Tuesday, August 20, 2019

ROBBLOG #795- OK. See You.

Shit! I've gone and done it again.

I had two phrases I thought of the other night before shutting off the light. I was going to use them to start this blog. I knew I should have written them down.
I didn't.
Now, I can't remember what they were but they were to be the start of this blog.
Now that I've lost the concept I have to start all over.


Hennaway, let me go in another direction. There are a coupe of people I follow on Twitter.
You know what Twitter is- don't you?
Now these people are a part of an organization, meaning they are not really speaking for themselves when they tweet but although known independently, they're tweeting for- let's call it a "non profit". If they make a comment it reflects mostly on this non profit- right?

Hennaway again, I've had two such "accounts" that I stopped following this week because the Twitterer had Tweeted something political. I've followed these accounts for quite a while but now what the accounts have to say has fallen silent- my choice.

I think these people tweeting under the face and name of something else need to be non-political and shut up. In the case of what I tweet on @SwissshRadio and what I write here on this blog it's a personal comment. Swisssh Radio is mine and obviously my ROBBLOG is mine since my smiling face overlooks these words from above. I don't believe it's any secret that I am not a fan of the Conservative Right. I believe in live and let live. I believe in rights for all folk. So, perhaps my comments and life are more centre-right.

When I make a comment on Twitter, I usually try to make it in the third person concocting a funny scenario by posting a photo- usually of a interesting-looking older lady. I engage this lady in a short conversation to perhaps another person in the photo or my favourite choice- to someone on the otehr end of a telephone line. That way I get my point across with comedy and without flat out saying it's me speaking the truth. I think it works quite well but I am sure occasionally I fail.

Agnes: "For Cupcake Sakes Blanche, Do you know what
 the spit he's talking about here on this blog?
Blanche: No Dear, I certainly do not. Is he talking about that Con guy Albert Scheer?"
Agnes: "Not Albert Scheer Blanche, Andrew Scheer that fellah that's always fiddling with his right side and who might need glasses I hear tell if'n he keeps that filthy habit "up". No Blanche, I'm rapping about this here Blog Fellah..."
For the most part I try to be entertaining but there are times when someone like Andrew Scheer pisses me off so much I have to unload.

You know, I really don't get the right wing Conservatives.
I don't know how anyone does.
They seem to be against everything that is good about our country. I can smile and allow the Greens and the NDP's their odious opinions. Usually, I can understand their point of view but while on the topic, I must say that Jagmeet  Singh is definitely not a "Jack Layton" or the guy that followed him- old "what's-his-name" who now is a political analyst for CTV News or something.
Go figure...
Can't get enough votes to be PM but he's good enough and apparently smart enough to be a political commentator.

Anyhoo, these political tweets forced me to "unfollow" the offenders.
It wasn't an easy decision.
I hummed and hawed for a few days like the time a month ago I stopped following Cher because of all her anti-trump tweets. I mean, I don't like Trump either but I'm a Canadian and I follow Cher for "Cher" not anti-Trump rhetoric.

Same thing happened with Bette Midler.
Now that was hard but her Trump-Tweets got in the way and again as a Canadian I didn't want to read them anymore. In fact I looked at many of the people I follow and if they "Trump-Tweeted" too much I got rid of them. Take Jean Soon who play's Mrs. Kim on TV's "Kim's Convenience.
She talked Canadian Politics but a little too often she let go on some stupid American, anti-Trump piece of dithering and I had to click that "Unfollow" button.
Sorry Jean.
You'll be happy to know that I still follow Appa- "Mr. Kim", Actor Paul Sunh-Hyung Lee.

Anyhoo, not that any of these Twitter folks I follow give a pony's patoot if I follow them or not but at least I have now publicly stated why I clicked the unkindly "Unfollow Button".

Okay. See you.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

ROBBLOG #794- An Anniversary

Two years ago today.

Just two years ago today, Tom and I slipped away in Priscilla leaving Orillia, Ontario behind forever. We had ourselves, a bunch of boxes, a selection of clothes, food and of course our canine and feline family Missy, Koko, Dickens and Doyle.

Things change.
Priscilla was sold last year to a new family in Port Alberni- in the centre of Vancouver Island.
Our family has changed.
We lost Doyle on August 17th at the KOA in Winnipeg. He ran from Priscilla about 1030 at night.
We never saw him again.
The last view I had of him was his puddy tail up in the air and his orange arse disappearing into the Manitoba night.
Doyle never got to see his new home here in the Cowichan.
I know I should stop but every day I check the Winnipeg Lost Cats Facebook Page looking for a glimmer of hope. Maybe some kindly Granny has taken him in and one of these days when he is taken to a vet, they'll check his chip and he'll come home to us...

Another special family member- Our Missy, made it to the Island but passed in September of last year.
That was devastating
She so wanted to stay a while longer with her Dads but that was not to be. A little BC cedar box sits on a fireplace mantle in our Master Bedroom holding her ashes. Her little knitted sweater with the red maple leaf is draped over the headboard- above my head, of our bed.

Gosh that morning leaving Pine Tree House.
I sullenly walked through every room in the house saying goodbye.
She looked so lonely and empty.
I just wanted to hug her.
How do you say goodbye to 25 happy years of your life?
The Parties, Mrs. P's visits, the Christmases, Birthdays, Thanksgivings- a Marriage.
The spot on the floor in front of the Keeping Room fireplace where Dr. Stephen sent our wonderful Kiki- our yellow lab of 17 years, over the Rainbow Bridge. ~double sigh~

Our Pine Tree House in Orillia, Ontario
It's all there still in memories and pictures.
You know, I never thought we'd ever leave that cozy, little Victoria Home but leave we did- three time zones and a few thousand miles away!
Good Gawd it took guts.
I don't know how we did it.
I do mourn and miss that house (Pine Tree House c.1882) and the familiarity that a quarter of a century of familiar places and friends brought.
I know this will sound stupid but I still wonder if given the same chance today would we have moved.
Silly, I know but this move is and was probably the biggest life-changing experience that The Mister and I have made together. I don't know how Military families do it. Moving all over the globe and rarely having a place to really call home but here we are two years later settled in this Mediterranean climate of the Cowichan Valley, in Duncan BC, in North Cowichan.
This is our home now.

Palm Villa in the Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island BC
Tom reminded me this morning that this was the anniversary of our leaving Ontario. I knew it was around this date but I hadn't taken to looking back at Blogs I wrote at the time. Now I am up to my neck in memories.

A friend from Orillia said in a text a week ago- "I hope you are not too lonely."
I hadn't thought I had given an impression of loneliness. Orillia and Ontario will always be in my heart but then again the years I lived in Mississauga were special too. What I miss most about moving here to Vancouver Island is the distance from Toronto and maybe Ontario.
I always loved Toronto.
I lived in a couple of areas of the city but my favourite was on Clark Street just off Queen Street east past the Don Valley Parkway. That was the small house I lived in when I first met Tom. An area of artsy folks, streetcars, the Beaches and a cross section of people from all over the world. It was a time when I didn't even have a car. I used transit to go everywhere.

So, yes, I miss Toronto and the shows and shopping and the Canadian National Exhibition. The EX was the best and I have so many memories of going every year. We tried the PNE here in Vancouver last year. It was a reasonable facsimile but not the Ex.
I still miss our perfect, little Pine Tree House too- and I always will.

So folks, a toast to two years ago and the day we loaded up our Prairie Schooner- better known as Priscilla, to head west to a new life.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

ROBBLOG #793- I Gotta Beef!

This pisses me off...just a bit.

As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I am trying my damndest to ween myself from pork and beef products. It's been months since I have eaten any pork product and just a few weeks for beef.

Attempting to make such a move is a little more difficult when going out to eat at a restaurant these days but if I can't find something on the menu, I ask to see if I can have this or that instead. I am still eating Turkey and Chicken- bless the short lives of these birds who give their life so I can eat a turkey sandwich or a chicken burger. When eating out I can order fettuccine with chicken- or not, or a salad with chicken or a even toasted turkey sandwich.

Shopping is an entirely different process.
I am buying veggie this and that.
Buying meatless "ground beef".
Purchasing veggie bologna- yum by the way. With all the crap in bologna- all beef or not, this veggie bologna tastes just as good with pickles and mayonnaise and lettuce. I even discovered a "fake" sliced turkey- equally as good.

Anyhoo, I have been actively searching for Beyond Meat Burgers in local stores. Sold out in one and probably placed next to the cheap dog food in another- I couldn't find it! A staff member I asked waved her hand and said- "It's back there somewhere because I've seen it come through..."
"Come through" means at the checkout.
Did she call someone to ask for me?
You see this Beyond Meat stuff is beyond their comprehension. Oh, they sorta get vegetarian but "meatless"?
Not really.

Today I picked up another brand of meatless burger just to try it. As I am going through the checkout, the lady busily scanning item after item with beep after beep stops dead when she sees the "LightLife" plant-based burger among my items.
She picks it up. Turns the package over with little sausage-like fingers and using a long, painted, french-tipped nail she points out to me the large number of items in this plant based burger.
She looks up after circling her nail around the ingredients and says to me-
"You know, in beef, there's only beef- that's all!"

I say- "Yes but I am not eating beef because of ingredients I am stopping the beef parade because of some of the slaughtering practices at abattoirs and the indecent conditions pigs and cattle are kept in during their relatively short lives both at farms and during their transport to slaughterhouses. Many of these animals are not seeing the light of day or green grass beneath their hooves in their lifetimes.
"Bleeding heart Liberal"- you say.
That's what her face said!

Not "bleeding heart" in this case...okay maybe just a bit.
It just that I find it hard to look a cow or pig in the eye. Don't even get me started on the thousands
of horses shipped to China and Korea for consumption.
I have read about the deplorable conditions these animals experience during their sea voyage.
Compare photos of horses crammed on ships to bucolic scenes of  horses standing under shade trees in green pastures and you'll see what I mean.

Back to beef, not far from where we live I always see dairy cows confined to small, fenced-in areas outside their open-air barns- roof only. The "girls" are laying about in the muck of mud and the muck of urine and shit.
At least that black stuff they stand and recline in looks like shit to me.

Google "cow and pig slaughter" or search for Esther the Pig on Twitter and follow her. You might get a rude awakening. Some of that abuse has happened here in British Columbia and I am sure in all provinces.

Now those are 100% Beef Paddies!!"
So, back to this lady at the checkout who says to me- "in beef, there's only beef".
Hmmm. Don't think so. Farmers inject cows behind the ears with 6 different hormones that accelerate growth and allow cattle to eat less.
Why behind the ears?
Because when they cut off a cow's ears at slaughter or as one web account calls it- "Harvest Time", the cut off ear can be discarded so as not to contaminate the beef product.
So lady- it is not entirely correct when you tell me that beef is beef and only beef.
There's a lot of shit in beef too- relatively and figuratively speaking.
For gawds sakes- they stand in it. See above.

Health Canada sets maximum levels of hormones and antibiotics that can be left in food.
How nice.
Some studies say these hormones cause cancer and other cause puberty to onset early in children.
I am not an authority in that. All I'm saying is- there's more in beef than beef.

Imagine if checkout people pointed out ingredients on all products.
"Oh Honey, this breakfast cereal has too much salt. Oh! Look at the sugar content"
"the chocolate chips in these cookies are not really chocolate and the chemicals could fell an elephant!"

My point is don't tell me this because I am trying to eat so as not to cause an animal pain or discomfort.
It is my choice and it's NOT an easy choice.
It's hard.
It's a commitment.
It's a new way of eating.

I welcome you to try it but just leave me alone as I adjust and try- in my personal view, to do the tight thing.

Not that I consider myself overweight or fat at all but I have found that I have slimmed down and lost weight since quitting beef and pork.

Whaaat's that you say???

Sunday, August 4, 2019

ROBBLOG #792- To Be or Not to Be

It's Hot.

August Heat has arrived on our Island in the Pacific just off Canada's West Coast.
The true west coast here on Vancouver Island.

31C but no Humidity.
The sun is prickly hot.
We lather on the sunscreen but sometimes one's cheek's and ears still become beet-red after a day of exposure. At the end of the day, I apply lots of skin cream to regenerate my skin.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Its my mantra...

Even though it's warmish we've been to the ocean, the farmer's market and to theatre- outdoors.
A festival called 39 Days of Summer is wrapping up here in the Cowichan. 39 days of music and fun and theatre.

We slipped down to Charles Hoey (rhymes with phooey) Park the other evening to watch four hours of Shakespeare in the great outdoors. Two of the Bard's best were presented- Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure. I had originally thought it would be bits and pieces of the plays that start a two week run at a farm just off Koksilah Road but to our surprise we saw both plays in their entirety.
Well almost...

The director of Much Ado told the Mister and I after the play, that she had cut a bit.
12 pages!
I knew dialogue went askew because I was following the script on my mobile. The director told us it was purely for time. The play would have gone almost three hours at full length.
Since Shakespeare is Public Domain- meaning a company pays no rights, the director can slice a bit.
I mean really, unless one was following along- like I was, a few hither and yon's and perchance's would never be missed. In fact if the slicing is done right it helps the play move along a bit faster.
Old Bill can get bogged down in flowery words and sentences not to mention scenes that have almost nothing to do with the overall story. These are usually Bill's attempts at humour and bumbling characterizations.
Sometimes they hit and sometimes they go flat.
In the second play we saw this was the case.
I had not seen Measure for Measure before and to be fair maybe it was the actor's or director's interpretation that fell flat.

To be fair again, I have never been in nor directed a Shakespearean ditty.
I am not sure that I ever will.
It's a lot of "language" to learn, yet some actors- like actors in these two presentation, learn parts in two different plays and perform them during the run.

I have had dialogue from two plays swirling in my head at the same time. I can only imagine what it would be like to have two of Shakespeare's.

Anyhoo, it was an enjoyable four and a half hours and I came away wanting to get back on stage again. Even Much Ado's Director said-
"Sounds like someone is itching to do more theatre."

Waiting for the Fat Lady to sing or recite Shakespeare
In between shows, I talked to a local gent by the name of Longevity John- a former Ontarian, who owns two small theatrical/stage spaces Downtown not far from Charles Hoey Park. John also is the man behind "39 Days". I had chatted to him before but had never said The Mister and I had a theatre company back in Ontario.
His eyes lit up when I mentioned it.
He said- "I'm all about community and we should definitely talk!"

I am thinking.
I am a little hesitant but one can start small, dipping one's smallest toe into the waters before jumping head first into the raging stream!

Already I am wondering how to raise money.
Who to cast.
What show to do and more.

Stay tuned.
There could be more news soon. Right now I have to go throw some baby powder on my dampish underarms.
Whew! It's a scorcher!

It's tough living on this Island Paradise...

Sunday, July 28, 2019

ROBBLOG #791- The Dance

The Mister and I have been going to many of the performances of the 39 Days of July
here in the Cowichan on Vancouver Island.

A Sunday afternoon ago while listening to the great music from the stage, I watched a young boy maybe seven years of age or so, dance on the green grass in Houey Park.
He was about 20 feet from where I sat in my two-toned grey lawn chair.

This boy, in a bright blue Tee shirt, wasn't dancing alone.
He was dancing with his Dad.
I wished I had a video to demonstrate to you how wonderful the moment was to me.
I hope it was for him.
It was so sweet my eyes began to water.

Every boy.
Every man.
Should dance with his Dad- more than once in his life.
It's 2019.
Why not?

I watched them together for a minute.
Then, they stopped.
Something had diverted the youngster's attention away from keeping time to the music with his Father.

A few seconds later another brother- maybe  a couple of years older was itching to Dance with Dad.
He had on a bright red shirt with the name "Cooper" in black letters sprawled across the back.

You could see he wanted to but what would people say if they saw that. A boy dancing with a boy?
He didn't know that I was watching. 
This young lad who obviously loved his Dad was too afraid of the peer pressure or what he had been carefully taught-
A boy cannot dance with his Dad.
It's not right.
Maybe he thought it would be "Queer".

Dad stood still and offered him his outstretched arms, encouraging him.
"C'mon," I was saying under my breath. "Do it!"
I was routing for him. "Take your Dad's arms!"
It seemed that I was almost yelling out loud but I wasn't.
C'mon, young man, just dance with your Dad.

The boy felt awkward.
I could tell. 
Two men don't dance together. It had probably been drilled into his head by those many years older. Maybe by school pals. Who knows.

Eventually, he pushed Dad so he was facing away from him and reaching around his Dad's sides, he grabbed the strong arms pulling them around to his Dad's back.
He tried to swing this way and that but it just didn't work- not the way it had worked for his brother a few moments before. Finally, he pushed his Dad away and moved towards another brother- a bit older again, and he ran away to play some "silly" brother game.

Too bad.
It could have been memorable.
Not just for me- I was just an onlooker- it was for "Dad" and of course for the kid.

I turned back towards the stage and the musicians in front of me. It was lost. It almost happened but now it was lost for eternity.

During some applause a few minutes later, I took one final look around turning in my chair to see where the Dad and his three boys had gone. 
I could see them behind me a few hundred feet away. They were walking- balancing really, on the rails of the old train tracks that cut through the centre of the park.

A new memory was being created.
The old memory, the special moment that could have been was gone.
Lost forever...

Friday, July 19, 2019

ROBBLOG #790- A Conundrun

I am in a conundrum...

In other words, I don't know what the Fuck to do. I know that sounds harsh but it's how I feel.
I started on my way to be "mostly" vegetarian" a few months ago.
I stopped eating pork.

Bacon, sausages, ham etc.
I don't miss it except for bacon on a Sunday morning.
I wonder if Jesus has bacon on Sunday's before he sits back and listens to all that praise and those prayers that float heavenwards on Sunday mornings?

Does he tend to listen more to the United's? Does he ignore the JW's?
Does he like the pomp and circumstance and enjoys getting a holy laugh listening to the Catholics promising everyone Hell everlasting if they don't show up every Sunday or at least Easter and Christmas?

What about the Anglicans?
He's probably given up on them and their wishy-washy ways what with the question of Gay Marriage and all.
On again. Off again.
He's in all probability sitting up there on his "gold" throne- right next to his Dad, knowing full well he never mentioned LGBTQ2 in his earthly ministry. I'd say he might be a very likable guy if Christians hadn't Fucked up all he was supposed to have said.
There's that word again which brings me back on topic.

I stopped eating pork as I said.
Now, I want to include beef. It has always been my plan. Then, this morning I saw a video on Twitter.
These dairy cows that had been confined most of their life to small spaces had been herded to a vast, green field.

In the video, they were being herded from the lush field, across a two lane blacktop to a slaughterhouse opposite. Most had not had that kind of freedom a grass patch allows. Most had never walked that far. You could see on their beautiful faces that many were in pain and were afraid.
No. Terrified.
Watching the video that someone shot from the cab of a truck, you could see many of them hobbling along. They were clearly not well and in shock.

Then, I watched one lovely cow limp towards the middle of the road. She was unable to walk on her right front foot. She stopped dead centre of the road and stood there for a second on her three legs. The fourth- that right one, dangled from the "elbow".
She looked right into the camera.
Broken. In pain. Afraid. Helpless.
The look on her face.
Help me. Why me?
She pause for those few seconds as her "friends" walked around her. Some barely able to move. One with a rear leg that didn't work any more.

She looked into the lens with those big, beautiful cow eyes of hers.
Tears streamed down my cheeks and out loud I said- "I'm sorry girl..."
She looked forward again to the other side of the road and hobbled on across onto the grassy field. I could see where the slaughterhouse stood just a few hundred yards away.

It broke my heart.
I have felt broken all day.
I don't want it to be like this for her or any animal.

This may just have done it for me.

If beef goes, then I have chicken and turkey remaining.
I don't know if I am strong enough but I will never forget the sad, beautiful eyes of that dairy cow.

Thank you for giving your life so we humans can enjoy our beef...

Friday, July 12, 2019

ROBBLOG #789- I Can Do It God Damn It!

Gotta love a Queen.
I do.

Well from one Queen to another, as it is.

Today, A Queen went tree planting.
I wonder how many young saplings she's planted over the years? I expect her Princely husband has "planted" many young ones- but a Queen? Herself?

Anyways, there she was covered in red from head to toe when she was advised of the task at hand. Listening intently, she had a good think and appraised the situation as only A Queen can.

"Hmmm, a pile of dirt, a shiny shovel and the tree- WAIT! the tree's already in the God Damned Royal Hole? They're looking to me to be a tottering old thing- are they not?"- she looked 'round at them as stone-faced as One could have."

The attending crowd was hushed wondering what A Queen would do.

"One will show the multitudes." she thought pursing her rosy-red lips.
Looking straight at the young tree- sizing it up as it were, she turns to her lady-in-waiting and says something to the effect of-
"You'll have to hold this Dear- one's handbag, I can't do both.
One knows one's limits."

Then, a rather rotund, poorly dressed commoner steps forward onto the black carpet where A Queen is standing and proceeds to take it upon herself to explain what is about to happen and A Queen's options-
"Now then you can have someone actually plant the bugger for you- in this case a Horny Beamed Tree or you can wield this shiny, silver shovel that we purchased expressly for the Royal Hand."

She thought for a quick second- never looking up once while processing the situation.

"I'm not too old to plant a Fucking Tree!"- says the Queen, seeming a bit miffed and you just don't want to play around with a "miffed" Queen. I mean ask RuPaul...

She grabbed the Royal Spade and dug in with gusto exclaiming- "Oh Royal Fuckey Do Dah Day, One forgot to remove one's white gloves. Pausing for a moment between shovel fulls, she concluded that she was not to give it another thought for poor people in India or someplace like that were making more for One every day!" She clicked her heels with glee and continued shoveling the massive pile of black-brown earth into the hole surrounding the tree.

"I do hope someone threw in a handful of bonemeal before one started. It keeps the sapling stiff and strong!"- she said with a determined air and a lilt in her voice.

Someone in the crowd tittered!

After numerous clicks and flashes from press cameras, she threw the shovel onto the Royal ground in front of her, grabbed her bag from her lady-in-waiting and trudged off to have a Royal Pee in the privy nearby.

"Working in One's garden always makes one need to tinkle!" she called over her shoulder to the attending crowd and tinkle she did to the applause of all who were assembled in this Queenly spot!

Later that evening as her first dressing maid removed One's Royal stockings, she turned to her Royal Husband who was sprawled quite naked across the Royal Bed scratching his elongated, purple-hued balls and said-
"My Dear, they actually asked me if I could handle a fucking Royal shovel to throw a bit of dirt on the roots of a Horny Beamed tree and by the way who has ever heard of a Horny Beamed tree? Really, One would have preferred to plant a Prickly Pear!"
The Queen's Mister stopped scratching and nodded in his not-quite-Queen-like way for One should always but always agree with "A Queen".

"Why, that goes without saying My Dear!" as the Royal Male gazed down upon his own "prickly pear"!

Any Queen should be heeded for that matter or there could be H E Double Hockey sticks to pay.
Thus ended a Royal lesson of sorts...