Friday, December 22, 2017

ROBBLOG #864 The H O L I D A Y Edition


My "friend" Hank's photo proudly takes top spot on this Holiday ROBBLOG.

I miss performing in Christmas Shows with him but who knows, a new Island Home might bring the opportunity to present Hank to local audiences. I hear Sister Mary Margaret would be interested in a new "gig" as well.
Oh feck!
We'll see what 2018 brings.
Sure can't be any more-life changing than 2017- can it?

The Holidays.
One day it seems like an eternity away and now here we are.
I love the decorations. Pretty trees, front door wreaths and lights.
Lots of lights.

Tom and I and our two mini Schnauzers- Missy and Koko, plus our (lonely) orange kitty- Dickens, are hunkered down for long winter nights...well as long as and as winterish as nights get here on The Island. One evening a few days ago, I sprang from my bed, threw open the sash in the den (slid it to the left actually as any good "Liberal" would) and there on the new fallen island snow (or in the Freezing Fog) was a palm tree with a rhody all in bud beneath it.
I did the happy dance.


"Palm Villa's Front Door."
 The letters are in green on the transom window.
As we acclimatize to our surroundings, we think of our friends and family back east in Orillia, Ontario. It's hard for them too not having us around this year. We'd sit in front of the Parlour fireplace during the Holidays to talk, laugh and swap stories. We can still do the same thing here in British Columbia in front of an almost identical fireplace.
It makes us feel at home only the friends that gather round it are all new to us.

It's a bit surreal at times but we have met so many wonderful folks here and it is making this first holiday season easier.
We don't feel lonely.
Our new friends Tina and Steve who live up the street in Stonewood Village came by for tea at "Palm Villa". We had Yorkshire Tea from Sainsbury's in London, England as well as "Noel" Tea that I bought last year in a quaint, little tea shop in the Marais in Paris. Mix in some chocolate cookies and Crispy Crunch that I made from Rice Krispies and it was a lovely afternoon of laughs and conversation.

The Holiday is different here.

One evening, we came upon two white, plastic tubs sitting on the sidewalk in front of a house close by our neighbourhood where we walk Missy and Koko. It was stuffed with clumps of yellow and pink daisies all wrapped in individual plastic sleeves. The cardboard sign said "Free and Merry Christmas!"
How nice!
I took a bunch. They are on the hunt table in our Great Room with a few branches of west coast cedar
stuck in for greenery.

Our Great Room Fireplace on the Island in Duncan BC
As we walked that evening the sound of the steam train's whistle blew from the Conservation area a few blocks away. It tooted through the damp, evening air. I remember lying in bed at my Gramma Reid's house back in the 50's and early 60's listening to the monstrous steam engines pull into the train station up the street, their whistles cutting sharply through the crisp, Christmas air. I owe many of my own Christmas Traditions to Grandma Lillian Reid and I will never forget her.
I thank her for what she gave me both in spirit and design.
At Christmas 1963 she presented me with a Santa Claus that had a billowing white beard, wearing a red felt suit and hat that is still in my collection today.
Miss you Gram...

Gramma Reid with Her Sons (L-R) Earl, Ivan and my Dad- Walter
That's Grandad Reid- Norm, next to her.
Three "early" Grandkids- Tom, Judy and me (down front right)
~Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle All the Way~

This will be my last blog for now. I might get the chance to write over the holidays but I need a break. It's been a steady stream of blogs since we left Orillia, Ontario back on August 15th, driving Priscilla- our RV, across this glorious CANADA of ours that we call home.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. Make some new memories. Remember the old ones.
I thank you for reading my ROBBLOG.
I wish you all the best for the new year ahead.

Merry Christmas and Season's Greetings.



Monday, December 18, 2017

ROBBLOG #863


Here I sit before my keyboard wearing my "ugly" Christmas Sweater.
Tis the Season.

Atop my head is a jaunty, red Santa Hat and on the desk in front of me a large glass of Baileys poured over ice cubes. These cubes are not crushed ice cubes like back in "old home" but half-moon shaped blocks of ice from our new Whirlpool Refrigerator. We had asked for a crushed ice model but for some reason this machine that dispenses near blocks of ice was installed.
No, I haven't complained to the dealer. I am trying to get used to the larger sections of ice not only in my glass of Baileys but my martini glasses as well. wouldn't you think since we bought 6 appliances from this shop called Coastal Appliances that they'd follow up and ask how we like them?
Nothing yet.
The things one must endure during this season of good will and happiness, eh?



Christmas is a coming, the goose is getting fat.

All the extra eating and noshing ahead.
I am trying to tell myself that Speedo season is not too far off. Why snowdrops are appearing in some Island gardens already- and before Christmas no less. The mild Cowichan weather does allow one to be out more and to walk more. I gave my bike a run up and down the drive last Friday. I will go for a longer ride this week- if I can find the bicycle pump packed in one of the boxes out in the garage.

Speaking of garage, as of Saturday night we have begun to park the Grand Caravan inside the garage.
Still a few boxes at the wall meeting the front grill of the van when we pull it in but it fits and is inside out of the weather at least. Once we tidy the boxes we will be able to actually get inside the vehicle without venturing outside.
How nice.

Speaking of nice- not naughty, we strolled though a few local antique shops over the weekend. We didn't buy but we have our eyes set on two items. One a table and two chairs for our media room. Tom will be able to spread the income tax sheets out on its top during tax time. It usually takes him months to file taxes so we may not see the top of the table until mid-June. I thought a table would give us a nice, sturdy surface on which to have "TV Dinner" instead of the wooden TV Tables we have been using these past few years. It also would give me a surface to work on my scrapbooks and bring them up-to-date.
The second item is a small cabinet- painted white, for our Master Ensuite bath.
Hennaway, we'll see if we can get back to "Belongings" an Antique shop on Lois Lane (isn't that a cute street name) in Downtown Duncan this week and purchase the two pieces.


I also intend to get down to the shops this week to have a look around for a couple of prezzies for Tom. The Dear Boy must have something to open from under the tree.

I also hope to write my Christmas/Holiday Blog which I kind of re-jig to send out to friends and family. You know personalize it a bit. Many changes in this past year and not all of them happy memories, so I'll see where that writing takes me.

Aren't Christmas Windows the Best?
Before I go, I am sorry that you folks in "Old Home" back in Orillia, Ontario are having such a blast with winter- and I don't mean in a good way. A couple of feet of snow and temperatures that feel like the minus 20's.
How rude. How absolutely rude!!
I am trying not to comment on Island weather or send photo of flowers....well never mind.

I will say no more.
Suffice to say there's no sense in adding kerosene to an already blazing fire- is there?



Friday, December 15, 2017

ROBBLOG #862 W E E K E N D Editon


Another Weekend closer to the Holidays.
Ho Ho Ho!!

Firstly, that young man I mentioned in the last blog who cried about being bullied on the video taken by his mother...
I read where his father may be a white supremacist and his mother- just a little bit racist.
Oh those darn southern folk. Aren't they a hoot.
They still think the slaves are out there a pickin' cotton.

So, have you done your Xmas shopping yet?
I haven't and neither has The Mister.
I did tell him he could buy me Jann Arden's new book- if he wanted to.
I think we have enough this year what with the new Island Home and all.

I did buy the Echo Plus from Amazon.
The top of the line model.
She- Alexa, was on sale at $50 off the original price.
It just came in the post today. A tube about the size of a Kraft Parmesan Cheese container. You speak to Alexa and she does a bunch of stuff. Alexa has 7 or 8 microphones that pick up your voice from
around the room- even a whisper.

She gives you the correct time.
Tells you the weather and gives you the news headlines.
She plays music you ask her to play.
Not everything, however.
Although the English version released in Canada on December 5th says it's Canadian English and she's marketed as being built for typical Canadians, there are still some things she has no idea a boot.
You ask her to play an Anne Murray Christmas Song and she is stumped.

Hey- just like your typical American!
If it doesn't personally affect them, they tune out. Okay, not all but most.
Actually, they don't even tune in in the first place.
Someone here on the Island told me that an American in Seattle- just across the BC border from us, thought Canada's ice and snow started right at the border. Rainy and wet on the US side.
Cold, Ice and Snow once one passes through customs.
Duh...

 
Speaking of Canadians and Americans, I follow kd lang on Twitter and damned if that Alberta gal isn't the most American thing since the Kennedys. She rallies against Mr. Cheese Face and practically waves the Stars and Stripes in your face.
I am disappointed in her but if you live in LAH (Los Angeles) I guess that happens.

Guess that's why I am turning into such an Island Boy or at least trying to be. Right now I am being careful not to boast of 10 degree temps and sunny skies when back in "Old Home" it's been -20 something and snow- beaucoup de neige.
It's hard not to.
I am also trying not to boast about digging up an English Laurel from a friend's garden a few days ago or that a Palm Tree has been planted in the hole in our front lawn as you read this Weekend Edition of my ROBBLOG. Not to worry. Temps get a little cooler the week before Christmas. Daytime highs will only reach 4 degrees or so. Of course, the weather is so changeable here in the Cowichan, we might just see warmer temps prevail.


I hope so.
I am not done wearing shorts- just yet.




Monday, December 11, 2017

ROBBLOG #681


The sun is shining. There's a slight bit of "Freezing Fog" covering the evergreen branches in the huge, red, cast iron planter out front on our patio.
Pretty!

Just another day on "The Island".
Vancouver Island. About as far west as one can get in this great country of ours.
Today, Twitter tells me our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the "cover boy" on the January edition of Europe's biggest LGBT Magazine- Attitude. Canada is great- isn't it?
Our values cannot be beat.
We are a welcoming nation.
This is a welcoming Island. I can't count the number of times folks have said- "Welcome to the Island!"

Such a Handsome Boy. Canadian Values up his "ying-yang"
I also saw on Twitter- along with 17 million other people, that heart-wrenching video of a boy in tears, telling his mother about being bullied. It tears at my heart.
I mean why in the name of Jesus H. Christ would someone pour milk over someone's head.
Why the fuck can't we be pleasant to one another. I mean, I would hope that most of us are but there are the scurvy few who are rat bastards.
Absolute "Rat Bastards"
It will get better Keaton.
I would hug you hard if you were standing here right now.

IN OTHER NEWS

It  has been a pleasant few days. A friend- Bev, is visiting from back east. Before we picked her up at Nanaimo Airport on Saturday afternoon, Tom and I spent a nice morning at the Duncan Farmer's Market- which is open- outside, year round. Holiday greens, soup, jewellery, tea, coffee, produce and food. A German Food Truck is one of our favourite stops. It feels like we're at a Christmas Market in Germany and with a hot, steaming cup of Gluhwein- alcohol free, in our hands nothing says Fröhliche Weihnachten more.

Palm Villa on Sunday. The Hole? For the Palm
So, our friend Bev is here visiting from Owen Sound. She's our second overnight guest and sixth visitor to our Island and our new home- Palm Villa. Brother-n-Law Ted and Sister-in-Law Chris came to the Island in September from Edmonton. Then, our friends Deb and Warren from some cold, frosty, minus twenty-four degree Ontario backwater surprized us back on October with a visit. We were not in our new home yet. Then, Victoria Brenda came and stayed overnight to help us unpack. Jaki- the daughter of our much-missed friend Mrs. P from Mississauga, came for a daytime visit last week and now Bev is here. Not to be outdone, a former neighbour who lived just up the street from us in Old Orillia Town, arrives from Courtney- up island, on Friday to stay a night or two. Karen moved to the Island back in July. She paved the way across this country for us. Now, not that we won't love visiting with Karen but we are anxious to see Hailey her Yellow Lab. Hailey will go ballistic when she sees Uncle Rob and Tom.
Such fun!

On Sunday Bev and Tom and I toodled over to Cowichan Bay Village, a quaint ocean side fishing village. Shops and places to eat- of course. Here's a photo of the view from a window in a bakery where we sipped latte's and hot chocolate.
Nice.

Cowichan Bay Village
In our new home the Christmas Trees are up. Only one on the lower level was decorated. The other-one of a matching pair, never appeared from Orillia and I have no idea where it got to. Maybe it was sold by mistake at one of our garage sales.
I can't remember.
The Holiday Season is going to be different here in the Cowichan on Vancouver Island.
Temps are in the high single digits and even a double digit or two are forecast.

We know back in "Old Home" temps are minus 15, minus 20 and more.
Do I miss the snow and cold?
Nope.

Not one little bit.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

ROBBLOG #680 W E E K E N D Edition


Good Gosh I am tired!

We moved into our gorgeous Island Home a week ago and it has taken seven full, long, tiring days to get unpacked and add some homey touches. Done and Done.

Half of our garage is filled with cardboard. I suggested to "the Mister" we stash the boxes along the side of the house. He has a concern that the boxes may get wet. It hasn't rained in more than a week and our lovely new van has yet to see the garage interior! Who gives a rat's buttock if the cardboard gets wet- which it won't since there's only sunshine and mild temps for the next week.

I can't begin to tell you how much stuff we've unpacked. I thought I got rid of so much back in "old home" but there still is a mountain of stuff here, so I have started to put extra stuff in boxes and taking it to the storage room on the lower level of our house. I will have to purge again but there's no rush. I am tired of packing and unpacking and making room for stuff so out of sight out of mind for now.

My Christmas Great Room Mantle with BC Cedar Boughs
Remember we had thought we lost a bunch of stuff in the move to The Island? We have slowly discovered that our movers took it upon themselves to open a box or two and re-arrange our stuff. For instance, a box marked Master Bathroom had our Great Room mantle lamps tucked inside. Another had an antique Gone With The Wind lamp inside marked Master Bath. It was labelled correctly but it had been on  the bottom of three boxes piled in the corner of our Master Bedroom. It's been like an Easter Egg Hunt at times! More boxes were piled around the stack of three. I just couldn't remember where stuff was after four months of displacement.
Geesh!

We had been missing an oak dining room chair this past week until last night we found it in a garment box. It was wrapped in a movers quilt. Our leather jackets were rolled in bunches and tucked in on top. Why they opened our boxes and moved stuff around is beyond me.

A final tally would have me say that we had one antique lamp smashed. There was also a small Austrian vase found in several pieces near the bottom of a box. So, besides that- in the end, we faired quite well.

Morning View out our Bedroom Window.
Today I am going to finish decorating our Great Room Christmas Tree then later this afternoon our friend Bev arrives at Nanaimo Airport- about 25 minutes away. She'll be house guest number two in the past week. "Victoria" Brenda stayed last weekend to help Tom and I unpack. We are really looking forward to Auntie B's visit. She's been in California at her sister's place since December first. She'll stay with us and tour the Island until mid-week.
Such fun!

On a final note, it appears you have had some wintery weather this past week back in good ole Ontari-ari-ari-oh! Our friends Deb and Warren report a foot of the white stuff about an hour and a bit north of Orillia.
Yikes!
We saw pics of snow covered, slippery roads.
Double Yikes!
So glad I don't have to drive on snowy roads. As our friend Brandy sent us a photo of slippery streets we were waiting in line at the car wash here in Duncan. The photo of flowers blooming in December was taken as her snow-covered pictures came into my phone....and yes this is still Canada with December flowers in bloom.




Now My Dears, that's you up to date.
Have a good weekend. Enjoy the Holidays which are almost upon us and even though I am not supposed to encourage Easterners to come West- it's an unwritten rule apparently, there's still room here on the Island.
All you'll leave behind is...winter!


Monday, December 4, 2017

ROBBLOG #679

Well, we did it!!


Nine months after we signed the contract we have moved into Palm Villa- our new home in Duncan BC on Vancouver Island.




We had three moving guys- one with lovely biceps, who worked from 1030 till about 5 in the afternoon. New friends Carol and the Two Brendas- one from Victoria and one from Ladysmith put their back into unwrapping a ton of boxes and tah-dah!


It was a tiring but a very exciting day. Most of our main level is put away but the lower level is still a bit scattered. I'll work on that this week. Most of our "stuff" arrived in good condition.
Some not so good.
We had breakage.
I did my best when packing but ultimately it was the handling along the way.
There are items missing too- like an oak dining room chair.
Our bicycles are missing bolts that hold on the fenders.
Our patio table is still in pieces because the bolts can't be found.
I asked one of the nice moving men way back in August NOT to take the table or our bikes apart.
They did anyway.
&^%$*


Palm Villa's "Great Room"

We had the back of an antique harp-back washstand damaged. Someone had glued it back together and wrapped it in tape! Nice one.
Tape on an antique piece?
What can you do?
We will be putting in a claim.
I am also missing two mantle lamps and an antique "Gone with the Wind" lamp.
I hope I find them in a box today.


I will begin work on re-assembling Swisssh and Starlite later today and who knows, maybe they'll be back on air tomorrow.


Tom and I are so happy to be in our new Island Home. WE are grateful to be mostly settled and feeling a part of this Cowichan Community.
Cowichan means "warm land" you know.


'Front of House"
We are also grateful for our new Island friends- Victoria Brenda, Ladysmith Brenda and Carol.


Oh yah...one Christmas Tree is assembled. It's lights are glowing but naked otherwise.
It's on my "to do" list.


Fah-Lah-Lah-Lah-Lah-Lah-Lah-Lah-Lah



Saturday, December 2, 2017

ROBBLOG #678 W E E K E N D Edition

My Goodness!

I am happier than a pig in poo right now!
Here on the Island the Holidays are in full swing.
Thursday night Tom and I met our friend" Ladysmith Brenda" in Ladysmith for the Festival of Lights and the light parade down Ladysmith's main street. Ladysmith is about 20 minutes "up island" from our house in Duncan.

The evening was mild and the lights were amazing. Up to 18,000 people crowd into this Island Town of 6,000 to see the downtown awash in coloured lights. Santa flips the switch at 630 and the parade begins! Jesus, Mary & Joesph- it's a lot of lights!!

The parade of lighted floats and vehicles lasted almost an hour and a half. Then, a huge tree with 15,000 LED lights was lit, followed by a 15 minute fireworks display which was one of the best I have ever seen. What a jolly evening! Worth the trip to the Island.
Some pictures below:




                 



          

          

From Top: Rudolph Lights, Marching Cadets, Lighthouse Lit & Fireworks over Aggy Hall


IN OTHER NEWS

After 9 month we have taken possession of our new home in Duncan BC. With shorts, 9c degrees and a big smile on our faces, Tom and I were presented with our key. WE started to move some things we had in our apartment- and Priscilla, into the house on Friday. Saturday sees all our worldly possessions arrive from Nanaimo where they have been in storage since the last week in August.
How Nice!!

A few lights to begin the 'Festive Mood" at Palm Villa
We are excited to say the least. Our home still has some exterior finishing touches like some painting and landscaping to be done but it feels like home. Our palm tree should be planted by Christmas.
Mele Kalikimaka.
Holy shite!

Here's a photo above of our interior fireplace in the Great Room. I'll post more at a later date.

So, I am going to be busy re-positioning furniture and hanging pictures over the next few days.
Pardon my absence folks.

EGADS!
I might even have Swisssh and Starlite back on air by Sunday night.
Baby steps first, Rob.
Baby steps....

Enjoy your weekend!