. Give me a break.

Will these quiet children ever know the pleasure of conversation which I so enjoy? Who will talk to them? I worry. Or am I just being cranky?

Muriel’s Metamorphosis

Muriel2017

photo by my Chandra

Last night, I went to bed. I was me. My ordinary self. All was well. I snuggled into a comfortable space and took a deep breath. It had been a busy day. I turned the radio on. I like to listen to it when I go to sleep. All was set for an ordinary night’s sleep. Ahhh….

Muriel, probably 19:20 yrs. old

The night before

The next day I awoke. What happened? Where were my arms? They were around here somewhere. I opened my eyes and looked around. Ah, there they were. They reluctantly moved over, obviously still tired. They had been dancing.

happygirlarms

The arms had been dancing

I tried to place those arms where they belonged. One ought to be able to do that. But it isn’t that simple. There is a right arm and a left arm. The flesh had been firm the night before. But, if there had been a breeze in my room, these began to look like they would flap about.

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka, why would he visit me????

I couldn’t stop there. I needed my legs. They were here when I went to bed. This was getting too weird. Was Kafka visiting me from his grave? And why? I looked around. There were a few sets of legs to choose from. They just lay there waiting for an invitation to join me. I don’t usually give invitations before breakfast, but this was an unusual occasion, so I chose a pair.

‘Would you two legs kindly move over and join me?’ I asked tentatively. Was that MY voice????

They looked around doubtfully and conferred before making a final decision. Since no one better was hanging around, the two closest to me decided I was the best they could do at the moment. Where these legs will go tomorrow, I have no idea. Be aware. They may choose your bed instead….

Just last night, I was young and strong. I felt invincible. My skin was smooth. I had no wrinkles. After those legs settled down I dragged my new body (including arms) out of bed to wash my face.

old woman in mirror

The strange lady in my mirror…

There was this strange lady in my mirror who had never been there before. Who was she? And why was she hanging out in my bathroom? Didn’t she have a place of her own to wash up in the morning? Poor thing. One can’t throw an old lady out so early in the day — before breakfast yet.

I dragged that old woman into the kitchen with me. What else could I do? I prepared enough coffee and toast for both of us. What would you have me do? Perhaps I made a mistake because now she won’t leave. She keeps hanging around and her face looks at me from every mirror in my apartment.

gray hair and old glasses. jpg

She’s opinionated

However, there is one compensation. I’m never without company. Sometimes she even has interesting things to tell me when we chat. She’s kind of opinionated.