Archives

Life: a risky business

PHOTO BY CHANDRA

Have you ever thought about how risky life is and what a miracle it is so many of us manage to make it into adulthood? I’m not paranoid, but dangers do lurk at every turn.

I’M NOT PARANOID


What with nature’s furies — hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, fires, floods, lightening and storms; the billions of microscopic bacilli and viruses around, on and in us; man made hazards like guns, explosives and weapons of war, it’s amazing I’m still here!


I can’t help but think of accidents with cars, trains and planes. I step onto my balcony and imagine it falling down to the cement patio three floors down — with me on it. gosh! Well, it could happen.


Normal people just live their lives, but I think of these things. Your chances of dying in an earthquake are one in 11 million. Not much. But what’s if I’m the designated driver?

EVIL PEOPLE?


They say one in 20 million die after being bitten by a dog. I constantly meet dogs on my daily walks. Does a snarl mean I should say goodbye right now? Then there are also evil people who may attack me even if a dog doesn’t. Oh, my….

WHY DO NEIGHBOURS TAKE THE STAIRS?


Apparently the risk of being injured in an elevator is one in six million. My building has one. I use it every day. Some neighbours always take the stairs. Do they know something I don’t? And, why aren’t they telling me?

A CELESTIAL BODY??


I’m not a scared person, but what I’m really terrified of is being hit directly by a celestial body. I have a one in a 150 trillion chance of this happening, but what’s if I’m the person standing right where the darn thing comes down if it does, when it does? Yikes!


There are a lot of other reasons why life is a risky business, but I won’t go there. You’d have to be a little nutty to worry about everything.

My love, alone he walketh

My late friend Hans was a really funny guy. He enjoyed marzipan, which I don’t. Thus marzipan was a safe thing for me to get for him whenever he visited.

I drove to the candy store in Kerrisdale for it until Purdy’s opened a shop in my own neighbourhood on 4th Avenue.

Since I was working, Hans was on his own during the day. I suggested he walk the few blocks for the chocolates on his own.

You couldn’t insult Hans. I recall telling him that he was arrogant. His response? ‘Well, I don’t know anyone who has more reason to be.’ It was impossible to get angry at him.

Hans on a visit

Hans loved Shakespeare. He even wrote an award-winning musical set in Shakespeare’s England. (It was the sole production not actually written by Shakespeare ever performed in ‘The Globe Theatre’ in Los Angeles.)

Tongue in cheek, he complained about the terrible treatment he was receiving at my hands. Tongue in cheek, I wrote this for him. We both had a good laugh. I hope you enjoy reading it too.

My Love, Alone He Walketh

My love, upon the Avenue he walketh
Gallantly, bravely, forth he setteth
Alone, uncivilized hordes he faceth
On Fourth, between Arbutus and Yew.

A villain on 4th Avenue?

Not rain, nor sleet, nor snow delayeth
Nor fear of highwaymen who lurketh
Along the dangerous route he walketh
Onward, onward to Purdy’s door.

These foreign climes, my love, he braveth
Distanced far from the land he loveth
For his fair damsel alone he cometh
Her beauteous face to see once more.

And when my love, indeed he leaveth
And alone, I must myself then beith
Shall I, on mornings cold and cleareth
Walk in his steps to Purdy’s store.

The door handle, I shall then caresseth
For dear hands upon it once had layeth
My love’s devotion I shall recalleth
And surely remember evermore.

Above all else, he does not snore.

He walk-ed this path so unafraideth
For marzipan, the world he’d braveth
Upon my knees I thank the Lordeth
That above all else, he does not snore.

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.

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?

Porgy and Bess — the opera

Muriel2017Many important issues were covered on Broadway in those 1930s musicals — issues which society would not have been comfortable confronting in other ways. Just as comedy was, and continues to be, used to help us deal with the unbearable, musicals often presented audiences with differing views than their own. Audiences were thus encouraged to look at and rethink their own attitudes.

 

 

‘Porgy and Bess’ the first and only opera created by the famous American Gershwin brothers, was written and first performed in 1935. Unfortunately, George died of a brain tumor in 1937, so no more operas followed. The magnificent songs alone make it worth seeing, however, this masterpiece is so much more than only beautiful music.

 

Scan1 1

Eric Owens is Porgy and Angel Blue performs Bess (The Gershwins would have been pleased by the casting)

 

 

GeorgeGershwin1898-1937

George Gershwin, 1898-1937

The Gershwin brothers, whose parents

IraGershwin1896-1983

Ira Gershwin, 1896-1983

immigrated to the U.S. from Russia, like my own — for good reason, well understood discrimination, prejudice, antisemitism — and racism. For this opera, they insisted that all performers appearing in black roles, be black. This at a time when opera singers in the U.S. were white only and using white performers in black face was common.

 

Marian Anderson1897-1993

Marian Anderson 1897-1993

 

 

Contralto Marian Anderson waited until 1955 to be able to perform in a Metropolitan Opera. Before that, she performed in concerts in Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

The libretto of Porgy and Bess, set in 1920‘s South Carolina, makes a powerful statement regarding the vulnerability of the black community’s attempts at survival. All this years before Dr. Martin Luther King came along. Shamefully, the struggle still continues today.

But, if all you want are songs, Porgy and Bess has glorious songs: ‘Summertime’. ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’, ‘I Got Plenty O’Nothin’, and then some. Definitely worth seeing! (I saw the Metropolitan’s Live Broadcast at a local theatre, and yes, all black roles were performed by black artists — as the Gershwins would have wanted..)

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….

The devils I fall for…

Muriel2017

photo by Chandra

Lately I’ve been reading some wonderful poetry in blogs I follow and I’m thoroughly enjoying them. Since I’ve written some myself through the years, I decided to go back and read some of my own. This one made me chuckle.

 

 

 

cute

The devils I fall for

 

If the man is a cad

He’s bound to be charming

His false words will tumble

Like music from a fresh mountain stream

Right into my thirsty heart.

 

 

brokenheart

A broken heart

If the man is a scoundrel

I’ll find him delightful

My soul, trembling with desire,

Will hunger for him all the while

He is buttering up somebody else.

 

 

 

If the man is a rascal

loves

The good men, my dear, are not half as exciting

He’ll be clever and entertaining

Because the good men, my dear,

Are not half as exciting

As the devils I fall for.

 

 

 

“Isn’t it awful that good men aren’t half as interesting as the rascals?” Joan Tess Smith

(This was the quote which inspired the above poem long ago. Today I have no idea who Joan Tess Smith was. If I did know once upon a time, I don’t remember now. Can you help? Mr. Google doesn’t seem to know her.)

Poetic Justice….

Muriel2017

Photo by Chandra

Right now, I’m rereading the late Arthur Black’s ‘Black Gold’. It’s a book of short, easy to read, mostly amusing essays. I loved Black’s CBC Radio program ‘Basic Black’ for years because of his clever, ironic humor. The book is a hoot. I often chuckle as I read.

The story I read over coffee this morning is called ‘Justice by the handful’. I’m perfectly capable of being unkind, especially when it comes to people I consider evil, so I hope the story is true! This is what Mr. Black said happened in Mississippi.

colorjeans

Would-be rapist

A would-be rapist broke into a house in Jackson and found himself in the bedroom of a 50-year-old unprotected woman. He jumped on top

scaredred

frightened unprotected woman

of her, slapped her around, cursed at her loudly, and when he thought he had her thoroughly frightened, he removed his clothing. That’s when the woman grabbed him in what you might call an intimate embrace, except it was more than just energetic.

Black went on to say it was two-handed, vice-like, and, as you can imagine, extremely painful. At this dramatic point, I must quote word-by-word to properly describe what followed.

‘Please, please,’ he whimpered, ‘you’re killing me!’

‘Die then,’ the woman said.

‘Woman, you got me suffering.’ he moaned.

Ilikealso

She must have had a good laugh.

‘Have you thought about how you were going to leave me suffering.’ she replied with a twist.

Apparently, he finally managed to disengage and got away. However, the police had no problem finding him. They merely followed the crawl marks in the dirt directly to where he lived. She must have had a good laugh when it was all over. Yeah!

Best

I loved this story about poetic justice.

I have no idea if this story is true. Don’t hold me to it. I loved the story, true or not. It is a tale about poetic justice, which is an idea I thoroughly enjoy. Besides, to put it mildly, I don’t like rapists.

 

P. S. I had the pleasure of knowing Arthur Black who was a regular reader of my blog. You can read more about him by going to a previous post as follows:

https://viewfromoverthehill.wordpress.com/2013/10/

 

Would I love winning the Lottery?

Muriel2017

photo by my Chandra

Do I want to win the Lottery? Do I want to be rich? Absolutely not! I know better. I don’t buy lottery tickets, but I thought about it today when I got a free cup of coffee at my favorite cafe. I got a real kick out of that. It was fun.

In my late 20s, I did some bookkeeping for

MONEYBAG

The days before she had money were her happiest

an extremely wealthy woman in her Beverly Hills penthouse. One Saturday she asked what my plans were for the next day. I told her we were planning a picnic at a local park with friends. (We couldn’t afford a lunch out.)

She told me how much she envied me, that the days before she had so much money were the happiest in her life. She felt she had no real friends anymore, that people invited her to events not because they liked or wanted to be with her, but because of her money. I’ve never forgotten that….

JPGettyIII

Young John Paul Getty III was kidnapped

Then, when my own children were still young, the 16-year old grandson of the J. Paul Getty family, John Paul Getty III, was kidnapped. The family, reputed to be the richest in the world at the time, was sent one of his ears, cut off by the kidnappers to prove they actually had him. I cringed at the thought and said a prayer for the teenager, but also thanked my lucky stars we weren’t rich.

Raf and sue kids 2

No one would want to kidnap my precious ones

No one would want to kidnap one of my precious ones.

John Paul Getty III did survive, but lived a tortured life until his early death at 54. His money didn’t bring him happiness or satisfaction. In reading about very wealthy children, how many do you know about who were truly happy?

DRAWING4

I guess I have no class.

As for me, I guess I have no class. I’m uncomfortable with people fawning over me. I’m not used to it and it makes me squirm. If you suggested I buy a $3,000 dress, I couldn’t. I’d think of what charities I could give some of that money to and how much it could help those who truly need.

My children have had to work for what they want. There were times I would have liked to help, but couldn’t. I know they’ve struggled sometimes, but they are probably better off for it. We can appreciate what we have more when we accomplish it ourselves. I hope they agree….

The cheap thief…

Muriel2017

photo by Chandra

My credit card number was used by someone in New York while I was at home in Vancouver. I was nowhere near New York. Upon opening my statement last night, I immediately ran to my desk and called the credit card company to report the illegal transactions.

 

I was asked all kinds of questions and asked a few of my own. thecardNo, I hadn’t lent my card out to anyone. Yes, I had it safely tucked away in my drawer — I even checked to reassure myself. I wondered how it could happen. They know more ways than you can imagine.

villian

The amount in question was all of $107.48. It may not seem like much to you, but I still feel icky and and as if I’ve been violated. I don’t like someone doing this to ME. How dare they! Now I have to wait for a new card and set it all up again which is a darn inconvenience.

 

I was told $100 was spent at a gas station and my statement clearly indicated the $7.48 was charged at a Taco Bell. Taco Bell??? Could I not get a thief with more class? A Bon Vivant? A real sophisticate? Someone like Cary Grant in ‘To Catch a Thief’?? It’s really humiliating and a real embarrassment.

 

to catch a thief

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly

SardisCould he (or she) not have chosen a better place to eat? Like maybe Sardis? My Chandra, a woman with real dignity and taste, treated me to dinner at Sardis when we were in New York together. That would have been better.

 

What a cheapskate! The nerve! The absolute nerve! Besides, how dare he eat at Taco Bell, one of my favorite Mexican fast-food joints, and not invite me to share! I’m furious.

Tacosphoto

I love Mexican food

angry

 

 

I’m really angry….grrrrrrrr!