Saturday, July 22, 2017

ROBBLOG #624


Time is fleeting!

Now as we get closer to the end of July we get closer to our departure date of Mid-August.
That's when we kick the tires, fire up Priscilla and start our monstrous 5,000 km journey through western Canada to our new home in The Cowichan on Vancouver Island.

We are excited to say the least but a little emotional too. We have been saying tah-tah for now to friends and neighbours. We have had dinner invites, coffee clutches and long days with old friends.
Last week we spent a day at our friend Sue's Muskoka Cottage on Clear Lake. Seven former Wardair employees laughed and reminisced with us. It was a wonderful day. Some of these "kids" I first met and trained back in 1986.
Cripes!
These are friendships that have endured and even though we don't see each other on a  regular basis, when we are together the years melt away.
Good times.

Friends for Life
Meanwhile at Pine Tree House the packing is moving along. Boxes are stacked on top of one another in two rooms. The garage is full of boxes. Some packed and others sitting empty waiting for odds and sods from various rooms. On August 1st we start packing larger items like our prints and pictures. We have special boxes and packing material to accomplish that job. Our home will look very empty when the walls are bare.

We made the decision to send our van west with Hansen's. We drop it off in Toronto at their Terminal in early August and it will arrive in Delta BC on August 21st. That should be the exact day we arrive in the Delta/Tswwassen area from our last cross country night in an RV Park in Sicamous- just east of Kamloops.

Priscilla at the Ready
 
Island Garden
If the van delivery- by Rail, is delayed a day or two, we'll sit it out in Priscilla for a couple of days. The final leg of our journey takes us from the ferry dock at Tswwassen to either Swartz Bay- near Sidney, or up island to Nanaimo. We haven't quite decided. An hour drive from Sidney or a 2 1/2 hour Ferry ride to Nanaimo. Our first destination is an RV Park called Country Maples just south of Chemainus where we'll set up house until our new home is ready on September 29th. Including the week from Orillia to The Island, we'll spend 7 weeks in Priscilla- our 30 foot RV.
It will be an experience to be sure.

In the meantime we are here in Orillia, Ontario passing time, packing and doing "things" for the last time. We know it will be tough to leave but it's the beginning of a new era. One we are looking forward to with great excitement.


Friday, July 7, 2017

ROBBLOG #623


5 1/2 weeks!

Nope. Not the name of a new movie coming out this Christmas. 5 1/2 weeks is the amount of time my Hubbie Tom and I have left before we blow this Ontario "popsicle stand".
Now, I mean that with all the love in my Ontario heart and winter a fond memory.

Just 5 weeks and a few measly days until we depart in Priscilla- our RV, for a warmer Palm Tree type Mediterranean Climate namely Vancouver Island and specifically the Cowichan Valley.
No -30c temps. No snow. No Patrick Brown and no regrets.

Our new home will be ready for occupancy at the end of September- we hope. There's been a delay of 60 days from the original possession date of July 29th. That move-in date would have been on my 66th Birthday- a present of sorts, however red tape and a plethora of "builder" excuses has necessitated a move-in occupancy at the end of September.

Vegetation on the Island
We've just come back from The Island where we picked interior finishes for our new build, rented a Canada Post box, talked to Mr. Roger's west coast employees about our mobile phones and found a nice RV park south of Chemainus where we will live with our two puppies and two felines for 6 weeks! It's not "real" camping such as our friend and soon to be "Islander" Karen is experiencing. She's travelling the country right now, heading west with only her wits, her Yellow Lab Hailey and a tent which- according to her, has an ensuite bath.
Nice try Karen!
Meanwhile we go "glamping" in an RV with a three piece bath, queen bed, central air, gas furnace and fully equipped kitchen. Trust me, to a Gay man that is still roughing it! A suite such as we had in Sidney's Best Western Hotel earlier this week is my kind of camping but I digress...

Maple Bay is 10 minutes from our house. That's Salt Spring Island in the distance.
The moving boys come August 14th and load up all our personal effects. The following day we slip away. I say slip away because we intend to depart Orillia, Ontario with little or no fanfare. Perhaps under the cover of darkness. Perhaps earlier than we are saying or later. I just want it to be Tom and I waving a fond goodbye to Pine Tree House our much-loved c.1882 Victorian house and our home for the past 25 years.

Lawrd knows that is going to be difficult enough and I'll be weeping all the way to Sault Ste. Marie our first overnight stop on our westward trek.

I will be blogging along the way. Forgive me if I don't bet back to this blog until then. There is lots to do. Lots to think about and to be truthful my stomach is already in knots. I know things will calm down- eventually- but with a move three time zones away, I believe Tom and I are handling it quite well...

Until the sobbing starts.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

ROBBLOG #622




Here I am again folks!

I should first say it's been almost a month since I last blogged but I have an excuse.
I have been busy.
I can hear you saying|:
"Hey we all have busy lives Rob. You're retired! All you have to do is write a few hundred words now and then. More now than "then"- if you don't mind"

Okay! Okay! I understand but I am still stating my case.
What with our westward move and all- see last blog, it's been a little hectic around Pine Tree House.
We were granted lot registration from North Cowichan a few weeks back and since then a building permit.
As of a few day ago we have a hole in the ground and our garage pad has been poured. We have been told that we might see walls up by the end of his current week in June
Pardon me while I do a "Happy Dance"
~insert Happy Dance music here~

I also have some news not as positive. We also heard a couple of weeks back that our new build has been delayed 60 days, so our move in date in now the end of September. After a day of mourning and shock, we got our act together and realized that "it is what it is" and moved on. We had hoped to be delayed only 30 days but the builder took the full 60. On the plus side we want a good build not a shabby build and we know we'll get that with this Island builder. Since getting a firm move-in date, we've booked our mover. We've enquired about services in the Cowichan and have started packing- even though our new departure date is mid-August. We'll also be travelling westward in Priscilla- our RV, actually living within her for about 6 weeks until our new home is ready for us. That will be an experience! 2 Adults. 2 mini-schnauzers and 2 orange cats in a 30 foot RV!!
I will blog about that.

Pine Tree House our C1882 Home in Orillia Ontario
As for blogging, a friend has suggested we start a Facebook page to keep friends and family up to date along our westward route. Besides writing it would also allow us to post photos of our experience right up to and including move in day. The "Husband" and I and giving it some thought although this blog would work just as well. Stayed tuned.

So, with two months left before out Ontario departure we have a bunch of work to do around this house including all the packing. The grass still needs cutting. Gardens need weeding and inside we still have to run a dust mop over the floors now and then. Friends are already lining up dates to have a goodbye dinner. One has taken place already. Another friend who is away for the summer has already said his goodbyes. We know for sure we'll be seeing him and his wife on the Island as soon as we get settled. If my cousin's health continues to improve, we might see her staying with us for January. We have our fingers crossed.

So Kids, that's it for now. I promise to update you again when the new build moves along and in the meantime maybe Blanche and Baby Jane or even "God" will pop by for a visit.

Hope springs eternal.




Friday, May 19, 2017

ROBBLOG #621


It's OFFICIAL!!

My Hubbie Tom and I are official landowners in Beautiful British Columbia. The title to our land should arrive today via e-mail.
So, what does this mean?
Quite simply it means that we own property here in Ontario as well as in British Columbia- on Vancouver Island to be precise.

Now, to be clear, in a couple of months we will hand over our Orillia, Ontario land to new owners who bought our c.1882 Victorian Home a couple of months back. At that time we will just own land in BC. All part of our move to "the Island" this summer. If you haven't read previous blogs, then let me bring you up to speed. We have sold our home here in Ontario to get away from cold winters and snow.
Why?
I have reached official "Seniorhood" and Tom will receive his in a couple of years. This is our retirement plan.

Our move to the Island is to the Cowichan Valley in the southern part of the Island. Google "Cowichan Valley" or "Duncan BC". The City is Duncan and is located on the Trans Canada One- 45 minutes north of Victoria over the Malahat and about a half hour south of Nanaimo. We are 10 minutes to Salt Spring Island to the east and have a splendid view of Mount Prevost to the north. We'll have mild winters with the chance of a few flakes of the white stuff. That's nothing to worry about. There's less rain in the Cowichan than in Victoria which in turn has less rain than Toronto- and Miami Beach! There's year round biking and walking. Golf- if I was interested in golfing, can be played all year and since we have a lawn, Island lawns are also cut year round.
Oh, and Palm Trees. four varieties as a matter of fact with the most popular being "trachycarpus fortune". The date palm. Rhododendrons grown huge as do Yuccas and Ornamental grasses. Trees such as the Arbutus with reddish colour trunks and "the monkey tree" (see below) are green year round Such fun!
If one has an RV or a travel trailer, parks are open year round. It will be quite the lifestyle change.

Monkey Tree in Sidney BC
Now that we hold "title", we expect a hole to be dug for our new home within the next week. We have been told that the basement is dug and walls go up in about 10 days. This building a new home- and a custom-built model, is stressful. Last time we did that was 30 years ago when we bought a new home from plans. That house took a year to gain occupancy. We expect our Island Home to be move-in ready in August.

Victoria BC in Mid-February
For now, we wait patiently enjoying our current property for a while longer. We are clearing out closets, our garage and a large garden shed. Two garage sales have not made us rich but we did clear a bunch of stuff. That's a good feeling.

When we start our westward trek this summer in Priscilla- our 30 foot RV, I hope to write this blog daily. Sort of a Canada 150 project.

Such fun!

Friday, May 5, 2017

ROBLOG #620



For the Merry Month of May it's just another Conversation/Talk with The “Big Guy” upstairs.
Me: So your High Holiness, howzit now?

HIM: Just fine Rob and I love that reference to Letterkenny. I really love that show!

Me: Me too!

HIM: Yes, I love a good laugh as well as the next believer. So Rob, let me say- good for you for kicking that caffeine habit.

Me: Wait! What? Thanks...You know about that?
HIM: Rob, Rob, Rob. I know all and see all and cause most things on earth to happen- except for Trump being the leader of the "Americans" and the re-making of Margaret Attwood’s novel "The Handmaid’s Tale". Not my doing!

Me: Oh…yes. But…
HIM: Now those are both scary scenarios but as for your over the top intake of caffeine- not so bad in the long run but still-good for you.
Me: Ummm. Okay…

HIM:So how are you my friend. I mean I know how you are but for the sake of this conversation- how the hell are you?
Me: Fine. Just fine. How’s your son?

HIM: Oh, like most young men, he's over the top and obnoxious and still into this "prostrate yourself before me and worship me thing". That is so 1st Century.
Me: and your wife?
HIM: Mary or Mable?

Me: What now? ~pause~ Oh gee, both I guess.
HIM: Mary is pretty busy as usual with the Mother of God thing for the Catholics. Kind of a misnomer as she wasn’t my Mother. I mean I impregnated her from afar for Christ’s sake!

Me:  A little heavy on the cursing God wouldn't you say?

HIM: What cursing? I mean I got her pregnant for Christ’s sake. You know, for the sake of my son, so he could take a trip to earth and do a walk-about for a few years and that’s where it ends. Those last three years we not my doing by the way. It was all on his shoulders. Kids, eh? They try to be cool and have the glory of being the "Leader of the Pack" by getting a bunch of people to follow them. Did you know my Son was the original Twitter star?
Me: No. I did not.

HIM: Think about it.
~thinking~

Me: Cripes! 'Follow"!!
HIM: Rob. Language!

Me: Sorry. I mean Holy Smoke! And Mabel?
HIM: Mabel? Oh Mable. Yes, she’s good. She keeps a low profile. She’s on another planet right now. A week away with the girls- Mary Magdalene and Ruth.

Me: Oh...

HIM: Now Robbie, I want to put this on the agenda today. A lot of people were mean to you in 2016. Did some stuff behind your back- right?

Me: Well, yes in a manner of speaking.
HIM: Come now. I saw you. I heard you.

Me: You did?
HIM: Of course. I heard all your thoughts. Look Rob, you know I’m the Big Cheese right? The Trinity.
Know all. See all. Hear all- except the stuff your friend Geraldine knows before Me.

Me: She really has a network doesn’t she?
HIM: I suppose she does…

Me: but again how did...

HIM: I saw it all. You were disappointed. You needed that success but you seem to think you failed. I am telling you, you did not. You were a huge success. Just ask anyone who was there. They will tell you. What you did with what little you had was so amazing! Don’t worry Robbie-Boy. You are better than all of them. Move ahead and do your own thing. 2017 will be- and is, a banner year for you.
Me: Oh good.

HIM: So, how’s your move coming?

Me: You know about that God? Wow!
HIM: I am omnipresent my friend and who do you think put the idea to "go west" into your head to begin with- Priscilla Queen of the Desert? That Island is paradise on earth and I visit it often…in disguise of course.

Me: You do? You spend time on the Island?
HIM: Sure. Mount Sicker and Mount Prevost for sure. What a view of the ocean that I made.  I know it’ll be a good thing. You will LOVE it there. I do.

Me: Can’t argue with you there.
HIM: Rob, you can’t argue with me anywhere. I am the top. I answer to no one.

Me: Gee, I wish I could meet you face to face but alas I guess it’s impossible to meet with you in person.
HIM: I am sorry. It is. There are those that tried- like Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder and we know what happened to them.
Me: They went blind?

HIM: What? For Goodness sake- No! I turned them down. It would be fun to sit across from you and have a Latte. I wish we could. Sorry again. I truly am sorry.

Me: Just not possible- ever?
HIM: Remember what Charles Dickens wrote in an Xmas Carol? The Ghost of Christmas Present says- "Know me better Man! You've never seen the likes of me before!" Well if you did see me face to face…you’d melt.

Me: Yikes!!
 
 
HIM: But I am working on a way. It’s a pet project. Rome wasn’t built in day you know. Maybe one day you can hold a press conference and I’ll be the surprize guest and materialize right next to you. That’d be something…eh?

Me: It would Knock a lot of folks on their ass to be certain.
HIM: Look Rob. I’ll think about that real hard and maybe sooner than you think my project will be ready to go and I’ll appear before the media with you by my side.

Me: Wouldn’t you prefer the Pope. I mean he is your rep on Earth?
HIM: Well Rob, who the fuck told him that? I never did. Did you?

Me: ~grimace~ Of course not.
HIM: All poppycock and trappings and pomp and circumstance. Poop and a lot of false circumstance I say. Look I am here to look over you all, not mess with you all. I can’t really help you. You all have to help yourself.

Me: Oh.
HIM: But take Santa Claus for instance. Now there is a fellah that can help! I mean he travels the globe in one night. Fiddlesticks me…even I can’t do that Rob.
~grimace again~
I am sorry for the cussing there but sometimes I just get so darn riled up. At times I even create huge waves on the oceans just to dilute my anger. Why on Caprion last month I made it rain for 40 days and 40 nights.

Me: Caprion? 40 days and nights. Hasn’t that been done before?

HIM: Only in a fairy tale Rob.
Me: Oh right.

HIM: Rob, you don’t know the planet Caprion do you.
Me: No.

Him: Ah, but you will…and soon
Me: Good to know.
Him: Oh Heavens, look at the time. I got to fly.
Me: You mean "run" Sir- don't you?
HIM: No Rob, I mean fly. Why on earth would I have made "ME" if I couldn't fly?
Me: You made you?
HIM: You'd never begin to understand my Lad. See you! ~swoosh~
Me: See you next time Oh Holy One!!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

ROBBLOG #619


Oh My Gawd!
There is a life after CAFFEINE!
Sad but true.

I love my caffeine.
Morning Coffee- a whole pot is good.
Evening Tea- another pot.
Then, driving by any of the 1,000 Tim Hortons in Orillia during the day- another cup.

Alas, my dear readers the time has come. I've rolled the stone away and walked out of my caffeine tomb to go cold turkey. (Wow! an amalgamation of Thanksgiving and Easter in one complete sentence!)
Why on earth?
Well number one reason is I have been peeing up a storm since late January.
Increased urination is the medical term.
I have been on three drugs. None of them helped.
One gave me dry mouth and made me nauseous.
Another caused me to pee even more and made me feel like I was in a cloud.

So, a few weeks back I chatted to my Cousin Jim who told me his Doctor had suggested he remove coffee from his daily routine too.
Carol, his wife, added: "Rob, he pees 24 times a day!!"
Ummm, thanks Carol.
 In fact that morning at breakfast he enjoyed his first "real" coffee in a month. I told him what I had gone through.



Then, a week later I dropped caffeine.
I bought caffeine free Tim's in a bag and a box of K cups.
I purchased a decaffeinated Tetley tea- which isn't too bad.
I'm still working on the coffee. In fact every restaurant I have been in the past week or so I have made it a point to ask for the brand name of the decaf they serve. I like Mother Parkers but their online site says they only sell to restaurants and hotels.
Shite.

So, in the meantime I enjoy 3 cups of non-coffee in the morning. I have cut down on the amount of non-coffee liquid I imbibe.

Flying without a parachute, I thought I'd get a huge headache from withdrawal but that didn't happen.
I tell myself I am drinking the real thing and my brain might be buying a bit of that horseshit story but honestly? The "umph" is missing in the morning.

All in all this is just another feature of growing older and being in one's 66th year!
Yes, it sucks.
I may look "fabulous" on the outside (double chins aside) but inside I am breaking down.
It's inevitable.
I mean if I was Jane Fonda I'd have my neck done for sure but I would still be on decaf.
It's my life now from here on in.

Don 't cry for me Argentina.
Things they are a-changing.

Friday, March 24, 2017

ROBBLOG #618

So...How're yuh now?

March so far has been busy and very stressful.
Selling, buying, getting our ducks in a row.
No one ever said it was going to be easy moving three time zones away onto an Island!

As I have written before in this blog space, my husband Tom and I are pulling up roots and planting them down again in the Cowitchan Valley on Vancouver Island. This will all happen in mid-summer. Maybe a tad earlier. It all depends when our new house is ready.

We are both excited at the prospect of living in a "Maritime, Mediterranean Climate" with warmer winters. Cowitchan means "warm land". It also means Palm Trees, Yuccas and Monkey Trees.
Most importantly- no snow!
Well, very little at the least. If there is a dusting it disappears in a few hours or sooner. One could just stay inside, pull the blinds and ignore it, although, this year was a strange year for "Islanders". We were told it was the most snow on Vancouver Island in 60-70 years. It didn't stay long but it wasn't easy to get around. Some places have only one snowplow -and it's shared with another community! Other spots like Salt Spring Island- so I am told, have no plow. It's an Island thing! Neither are they prepared for it and at the least, able to drive in it. The only folks on the roads are transplanted Ontarians who are used to carrying on as normal through the white stuff.

I am looking ahead to gardening- West Coast Style. I plan on having three Trachycarpus fortunei. That's Palm Trees for us easterners. Actually, there are four varieties growing there. All hardy and they seem to handle occasional cold weather quite well. We might refer to them as date palms in Ontario and usually they stay indoors except for a summer on the patio. I have been checking out nurseries and a 6 foot palm could cost me up to $450. I love palms- always have.


I hope to also add some Yuccas. There are three Yucca Filamentosa's at our front steps and they have been there for 25 years. So, if they perform well here in Ontario, they'll be just fine on the Island. Rhododendrons grow like trees and I plan on putting in a few. Tom is digging up some of his Daylilies come summer and will transplant them to The Cowitchan. Our Tropical Brugmansia which grows dozens of yellow, flute-shaped flowers during the summer, will also find a new home in the Valley. Not sure if they can stay in the ground over "winter" but if not, we have plenty of storage in our full basement. Both of us are looking forward to a new kind of year-round gardening.
By the way, lawns grown all year long so it will be strange cutting the grass in January/February.

Our new home that we intend to call "Palm Villa" is a custom design with 2500 square feet of living space and a garage and a 1/4. We'll only have one vehicle in Duncan, so we can get by without having a 2 car garage. A storage/mechanical room in the basement affords lots of extra storage. We are on a corner property like our Pine Tree House here in Orillia, only in Duncan, the street runs down the south side of the house and not the north like we have now.

Here in Orillia, Ontario it's just a waiting game now. Waiting for the basement to be dug in Duncan and eventually the walls and roof. One has to really keep on top of things when you are building a house more than half a country away and we are learning something every day.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

ROBBLOG #617


Who the Hell picks those best movie nominations at the Oscars??

Although I am not that thrilled with Oscar's picks for movies, this year I made a point to watch every film- at least those I could finish. So, here's a quick rundown of those I watched before and after the Academy Awards and a couple that should have been nominated....and yes, I know the Oscars were last Sunday! It's taken me a few extra nights to see all the films- thanks to Stremio and Popcorn time.

La La Land
A couple of nice dancing scenes and some terrific jazz but I don't see what all the hype was about.
A good film but others were better. At the very east I hope this movie encourages other musicals to be made like in the "good old days".

Hacksaw Ridge
Tough to watch. Gritty. Blood. Body Parts. I thought it being an AMERICAN war movie it would take best film. If you can stomach all of the above, it's worth watching for Andrew Garfield. An American born actor who was brought up in the UK.

Allied
Another WWII film about Canadian Intelligence Officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) who meets a French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard ) in 1942 Africa. This film should have had some nominations. Far superior to the slow moving, unmemorable Manchester by The Sea.

Manchester By the Sea.
It took me two tries to get through this piece of drivel. That was Casey Affleck's acting ability?
Yikes! I only finished the film the night after the Oscars because I wanted to see why he won the Best Aator category. I still don't know why he won with Denzel Washington in the pack of nominees, which leads me to-

Fences
A great film version of the stage play. You can always tell a movie version of a Broadway play because it looks like and sounds like a stage play. It is worth watching and no wonder Viola Davis won an Oscar. It should have been Best Actress- not supporting. Oh and to all those naysayers who have told me over the years that one cannot direct a show and be a part of the cast, I still say "poppycock"!! Denzel directed and starred in this movie. He is not very likeable but there are strong performances from Mr. Washington as well as the entire cast- Russell Hornsby and Jovan Adepo too.

Hidden Figures
This probably should have won best picture and all three leading ladies their own Oscar but there are only so many to go around. Good on NASA for this true story. You saw one of the "real" characters on stage during the Oscars. It would have been tough to choose between this movie and Moonlight- but they did.



Moonlight
A coming of age, "Hey- I think I'm Gay Movie" with the lead character played by three actors over the course of 20 years or so. Fine performances. A gritty story and deserving of the Best Movie win. I still can't believe this film achieved those kind of accolades from that kind of academy.

Come Hell or High Water
Is still haven't finished this good old boy, Texas sheriff piece of ~ahem~ crap. It just wears on you and is one good reason never to visit Texas again. I was in Texas for 3 1/2 weeks a few years ago and let me just say that Texas has some wonderful vistas but get away from the cities and it's a different word. Being Gay there is not such a good idea either. Oh, you know that everyone carries a gun in Texas- right?

Lion
What a great motion picture...if you can make it through the first 45 minutes. It took two tries for me what with the subtitles in the first part of the film but Dev Patel had me in tears by the end. Nicole Kidman is in this film too- as if that matters. Doesn't she always plays Nicole Kidman whereas Meryl Streep never plays Meryl Streep?

Moana (not Nominated for best movie)
A Disney animated film. It has great colour and clarity in high def and Dwayne Johnson's song "You're Welcome" is cute but after a while I lost interest and did the dinner dishes.

Arrival
The Canadian Movie that anyone who lives in Quebec would never refer to as a "Canadian Movie" but as a Quebecois Film. It stars mostly Americans of course and has some nice bits about Aliens. Worth seeing and dreaming about, however, I would prefer my Aliens to look more like Dwayne Johnson in a speedo. ~grin~

And finally....

Passengers (not nominated for best movie)
500 passengers and crew in hibernation for 120 years heading for a new planet. Three wake up 90 years before landing. Uh-Oh...
Some neat stuff- especially the bionic bartender. There should have been a category for "Best Ass" cheeks. Christ Pratt would have won "ass" down.








Sunday, February 26, 2017

ROBBLOG #616


March.
Time marches on.
The months march by us.
People are marching.
We're on the move.

All of those things and more.
We have bought a new-build house in Duncan BC.
That's on Vancouver Island. 45 minutes from Victoria. About 30 minutes from Nanaimo and across from Salt Spring Island on Vancouver Island.
That's all in the past two weeks and the big news- our home (I talked about that in the previous RobBlog) has sold.
First viewers.
4 hours later after the first showing we were presented with an offer.
Real Estate is nuts here in Orillia Ontario. The house sold so fast our heads are spinning. We just have a buyer inspection of the house and property and then it's a done deal. So, baring the inspector finding termites, asbestos, dry rot or some other fun stuff, the official sold stamp goes on the property.

I don't think it has sunk in yet.
We're moving.
West.
To Vancouver Island.
The closest one can get to paradise in Canada.
Mediterranean climate. Palms. Yuccas. Huge Rhodos. Arbutus Trees. Monkey Trees and no snow.
Well, hardly any. This year has not been the norm. Islanders have not seen the amount of snow they had two weeks ago- the day before we landed from Toronto, in 60-70 years! Usually, if there are a few flakes on the ground it disappears in a few hours.

The Island is wonderful. Besides the green grass and the copious plant life, the views of mountains and ocean are nothing short of spectacular. The Malahat that goes through the mountains just south of Duncan is amazing. You can feel your ears pop as you drive up!


Duncan BC is about the size of Orillia. A nice city with lots of downtown shops and culture.
Our house has a view of Mount Prevost and we are 10 minutes from the Ocean and Salt Spring Island. If we want something busier, Nanaimo is about a half hour away and the beautiful ocean-side city- and provincial capital, of Victoria is less than an hour. We strolled through the Empress Hotel and the grounds of the Provincial Parliament Buildings next door. There are palm trees in the harbour and a cherry tree was just coming out of bud- in Mid-February!

This move will be the biggest either my Husband or I have made- not counting Tom's trip from Germany to Canada in the first place.
It will be the biggest move we have ever made together.



Yes, it feels daunting and scary but we have no regrets.
Goodbyes will be difficult as we'll be closing the door to Pine Tree House for the last time.
We'll suck it up and look to the future.
It's all good.

Now we'll be 5 hours from one of our favourite places on earth- Honolulu. Australia looms closer but London and Paris will be a longer flight.
That was all considered as part of our decision to go but ultimately if we don't do it now- at this age, we'd probably just stay put.

So- Go West young men...and we are!




Saturday, February 4, 2017

ROBBLOG #615


2017.
It will be a year of change and renewal for my Husband Tom and I.

We have decided to do the pioneer thing and head west from our cozy century home here in Orillia, Ontario CANADA.!
Yessir...all the way to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CANADA. As far west as one can get in this great land of ours.
Why move? Well, we are both retired and starting our "Seniorhood" and we would like to get away from the winters.

Living in a Mediterranean climate- such as one finds in the Cowichan Valley, will be a dream come true- and yes, there are Palm Trees and Mountains and an Ocean and tidal flats and spring bulbs and trees budding in late January.
A friend last week exclaimed: Palm trees in CANADA???
Yes, I assured her and showed photos.

I have been watching and learning about Vancouver Island for a couple of years. E-mailing, talking to folks and "Google Earthing". In fact I could drive from Victoria International Airport to our new home in the Cowichan Valley- without a map.

Before you say to me- but Rob, all that rain and cloud, check for yourself. The area where we hope to live has some rain. As an example- Victoria- BC's Capitol, has less rain than Toronto and Miami and the Cowichan Valley has 1/3 less rain than Victoria. I have been watching webcams for over two years now and I see a lot of sun.

There has been some snowfall this year and cold, leaving many residents of the Island gobsmacked- but that is unusual to be sure.

We have a huge list of what to do next but first and foremost is selling Pine Tree House. This has been a terrific home for Tom and I for almost 25 years.



Pine Tree House was built c.1882
We have papers and pictures from all those years ago and a history of the house from then until present day.
We have a triple car paved drive.
A double car garage with insulated workshop and storage loft.
A seven level deck from garage to back door to side yard. A pond.
A 10x10 garden shed that emulates Pine Tree House.
There are gardens on three sides of the house with a lot of approximately 100 x 95.
A verandah wraps itself around two sides of our historic home.

Inside two and one half baths including a master ensuite.
Three bedrooms and a laundry room/utility bath right at the back door. The washer and dryer are LG and front load. There's a utility sink with a French flavour.
We have 2 gas fireplaces. One in the parlour and one in the family room.
A Dining Room off the kitchen with built in oven. Stovetop and dishwasher. Double sink.
An upright refrigerator/freezer that has an ice cube maker- the best invention ever- and a reverse osmosis water dispenser
Hardwood floors downstairs. Carpeted stairs and landing.
One bedroom is laminate. One carpeted. The master has original pine flooring.
Upgraded Windows are shuttered or covered with two year old blinds- one with a remote.
The cellar- although not very tall- this is 1882 don't forget, is home to the high efficiency gas furnace, breaker panel, sump pump- again this is a c.1882 vintage home and central vac container.

The home lends itself to antiques and a quieter lifestyle. I love spending summers on the verandah overlooking Matchedash Street, North to the east and our gardens to the south.
This is what I will miss most about the "old girl". The back of the house sees western sun.

Have I left anything out?
Probably.
Swisssh Radio and Starlite Radio will make the journey as will this blog and of course our family of pets- two mini-schnauzers and two orange cats- both brothers.

Our Price tag?
Quite Reasonable....for a desirable Orillia, north ward location and heritage home.

Any takers?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

ROBBLOG #614


Note: I told myself I wasn't going to write anything more about the demise of my summer theatre company but something just got my "big boy" panties in a knot.
I know what you're saying-
Let it go Rob.
I will...
Soon.

The past two years I found myself busy getting shows ready for a new summer/fall season for Orillia Theatre/Double R Productions.

This new year there will be no new summer/fall season from our company and probably never will be again but I have a couple of questions and comments to make.

Where were Orillians who saw this week's "Orillia" shows at St Paul's Centre when 5 shows from Orillia Theatre/Double R Productions provided work for non-union actors and crews for the past 2 seasons? We didn't see most of you.

One show we produced even ran out of town during the time it was at the OCC in Orillia. A bold step to take for a small theatre company. We were also the first professional production to use the new St Paul's Centre stage. Maybe we just didn't get the word out there. Maybe people didn't understand what we were attempting to do- that being to give Orillia and tourists, a second Summer theatre company to choose from with more show choices.

The Importance of Being Earnest above and The Affections of May- below

Where were Orillia City councillors when Orillia Theatre/Double R Productions- a not for profit company needed support? A presence at the very least. We also raised funds for local not for profits including Couchiching Conservancy, Green Haven Shelter for Woman, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Sharing Place Food Bank. We have now folded after 2 years of providing work for actors and crew due to small audiences and expenses.

We are happy to say we did get two $500 grants from the city- one each season, which we were very, very grateful for receiving. Still, it would have been nice to see "bums" in the seats. We thank our sponsors and advertisers. It couldn't have been done without you!
We thank the local media who granted us many freebies. We also spent our funds with that same Media which brought us little in return at our Box Office. We don't know why. Our shows were professionally produced and well-received by all audiences both local and out of town who attended. You should have seen and heard the accolades from audiences after each show.
They were delighted to say the least.

Instead of other theatre companies working with us and supporting us, we as a company- or at the very least me as Creative Director, was shunned. We sent theatre goers- even a bus or two, to other local productions when we didn't have a show on a particular day or were otherwise sold out. We were willing to work together.

This year in 2017 Orillia again only has one summer theatre company run by the city in a city-run facility. Orillia Theatre/Double R Productions has closed due to lack of audience support and funds- yet we provided a professional theatrical experience for not only our actors and crew but our terrific audiences. Out of town theatre-goers shopped in our stores, dined in Orillia restaurants and visited our tourist destinations.


All for Nun...The 2nd Coming- Top Sadie Flynn Comes to Big Oak- below
It was always an uphill battle to be a small, successful, not for profit theatre company and for that I am sad for Orillia Theatre and Double R Productions. Our success was due to everyone from cast and crew to our box office and promotion people. They all worked extremely hard.

It's hard not to take such a disappointment and failure personally- and I do.
It was time-consuming, tiring and stressful to produce our shows,
yet it was fun too and right now- I am missing that fun.
We tried our damndest... to be sure.

Original 2016 brochure printed before we moved Sadie Flynn to October 2016