Monday, January 21, 2019

ROBBLOG #764- Brrrrr?

Islanders sometimes ask- why did you move here from Ontario?

"We retired"- we say and add, "but the number one reason is the weather".
Now to be sure, The Cowichan is not tropical.
Yes we have palms and bananas and lots of green in January and February but-
It's not Hawaii and it's certainly not south Florida.
It is a Mediterranean climate- not unlike London and area in England, giving this area of Vancouver Island and south to Victoria- British Columbia's capital, the best we have in all of Canada.

There is snow at times on the island especially up island in the Courtney/Comax area on a mountain called Mount Washington. There can be snow a bit further north in Campbell River too.
Flakes can fall in the Nanaimo area and sometimes in Ladysmith about 25 minutes north of us but rarely here and if it does, it's gone as quickly as it came.
A picture is worth a thousand words...

I do not miss this scene one bit. In fact it looks a bit surreal.
25 to 30 cms and more snow fell in many parts of the east- and cold?
Fuck yes!
-25 to -30c temperatures and lower!

A friend in Ottawa texted me that she had to go out of the house Sunday to do some grocery shopping.
She didn't want to go. I wish I could have held her hand and told her she'd be fine. Cold but fine as long as her car started and she could find a parking space with all the snowbanks about.
Ottawa was the coldest capital city in the whole, wide world on Saturday and Sunday wasn't much better.
Take heart.
January is almost through.
I hated it when someone said that to me back in Orillia, Ontario.

Here on the Island, this was my Sunday January 20th on top of HighRock Park summit in Esquimalt not far from the Pacific Fleet Naval Base in Victoria. My face is lit by the 4 pm sun.
Pacific & Mountains behind me (Jan 20, 2019)
Pacific Fleet Naval Base just out of photo top right

January Sun setting from atop High Rock in Esquimalt
Now look, I am not saying there's room for all of you Easterners.
There simply isn't and many of you would never give up the East what with work, families and homes. I am not suggesting all of you do but what I am saying- if you are ready in your life for a change, a great change, this might be the place.

If you are flush with funds, the idea of living six months of the year in Ontario, New Brunswick or Nova Scotia and then six months in Trumpland might just be the ticket. For us it wasn't a consideration. The insanity that is America these days is just not worth it and this move west has been well received both by us and the new people we have met- many of them Ontarians.

Many Islanders want to keep this climate and this "place" a secret and wouldn't appreciate me telling you all this but look- you won't hear about it on TV or in the newspapers.
Did you read one story over the weekend about how nice it is here with 8 or 9 degrees, green grass, ocean and no ice and snow on the roads?
I'll bet you didn't because the only thing that makes weather news this time of year across CANADA is how fucking cold it is and how it just keeps snowing and snowing and snowing.

We have tulips and daffy's pushing through the earth. Snowdrops are out and today I saw many rhododendrons in bloom already and Heather- purple and white, in huge, colourful, flowering bunches. We are just a few weeks away from cherry blossoms.

So, keep this stuff just between you and me and don't think about moving here when you're in the middle of an Ontario or Quebec June or July because you won't and the reality of winter- like the photo further up this page, will be a distant memory.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

ROBBLOG #763- An Island Primer...of Sorts

An Island Primer...of sorts.

From time to time Easterners- who are tired of -30c temperatures and 20 or 30 cms of snow, e-mail me to ask how the Mister and I are fairing here on this Island. I try not to brag about 11c temperatures and warm January sunshine but at times I just can't help it.
Does it feel strange?
To be in CANADA and not freezing our collective asses off in January?
It does feel strange sitting in Muskoka chairs in front of our house- Palm Villa, in shorts with coffee in hand chatting to neighbours as they pass by walking their dogs or just out for a stroll.
It is different than an Ontario winter.
Very different, this "Island Winter".

We are adjusting well. 
The winters are so easy although this past month has been wetter than last year. That being said, we are in a long run of mostly sunny days until the end of the month.
Daffodils are up 6 inches and Camelias and more are blooming or almost blooming.
Last winter we saw more sunshine but maybe Mother Nature will make up for it this month.

Cowichan Plantings
Duncan- in the Cowichan Valley, is the place to be for weather here on the Island. We have a Mediterranean climate much like you’d find around London in England. It’s why we have Palms and banana plants and Magnolia trees. Twenty minutes up island in Ladysmith and certainly Nanaimo- about 50 minutes away, the weather is somewhat different. There's a greater possibility of cooler temps, rain and some snow but even that doesn’t stay long.

Back in December we could see snow on Mount Prevost which is visible from our back yard and Lanai.

Victoria can be a few degrees warmer but it's usually windier too being on the southernmost tip of the Island. Just before Christmas we were down over the Malahat to Victoria to see the Egyptian exhibit at the Royal Victoria Museum when it was 14c and sunny.

Oddly enough that is the day the windstorm struck and we arrived home in the Cowichan powerless for 14 hours- we were lucky. There were fallen trees and branches everywhere. Locals say they have never seen a wind storm like it. Talking about storms, we don't have thunder and lightning here but I guess it balances out when we have an earthquake warning. Our earthquake kit is in the front hall closet, close to the front door. The big one is nigh, so we hear. Of course "nigh" could mean a few hundred years from now- or not!

A house in Nanaimo. Bet you thought Florida!
During these "winter months" many people are in shorts when it’s 8 to 10 c and sunny. Brave souls even sport flip flops! Even on wet days it’s mild enough to sport a pair.
Shorts- not flip flops.

Winter coats? 
We layer clothing with a tee shirt, a hoodie or sweatshirt and a light jacket on top. We have never worn our winter ski jackets or winter boots. Light gloves? Occasionally.
There was some wet snow mixed with rain a week ago in the morning but the day ended up at 10c.
So, if you want to get away from snow and below zero temps this IS the place to be. Never a -20c or -30 temperature to be found. Barely below zero on a couple of nights.
Now, if you still want to ski where can a winter enthusiast go?
Hell comes to mind but seriously, Whistler on the mainland is popular but driving two hours north to Courtney/Comax you'll find Mt. Washington. That’s where "winter bunnies" go- and multiply, here on the island.
Friends in Orillia, Owen Sound, Ottawa and Washago have told us Ontario is in a "cold snap". That means it's colder than a witch's tittie, whereas I am in shorts and planting bulbs in our south garden.

An Island Neighbourhood on the Pacific Ocean
Just on the fringes of the Cowichan sits Ladysmith, a pretty Victorian town. Google it.
Ladysmith is built on a steep grade up to the edges of a mountain. Real Estate is a bit cheaper there.
Look for the Ladysmith BC website.

Here in Downtown Duncan there is a profusion of small shops- no chain stores. Duncan and North Cowichan- where we actually live, is about the same population as Orillia and area back in Ontario with the population in the neighbourhood of 75,000- give or take a thousand.
There is a native Casino here with slots only- we believe. Maybe gaming tables. We haven’t been.
It can't hold a candle to Casino Rama, however.

Nanaimo- up island past Ladysmith on the Trans Canada One, has a much larger population of  135,000 plus- with all the national chain stores and malls to choose from plus a big Costco.
Travelling in the other direction down Island there's Cobble Hill, Arbutus Ridge and Mill Bay. All are smaller communities but quite nice and right on the Ocean. We are 10-15 minutes from the Ocean at Maple Bay and the Salt Spring Ferry at Crofton.

Comparing real estate prices between the Cowichan and Victoria, Sidney or Saanich, we would win the "cheaper" sweepstakes- if there were such a thing. We would have loved to bought a home in Sidney but we couldn't find the same amount of house we have here in the Cowichan in size- and price point, in Sidney that we could afford in our retirement. Saying that, our house has gone up over 100,000 dollars in value in just a year. That's a good return on the dollar, eh?
Boats are in the water year round
So how do we fill our days here on the Island?
Well, we exercise walk every day- rain or shine. We have coffee with neighbours and friends. We go out to dinner- nothing too fancy though. At Christmas we had an Open House with more than 50 people. Most of the people we had met on the Island over the past year and 5 months. Island people are very friendly and most helpful with many Ontario and Alberta folks in the mix.

We have a younger couple from Woodstock living next door. They arrived on the Island a month before us. Several other Ontarians live here in our neighbourhood and in neighbourhoods close by. Back around Hallowe'en we met a lady a few streets away who was born in Orillia at Soldier’s Memorial Hospital. That's hard to find even when you live in Orillia.
Over the years there I'd talk to people who would say- "Yup, lived here in Orillia my whole life!"
"Oh, and born at Soldier's?"- I would ask.
"No."- they'd say, "But I've been here since I was 5 years old."
"But not born here then..."
I'd insert quickly- "That's a shame."
To find out more about our Island just Google "North Cowichan" or "Duncan"

Maple Bay with Salt Spring Island in the background
To get a true feeling for the place we now call home on Vancouver Island- if you even have the slightest desire to move here, I'd advise you to come out in January/February to get a true feeling for an “Island Winter”. If you're driving over from the mainland make sure you make a reservation on the appropriate ferry sailing- especially in the summer months or you may never get here!

Finally- just so you know, Vancouver Island is an Island surrounded by Pacific waters and there is no bridge from the mainland. You have to drive here by ferry or fly in an airplane- or swim over.
It's just that simple.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

ROBBLOG #762- January on the Island

Trees and Christmas decorations are all packed away in the cupboard under the stairs.
New socks are stuffed into already bulging sock drawers in my dresser.
I've made room made for new shirts in an equally over-stuffed closet.

It must be January on the Island.
I have made a mental note to go through my closet and send shirts that I no longer wear to one of the plethora of thrift shops around Duncan. I mean this is a new house and my closets are already bursting! Well, I am such a fashion horse you know.

I have to admit outside of living year-round in Hawaii under a tropical sun, Vancouver Island is hard to beat. This Mediterranean climate never ceases to amaze me. It is January but it sure doesn't feel like it.

We have had a lot more rain this December than the day after day of sunshine we experienced last year.
You know what?
I don't mind it one bit. All I have to recall is -20c temperatures, windchills of minus 35 and 25 to 30 cms of snow falling in a few hours and I snap back to "Island Reality".
January is indeed starting off damp and windy. We got many calls and texts when the windstorm just before Christmas Day hit the national news. We had no power for 14 hours but many Islanders had it much worse. Islands like Saltspring waited longer to have hydro service restored and had much worse damage.

No, I'll take this weather any day as long as we don't get blown to kingdom come!
No snow.
Mild days with temps in the 7 to 11c range. Mild overnights with temps around 4c.
Right now, we are seeing winter colour from Heather- both pink and white, as well as Camelia,
Winter Jasmine and Oregon Grape.

I have a pot of Primulas I bought last January that are blooming in their pot on a table next to the Muskoka Chairs at the front of the house. A Boston Fern sits in a heavy, red-coloured urn near the front door.
Try that back east!
Hostas are up about 8 inches and Tom's Lillies are all showing signs of green. A pair of evergreen clemantis are trailing over the arbour in our back yard with huge buds about to bloom.
New buds are on a couple of rose bushes and I can see welcome new growth on our lavender bushes and palms. We may still get a nippy night or two but these evergreen plants- like the palms, can take it!

Arbutus trees look like this year round.
It plays with your mind that this is the first week in January.
It seems it takes a long while to erase the memories of cold, Ontario January days. I wake up some mornings and think- Ugh! January.
Then, when my groggy brain awakens a bit more, I think- Oh right! The Cowichan on Vancouver Island. Mediterranean climate. No miserable, biting cold.

We do get some frost on the rooftops if it dips below zero but it's been a while since that has happened what with 4 or 5 degree lows overnight.

It is still strange not to see rack after rack of fake, fur-lined winter parkas in the stores. Even at Mark's in Canadian Tire there are just a couple of racks. People do travel to the mainland and maybe even up to Kamploops at the head of the Coquihalla, so there is a need for winter wear yet I have had no reason to take out my winter ski jackets from their dry cleaning bags. That's how they came to the island.

I have to laugh when I see ice scrapers and brushes on the Home Hardware flyer- occasionally. I don't think they sell many of those with the Island edition of the flyer.

Over Christmas, one never sees toboggans or sleds in stores. I am sure very few kids wake up Christmas morning finding Santa has left then with a brand new, spanking red sleigh. More likely a red bike with matching helmet or roller blades or skateboard. I may have said before that the island does offer sledding and snowmobiling but one has to drive to Courtney/Comax which is about two hours drive away from us in Duncan.

Magnolia Trees are Evergreen
Three hours away up island- to Nanaimo first then, left- or west, people flock to Tofino to watch the surfers or at least the gigantic Pacific waves during January and February. That's as far west as you can get in this massive country of ours.

I has shorts on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It was about 8 or 10 degrees with brilliant sunshine. Today I saw a fellah in Winners wearing shorts and flip-flops- not an unusual sight but probably from Alberta. Nobody bats an eye. It's the Island!

Car Wash Plantings
I still vividly remember knocking loose huge chunks of salt-laden ice from up under our van's wheel wells. Kicking with all your might, the blocks of ice stayed put or at least fell off with part of your vehicle still attached. Taking your vehicle to a car wash on a day when the temperature managed to stay above freezing was a regular winter pastime. Here, we don't have to wash the van that much but if winter showers have left some dirt residue along the side, we slide over to the car wash to give it a rinse and a polish while admiring the flowers planted next to the paved boulevard leading us into the wash bay.

Tom says to me yesterday- "With this rain and milder temps, maybe we'll have to cut our grass by the end of January and not mid-February like last year."

Truer words...

Saturday, December 29, 2018

ROBBLOG #762- Time's a Bitch

In an unpretentious Manor House on the better side of town, Bitchwych- the Butler/Manservant, is about to be in conversation with his Master- James. James- Your Grace, is Lord of the Manor and is quite comfortable in life and monetary matters. Bitchwych has been his faithful servant and confident for decades. Our story takes place in the space and time between Christmas and New Years. In the Library the fourteen foot tall spruce still stands, lit by more than 1000 white lights. It is quite Gay. James is seated comfortably at his walnut desk enjoying a hot cocoa when Bitchwych enters the room...

Bitchwych: Sir, is there anything else you require as I must leave only to endure the long lineups at the market before it closes.

James: Oh. No. I don't believe so Bitchwych. Such an awful ordeal you having to stand in line at the grocers with all those common folks about. I really do feel quite sorry for you. Is there not another way Bitchwych?

Bitchwych: Not if you care to eat Your Grace, over the remainder of the Holiday Season.

James: Oh right! Of Course. One must eat. Carry on Bitchwych.

Bitchwych: Very good Sir. He is about to leave the Library when...

James: I say Bitchwych, what day is this? Saturday?

Bitchwych: No, Your Grace. It is Friday. Saturday is on the morrow.

James: Not Thursday?

Bitchwych: Um. No Sir, Your Grace, Thursday was yesterday, so I presume today would be Friday?

James: Oh. Not Saturday?

Bitchwych: I don't believe so Sir. For Saturday is yet to come- a day away.

James: Oh Gosh. I must be a might twisted. Darn Holidays, they do it to me every year. Let me see if I am understanding this boondoggle. Today is not Saturday?

Bitchwych: Correct Your Grace.

James: And yesterday was Thursday?

Bitchwych: Being as today, this very day is Friday, I would have to agree with that statement Sir.

James: Then being Saturday tomorrow, it leaves me to conclude- with your remarkable assistance, that today is indeed- Friday!

Bitchwych: Alas, I tell you without reservation that this is so. We live and breathe on this very day- a Friday!

James: Well, then. ~he pauses looking into the mug holding the hot cocoa~ It is what it is.

Bitchwych: I am afraid that it appears so Your Grace. Would there be anything else before I depart for my marketing chores?

James: No, I do not believe so Bitchwych. You- as usual, have answered my query.

Bitchwych: Happy to do so Your Grace. I leave you to enjoy your afternoon and of course your hot cocoa.

James: Yes. Thank you Bitchwych. You are most accommodating as is your usual way. I appreciate your time and thoughts on the matter. I do so hope I have not wasted your time.

Bitchwych: Well Sir, if I cannot waste my time with Your Grace what indeed is the reason for continuing on or the entire Holiday Season for that matter?

James: Indeed and well said Bitchwych. Enjoy your afternoon.

Bitchwych: And you, yours- Your Grace.

With that Bitchwych left the Library and His Grace knowing fully that His Grace had not only wasted his time but now yours- Dear Reader, as well. Note to one's self. Stop watching shows produced by the BBC.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

ROBBLOG #761- Another year. Another Christmas Season.

Who woulda thunk it?

18 years past the worry of Y2K and we’re still here, relatively in one piece.
Wars, strife, political nonsense and global warming are still with us. What will the future bring?
In “westernized” countries things are changing. Many have lost common sense it would seem.
Then, throw in the fact we’re all getting older day by day...

I know what you’re thinking- “What kind of a bloody Christmas Greeting is this?”
It’s just that these days it’s hard not to think about the next 30 years- or less, not to mention the present.
Like the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be- it’s a pain in the buttocks when you think about it-
Life’s a bitch and then you expire.
We all have an expiry date.
Some sooner than others.

The thing is, we all have to make the most of the time we have left on this earthly plane and Christmas and the Holiday Season
is one of the best ways to make the most of life and living. It offers the opportunity to re-charge our batteries to prepare for
the year ahead.
Who the Hell knows what that will bring?
I don’t and I am pretty sure you don’t- although we can all surmise...

Here on Vancouver Island life continues. Tom and I have met oodles and oodles of new people.
In the past week we have entertained more than 60 of them in our new home- Palm Villa.
These are people who have made room for us in their lives since we arrived on this Island one year
and four months ago.
We are grateful to one and all.

Jude trying on a new pair of readers
Along with new friends and neighbours in our life, we have also been left to deal with the passing of old friends and family members. I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone a couple of times a week to hear my Cousin Judy’s voice and infectious laugh.

Tante Kristel left us a few months ago. She lived a “life” in Berlin, Germany. Her jokes and laughter will always echo in our heads. I will never forget her stories of Berlin during in WW II and how they had to live under Nazi rule.

I miss Sue e-mailing now and then to ask me- “Is Swisssh off the air?”
“No”- I usually replied. “Just refresh your page or maybe re-boot your computer.”

At our house, we still enjoy the love from Koko- Our Mini Schnauzer and Dickens our orange and white tabby. We are still expecting to hear that our Orange Cat Doyle- Dicken’s Brother, has been found in Winnipeg. Possibly he’s been living with a nice family who had taken him in after he jumped from our RV- Priscilla, a year ago August. Some days, we give up all hope, then, other days the glimmer grows to a bright light when we see an orange cat on the Winnipeg Lost and Found Cats Facebook Page.
As with every Christmas, we remember all our four-legged family members: Samantha, Max, Lucky, Luma, Samantha II and Kiki- our special Yellow Lab who passed at 17 years of age, five years ago now.

Our biggest heartbreak this year was saying goodbye to our precious little Schnauzer- Missy.
Whiskers Miss Samantha Rose.
Her full name.

Missy left us on the Sunday following Labour Day. We reluctantly sent her on her journey over the Rainbow Bridge. She passed in our arms. Free from pain and discomfort now.
There were many tears and huge sobs. She was such a sweetheart and she tried so hard to stay with her Dad’s in her new house on Vancouver Island.
I have to stop now...

Our Home in Duncan in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island is roomy and very comfortable. We have more than 1200 square feet of extra room in this new home than Pine Tree House afforded us back in Ontario. Last Christmas we had just settled in and were still unpacking boxes and getting to know the community or at least finding our way to the 49th Parallel- an Island Grocery Store.

Our yard is now landscaped and gardens planted.
We have two Palm Trees, two Magnolias, various grasses, three or four banana plants, a yucca cane and other evergreen plants indigenous to the Cowichan meaning- “Warm Land”.

In the past two days there is snow on top of Mount Prevost which we see from our Lanai. It’s very pretty and about as close to snow as we get here in this Mediterranean Climate. Temperatures are mild and moderate. It’s not tropical but only two days ago it was 14c. Our overnights are about 4 or 5 degrees Celsius Occasionally, we get a brisk evening and we see a light frost on rooftops but that’s about it.

At this special Holiday Time of the year, Tom and I want to wish you all the best.
Warm Christmas wishes for a wonderful Holiday Season with your family and friends.

Those of you who were friends and neighbours over the past 25 years in Orillia, Ontario and before that in Mississauga, Ontario are missed, as are colleagues in both the Broadcasting and the Airline Industries.
We may be three time zones and thousands of miles away but we will never forget you. Some have already made the trip out west to our Island Paradise. We had over a half dozen visits from Easterners this past year alone.
Others are thinking about coming. Some even considering a move- like ours.
Our advice?
Tom and I would say to you to “make the change”.
The Island’s fine. Weather is too!
It’s a nice life here on our Island and a change like this feels remarkably right and comfortable- even more so if you are retired or about to retire.

I’d like to say thanks for reading my RobBlog.
I appreciate it. I really do.

Have a very Merry, Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

ROBBLOG #760- Dear Virginia

We all remember that delightful little letter that Virginia wrote to Santa many years ago. Well, what if Virginia and Santa kept up the correspondence over the years...

Dear Virginia Adams,

It’s just me again. Santa Claus.
I wrote to you last only a week ago and I really appreciate the time you took to answer me.

I looked up your last name in my big book of names. Virginia Adams- what a perfectly lovely name!
Ho! Ho! Ho!

Goodness me, Christmas is almost here...again!
Did you know that writing to you gives me a clean, fresh perspective on many events in our world today? It is calming somehow to read your replies.

I wonder a lot these days about this country CANADA and this big old world of ours.
I wonder and worry about those right-wingers like Mr. Scheer and that terrible Mr. Ford in Ontario. Oh Virginia, they believe they are doing the right thing for people but in reality they are beginning to tear the very fabric of this wonderful country apart.
I worry about that.
It bothers me.
I really does. Like the price of Miss Coco Peru's Panettone.

Well, Ho Ho Ho, any smart person in the world knows that old Santa is a Canadian through and through.

Yes, those Americans always like to think I am one of them and really if it hadn’t been for their
Coca-Cola commercials and Clement Moore’s poem, I still might be back there in the “Dark Ages”- the 1900 hundreds! However, my heart is firmly planted in the True North Strong and Free! Oh Dear, with that Mr. Trump all set to "eat a peach" and be jailed, I mean we can only feel sorry for their current state of affairs. Between you and me Virginia that Sarah Sanders will get nothing but coal in her size double large stockings this year.
I know I shouldn't speak of size Dear Virginia and I shan't but really pearls with every dreadful little dress she wears?
Dreadful taste.
Oh and while we are there our own Chrystia Freeland needs to take a moment for a re-do. Some of her outfits makes Mr. Clause cringe and Dear Virginia some of the things Mrs. Claus says are downright funny if not the complete and utter truth!

Virginia, I was reading the newspaper over the weekend and I see even more young people are being shot- many on the streets of  cities right her in Canada.
Why is this?
This never used to be a consideration. What has happened to my children?
I believe seeing all those murders on the big screen and on the television in their own homes gives a twisted view of our world. Killing is made to look easy and no one pays the price in make-believe land.
Oh my stars, the unsuitable language too.
It goes on and on.

Now Virginia, how can the Chinese hold those two Canadian Gentlemen hostage? It's a game that kids play. You have one of ours so I'll take two of yours.
What has happened to love Virginia. Simple love. Where has it gone?
That is beyond me Virginia.

Why in this day of medical miracles are so many people unwell? There are cancers, new diseases, world-wide flu outbreaks and more. Maybe we just hear about these terrible things since our media is world-wide in this new age.
Where did the 1950's go?
Wasn't life simpler then? I can tell you it was indeed.
Oh Goodness. Look at me asking you. A child, although I believe you are very smart Virginia Adams. Very smart!

I was just saying to Mrs. Clause the other night you'd think in this day we live in, we'd have the answers to everything.
Living together.
Loving each other.
Healthy living.
How Cadbury's get's the Caramilk into those chocolate squares...
Oh My!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Time flies just like my reindeer. New cellular phones come out every month or two and television screens gets bigger- and thinner. Mr. Branson is testing planes to take folks to the outer edge of outer space.
Goodness Me!

Well Virginia, I best run. Time to feed the reindeer and my “Olive”- the other Reindeer, has a bit of a cold, so I am personally attending to her recovery.
Write when you can.

Your friend,

Dear Santa,

Nice to hear from you and I am absolutely thrilled every time I receive a note from you.
I can't imagine how busy you are at this special Holiday time of the year!

I think the politicians today are full of baloney for the most part. At least I hear my Dad say that from time to time and golly, I have to agree. I don't understand everything that goes on these days with governments around the world but then who does?

Santa, why does everyone have to hurt everyone else? We should be living in Peace and Harmony.
It's a simple thing to do- isn't it?
Somebody’s always got to be bullying someone.
This is wrong.

As far as the shootings and illnesses, I sure wish I had an answer to that one.
It's a conundrum. 
My Grandma says that word a lot when she doesn't get something.

If I had one answer for you, it would be a simple one.
Just simplify our lives in everything we do. Like the 1050's you mention in your letter.

Yes, I believe that bad things happen to many good people. It’s just a case of being in the wrong place. If someone gets very ill, I guess they have just pulled that particular card from the deck of life but if we all took some time to just be kind and nice to one another, what a wonderful world we would live in.

I hope this helps.
I know I'm not as smart as you but I still have some opinions and things to say.
I hope Olive gets better real quick too.

Write again when you get a chance.

Your friend,
Virginia Adams

Saturday, December 15, 2018

ROBBLOG #759- An Angel Earns His Wings

Holiday Note: I woke up early a few mornings ago and this story started to play out in my mind. I was even able to remember most of he dialogue when I got up a few hours later.
Huh...Not bad for an "older person".
Anyhoo, it may be the start of a new movement or religion even...or not. Enjoy this fable from my very own brain...or wherever such things come from.

3:16 a.m.

Roger watched the clock next to his bedside tick ever so slowly forward. Why was he feeling so restless? Why would his much-needed sleep not come?

Roger's Hubby- Timothy, had opted for the couch this night. He had a bit of cold starting and he didn't want to pass it on to Roger.
Roger was such a cow when he had a cold. The separation was worth it. Timothy knew it. Roger knew it.

Roger fidgeted in the bed rolling this was and that way. He counted from one hundred backwards.
He sang softly to himself and wrote the word sleep with his index finger in the darkness above his head.
His stomach was anxious. He didn't know why because everything was good. The Holidays were here. The tree was decorated and most- not all, most of the gifts were bought. So, what's the big deal?

He rolled over for the one thousandth time. Holding his eyes tightly shut.
That's when he saw it behind his eyelids.
Bright, white light.
He peeked between his long eyelashes. Yes it was light and it was coming from a central source.
Roger opened his tired eyes fully and there standing at the end of the brass bed was a figure. A golden light source. Dare he say it- an Angel?
He saw wings.
This is possibly a real, honest to goodness Angel right here in my bedroom, hovering at the foot of my bed.

Suddenly, the golden apparition spoke to him:
"I am an angel of the heavenly host and I come to tell you something this December night."

Roger sat up and batted his eyes.
"Tell me something?" Roger started to get huffy.
"I mean who are you to come into my bedroom in all this white light- while I am trying to sleep I might add, wanting to have a chat or something?"

The angel looked away from the pad where he was scribbling away with a golden pencil in smooth, white fingers- "Right. Like you were sleeping..."

"I was at least trying."- Roger growled, "Anyway, who are you and what are you doing floating above the end of my bed like that and by the way are you a man or a woman? You've got some pretty dainty hands there for a man. Dainty hands but very bare, muscular legs and- dare I say, thighs under that pair of shorty jammies you're wearing"
The Angel rolled his eyes and slid the pad and pencil in a pocket in the glimmering shift he was adorned in.

"Yes, I'm a man and yes I have smallish hands. These are not jammies- it's a shorty-gown. And not that you're asking but I happen to have very large, athletic feet for an Angel of my stature."

"Girlishly short hands and big feet! Is that a winning combo in Heaven or wherever you just flew in from?"

"Look, Roger..."

"Oh she knows my name! I'm impressed!"

He sighs..."Look Roger. My Mother had smallish hands and my Uncle Flavius too, so just....Hmmmm. Gosh, I never, ever thought of that connection before..."

"Look do I have to stay awake while you go over your  family tree and who your Mother schtuped?"

The Angel scowled. "Never mind. To the business at hand. I am a member of the Heavenly Host and I come to bring you some great news?"

"Like the price of gas is going down?"

"No!" The Angel was beginning to become flustered.

"So what's your name anyhow?"

"Oh! Yes. Sorry. Gabriel."

"Gabriel. Not too much of a stretch for your Mother. Been an angel long Gabe?"

"It's Gabriel. Gabriel Stanley Augustus. I've had wings entire life. One gets born into this Angelic Lineage and you?"

"Well, as you can see I am NOT an Angel and I live here in this comfy three bedroom home with a double car garage and huge backyard with my husband Timothy. Say Gabey.."


"Gay...ummm- are big wings a big thing up there or over there in Heaven like a pee-pee is here on earth?"

"Oh, now that's mature from someone on my list I've been directed to visit with some good news.."

"You said 'great news' I believe."

"Real Mature Roger." The Angel takes a deep breath. "So, you're asking if the size of one's wings relates to the size of one's penis here on earth. Is that right?"

"Well. Yes. If you were headed in that direction." Roger brought his knees into his chest and hugged them with both arms and listened intently.

"I wasn't!" spat the Angel named Gabriel, "However since you are asking, there is a correlation there to be sure."

"Ah-Hah!" Roger was getting blustery. "So Big Wings. Big Penis. Wow!"

The Angels flapped his wings gently.
"Are you through?" He looked at Roger with pursed lips.

"Yes...Look Gage, do you want to know how big my ~ahem~ wings are?"
The Angel hovered and shook his pretty head. Roger once again noticed the musculature of its legs.

Pausing referring to his notes, the Angel tried to look dis-interested....
After a few moments he speaks:
"Oh sorry, I tend to lose focus when a human goes on and on about themselves. It's a naughty habit but it is a useful one."

"I'll say. So what do you want? Are you bringing me The First Nowell- second in this case possibly- and where's the rest of your haughty-taughty hosts?"

"The Heavenly Hosts? Oh well...they're there." He motions. "Here. I mean I could call them at any moment but they're doing a Christmas Concert on Cloud Twenty-Two tonight and they'd be pissed if I brought them down here from that..."

"Language Gabe. Language. Well, I wouldn't want to be the reason for something like that. Now, um, could we get on with what you want to say in a Nowell or otherwise? I might try for sleep again."

"Yes, well good luck after this message from above but here it is in a nutshell. I have flown down to earth to meet you and to see you to tell you that you are about to be with child."

"What? Are you nuts? I'm a man. I can't have kids!"

The Angel is clearly flustered. His wings tapping lightly together in a one, two cha cha cha kind of beat. He gathers his thoughts quickly, looks at Roger, now leaning back against a trio of pillows and explains in a forthright manner-
"I've heard that before! Oh boo-hoo I'm a Virgin, I can't have a child or I'm too old to have a kid or I don't have an extra room for a nursery. It goes on and on. Look. Roger. Sweetheart. I am here. I have a pill and that's all there is to it. Well, a magic pill really..."

"A fucking magic pill? To do what with and to whom?"

"The angel smiled a wide, angelic smile. To take this tiny pill I have in my "girlish" fingers and shove it- this tiny pill, up your pipe so you become pregnant and become "with child" before the morning light."

"Are you sure you're not looking for Nancy Goldstein? She lives next door with her parents."

"Nancy Goldstein is only 12 years old. Don't be ridiculous Roger!."

"Who are you- Santa Claus, anyway, it worked the first time Gawd Damn time didn't it?!"

"Potty mouth! Anyway, it was a different time!"

"You mean there were no laws. Oh and by the way, you're Angel hovering at the end of my bed and you call me the ridiculous one! That's rich!"

"Look. Just shut up and roll over. Don't make me use Angel Force!"
The Angel's light was shining brighter somehow and his wings flapped faster. Roger could clearly see the muscles undulating beneath the shortie PJ's.

"So what do I get out of all this? eh?"
Roger had a point.

Gabriel hovered and had a think. The tiny white pill held tightly in the palm of his hand-
"Well how about a man having a baby?"

"Men have had babies before Gabe!"

"Ahhh. But not inside their body! It'll be a miracle!"

Roger's mouth fell open. Timothy and he wanted kids but both thought they were past the post.

"You're not past the post...yet!"- Gabriel offered.

"Of course I'm not. I keep telling Tim... WAIT! Did you just read my mind?"
The Angel nodded and smiled another wide, angelic, all-knowing smile.
"Holy Fucking mind-fuck!"

"Yes, it might be considered that without all the groaning and sweating you people get involved with."

"Will I remember this? Will there be a stable and shepherds? Will I travel on an ass..."

"Look. Roger. You are an ass already! Now take the pill. I got to fly. Hah! Hah! Cracks me up when I get to say that..."

"You're a real stand-up Gay!" The Angel still tittered and tee hee'd while Roger had a think. Good Gawd, he'd be famous. He's have money. Timothy would be proud. They'd have a kid.

"OKAY! YES! Stick your pill where the sun don't shine Gabey!"

"Oye! Humans. Entertaining, queer bunch of beings." He just realized what he said- "No offence Roger!"

"Non taken"- says Roger. Now just do it..."

"Done." says Gabriel.

"Done? I didn't feel a thing!"

"Didn't have to. I am an Angel you know."

"Yes Gabe, but was it good for you?.. and if you light a cigarette. I'll scream!"

Gaberiel motioned with both hands- come see, some saw..

"Bitch!" thought Roger.

"I know"- answered Gabriel. "Well Toots, I must run."

"Toots?" Roger scratched the boys in an efficient scratch.

" Listen Roger, it's been a Holiday Hoot. Have a good life and I might "swing" on by to check on you from time to time- if that's okay?"

"Sure." Roger was beginning to take it all in. "You'll want to meet Timothy I presume."

"Of course." The Angel flapped his golden wings in preparation to depart. "This isn't going to be easy for you two you know. You have to get Timothy on board and then dealing with all those sheep at the stable. Boy! I'm glad it's you and not me..."

"Howz that?" Roger was alert now. "How is this all going to come to pass anyway?"

Gabriel looked down at Roger for a final time.
"I dunno but check under a cabbage leaf or look for a huge stork circling your house. Oh and Roger..."


"It'll all work out. I have it on highest authority and I am an authority when it comes to a child being born. Later Dude."
And he was up and away and the light returned to darkness.

Roger flicked on the bedside lamp. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed. Slipped his feet into his fuzzy slippers and ran to the living room to tell Timothy. It was going to be a Merrier Christmas than either had imagined.

Now he knew he could sleep in heavenly peace- or at least try taking a sleeping pill.