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Life: a risky business

PHOTO BY CHANDRA

Have you ever thought about how risky life is and what a miracle it is so many of us manage to make it into adulthood? I’m not paranoid, but dangers do lurk at every turn.

I’M NOT PARANOID


What with nature’s furies — hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, fires, floods, lightening and storms; the billions of microscopic bacilli and viruses around, on and in us; man made hazards like guns, explosives and weapons of war, it’s amazing I’m still here!


I can’t help but think of accidents with cars, trains and planes. I step onto my balcony and imagine it falling down to the cement patio three floors down — with me on it. gosh! Well, it could happen.


Normal people just live their lives, but I think of these things. Your chances of dying in an earthquake are one in 11 million. Not much. But what’s if I’m the designated driver?

EVIL PEOPLE?


They say one in 20 million die after being bitten by a dog. I constantly meet dogs on my daily walks. Does a snarl mean I should say goodbye right now? Then there are also evil people who may attack me even if a dog doesn’t. Oh, my….

WHY DO NEIGHBOURS TAKE THE STAIRS?


Apparently the risk of being injured in an elevator is one in six million. My building has one. I use it every day. Some neighbours always take the stairs. Do they know something I don’t? And, why aren’t they telling me?

A CELESTIAL BODY??


I’m not a scared person, but what I’m really terrified of is being hit directly by a celestial body. I have a one in a 150 trillion chance of this happening, but what’s if I’m the person standing right where the darn thing comes down if it does, when it does? Yikes!


There are a lot of other reasons why life is a risky business, but I won’t go there. You’d have to be a little nutty to worry about everything.

The Farming of Bones

I haven’t been to a city library since the pandemic started. For a long time, they were closed. However I’ve done very well sharing books with reading neighbours by using a little free street library a mere block away. I’ve learned they read some worthy books around here.


Stuff happens to me that never happens to other people. By sheer coincidence, after just finishing ‘The Feast of the Goat’ by Mario Vargas Llosa, a novel based on the Dominican Republic during dictator Trujillo’s era, what do you think falls into my hands?


A harrowing but fantastic can’t-put-down read by Edwidge Danticat called ‘The Farming of Bones’ about the destitute Haitians who crossed the border from Haiti into The Dominican Republic during Trujillo’s rule. Those who did struggled for survival doing the dirty and dangerous jobs no one else wanted, meanwhile suffering outright racism.


Danticat’s book didn’t end the way I wanted it to. A love story, the lovers don’t get to walk off into the sunset, get married and live happily after. If that’s what you want, it isn’t the book for you. It isn’t a pleasant story, but it reads true…

Revenge of the coyotes…

Island of plastic in the Pacific

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. ’

Tara, elderly leader of the coyotes


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.

The skunks heard, they came
Word travels fast in the park


‘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.

Raccoons Came too


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?

Coyotes had always been there


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…

Planning the perfect murder…

Muriel2017

photo by Chandra

I noticed him hiding in the other bathroom. I didn’t panic. I’d done that years before when one of his pals had pulled the same stunt and I wasn’t going to do the panic thing again. No way!

Last time I was terrified. I slammed the door shut. Flew helter-skelter to my bedroom. Wrapped myself up like a burrito in blankets and pulled the top sheet over my face. (Anyone seeing me would have thought me already dead.)

This time, I tiptoed quietly back to my bed to — THINK. What to do?? Use your head lady! Let’s plan this — carefully.

He was obviously smaller than the last guy, but he had longer legs. Did being smaller make him more vulnerable?

spiderman

No matter. I came up with a plan. I’d quietly creep back there, catch him unawares and pour scalding hot water all over him. That ought to do it!

cutedrawingI did! I poured and poured until he had to be dead. Quickly I grabbed a clean tissue from a nearby box and, just in case he could rise again, before you could say ‘Green Eggs and Ham’, scooped him up and flushed him down the toilet. Whoosh!

Is it true it will rain if you kill a spider? Maybe so and I’ll be responsible. I also know they serve a purpose, but they do scare me — probably because I know so little about them.

This time success made me feel invincible….

P.S. To read what happened last time, read:  ’Murder in the Bedroom’
by clicking on: https://viewfromoverthehill.wordpress.com/2013/09/

WE need to build a wall…

mapCanUS

WE need to build a wall…

Just got back this week from California. Had a grand time there with loved ones who treated me royally. Bless their hearts. How I love them and appreciate their consideration and kindness.

Still, there was a strange feeling of unease in the air. Something’s going on….

thisjoke

Trump’s wall south of the US

California is short of water again and that’s no joke. Residents are being careful with the precious stuff while the state is dealing with wild fires. Folks have had to evacuate and some even lost their homes.

homesburn

People are losing their homes

I, myself, saw burned down trees and brush right off the freeway we were driving on in the San Fernando Valley. It was also hot, which they tried to hide from me with air-conditioning, but they couldn’t fool me. I’m too smart for them.

Avacadotrees

Avocados need a lot of water

California grows much of the fruits and veggies we in Canada buy. Those groves of trees and fields of veggies need water. Lots and lots of it. Luscious avocados, so popular

lettucewatered

Lettuce fields need to be watered

with us now, need to be watered 2-3 times a week. Lettuce fields need to be watered. I just told you they’re short of that liquid. Where do you think they’ll try to get it from?

Aha! Think man think!

CanUSBorder

Not difficult to cross this border

Naturally, they’ll declare war on Canada so they can get their unwashed hands on our glorious, clear water!

Listen, just maybe that’s the real reason why Trump withdrew his U.S. troops from Turkey and Syria — because he wants them at home so they can be well-trained and ready to invade his northern neighbor and grab possession of our lakes and rivers! Then, he’ll build a few golf courses to rub it in.

cmentborder

WE need to build a wall…

We must stop this disaster from happening. WE need to build a wall along our southern border — and the US should pay for it. What’s fair is fair, right?

P.S. I apologize to all my dear American friends. Just couldn’t resist being naughty.

 

The best for last….

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Mom drives ATV, SM

Guess I scared Susan

Couldn’t resist sharing this photo with you. Susan plunked a crazy hat on my head because it had a strap under the chin and wouldn’t fly off. Their ATV has no  windshield.  I was dubbed ‘Crazy Lil’ and Susan, well, goodness knows, she seemed overwhelmed by my driving. So glad she survived because I do love her, and we had fun for sure.

I was up in the mountains above Reno, Nevada, visiting Susan and Michael. Rafi and Remy joined us to help celebrate my birthday. Dear Joe sent a surprise birthday gift which treated us to a Casino buffet dinner, which Remy particularly enjoyed because he’d never been to one before. What could possibly be better than getting spoiled by everyone for my special day?????

Mom and Jake2019

Jake, now older and wiser, but still loving

Dear Jake attached himself to me on my last visit when I needed to walk to strengthen weak leg muscles right after getting a new hip. He’s smart enough to know I don’t need that care and encouragement anymore so this time he preferred to sit my walks out.  He’s older and wiser and just sat nearby to watch me in my madness as if to say: ‘If you’re nutty and want to walk in circles, I’m not joining you. I prefer just sitting here.’ However, we still love each other….

 

 

 

I’ve never been a horse personMom and Cisco, video still 1, SM like Susan. Horses scared me. They’re really, really BIG! But Susan recently got Cisco. He is gorgeous and very different. He’s calm and exceptionally loving. Miracles never cease… Can you believe??? I fell in love with him.

Susan was so tickled by this wonder of wonders, she donned her camera. I thought she would just take a few photos of me with  Cisco, so I joked with her as we often do.

What did Susan the sneak do? She took a video. You must watch it, but be sure you have your volume on high. You have to hear what I say. It is absolutely hilarious.
Yes, you have my permission to laugh.

https://youtu.be/5QLdOWifLr4. If you can’t get to it here, write to me at: mkauff@shaw.ca and I’ll send it to you by email. It is really worth seeing. I laughed until I cried when I watched it myself.

By the way, Susan posted this funny video of me with Cisco on her favorite Facebook group, “Aging Horsewomen Intl”, and I couldn’t believe it got over 1000 positive “reactions” in just a day or two! I guess with over 48,000 members worldwide, there are plenty of women in that group who appreciate sheer silliness as much as Susan and I do!

Poetic Justice….

Muriel2017

Photo by Chandra

Right now, I’m rereading the late Arthur Black’s ‘Black Gold’. It’s a book of short, easy to read, mostly amusing essays. I loved Black’s CBC Radio program ‘Basic Black’ for years because of his clever, ironic humor. The book is a hoot. I often chuckle as I read.

The story I read over coffee this morning is called ‘Justice by the handful’. I’m perfectly capable of being unkind, especially when it comes to people I consider evil, so I hope the story is true! This is what Mr. Black said happened in Mississippi.

colorjeans

Would-be rapist

A would-be rapist broke into a house in Jackson and found himself in the bedroom of a 50-year-old unprotected woman. He jumped on top

scaredred

frightened unprotected woman

of her, slapped her around, cursed at her loudly, and when he thought he had her thoroughly frightened, he removed his clothing. That’s when the woman grabbed him in what you might call an intimate embrace, except it was more than just energetic.

Black went on to say it was two-handed, vice-like, and, as you can imagine, extremely painful. At this dramatic point, I must quote word-by-word to properly describe what followed.

‘Please, please,’ he whimpered, ‘you’re killing me!’

‘Die then,’ the woman said.

‘Woman, you got me suffering.’ he moaned.

Ilikealso

She must have had a good laugh.

‘Have you thought about how you were going to leave me suffering.’ she replied with a twist.

Apparently, he finally managed to disengage and got away. However, the police had no problem finding him. They merely followed the crawl marks in the dirt directly to where he lived. She must have had a good laugh when it was all over. Yeah!

Best

I loved this story about poetic justice.

I have no idea if this story is true. Don’t hold me to it. I loved the story, true or not. It is a tale about poetic justice, which is an idea I thoroughly enjoy. Besides, to put it mildly, I don’t like rapists.

 

P. S. I had the pleasure of knowing Arthur Black who was a regular reader of my blog. You can read more about him by going to a previous post as follows:

https://viewfromoverthehill.wordpress.com/2013/10/

 

Remembering my brother…..

Muriel2017

photo by my Chandra

Daughter Susan suggested I write about my childhood. She deserves that I do. Besides, it’s time for me to write about my brother Bob. He was the firstborn and only son in a family of five kids. As the youngest, I held him in awe. If he just noticed me, I was thrilled. However, I also remember him being very funny, kind, and at times wise.

I was about five and for some reason, he decided to take me to Belmont Park in Montreal. In those days, cotton dresses were

bluedress

It was a blue dress

washed, starched, and ironed. Mine was blue. It was also stiff and itchy, but I enjoyed the feeling of the clean fabric against my skin. I got onto a streetcar with my big brother, who was taking ONLY me somewhere. It was grand….

At the amusement park, Bob probably indulged me in too many treats, took me on too many rides, and I thanked him by — throwing up all over my clean dress. I don’t believe he took me out like that again, nor can I blame him.

Bob also pulled some pranks for which he got ‘what for’ from our dad. Once when I was too young to tie my own shoes, my mom was tying them for me on my sister’s bed. I saw movement under my own bed. An ogre? A monster? Yikes!

isthatanogre

An ogre? A monster? Yikes!

I screamed in terror. It was early morning, dad was still home. Bob was pulled out from under my bed and dealt with. I still couldn’t stop screaming. That wasn’t the only time Bob got into trouble for pulling stunts adults don’t appreciate.

Our parents would sometimes catch a matinee on Sunday mornings. On the way home, mom stopped at a deli to buy our lunch. Bob babysat us while they were away. Mom had made wine. It was ready — and accessible. Bob offered us a penny or two per glass we drank. I wanted those pennies. You could buy an ice cream then with three pennies!

vectordrawingblkwht

Happy but too drunk to stand up

I drank wine — it was sweet. I liked it — how much I downed I don’t know. I was unable to stand afterwards. We girls were all drunk! When dad entered, I was sitting on the kitchen floor leaning against a cabinet for support. Bob was in trouble again. I believe I never collected those pennies and enjoyed teasing Bob about that for years.

Another Sunday we must have been hungry. (Maybe the matinee was longer.) Bob placed a can of Campbell’s vegetable soup in a pot of Campbellsboiling water to heat. It exploded — all over. There were pieces of vegetables stuck here and there, as well as on the ceiling, Dad, as usual, arrived home first. This time he didn’t scold. He quickly helped us clean the mess up. It was impossible to remove the orange stain from the ceiling. Nobody, as far as I know ever mentioned it to mom. Maybe she never looked up — it remained our secret.

Last year, when I was hospitalized getting a new hip, Bob passed away. It has taken me all this time to be able to write about him. I think of him so often — but now always with pleasure.

BobShirPau.jpeg 1

        Bob with my still beautiful sisters, L- Shirley, R- Pauline                           photo by Bob’s talented son Gary Rush

 

I thought I invented it….

Muriel2017

photo by my Chandra

That’s how things go folks. You think you’re particularly clever and have come up with a unique and brilliant idea that no one else has ever thought of before — and you learn it’s been used for centuries. Bummer!

For years I’ve seen myself through scary, painful or difficult times by singing — aloud. The older the song, the better because then I have to work harder at remembering the words. I’ve fought my way out of my apartment step-by-agonizing-step after devastating dizziness sieges by singing. At times I’d make it as far as the elevator, but later might make it as far as the front entrance. Sometimes guys, that can be a big accomplishment, especially for a dizzy dame.

I’ve survived driving my car home (right turns only) while experiencing severe

old lady nervous in car

terrified driving when vertigo begins

vertigo by singing encouragement to myself. Want the words? (Don’t worry about copyright, use them anytime.) ‘You’re fine because you’re fine, because you’re fine, because you’re fine….’ (Use any tune you like, it doesn’t matter, no one’s judging.) It obviously worked for me — I’m still alive!

After my hip surgery last year, while five fussing nurses gathered round my bed trying to figure out how to extricate the stubborn last staple (out of 18) which had somehow formed a ring in my flesh, I sang an old kids’ song as they dug in. When they finally succeeded, they gleefully gave each other high-fives and danced about. Were they just pleased with themselves for solving the problem, or delighted with the quality of my (ahem) beautiful voice? I never asked…..

I’ve many stories I could tell you about times when my singing saved the day for me, but I won’t bore you with all the grizzly details. Suffice it to say, it has worked.

lady with earphones

Really, it works

Why do I risk making a fool of myself in front of others who are sometimes strangers? Because it works. It seems my brain, unable to double-task well, has to concentrate on the (preferably) old song I don’t remember too well. I actually believed I was the one who figured this out all by myself — that nobody else ever thought about it before. Ha.

 

320px-Louis_Gallait_-_Power_of_Music_-_

Music Therapy by Louis Gallait, Belgian artist, (1810-87)

 

Recently CBC Radio had a program about Music Therapy. I had to find out more so called on Mrs. Google. Waddaya know? It’s been used for years for relaxation, reminiscence for the elderly, physical rehab for stroke victims, plus more other physical and mental conditions than I have the space to list here. Interesting, no?

Go ahead. Give it a try. Why not?

 

Favorite sayings

Muriel2017

by my Chandra

It takes a village — to do a crossword. (my own)

If there is a heaven, there are bubble baths there. (my own)

The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we hold of ourselves with the appalling things other people think of us. (Quentin Crisp, 1908-1999, openly gay writer, actor.)

Quentin Crisp

Quintin Crisp

He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends. (Oscar Wilde)

young Oscar Wilde

Young Oscar Wilde

Some cause happiness where ‘er they go; others, whenever they go. (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, gay poet, playwright.)

Worry is interest paid on a debt you may not owe. (? told me by my friend Sandy)

The greatest delusion about communication is that it exists. (?)

How long a minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you are on.  (Zall)

The road of modern culture leads from humanitarianism via nationalism to bestiality. (Stefan Zweig, Austrian Jewish author, 1881-1942, committed suicide.)

Many amusing events occur in Egypt, but the laughter there can resemble crying. (great 10th century poet Al-Mutanabbi)

Go ahead, travel first class. Your heirs will. (Sign on a local travel agent’s wall)

I no longer have the time to be angry. (My wise friend Berta)

Everyone has a photographic memory — some of us just don’t have any film. (Steven Wright, comedian)

Creativity is our most precious gift. (my friend Ian Wallace)

Parents are the bones on which children sharpen their teeth. (actor Peter Ustinov)

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. (Native American Proverb)

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900, German philosopher)

Jan Struther

Jan Struther

If silence is golden, then speech is platinum. It spreads wisdom, dispels ignorance, ventilates grievances, stimulates curiosity, lightens the spirits and lessens the fundamental loneliness of the soul. (Jan Struther, 1901-1953, author)

A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun,. Enjoy the trip. (?)

You don’t have to believe everything you think. (?)

What your mother tells you now, in time you will come to know. (?)

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom. (Bertrand Russell)

Burtrand Russell

Bertrand Russell

The time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time. (Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970, controversial philosopher/mathematician/Nobel Prize winner for literature)

Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who will get the blame. (Bertrand Russell)

From Susan Kauffmann: The obstacle is the path. (Zen Proverb)

From Bill Keuntje: I’ve learned not to play the notes with emotion, but to play the emotion with the notes. (Bill is a composer/musician)