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Halloween…

When I was a child, I loved Halloween — never had a birthday party, I didn’t want one because it was like asking for presents. It made me uncomfortable.

I did, however, have wonderful Halloween Costume parties. My friends and I looked forward to them for years, and ended the evening by going out ‘Trick or Treating’.

The following poem was written by my friend Hans Muller, who never minded creating new words if he felt like it.

Halloween’s last gasp

At the un-ghostly hour of five past eleven
Seven ghosts met in a chimney, seven
A chain-clatter, bone-black, a flaccid cadaver
They commenced a ghastly, sidereal palaver.

And the seventh ghost so spake to the others,
‘Why don’t we ghosts have fathers and mothers?’
From what manner of substance are we cleft
That of loving parents we are forever bereft?’
Despondently sighing they tell their chains:
‘It is half past eleven, half an hour remains.’

The fourth ghost answered him thus, the fourth,
‘Such a thing is not true of the ghosts of the north:
In fact, they have fathers and mothers galore
Four sets of each, at the utleast four.’

Pensively brooding, they gnaw their chains,
It’s a quarter of midnight, one quarter remains.
Up spake the sixth of the ghosts there assembled
And at his gruescent words they trembled.
Amorphously, voidly, they quantrify,
They’re fourfold invisible, fourfold awry.

Fourfold they quatrivide nothingness
By fourfolded, quantrivoid, sexless caress.
There’s horrified silence but for stifled groans,
Iced ectoplasm cloaks regified bones.

Frenzedly gasping, they devour their chains,
Sixty seconds till midnight, one minute remains.
For a moment they stare at each other in fright,
Then, suddenly, disenfleshed cheek bones turn bright.
Disenlipped mouths twist in jawous grins,
Spiderlike fingers slap calfless shins,

Into depths of boundless mirth they delve
As the church bell tolls a thundering twelve
And they all exclaim as with only one mouth:
‘We’re lucky to be the ghosts of the south.’

They vanish, regurgitating their chains,
It is twelve o’clock midnight and nothing remains.

Across a closed border: part two…

You’d think I’d have less to go home with, but Rafi took me to my favourite store, Trader Joe’s.
JUST LOVE THESE TREES!

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.


WITH REMY, WHO CALLS ME HIS ‘CRAZY GRANDMA’. A TITLE I WEAR PROUDLY…


Finally one said: “You’re good to go,’ Yeah! I was tired.

$5,000 FINE IF I DON’T COMPLY


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.

TIME WITH SON RAFI AT MY FAVOURITE PARK.


‘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.

I THINK I’M LOSING MY MIND.


‘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.

Next post: With my kids…

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.

 

Susan’s satire…

SATIRE: (noun) The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary topical or political issues.

SusanHair cut, April 2014

Daughter Susan

Daughter Susan is puzzled by the attitudes of some U.S. citizens in the midst of the horrifying number of COVID:19 cases in their country. She wrote and shared this satire with me and I’m sharing it with you.

Hi Maughm: A little satire for you, inspired by thinking about people who refuse to wear masks in public…

‘I love America and I love Freedom. I don’t believe that the government has a right to tell me what to do and what not to do. I am completely capable of making my own decisions regarding what is good for me and for those around me. If you don’t like it, well, you don’t love this country and you’re a damn Socialist so you should go live in China.

Yosemite Sam

I enjoy shooting guns in the air

Some people try to tell me not to do the things it is my god-given right to do. For example, I really enjoy shooting guns into the air. Sure, the bullets might hurt some people now and again as they come down, but they’re unlikely to die. Besides, more people die each year from the flu than from people firing bullets into the air, so why worry? If some stupid sheeple who love Big Government breathing down their necks are scared of my shooting, they can just choose to stay home.

People also often object to my choice to drink

Man drinking and driving

Seat belts — never wear one

before and while driving. That is just ridiculous! Yeah, some drunk drivers might hit and kill people, but more people die each year from the flu than from drunk drivers, so why should I be denied this enjoyable activity? And don’t get me started on seat belts — never wear one, never would, even when I’m sober.

I also don’t want my kids wearing seatbelts. I’m raising them to be strong, independent Americans, and they need to understand how valuable our freedoms are. You force someone to wear a seat belt, the next thing you know they’re calling you comrade and forcing you into a health care program that allows everyone to get treatment when they need it without losing their home from the bills. That is just un-American!

Child drivingSpeaking of my kids, I also don’t buy into that government regulation crap about kids needing to be 16 to drive. My kids might not be able to see over the steering wheel yet, but that’s no reason to deprive them of their freedoms. They’ll probably only hit the old people who can’t get out of the way fast enough, or those slowed down by pre-existing health conditions, so who cares? Besides, the idea that young children are too immature to drive responsibly is a hoax the Democrats thought up to hurt our beloved president. All those statistics and articles in the media about young drivers killing people are FAKE NEWS!’

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.

 

My own ring story

Muriel2017

photo by Chandra

I’d have thoroughly enjoyed this costume

Ring

My mask ring, photo by Samantha

jewelry ring through the years I covered the arts for newspapers in L.A. and Vancouver. I did have a collection of mask earrings to wear to performances, but I’d have worn the ring too. These days I seldom have occasion to wear it, however I do whenever I go to the opera. Then it seems right and I enjoy thinking about how I came to have it.

When I’ve traveled, I’ve often wanted to approach a stranger in the street and ask if I could provide coffee or tea and cake if they’d invite me to have it at their home. I wanted to see how locals lived. Therefore, when Tai Chi pal, Peter Lear, had friends visiting from China, I invited them over.

 

Carla

 Tai Chi participants, L-R: Carol, Judy, me, Donna, back: Carla & Peter, both now gone

Peter, like me, had a special interest in China and Chinese culture. He could even speak and read Mandarin and read the local Chinese newspapers. Peter’s visitors gave me this ring but it always makes me think of Peter, who is now gone but whom I so enjoyed knowing.

Nohtheatre

Japanese Noh Theatre

It seems masks have been used

Chineseoperamask

Chinese opera mask

on stage throughout many cultures since antiquity. The ancient Greeks used them. Chinese opera has used them for centuries. The Romans did too, and masks remain a major part of their Venice Festival each year. I tend to think ancestors who lived in caves probably used them too.

 

GreekTragedymasks

Greek tragedy

While in Taiwan last year, I was truly fortunate to be invited to a rare and special performance of ancient Japanese opera with magnificent, colorful costumes and masks. All the roles were played by women, which I found fascinating. I still enjoy theatre — and masks.

Carnival of Venice

Venice Festival

wredcurtains

Masks and theatre belong together

Have you ever noticed how you always get more than you give? I invited Peter’s Chinese friends over to give them a chance to see how an ordinary Canadian lives. Their gift to me in return has brought me years of pleasure.

 

Nohactor

Japanese Noh Actor