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.
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.
I’d informed son Rafi my knees didn’t enjoy hills any more. He and grandson Remy put their heads together and chose parks without hills for my daily walks. The first had these wonderful trees I couldn’t resist. We went again and again so I could pose with Rafi, then Remy, and when Susan joined us, back we went to pose yet again!
Yes, we took walks elsewhere as well. Every morning Rafi walked the family dog, Germaine, we dropped Remy off at soccer camp, and Rafi walked me. (He wasn’t going to let me slack off. He knows how important it is for me to keep moving.)
The few times we couldn’t find the time to visit another park, I took my walk at the dog park under the supervision of Germaine, who made sure I got in enough steps. He took every step with me! Ha, ha.
Chandra, always creative, made a beautiful photo album for Rafi as a birthday gift. I had never seen some of those old photos and got a kick out of seeing, for the first time, some taken years ago. (She also made an album for him of what friends and family members thought of him. It was lovely to read.)
We celebrated everyone’s birthday. I’d just celebrated a venerable one, Rafi had a recent birthday and so had Susan. We laughed a lot and I discovered my grandson, Remy, had a crazy sense of humour. (Wonder where he got that from??? Ha, ha.) Also an avid reader, Remy shared books with me when I ran out of reading material. It was just a great visit. I could not have asked for more.
Rafi and I shopped for plants at the nursery — the kids have a beautiful garden. I looked for a little man to live in my home-made terrarium, but they didn’t have one. Rafi ordered one for me, tried NOT to tell me right away, but was so excited about it, he couldn’t wait to surprise me, but when he said: ‘I bought you something’. I immediately guessed what it was. Yeah! See him above. The little guy loves his new home.
I’m holding on to the memory of the wonderful time I had and how spoiled I was by everyone. The morning breakfasts I had with Rafi, the time we all spent together was worth all the nonsense and stupidity of the rules and regulations I had to deal with to travel across the border during COVID.
While being spoiled rotten by my kids and loving it, a neighbour from home emailed about a new form called ‘ArriveCAN’ I needed to complete.
Son Rafi photographed all my papers, completed it and printed an important-looking page for me to turn in at the border.
Simple right? Wrong! Officials didn’t care about it. I think they hadn’t a clue what it was. I was glad I had carried all my documents.
The stupidest part? Flying from anywhere in the US to the U.S., no tests are required. (Daughter Susan did just that to join us.) I, however, crossing the Canadian border, needed another COVID test. Cost: $301. U.S. Why the $1.?? It SEEMS ridiculous!
My direct flight home being cancelled, I had to fly from San Francisco to Seattle. The plane was full. Those debarking in Seattle had NOT been tested. They wore masks, removed while snacking and drinking, etc. How safe was that??? My second plane from Seattle to Canada had few passengers. (How many nuts like me are there?)
Arriving at my own airport, I made my way past one guy after another (All male. In uniform. More intimidating???) showing each ALL my documents.
Finally one said: “You’re good to go,’ Yeah! I was tired.
The next guy, however, decided I must take another COVID test ‘tomorrow’. Exhausted, I accepted the box, dragged myself home and crashed.
Next morning: I read the instructions and panicked. I was to make a video of myself taking the test??? Are they kidding? I don’t know how to do that! Plus, I’m to take another test in 6 days.
I immediately called the number given and while a machine kept telling me how important I was, held for about 2 hours, thinking about that $5,000 fine someone got for not following instructions upon return. Finally, someone answered and asked me to hold.
‘Please, don’t disconnect me…’
He came back. He’d be putting me on hold again for awhile. He needed to find out what I was to do. I waited nervously. Finally, he said to take the test and dial 1-888-744-7123 for Purolator to pick it up. This I did. Purolator came and — refused to take it.
‘But that’s what I was just told to do! Please, please call your supervisor,’ I begged. He reluctantly did. No dice. Why? Why?
’We didn’t get the contract. FedEx did. You have to call them.’
Time was passing. I was getting terrified. $5,000??? I called FedEx.
They WOULD pick it up — that day!!! And did! Whew!
I ate some cold beans right out of the can, (fridge was empty) took the phone off the hook so I wouldn’t be disturbed, and slept.
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 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.
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.
‘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.
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
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.
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??
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…
My goodness it’s the end of November. I must say I’m glad to kiss this month goodbye. Our building is being upgraded — absolute madness during the pandemic! What were they thinking???
They’re replacing our balconies, glass windows and doors, repairing and painting, etc. etc. Workers hammer and bang and saw all day long five days a week. Yuk!
They also busy themselves making appointments to do the abatement in my suite and cancel at the last minute after I’ve covered every single piece of furniture (it happened three times already) and it’s all making me crazy.
On top of it all, we (and our whole area) lost power for a day, our hot water didn’t flow for five full days (although the plumbers came each day to try again) and our elevator refused to work for almost a week! (They had to send for a part.) What’s going on??? Could it be a plot???
Nonetheless I did write a post yesterday. When I read it this morning, I hated it, so I’ll borrow again from daughter Susan. Here’s another of her ‘Muriel Says’. She is truly funny…..
I miss a lot of things these days. I miss my children who live in the U.S. — the border is closed. We love to laugh and behave nutty.
I miss friends I can’t see. I miss my book club. I miss using public transportation. (Protective loved ones don’t want me to.) My body, however, misses my Arthritis ‘Joint-works’ class I attended before the pandemic.
Dr. Google says there are about 360 joints in our bodies, and mine are loudly complaining about neglect, especially when I try to sleep.
I INTENDED to do them. I know how important they are, but somehow, it hasn’t happened as often as it should.
It ought to be easy, I’ve been good about using my Exercycle for years, but that takes little effort. Climb on, click on the DVD I’m currently watching, and viola.
Rebecca and Brian, my wonderful L.A. ‘kids’, exercise on their own at home every day. They never miss. But, too often, I do and my old bones aren’t happy. The ‘Joint-works’ routine IS complicated and requires many different movements, and I allow life to get in my way — much too often.
The class was also social and I miss that aspect of it. We all had Arthritis, had bonded, and often met for coffee afterwards. If I had been reluctant to go in the first place, I allowed myself to feel noble afterwards. It was all good.
So tell me why three weeks can now pass without ‘finding the time’ to do those exercises at home? I know they matter — I’m not totally stupid. Suggestions anyone???
I find interesting stuff when I look through my files. I just came on a column I wrote in 1992 which my then-editor called: ‘Prejudice and bigotry return’. Why did I write it?? Maybe it was because Kim Campbell, as Minister of Justice, declared we don’t have prejudice in Canada and I wondered what planet she lived on. It was also probably a time when the economy was hurting and when things are bad, bad stuff happens.
Growing up in Montreal when I did, we were the wrong faith and suffered for it, however I wasn’t even aware of the racism suffered by our small black community. It was only en-route to Los Angeles by bus in my late teens that I learned about the extent of discrimination against blacks in the U.S. and was appalled.
I want to share this column with you because of the present pandemic, the depressed economy, and ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstrators trying so hard to fight racism which, unfortunately, still thrives.
Here’s what I wrote in March, 1992: ‘Unfortunately prejudice and bigotry don’t go away. They continue to fester just under the skin and as soon as trouble hits, like right now, the disease surfaces and again, we’ve lost our dignity. Neo-nazism proliferates in newly united Germany and foreigners everywhere are attacked by hoodlums.
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith reports a record number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. during 1991. Meanwhile in Canada, 12-year old native hockey players are not welcomed in Quebec families’ homes. Two Rotarians stalk out when their club, God help us, accepts a female member.
Women and children suffer the consequences of male frustration caused by unemployment. Crisis centres are overloaded with calls from the bruised and battered.’
The article is too long to ask you to read it all so I’ll end it here. It could have been written right now. Don’t you agree?
Are you getting as many fraudulent calls as I am? Are those villains out to get you too? It seems this pandemic has let loose more crooks than ever.
My phone rings as early as 5:30 a.m.` telling me my computer needs repairs, or the CRA is after me for not paying my taxes, or my credit card
My credit card number you say???
has been used so would I give them the number.
Goodness, don’t those idiots even check what time it is in my part of the world before they call?
They certainly know we’re spending more time at home and: we miss our loved ones whom we can’t see during these trying times; that makes us lonelier than usual and a new romance would be a welcome diversion; we might also be bored because activities we participated in are cancelled; and we’ll risk talking to a stranger on the phone as a result of it all.
If you’re older (like me) you’re ripe for the picking.
Computer needs fixing? Take it to a shop who repairs them.
We tend to be patient and although I doubt it’s true, we often idealize yesterday when we ‘think’ people were kinder, nicer, more honest and caring. Sorry to let you down but there were always crooks around and if you think not, you’re dreaming.
The world isn’t going to the dogs. Dishonesty isn’t new.
Ugh! I want what he’s got!!!
The caveman probably raided his neighbour’s den to commandeer meat, berries and women while the other guy was out doing what he should — hunting a mastodon.
Out doing what he should, hunting a mastodon!!!
Scam artists, I understand, trade information the way kids trade baseball cards. Sadly the same person is often duped more than once and considered worth another try.
There ARE predators out there…
Stay alert, be aware, be suspicious.There ARE predators out there who prey on folks like us. Better safe than sorry.