Archives

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…

I shall wear purple…

If you look hard, you can see some purple.


I’m a delicate flower. I’ve got allergies to lots of chemicals, so I’ve never dyed my hair. Tired of lock-downs and not seeing friends, I wanted to do something new. My bright idea was to colour my hair purple.

Do I look good in purple? No! I NEVER wear purple. And did I do a good job? Are you kidding? I did a better job spraying water on my kitchen floor than I did my hair and I’m still trying to get the colour out of my white counter. Still, if you look really hard you can see a little purple. You may laugh. I did.


Someone who loves me enough to tell the truth (and shall remain nameless) emailed: ‘Yes! I see it! But people may just think it is the “blue hair” of old ladies who try to brighten their grey and leave the stuff on too long!’

No matter…

Poet Jenny Joseph

I loved the following poem, ‘Warning’, long before I became old. You may too. Since this is National Poetry Month, this is a good time to revisit it. Enjoy!

‘Warning’ by Jenny Joseph (1932-2018)


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall wear purple

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired

And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

And run my stick along the public railings

And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

And pick flowers in other people’s gardens

And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

And eat three pounds of sausages at a go

Or only bread and pickle for a week

And hoard pens and pencils and beer-mats and things in boxes.

Guess she didn’t do any better than I did.


But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

And pay our rent and not swear in the street

And set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.


But maybe I ought to practise a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Whatever you do, have fun!!!

Note: Thanks Andrew for helping me find a gentle and safe dye to use.

My body needs my exercise classes…

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.

Stretching

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.

My bike’s easy

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, Brian & me

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.

It was social

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???

Sorry fellas, I’m still here…

photo by Chandra

In July 2007, I received a letter from an insurance company with whom I have a small annuity. They pay me about $230 a year around my birthday, which is in July.


The letter, addressed to ‘Estate of (me)’ says:

‘Dear Sir/Madam:

We have recently been advised of the death of (me). On behalf of (them) please accept my deepest sympathy on your loss.

In order to determine our requirements we require the following:

1) Date of death

2) Name and address of the person handling the Estate

Upon receipt of this information, I will write you regarding this policy.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely, etc.’

My death was a total surprise to me

My death at the time was a total surprise to me, and since I did have a concern, I called the guy who signed the letter and asked how come I hadn’t been advised of my death and he had.

I also asked who told him I died. He personally didn’t know because he’s only the guy who writes the letters.

I was deeply saddened to learn of my demise.


I was deeply saddened to learn of my demise as you can imagine. I still had some mischief in mind.

Was I really dead? Was I a ghost? I tried walking through my bedroom wall, it wasn’t a good idea. All I got for my effort was a bruised nose. Oh, well — I was obviously still here.

Was I a ghost?

Concerned about losing the $200 they’d already mailed me, they had immediately put a stop payment on the cheque I’d just received, signed and deposited at my bank. It had to be replaced later so they at least got to hold on to my two hundred bucks longer. I hope that made up for the disappointment of my not being dead.

Well fellas, I’m still here…


Well, here it is 2020, and while looking for something else, I found their old letter. How can anyone throw away a gem like that? When was the last time you were notified of your death?


Well, sorry fellas, I’m still here and have no plans of checking out soon. I intend to stick around and make trouble for as long as I can. I’m not quite done with this adventure yet.

Villains out to get you…

Oldladyonphonescam

Hey, do you know what time it is!!!

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

oldcreditcard

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 onlinedatingwould 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

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.

caveman2

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.

huntingmastodon

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.

colorvillian

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.

Masks…

Susan sent me these to give me a chuckle and I thought I’d share them with you.

 

old lady face mask

 

UNEXPECTED BENEFITS OF WEARING A FACE MASK, FOR WOMEN OF A CERTAIN VINTAGE…

1. Pesky chin hairs? No worries — your mask will cover them!

whatever works

Whatever works

2. Questionable breath? No one will smell it except you (though you will smell it MORE…)

3. Laugh lines and wrinkled lips? Totally gone from view!

4. You will save a bundle on lipstick.

panties

panties will work

5. Too menopausal to even fake a smile? Don’t sweat it! No one can see your demonic scowl and gnashing teeth!

6. And speaking of smiling, you don’t need to bother with your dentures in public anymore! Your mouth and chin are hidden and you certainly won’t be eating in a restaurant any time soon!

MonaLisa

Here’s what Mona Lisa would look like

7. If you go out without a bra, one of two things will happen:
a) People will be so busy noticing and approving your mask-wearing that they will not notice your saggy, free-swinging buzwams.
b) People will be so busy noticing and disapproving of your mask-wearing that they will not notice your low-hanging fruit.

Got any others, ladies?…

 

Well not to be totally outdone, I  added a few of my own:

1. If you wear goggles, they’ll steam up and your vision will be affected. Try placing a (clean) cloth under your mask which can help oodles.

2. Hard of hearing people automatically do some lip-reading. That’s impossible when your mouth is covered. Keep this in mind, be patient and speak up folks.

3. If you have an ugly cold sore, it won’t show if you wear a mask.

4. Zits on the tip of your nose which make you look like the witch of the North will be covered and no one will know you really ARE the witch of the North unless you ride a broom.

5. Remember what our province’s Dr. Henry says: Be calm, be kind, stay safe.

6. Some people may not be able to wear masks. Be kind and don’t judge.

Have you more advantages to mask wearing you can add????? Wear a mask if you possibly can.

huggingyoungman

I’m gonna hug everyone

 

P.S. I’m giving you all fair warning. When this COVID:19 is over, I’m gonna hug everyone I see in the street whether I know them or not. I miss hugs most of all.

 

One hand washes another…

VinsonMur2020

Vinson and me

We’re having a hot spell — too hot for me. I’ve never taken heat graciously and it isn’t easier now.

Vinson, one of many blessings in my life, wanted to come over and treat me to a birthday lunch. Walking at noon in this heat??? I just couldn’t. I begged off.

‘How about I pack a little picnic,’ I suggested, ‘And we go to the park across the street and sit on a bench under a tree. You can treat me to lunch after it cools down.’

So we did that. It was lovely. What I enjoyed most was the interesting conversation we ended up having. Vinson said he learns a lot from me. (Important things like you can separate two sides of a sandwich using waxed paper. Ha, ha.)

I had to honestly respond that I, too, learn

oldlady?

Who would teach me if they didn’t?

a lot from him (and my other young friends Andrew and Alison). Who would teach me if they didn’t? Aside from showing me how to use my smart TV, newfangled telephone and new computer, they teach me current words or expressions which have changed through the years.

Judy, one of my favourite friends and also a member of our book club, brought us each a coffee mug which says ‘Reading is LIT’. I thought ‘LIT’ stood for literature.

 

Photo on 2020-07-28 at 12.05 PM

I thought it stood for ‘Reading is Literature.

 

When the youngsters visited, I showed off my new mug. They chuckled and explained that ‘LIT’ is modern slang for ‘exciting’ or ‘excellent’. Aha! I am now a well-informed old lady.

MurielAlisonMothersDay2019

That’s me behind Alison

One day, having lunch with Alison and Andrew in my neighbourhood, a local man came in and greeted me. I introduced him and after he left explained I regularly give him money — he is ‘mentally retarded’ and lives on disability. Alison said we no longer use that term, but now say such people have an ‘intellectual disability’. I’ve lived a long life and things change.

I am grateful to my young friends

Andrew20206

Hey Andrew, I don’t have a photo WITH you.

who respect me enough to help me continue to learn. Besides threading needles for me, reaching items too high for me to get to, helping with my lack of technological skills and being willing to do whatever I’ve happened to put on my ‘To Do’ lists, they help me continue to grow as a person.

Thank you Vinson, Alison, and Andrew. I treasure you…

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

 

Did I really need this???

I was content with my old computer. When the machine was about 11 years old, the Muriel2017Apple store which sold it to me refused to service it because, they said, it was too old. Ha. I just had it repaired elsewhere and managed my email, wrote my blog, and daughter Susan had just shown me how to take a photo with it although I’d already had it for about 14 years. Start over? What? Are you nuts?

This year I was told I could no longer do my tax return on it; and Rafi could no longer save my butt using TeamViewer, which

Photo on 2020-05-21 at 5.00 PM

I DO get desperate

had been useful when I was desperate. Where computers are concerned, I DO get desperate — often. WWWEEELLLLLL, I had to rethink what I thunk. (I also admit I was terrified at having to learn how to use a new electronic device.)

 

computerguy

Probably how poor Rafi felt

COVID:19 came along and thus Rafi is spending more time at home. He suggested this was a good time for me to take the big step. He chose a computer to suit my needs and promised to be helpful AND patient. He’s managed that — almost always. (Don’t be judgmental, I’m not YOUR mother. Lucky you!)

Because of everything else happening, our tax people gave us extra time to file, so the first thing I attempted on this brand-new machine, which can do 98% more than I’ll ever need, was to do my tax return. Well folks, I’m not totally useless  — I’m just technologically challenged. I made it! I did my return and e-filed it! Congrats to me. Yeah!

Andrew, my priceless local ‘grandson’ ordered the computer online for me and set it up when it arrived. He spent oodles and oodles of time transferring information from my old computer. I never could have managed without him.

Hummingbird_Hero_Roger_Levien

Wouldn’t you like to open your computer and see this?

Then, just to make me happy, he managed to find a beautifully-coloured hummingbird for my desktop. I love it! Wouldn’t you like to open your computer and see this? (I love Andrew and he is gorgeous, but I didn’t know how to take photos yet the other day when he was here.) I am, indeed, a lucky gal.

Photo on 2020-05-21 at 2.51 PM

Vinson, keeping me sane

Today, Vinson, my other handsome and also priceless local ‘grandson’ came by and transferred the rest of what was left over. He’s keeping me sane. I am now exploring the possibilities of managing to function. However, the question is, will I be able to get this post out to you???

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??