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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)

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.

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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??

Idiomatic idioms..

Muriel2017Having taught some poor souls struggling with the complexities of the English language, I know what a son-of-a-bitch idioms can be. They don’t say what they mean and even kids born into English speaking families are sometimes confused by them.

My own son, at three, opened those

Baby Rafi and sue

Little Rafi with big sister Susan

big eyes of his in terror when my friend told him she was picking him up from nursery school because his dad was ‘tied up’. She quickly noticed Rafi’s distress and explained his dad was just too busy to come. Whew!

A son of Polish immigrants painfully related what happened long ago in his 7th grade woodworking class. Dissatisfied with his sanding job, the instructor told him to use more ‘elbow grease’. Having no idea what that meant, he told his teacher he didn’t have any. I hope teachers today would be kinder, but he was sent to ask another teacher to ask for  some. He’s never forgotten how embarrassed he was when that teacher and his whole class burst into laughter.

raining caats dogs

It’s raining cats and dogs

When I taught an adult night class, I had one student who loved idioms. He’d regularly watch English TV and bring in the idioms he didn’t understand and ask me to explain them. He brought in many, including ‘The buck stops here; The Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; and Don’t upset the apple cart’.

 

3ladies

We live in a rain forest

We live in a rain forest. It happened to pour the evening I told him we’d say: ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’. I then asked what they’d say in Chinese. He seemed uncomfortable and said he couldn’t tell me. I didn’t push it. The next week, he came into class. came up to me and said ‘I can tell you now. We say ‘It’s raining dog excrement.’

I didn’t laugh. But I found the whole incident hilarious and have never forgotten it! Well, we’ve had a whole lot of rain lately and it’s been raining dog excrement for weeks for sure! Enough already….

angrybull

Enough already!

 

 

iBears

 

Thank you for reading my blog. I love that you do. Enjoy whatever you are celebrating — and may 2020 be kind to us all.

 

Reading Richard Wagamese

Muriel2017

photo by my Chandra

It’s Canada Day today. I’m home with a bothersome cold, which wouldn’t be nice to give to anyone so I’m alone, listening to the CBC and reading Richard Wagamese. Good, they’re talking about Canadian Literature. Since reading is one of my greatest pleasures, I’m interested. They haven’t mentioned any of our native writers yet, but they may.

Our book club has given me the gift of discovering,

Wagamese author

Ojibway author Richard Wagamese, 1955-2017

often for the first time, many writers I didn’t know of before. The books we chose to read this month are ‘One Native Life’ and ‘Embers’, both by Richard Wagamese. We

indian Horse

Indian Horse by Wagamese (now a film)

had already read two other of his books, ‘Medicine Walk’, and ‘Indian Horse’, each of which were very worth reading. (Indian Horse was made into a movie, but I haven’t seen it. I don’t like to see films based on books I’ve read. I like to hold on to it in my own way.)

We lost a special Canadian when Wagamese passed away in 2017. He was an Ojibway journalist, radio and TV broadcaster, and producer. All of this in spite of an abusive childhood and little education. (His parents were Residential School survivors.) Wagamese was only 61 when he died and certainly had more books left in him. He did, however, leave us a rich legacy. I’m now reading his ‘Embers’. Here are a few quotes from this account of his journey in learning how to live.

Embers

An easy read, yet full of wisdom

‘I am a traveler on a sacred journey through this one shining day.

Walk gently on the earth and do each other no harm.

We live because everything else does.

A gift is not a gift until it is shared.

Keep what’s true in front of you.

Freedom is letting go of bounds and barriers, and hurling yourself into the adventure of living.

Let the mystery remain a mystery.

Be filled with wonder.

Take the first step and try to make it beyond.

Shout something.’

I hope this moves you to read ‘Embers’ and then more of Richard Wagamese’s books. Enjoy!

Old lady reading

I may have a cold, but I’m enjoying my day doing one of my favorite things.

 

 

‘Worry is interest paid on a debt you may not owe’

Muriel Hip surgery in hospital, 2017

After surgery, in my lovely springtime robe

My oh-so-clever friend Sandy once said: ‘Worry is interest paid on a debt you may not owe.’ I like it. I know it by heart. However, if I have any talent, it is my great ability to worry — a lot. Worry is what I do best of all!

So, told I would have to go home just three days after hip-replacement surgery, I panicked — what else? — and worried! How would I manage? My leg muscles, after months of severe pain, were in miserable shape, more like wet noodles than muscles. How could I NOT worry?

I’m 80. My children live in the U.S. They care. They came. Susan was here for my surgery. She was terrific. Rafi came after I got home to help. He cooks such scrumptious food, I gained two pounds while he was here. Still, they need to go back to their own lives.

Another worry? I have a vestibular disorder, which causes imbalance and unpredictable dizziness, often brought on by stress. Surgery IS stressful and I had a terrible siege of dizziness after my knee surgery in 2011. It was a disaster.

Whadaya know. As Sandy’s wise saying indicates, my worrying WAS a waste of time and energy. After surgery at UBC Hospital, I learned about the Transitional Care Unit (TCU)  right at the Koerner Pavilion, and was able to go there for rehab and care until I was ready to go home.

How come I’d never known about this possibility? I wrote about things like this as a columnist, yet had no idea the unit existed. It was a perfect fit. True, my first night there I had a roommate with dementia who cried out all night in a language I didn’t recognize. The very next night, however, I was blessed with a well-read, clever and interesting roommate, Howard Greaves, who, thankfully, also has a great sense of humor. (A necessary trait to survive the couple of weeks he spent with me).

Howard Greaves.

With Howard Greaves, who survived two weeks as my roommate. Howard deserves a special award for putting up with me.

Another blessing with having my surgery and staying  at UBC was that my dear ‘daughter’ Amy works there.

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My beautiful Chinese ‘daughter’ Amy

Amy visited and checked on me whenever she arrived to work, at her lunch break, and on her way home. Bless her, she also helped me survive the hospital food by cooking my favorite Chinese dish and bringing it in for me. She also would buy and bring me tastier food from outside. Hospital food, after all, is hospital food.

At the TCU, I had much needed, supervised physio five days a week, was helped with my ability to walk, and taught how to get my operated leg up onto my bed — no small feat. The nurses and I were given clear instructions about what I could or could not do so my vestibular disorder wouldn’t cause a fall and create a disaster.

There was a reasonable fee, (I understand it can be discussed if it is a problem). Dr. Reinhold Bernat, in charge of my case, was present and accessible when I needed to talk to him, patient with my concerns, and obviously caring — I know I was lucky.

Yes, the TCU was a good match for me, but, you ask, was there anything I felt was not up to par? Yes! We were allowed only one shower a week. I wasn’t thrilled with that, but survived.

Should you or loved ones live in the area and require it one day, I want you to know about the UBC Transitional Care Unit. Or, if there is such a service where you live, try to inquire about it. I am truly grateful it was there for me. And yes, I’m doing well.

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)