Tuesday, May 22, 2018

ROBBLOG #720 Is it Cricket?

 
Another weird tale for your consideration. I flipped back in my memory to January 2011 to present this piece of brilliance once again. Re-edited for your continued gratification and enjoyment.
Remember- "Not to understand fully is the way of Life". 
 
The day was a warm one.
 
Tiny beads of perspiration dotted the young man’s forehead as he entered the Great Room Library, cool and safe from the hot rays of a Global-Warming sun. He saw the Great One studying- as usual, at the far end of the lavishly appointed room.
 
“What is the meaning of life, O Great One?”- asked Allastar Appleton gently.
 
“I shall answer you in one word Cricket”- replied Wo Fat, not raising his eyes from the book laid out across his kimono-covered lap.
 
“It’s Allastar, O Holy One”. He wasn’t sure if he should even consider correcting a mystic man of such position as the Exalted, seated there in the Great Room library in such a grand chair.
He decided to continue. “But, one word only?” Allastar was taken aback- ever so slightly.
 
“Red Dragon” replied Wo Fat, his eyes till locked onto the pages of the book before him.
 
“Red Dragon? That’s the meaning of life? But Red Dragon is two words, O Exalted One!” How can that be? Allastar was generally perplexed.
 
“Depends how you spell Dragon, young snapper.” The old man scratched the side of his nose and took a deep breath. “You see, young bird, we know nothing compared to He who claims to know all?”
“You mean Justin Trudeau?”
Alastar was serious.
 
“No, little chipmunk, I speak of another society- not a left-leaning open society that is fair and just for one and all. That being said, this society is a secret none-the-less.
 
“Gosh!”- says Alastar Appelton as he thrust his hands into the deep recesses of his cloak. For Alastar wore a light cotton cloak on this day, spun from the golden fleece of the village sheep known for their unusual baaaa’s as well as golden fleece.
“But surly we know something- anything…”
 
“No child we do not. It’s secret and please do not expect me to answer too much”- Wo Fat, the great one sighed.
 
“Whatever do you mean, Sir?”
 
“Little rabbit, in this huge universe of nothingness, we both mean and know and say nothing. It is in the same way that this “secret society”- Red Dragon, remains unknown as a “secret sect”. The All Holy one had been generous in his response.
 
“Ahhh. I am beginning to see and understand. This is truly the meaning of life as we know and understand it!”
 
“I hardly believe so, young wheatsheaf.”
He continued.
“I understand and see much- yet I don’t care.”
 
“You don’t, O most Wonderful of Wonders?” Alastar’s mind was swirling.
“Oh Swammy of the ‘most’ High, I care.”
 
“The Ordained One glanced up at Alastar Appleton and said-
“I understand that you care, such as the care a mother toad gives to her young but as the moving finger writes so does he who is a pleasure-seeker seeking to buy pleasure.”
 
“One most high, I understand what you say- in part.” Alastar was shaken put managed to form the words with his lips and a voice so soft it was not unlike the ramblings of a gentle Queen of the Drag-
“Play with fire. Expect to be burnt.”
 
Wo Fat- the all knowing, all seeing one, smiled a small, impish smile.
“You have tremendous vigour and youth for one so young Mr. Alastar Appelton. Now, leave me, for I must study hard to become more brilliant than the sun rising on the calm blue waters of the ocean.”
The Kingfisher dropped his gaze onto the pages of his book  and motioned to Alastar to be gone.
 
Before leaving the Great Man's presence Alastar mused aloud- “Being Oriental is not accidental yet occidental. Now, I know the beginnings of the meaning life.”
 
Alalstar was satisfied. He turned, leaving the Bright Light to his book of learning and walked out into the hot, afternoon sun. He paused, snatching a harmonica from his pocket. Placing it tight against his lips, he played “Jimmy Cracked Corn and I Don’t Care”- farting along in harmony.
 
It was great to be so alive and have a life so full of meaning!

Friday, May 18, 2018

ROBBLOG #719- An Empress of a Weekend!


I can't remember that last day it rained here on the Island.

We have had an abundance of sunshine lately.
Hot, dry heat. Air conditioner and heat pump weather yet no humidity.
Still, I was amused when the Weather Network reported Duncan B.C. weather online this morning.
It said "Partly cloudy today. Partly sunny overnight."
Wow!
Global warming is really real!
For real!

So, the first Victoria Day weekend on the Island for us and I do want to emphasise "Victoria Day Weekend".
What is with this "Long weekend" stuff?
Nada. No and wrong!
What are we? All Jehovah Witnesses all of a sudden?
I worked with a JW once at a radio station.
She refused to perform many aspects of her job because of her JW Religion. She wouldn't say Merry Christmas, Happy Victoria Day Weekend or even Happy Birthday. She even got out of recording Christmas Holiday Greetings all because of her religion and yet- she got paid like the rest of us who had to do the extra work she wouldn't.
Not fair. Not fair at all.
We should have held a sit in or something but since radio broadcasters were a dime a dozen, there were many youngsters willing to do one's job for half the 10 bucks the rest of us were paid.
Oh yes!
Radio paid little except for the morning shows in the big markets. Even there if you were anyone other than Erin Davis- and most of us were, pay was poor.

Her Majesty- Queen Victoria
Hennaway, back to Victoria Day, this is a holiday you all get- we all get, because of feisty Queen Victoria. Queen of Canada and Empress of India. So, give her due respect.
Hem. Hem. Hem.

I'd like to be an "Empress" of some small country. Some small warmish country. I would sit royally on my throne all the while being fanned by sturdy young men waving banana fronds above my head to keep me relatively cool and comfortable. I would insist they were rather scantily clad so as not to overheat whilst fanning their "Empress".
I would take care of my subjects!
I really would.
Royalty cares and sets an example.
For instance, I'd say to my pool boy-
"Coco- bring me a lemonade please with two twists of lemon and a shot of gin!".
As he bowed and turned to leave, I'd playfully slap his tush pretending to sting my hand on his rock solid butt.
My subjects would adore their "Royal"- like Dame Edna is adored around the world!

Dame Edna
Speaking of Royalty- the Royal Wedding.
Once again, I am not invited. As a proud member of the Commonwealth who flies the Union Jack every Victoria Day Holiday Weekend and has been to England and even knows "English People",
I fully believe an invite would be fair.
Cripes! I'd even walk her down the aisle looking quite British and all-
Fah, Fah, Fah.
I am rather Fah anyway- or is that Fey?

Either way, I could do it with much pomp and circumstance whether I was an Empress or the plain , simple, Island fellah that I am.

Enjoy your Victoria Day Weekend and wave and say hello to your fellow loyal subjects all weekend long.

Friday, May 11, 2018

ROBBBLOG #718- Sweet!


It's been a busy week.

The Mister and I met our new Doctor this week.
She's a new Mom.
She's funny.
She listens and she doesn't push prescription drugs.
We hit it off right away.
Nine months on this new Island of ours and we have our Doctor. In fact all of our services are in line.
Sweet!

Our new Gazebo, bolted down to the cement patio
The weather continues to amaze as does the speed at which our plants are growing in our new gardens. I don't know if it's the year round growing season- it probably is, or the ocean air. Even new stuff we plopped in the earth over the past month is growing at an alarming rate. The banana is pushing out new shoots and our big palm trees are shooting out new fronds. While our rhody has finished blooming there are rhodys in the neighbourhood that are so big and so beautiful they take your breath away. I had no idea these plants were so large or bloomed in such an array of colours. There's a rhododendron in Ladysmith- about 20 minutes up island, that is twenty-five years old and extremely tall. It makes copy on CTV news and people drive to see it from miles around. We too will make the trip while it is in its blooming glory.

The painters are here this week.
Our house had such a poor, initial paint job, that the new painters are finding they have to re-paint our house from top to bottom. Some of the white trim was never painted by the time the "old" painters finished in the first week of December. The new paint is giving our Island Home a fresh clean look because the colour is a tad deeper and has a slight sheen.
It looks great!

The red furniture will be on the new grass- eventually
Not to be outdone, the landscapers laid more pipe to cover the watering of our back yard sod and installed drip-lines to keep our gardens moist. It's a "thing" here on the left coast. Drip lines keep plants alive in drought situations and that is something we saw when we got off the boat last August. A remarkable duration of time with no rain. We arrived August 23rd and the last raindrops were in the first few days of June. Even the next two weeks here in this merry month of May is to be warm- in the mid to upper so's, and dry.
There's no rain in sight.
So much for a soggy west coast. Yes, of course we have had rain. November was particularly soggy but you know what? We put on our rain gear. Laced up our west coast rain boots and we were off for a walk either with the dogs- in appropriate rain-wear, or just by ourselves.
No sleet. No ice. No snow to contend with.
I do vow that it is a secret the Islanders hold close to their chest. That secret is simple to discover.
The island is beautiful and the weather is terrific.

Budda Bing, Budda Buddah
Life continues...
In the next while we await a delivery of a new, white arbour for the back yard. A big, beautiful, curved-top structure with a wing of picket fence on each end. In fact depending how it looks when it's delivered, I may put some white picket fencing down the side of the house- just like we had at Pine Tree House back in Orillia. A picket fence says "summer".
We currently have a black, iron fence along the south side and we had bought a black arbour to match. Then, neighbours began strolling by saying how much they liked the fence. A neighbour just two doors up even copied the idea of the black metal arbour, so I had had enough even though imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all...

I sold the black arbour and hence we are looking forward to the delivery of a fresh, white, cottage-like arbour. Gee, I wanted the white picket fence along the south side of the property to begin with but The Mister and I were sold when we saw the black wrought iron.
I should listen to my heart a little more. We got our money back for the arbour since another neighbour up the street bought it from us.

Hennaway, it's all a process.
A long process and we've come a long way here on the island from a hole in the sandy, clay-like earth to a place we are calling "home".

Saturday, May 5, 2018

ROBBLOG #717 ...Like an Old Aunt


Am I bad?

Like an "Old Aunt" who calls to say-
"Sorry I haven't written or called lately, I've been busy sorting my stockings"-
I feel like I haven't kept in touch  very well of late.

I do have an excuse.
I am outside a lot.
The weather is beautiful and we have been doing a bunch of yard work trying to make our gardens look like they have been here- in our yard, for years.
Oh, we have a watering limit for those young gardens already.
Phase one.
Hand watering from 7-9- evening and mornings. Most people here in the Cowichan- who love their gardens, have drip systems to keep plants alive.
We have one too.
A quick switch on and the lines of plastic water the roots in gardens around the house. These type of lines wouldn't work back east- at least not in the ground all winter. Many folks here tell me they don't even have the water blown from the lines in preparation for "Island Winter". However, it's about 50 bucks to have it done and does prevent cracking of plastic pipes if the temperature decides to dip below freezing for a few days.

As well as our gardens, we are keeping busy with bike riding, walking and just talking to the neighbours. Oh...and afternoon martinis on the back lanai. That's "island talk" for verandah or porch.
I am well-tanned already and some folks believe The Mister and I have been away.
Nope.
Just bountiful Island Sunshine.
Island Life is a busy life and I LOVE IT!

A view from Mount Tzhouhalem
We managed to fit in an afternoon of theatre this week. We saw "Kim's Convenience" at the Chemainus Theatre and yes- it is the play that spawned the charmingly funny television series of the same name.
It was a great show.
We were centre, front row. Nice and close.
I must say seeing the stage with it's Toronto references- including the TTC Subway line stations, I felt a bit Ontario "homesick".
I believe I always will.
I love Toronto.
The noise. The traffic. The theatre. The people. The neighbourhoods. Shopping, Lake Ontario and the TTC.
I used to live in what they were calling Cabbagetown Two, right off Queen Street West. The Beach neighbourhood started a few blocks west of me. I am familiar with Regent Park where Kim's Convenience is set. It's not the nicest of neighbourhoods but it is home to many.

I used to walk along Queen Street to Yonge and the Subway. It kept me fit dong that 45 minute walk twice a day. Past shops like Kim's. Past Moss Park where drunks and addicts laid on the lawn.
Past store fronts where the drunk and sometimes the dead, lay sprawled in the morning sunshine.
Colourful and sad at times.
City life.

Now, the Island is my home.
It's May and the trees- especially the Dogwood, are in full bloom still. Double Pear blossoms in bright pink are lining many neighbourhood streets and apple blossoms proliferate on others.
It's really is kind of magical.

So, I'll keep in touch when I can.
For those of you in Canada's east, I know you too will be outside on warm days dreaming of lush, green gardens and flowering plants.

Gotta love it!
..and write soon, won't you?


Friday, April 27, 2018

ROBBLOG #716 Arbutus Ridge to the Chinese Cemetery

 
Some of my best blog ideas come to me when I am in the shower.

I dunno why...
In fact, I solve many problems whilst shampooing my hair or scrubbing my face with the same facial scrub Jennifer Aniston uses. You know, the one that makes her look like she's 25 again or at the very least airbrushed to hell! In fact- and I may have shared this before, many people mistake me for Jennifer. It must be our bone structure.

So, yesterday when I was showering, getting all squeaky clean, two really good blog ideas popped into my head. I used to take a notebook into the shower with me but I hated trying to peel apart soggy pages in an attempt to read the notes within.
These days if I can't write it down within a few minutes, the ideas pop right out of my head as fast as I get them. I have been trying to bring the ideas back but they are gone forever.
In today's shower I drew a blank, so here are a few mostly unrelated facts that spring to mind.

Gas is careening skyward here on Vancouver Island. It's at 148.9 today. That means it costs upwards to 90 plus dollars to fill up the Grand Caravan. Rumours and threats say it will climb to two bucks a litre for the summer vacation period. I guess some oil company executive wants to purchase a new, multi-million dollar home.

Arbutus Ridge Ocean View
The Mister and I drove to Arbutus Ridge the other day. This is a gated, 55+ community I had looked at several times online before he bought a bit further up island here in Duncan. We couldn't drive onto the development simply because the guard in the gatehouse would say "no way Jose" if we tried and we don't know anyone living there- yet.
It sure is pretty though both in real estate terms- pretty expensive, as well as landscaping- absolutely gorgeous. We did cut through the centre where the road took us. A beautiful golf course crosses the property and some homeowners live right on the Pacific Ocean on Marine Drive. You can see photos online. Just Google "Arbutus Ridge" Vancouver Island.

We have gone plant crazy here on the Island! We are trying many new plants which would have been foreign to us in "old home". Lovely comments are coming our way every day from residents and folks just strolling through Stonewood Village. We know we are on the right track for our landscaping and gardening. Now, we need to be patient and let things simmer and grow. It would also be nice to allow our bank account to grow again- as well as the plants and flowers in our Island Garden.

The weather has been spectacular this past week. Many days in the upper 20's celsius and the sun is bloody hot. Flowers are popping open and the grass is growing like crazy which means more mowing for Tom. He complains but still he loves it! Don't get me started on his affection for the hose and watering. I could write a book.

A few evenings ago we biked along the Trans Canada Trail that runs along the rear of our property. A few kilometres away we came to the Chinese Cemetery. Our friend Tina was along for the ride and all three of us headed up the hill to the cemetery's front gate. We got off our bikes- showing respect, and walked them up the hill towards the graves. The last grave was dug in 1968. The occupants- all male, came from the same Chinese province and worked for the local sawmill in various jobs from labourer to teacher. Canadian law forbade these men to marry. I don't know why. Possibly the same idiot that set up Residential Schools insisted on this rule. Hmmm. Could that be some man from organized religion?
Maybe...
Gate to Cemetery. Red Letters on black board announce 'Chinese Cemetery'
The Sawmill owner donated the land for the cemetery. It is still looked after and recently laid bouquets on our visit were drying in the sun next to stones featuring Chinese lettering. The view to the mountains and the setting sun was awe-inspiring. What a beautiful spot to be laid to rest after a hard life of labour and displacement from one's country of birth.
It was quiet, peaceful and we were respectful of the departed.
It was a lovely moment remembering these hard-working men who helped built this Island and this country of Canada.

We are always finding something new on this Island of ours and who knows, maybe I'll remember what I wanted to write originally and it will spawn a "new" blog.
Wonders may never cease...

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

ROBBLOG #715- No End to Our Good Days


Jesus, Mary & Josephine!
It looks like we've made it to live another day.

April 23rd has come and gone and no "End of Days".
Somebody made a big mistake- again, while prophesying our ruin and subsequent total damnation.

Speaking of total damnation, by now you've heard about that asshole who slaughtered innocent people as he drove and rammed a rental truck along a 2 km stretch of Yonge Street in North York in Toronto on Monday afternoon.
For those folks my heart goes out.
You get up in the morning expecting to make it through your day. You're looking forward to an after work drink or an evening meal with friends, family or co-workers and you don't get to make it through your day.
And why?
All because some maniacal idiot thinks killing people is doing a huge favour for some hateful, revengeful God figure that'll get him into some weird version of Heaven packed with virgins.
Not that the "normal" version of a Heaven isn't weird- it is, however that driver's version is completely f*cked up whether it's virgins or just attention he craves.
The F*ckpot!

These kind of horrendous events used to only happen in places like America or some hot, dust-ridden, god-forsaken country populated only by people in kaftans with camels and sand dunes.
Not so these days.
This can happen anywhere at any time.
As my Mum use to say: when your time is up- your time is up.

We have to make the most of our time here on this plane of existence for our own plug could be pulled at any time. That's why- and I may have said this before, that's why The Mister and I took a chance and moved our whole lives three time zones west to Vancouver Island, Canada.
Oh but it wasn't all fun and games.
It was stressful.
Sad.
Unreal.
Hard.
Life-changing.
Challenging-
yet Fun.

Being here on Vancouver Island in the city of Duncan has allowed us to relax and breathe. It has given us the opportunity to be outdoors ninety percent of the time since we arrived off the Ferry from Tsawwasen and mainland Canada back in August 2017.

We are not alone.
Lots of Ontarians are doing the same thing and they're not just screaming and running away from the likes of Patrick Brown or Doug Ford- even though those are two great, sound reasons to leave. Maybe a crazy person begging to be shot in the head is a good reason to pack up your old kit bag and get outta Dodge as well.

Weather is a major reason to come here to the Island and retirement.
Double digit temperatures in April- sometimes in February and March, are absolutely unbelievable for Canada.

A few days ago I was at a garden centre where a husband, wife and a red setter doggy named "Murphy" were admiring one of the plants on my cart. It was an Azalea with about a hundred buds all ready to bloom the most brilliant red.
"It's just amazing that I can plant this now- being from Ontario", I said to the couple while patting Murphy on his beautiful puppy head.
She shrieked- "My Husband and I are from Ontario too! Whitby. A year ago!
I said- "Orillia. 8 months ago."

Without a doubt, every second person you talk to here is either from Ontario or has family there. You'd be surprized at how many people know Orillia and have a relation or two there.
I never knew Orillia, Ontario was so worldly. Orillians as well as Ontarians, really get around and staying within the borders of our Canada too.
Health coverage is pretty much the same here.
Language is the same. There's even French s'il vous plait!
Federal laws- the same, of course.
"Island time" is a bit different and one would be amazed at the conversations one can get involved in whilst standing in a check-out line!

So kids, do your research and you'll see what the Island has to offer.
Google information is a few keystrokes away.
Here's something:
Seldom will you hear about us "Islanders" back East.
Seldom will a national weather forecast talk about the Mediterranean climate we live in here in the Cowichan Valley.
Seldom will newscasts report anything west of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

I suggest you do your research soon before another "End of Days" is upon us.
It could have a disastrous effect on the real estate value of your home, so you'll want to sell outside of a "biblical threat".

If Sodom and Gomorrah is Ontario- or even New Brunswick heaven forbid, Vancouver Island is surly "The Promised Land"!

Holy Moses!

Monday, April 16, 2018

ROBBLOG #714 The End of Days


Boy, it's been quite the nasty weather for parts of this wonderful country called CANADA.

Not here on Vancouver Island of course. No, we have been basking in double digit temps while planting our lavender, palms, banana plants and such. Unfortunately, some of you have seen rain, freezing rain, twenty to thirty centimetres of snow, ice pellets, high winds, Doug Ford ranting about being Ontario's next Premier and even more snow and freezing rain and wind.

It's been horrendous for Easterners to say the least.

So what the feck gives?
Think about it.
Cold, snow, power outages, accidents, the west bombing Syria, unusual April weather...
~pause~
For Goodness sakes People, it's the end of days as in the Prophecy.
You know- in the Good Book.

The date is nigh.
It's Monday April 23rd, 2018.
The day when thousands of you will be raised up to Heaven and millions of dead people- stuck in their coffins and whatnot underground for years, will accompany you.
Bleech.
It's not a pretty sight but once you have arrived in Heaven things will be hunky-dory and smell pretty darn good.



Now, those of us that don't wish to be a part of "The Rapture" and fly upwards on April 23rd should not feel left out. We are not lost- or to be pitied.
We will have 7 days or so- give or take, to come to our senses and fall to our knees to He who rules both Heaven and Earth.
You should know that He has plans on decreasing the surplus population if we don't see things His way.
Even so, it might not be such a bad idea to wait it out.
You know how these massive events can be...
People.
Noise.
Crowding.
Bad food.
Kids shrieking.
Assholes in front of you holding up the line, asking for better seats as you prepare to fly heavenward.

You should know that there'll be no First Class or Business Class as you fly to Heaven.
No window seats either. Every seat is a window seat.
It's all one contented class. All one BIG happy family.
It's what you have all been waiting for since time began.
Okay, maybe not that far back since the dinosaurs and early man don't count this time around but it is good news for those of you from Adam and Eve- or Adam and Steve, onwards.
You'll all be saved and fly equally.
By the way, I am not certain that you'll get air miles for this Rapturous Flight.

I have to come clean here. Perhaps, it's not exactly true that you'll all be treated equally.
You see, the Catholics- who practise the only true religion, will probably fly up front first as millions attempt what Sister Bertrille- Sally Field in real life, so ably accomplished on TV a few decades ago.

What a day this will be.
Monday April 23rd.
Circle the date on your calendar or make a notation in your "palm pilot".
The ends of days is upon us.
Good thing I didn't buy those Stampeders' tickets last week!
Oh My Lady- that was a close one!

So you all have a great and glorious day as you prepare for the inevitable and the "final" great and glorious day.

See you next time right here on my Blog...
or- maybe not...