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Blessed are the weird people…

SON RAFI, HIS BEAUTIFUL CHANDRA, AND ME

My San Francisco kids visited at Xmas. It turned out to be a White one and Rafi, Chandra, and grandson Remy loved walking in the snow. (It doesn’t snow in S. F.) On one of their many excursions, they passed a sign in my neighbour John’s window. Rafi, of course, had to take a photo of it.


John is one of those special, interesting and multi-talented individuals who is interested in everything and everyone. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to know him, but what I like best about John is his kindness to others — including me.


I first saw John acting onstage when I was writing a column covering the arts. Aside from that his photography is so beautiful, if I had any more room on my walls, I’d try to purchase one from him if he’d sell it. What else does he do well? I don’t at all know because the guy never brags. I asked John if he had written the words in the sign below. He said he hadn’t. If you know who did, do let me know.

In case the photo of the sign is difficult for you to read, this is what it says:

B L E S S E D
* A R E T H E *
Weird People
The Poets & Misfits
T H E A R T I S T S
T H E W R I T E R S
& MUSIC MAKERS
The dreamers & the
O U T S I D E R S
For they force us to see
THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY

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…

Thanksgiving? Yup, I’m grateful…

It must be Thanksgiving in the States because I received a couple of cards in the mail today. As a kid I loved Halloween, but as an adult, Thanksgiving is my absolute favourite. I have much to be grateful for and don’t at all mind thinking of this holiday more than once a year. (In Canada, we celebrate it earlier, so I get to do so twice.)

daughter Susan

I’m grateful for the love of my children, son Rafi, his loving wife Chandra and their son Remy, daughter Susan and her Michael, plus others I love who care about me here and in the US.

It’s been rough with much happening where I live (or perhaps it’s that much that should be happening hasn’t been happening) and I’m exhausted by it all. Thus, I haven’t the mindset to write the post I would have wanted to, so I’ll cheat and use another one of daughter Susan’s ‘Muriel Says…’ instead.

That my daughter thinks anything I say is worth using on her Facebook is absolutely astounding to me.
Yes, I love her too….

Here it is:

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???

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…

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.

 

Haven’t I Seen This Movie?

JudyandBear

Judy Parker and my favorite cat Bear

I’ve been housebound during this stressful time of COVID: 19 and Judy is one of those special friends who have stayed in touch. She has been checking in by email every single day. What would I do without friends like her? Thank you Judy and also to the many others who have not forgotten me.

Judy Parker is a brilliant, published author and an avid reader who contributes much to our book club. I am fortunate to have her in my life.

Thank you too, Judy, for allowing me to share your work with my readers and to love your cat Bear.

Muriel2017

Lucky me.

P.S. Please note the spaces between Judy’s poem’s lines are because of my lack of expertise with technology. Please disregard them. Thank you, Muriel

 

Haven’t I Seen This Movie?

By Judy Parker

Small town or big city. Lonely cabin or

LakeMIchiganbeach

Michigan Lake beach. I was there

dark lane. South Pacific Island.

Sandy beach on a sunny day.
Cue ominous music. Where is the
cheerleader? The old geezer? The jock?
Somebody gives warning but the
warnings are mocked. “Run away! Hide!
Stay in your homes!”
The monster creeps closer,
slithers or slides, stomps on the cities
or eats the new bride. And everyone parties,

fatcheer

Where is the cheerleader?

unaware of the screams, until they’re
the victims, and it’s their blood that streams
over the cobbles or down the morgue drain.
Finally it’s over, the movie is done,
and no one’s too worried about who is gone.
It’s only a movie. It’s all in fun. Monsters
In movies will leave us alone. But the monsters
we face now will follow us home. This isn’t
a movie. It just feels like it’s one.

Jkp

goodtheatre

The movie is done…

20pedjock

The Jock?

A sense of humor?

Muriel2017

I’d been there before. Several times. Still, when leaving, I headed in the wrong direction. I do stuff like that — very often.

Andrew and I were at a local hospital where I’d had an appointment with my hand surgeon. I wasn’t sure what the doctor would do about that troublesome hand, so I asked Andrew to come with me ‘just in case’.

As I was leading the poor guy astray, he gently reminded me we had to go in the opposite direction.

Andrew20206

Andrew looking serious. (He hates taking pictures.)

‘I told you I have no sense of direction,’ I laughed, ‘You can believe it.’

‘A sense of humor is much more important,’ Andrew responded. He is SO wonderfully clever.

cutequestion

Where am I???

I burst out laughing. I do that a lot. As for a sense of direction, forget it. Turn me around in my bedroom and I probably wouldn’t find my own bed.

Andrew is right. My crazy sense of humor is helpful. I had just had the doctor cracking up because I asked him to marry me. (He said he would except he loves his wife.)

Then he showed me videos of his new baby, born one day before my birthday, and his little girl. He has told me I can ALWAYS get in to see him, which is terrific for me with my  arthritic hands.

betterlaughingdr

My doctor cracked up when I asked him to marry me.

I often get great service because of my nutty humor, bus drivers remember me and smile when I climb aboard and make sure I’m seated before they restart the bus. Busy professionals try to fit me in, and, admittedly, I sometimes take advantage of that.

This year, my wonderful, caring family doctor gave ME a Christmas present! I’ve made her laugh often, but she put up with me in tears when I was very dizzy. I adore her….

During the present crisis, I’ve agreed to not be stubborn and I’m staying in because everyone is reminding me how old I am. Old?

Well okay I AM old! And I tell my loved ones I intend to stick around until the last cheque/check bounces!

Seize the day…

Muriel2017

A friend recently recommended I not save my favorite cologne for tomorrow. How right she was. Life is precarious. We don’t know what the day has in store for us. A two-ton-truck may be lurking around the corner just waiting to throw me down hard on my keister. I’m using my favorite cologne…

I’ve become aware of my mortality and that pleasures I’ve enjoyed in the past can become impossible. OpendoorHowever, when one door closes, another opens. All we have to do is be willing to walk through that new door.

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka 1883-1924

 

Always an avid reader, when I learned my vision was vulnerable, I went on a reading binge like no other — and it hasn’t yet ended. MetamorphosisI’ve pulled books I’d been planning to read or reread for years off my dusty shelves like: Lady Chatterley’s Lover, (banned in the Quebec of my youth but no big deal today); Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ and his very short and strange ‘Metamorphosis’ which I’ve read at least a dozen times, (both unforgettable); plus Cervantes ‘Don Quixote’, (a sometimes wonderfully funny book). I’m still reading voraciously…

Here’s a quote I like by Kafka, whose brain had no boundaries: ‘If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for?’ His books DO wake us up with a blow on the head for sure.

The Trial

Weird and worth reading…

My everyday dishes now are fine English bone china. My former ‘everyday’ dishes are now used only

aynsley-cottage-garden-fine-english-bone-china_1_6cf6afd2e8a77b3de3f26be36cca697c

Well, wouldn’t this cheer you too?

to reheat food in the microwave. I like my fine china. Its colorful and makes me happy every time I see it. Furthermore, no one can ever say I didn’t get to use it. Indeed, I’ve dropped a few and the hard tiles on my kitchen floor are totally unforgiving, but so what? I rarely have 12 people over for dinner these days anyway.

I concentrate on doing things which enrich my life, like having lunch out with friends I particularly enjoy being with. I also get a great kick out of writing this post. It pleases me to share my thoughts with you, so I thank YOU for giving me this pleasure.

A winter wonderland….

balcony

That’s my Inukshuk pretending he’s a snowman

It’s below zero and very cold out. It snowed. Then it snowed again. And now, it’s snowing even more and the wind has decided to join the fun and play ring-a-round-the-rosy.

Huge snowflakes wiggle seductively this way and that like pole-dancers looking for a lap to land on. They rudely push each other about until they find a spot that feels good.

 

They’re careful as they create perfectly fitting marshmallow tops to cover the pots on my balcony. Maybe they’re concerned about my baby garlic plants growing under their white covers. Is that why they work so hard to knit their puffy blankets?

 

Bird

My neighbor Wayne filmed this beautiful bird, a Towhee (I’m told)

 

Jerry, my Inukshuk, who lives under my miniature tree thinks he’s back in the Arctic. He’s playing peak-a-boo with me and pretending he’s a snowman. He thinks I don’t know who he is, but I’d know him anywhere — silly guy. At least he’s wise enough to wear a warm, white cap on his head to keep his ears warm.

 

big tree

looking north from my window

The Northern mountains have been gone for days. They probably went south to visit my friend Joe in Beverly Hills, where it doesn’t snow at all. And who can blame them? They’re not used to this extra cold weather , especially without our beautiful clouds to wrap them in their arms. What the heck, why stick around?

I’m inside for the duration. Schools and universities are closed, my exercise classes are cancelled, flights aren’t going anywhere and the ferries aren’t running to the islands. Our buses are slipping and sliding on the icy streets and can’t make it up the hills, while those brave enough to drive, are often ending up in ditches. None of us are accustomed to this kind of weather and we aren’t equipped for it. People like me are wisely staying in to avoid falls.

 

After opening my balcony door for my good neighbor,

Wayne's table

A marshmallow on Wayne’s table

Wayne, who took these photos, I can’t get the darn door to close properly. (Don’t worry, I’ll work on it.) And, didn’t Wayne do a fabulous job? He also went shopping for some of us who needed help. (I needed milk.)

I’m not bored. I’ve taken care of a lot of things which needed attention inside my apartment. It makes me feel so noble. So, in spite of everything, I look out the window and wonder at the beauty of it all.

It is, indeed, a winter wonderland….