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Does anyone think anymore?

WHAT’S GOING ON???

What’s going on? Are they giving out free stupidity pills? More people’s brains are on vacation or something these days. Is it part of a nasty plot to destroy us all? Computers don’t yet know how to think and people have already forgotten how. I’m at a total loss to explain it.

LOOKING FOR AN EXERCISE CLASS

Looking for an exercise class for seniors at a nearby facility, I ambled over and spoke with their ‘Program Director’. (Impressive title, no?) She told me the program was on their bulletin board.

I have macular degeneration and don’t see well. Besides, I’m shorter than I used to be and was short to begin with, so the sign she pointed at was impossible for me to see.

OH, I GOOFED. THIS PHOTO WAS FOR ME

‘Please write it down for me.’ I politely requested and asked about membership fees and what the classes cost. I’d never been a member. Wouldn’t these questions hint at that??? She’d certainly never seen me before.

At home, I read: Tues. 8:30 am – 9:30 am, Thurs. 9 am – 10 am. It was Wednesday. The next morning, I got up extra early. Everything takes longer than it used to, but I did well and was at their door at 8:45 a.m. They weren’t there. The receptionist came out, locking the doors behind her. I asked about the class.

WHAT WAS SHE THINKING???

Oh, that doesn’t start until next week. It says so on the notice.’

‘Can you tell me why I wasn’t told that by the program director? Especially since I told her I couldn’t see the notice? What was she thinking?

Seems like no one knows anything anymore. I may even need to include myself — especially when I count on others. But, I won’t give up.

Computer spell checks?

PHOTO BY CHANDRA

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.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


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.

COMPUTER SPELL CHECKS???

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.

CAN THEY BE TRUSTED?.

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.

Author unknown

Crossing a closed border…

I brought so many treats for the kids, my suitcase was packed solid.

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.

It was enough to drive me to drink.


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???

Yup! I made it. Here I am under an Australian Tea tree in San Francisco during one of my daily walks with Rafi.


This was only the beginning of the insanity. More to come soon…

Kindness? Pass it on…

Weird things happen to me all the time, and yesterday was no exception. I had to register for my vaccine shot, but not until afternoon. I’d heard all the horror stories of those trying to book appointments and I was nervous. There had been mass confusion, so I put aside the whole afternoon for this task.

At 12:30 I dialed the number


At 12:30 p.m. I dialed the number I’d found online and, would you believe, Jennifer answered right away! I was so delighted, I told her so and we both happily completed the process. I carefully placed my identification card back into my wallet and pranced off (as much as I can prance) to treat myself to a well-earned ‘beauty’ nap. I’d been so nervous that morning, I hadn’t been able to sit still, so filled the time by taking a walk to renew my apartment insurance.

I tolled off for a second walk

When I awoke feeling and looking grand, (Ahem!) I toddled off for a second walk — to the fish store. I chose what I wanted, but when I looked for my wallet, realized I’d left the darn thing on my desk next to the phone.

I forgot my wallet


‘Oh, I’m so sorry,’ I mumbled, ‘I forgot my wallet at home.’ I explained what had happened, that I’d been excited and — feeling like a fool, admitted I couldn’t buy the small amount of fish the salesclerk had already weighed.


‘You can come back later,’ she suggested. The lady waiting behind me, whom I didn’t know, spoke: ‘I’ll pay for her purchase.’ I turned to look at her, a big question mark on my face.


‘You can pass it on,’ she told me with a smile. It was a small purchase, but what a lovely thing for her to do. I accepted with my own smile, thanked her and promised that indeed, of course I WOULD pass it on.

I thanked her and promised I’d pass it on


So, keep your eyes open and if you see me out and about one of these days, remember that I need to pass on this kindness. It’ll be my treat with pleasure.

To Celine: You asked for a post. Here it is. It is for you and really did happen yesterday. Thank you for being my friend and putting up with me. Love, Muriel

My poor confused little lilac tree…

In the middle of this pandemic, our Strata decided to give our old building a face-lift. Our windows, glass doors, and balconies are included in the process. My cherished miniature lilac tree lives on the balcony. So do various other plants. They all had to be removed.


Some owners got their stuff down to the yard below, but I can’t do that on my own and how much can you ask others to do? (I’m on the 3rd floor.) I decided to ask dear Andrew to bring them all into my dining area instead. Maybe it was a mistake. This isn’t the first mistake I’ve made in my life.


My plants have mostly died. That’s okay. I can start over, except for my beloved lilac tree. I love lilacs. And Susan bought it for me just because I love them. Since it IS small, I can easily bury my face into the lovely blossoms. Inside, the tree began to look dead. Susan and I both began mourning. Still, I kept watering the poor thing — just in case.

My lovely miniature lilac tree, a gift from daughter Susan


This week, whaddaya know! It started sprouting leaves. Leaves? Now? It’s December. The beginning of winter. My little lilac tree is obviously confused. Living in my warm apartment, it thinks it’s spring!! Let’s face it, this is no time for a self-respecting lilac tree to start sprouting greenery. What to do??

Lilac tree and Jerry, the Inukshuk Susan made for me

I’ve started talking to the lilac tree as you would to a wayward child. ‘You can’t be doing that now, you silly thing. What will the neighbours say? They’ll accuse me of being a bad mother.’


Gosh, let’s face it, they’ll KNOW how crazy I am when they hear me talking to my confused miniature tree. Okay, okay. I know that you, dear reader, already know how nutty I am. No need to rub it in…