Sunday, December 28, 2014

ROBBLOG #568



It’s the world of the future today!

I think they used to say that about microwaves 30 years ago or maybe it was the Contempra Phone.

Over the holidays we’ve made electronic purchases that indeed seem futuristic.First of all, my Husband Tom wanted an iPad 3. Please note we don’t usually venture out into Boxing Day crows, however, he need this so badly and it was on sale.
He has the iPhone and a laptop- which is not an “I” anything, yet still he firmly claimed-
“I want an iPad Three!”
Who was I to argue?
I had an iPad once. It confused me and I sold it at a great loss of revenue to a friend. I just couldn’t understand it. That’s why I am an Android/Samsung guy all the way. I’m not sure what this latest iPad does but he’s been showing me all these on-screen things since he powered it up.
Boys and their toys! 

Next, a day or so before Christmas I saw a product advertised in both the WalMart and Target flyer as well as Future Shop. It is a marvelous little piece of electronic wizardry called Chromecast.
It is really just a dongle.
No, not that kind of dongle, although this one was firm- being made of hard plastic. To backtrack some, a year ago we had bought 100 feet of LAN line trying to send movies and TV shows we watched on our PC to our Big Screen TV. We could get the video part to work but the audio didn’t, so, we shelved the idea and all that blue cord has been taking up space on a shelf in the garage. Now, along comes a dongle called Chromecast. We fellas all have names for our dongles, this one just happens to be Chromecast. I don’t suppose Big Boy, Harry the Horse  or Hercules would have worked- marketing-wise, for Google. 

For $29.99 this Chromcast dongle by Google works like a charm and it take minutes to install. It’s all wireless and works from the WiFi signal in your home. Just plug the Chromecast dongle into the HDMI plug on your TV. Download Google Chrome on your PC or mobile phone. Next, search for Chromecast. It takes a minute or two to load. The instructions in video form are on the site.
Easy-Peasy. 



In a short time we were watching Season 5 of Downton Abbey from a website called Couchtuner. We even watched the 2 hour Christmas Special. Both picture and sound are excellent and all for $29.99!
What a bargain for  a piece of the future. I love it when something is reasonably priced and works like a charm. I can even send videos and such from my Samsung Phone to the TV screen.
Totally magic! 

Finally, a day or so ago I was reading a newspaper online when I noticed an ad on the page for something called a Navdy. See online ads do work! (A hint for businesses who listen to Swisssh or Starlite or go to the Swisssh homepage ww.swisssh.ca) I watched the video. This small device- about the size of a small DVD player, sits on your vehicle’s dashboard right in front of the driver. When in use, it projects a screen in front of you onto the windshield. It appears the image is about 6 feet in front of your car. The transparent screen shows you speed and GPS. One can also answer calls from a mobile phone with the sweep of a finger and both read and reply to texts- by voice. It even shows your current position which in turn you can text to whomever.
 
I showed Tom and even he was impressed. Some top of the line vehicles have a system such as this built in but this Navdy has to be installed and is priced at about 360 bucks CDN if you pre-order.
We did.
We ordered on for each vehicle.
They’ll be shipped in early 2015.

I am excited about this. It means hands free calling and you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to use it because the screen is right there in your line of vision on the windshield. You give the device the finger and it performs for you! Hmmm. Sounds like the 80’s but I digress.
It’s the future indeed in 2015! 

The iPad 3 and the Chromecast are operating as they should. I’ll let you know about the Navdy when it comes. In the meantime check out the video for yourself. It’s well done and amusing as well as informational. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

ROBBLOG #567



Christmas Dis and Dat 

It’s a definite test of one’s patience and “Holiday Cheer” when you venture into a busy department store or mall at this time of year. The crunch is on! People are wide- eyed like Bambi caught in the headlights of an oncoming Ford Falcon. We never seem to learn though. As a friend’s husband says to his wife Roxanne every year-“Did you forget that Christmas falls on December 25 Dear?” 

At our house we have decidedly cut back on Christmas giving these past few years. We are dispensing with giving a lot of gifts to each other on Christmas Day. This year I gave Tom a new furnace. He gave me a new verandah.
Nice, eh?

Oh, there’s a turkey in the fridge to be cooked. Last week we treated ourselves to Jersey Boys- front row even! We’ve bought little things for host(ess) gifts when we see friends over the Holidays- but that’s it. 

We still “make merry”!
A few days ago we were invited to a gathering at friend’s house. One guest was going on and on about people not saying “Merry Christmas” so much anymore. I get so tired of hearing this, so I said- I say Merry Christmas- even though I’m an Atheist!
You could have heard a pine needle drop on the Victorian carpet. 



In other Christmas News… 

Please tell people who litter their front lawns with those monstrous blow-up decorations to stop!These colourful, rubber monoliths add little holiday sparkle. We have new neighbours who have taken up the cause of a blowup Christmas. Yes, I admit to being “snobbish” about these things. I am sure they would look more at home in another city ward. Just not ours! This “bunch of bloated” beings are the only decorations of this type for blocks around!
Oh well. Fah-la-la-la-lah-la-la-la-lah!! 

Good on the City of Orillia for providing free parking Downtown once again this year. For a few weeks when I pull into a lot to “Shop Downtown” I am not frustrated searching for major coinage to feed the blasted meter. Any wonder it’s easier to drive to West Ridge or The Mall. Geeesh! 

Many of us have been shopping online this year and wait for Canpar, the UPS Man or Canada Post to conveniently bring our purchases to our front door. That’s a good idea. On the other hand, a helpful note: It might save you some time if you check a store’s website if you intend shopping in person to see if they even carry the item you’re searching for. 

My final few bits of Holiday Dis and Dat concern parties and music. Now I am no Louise Fox but if you intend “decking the halls” at your company Christmas Gathering it’s a good idea to leave the lampshade at home and remember to wear underwear.  

I love Christmas music. I start playing it on Swisssh and Starlite the minute the Santa Claus Parade schlepped through Downtown Orillia. However, I am sure most of you will agree, I don’t like every Holiday tune out there.

Hence, I don’t play that blasted song about the “Christmas Shoes” and Mommy meeting Jesus. I am sure it’s the same chain-smoking, blue-rinse, gin-soaked “dolly” who repeatedly asks terrestrial radio stations to play it.  

While we are on the subject of Christmas Music- if Jesus is reading this column, please make that Hippopotamus Song or any Christmas tune sung by the late Whitney Houston and that freakin’ Mary’s Boy Child from Boney M disappear- if you can. 

God, Bless us every one!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

ROBBLOG #566



It’s Christmas once again and in the interest of Atheists, Jews and Christians alike, I offer you my Blog: 

Santa Claus and Jesus
 

Santa Claus was born several hundred years ago.
Christ was born in Bethlehem on Christmas Day- in February a couple of thousand years ago. 

Santa Claus used to be St. Nicholas and still is in some countries. Jesus is a prophet in some countries and God- or at least God’s son, in some countries. Some people who live in the Amazon have never heard of Santa or Jesus and they do not get Christmas Day and Boxing Day off. Sucks to be Amazonian! 

Santa Claus is Canadian and lives at the North Pole- even today. Jesus was Jewish and lived in Galilee. He was Galilean. He is dead. 

Santa is well-travelled.
Jesus walked around Galilee and once- when very young- took a trip with his mother Mary and Father Joseph- not his real Dad, to Egypt.

Santa Claus is a “fictional character” believed in by Children.
Jesus is a “fictional character” believed in by grown-ups who force their children to believe.

Santa Claus is boss and there is no CEO or Big Guy lording over him, although he does have the backing of the corporate sector- you know- The Bay, WalMart and Giant Tiger.
Jesus has a CEO. He is called “The Pope” and is Catholic. Did I mention Jesus was and still is Jewish? Although, those who believe in him are called “Christians” and they live forever- something called eternal life, if they believe in him. 

SIDEBAR: Believing in Santa Claus gives you no guarantees of an eternal life but you can score some pretty neat gifts. 

Santa Claus is married. His wife’s name is…ummm...well…Mrs Claus. Her first name is probably Dorothy or Eunice.
Jesus is not married. His last name is Christ. Jesus may be Gay. He hung out with 12 guys for 3 years. He ate, slept, hung out and swam in the Dead Sea with all of them. He may well have been a tramp with a very high libido. Of course some people say that Mary Magdalene- who hung around with Jesus and the 12 guys, eventually married Jesus, moved to France and had a bunch of kids. Others believe she was a “Fag Hag”. (Google the term “Fag Hag”, if you are not familiar with it). Some claim Mary was a prostitute but the Catholics forgave her for that sin a few years ago. Good Old Catholics. They should know. 

SIDEBAR: Do not confuse Mary Magdalene with Mary Smith (I think that was her last name- or David) who was Jesus’ mother on earth whom God- who by the way lives on his own planet according to the Mormons, came down and ^%&$#!






SIDEBAR: I know you might be having a difficult time swallowing some of this but hang in there. 

Santa wears a red suit and carries a big bag of toys slung over his back.
Jesus wore a sack. It was bleached white and he probably didn’t wear underwear and he slung his bag….never mind. Look it up on Google! 

Santa had a bunch of Elves working for him. They are all ageless, short of stature and wear pointed shoes.
Jesus has The Pope working for him and The Pope is always old, shuffles around wearing gold slippers and a pointy hat. 

Santa can come down many, many chimneys “with a bound” and live through the experience. He can eat tons of cookies that kids leave for him on the dining room table as well, he drinks litres and litres of milk.
Jesus can be nailed to a piece of wood- only once, then lose consciousness, get buried in a stone tomb and wake up on a Sunday morning a couple of days later just in time for brunch at the Casino. Oh yes- Jesus can also fly up- ascend actually, into the clouds of Heaven. He does not get any frequent flyer miles for doing this. Such a pity. 

Santa Claus has a bunch of Happy Holiday tunes written about him as well as snowmen, hippopotamuses, front teeth and more.
Jesus has some happy tunes written about Him and Angels, Shepherds and Kings and such but most of the tunes are morose, scary, dull and boring. 

Santa Claus makes a decent wage and passes along benefits to Mrs Claus and his Elves.
Jesus is aided by the Catholic Church and a lot of other churches who believe they are “real” churches, only they are not because they have been told by the Catholics that they are all second class because the Catholics are the only true Christians. We wonder why there are wars…

I digress…

So, Jesus has riches of gold, famous paintings, property, The Vatican and a bunch of stuff that is hidden to keep the poor and downtrodden from getting wise to his schtick. 

Finally,
Santa is a jolly old elf, fills the world with loves and happiness every year- and you don’t have to go to church or bend over and worship him.
Jesus- on the other hand, hardly ever cracked a joke, got pissed off at the money-lenders and tried to run away from his parents when his was 12. However an orange alert was sounded and his parents found him doing some business for his Father. No, I don’t mean Joseph, I mean the big guy up on that planet. Jesus also expects you to prostrate yourself before him and worship him- or go to Hell. Took the words right out of my mouth! 

SIDEBAR: Jesus has his own planet these days too- according to the Mormons, whereas Santa has just has a bit of frozen land called the North Pole. 

So Kids, that’s my take on Santa vs Jesus.
Have a Wonderful Holiday!
Seasons Greetings!
Happy Hanukkah!
and
have a very Merry Little Christmas! 

FINAL SIDEBAR: You think it’s tough waiting for Santa to come to your house just once a year! What about the Jews who are still waiting for the Messiah and have been waiting for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Now that’s commitment!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

ROBBLOG #565



P-E-A-C-E 

Peace. A word that in itself sounds warm and quiet.
Peace.
A little shush with the “c” on the end. 

I have been thinking about Peace lately. Peace in the Middle East, in Russia, Syria, wherever there’s tension. Peace on Earth, Goodwill Towards Men. Peace doesn’t just mean being kind and thoughtful and peaceful during the holidays, it’s a word and feeling that should resonate the entire year through. 

Peace should be a top priority.
Take a few minutes, light a candle for Peace. Send out the waves of love and “do unto others as you would have them do onto you”. If any message could ever break through and catch the ear of a Supreme Being- Peace is it. 

I’m not an expert on Peace. I don’t know how and if our world will even get close to understanding the word “Peace”. Terrorism lurks in lightness as well as darkness and from great distances. It makes us mindful and careful.
 
 

We need to find Peace in our daily lives. Take a few moments to reflect in a quiet spot away from the hustle and bustle.
Contemplation over a hot cup of peppermint tea.
Quiet thoughts while watching the lights twinkle on a perfectly decorated tree.
Reaching out to help someone.
A warm smile and a nod of the head to a passing stranger amid all the holiday hubbub.
An arm in arm walk with a friend or loved one in the crisp evening air.
There doesn’t have to be words, just positive thoughts. 

Maybe we all should send out those thoughts of Peace during this Holiday Season and together let’s hope there’s someone “out there” listening somewhere…

 

 

 


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ROBBLOG #564

Dear Readers,
I am taking a few days off, so I asked my best girlfriend Dame Clare Voyant, to write a little something, so look out- here she comes.
R*


Holiday Happenings
by Dame Clare Voyant 

Now that nice man Mr. Reid- who owns this Blog, is allowing me- once again, to sub hit for him with this column of mine. He’s taking a small break you see. I truly appreciate the gesture at this warm, joyous time of the year, even though your Royal Dameness is practically up to ample bosom with Holiday preparations. 

I really am My Dears.
I mean that,
I really do.

Why, there are several trees to be decorated- although my Darling Pool Boy Roger and his “hubbie” Xavier helped me drag my balls out a day or so ago, to see just what I have in storage. Well, you know the “Gays” and their “balls”. Everything has to be hung just so. ~snicker~

My Dear’s the Palais Royale- just on the outskirts of town, will absolutely “sparkle” all through the season. From the electronically enhanced front gate to the Chauffer’s quarters we absolutely glow!

Speaking of such, I remember one year my Chauffeur Rudy got the 57 Chevy all oiled and gassed up to take Roger, Xavier, my Best friend Hedda Lettuce and myself tree shopping. Hedda, Rudy and I were in the Chevy’s cab while the boys jumped into the back, wrapping up tight in a couple of Hudson Bay blankets. Rudy turned up the Christmas tunes and we were good to go! 

There is a special “tree place” My Dears- in that little burg called Oro-Medonte, that we have driven to these past few years. Now it’s all part and Christmas parcel of our Holiday Traditions. We gathered armloads of fresh branches and a tree or two then headed back towards town. A quick stop at the Canadian Tire for some new LED lights that Rudy said we simply must have My Dears- and we were off to brunch and liquid refreshments.

Now, My Dears, I must say when this group of “giddies” gets together all “heck” can break loose. We stopped at a local watering hole to grab a sandwich and a few beers. We chatted and laughed and talked of how we would decorate the trees. I believe we were feeling quite happy.

I must say that My Dears.                                                                                                     I really must! 



Roger and Xavier broke into song at several points and even encouraged one of the Male servers to sit at the old 88’s and bang out a Christmas Song or two. It was absolutely delightful and brought me closer to the Holiday Season. Hedda and I sang our own version of the Twelve Days of Christmas, however My Dears, it got pretty naughty towards the 9th, 10th and 11th days. I just couldn’t repeat the lyrics here in this Blog that we sang. Mr. Reid would flip!

He really would My Dears.  
I mean that.
He really, really would. 

After we were all “tanked” up, off the 57 Chevy sped to the Palais- just on the outskirts of town. We unloaded the boughs and trees into the barn to keep them cool, while Roger and Xavier headed to the indoor pool to shimmy into their speedos for a little “heated” dip.
What a memory and how cherry red their suits were!

Anyway, later today Hedda and I will spread every issue of House and Home- from the past 20 years, on the Living Room rug and begin to look for Holiday Decorating ideas.

We’ll have a terrific time. 
I really mean that My Dears.
I really do.

I must toodle away now because your Dameness has a date with a loofah sponge and a pedicure artiste. The things we “gals” must do to look presentable and garner that “Holiday Glow”. 

Tah for now!

 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ROBBLOG #563


Beware pre-lit trees.

The warning to Caesar was quite clear-
Beware the Ides of March.
I now say to you " beware items of Christmas decorated with strings of pre-lit lights."

It all started a few years back when I bought an outdoor artificial tree in a box from Costco. Pre-lit with 200 lights and stuck in a decorative pot. It was reasonably priced. It would save time so-
I took it home.
I removed the tree from the box. Plugged it in on the front verandah- and voila...instant light.
Nice.

That lasted for a few weeks and then one evening 100 lights went dark. I tried everything.
I replaced a bulb or two. I jiggled strings- and I swore.
Nothing worked.
Finally, in desperation, I removed all the lights. A mighty big job. The strings must have been wound on the branches by a machine somewhere in mainland China where the tree was made.
They were tightly wrapped and took longer to unwind and remove than the entire process of buying the tree, removing it from its cardboard container and plugging it in- combined!

Now, this year I am cursed with the same problem.

A week ago, I plugged in a wire reindeer lit with LED lights and half of the bulbs didn't work. I jiggled a cord and replaced a bulb and the string finally sparkled to life.
Holiday luck!



Then, another dark, unlit cloud appeared.
Last year I bought two Canada Geese from Wal*Mart. They are constructed of white wire and wrapped in a hundred LED mini-lights. I take them from the garden shed- The Shed Mahall (yes, it's a big garden shed!) and plug them in.
One goose is fine. The other- designed with wings spread wide as if it's about to take flight, not so much. The body of the goose is well-lit but the wings are dark. I haven't tried to fix them yet. Half the Goose is under 20 cms of snow!

Move forward to a few days ago. I decide to set up one of a half dozen artificial spruce trees I have in the garage. This particular tree was bought well after Boxing Day a few years ago. I bought it for 10 bucks. It was pre-lit with 400 lights.
I only used it twice in past years.
I go out to the garage and drag it into the house. After taking it from the storage box, I take out the lower level and carefully fold the branches down.
I plug it in.
It works.
Next, I take the middle section.
Repeat the process and there's light!
Finally the top of the tree.
I fold down the branches and fluff them. That's the term one uses when setting up a fake tree. Fluff the branches so the tree looks life-like.
Fluffing completed, I plug it in.
Darkness.
I jiggle some lights.
Nothing.
Dark, yet the bottom two thirds of the tree sparkle away.
I could just spit!

With a minimum of swearing and a maximum of deep breaths, I take the tree apart. Place it in it's box. Tape it closed and take it back to the garage. It'll be going to Goodwill.

Now, one would think all my bad light-luck is behind me.
Well, one would be wrong.
I bring in a slender slim-line tree next. 200 lights. I plug it in.
$#%#
One set is dark.
I can't &%$$%# believe it!

Calmly, I walk to the kitchen.
I open the junk drawer and take out a pair of needle-nosed pliers.
I go back to the tree and cut the string of offending lights in 3 or 4 places and RIP them from the tree and throw them in the garbage.
Now that felt good!
I smiled a sneer-like smile- like the Grinch who Stole Christmas.
Jim Carry would be proud.

Off I trot to my Christmas cupboard. I take out a new box of 100 mini lights and return to wrap the tree. Easy as mincemeat pie!
I plug them in and there was and still is- light!

Dear Readers, there is indeed a morale to this story.
Oh, nothing poetic just a caution when one purchases a pre-lit anything.

Remember darkness lurks amid the presence of light.


Monday, November 10, 2014

ROBBLOG#562


November.
~ugh~

Cool, overcast, rainy, wet snow, miserable and dark.

A sunny month can make all the difference but for now we seem to be stuck in the midst of dull grey. This is when I hear- "This is exactly what the west coast is like. Would you want to live there?"
Yes!
Chances are there will be no snow whereas here in Central Ontario, we are all waiting for that dreaded first snowstorm when the white stuff stays on the ground until next April- or heaven forbid- May!! Some mornings I am afraid to open the shutters.



We have to make sure that we keep busy this month. Have coffee with friends. Go to a show- "live" theatre, it's the best! Get out for a walk in the crisp air or at the very least soggy, damp miserable air.

Now as you may know, I operate two online radio stations- Swisssh and Starlite. Every year both stations switch to all Christmas Music- usually about the end of  November. However, I was reading this article on just how many stations and how "early" many stations start to play Holiday Music. One station in the article started Holiday Music two weeks before Hallowe'en.
Yikes!

The station programmes "easy listening" music the rest of the year. Not soft and beautiful like Starlite but a notch or two up tempo. Not as much new music as Swisssh has been playing the past year and a bit but relatively adult oriented. Your Michael Buble, Bette Midler etc.

The station manager says in the interview that he starts getting e-mails and Facebook comments in October asking when the Holiday Hits will begin. He says Holiday Music is like comfort food. You know- Macaroni and Cheese only Let it Snow and It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.
Their ratings- apparently, go skyway.
This I believe.



In a few days after Swisssh and Starlite's programming goes all Christmas- all the time, our listener numbers double and triple. I'm sure we loose a few regulars who feel it's just too damn early but those seeking comfort and happy thoughts to banish the dull days of November, dig right in and ring those bells and really what and who does it hurt?
If happy, snow-filled, bell jingling, carol singing music does the trick, keeps people happy and not depressed- what's the harm? One trip around WalMart, Canadian Tire, Sears or Hudson's Bay- not to forget the Dollar Stores, tell us the Holiday Season is here.

I admit.
I have bought a couple of Christmas decorations already including a set of Edison Christmas lamps. They look like they belong on Murdoch Mysteries. Long, lean and vintage looking. I can't wait to hang them on the front verandah.

I'm not saying my stations will go all Christmas today or tomorrow but once the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, the Orillia Santa Claus Parade and the Markham Home for the Holidays Show are in full swing, my tinsel gets itchy. I start humming Frosty the Snowman and one day I say "what the heck" and throw in a couple of "wintry type" songs. Then one morning I say I flip the switch and it's all Holiday Music All the time right through to the New Year- give or take a day or two.

Forget about how miserable November can be some years and set your sites on a long Holiday Season. You'll need to stockpile all that cheer because January and February is in our future dammit.

Let me be the first to say happy holidays.
Note that for now I keep that wish in small letters but one of these days...
BAM!


Monday, November 3, 2014

ROBBLOG #561


Ugh! Spring cleaning in the fall.

I wrote a note on a piece of paper the other day.
It said- "Clean Closet".
I placed the note scrawled in black Sharpie ink on the keyboard of the office computer so all could read it- especially my husband.
Sunday was earmarked as the day to get to the job at hand done.

I have been nagging for a couple of years now- maybe longer, trying to light a fire under my hubby Tom's ass. The closet in question is right at our front door. There was so much "stuff" crammed in there one couldn't offer a guest space to hang a coat. Papers were pied high with winter coats stuffed into one corner. Woven rag rugs, pillows, photo albums and a collection of LP's on the shelf above the coat rack. Standing in the middle of the closet was a four drawer metal filing cabinet- more than 30 years old, filled to the brim with old papers, photo envelopes  and outdated computer programmes. In fact, next to the filing cabinet there was a blue plastic container on the floor with even more computer programmes and discs including a photo editor, family history maker as well as various plugs and wires that we had no idea what they belonged to. We probably didn't have  any of the devices anymore but we had the plugs made them work!

So, with coffee in hand, we set to work.

After 4 hours of work, the result was a half dozen bags stuffed with papers for recycle. Another stack of papers to be shredded. A huge bag filled with the aforementioned rugs and coats- not all of them, set to go to Goodwill. We moved the filing cabinet into the garage where we filed important papers (Tom's words) and recent tax forms dating back to 2009.

Last week I saw heavy cardboard storage boxes at the dollar store, so I ran over and picked up two. After a half hour of trying to understand the sketches on the side of the box- instructions as to how to make the box, I placed them on the shelf. They fit nicely and will hold small photo albums and such.

Summer footwear like flip-flops, sandals and running shoes are sitting neatly on the floor right now but I plan to store them in a plastic container to keep the floor area neat and tidy.

Overall, a job well done. One could actually hang a coat in the closet without any fuss and now I won't be embarrassed when I open the closet in front of a friend- although that seldom happened.

Next up in my "spring into fall" cleaning programme, I plan to go through the Christmas decorations and take trinkets I no longer use or want to Goodwill. We also have some old electronics to drop off at the recycle container up at Foodland- including our microwave that went "flop bott" reently and then I'll tackle shelves in the garage- as long as the temperature is above freezing.

This purging of stuff  is good for the soul but there are lessons to be learned.
If you're not using something get rid of it. Pass it on.
Quit hording papers.
A door does not hide a closet monster. He still lurks inside, in the dark.

So, start small.
Tackle a junk drawer first then move on to a closet.
After that, you'll be well trained to give the basement or garage a good purge.

Have a good one and reward yourself with a martini or at the very least a self pat on the back when you're done!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

ROBBLOG #560



Hold on to your tiaras. She’s back. Here's Dame Clare Voyant.

Dame Clare Voyant
 
Well, My Dears, this time of year reminds me of door knockers. Ghosts, Goblins and Harper and Fordesque lookalikes scurrying about in the dark. Now Dears, you may not see all the Harper cronies sneaking around in the dark just yet but really they are only in the first stages of filling our minds with thoughts of our 150th Birthday as a nation. My Goodness, those TV adverts with Old Sir John front and centre really tug at the heartstrings- don’t they? 

2015. That’s when they’ll be knocking on our doors and ringing our chimes for real, trying to put poor little Justin in the passenger seat while they strive to drive our country forward. Well, perhaps not forward but more in a neutral gear.
I must say that My Dears.
I really must. 

Demons and zombies may be merrily ring our bells, yet in the days that follow- the latter days, the Jumpin’ Jehosaphats and Moremens will be back trick and treating us once again. Perhaps the Moremens are more pleasurable to talk too and certainly in the case of those latter boys- even though their little minds are filled to the brim with muck and mire, nicer to gaze upon. 

My Dears, I should hold mind-cleansing seminars here at the Palais Royale-just on the outskits of town. Oh, but it wouldn’t be the first time your Royal Dame has saved a soul from the clutches and claws of the demon right. A few years back two such young men came to the Palace doorstep. I was completely taken aback by their Darling little faces- barely shave-worthy, not to mention each was attired in those tight little, coal-black trousers. At first I was hoping the pair of them were selling aluminum siding, however, much to my dismay they each pulled out the Good Book of Moremon from their shoulder manbags and asked if I knew Jesus. 

“How ancient do you think I am Dears?”-I asked, “I’ve seen pictures- reasonable facsimilies at least and heard the stories but no, he hasn’t supped with me at the oak dropleaf in the South Drawing Room”.

I continued…
“For one thing Dears, I absolutely throw up when I see cheap bleached cotton and open-toed sandals- whether sockified or daringly bare. That however, is a story for another day.” 

I continued still.
“No, I have not had the opportunity to know Jesus”- I reconfirmed with the blonde and dark-haired Moremen straddling my front threshold.” 

I must say that my Dears.
I really must. 



I did what any Dame would do. I invited them in out of the cold for hot chocolate and cookies in the kitchen. One juicy topic led to another and before your Royal Dameness knew it, each of the Moremen were blubbering out loud- sobbing actually, as they told me various life stories. One even recalled a recurring dream he had of late concerning Hugh Jackman in a black Speedo or wetsuit or something to that effect. I know he kept mumbling the word “wet” through salty tears.  

Your Dame had triumphed once again. I clutched each young man to my breast and patted their firm backs. I said all would be fine. See My Dears, I should hold seminars here at the Palais and help even more youngsters who are needy, in want and wholesome.  

I must say that My Dears.
I really must. 

Oh Dear, it’s quarter to tea-time and here I sit clickety-clacking away in my lounge pants and the tea bell could jingle at any mo’.

Tah for now My Dears. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ROBBLOG #559


This was the week that was!

I am sure I am being tested.
No, not like a driver's test or spelling test or anything like that, I mean tested by a higher authority.
No!
I don't mean by Jesus but the universe.
I hear you born-agains saying- "It's the devil that dun got dat boy by the short and curlies!"
Nope.
It does bring back memories of the 80's though- being grabbed by the short and curlies I mean, however, that's another story.

No, it all started a week ago. I put my back out. I'd like to tell you I was doing some "manly" thing like lifting weights or chopping firewood or something of that nature but all I was doing was pulling a couple of yellowing Hosta leaves and throwing them in a yard bag.
I just couldn't get up. I couldn't stand at first.
I did manage to get to my feet and crawled up the front verandah steps to the wicker lounge.
I was hoping things would right themselves but they didn't and I was at the chiropractor a couple of hours later.

Today, I just completed  treatment number five- and there's more to come.
At least I can walk upright now- like an ape!
Anybody got a banana?

"I didn't do it. Honest! I was shampooing my beard. Couldn't have been me!"

Then, a few days ago, I had to go back to the eye Doctor. It's a follow up appointment to one I had six weeks ago. There was the possibility that my retina was detaching. I was seeing flashes of light from my left eye as well as having to look through what seemed to be a cloud- at least through part of my left eye. Now, I am told that the retina is still in place.
That's the good news.
Still, I need to be careful and look for the signs of trouble and in the meantime- meaning the rest of my life, that "cloud" will be there. My brain will eventually tell my eye that it's not "really there" and life goes on.
I love being over 60!

Lastly, our Schnauzer- Missy, had to have a lump removed from her lower jaw this week. It came off "clean" according to our vet- Dr. Choles- but we are waiting for the report that tells us it's all clear- or malignant.

So like I said, this was the week that was...
I'd mention that we're having our verandah repaired, there's an estimate is being done for a new furnace and we've accepted an estimate to have corrosive bits fixed on our van in December but that would just get too depressing!

Over and out!



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ROBBLOG# 558



“Awww, I could have told you back in May it was going to be a cool, wet summer. There’s no such thing as Global warming!”

“Oh?”- I reply as I sip my café latte.

“Yup. It’s all those things they got going around up there in space. That’s what’s causing all this freekish weather” 

I was having a coffee break on a bleak autumnal afternoon when the gentleman at the next table offered his thoughts on the weather. He continued talking as I continued sipping.

“They’re just foolin’ around with too much up there that they don’t know a thing about!” He points up. 

I reply-“I heard weather experts say the Polar Vortex and El Nino will be affecting our weather through March. We might get a bunch or snow again or maybe a milder winter. Nobody seems to know exactly.” 

He continues as if not hearing a word I just said, “No, we are back to regular summers and cold, snow-filled winters alright, just the way he intended it to be.”
“He?”- I asked.
“The big fellah. You know- God.”
“Oh…”
I sipped again, then, offered an observation-
“Well I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. However, it was nice that summer arrived for a couple of weeks in Late September/early October.”
“I suppose”- he says, “Have a good one!”
Up he gets and starts to walk away.
“I will. Thanks.” 
 
 

Everyone always talks about the weather here in Orillia. Questions abound.
Hot enough for ya?
Cold enough for ya?
Wet enough for ya?
Sunny enough for ya?
Snowy enough for you….
And on and on. 

These days the talk is all about Polar this and that and El Nino or Nena. We seem to be at their mercy. Now, if you’re a Farmer’s Almanac sort of person you’ll already know that their agricultural prognosticators say some areas will see snow- later this month and into November of course. Poor old Manitoba has seen the white stuff already. Calgary too.

I remember one August it snowed in Calgary. Not too unusual for Alberta- more unusual for us in Central Ontario. Weather is strange- isn’t it?

Take Newfoundland for instance. Most years they see summer on or about July 28th. It leaves on the 29th!

I have always thought that living year round in Hawaii would be a good thing. Yes, they have the occasional hurricane but they don’t happen that often. There’s too much Pacific Ocean and they just blow out to sea. Other than that, the weather is pretty much nice every day. 

So, here in Orillia, enjoy a nice sunny day when it comes along. We’ll be bitchin’ about shovelling snow before you know it. I saw an ad for a pre-lit Christmas Tree the other day with 1000 mini lights. Right next to it an ad for Christmas Cards. 

Ho Ho Ho!

 


Monday, October 6, 2014

ROBBLOG #557

Mid- October and Thanksgiving is here.
 
Where did summer go? I hear you- what summer?
It seems we have gone from having the fireplace on to…having the fireplace on.
Wasn't it Canada Day last week?
 
Walking around the neighbourhood I see pumpkins on doorsteps and autumnal Mum plants in containers next to front doors. There are corn stalks and bales of straw on verandahs and porches. Fallen leaves are everywhere, waiting to be raked or sucked up by a lawn vacuum. Just think, in a couple of months there’s a good probability that snow will return!
Yeah!
The poor folks in Calgary and northern Manitoba have already seen that white stuff.
There have been slippery roads, snow-covered trees and assholes on snowmobiles with only a few inches of snow on lawns and fields.
 
Some days, I hear the Canadian Geese flapping their wings overhead. When it's a quiet you can hear the "swoosh" of their wings as they honk and pass by overhead.
 
Flower gardens are being put to bed. I hate that task. My back hates it too!
Lawn ornaments and garden gnomes are put back on shelves in garages and garden sheds, to doze away the cool days and cold nights that lie ahead.
Ponds are drained.
Eave troughs on our homes- clogged with colourful leaves, need to be cleaned out.
There's wood to pile alongside the garage for colder days and nights ahead.
 
 
 
The best part of Thanksgiving  is the aroma of turkey and ham, pumpkin pie and roasting apples wafting from the kitchen. We take the easy way out. Tom and I have our Thanksgiving dinner at the Casino. Lots of food and no cleanup afterwards.
Does it get any better?
Those who want to tag along with us are more than welcome. If not, we go it alone.
 
In our home, a fireplace once again becomes the centrepiece. We sit next to it in a favourite wing chair, reading a book or thumbing through a magazine or maybe just to take a much-needed snooze. I love to take a long walk near the lake or through a nearby conservation area on a crisp sunny day. It’s fun to make a brisk morning visit to the farmer's market for a special Jack-O-Lantern that will be carved with care and placed in a front window or on a verandah railing.
 
Of course our friends, family members and neighours wish us the best of the season and we are all "thankful" for small pleasures found in this troubled world of ours today. There's thoughts of loved ones who are no longer sharing our table but always share and hold a special place in our heart.
 
Here's to a great Holiday. A Happy, Joyous Thanksgiving.
Peace. Love. Being together. Good times. Smiles and hearty Laughter.
 
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Friday, September 26, 2014

ROBBLOG #556


Each summer-like day we have is a gift because we all know what lies on the other side.

Winter.

Months of Winter featuring snow, cold temperatures, leaf-less trees, sleet, hail and ice. Everyone is talking about the weather. Some say it's staying nice through October. Others are bemoaning the Ides of November and making us beware of the Polar Vortex. Still others point to El Nino. Good or bad, I don't know.

Checking the berries on our Mountain Ash a while ago, I discovered that there were very few clumps of orange berries and the birds are munching on them already. Last fall, there were tons of berries and as we all know, winter was harsh and snow was deep. I gathered the berries in a basket and took them into the house to lay along the fireplace mantel as Harvest décor. This year that won't be happening.
The berries are gone already. If this tree is a barometer, we're in for a milder season. Over the years it has forecast the weather correctly.

Haven't some of the evenings in this late summer been grand?

I was riding my bike in early evening around Barnfield Point a couple of evenings ago. Barnfield is a peninsula of land that juts out into Lake Couchiching here in the City of Orillia in Central Ontario. As I rounded the point, Starilte radio was playing a Hawaiian song- Aloha Oe. The brilliant orange sun was slipping below the trees across the water. The sky was filled with colour. It was amazing and beautiful. It reminded me of sitting on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu watching the sun melt into the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. Watching the sun set behind the trees across the bay wasn't quite the same but it was beautiful all the same. Hawaiian sunsets are not as colourful as the ones we have here in Central Ontario. Ours are brilliant and full of colour. Hawaiian sunsets are more 70's flavoured- lots of fuschia and muted tones but just being in Hawaii of course, makes up for a more washed-out display.

I stopped for a couple of minutes to watch. Trees in the foreground were silhouetted against the deepness of the colours in the darkening sky. Some folks were sitting on tables and still others were watching from the paved trail. The sun soon slipped away as The World is Waiting for the Sunrise began to play on Starlite Radio.

The musical accompaniment couldn't have been planned any better- and it wasn't.

It just happened that way.


Friday, September 19, 2014

ROBBLOG #555



In much the same way that Rob Ford detached himself from the Toronto Mayoralty race or the way Quebec wants to detach itself from the rest of Canada or even the example Scotland set to the world as half of the Scots tried to detach themselves from England...my retina has decided to attempt to detach itself from my pupil.

Just another of the wonderful things that can happen to one as one gets older.
 
%$#$#
 
The medical name is Posterior Vitreous Detachment.
Google it.
 
It started with some flashes of light in my peripheral vision to the left.
My left eye felt fuzzy.
Blurred vision.
My eye drops for dry eyes were not helping. It was like I was looking through a cloud.
There was no pain but it was irritating- and inconvenient, looking through this gauze-like whatever it was.
 
So, on Tuesday I had to go to the eye doctor.
My retina in my left eye is detaching.
The jelly-like substance is peeling off the back of the retina.
 
For 6 weeks I have to take it easy.
Rest. No stress. No lifting. No bending over and then getting up quickly.
Less computer time.
It all irritates the condition.
All kinds of neat stuff really.
 
I see what appears like a cloud or cobweb on my left eye.
It’s annoying and worrisome.
Age related I am told.
Happens to 75% of us over 65.
I am not quite there yet but Dr. Hung says it's just one of the features of getting older.
How I love being 63!!
 
The eye guy is hoping it will re-attach. If it completely detaches and I see a black curtain over my eye or more light flashes, I have to get medical help asap. Right now I am waiting until Oct 21st when I have my
next appointment and when I hope he will tell me things are OK.
The worst scenario?
 
The retina detaches and surgery becomes the next step.
 
I hear Tom yelling- GET OFF THAT COMPUTER!
Better run.
 
Take care of your eyes, eh?
 
 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

ROBBLOG #554


One Sunny September Afternoon on Bleeker Street- about 117pm.

Jane: Fu#k!

~pause~

Jane: Fu#k!

~pause~

Jane: F#ck again!

~Blanche comes wheeling in~

Blanche: Jane Dear, whatever is the matter? I'm beating the batter for my chocolate chip cookies and I hear you screaming obscenities...

Jane: I wasn't Fu#king creaming obscenities Blanche!

Blanche: Well that's what it sounded like to me.

Jane: Well Blanche ~puff, drag puff~ I was just watching the leaves fall from my favourite Maple Tree in the front yard.

Blanche: Now Jane Dear, that's nothing to get upset about. Leaves fall every autumn. It's September now, we have to expect it.

Jane: ~puff, puff~ Oh I know Blanche. It's just so Fu#king upsetting. I love that tree ~puff~ and the leaves are so green and lush.



Blanche: Love! Never thought I'd see the day when you were so full of something as human as love!

Jane: Oh Hardy-Fu#king Har! ~puff, drag, exhale~ Have I ever told you how much Fu#king fun it is living in this house with you?

Blanche: ~laughing~ many times!

Jane: Well I like that ~puff, drag, puff~ I'm being all nature-like and sentimental and you rip into me for it.

~pause~

Blanche: Oh heck. Look, I'm sorry Jane. ~pause~ I have an idea. Why don' t you come into the kitchen with me and help me with the chocolate chip cookies? It'll take your mind off the pretty tree.

Jane: F#ck You Blanche. Who do I look like- Suzie Homemaker. ~drag, puff, puff~

Blanche: Now there's the Jane I love!

~she wheels back into the kitchen~






Monday, September 1, 2014

ROBBLOG #553



I've been noticing We are losing our identity as a country. It's the little things.

Radio stations calling themselves Kool and KICX and KX Country. US stations west of the Mississippi have call letters beginning with “K”. East of the river its “W”.
 
Cheque- as in writing one, spelled check. Guest check or to check off items on a list is check.
Cheque is something you get from your bank.
 
Colour is not color.
Programme is not program.
Labour Day is not Labor Day.
Neighbourhood is not neighborhood.
Theatre is not theater.
 
Not a through street is not "dead end". Duh...
 
A chesterfield is not a sofa or couch nor is pop a soda.
 
Thanksgiving is NOT about the Pilgrims just giving thanks and eating turkey and the
bounties of the land. 

Black Friday is just Friday. Nothing else- except it’s like Boxing Day.
 
Economy is the seating area behind the blue curtain on a flight- not coach. 

Zero is not Zee-Row. It’s Zeer- Oh.
Temperatures are in Degrees Celcius- not Fahrenheit.
 
Sliced bacon is just that sliced bacon. Canadian Bacon is something we do not have but we do have Peameal Bacon.
 
A washroom is like a bathroom- usually it's for public use but it's not a toilet.
 
We wipe our mouth after eating with a serviette- not a napkin.
 
A toboggan is not a sleigh. A sleigh has runners a toboggan does not.
 
We go outside- not outdoors.
 
I could go on eh, however, I'll leave it where it's at.