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When’s the last time you…

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.

Rafi loved playing and he did well
Rafi in his baseball uniform


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.

Rafi, now a devoted high-school teacher


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.

Rafi cooking at a fundraiser for my grandson, Remy’s school
Lovely Chandra working at a fundraiser for Remy’s school


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…

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

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.

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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

 

COVID:19 Words for right now…

Dr.BonnieHenry

Dr. Bonnie Henry

I feel fortunate to be living in British Columbia where the number of people affected by the virus is low and we are directed by an especially capable Provincial Health Officer,  Dr. Bonnie Henry. The doctor is effective,  popular, very photogenic and gentle yet firm.

We have a Dr. Henry fan club, songs have been written for her, and because she enjoys shoes (the kind I could never afford) her favourite shoe manufacturer made a limited number of a particular pair she enjoys and sold them to raise money for charity.

the DrHenry shoe

The Dr. Henry shoe which sold like hot cakes.

Dr. Henry will be remembered by the words she leaves us with every time we hear from her: ‘Be kind, be calm, be safe’. Good advice for now…

This is a good time to think about words which can serve us well during these difficult times. (They are from a little book called ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’)

‘Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.’ (Niels Bohr)

Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.’ (Herbert Hoover)

‘A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.’ (Bob Hope)

BobHope

Bob Hope 1903-2003

BenjaminFranklin

Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790

‘Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.’ (Benjamin Franklin)

‘I am an optimist. It doesn’t seem too much use being anything else.’ (Winston Churchill)

‘There is no education like adversity.’ (Benjamin Disraeli)

‘A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it: It would be hell on earth.’ (George Bernard Shaw)

Schulz2

Charles M. Schulz 1922-2000

‘Don’t worry about the earth coming to an end today, it’s already tomorrow in Australia.’ (Charles M. Schulz)

‘Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.’ (Lord Byron)

‘Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.’ (Voltaire)

‘My life has been filled with terrible misfortune, most of which never happened.’ (Michel de Montaigne)

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???

My son Rafi’s thoughts on COVID:19

Muriel2017Today I am proudly sharing my son Rafi’s thoughts on COVID:19. I think you will agree he is more able than I to express his heartfelt feelings about these troubling times.

I feel so lucky to have Rafi, his lovely wife Chandra, and my brilliant, wonderful grandson Remy, whom they are raising so well, in my life. (Do I sound like a grandma???)

Here’s what Rafi wrote. I thank him for allowing me to share it with you.

 

I tend not to pray
I hope, I wish, I ask, I wonder
But pray I have chosen to not

Today, however, I find myself hungering for a prayer
A prayer for the homeless and the housed, the young and the old, the unknown and the celebrated, the powerless and the powerful
A prayer for those less fortunate and for those who have more

This crisis brings us into balance, the fear heightens our commonality, and the unknown leaves us without answers.  All of us.  Together

As we face this adversary, we are all on equal footing – we sit in isolation, we work, we learn, we argue and love in virtual worlds.  All of us. Together

Today tests our sense of accomplishment, our goals and ambitions for the future
For why be earnest if tomorrow never comes?  Why begin when the end is nigh?

Why?  Because we are in this.  All of us.  Together.

I hunger for and have found my prayer
It is in the sun that rises and sets, in the blossoms that are born in the spring, and in the “we” that perseveres
It is that hope is a harbinger of these cycles’ continuum
It is that in my wife, my son, and our extended families I find happiness when there seems none to have
It is that we can find community in friends old and new, and in neighbors who leave a loaf of homemade bread at your door
It is from the hugs that will be had and the glasses that will be clinked
It is from the fact that tomorrow brings with it the potential for more than what exists today

ChandraRafiRemy2019

Chandra, Remy and Rafi

I tend not to pray
I hope, I wish, I ask, I wonder
But pray, I have been chosen to

By: Rafi Kauffmann

COVID: 19 — Thank you…

Muriel2017I love people and miss seeing dear ones ordinarily in my life, but I’m also aware I owe many a big thank you. Some are friends and neighbors, and others are strangers. If I listed all of them, this would be a book and not a post, so forgive me if I haven’t mentioned you, you matter too.

 

Thank you to:
Friends and family who keep in touch so often by phone and email.

The people in my neighborhood who write: ‘Things will get better’ on the sidewalks in chalk.better

Neighbor Mairona and friend Chris, who, upon reading my post complaining about not having enough reading material, each delivered bags of books to my door.

Mairona and her husband Wayne, who are always willing to pick up anything I may need.
garthcardsGarth, whom I miss seeing at my favorite local cafe, who sends me beautiful cards and notes.

My dear ‘daughter’ Amy who goes shopping for me, arrives at my door wearing a mask and hands me my groceries, and checks in often by phone.

Those who step off the curb to be at the proper distance when they see this old gray-haired woman pushing her walker on our narrow sidewalks. (It is more difficult for me to do that. I always thank them.)

JoeinT-Shirt 2017

Joe wearing his Vancouver T-Shirt

My dear Beverly Hills friend Joe, who understands me and regularly puts up with my nutty ideas.

The strangers who, after I thank them for giving me space, have chatted with me from a safe distance as we pass each other. It helps me feel less isolated.

My son Rafi, who calls me just about every day, and my daughter Susan as well, who checks in so often.

Alison, my ‘granddaughter’ who calls me almost every day too.

Alison’s dad, who took the time out of his own busy schedule, (he’s a medical doctor) to drive her over so Alison and I could have a SAFE chat in person, both of us in masks out on the sidewalk.

All my friends who check in with me.
thanks

The woman I don’t know, whom I told I missed hugs most of all, who offered me one from a distance. I returned it. It isn’t the same, but it helped.

 

And, speaking of hugs, if you know me personally, know that I’m keeping track of all the hugs you owe me and I intend to collect for sure when this is all over.

 

A COVID:19 Romance…

wqlkerCOVID:19 or no, If I don’t continue my dally walks these old bones of mine may not want to go anywhere, so I’m walking each day — totally on my own. Those who care about me kept reminding me how old I am and that I must take extra care out there, so I do.

I avoid the major street where I usually walk. The shops, cafes, and markets are all located there and I think it wise to avoid people so I use only the side streets, where there are just apartment buildings and houses. There are very few cars on the streets right now and many less people.

On one of these very first walks, I saw a man sitting outyoungr&J in the sun on a second floor balcony. He waved down to me and said hello. I asked if he was staying in like me. He was. We ended up chatting, he sitting on his balcony above and me sitting on my walker below on the sidewalk.

REDsIf things had been reversed, I would say it was like the tragic story of Romeo and Juliet. And if I told you we made each other laugh, became fast friends, exchanged phone numbers and now talk endlessly so that’s why my phone is usually busy, and have decided we really like each other, have much in common and shall spend oodles of time with each other after this is over, it would be a lovely end to the story. Right? Unfortunately, it would also be a big fat lie. That’s not how it ended.

QuoteR&J

Since then, although I’ve walked on the same street and passed under ‘Romeo’s’ balcony many times, I’ve not seen him again. Is he chatting with someone new? Is that the real end of this love story?

funny-elderly-husband-wife-celebrating-wedding-anniversary-old-senior-couple-listening-to-music-vector-cartoon-174728339True, we really did have an enjoyable chat, that part is actually true. However without breakfasts every day at my favorite cafe, many lunches with friends, exercise classes to take, visits to the library, and everything else I do in my ordinary life, things are more leisurely right now and I don’t get out at the same time each day. Perhaps the lack of a new COVID:19 romance in my life is my own fault. Poor ‘Romeo’ just doesn’t know when  I’ll show up. This is, indeed, a tragedy!

Oh, well…..

COVID:19 project #2 — Junk Drawer

lovethisone

Project #2

So you’ve been biting your nails, anxiously waiting to learn what you’ve always wanted to know — what I found in my junk drawer. It’s been an exciting project. I’m learning a lot during this solitary COVID-19 life, which I’m now passing on to you, my readers — free of charge!

Firstly, I was surprised at how pristine my junk

junkdrawer

looks like mine

drawer actually was. My cabinets were installed 28 years ago and it had never ever been emptied.

Here’s a hint for you: Never work with food on your kitchen counters while drawers below are open. That way, no food or crumbs get into them. (Now, aren’t you lucky to have been given this brilliant tip? Also free of charge?)

tidyup

My drawers ALL look like junk drawers

I learned that all my kitchen drawers LOOK like junk drawers and I marvel at how my loved ones knew which I was talking about when I used that term. Will they recognize it now?

It’s about a week since I neatened my junk drawer. It will take about a week until it’ll be back to it’s familiar mess. But that’s okay, I’ll then know whose kitchen I’m in.

 

Stuff I found:

Photo on 2020-03-29 at 15.23

Tin foil to sharpen scissors, rose made of wood, metal straws w/cleaning brush, and bottle opener from France

A beautiful rose made of wood (I think) by Dusty, a wood-wright who moved away. We used to have morning coffee at Benny’s, which is gone too. (Dusty follows my blog. I’m keeping it.)

Left over tin foil, to sharpen scissors. (Another tip! It really works. Cut foil with your dull scissors.)

Some metal straws with a cleaning brush, a gift from Alison. I’m enjoying one I use on my office desk. (You can’t have any, no way Jose.)

A bottle opener, from Paris, with Napoleon on one side and the Eiffel tower on the other. (Please take it.)

Photo on 2020-03-29 at 15.18

Butterfly pin, seed splitters, key chains w/lights, tea holder

A butterfly pin, given me by a friend just before she checked out for good. It reminds me of her and it’ll stay.

Two items to split seed shells, used (I think) for watermelon seeds. Chinese students’ families used to give me them because I like them. (If you know where to buy them I’ll be your best friend.)

Four key chains, with lights. Friends know I like them with a light. (Up for grabs.)

One something to hold tea leaves. I don’t drink tea and have teabags for friends. (Also up for grabs.)

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How long will it last???

 

This most exciting post about a thrilling COVID:19 project is my attempt to help you  manage the current crisis. What next? Maybe I’ll find a way to get a hug one of these days. I miss them most of all. Stay tuned. I’ll let you know….