Tag Archive | Children

Susan’s satire…

SATIRE: (noun) The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary topical or political issues.

SusanHair cut, April 2014

Daughter Susan

Daughter Susan is puzzled by the attitudes of some U.S. citizens in the midst of the horrifying number of COVID:19 cases in their country. She wrote and shared this satire with me and I’m sharing it with you.

Hi Maughm: A little satire for you, inspired by thinking about people who refuse to wear masks in public…

‘I love America and I love Freedom. I don’t believe that the government has a right to tell me what to do and what not to do. I am completely capable of making my own decisions regarding what is good for me and for those around me. If you don’t like it, well, you don’t love this country and you’re a damn Socialist so you should go live in China.

Yosemite Sam

I enjoy shooting guns in the air

Some people try to tell me not to do the things it is my god-given right to do. For example, I really enjoy shooting guns into the air. Sure, the bullets might hurt some people now and again as they come down, but they’re unlikely to die. Besides, more people die each year from the flu than from people firing bullets into the air, so why worry? If some stupid sheeple who love Big Government breathing down their necks are scared of my shooting, they can just choose to stay home.

People also often object to my choice to drink

Man drinking and driving

Seat belts — never wear one

before and while driving. That is just ridiculous! Yeah, some drunk drivers might hit and kill people, but more people die each year from the flu than from drunk drivers, so why should I be denied this enjoyable activity? And don’t get me started on seat belts — never wear one, never would, even when I’m sober.

I also don’t want my kids wearing seatbelts. I’m raising them to be strong, independent Americans, and they need to understand how valuable our freedoms are. You force someone to wear a seat belt, the next thing you know they’re calling you comrade and forcing you into a health care program that allows everyone to get treatment when they need it without losing their home from the bills. That is just un-American!

Child drivingSpeaking of my kids, I also don’t buy into that government regulation crap about kids needing to be 16 to drive. My kids might not be able to see over the steering wheel yet, but that’s no reason to deprive them of their freedoms. They’ll probably only hit the old people who can’t get out of the way fast enough, or those slowed down by pre-existing health conditions, so who cares? Besides, the idea that young children are too immature to drive responsibly is a hoax the Democrats thought up to hurt our beloved president. All those statistics and articles in the media about young drivers killing people are FAKE NEWS!’

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???

I want a rat tail like Remy’s…

Remy's rat tail2020

Remy’s tail

The last time my San Francisco crew visited, I teased Remy about his long braid. After admiring it, I suggested he not dare fall asleep at night because I would cut it off and glue it on for myself. He laughed. He wasn’t terrified. (I’m using his photo here with his permission.)

I had no idea it was called a ‘rat’s tail’. Why would I? It was my patient friend Celine, who made my first real braid and commented that’s what it looked like. I thought it was because my hair is grey and Remy’s is black, (like mine used to be).

Then, son Rafi told me it WAS called a ‘rat’s tail’. Imagine! I keep learning folks. Don’t we all NEED to know these things? Aren’t you glad I’m telling you?

I’m a determined sort. Ask my kids. It drives them nuts.

Photo on 2020-04-22 at 10.18

All I could do was make a small ponytail

So, I continued to let my own rat’s tail grow, but now I’m isolating because of COVID:19 and giving friends and others I love a break by not seeing anyone. I’m definitely not talented enough to make a braid for myself in the back of my head. Forget it. All I could do was make a small ponytail and hope for the best.

Photo on 2020-04-25 at 09.12 2

The lovely braid Samantha made

Then, finally Samantha visited wearing a mask, washed her hands 100 times, etc., etc., etc. but still beautiful. What a treat. She made a lovely braid for me. I loved it. The next morning, it was stubbornly curled up to the left and no way was it willing to straighten out.

Photo on 2020-04-26 at 10.49

Note the stubborn curl toward the left of photo

Want some good advice? Watch out what you wish for. You may get it AND regret it. I had straight jet-black hair and would have sold my young soul to the devil to have it curl. Well, now I’ve got what I then wanted so badly. My grey hair IS wavy. I hate it! It drives me crazy. It won’t wave the way I’d want it to. It is totally uncontrollable. Sometimes it looks like the 1920s. Oh, woe is me… I’m back to nothing but a silly little ponytail.

You mean I didn’t make you cry with this very sad tale about my tail??

My Susan…

susan:Carrie in tree

Susan, left, with sister Carrie

 

In the morning

Greenbug

We never found it.

We crawled on the floor
Seeking
The little green bug
Tucked into a drawer
For safekeeping
The night before.

 

Tear stains
On that little face
So sad, so white
Framed in
Silky, smooth hair
So black.

 

angry

Susan was angry, indignant…

“He stomped on my babies.”

cockroaches

I hope he brought them to HIS mother.

She was angry, indignant..
A pocketful of roaches
Shown off to
A bigger boy
And lost
To innocence.

 

 

 

SM Rogie naps on Susan's lap 1

Susan and her donkey Rogie. (As an adult, Susan enjoys larger creatures.)

 

A collection of bugs
Carefully pinned
To the inside cover
Of a shoe box
Desperate buzzing of treasures
Held captive who gnaw through
My very best scarf.

(Goodbye nice scarf…)

 

 

Sue on Hummer2017First Trail Ride, 4th Ride 019

Susan on Hummer — and even larger.

Remy wins ten bucks….

Muriel2017

photo by Chandra

Don’t feel neglected. I was just away having a grand time and wasn’t here to write a post. Visited daughter Susan and her Michael at their lovely home up in the mountains of Nevada. They spoiled me rotten. Susan is very funny and I laughed a lot. I also managed to have a good rest.

There’s much more for me to tell you about my visit with the kids, but I don’t have time right now. Rafi and Remy arrive here tomorrow, and my Chandra gets here Thursday. Yeah! I love them. I’m delighted. I’m busy. Shall tell you more when I get a chance…..

Remy chopping wood 1, Alt, SM

Michael keeps a careful watch while Remy DOES chop wood.

Michael, an extremely capable guy, not only made great coffee for me each morning, but can put his hand to just about anything and do it well. He showed my 11-year-old grandson, Remy, how to properly handle an axe when chopping wood and NOT hurt yourself. Remy, no slouch either, got it.

Son Rafi, Remy’s dad, didn’t think Remy would succeed at chopping wood. Ha, ha! He of little faith offered the boy $10 if he managed it. Remy did! Pay up Rafi!

photo from newspaperRafi

Pay up Rafi!

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?

Grandkids?

I never nagged my children to have children. I told friends it didn’t matter, that there was no need for my genes to be passed on — in the grand scheme of things, I felt it didn’t matter and I meant it. Not for the first time — I was mistaken.

mom-and-remy-sm

I was smitten

There is something about being a grandparent. How can I explain it? It’s like a magical chain that pulls you to a brand new baby born to your very own children. I looked at that little bundle and was smitten. That’s all it took. Who would’ve thunk it?

My lucky grandson is well-loved. He is also being raised well by his parents, who are doing a far better job than I ever did — which is an additional plus.

However, one of the unexpected pleasures I’ve derived is

scan

Rafi could sure hit that baseball

revisiting the memories of raising his dad, who was a smiling little one who rapidly grew into the kid who could hit that baseball all the way to Century City. (According to his coach.) Looking back at Rafi as a toddler and little boy made me love his son, Remy, even more.

How intriguing it is to have a grandchild. Genetics which skipped a generation showed up. My grandson inherited my teeth! His dentist calls them “sharks’ teeth”. My own adult teeth grew in behind, beside and in front of my baby teeth, which never fell out on their own, requiring braces to straighten out the mess that ensued.

sharks-teeth

Sharks’ teeth

I apologized to Remy for this. Wearing braces is no fun, and since his parents take good care of him, he’s had each baby tooth extracted when another threatens to come through, which I’m sure is no pleasure either. I’m truly sorry he experiences discomfort because of me — but he does so bravely and without complaint.

Still, I like to imagine that one day, long after I’m gone, Remy will perhaps be telling a grandchild of his own that he inherited my teeth, and his grandchild inherited them from him. Who knows, these shark teeth may continue for generations to come. (The good thing about mine is the roots are so deep I’ve been told they’ll never fall out —  so far, they haven’t.)

Don Quixote book, (no authentic image exists of Cervantes

I hope Remy reads “Don Quixote”. I loved it.

Besides my bothersome teeth, Remy seems to have inherited my love of reading. Hurrah! I hope he derives as much pleasure from this pastime as I have throughout my life.

Here’s to you Remy!

How to open a jar…..

Mom, look I'm telling you 2

photo by Susan Kauffmann

After our Arthritis exercise class the other day, friends gathered to chat over coffee. Isabel had given me a gift of a battery-operated jar opener. Goodness knows, I’d done battle with some stubborn tops lately and probably told her so. I said I couldn’t wait to get home to play with my new ‘toy’. This led to a discussion of our children and their toys.

My son, Rafi, was a ‘lets-see-whats-inside’ kid. When he was five, I thought he’d enjoy a walkie-talkie — okay, I would anyway. (This was before computers.) We both loved it and communicated with each other from room to room. The next day, after work, I returned home and found Rafi had taken it all apart. He thought he could put it back together. No more walkie-talkie. He was so sincere, you couldn’t get upset with him.

raf kid dancing

Rafi was a funny wonderful kid

 

70s toy Simon

70s toy Simon

The next thing Rafi took apart was the then-brand-new and very popular Simon game. I got the biggest kick out of it. It lit up! We loved it. If memory serves, it cost over $60, a hefty sum at the time — but well worth it. What happened?? The next evening I learned Rafi couldn’t resist taking Simon apart. He wanted to see how it worked. No more Simon.

I’m a slow learner and since I never grew up, I was soon entranced by a real working watch for children. An educational toy… The inner workings were clearly visible and coloured in bright red, green and yellow. It, too, didn’t last more than a day. Mr. ‘Take it Apart’ was at it again, and the loving woman who cared for him found it impossible to say no to him. That was the last toy I bought for Rafi  which could be taken apart.

I had several employers through Rafi’s growing up years. I asked if I might have any ready-to-be-discarded, no longer functional adding machines, telephones or radios. I’d tell little Rafi my boss wanted him to try to fix them. He happily took them apart with screwdrivers and spent hours working on them. He was perfectly happy — and so was I.

Balsa Wood Model Airplane

Balsa Wood Model Airplane

Rafi then became interested in building planes out of those kits kids used to play with. He put them together while I was at work. He never bothered reading the directions and there were always a piece or two left over. Yet, they seemed perfectly okay.

When we bought our first computer, my CPA husband and I thought we’d use it for accounting. It was a classic double disk drive — Microsoft?? Rafi had attended a summer computer class and he and his friends were playing/trading Apple computer games. These didn’t work on our computer, so we bought something perhaps called a ‘card’ (program?) to install. I planned to hire someone to do it since we wanted Rafi to be able to use it.

disk for our first computer

Remember these disks?

I’m still intimidated by computers, so imagine my concern when I got home from work to find the computer taken apart, and Rafi, about eight at the time, sitting there, cool as a cucumber, screwdriver in hand, putting the card in. I gulped. He did it. And, it worked. Not surprisingly, Rafi’s grown up to be a handy kind of guy.

One_Touch_Jar_Opener__61279.1431664533.380.380

automatic jar opener

So, what about my new automatic-battery-operated jar opener? Amy came over and the two of us experimented with my brand new toy. Press the button and it makes this fabulous noise, parts move, it does a little dance and removes the top —  just like that! It was so much fun, we opened every new jar I could find in my kitchen cabinets.

I’d love to do more. Have a few I can open? Just bring them over…..

A morning’s chat at the cafe

Muriel-8

photo by Susan Kauffmann

During the years I’ve breakfasted out, I’ve met a few characters. I find it interesting to hear what they have to say. Murray is one of these. He’d been to see his kids, yet seemed in a somber mood, so I asked if something was wrong.

‘I’ve been reading about elder abuse,’ he told me. ‘And I realize I’m being assaulted by my children. It’s devastating.’

‘What are you talking about?’ Your kids are lovely and wouldn’t assault anyone.’

‘Well, ‘assault’ may be the wrong word, but I almost fell over the

Toys on floor with little girl

I could have broken every bone in my body

baby’s stuffed dog lying right in the middle of the floor. Are you telling me it wasn’t on purpose? I could have broken every bone in my body.’

‘Murray, you don’t look where you’re going. That’s not Dorothy’s fault. YOU need to be more careful.’

‘She knows perfectly well I don’t look where I’m going. She should have moved it. Why didn’t she, Huh? I’ll tell you why….’

‘Come on Murray,’ I interrupted, ‘that’s ridiculous. You’re not a baby and Dorothy has a little one of her own to take care of. She shouldn’t have to worry about you too.’

‘Go ahead,’ he was petulant, ‘take her part. Who’s friend are you anyway?’

‘I’m your friend,’ I tried to calm him, ‘and I don’t want you running around with crazy notions about your children trying to hurt you.’

‘Oh, yeah! Trying to?’ his voice raised an octave, ‘What about that stupid electronic stuff they bought me for Christmas? I nearly poked my eyes out when I leaned over to read those buttons, and when I pushed the wrong one, the darn thing hit me right in the face. They know I don’t see well and don’t know how to use those contraptions. They did it on purpose I tell you!’

guy on phone

They know I don’t know how to use those contraptions

‘Oh Murray. It’s always a challenge to adjust to new technology and it’s good for us. You’ll enjoy it when you get used to it and you love music…..’

‘Sure, sure,’ he hadn’t heard me at all, ‘I tell you. Alex and Dorothy together…’

I couldn’t listen to this any longer and interrupted again.
‘Alex and Dorothy??? I think you’re really losing it. They wouldn’t hurt a fly!’

‘Maybe not a fly,’ Murray continued, ‘why should they hurt a fly? Their sick old father is another matter.’

‘What do mean ‘sick’? Are you sick? I always thought you were as healthy as a horse.’

Murray was on a roll. He wasn’t hearing me. He gets like that sometimes.

16388963-angry-mafia suitcase money

They want my money a few years earlier

‘They’re out to get me,’ he wailed, ‘they want my money a few years earlier. How long do I have anyway?’

‘C’mon, Murray,’ I sighed, ‘what did they really ever do to hurt you?’ He thought for a moment.

‘Aha! Alex bought me that Exercycle, that’s what.’

‘Exercise is good for you,’ I was at my wits end, ‘he got you the best bike money could buy. How can you possibly find fault with that?’

619-racing hosp hallway

I may need a heart transplant

‘I get a cramp in my left leg every time I use the stupid thing. Note, my LEFT leg, I want you to know that’s the one closest to the heart. It’s working its way up to my chest a little each time I use it. Soon I’ll need a pacemaker, then a bypass, maybe even a heart transplant, who knows? I won’t survive that Exercycle and Alex knows it — he figured it all out in that little brain of his. What have I done to deserve this in my old age? I’ll sue them.’

‘Sue? Are you nuts? Where do you think you’ll find a lawyer who’ll take on such a crazy case?’

‘Oh, yeah,’ he responded, ‘I hear Joe is going to sue his grandson for aggravated assault.’

‘What? How old is the kid?’

‘Eighteen months,’ Murray said, ‘ he gave Joe a Charley horse bouncing on his knees.’

It was time for me to go home.

**Note: I recognize elder abuse is a serious problem, but Murray obviously had it wrong.

Am I grateful? You bet I am!

photo by Susan Kauffmann

photo by Susan Kauffmann

It’s Thanksgiving time in Canada, and it comes soon in the States. This has always been a favorite time of year for me and it has nothing to do with turkey. I have so much to be grateful for — beloved family and friends, the adventure of life and the privilege of living long enough to appreciate it.

When my children were young I liked giving them paper and pencil at our Thanksgiving dinners so they could write down and share what they were grateful for. Amongst my treasured papers, I still have some of those lists, one which son Rafi wrote when he was about seven.

Son Rafi, his beautiful Chandra and me. They keep teaching me....

Son Rafi and his beautiful Chandra. They keep teaching me….

As for children? Where to begin? I’ve learned more from my children than they could ever learn from me — and they continue to teach me. I appreciate their intelligence and insight and at times, their honesty. I’m grateful for their continued love and forgiveness for the times I goof, and goodness knows I do. Parenting is no easy task. I believe we all fail in one way or another during the process.

I am grateful for this blog and to daughter Susan, who realized before I did how much I’d enjoy it. I’d never have been able to get it going without her, and she continues as unpaid trouble shooter. I am also grateful to each of you who take the time to read it, and delight in the fact you live in 73 countries, many of which I’ve never visited. Kudos too to son Rafi, who takes time out of his own busy life to help mom when she creates difficulties in her tenuous relationship with this computer, which I’m convinced doesn’t like me. Then there are the lovely

Grandson Remy, who makes being a grandma a real pleasure

Grandson Remy, a real pleasure

people these two have married, and my dear grandson Remy, all of whom accept and love me no matter what. I love them all back.

Now the real miracle — those who just ‘choose’ to love me, and

Robert and Jenna's twins, Eliana and Noah, extra treats in my life

Robert and Jenna’s Eliana and Noah

whom I love as if they were my very own — Amy, Rebecca and Brian, plus Robert and Jenna. How to explain these things? How lucky can you be? It’s gratifying to be loved by your own children, but to be given so much warmth, love and caring from others is a blessing beyond understanding.

My daughter Susan, me and my special additiional 'daughter' Amy

Daughter Susan, me, and my other special ‘daughter’ Amy

I would surely have been killed under Nazi rule

I would surely have been killed under Nazi rule

I am grateful to have spent my life in countries in which I have never had to live with war first hand. That’s a real biggie. I was a little girl during WWII and had I lived in Europe, probably would never have survived under Nazism. Not many humans have been so fortunate.

As a woman, I feel lucky NOT to have been born in a country where women have no freedom. Things may not have been fair for females during my working days, nor are they yet, still I know things could be much worse.

Women in Saudi Arabia, they are not even allowed to drive

Women in Saudi Arabia, they are not even allowed to drive

Susan's gift that keeps ongiving, my own little lilac tree

Susan’s gift that keeps on giving, my own little lilac tree

No one could have derived more pleasure from home ownership than I did. I would do a little walkabout in our garden each morning before leaving for work, marveling at each new leaf or promise of another blossom. Today, I live in an apartment I like, in a neighborhood and city I love. And on my balcony, I have a little lilac tree of my own which daughter Susan gave me years ago. It keeps blooming each year.

I am grateful for those in my book club and especially books, and still being able to read them. (Thank you Brian!) I am grateful for friendships and interesting conversations over coffee. I am grateful for those doctors who truly seem to care about me, and for kind strangers. I am grateful I can still take baths, which I love. I keep thinking of other things to list here, but I’d better stop. I can go on forever. Better just to say I am indeed grateful.