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Grab today…

NO POINT DWELLING ON THE PAST

Occasionally I found myself thinking about the many mistakes I made throughout my long life. I know I did the best I could under the circumstances and with what I knew then, but I certainly goofed. Finally, I realized there’s no way to change the past, so it’s a waste of time to dwell on it.

Tomorrow I may not even wake up. I’m in what the famous scientist David Suzuki calls the ‘death zone’. No point worrying about what may come then.

All we have for sure is right now so we might as well grab it and enjoy every moment possible. I’m determined to live within this plan, so I wrote a little poem for myself about it.

YESTERDAY, TOMORROW AND TODAY

Yesterday is forever gone
Nothing can change that.

TOMORROW MAY NEVER COME, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT
TODAY IS OURS TO HAVE, GRAB IT AND ENJOY

Tomorrow may never come
There’s no guarantee of that.

But today is ours to have
So reach out and grab it.

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.

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…

When my baby was hospitalized…

Going through old correspondence, I found a letter I wrote to UCLA Hospital (L.A.) in 1973. My son was 18 months old and had been very ill and a patient there. I was distressed at what I saw and experienced in the children’s ward. Parents were only allowed to be there during ‘visiting hours’. (Many of us disregarded this unless told to leave.)


When I was there, I changed my child’s diapers and soiled sheets, fed him when possible and if he awoke crying, hearing my voice, he’d wrap his little fingers around mine and fall asleep again. I recall laying on the floor for one or two nights to be there for him. (One night I counted eleven parents sleeping on the chairs in the waiting room — there were no sofas.)

I walked to the nurses station
He had to go to the bathroom


The boy next door was about six and attached to an IV. He called again and again for a nurse until I went over to ask what he needed. He had to go to the bathroom. I walked to the nurses station and forwarded his request, then got busy again with my own child.

When I heard anguished crying, I went to ask what happened. He had been unable to hold it any longer and had soiled himself in bed. He was embarrassed and traumatized. At his age I can only imagine how he felt.


With parents purposely kept away, other children were neglected. One little girl across the way cried from morning til night each day. No one attempted to comfort her. She spoke only Spanish. My letter, therefore, mainly requested they rescind their policy of not allowing parents to remain with their sick children.


I made copies of the letter and mailed it to six people in charge. I never had a reply. The letter, however, did create a reaction. My pediatrician was told that my child and I were BANNED from UCLA, which was very close to our home. After that I was required to drive across town each time my little boy was seriously ill — and he was.

My pediatrician was told I was BANNED


I am pleased that since then things have changed and now parents CAN be with their hospitalized children. Did I play a role in this change? I’d like to think so, but probably not.


What’s been your experience with your own children’s hospitalizations?

My poor confused little lilac tree…

In the middle of this pandemic, our Strata decided to give our old building a face-lift. Our windows, glass doors, and balconies are included in the process. My cherished miniature lilac tree lives on the balcony. So do various other plants. They all had to be removed.


Some owners got their stuff down to the yard below, but I can’t do that on my own and how much can you ask others to do? (I’m on the 3rd floor.) I decided to ask dear Andrew to bring them all into my dining area instead. Maybe it was a mistake. This isn’t the first mistake I’ve made in my life.


My plants have mostly died. That’s okay. I can start over, except for my beloved lilac tree. I love lilacs. And Susan bought it for me just because I love them. Since it IS small, I can easily bury my face into the lovely blossoms. Inside, the tree began to look dead. Susan and I both began mourning. Still, I kept watering the poor thing — just in case.

My lovely miniature lilac tree, a gift from daughter Susan


This week, whaddaya know! It started sprouting leaves. Leaves? Now? It’s December. The beginning of winter. My little lilac tree is obviously confused. Living in my warm apartment, it thinks it’s spring!! Let’s face it, this is no time for a self-respecting lilac tree to start sprouting greenery. What to do??

Lilac tree and Jerry, the Inukshuk Susan made for me

I’ve started talking to the lilac tree as you would to a wayward child. ‘You can’t be doing that now, you silly thing. What will the neighbours say? They’ll accuse me of being a bad mother.’


Gosh, let’s face it, they’ll KNOW how crazy I am when they hear me talking to my confused miniature tree. Okay, okay. I know that you, dear reader, already know how nutty I am. No need to rub it in…

Me in prison? Really?

on one of my daily walks.


On one of my daily walking/shopping excursions, I stopped to buy some lip balm. I put my mask on, entered the drugstore and saw a selection on a rack at the corner of an aisle. An employee was stacking shelves nearby.

Turning the corner, my walker hit the display and I heard a tube fall. I looked on the floor in front, behind, around me, and twirled again and saw — nothing. Then, behind all of the tubes, there it was. Well I thought so.

I had walked out with that darn thing

The employee saw it and said not to worry — she’d pick it up later. I thanked her, selected one to buy, picked up some vitamin B12 tablets, paid for them both and left the store.

It wasn’t until I got all the way home that I discovered the troublesome tube. There it was in full view in my walker’s basket. Is that where it went? I had walked out with that darn thing where anyone could see it, except me.

I was as innocent as a newborn babe

The rack wasn’t very sturdy and I guess the tube we saw on the floor was not the same one. Oh, dear. I was as innocent as a newborn babe. I had no intention of stealing anything. If I was going to do so, I’d certainly pick something of more value. What would they do to me?


Do I need a lawyer?

Every time someone rings my bell I wonder if it’s the police? Do they now have a file on me? Do I need a lawyer? Will they put me in shackles and drag me to court? In front of all my neighbours, who will be saying: ‘I knew there was something I didn’t trust about her when she first moved in 30 years ago.’


Will they put me in jail?

Will they then put me in jail? How long will I have to serve for a tube of lip balm? Will I get some awful prison guard who hates me on sight who will abuse me until my sentence ends?

Will you send me cigarettes? No, I don’t smoke but don’t they send cigarettes to everyone in jail?

Yup, he hates me!

Did I really need this???

I was content with my old computer. When the machine was about 11 years old, the Muriel2017Apple store which sold it to me refused to service it because, they said, it was too old. Ha. I just had it repaired elsewhere and managed my email, wrote my blog, and daughter Susan had just shown me how to take a photo with it although I’d already had it for about 14 years. Start over? What? Are you nuts?

This year I was told I could no longer do my tax return on it; and Rafi could no longer save my butt using TeamViewer, which

Photo on 2020-05-21 at 5.00 PM

I DO get desperate

had been useful when I was desperate. Where computers are concerned, I DO get desperate — often. WWWEEELLLLLL, I had to rethink what I thunk. (I also admit I was terrified at having to learn how to use a new electronic device.)

 

computerguy

Probably how poor Rafi felt

COVID:19 came along and thus Rafi is spending more time at home. He suggested this was a good time for me to take the big step. He chose a computer to suit my needs and promised to be helpful AND patient. He’s managed that — almost always. (Don’t be judgmental, I’m not YOUR mother. Lucky you!)

Because of everything else happening, our tax people gave us extra time to file, so the first thing I attempted on this brand-new machine, which can do 98% more than I’ll ever need, was to do my tax return. Well folks, I’m not totally useless  — I’m just technologically challenged. I made it! I did my return and e-filed it! Congrats to me. Yeah!

Andrew, my priceless local ‘grandson’ ordered the computer online for me and set it up when it arrived. He spent oodles and oodles of time transferring information from my old computer. I never could have managed without him.

Hummingbird_Hero_Roger_Levien

Wouldn’t you like to open your computer and see this?

Then, just to make me happy, he managed to find a beautifully-coloured hummingbird for my desktop. I love it! Wouldn’t you like to open your computer and see this? (I love Andrew and he is gorgeous, but I didn’t know how to take photos yet the other day when he was here.) I am, indeed, a lucky gal.

Photo on 2020-05-21 at 2.51 PM

Vinson, keeping me sane

Today, Vinson, my other handsome and also priceless local ‘grandson’ came by and transferred the rest of what was left over. He’s keeping me sane. I am now exploring the possibilities of managing to function. However, the question is, will I be able to get this post out to you???

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.

What really matters — a rant.

poormom

Watching the news these days is painful. For a while, we in Canada could feel a little smug, what with the political goings-on in the U.S., but we’re in the midst of a federal election right now and I’m in despair.

justin_trudeau Liberal

                       Justin Trudeau, present Prime Minister, Liberal Party

Andrew Scheer Conservative

Andrew Scheer, Conservative Party

 

The ‘debates’ (a term used loosely) held on TV with the leaders of the various parties vying for power were so discouraging, I turned my TV off with frustration as I cried: ‘A pox on all your houses!’

 

I hope no one living anywhere else bothered to watch. It was too embarrassing and nothing like what I was taught when I participated on debating teams at school.

Jagmeet SinghNDP

Jagmeet Singh, New Democratic Party

 

It wasn’t only my poor hearing that made it impossible to understand what they were saying, they talked over each other, interrupting and arguing and wasted time referring to errors made years ago instead of discussing the very important issues now facing our country and the world and their plans to improve things.

Elizabeth May Green

Elizabeth May, Green Party

What kind of example did they set for our younger citizens? Is such rudeness acceptable???

 

Where were their heads anyway? I don’t care about what someone thought years ago. We all make mistakes and learn from them and hopefully grow. I’ve certainly changed my own ideas and if I hadn’t, I’d be stuck in the thinking of the 1950s. I imagine and hope they have grown too.

Yvbes-Francois BlanchetBlocQuebecois

Yves-Francois Blanchet, Bloc Quebecois

 

C’mon. Let’s stick to the issues. I wanna know what you’re planning to change. I worry about the future: the climate and environment; much needed childcare; making education more accessible for the young; the homeless in our streets; the orcas in our waters, etc., etc. etc.

Let’s concentrate on what really matters.

Maxime-Bernier-People's Party

Maxime Bernier, People’s Party

I am grateful to be living in Canada — it IS a wonderful democracy.  I want it to stay this way long after I am gone.

P.S. To be fair, I’ve tried to make all these photos the same size. I’m not too good at it….

Yes Virginia: There was life before plastic…

Muriel2017

by Chandra

If you listen, you’ll hear people say we won’t know how to manage without plastic bags and containers. Not to worry. There WAS life before plastic and I remember it very well. It was fine….

During Montreal’s cold winters, when I became old enough to travel streetcars on my own, mom would send me to bring hot food to my dad, who ran an unheated poultry shop. The pot I carried had a handle, but the old top didn’t fit well. Occasionally, when the streetcar rattled, the contents overflowed onto my coat. I didn’t enjoy that — but survived. It might have been a better idea to put the hot food in glass jars, wrapped them in towels, in one of those cloth shopping bags mom had. However I wasn’t bright enough to think of it.

mydad'sstore

This is what dad’s shop looked like

By the way, that unheated poultry market had live chickens delivered straight from the farm displayed in metal coops, and when a customer selected the one she wanted, the bird was quickly butchered, cleaned and packed in butcher paper, then in used newspaper, secured with a string and taken home or delivered — no styrofoam trays or plastic wrap required. (Dad would bring very fresh eggs home for us.)

1940s store

Note customer carrying groceries in paper bag

What were our grocery stores like? I remember fruits and veggies being displayed in wood boxes they originally came in, or round wood bushels. There were packages in cardboard boxes plus items in glass jars. If you purchased slices of cheese or deli meats, it was weighed and placed in butcher or waxed paper. It all got home okay.

When I ran my own household, our trash was placed in doubled paper bags in the kitchen container before being transferred, when full, to the large one outdoors. We never considered it a problem.

seaturtlehatching

Baby turtles already have many obstacles without us making life more difficult.

True, we didn’t recycle food yet. I admit I thought the sink garbage disposal was the cleverest invention ever created. (I still have one because it was already installed, but have NEVER used it since learning it pollutes our waters.)

they're worth saving

Magnificent orca, worth saving

Today I prepare food waste for recycling without plastic. My indoor container is lined with layers of newspaper and when full, tossed, paper and all, into our building’s large food waste bin. My container gets a good washing, and when dry, is ready to use again.

 

deadlyplastic

Sea creatures get stuck in this plastic and die

With so much plastic doing damage to our waterways and creatures who must live in them, we must change our ways. We’re doing too much damage and I fear for the future if we don’t stop. I know we can do it. It’s easy enough. It’s all good. Don’t worry. Just go for it.

deadanimal

Let’s end this forever