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Crossing a closed border…

I brought so many treats for the kids, my suitcase was packed solid.

I’d not seen my children in two years — much too long. My recent birthday reminded me I’m not getting any younger. The U.S. border is closed, it was unreasonable and I waffled back and forth and drove my kids nuts, but in the end, decided I must go.


It was complicated, frustratingly stupid, and expensive, none of which mattered compared to my need to hug and spend time with my loved ones.


I’m an organized sort, I called provincial health to check everything, still the madness started before I left. They weren’t always right.


My old flip cellphone, used only for emergencies, doesn’t work in the U.S. I’d need it, so prepaid FIDO $33 for 15 minutes in the U.S. It subsequently didn’t work.


A young friend helped me book non-stop flights both ways. I didn’t care which airline or what the cost was. Just wanted convenience for all and he did very well thank you.

It was enough to drive me to drink.


After a few days, however, Delta cancelled my direct flight back creating a stop in Seattle allowing little more than an hour between flights. I use a walker and must wait until all other passengers debark before my walker shows up. I also require assistance, which I’d already arranged (now separately). After hours on the phone, with no chance of a direct flight, I accepted defeat and called again to arrange help for TWO flights. Whew! I hadn’t even left yet!


Then, United, who were taking me to the US, emailed a form to fill out with complete proof of Canadian COVID testing (taken within 72 hours of the flight) plus vaccinations, etc. etc. I called on my son for help, scanned all related copies, he got into my computer and filled it all out. It was long, not easy, but done.


Checking in at United at the airport, they wanted all the stuff we’d already submitted. I asked why.


‘Oh, that technology isn’t working yet.’ What???

Yup! I made it. Here I am under an Australian Tea tree in San Francisco during one of my daily walks with Rafi.


This was only the beginning of the insanity. More to come soon…

Villains out to get you…

Oldladyonphonescam

Hey, do you know what time it is!!!

Are you getting as many fraudulent calls as I am? Are those villains out to get you too? It seems this pandemic has let loose more crooks than ever.

My phone rings as early as 5:30 a.m.` telling me my computer needs repairs, or the CRA is after me for not paying my taxes, or my credit card

oldcreditcard

My credit card number you say???

has been used so would I give them the number.

Goodness, don’t those idiots even check what time it is in my part of the world before they call?

They certainly know we’re spending more time at home and: we miss our loved ones whom we can’t see during these trying times; that makes us lonelier than usual and a new romance onlinedatingwould be a welcome diversion; we might also be bored because activities we participated in are cancelled; and we’ll risk talking to a stranger on the phone as a result of it all.

 

If you’re older (like me) you’re ripe for the picking.

computer

Computer needs fixing? Take it to a shop who repairs them.

We tend to be patient and although I doubt it’s true, we often idealize yesterday when we ‘think’ people were kinder, nicer, more honest and caring. Sorry to let you down but there were always crooks around and if you think not, you’re dreaming.

The world isn’t going to the dogs. Dishonesty isn’t new.

caveman2

Ugh! I want what he’s got!!!

The caveman probably raided his neighbour’s den to commandeer meat, berries and women while the other guy was out doing what he should — hunting a mastodon.

huntingmastodon

Out doing what he should, hunting a mastodon!!!

Scam artists, I understand, trade information the way kids trade baseball cards. Sadly the same person is often duped more than once and considered worth another try.

colorvillian

There ARE predators out there…

 

Stay alert, be aware, be suspicious.There ARE predators out there who prey on folks like us. Better safe than sorry.

Pedestrians vs. Motorists.

screaming

Left your patience at home?

What’s going on? There seems to be a senseless battle in my town between pedestrians and motorists, and you’d think we who are older and supposedly wiser wouldn’t participate in the madness, but it ain’t necessarily so. Where has our common sense gone? Lives are destroyed and ended in a crazy game of ‘I dare you!’

pedongroung

Real lives are destroyed

 

 

 

I’m no longer driving which makes me a pedestrian. My opinion, however, hasn’t changed. My active imagination always saw my car as a possible killing machine bigger than you and capable of doing major damage, so I didn’t like driving and was extra careful.

 

letmecross

C’mon, let me cross

It was thus a surprise to learn the adversaries in this combat include my contemporaries. Over lunch, a driving friend told me, during an angry diatribe against all pedestrians, that she never, ever stops for pedestrians if they are not at a corner or in a crosswalk.

‘I don’t care,’ she declared, ‘They’re breaking the law.’ What? Is this what we’ve become?

Another driver recently called pedestrians ‘pestrians’ in my presence. I nearly choked on my coffee.

Meanwhile, non-driving friends complain about drivers who whiz by and don’t stop for them when they absolutely should. No one wins in this crap game.

freecemetary

No one wins…

cellphone

pack some patience, but leave your phone at home

C’mon everyone. Let’s leave home a few minutes earlier and pack some patience in the car — stay away from your cellphone and look out for those stupid pedestrians who cross the street looking at theirs.

Am I addicted too???

Muriel2017I’ll come clean and admit it. I think I’m addicted. I don’t watch TV; I no longer smoke; I’m much too poor a loser to gamble, and so crazy sober I don’t have to drink. But, I do have a secret and maybe getting it out in the open will be the first step towards conquering it.

I didn’t grow up with modern technology. Heck, I remember us having a telephone party line! The bookkeeping machine we used in the early 60s took up a whole wall.

Women-Computers

In the 1960s we got a ‘bookkeeping machine’ (something like this) which took up a whole wall

I’ve looked askance at those who are addicted to their I-Phones. I especially judge young mothers on the bus who give little ones phones to keep them quite. (Those I-phones damage very young eyes — something to do with pixels.) I carry a cell-phone too, but only for emergencies and rarely use it.

846-05646016

Once upon a time, we just used an adding machine

 

 

The bible says: ‘Do not judge or you too will be judged.’ But now, I’m beginning to wonder. Am I also addicted???

funnyupsetlady

Am I also addicted???

I’ve followed the same routine for years. When I worked as a columnist and technology allowed me to email my articles in, I learned to become an expert at creating multiple stalling tactics to avoid writing.

If you picture me approaching my computer with glee, impatient to communicate with you, that ain’t necessarily so. Yes, I like expressing my thoughts or frustrations, but that doesn’t make it any easier to get started.

ladyclipart

First I must go through my routine

First, I must play a game of Boggle. (Its good for my aging brain.) Then, I need to have (no more than) three games of solitaire. (Same excuse.) After that I check my Blog Stats (always interesting) then I read my email, answer those which require immediate attention and leave the others for later, or maybe never. After all this, I make all the phone calls I deem necessary, followed by the phone calls which are absolutely not necessary, and then, reluctantly, will get to work.

cutequestion

Waddaya think?

 

When I do start, the writing is easy enough. Its just getting to it that’s so darn hard. So, waddaya think? Is my routine an addition? Am I addicted too???

Where did 2019 go?

Muriel2017It’s December. Where the heck did 2019 go? I remember when it started. Seems like yesterday. Is it a plot? Whatever, it surely is a despicable act. Whoever stole it is a truly evil villain and should be hung from the rafters.

 

In January I was extremely excited

Ginsburg

I was thrilled with this 2019 calendar

about the new calendar my Chandra gave me. It featured Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doing her exercise workout. I was thrilled with it. I also remember wondering what to get Joe for his birthday. The guy is so creative with surprising me with unusual gifts for my birthday or whatever, it’s hard to do as well. ( Of course I know I don’t really have to.)

old yellow telephoneWasn’t that just yesterday? What happened? How did it ever get to be December? Today, I started calling around to see if I may have forgotten 2019 somewhere in the neighborhood. After all, I AM becoming a little forgetful.

SafewayKitsilano

My local Safeway

 

I checked at my local Safeway. The gal at the service desk had no idea where it could be. She looked at me in utter confusion. She must not be too bright….

 

Then, I tried the Apple Farm

AppleFarmactual

My local Apple Farm

where I buy my fruits and veggies. They had my gray gloves behind their counter and were happy to get rid of them, but nowhere did they have the year I lost.

Terra Breads

I enjoy breakfast at Terra’s

 

I’m a determined sort. I went over to Terra’s, where I like to have breakfast. They once found my hearing aid, which fell out of my pocket, surely if they found 2019 they’d keep it for me. But, no, they didn’t have my year either.

The bakery where I sometimes buy bread?  ‘2019? You’re looking for 2019??? Lady, have you lost it?’
‘Yes. I’ve lost it.’ What doesn’t she get?

angrywoman

I’m no quitter

If I were a quitter, I’d have given up, but I’m not. I decided to check at home. It can happen. I sometimes misplace stuff, don’t you? I looked under my bed. Nothing but dust bunnies there. Was it in a closet? No. A kitchen cabinet? No. The linen closet? No, no, no! Goodness me. I REALLY can’t find it.

 

Hey, we can use a little help here. Do you have it? This just isn’t fair….

Who will talk to our children?

Muriel2017

Chandra took this photo

During one of my usual breakfasts at a local cafe, I sat next to a father, mother and son. The child seemed about seven or eight. Dad was busy on his cellphone. Mom was busy on hers. The boy stood next to his father and tapped the man on his arm. He wanted to say something.

The father impatiently pushed him away, saying: ‘Leave me alone.’

I see this kind of thing too often. I don’t like it, but usually don’t intervene. It isn’t my business, but I was so sad and angry and bothered by it this time, I took the liberty as an old crone to butt in.

fatoldangry

Your son needs to talk to you

‘Excuse me sir,’ said I, ‘Your son wants to talk to you. They grow up so quickly, before you turn around, he’ll be married. Please listen to him now.’

Much to my surprise, the parents didn’t tell me to shut up and mind my own business. Instead, the dad explained he was working.

boredchild

What will happen to all these children?

I suggested he take a little time off during breakfast to listen to the child. Then I went back to my coffee and book. The next time I looked up, all three were on their cellphones.

What will happen to all these young children I see who sit quietly while parents are attached to technology and are encouraged to do the same?

I also worry about the damage being done to the vision of toddlers I see on the bus in strollers, kept quiet and occupied with mom’s cell phone.

tooyoung

I worry about the damage to their vision

Parents are so attached to those blankity-blank phones everywhere — walking, in restaurants, and one can safely assume, at home as well. Will their children even learn how to talk?

2tooyoung

C’mon folks. Give me a break.

Will these quiet children ever know the pleasure of conversation which I so enjoy? Who will talk to them? I worry. Or am I just being cranky?

Hurrah! I did it!

confused-old-lady

I’m technologically Challenged

My children say I’m technologically challenged and they’re right. Computers and websites ARE beyond me at times, so I’m feeling particularly proud of myself right now. Somehow I managed to complete a late request for air miles on the Aeroplan website. I can hardly believe it.

It had been well over a year since I was able to travel. That meant I’d not seen Michael and daughter Susan’s new home in Nevada. New hip firmly in place, I could finally make it and even climb the 17 stairs (Susan counted them) up to their second floor to see every corner of their lovely abode. Before anything else could go wrong, off I went.

I was so excited, I didn’t focus much on details or the fact I was traveling on the July 4th holiday. It cost more? So what? It was well worth it. Son Rafi, his Chandra, and their Remy drove from San Francisco to join us. Everyone spoiled me and I had one of the best birthdays ever.

Whether because I hadn’t ordered airline tickets for so long, or just forgot — yes, that’s possible too — I didn’t get my air miles added to my Aeroplan account. Maybe now that I’m a real bionic woman I’ll be able to use them.

The dozens of hard copies generated by this transaction in our modern, ‘paperless’ society were stacked high here and there wherever I’d dropped them upon my return, gathering dust on my desk, guest bed and the dining table — how could there be so many?

Mom, look I'm telling you 2

I felt guilty

They stared at me accusingly every time I walked past, making me feel guilty. I know very well how to feel guilty. I do that almost as well as I worry. They had no choice but to wait for me to clear up other matters deemed more important on my long ‘to do’ list. Finally it was time to bite the bullet.

Woman_Sitting_at_a_Messy_Desk_clipart_image

It must be here somewhere

First thing that morning I took a deep breath and tackled the stacks. I refused to be overwhelmed by the quantity. I started by eliminating and setting aside all the extra pages and pages of legal stuff nobody reads anyway. Those papers themselves could have represented a whole tree.

old yellow telephone

I got on the phone

I got on the phone and spoke with a woman at Aeroplan, who confirmed, indeed, I hadn’t claimed the miles. She gave an involved explanation of what I needed to do, besides which, she seemed sure the expertise I required was beyond me. Plus, at this late date, it could only be accomplished on their website. It sounded so difficult, I now wonder if she was purposely trying to discourage me.

That’s all I needed. Challenge me and I’ll surely take you up on it. Well, waddaya know!

I was better to him than you were

That’s all I needed.

After I assured them I wasn’t a robot and filled in all the spaces for the two flights home, it seemed to work. Was I sure it was right? Did I know I’d receive credit for my missing miles? Would they believe I’m not a robot? I had no idea. However no red flags went up, the request was accepted, and they acknowledged by yet another email they’d received it. Hurrah!

It was reassuring to know just that it went through. That, in itself, was an accomplishment. I decided if I do get the air miles, I’d let you know. I did hear from them.

Here’s what their email said:

Your missing miles have been deposited. We’re pleased to let you know that your request for missing miles for (my name) on ticket number 274939843639 has been approved and 896 miles from the following credit request(s) has/have been deposited:

True, that’s not such a big deal, however, I made it on their website — and that IS a big deal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Symphonies: 1 minute. Story of Man: 2 minutes.

Muriel, 2008 Headshot little smile hand

like so many others, by Susan Kauffmann

My friend Hans was a talented musician and writer. He was a student at the Vienna Conservatory of Music until he was unceremoniously tossed out by the Nazis. After escaping from Austria to the U.S., (an amazing story in itself) Hans was drafted and served in the U.S. military overseas. When he returned to America and married, the first piece of furniture he purchased was a grand piano.

Hans more than mastered the English language, he wrote musicals, songs,

Hans

Hans Muller in Los Angeles

plays and funny skits — one of which was about how to be knowledgeable about every symphony by just learning one minute of each. He was a really funny guy.

If you read my blog, you know I’m a history buff. To me, the story of man is more amazing than any novel can be. I can read through volumes of history to delight in one sentence about something I didn’t know before. Yes, I’m weird….

My family just visited. It has been a wonderful time for me — and a lot of fun, but there hasn’t been much free time, so you can imagine my delight when a cousin, who lives in Australia, sent me ‘Our Story in 2 Minutes’ about the history of man. It reminded me of Hans and his humorous skit about learning symphonies.

prehistoric man

Prehistoric man

I’m passing ‘Our Story’ on to you. I’ve already watched it four times. Here’s the information. Enjoy!

“Joe Bush got a high school assignment to make a 
video reproduction. He chose history as a theme and tucked it all 
into two minutes. Joe took pictures from the internet; added the sound 
track “Mind Heist” by Zack Hemsey (from the movie Interception) and 
came up with this, an incredible work for a 17-year old. Just finding the 
pictures was a formidable task. Hold on to your seat. This moves fast. 
Don’t blink — not even for a second & keep your sound on.”
http://marcbrecy.perso.neuf.fr/history.html