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Stretching a dollar can save the environment

Muriel2017

photo by Chandra

My first mother-in-law liked to say she could stretch a dollar — and she could. After all, her generation lived through the Depression. Besides, before she left her native Poland as a young woman, her father was unable to meet his debts and officials came, locked up all their possessions, and hauled everything away. They were left destitute — she never forgot that.

 

I could easily please her by buying apples or tomatoes for her on sale — and telling her so. I was young. I was stupid. I thought she went too far.

 

 

kitchen curtains

She could work wonders with her sewing machine

An experienced seamstress, she worked wonders

tablecloth

A tablecloth with burns in it became kitchen curtains

with her sewing machine. When her adult sons burned holes in her cloth tablecloth, she cut them down to make kitchen curtains. When the sun faded areas of the curtains, she cut them further and made handkerchiefs.

 

I was in charge of finding clothes for her to be buried in when she died. I was embarrassed when I had to tell the funeral home I couldn’t find any underwear without patches. They were clean. They were neatly repaired, but they were patched. Well, I already told you I was young and stupid. What difference could it possibly have made?

cutemachine

I don’t have her skills

Lately, I find myself rethinking that period of my life. I sometimes think I’ve become my late mother-in-law, but for very different reasons. I can’t match her sewing skills, but these days, like her, I find myself wanting to really use things up — for the sake of the environment. She may not have considered that, but little was wasted or thrown out in her well-organized, thrifty household! She was an accidental environmentalist!

reuse-reduce-recycling-sign-s-4984

She was an accidental environmentalist

I wonder if my kids think I’ve lost it? I take my own plastic containers along in case I’ll be taking restaurant food home. I carry used plastic bags when shopping for veggies or fruit. I use towels until they’re threadbare and then cut them down for cleaning rags. We need to create less garbage for our cities’ dumps. I reuse paper gift bags….

 

forest

I use less paper to save our forests

I make my own ecologically gentle cleaning fluid (Vinegar, Baking Soda, Water) and use it for most surfaces in my household. The backs of printed pages are fine for when I print stuff which isn’t going elsewhere — we need to save trees and forests. I also want our seas to be healthier for the creatures living in them and I want the air to be better to breathe.

Remyand me2018

Remy, taller than me and proud of it!

 

Yes, I want a lot. I have children and grandchildren I love more than anything. I want there to be a beautiful world for those who are younger to enjoy in the future. I want it for you too…..

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1,2,3,4 long days without my computer….

Muriel2017

My

In spite of my admiration for Catherine the Great and Empress

knight in shining armor

My knight in shining armor

Wu, right now my friend/neighbor Wayne is my new hero. My computer collapsed. Poor thing had to be hospitalized and have surgery. Wayne carried it gently down to his car and drove it to the Apple hospital, where they deemed it too old to bother with. (Apple must be hard up for cash and needs us to purchase new ones. Make a donation if you can.)

better sick comp

My ailing old computer

Undaunted, gallant Wayne found somewhere else to take my ailing computer, drove it there and after a few harrowing days, brought it back to me. I was more than willing to shell out the $392 required for a new video processor chip, whatever that is.

Meanwhile, I had fretted and lost sleep over the possibility of losing everything on it. Worrying, as you know, is something I excel in. However, I also learned how much time I spend on this electronic contraption. I now must admit I’m addicted and I missed it terribly.

red brook and duster

Without my computer I had no excuses

This monster takes up so much of my time, there are dozens of obvious tasks-to-do I pass by each day and think I must take care of ‘one of these days’. Well, these four days ended up being those days. I couldn’t produce any other delaying tactics not to do them.

Instead of checking my email and seeing how many visited my blog first thing in the day, I made my often neglected bed every morning. Then, although I attend Tai Chi every Monday, plus exercise classes on Wednesdays and Fridays, I managed — in addition to get on my Exercycle Ladyonbikeand Stepper three times during the four days without electronic distractions. (The last time I’d managed time for that was March 8th!) I also managed to daily do the physio-recommended arm exercises for my torn tendons.

Woman_Sitting_at_a_Messy_Desk_clipart_image

My desk is now neater…

I have oodles of paper left over from my old printer which require detaching before I can use them in my new one. I now have a respectable stack ready and prepared. My desk is also somewhat neater. I filed many papers which had sat there for months. Papers and documents awaiting shredding got shredded and properly recycled. At last, my 2016 phone book/calendar got disposed of, with all your names and phone numbers safely shredded as well. Long neglected, shocked loved ones and friends received phone calls out of the blue. I feel so noble!

My kitchen received attention as well. I neatened up my ‘plastic bag’ drawer, piling various bags high on my counter, after which I diligently separated them by size. I carefully weighed the separated stacks down in the drawer with paperweights. (I did this in spite of son Rafi’s warning that this madness would indicate to visitors that I’m neat, thus making them uncomfortable in my home.) After that, I attacked my wealth of plastic containers, matching tops and bottoms, and discarding all those I couldn’t fix up with anyone. Then, because I;d rather not go out when it snows, I’d accumulated extra ‘just in case’ food supplies during winter, I pulled everything down from those crowded cabinets and put things in order. Can you imagine?

drawing blacl:white w:broom

I cleaned up the winter debris

Nor did my balcony get overlooked in this frenzy. On a rain-less day, I got out there and cleared up the debris left over from winter. My outdoor pots are now ‘almost’ pristine and ready for spring planting. You’ve got to be impressed!

Well, now I have my computer back and this ain’t gonna happen again for (hopefully) a very long time. I’m back. Thank goodness for small favors! I was even driving myself crazy…..

Where does my time go?

Muriel2017

photo by Chandra Joy

Where does my time go? Have you see it around? I’ve been looking

confused-old-lady

Where does my time go???

everywhere for it — even checked under my bed. These days everything seems to take longer. My undeveloped brain thinks I’m capable of doing oodles of things, but my body won’t cooperate. This became especially clear when I decided I ‘should’ get rid of ‘stuff’.

Friends complain about having to dispose of too much junk when elderly parent/s pass away, so I decided to be kind to my beloved offspring and throw out what I don’t need now. My office shelves seemed the perfect place to start. Spotting the many brochures and papers saved from numerous trips abroad I decided to start there. Have I ever looked at them? No… so okay. ‘Out, out damned papers!’ I declared aloud, trying to sound like Lady Macbeth when she tried to wash the blood from her hands.

The project was terrific. It felt noble — and what fun to look at all those souvenirs before tossing them into the recycling. Then, behind one envelope, I spied a stack of annual appointment calendars from the years 2,000 to 2,005. As a self-employed individual then, I kept detailed records in case Revenue Canada decided to audit my return. These could go too. Hurrah! It felt so good until….. I decided to look at those pages before tearing them up.

How did I manage to do all those things in one day — day after day? How could I have breakfast with a friend, manage an audition at 11, attend a business meeting at 3, and attend a theatre performance the same evening? Or, meet a friend at an art exhibit in the morning, study my lines over lunch, and get to a shoot by seven? I ran from one thing to another and on to yet another.

cartoonladyonbooks

Our wonderful book club still meets monthly

frida-kahlo self portrait. jpg

Frida Kahlo, self- portrait I saw at our local gallery

These records go back 18 years. What a merry-go-round I lived on. No wonder I’m tired today. I was writing, had constant deadlines; I was acting, with auditions to prepare for and/or lines to study for performances; I covered the arts in one of my columns, so visited museums and attended live performances; I was on our Strata Council and active in the building; my wonderful Book Club was already happening and our monthly meetings were held at my place (they still are — we’ve read over 200 books together).

funny lady at computer

Constantly facing deadlines for columns

make up

An hour to make me look older???

I noted that I attended a Film Festival in Palm Springs. A short film I co-starred in was  included. I didn’t look old enough for the part, so the makeup artist spent an hour each time to make me look older. Ha! On top of everything else, I kept up with having breakfasts, lunches and/or dinners with friends, many of whom I love and who are still in my life.

 

Yikes, I’m tired just looking at those pages full of stuff I used to do. These days I try to limit my obligations to one or two per day and feel lucky to make it. However, since my brain has never grown up, I continue to plan all kinds of household tasks to be done in one afternoon. Somehow, I rarely accomplish them all. What happened to all that energy? Where did I lose it? Have you seen it anywhere?

Busy catching up on reading

Muriel2017

photo by my lovely Chandra Joy Kauffmann

I’ve always been an avid reader. When did it start? Perhaps when I was very young and my sisters slept in what was called a ‘double parlor’. As the youngest in the hen-pecking order, I knew enough to be quiet while they slept — or else. I remember sitting on the sofa just feet away from their bed, turning the pages slowly and carefully to not make any noise. If that’s when it began, I thank my sisters for my lifelong passion for books and reading.

In addition, I’ve worn glasses since I was three. I knew my daughter needed them when she was five because she sat too close to the TV. How did my mom know? There was no TV then. I asked. She said I would fall over my toys on the floor! Imagine how clever she was!

I’ve never had a big desire for much ‘stuff’ — except for books. If I saw one I thought I’d want to read, I’d buy it. Thus, my shelves are full of books I haven’t yet had time to read. It’s time to do so, and not buy any more. At least, I promise to try….Old lady reading

Who imagined I’d still be able to read at this venerable age? Yet I can — if the printing isn’t too small. (I can’t but thank Dr. Brian Singer, L.A. optometrist, for his expertise when others said it was impossible.) Looking through the books I haven’t read, there are those I’ll not be able to read — the print is too small. I waited too long for those. They’ll go to friends or the library. But I now have some serious reading to do.

Volwyn E. Vulliamy (1886-1971)

King Geour

About 30 years ago I picked up a copy of ‘Royal George’ (King George

King George III (1738-1820)

King George III, (1738-1820)

III) by Colwyn E. Vulliamy, published in 1937. Just finished it! This hapless king reminds me that being of royal blood doesn’t make you intelligent or wise, nor protect you from mental illness. (He’s the guy, who besides other disasters, needlessly lost the U.S. colonies.) As a history buff, it was just my kind of read.

Now, I’m onto a really old book daughter Susan bought for me years

Charles Kingsley 1819-1875

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)

ago, ‘The Greek Heroes: Fairy Tales for my Children’ by Charles Kingsley, written in 1855. (Mr. Google says the busy man wrote hundreds of books.) The preface, which starts out ‘My Dear Children’ is a gem. It points out boys will need to learn this stuff and girls probably not, but will every day ‘see things we should not have had if it had not been for these old Greeks.’ Kingsley, a clergyman, made sure he instructed his young readers on proper Christian values while he was at it.

Greek gods

Greek heroes, who can resist?

Susan bought it for me because she knows I love Greek mythology AND old books. I’ve just finished reading the story about the hero Perseus, and am now enjoying the tale of Jason and the magic fleece (The Argonauts). {My husband once played Jason onstage — in French. I remember that with pleasure.} Sure, I already know these stories, but I love them and am having fun.

Greek mythology

powerful Greek Gods

Vision in our later years may not be what it once was, Mine certainly isn’t. Perhaps you also may want to read some of the neglected books sitting on your own shelves. Let me know what they are. And, happy reading!

 

 

It’s a rant — about entitlement

2017WIDGala:Vinson:Muriel

I can also have fun — here recently with Vinson

Grrrrr. Why is it some people feel they’re ‘entitled’? I

Rapist entitled?

Rapist entitled????

hear on CBC radio that a young man admits he raped his girlfriend because he wanted sex and felt he was ‘entitled’. Entitled? Yes, he really said that. Is this what we teach our sons? They’re entitled?

A woman arrives late to an exercise class and declares to another already seated, she’s sitting in ‘her’ seat. When did the latecomer buy that seat I wonder? What makes her think she’s entitled to it. The first woman gives her seat up. I wish she hadn’t. What is this nonsense anyway?

That's my seat

Move. You’re in my seat!

I join an art class at a senior centre, arrive before anyone else on the first day of the new season, pick a seat where I feel the light will serve me and my vision well, and wait for class to start. When the others arrive, I’m told my seat belongs to someone else. I give up the seat, but don’t return. Since when do seats belong to anyone???

I, myself, prefer a particular table at the local cafe where I like to have coffee in the morning. The light there is good for reading. It’s closer to the milk for my coffee and, yes, I have dealt with pain when walking. I do like to sit there. I arrive later one morning and a woman I don’t know is sitting there. She asks if I want ‘my’ seat. My seat? I tell her I don’t own any seat at the cafe. Did she think I’d ask her to move? Not me..

Our strata has rules. They supposedly apply to all of us. I try to abide by them. One is that we are not to leave personal belongings in common areas. However some owners feel entitled to do so. Last week, while attending a Strata Council meeting, I note personal stuff abounds in our hobby room. How come? Why are certain individuals entitled to break rules I’d never break. No one is ‘entitled’.

Garbage in woods. jpg.jpg

trash disposed of in our woods by the ‘entitled’

I hear about wonderful volunteers clearing up local wooded areas, where they need to remove tons of disposed garbage, old cars, broken furniture, rusting machines and all kinds of unwanted items. What’s going on? What kind of world are we leaving to our grand-children?

We have too much of this self-centered behavior. No one is ‘entitled’ to ruin our environment because they don’t want to pay or bother to dispose of items properly. If you are guilty, stop.

There is nothing new with people feeling entitled, I recall reading about the unsavory, rather vile composer Wagner. If ever anyone ever existed who felt ‘entitlement’, it was he. He’d park himself and his wife in your home, sponge money off you, never pay it

Composer Wagner

Wagner

back, and sleep with your wife. He readily accepted help from friends and then wrote nasty articles about them in the press. This man really believed he should be provided for by others because he was a ‘genius’ and ‘entitled’ to be given whatever he wanted so he could pursue his ambitions. Let’s not emulate him. (I would have preferred not to like any of his music, but I can’t say that is true. I do like some of it.)

Whew! Glad to get this off my chest. The idea of ‘entitlement’ has been bothering me of late.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butts on the sidewalk

Muriel Age 60

Susan added the hat to a photo of me for my 60th birthday. I’m now celebrating my 80th. Imagine…

A local mayor recently suggested instituting a deposit on cigarettes to be refunded when the butts are returned, just like a glass milk bottle. His concern is environmental. Apparently the butts contain chemicals which are extremely harmful and there are just too many on our streets, which then end up in our waterways. Perhaps this is a result of smokers now being limited to where they can smoke — it isn’t yet against the law to smoke on the street.

How come I don’t have any friends who smoke anymore and there are still so many cigarette butts on the sidewalk in my

Cigarette butts

Cigarette butts on my street

neighborhood? How come younger people, who now KNOW  smoking can give you cancer, continue to smoke? How come even though it is now widely KNOWN that smoking also has a negative impact on your sex life, some continue to smoke?

Bette Davis in All About Eve

Bette Davis in ‘All About Eve’

 

When we were young and yes, my generation smoked, we were not

Lana Turner smoking

Lana Turner smoked in films

told smoking would cause health issues. We believed it would help with weight loss, so of course I, for one, smoked. Did I lose weight as a result? Definitely not. They also said it would reduce stress, the stars of the day all smoked in films — it seemed so sophisticated, sexy, and

Cary Grant smoking

Cary Grant smoked in films

appealing. Did it make me feel sophisticated? Sexy? Appealing? No…..

Due to poor blood flow to the penis, smoking causes erectile dysfunction and impotence, the severity of which is correlated to how many cigarettes you smoke. Women, we don’t get off the hook either, smoking causes all of us loss of sexual desire and arousal.

We already know smoking can give you lung cancer, affects your cardiovascular health, damages your arteries and restricts blood flow to various parts of your body. Smoking also ruins your teeth and skin. Need I go on?

Yes, I stopped smoking in my early thirties. It was so difficult, I quit only once, I’d never want to go through that again. In those days there was no help to get you through withdrawal and it was tough. I’m sure it is still awful. However, if you smoke and you don’t quit, you may smoke on our sidewalks and the butts will get wet when it rains and the water containing the poisonous chemicals from the butts will run down our drains into our waterways, and, and, and……

Think about it.