Friday, March 16, 2018

ROBBLOG #707 Springtime on The Island

Springtime on the Island!
We're about 3 weeks behind weather-wise, all because of that arctic cold front that hit us back in February.
The birds are singing.
The grass is green- it has been all winter.
The frogs started croaking a couple of nights ago
and leaves and flowers are busting out all over.

The sky was such a brilliant blue this morning and there was not a cloud to be seen as I sat in my yellow Muskoka Chair sipping on a Pride of Arabia coffee.
This is retirement at its best!
The sun is much warmer and the daylight is much longer this time of the year. Not only are the swallows returning to Capistrano, the Snowbirds are planning their return trip back to Canada!
Some have a couple of weeks yet while others are making their way back home sooner.

Looking East on the south side of Palm Villa
Here on the island life goes on.
The palms are swaying in the springtime breezes and everyone is talking about their gardens. Bikes are everywhere and people are walking along trails and through neighbourhoods.
Everybody is a "Chatty Kathy".
If you ever move to the Island be prepared to talk- a lot.
Everyone from supermarket checkout lines to gas bars, shops, restaurants and downtown sidewalks are talkative.
You meet new friends.
Hear the Island gossip.
You find your way.
It's how we do it on the Island.

It feels right.

As I said a few Blogs back, I have let "old home" go.
I am focusing my days on my new "Home" here in the Cowichan. I haven't read a local paper online from back in Ontario for several weeks. I still look at the Toronto Star every day but I let my eyes skip over the stuff about that asshole running for the opposition or that orange ball of fluff south of the border- both cut from the same Conservative, right-wing cloth.
People! People! People!
How could you let this happen in Ontario and what is the opposition leader's platform?
Get rid of Kathleen Wynne?
Some platform.
Maybe if they all started working together instead of craving power, government could actually accomplish something.
I digress.
I live in British Columbia now where we don't even have a provincial Tory party!

These days on our Island, the Mister and I are shopping for a hard top Gazebo for our back yard. A red chair to match our outdoor red bench that once sat on our front Verandah back in Orillia. The bench sits on the south side of Palm Villa just above our rock garden.
I have been getting favourable reviews from neighbours concerning its placement.
I'm also looking for a sun face to hang in the peak of our roof overlooking the back yard.
I sure wish I hadn't left the sun face I had on our outdoor garden shed back home. The first buyers of Pine Tree House didn't deserve that kindness but that's another story that I am NOT discussing here on this Blog.

Oh and plants...
We have to stop by Dinter's Nursery once again to pick up a couple of plants for our garden along the north side of the drive. By the way, none of these tasks is considered a chore.
We are both loving it the Mister and I.

That's just Island Life!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

ROBBLOG #706- Coming 'Round the Mountain

I've been singing- "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain When She Comes".
The Mister and I took a bike ride from our house- Palm Villa, to the base of
Mount Prevost (Pree-voh) last weekend. It was a brilliant sunny day and good for a ride along the Trans Canada Trail to Johnston Street, then along Somenos Road to Mount Prevost Road. A bald eagle harkened our arrival at Mount Prevost road, sitting on a sturdy branch at the top of a Sequoia Tree. It was a brilliant sight. The bird's ultra-white head glowing in the bright, spring sunshine searching for prey I would bet.
At the end of the road, there was Prevost up close and personal. There is a further road to the summit but it would be hell pumping up on a bike. So, we stood surveying the mountain base and the area around us. Birds were chirping away. There were tulips and spring plants in a front garden at a two- storey, white house- facing us, next to the road. On the other side- at our backs, a small unkept house- maybe originally a trailer, with at least seven rusting vehicles- both cars and trucks, sitting in the yard.
The home and property both messy.
Uncared for.
A junkyard.
Unfortunately, we see this a lot in the Cowichan. A beautiful backdrop of nature marred by an unsightly property with garbage strung about, a selection of old vehicles and usually a string of Christmas lights hanging sloppily across the front of the house that have obviously been there for years.
What happened to caring for the environment?
Our Mother Earth.
A beautiful Island landscape turned into a dump and I will say it- usually a First Nations family.
I do not know and I do not understand.
When I ask fellow islanders they say-
"It is what it is...".
It is sad. That's what it is.
This can happen in a well-kept neighbourhood too. House upon house of nice yards and green gardens and then on a corner a broken down hovel with old coke cartons shoved in broken windows and a bathtub or old chesterfield flung in the yard.
There we were standing looking up at this tree-lined mountain. I wanted to see more so I suggested we return home on our bikes and come back with the van to make the climb.
So, we did.
The road was paved at first and then turned into a logging road- quite passable but still a logging road. It was a tight squeeze when a vehicle came down the mountain and going up we had limited space to pull over on our right. It would be several kms to the top.
As we rounded a corner, the landscape changed from green to white.
Snow on the road.
Icy patches made it slippery but we continued- slowly. The cairn was at the top and the signs directed us as we drove closer and closer to the summit.
The Pacific through the Trees
We were marvelling at the views and the woods. Then, A final turn to our right.
More snow.
A steep slope.
An end to our journey.
The van's wheels started to spin and we were stuck half way up a steep grade.
I had to back down, turn around and head down the mountain.
We couldn't imagine getting stuck and having a tow truck answer our call at 630 in the evening.
We did have a good cell phone signal however, even that far up.
The Island Highway in the foreground and the Islands
So we drove the five kms or so back down Mount Prevost and took a couple of photos along the way.
We'll try it again in a few months when the temperatures are warmer still and the snow is gone.
We Love this Island paradise.

Friday, March 9, 2018

ROBBLOG #705 A Trip to Dinters

A blog in the continuing series of what makes "The Island" better than Ontario.

Maybe better is too harsh a word.
I mean I love Ontario summers and all.
The green grass, sparkling lakes, the smell of a summer morning. It's all going to be missed.
Patrick Brown aside though, there are many reasons why The Island is a nice change from Ontario.
The Mister and I are coming up on 7 months here Island later this month.
I know...
Hard to believe for us too and we're living the dream!

We survived 4 1/2 months of delays in the building of our new home here in the Cowichan. We've been moved into our new Island home we call- Palm Villa, since December and have even started to move out into the community both by volunteering and going out to theatre. It takes some time to start to "live" here.

The weather- for Canada, is incredible as I have said many times before. Yes, we have damp days.
Today for instance as I write this blog is damp but I can't remember the last rainy day. The showers today are prompting me to get out and dig in the plants we bought two days ago at Dinter's Nursery just south of Duncan on the Island Highway.

Bees are busy on Plants.
We bought a Magnolia Tree.
No, you won't see them in Ontario.
Two skimmia's. Not in Ontario either. These plants- a male and a female, produce fragrant flowers and red berries come December.
There's a salmon-pink Camelia which is flowering now and a trio of Heather's- two reddish purple and a vanilla white, also in flower. Heather is everywhere on the island.
We spoke to Mr. Dinter and he says the season is behind this year because of that arctic cold spell we had a few weeks ago.
Daffodils should have been out by now.
Some are blooming here and there but not masses of colour yet.
We have some double digit temperatures starting on the weekend and things will change quickly.
Dinter's was packed with folks when we shopped the greenhouses. The parking lot was full when we packed up our plants and left and it was only Tuesday- not a weekend!

Palms for Sale at Dinters. $1600 for this beauty
I can't wait to get out there and get these plants into our gardens. We still have 30 lillies Tom potted up before we left "old home" and they should go into the ground now. The landscapers- Cam and his Dad Mike, put some dirt into our back yard gardens, so we can plant there now as well.

It does seems unbelievable that while Ontario's ground is hard as a rock, the land here on the Island is ready for planting. I saw a photo yesterday of trees blooming in Victoria just 50 minutes down island.

In the next couple of weeks the outdoor painters will be back to touch up our house and start on homes that are now occupied next to us since we moved in almost four months ago. Today we are discussing plans for fencing in our back yard. It's not the yard we had back in Orillia though.
There, we had huge gardens and a lot that was becoming increasingly time-consuming to look after.
Here on Vancouver Island we have a postage-sized lot as compared to Orillia but a larger house.
Go figure.
We have exchanged constant garden upkeep in summer and snow removal in winter for dusting and vacuuming the extra floor space we have here in the Cowichan.

Oh, the deer have found us! A neighbour three doors away showed us deer tracks in her front garden as well as a partially eaten plant. Tom and I haven't seen a deer on our street yet but we are trying to be careful when we choose plants for our gardens by selecting species that deer don't especially like to munch on. Dinter's have a "deer list" one can peruse to educate oneself.

So, March on our Island and we are learning and doing new things.
Oh! Before I forget...
We attended a live theatre presentation at Brentwood College School- a private school about 20 minutes from the house. Amazing place and an amazing theatre. The students performed "Crazy for You". There were ample funds for this production judging by the sets, props and 25 piece orchestra down in the pit that included just two Brentwood students.
It was a huge undertaking on stage and they did a spectacular job.
I would hate to think what a parent would pay to send their kid to this school but what an education they would receive!

It makes we want to go back.
Not to school!!
Gawd no!
I mean back. On stage. Singing and dancing and doing dialogue.

All in good time Rob but for now the gardens await.
I must look for my garden gloves...
Planting on the Island

Friday, March 2, 2018

ROBBLOG #704 Just When I thought It Was Safe

Oh for Fuck Sakes!

Just when I've devoted myself to spending sleepless nights worrying about Dung Ung Jock Strap in North Korea and his sparring partner Mr. Cheeseface, along comes news that Iran and Saudi Arabia are preparing for war.
Not against North Korea but each other.
Can't these men find something else to do?
Like play with their collective dicks or something?
At least nobody would get hurt.
Well, feelings maybe as that happens when straight men start comparing their "john henry" sizes.

Just as many of us are planning our spring wardrobes for 2018, these boys are pulling out the big guns- no not their penises, and strutting down the warm-mongering walkways of Saudi and Iran.
I couldn't even read the entire story but you can bet it's religion or a "my cock is bigger than yours" thing.

I hear you saying- "My goodness Rob, so many "dong" references today."
Did you know that you can't- as a tourist, even visit Saudi Arabia? You have to be invited.
Well look, you just don't want a happy tourist venturing into an open square where someone is getting fingers, a hand or an entire head lopped off for being unlawful.
My goodness. Nobody wants to see shots of that on social media.

Hennaway, I'll let you know if it's time to kiss our asses goodbye- if I hear anything.


The Mister and I have been watching some Academy Award nominated films.
So far we've seen about six movies.

"The Darkest Hour" is all about Churchill and WWII. If you include the Churchill story in TV's The Crown and the recent film Churchill, The Darkest Hour is the third retelling. I still like John Lithgow's Churchill from The Crown best.

Staying in the same area of "death and destruction" or as it might be called "Men with Guns"...
see Saudi Story above...we watched "Dunkirk". 300,000 Brits being saved by a flotilla of small boats that set sail from England to Dunkirk to rescue men on the beaches surrounded on three sides by the enemy.
It was a lot of water and I had to pee- a lot.

Speaking of H2O and increased urination there's- "The Shape of Water".
Filmed in Toronto with many Toronto Cast & Crew- according to the credits that is, this movie had a
lovely visually appealing golden tone and was set in the 1960's. An Amphibian creature who actually turns out to be a 6 foot 3 inch actor in "real life" is caught by some government baddies and is saved by a young gal who eventually fucks the creature underwater in her bathroom which fills with water when she turns on all the taps.
I mean- who knew??
I wouldn't try this at home Girlfriends!!

Amphibian Creatures always make me pee!
Next is "Lady Bird"
I can't see why this is an Oscar contender. You see, Roseanne's TV Sister and a young gal playing the lead- I do not know who she is and I do not intend to look up her name,  finds her boyfriend in a men's room stall with another boy sucking his face off.
Yes, he was cute.
The other boy I mean!
Gee, a homosexual man having a homosexual kiss in a straight man's toilet.
You are wondering- what is this world coming too and why was this gal in the boy's john to begin with?

Boys! Boys! Take it outside!
Well, the "ladies" was busy and she really had to pee and of course men's bathrooms are never busy- unless "I" really have to go pee.
Now, that's not the entire story.
There's a movie life here reflecting real life and actually the entire movie is way more boring that real life, so, I will leave this one for you to judge.
This movie is all about 70's angst.
I hated the 70's.
I would say a bottle of Vodka on your TV table might help you get through this film.

We still intend to "get through" a couple more movies like "Get Out" a horror film where a white gal takes her black boyfriend home to see the folks.
Get out!
No I mean "Get. Out!"
A horror story for some and a remake of "Guess Who's Coming for Dinner" for others.

I also want to have a look at "The Post" with Hanks and Streep and also "Call Me By Your Name" which is a Gay Summertime Romp with more homosexual kissing- and heartache.

Say, maybe if men of war engaged in a little more man on man kissing.
I mean, as if they don't those Middle Eastern types.
Come. On.
Dark, swarthy men and there's never any women about when the men are revolting- if you catch my drift.
Who am I to judge.

Maybe if they laid down their guns, put aside their religious differences and swam naked in a pool on a hot summer night with a martini or two, they'd have something different to focus on- instead of warfare.

Just sayin'...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

ROBBLOG #703 A Light-Hearted Romp of Sorts

Today, a light-hearted romp through the Evergreen Forest.
Roger and Ashley Wrabbit opened their front door at the base of the old oak tree, letting yellow streams of early spring sunshine shower their front door vestibule.
"How glorious!"- cried Ashley.
"Yes indeed. Glorious!"- answered Roger, "What a day to go to the clearing and have a picnic.
"A capital idea!"- says Ashley, "I'll tell the children straight away!"
"Oh do that Ash. Tell them now."
Roger turned back to look at the view
Her stepped outside allowing the sun's warm rays to dance on his handsome wrabbit face. He rubbed his cheeks with his furry paws.
"This is Heaven. Absolute Heaven. I must say that. I must."
Roger- if you didn't pick up on it already was a real faggy, little wrabbit.
He stood still in the warmth and listened to the sound of the Evergreen Forest. Mr. and Mrs. Robin were singing from high atop a Sicamous tree. Freddy Frog was croaking his favourite tune " ribit, ribit" at the edge of Dappledown Pond. Crickets chirped. The wind blew across the grass with a gentle rushing sound and he could hear Mr. Green's cows mooing in the distance.
It was like a Broadway show.
"Here they are!"
Ashley appeared in the doorway with Ricky, Robin and Rhoda right behind him.
"Look Papa, we have our picnic basket ready and we've all pulled on our new spring vests with the brass buttons!" Rhoda was so happy she could hardly contain her little bunny self!
"Very sharp looking indeed!"- says Roger, "But how did you all pack the picnic basket so quickly?"
Ashley, Rocky, Robin and Rhoda laughed.
"We prepared it last night Father!"- yelling in unison.
"We knew today was going to be a brilliant day and we just knew you'd suggest picnicing to Daddy Ashley."
They all giggled slapping their wrabbit thighs several times.
"Yes my Dear"- says Ashley, "We did rather pre-plan the picnic in the same way we pre-planned our funerals last week! Such fun!"
"Indeed. Such fun." Roger's smile was as broad as the blades of grass growing alongside the cedar rail fence that circled Farmer Green's property. Everyone knew it was fine to look through the fence toward Mr. Greens cows and garden but it was never all right to crawl under the fence to explore.
No sir.
"C'mon everyone. Let's go!!" Ashley's voice was happy and very excited.
They all bounded away once Roger locked the front door to their warren at the base of the big, old oak tree where the English Ivy trailed up, over and around the transom above the door.
What a site!
A site indeed!
Five wrascily wrabbits scurrying along the well-used path towards Hollow Glen. That's what everyone in those parts called the open, grassy patch near the old log which was part of a maple tree  felled by a horrific summer storm several years before. It was always a good place to duck inside for cover when a sudden summer shower came upon the clearing catching everyone by surprise.
Off the fivesome ran towards Hollow Glen, the spring sunshine feeling warmer by the minute.
The young wrabbits squealed and screamed and shook with laughter.
Maybe they would scream all day long- if they had a mind to.
Once arriving at Hollow Glenn, Roger spread out a pretty quilt he had stitched over the winter months on the fresh, green grass. Ash opened the picnic basket and set about laying plates, cutlery and napkins- and best of all- the food, on top of the brightly covered quilt!
As Roger and Ash set about readying the picnic, Rocky, Robin and Rhoda played nearby.
They were full of glee.
However, our story takes a slightly darker tone here.
As well as the younger wrabbits being full of glee, they were soon to be full of much more.
Specifically- lead.
For unbeknownst to Roger and Ash and the youngsters- Ricky, Robin and Rhoda, Mr. Green- the farmer behind the cedar rail fence, had spotted the happy little group while on their way to Hollow Glenn and ran inside his barn to collect his rifle. He trotted over to Hollow Glenn stepping lightly as he quietly crouched behind the hollow maple log.
He took out the whole family in a flurry of gunshots.
I don't have to tell you but you can be sure that there was bright, red blood and bunny fur- everywhere.
Now isn't that a horrific ending to what started out as a lovely, early spring day?
Such a shame.
Thanks for reading along and "Have a Good Day!".
I start therapy next week.

Friday, February 23, 2018

ROBBLOG #702- Dubious Content and Other Things

Today, another ROBBLOG with um...dubious content. No one ever comments on these kinds of blogs I write. Not to worry. I know you are with me in spirit...

Things that I think just appear to be wrong...

Back in "Old Home" Ontario and specifically Simcoe North, Patrick Brown is running for PC leader after it was suggested he sexually harassed two young ladies several years ago and after he had to step down as opposition leader only few weeks ago. Let's not even mention how he manages to own an almost 3 million dollar home on the shores of Lake Simcoe.

Still...over 1/2 of Ontarians in a recent poll would vote PC.

America's NRA are kinda saying that journalists love mass shooting for TV ratings. I said that 2 blogs back! America will never change its love affair with killing- not just by guns. It's a part of many of the people of that country for whatever reason. It just is and Hollywood perpetuates that ideal with films that highlight killing and death. How many of these kind of deaths has Canada had in this country in the past 10 years?
About 30 according to the Internet.
That is 30 too many.

The roll call continues...
Now, we hear that Brendan Fraser was "accosted" 15 years ago by someone that brings the Golden Globe Awards to the small screen. I like Brenden Fraser but I have to admit here and now one of the reasons I like to watch him is his body- especially his loin-cloth wearing body in George of the Jungle.
I am shallow.
Is that shallow?
I mean, I think he's a very decent actor.
Case in point The Mummy Movies as well as his part of the straight guy being taken advantage of by the old, Gay white guy in "Gods and Monsters".
Brendan is just another victim in a long list of victims.
He is pretty or was pretty. He's 49 today and well...none of us are as pretty at 49 as we were at 30 something. It doesn't mean, however, that someone can touch him- hands on his ass, without consent. I read his story in GQ- March 2018 issue. You can find it online.
Sordid stuff and apparently one of the reasons Brendan had disappeared from screens big and small up until recently. He was that upset with the groping.

Brendan in Gods and Monsters
A similar story concerns Terry Crews. A large, musclebound actor from the TV Show Brooklyn 99 who could have very easily punched his harasser's lights out but didn't for fear of being charged with assault. Maybe a gentle- "Keep your fucking hands of my boys!" would have sufficed.
It worked for me years ago.
These days not many men want to place their hands on any of my manly bits so I don't have to say that as much as I once did. Actually, I'm not sure if I ever took offence or even had to say it in the first place.
Huh...The 80's. Go figure.
Colour me Blonde...and forgetful. (no offence to blondes of the world)

More things that appear wrong...

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and family in Indian casual wear during their official visit and Mrs. T with a red dot on her forehead.
I think not.
Ask any Gay guy Justin and they would have told you and saved you from embarrassment. It's not like you haven't met a bunch in country-wide Pride Parades.


Television series that display female breasts within the first few minutes of a show. Those poor, poor actresses that have to go onscreen topless just to pay the bills.

Television shows that hardly ever display "man pecs".

"He's right you know Lucy"
"Ya..I know Ethel!"

The Dog Meat Festival in South Korea where our Canadian athletes are winning medals at the Olympics. The world is full of badness and sadness but shame on South Korea. Did you know that some dogs are dipped "live" into boiling oil to remove their fur before they are butchered?

Dogs caged to be sold and eaten in South Korea
Billy Graham's death. I can't believe that God didn't make him wait a few years more. WTF is God
going to do with Mr. Graham in Heaven for eternity besides continuously telling him to shut the feck up!


Catholics and born-againers standing on a busy street corner- like I saw in Victoria today, brandishing placards with photos of dead fetuses on them. People, people, people...I am sure there are organisations that could use your volunteer help in a myriad of ways besides standing on a corner with disturbing photos. Hey! Maybe each of them could take some of those babies into their respective homes and raise them.
They seem to have the time.

Last one...I promise:

Me standing on a corner holding a placard in one hand- with a huge, full colour photo of a penis on it- and a placard in my other hand saying- "I HAVE a Penis"!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

ROBBLOG #701 Community-Minded

Look at me!

Trying to get involved in the community and be a "True Islander". I have finally figured out- I think, why I still feel a little funny living here in the Cowichan.
I mean funny in a sense of trying to feel settled in my new city.
People have told me it will take a year or more to feel truly "at home".
I believe it.

There has been a lot up upheaval in the past year for the Husband and I. Just go back to blogs in mid-August and read about how we felt leaving "old home". I am not regretting this major move or looking backwards but still, the words to describe how I feel some days would include these:
unsettled, confused, disconnected, lost, floating.
Remember too, as of February 23rd, the Mister and I will be Islanders for 6 months!

I have described this process of cutting the "Ontario Apron Strings" similar to the way the lift locks work in Peterborough, Ontario. If you are not familiar with the Lift Locks- Google them.

The Lift Locks in Peterborough, Ontario
Picture us- The Mister and I, as the right pontoon in the upper position. As we left Orillia behind the pontoon starts to go down. We travel across Canada and get to the Island.
Pontoon goes down more. The Island pontoon- the left one, starts to raise.
We get on the Island and eventually move into Palm Villa.
The right pontoon- that's Orillia, goes down a little more.
By Christmas the right pontoon is almost level with the left pontoon that is slowly creeping up. The left pontoon- the Island pontoon, is Duncan and the Cowichan as we start a new life.
We figure out streets.
Meet people.
Get a new Dentist.
A Vet.
A Chiropractor.
The Duncan pontoon moves up a little more.

Now the new year is almost two months old and the left pontoon- Duncan, is above the right pontoon- Orillia.

Are you following this?

As time moves on we are leaving Orillia behind. The right pontoon edges down.
We are not hearing from as many former friends and family members as we first did.
I am trying not to go on about the temperate Island weather in phone calls, texts or e-mails. It is probably pissing people off.
I know it is...especially with the photo a week ago of Tom cutting grass in shorts. In February!
I don't mean to piss people off. I just want folks back east to know there is another option besides bone-chilling temperatures and mountains of snow. I have made an "End-of-February" resolution to lay off about the weather and how wonderful things are here in the "Canadian Tropics".

In place of former friends and family back in Ontario, we are making new friends and bonding with a "new" kind of family here in BC.
The left pontoon moves up...

As I said back at the top of this ROBBLOG, I am trying to get involved with this community. I have volunteered to be the secretary/assistant for two adjudicators during the Cowichan Music Festival. A festival like the Kiwanis Festival back in "old home". It's been fun and I have met some new people.
Tom's been coming along as well to shake hands and meet "new" folk.
Look at us!

I must admit, I am starting to chip away at those words like "disconnected" and "floating".
I am even having thoughts of resurrecting Double R Productions Theatre! I still have a lot to learn about the theatre community on Vancouver Island but it seems to be a diverse and active one.
I need more contacts before I can proceed.
I wonder-
Can Sister Mary Margaret entertain an Island audience?
Gawd help us and these Islanders- maybe even Hank??
Would Ernest and Sadie Flynn be made welcome?
What about Lady Wyndemere and her Fan?

I don't really know how it will all turn out but I am starting to gather information and think about the whole process once again.

I think the left pontoon just moved up...a little more.