To each and every one who reads my posts, I send wishes for a Healthy and Happy New Year.
I am more than ready to sweep 2021 out the door and kick it down the street. Goodbye with pleasure.
I want to say goodbye forever to COVID:19.
During the past year, I hope I managed to make you laugh now and then, captured your interest sometimes — and got you to disagree with me once in a while. I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it. Each of your comments make my day.
All the best to you and your loved ones in 2022. May it be better for us all.
That’s an interesting question. It is a complicated issue. William Blake (1757-1827), the multi-talented English poet and artist, wrote ‘A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.’ I agree with that.
Our society frowns on chronic liars and rightly so. Yet, the naked truth can be so hurtful, in some people’s hands it becomes a knife which can pierce the heart.
Perhaps we need another word for avoiding ugly truths which hurt others, most of which they know about anyway. So, if a friend asks you to point out his/her failings, don’t — unless you’re ready to give up the relationship. They are probably just hoping for some kind words.
In the novel ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ by Arthur Golden, the protagonist says ‘There are good facts and bad facts, the bad facts are best avoided.’ I think she has a good point.
Thoreau, the American writer and libertarian famously said ‘Rather than love, than money, than fame — give me truth’, but he was talking about another issue altogether.
Then there is Oscar Wilde, who gave me so many hours of fascinating reading, who didn’t believe in telling the truth at all and said ‘The telling of beautiful untrue things is the proper aim of Art.’ and ‘He would be the best of fellows if he did not always speak the truth.’
I warned you. Honesty IS a complex subject. Think about it during the holiday and give me your thoughts afterwards.
Above all, do have a happy holiday and a healthy New Year.
Christmas is in the air and before you know it the New Year will be here. I wish everyone a happy holiday season and a year free of unpleasantness.
I haven’t made New Year resolutions for years — I rarely managed to keep them anyway. This year nonetheless, as a kindness to my children, I intend to continue culling the papers I’ve accumulated through many years of writing.
Here’s a poem a friend sent me in 1991, which I’d included in an article about our complicated English language. Spell checkers have improved since then, but beware. They can still goof.
Eye have a spelling chequer It came with my pea sea It plainly marques four my revue Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word And weight four it two say Weather eye am wrong oar write It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid It nose bee fore two long And eye can put the error rite Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it Eye am shore your pleased two no Its letter perfect awl the weigh My chequer tolled me sew.
You already know I’ve decided to get rid of files and files of papers so my children won’t be left with a huge job of doing so later. Some are treasures — like this one. I don’t know where it came from or who wrote it, but I like it and decided to share it with you.
It you, like me, are biting at the bit to travel somewhere, anywhere, after all the long months of COVID:19, this may come in handy.
Ten Commandments for Travellers
1 Thou shalt not expect to find things as thou hath them at home for thou has left thy home to find things different.
11 Thou shalt not take anything too seriously … a carefree mind is the beginning of a vacation.
111 Thou shalt not let other tourists get on thy nerves, for thou art paying out thy savings to enjoy thyself.
1V Thou shalt not forget that thou dost represent thy country.
V Thou shalt not worry. One who worries hath no pleasure and few things are ever fatal.
V1 Remember thy passport so that thou always know where it is. A person without a passport is a person without a country.
V11 Blessed is the one who can say ‘Thank you’ in any tongue, for this is of more worth than tipping.
V111 When in Rome, do as the Romans do. If in difficulty, use thy common sense and friendliness.
!X Do not Judge the people of a country by one person with whom thou hast had difficulties.
X. Remember thou art a guest in every land. Those who treat their host with respect shall themselves receive honourable treatment.
When’s the last time you wrote an email, letter or card to: A teacher who was special? A friend who was supportive through a tough time? A mentor who helped you in your career? A doctor who made you feel he/she really cared? A business which supported your sports team? A coach who, as a volunteer, worked without pay? A volunteer who helped you in some way?
In an effort to whittle down ‘stuff’ my loved ones will have to deal with eventually, I’ve been going through files full of thank you letters (or complaints) to corporations and businesses or ordinary folk who mattered to me — and thinning them out.
Right now, I’m looking at a letter written in 1981 to a Furniture Guild thanking them for sponsoring the very first baseball team my son was on. Rafi was nine, and excited about becoming a part of this new team. The day uniforms were distributed, I was sure he’d sleep in his — he paraded about in it so proudly.
Such sponsorship can make participation possible for some families who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. It IS a good idea to let businesses know you appreciate their help, no matter what their reasons for doing so are.
As an adult, Rafi is a devoted high school teacher. He occasionally receives letters telling him how much he has meant to students. Sometimes he’ll share them with me. I get a warm fuzzy when he does because I know how caring he is and how much it pleases him when students appreciate his efforts on their behalf.
Both Rafi and his beautiful Chandra are enthusiastic about volunteering. Here they are working at a fundraiser for my grandson’s school.
If you decide to write to someone who mattered to you, I’d love to know about it and why…
It was hot! A long drought in our rain forest led to roaring forest fires, devastation and the destruction of whole towns and some deaths.
Extreme weather, floods, mudslides, tornadoes and hurricanes took more lives. People became homeless all over the world.
Islands of plastic formed in our oceans. Millions of creatures in local waters perished in the extreme heat. The coyotes could smell it, it was unbearable.
‘We’ve got to do something,’ declared Tara, their old leader, ’Call everyone. We must have a meeting. Those stupid humans have gone too far. They need to be taught a lesson. ’
Word travels fast throughout the park. All the coyotes gathered to hear what Tara had to say. Even the skunks and raccoons, hearing about the meeting, gathered on the fringes of the large group.
‘People are unbelievably stupid,’ Tara said, ‘If we don’t do something, we’ll all perish. Attack them, their children, and their beloved dogs — starting now. We must have our revenge…’
‘But their children tried to teach them,’ spoke up Cotu, ‘Why attack them? They’re innocent.’ Cotu was young, but coyote young are listened to.
‘Humans don’t listen to their children, those kids have no power,’ replied Tara, sadly shaking her head.
Her word was law. And so it happened. After years of peace, the war was on — between coyotes and humans. And so, it came to pass this summer, for the first time, dozens of humans in this beautiful city’s famous Stanley Park, were attacked and bitten by coyotes. What was going on? Why was this suddenly happening? The humans didn’t get it.
‘Coyotes don’t belong in a city park,’ they argued, although coyotes had always been there. But this was new, coyotes had never been a danger before. The officials needed to act. They’ve now decided to ‘cull’ the coyotes. The plan is to catch and kill 35 coyotes. And, how will that help??? If they must ‘cull’ the coyotes, why not trap them and move them to an uninhabited area? Why kill them?
Humans don’t understand the coyotes are trying to make them aware that they’ve gone too far and they are destroying our planet. Will they ever learn?
Run, coyotes, run! Avoid their traps. They know not what they do…
I’d not seen my children in two years — much too long. My recent birthday reminded me I’m not getting any younger. The U.S. border is closed, it was unreasonable and I waffled back and forth and drove my kids nuts, but in the end, decided I must go.
It was complicated, frustratingly stupid, and expensive, none of which mattered compared to my need to hug and spend time with my loved ones.
I’m an organized sort, I called provincial health to check everything, still the madness started before I left. They weren’t always right.
My old flip cellphone, used only for emergencies, doesn’t work in the U.S. I’d need it, so prepaid FIDO $33 for 15 minutes in the U.S. It subsequently didn’t work.
A young friend helped me book non-stop flights both ways. I didn’t care which airline or what the cost was. Just wanted convenience for all and he did very well thank you.
After a few days, however, Delta cancelled my direct flight back creating a stop in Seattle allowing little more than an hour between flights. I use a walker and must wait until all other passengers debark before my walker shows up. I also require assistance, which I’d already arranged (now separately). After hours on the phone, with no chance of a direct flight, I accepted defeat and called again to arrange help for TWO flights. Whew! I hadn’t even left yet!
Then, United, who were taking me to the US, emailed a form to fill out with complete proof of Canadian COVID testing (taken within 72 hours of the flight) plus vaccinations, etc. etc. I called on my son for help, scanned all related copies, he got into my computer and filled it all out. It was long, not easy, but done.
Checking in at United at the airport, they wanted all the stuff we’d already submitted. I asked why.
‘Oh, that technology isn’t working yet.’ What???
This was only the beginning of the insanity. More to come soon…
My children are smarter, better looking and taller than I am. That’s okay. However, there are limits — and the fact they are definitely funnier is going too far. It is not only embarrassing, but humiliating as well. For instance, here’s a recent email I received from Susan.
“So, I get it. I’m not as attractive as I used to be. And in my bathrobe on a morning when I just don’t feel that great, I look pretty dumpy. But SCARY? TERRIFYING? A VISION OF UTMOST HORROR? That is apparently what my horse, Kodachrome, thought of me when I toddled out to the paddock in my bathrobe yesterday morning.
Now, you have to understand that Koda is normally an incredibly brave horse — almost freakishly unflappable when encountering things that would send most horses running for the hills. Things dropped right next to him and making loud clattering noises or even bumping into him? Meh, not worth batting an eyelash. Leaf blower kicking up a storm of dust while making a deafening roar? Gee, looks like fun — maybe it would make a good toy. Taking off your jacket while riding him and throwing it on the fence? No problemo —yawn.
But SUSAN showing up in her BATHROBE??? RUN FOR YOUR FREAKING LIFE!!! Yeah sure, the lower part flapped open a bit, perhaps showing more of my fish-belly white legs. And yeah, those same legs could use a shave. But really? You would think the pit of hell had suddenly sprung open and disgorged a fire-breathing monster with ten heads the way he took of and went flying around the place!
Koda did eventually circle back when said monster started speaking with what seemed like his beloved mom’s voice. But his eyes were bugging out of his head, his nostrils flaring, every muscle fiber firing in case the necessity for flight appeared again. Perhaps he thought I was being eaten by the beast and came to see if he could save me.
He did eventually seem to realize that the bathrobe clad me was not a deadly dragon and he approached and let me pet him, but he kept a wary eye on that flappy part of the robe and clearly held the entire getup highly suspect.
Really, Koda — I don’t look THAT bad in the morning…do I?”
— Susan Kauffmann Lead author, The Essential Hoof Book TheEssentialHorse.info (775) 847-0547
Psssst! Do you wanna know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?? Okay. Here goes…
I can type with one finger only since having hand surgery a couple of months ago, and my fingers (accustomed to touch-typing learned eons ago) refuse to share knowing where those darn letters are located on my keyboard with my brain, so I couldn’t write any posts for awhile.
PHOTO RIGHT: ‘Things are improving. No more hand brace!’
Life is a learning process. I keep discovering stuff and you, dear reader, are lucky because this is a BIGGIE, and I’m sharing it with you free of charge.
The secret????? ‘If you don’t write, they won’t read!!!!!’
It isn’t that your followers purposely desert you. It isn’t a devious plot — but without a reminder from WordPress about a new post, they just go on with their lives with nary a thought about you. They’re having coffee with friends or guzzling gin tonics and you’re the last thing on their minds. There’s nothing deliberate about it. It just happens.
You are hereby advised. Be aware!
Meanwhile, WordPress has ‘improved’ their system and I can’t figure out how to fix the quote below this last image. It should say: So, where have you been.’
Nor can I figure out how to get the quotes I want to be below the images to work like they used to. Oh, well. This isn’t the first time in my life I’ve been confused.
Going through old correspondence, I found a letter I wrote to UCLA Hospital (L.A.) in 1973. My son was 18 months old and had been very ill and a patient there. I was distressed at what I saw and experienced in the children’s ward. Parents were only allowed to be there during ‘visiting hours’. (Many of us disregarded this unless told to leave.)
When I was there, I changed my child’s diapers and soiled sheets, fed him when possible and if he awoke crying, hearing my voice, he’d wrap his little fingers around mine and fall asleep again. I recall laying on the floor for one or two nights to be there for him. (One night I counted eleven parents sleeping on the chairs in the waiting room — there were no sofas.)
The boy next door was about six and attached to an IV. He called again and again for a nurse until I went over to ask what he needed. He had to go to the bathroom. I walked to the nurses station and forwarded his request, then got busy again with my own child.
When I heard anguished crying, I went to ask what happened. He had been unable to hold it any longer and had soiled himself in bed. He was embarrassed and traumatized. At his age I can only imagine how he felt.
With parents purposely kept away, other children were neglected. One little girl across the way cried from morning til night each day. No one attempted to comfort her. She spoke only Spanish. My letter, therefore, mainly requested they rescind their policy of not allowing parents to remain with their sick children.
I made copies of the letter and mailed it to six people in charge. I never had a reply. The letter, however, did create a reaction. My pediatrician was told that my child and I were BANNED from UCLA, which was very close to our home. After that I was required to drive across town each time my little boy was seriously ill — and he was.
I am pleased that since then things have changed and now parents CAN be with their hospitalized children. Did I play a role in this change? I’d like to think so, but probably not.
What’s been your experience with your own children’s hospitalizations?