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Being rude by accident.

Our provincial premier lost it yesterday and used the F-word in frustration at the legislator. I found it human and amusing. It also reminded me of the time I did that, albeit by accident.


I volunteered for a charitable organization which served the deaf and hard-of-hearing. I liked what they offered to those needing help and was often on the board. The meetings were fascinating and complicated with interpreters to keep everyone abreast of what was being said or signed. Those, like me, who didn’t sign could read everything on a large screen as well.

SIGNING M FOR MURIEL


I wondered how they signed my name so quickly and asked. They just used ‘M’, since I was the only one on the board whose name started with that letter. Aha!

SIGNING THANK YOU


One year we had a deaf Chairman. I decided, smarty-pants that I am, to learn how to sign a little, like ‘thank you’ so I could thank him at the end of our meetings. I was shown how. I did so. He smiled. It went so well I planned to thank him again after our next meeting — in a month.

SIGNING RUDELY


By the next month I didn’t quite remember it correctly, so apparently instead of signing ‘Thank you’, I signed something rude beginning with ‘F’. Ahem! (The word our premier used yesterday.)


The poor chairman. His face turned red with embarrassment. He shook his hands to show me that wasn’t correct. Someone else told me about my blunder. Do I embarrass easily? I just burst out laughing and asked how to sign ‘I’m sorry’.


I still think it was hilarious…

Water…

It has been raining constantly lately. I must be really tired of it. It is obviously getting to me because yesterday I wrote this very ‘serious’ poem about water. Ahem!

Water is an essential element

They say I’m 60% water
I thought it was more, still
Water is an essential element.

PERHAPS I WOULD HAVE DROWNED

If there were no water
I’d never have learned to swim
Perhaps I would have drowned.

MAYBE WE’D ALL DRINK WHISKEY

What would we drink without water?
Maybe we’d all drink whiskey
with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

WE’D FALL INTO THE FLOWING RIVER

We’d all be so drunk we’d fall
into the flowing river
On the way home.

WE WOULDN’T HAVE UMBRELLAS.

Without water there would be no rain
We wouldn’t have umbrellas
And would get soaked through and through.

P.S. I’ve been writing this blog for a long time. You may enjoy this old post, ‘Favorite Sayings’, dated June 8, 2012. Just go to the upper right where the eyeglass is and type in the name.

Patience…

I don’t recall Hans ever being angry with me, but I do remember that the poor guy was bored with some of the outings we took because of my work. Then, again, he did correct some of my expressions I’d picked up in my childhood.

I’M SURE, AT TIMES, I DID TAX HIS PATIENCE.

My mom immigrated to Canada from Russia and picked up English and French. I picked up some of her sentence structures. Although Hans had immigrated to the U.S. from Vienna himself and English wasn’t his first language, he spoke and wrote it perfectly. Let’s face it, the guy was smarter than me — and funny — and I’m sure, at times, I did tax his patience.

Poor Hans accompanied me to many events I had to cover. The other day when I found this poem and reread it, I laughed. I hope you get a kick out of it too.

HANS ACCOMPANIED ME TO MANY EVENTS I HAD TO COVER. THEY WEREN’T ALWAYS GREAT.

P A T I E N C E .

Who? Whom?

When she says ‘who’ instead of ‘whom’
I do not send her to her room,
I patiently correct her once,
or twice, or thrice. She’s not a dunce.
And tell her when it’s ‘may’ – not ‘can’.
I am, indeed, a patient man.

When she invites me to a bash
and all I get is turkey hash
and then, for breakfast, Decaf, brewed,
have I complained, lamented, sued?
Invoked the bible, the Koran?
No, I’m indeed a patient man.

When I was dragged to ‘Dead Man’s Gulch’,
that gross, dung-aggregated mulch
of cinematographic Kitsch.
Was I observed to gripe, to bitch?
No – come and go, ten blocks I ran
I am a very patient man.
By God, I am a patient man.

I AM, INDEED, A PATIENT MAN.

When she broke up my mountain weekend
when manage-editing had freakened
my well deserved week’s recreation
with job-caused crass abomination.
Did I kick her in the can?
No – I’m a very patient man.
I am, indeed, a patient man.

Eating out — thank goodness.

ONCE UPON A TIME…

Once upon a time long, long ago, I worked full-time and invited friends to dinners too. We’d have a children’s table, our large dining-room table extended with a folding table, plus extra places on the upright piano seat with place-mats on the flat surface over the keys. Those days are looonnnngggg gone.

A friend and I had lunch together yesterday. She’s interesting, I love her. She’s a devoted vegan. I didn’t have to worry — we ate out. Friday I’m having dinner with a young vegetarian. He’s my kind-of grandson. He’s been busy and hasn’t had much time for us to get together so I’m delighted. Again, I don’t have to worry — we’re eating out.

WHAT CAN I FIX FOR HER??

During this pandemic, some people won’t eat in restaurants. I respect that. Sometimes one special friend and I have lunch on a park bench nearby. She has definite food needs and always brings the lunch. I want to reciprocate, but aren’t brave enough. What can I fix for her??

MY OLD ARTHRITIC BONES DON’T MAKE APPOINTMENTS

Meanwhile years have passed and everything seems to take more energy. Energy? Where did that go? It eludes me at will and some days I can’t seem to hustle any muscle at all. My old arthritic bones act up whenever THEY choose. They aren’t thoughtful. They never make appointments ahead of time. I can’t picture many dinners happening at my place anymore, which is just as well. What would planning a homemade dinner look like? I’d rather treat when we eat out.

WHAT PEOPLE EAT TODAY IS MORE COMPLICATED

It seems what everyone eats today is more complicated. What my older friends consume is sometimes affected by health issues like high-cholesterol, diabetes, ulcers, medications requiring them to avoid certain foods, or allergies — and goodness knows what.

Do we become delicate flowers with age? Yup! What I used to call a cast-iron stomach doesn’t exist any more! I, myself, have developed allergies! (I’ve been told these develop as we get older, but I also believe some of it is due to chemicals added to our food to extend shelf life.)

MY KIDS ENTERTAIN A LOT

My San Francisco kids do a lot of entertaining. Their friends are younger and don’t seem to be affected as much by medical conditions as my older friends. I guess I’ll just leave the dinner parties to them. If you visit me — let’s eat out.

More weird deaths…

Following my last post of quirky death possibilities, here are a few I’ve known about myself.

ISADORA DUNCAN, MOTHER OF MODERN DANCE

American dancer Isadora Duncan, (1927-1977) known as the mother of modern dance, was strangled by her own long scarf which got tangled in the rear hubcaps of her open car while driving in France. (She was right to avoid ballet. Feet are destroyed by dancing on your toes.) Duncan had, herself suffered a terrible loss. Both her children and their nanny drowned when their car rolled into the Seine.

I paid my respects at her grave while visiting the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

THE FAMOUS HOLLYWOOD SIGN
ACTRESS PEG ENTERWHISTLE

I lived for awhile in the Hollywood Hills of L.A and passed the famous sign every night driving home from work. I couldn’t help but think of actress Peg Entwistle, who leapt to her death from that high sign. Peg (1908-1932) was only 24. In her suicide note, she started by saying ‘I am afraid, I am a coward, I am sorry for everything… Peg was distressed because roles didn’t come her way. I believe I once read an offer of a role reached her father a few days after her death.

I once had a neighbour who was a compulsive hoarder. We worried about fire from all the papers and magazines. We also worried about the woman having to manoeuvre around and over all the stacked stuff. Her bed was piled high and couldn’t be slept in. (She apparently slept with her sister nearby.) We were required to clear out her apartment.

MY BROTHER’S KEEPER, BY MARCIA DAVENPORT

THE COLLYER BROTHERS, COMPULSIVE HOARDERS

Our manager suggested I read ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ by Marcia Davenport. I did — and will never forget it. It is a true story about Langley and Homer Collyer, who lived in a 5th Avenue Manhattan Mansion they inherited from their mother. They never married. They never worked. Money was not a problem. They also never threw anything out. At their deaths in 1947, they’d accumulated more than 140 tons of dilapidated stuff.

HOMER’S CHAIR

The brothers feared intruders and set up traps. Langley, himself, was caught in one and crushed to death by trash falling from above. He was on his way to bring brother Homer some food. Homer, who was paralyzed and confined to an old, rotting chair, died about 12 days later from starvation.

ABOUT 140 TONS OF HOARDED STUFF WAS REMOVED AFTER THEIR DEATHS

Interesting book. Read it if you can. It IS fascinating.

A Love Story…

When I asked daughter Susan if I may post the following epic tale, she declared that anyone who IS anyone would want to be familiar with her brilliant saga. Here is what she sent out to friends.
(I’d scanned the original, but shall spare you the difficulties of reading same.)

photo by Chandra

‘So, my mom is going through some old files of hers and is finding all kinds of detritus from the distant past of our lives. One item she unearthed is a story which I must have written when I was extremely young, maybe around seven years old, judging by the spelling. My conclusion after reading this epic tale of heroism and romance: My mother was clearly putting LSD in my Cheerios! How else does a child come up with a story like this one, called, “The Pickle and the Stick”:
(Original spelling preserved)

Susan, left, could be about that age in this photo


Once thare was a pickle. It was locked up in a jar. Thare was a stick. One day the jar with the pickle fell out of a bag. the stick had gest left tree. The stick saw the pickles helplessa nd stranded; He opend the jar. all the pickles wher sour-harted all but one. she was a vary nice kind harted one. she asked the stick to please help her out. The stick did as she pleased (the pickle) The pickle said she would repay his kindness some how. The stick who was very polite said, “how nice of you.” Back at the jar the pickles had bad luck. a boy kicked them into the gutter and a car ran over them. that was the end, at least of them. the stick just then was picked up by a boy. He was going to brake Sirr stick in half! The pickle took a big, big breth and just in time FOOOOOOOOOOOO! Out came a tarabell noise. The pickle saved his life. They got marieyed and lived happily ever after.

The attached drawing is something I threw together with some help from the internet, inspired by reading this story. No, I am not currently on acid!’


Birthdays…

I love birthdays!!! (Photo by my Chandra)

While visiting my family in the US recently, we celebrated many birthdays. That’s because I believe in celebrating birthdays for six months before and six months after the actual date. Each evening we celebrated the birth of at least one of us, and sometimes got carried away and celebrated several at the same time. It was great.


Back home in August, my friend Chris treated me to breakfast at Granville Island, a place I love to visit but don’t get to often since I no longer drive. (My actual birthday is in July. She was close.) Later I treated her to lunch for her birthday, which was in February when I was being too careful to go anywhere before my trip.

Let’s celebrate!

The week of my actual birthday I was invited out one day after another. When dear Vinson called wanting to treat me for my birthday too, I begged off. ‘If you love me, please don’t feed me. They’ll charge me extra for all the weight I’ll gain before I get on the plane.’ (It was before my trip to the U.S.)

We both know that’s not what happens, but Vinson got the message. We celebrated my birthday after I got back from my trip — sometime in August. It was lovely and I was ready by then.

Happy Birthday to youuuu!


I finally got to treat my dear Chinese daughter, Amy, for her birthday (actually in June) in September because I was like a pit bull and just didn’t give up each time she said it wasn’t necessary. For me, it WAS necessary because I love celebrations, especially birthdays of those I love.


All my friends and family embrace this madness of mine. They have no choice. After all, it works well for all concerned. And, you, dear reader are lucky because YOU have my permission to celebrate YOUR birthday for six months before and six months after your birthday as well. Lucky you! Happy birthday indeed!

Talking of birthdays, today actually is my beautiful sister’s Birthday. Happy Birthday Shirley!

Revenge of the coyotes…

Island of plastic in the Pacific

It was hot! A long drought in our rain forest led to roaring forest fires, devastation and the destruction of whole towns and some deaths.

Extreme weather, floods, mudslides, tornadoes and hurricanes took more lives. People became homeless all over the world.

Islands of plastic formed in our oceans. Millions of creatures in local waters perished in the extreme heat. The coyotes could smell it, it was unbearable.


‘We’ve got to do something,’ declared Tara, their old leader, ’Call everyone. We must have a meeting. Those stupid humans have gone too far. They need to be taught a lesson. ’

Tara, elderly leader of the coyotes


Word travels fast throughout the park. All the coyotes gathered to hear what Tara had to say. Even the skunks and raccoons, hearing about the meeting, gathered on the fringes of the large group.

The skunks heard, they came
Word travels fast in the park


‘People are unbelievably stupid,’ Tara said, ‘If we don’t do something, we’ll all perish. Attack them, their children, and their beloved dogs — starting now. We must have our revenge…’


‘But their children tried to teach them,’ spoke up Cotu, ‘Why attack them? They’re innocent.’ Cotu was young, but coyote young are listened to.


‘Humans don’t listen to their children, those kids have no power,’ replied Tara, sadly shaking her head.

Raccoons Came too


Her word was law. And so it happened. After years of peace, the war was on — between coyotes and humans.
And so, it came to pass this summer, for the first time, dozens of humans in this beautiful city’s famous Stanley Park, were attacked and bitten by coyotes. What was going on? Why was this suddenly happening?
The humans didn’t get it.


‘Coyotes don’t belong in a city park,’ they argued, although coyotes had always been there. But this was new, coyotes had never been a danger before. The officials needed to act. They’ve now decided to ‘cull’ the coyotes. The plan is to catch and kill 35 coyotes. And, how will that help??? If they must ‘cull’ the coyotes, why not trap them and move them to an uninhabited area? Why kill them?

Coyotes had always been there


Humans don’t understand the coyotes are trying to make them aware that they’ve gone too far and they are destroying our planet. Will they ever learn?


Run, coyotes, run! Avoid their traps. They know not what they do…

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…

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…