Friday, October 19, 2018

ROBBLOG #745- Shortcomings


This morning The Mister called me from the Lanai.
"You gotta come and see this!"- he cried.
"See what?"- I yelled from the kitchen, "I'm making my cawfee."
"Just come!" He raised his voice a little.

I walked to the Lanai and had a look see. A black pickup truck was parked to the left along the street just past our property line.

"Yikes!!"
Although, that's not what I said.
Here's a photo of the pickup's rear window- one side.



If you can't enlarge the photo, let me tell you what this jackass...
Whoops, I'm getting ahead of myself- what this gentleman has on his rear window.

The bottom right says- "18 yet?"
Upper left- "Four doors for more Whores"
As well there's-
"Don't laugh, your daughter could be in this car", 
"Louder than your Girlfriend last night", 
"Stay lit", 
"Your daughter likes this", 
"My couch pulls out but I don't!", 
"Enjoy Vagina"- which looks like a Coca- Cola logo
and
"Lost Unicorn, if found stop doing drugs!"
There's also a stencil of a skull in an army helmet with the letters M/M on the helmet and a yellow star with a backwards capital R" and a forwards capital "R". I have no idea what that means.
I'll bet this fellah does his share of weed referring to the "stay lit" stencil. He is living in an alternate universe to be sure.

Pretty disgusting what with #MeToo as well as Bernardo trying for parole making the news this week?
I mean really how can a straight man possibly think these stencils are funny let alone appropriate?
I could describe him to you but I'll be you can pretty well figure out what the sleazebucket...
whoops sorry again- young man, looks like.

Scruffy beard. Thin. Pale. Tattooed. A Smoker. Long greasy, stringy hair. Not that there's anything wrong with any of those items individually- except for the greasy, stringy hair- but throw them together on one fucked up human....whoops, sorry for a third time- an individual, the whole picture changes.

If I was a psychiatrist, I'd probably peg this creep for somwthing bad waiting to happen or maybe just a slimeball who needs help- and fast, or at the least his balls kicked all the way to Tuktoyaktuk!
That's harsh. I know.
I really have to feel sorry for this human being who has no concern for the rest of the human race only for his smallish dick.

Anyhoo, along with another neighbour we complained to the on-site foreman as well as the builder through his office. The two gals in the office were disgusted as well. As far as we know, there were no youngsterswho had the opportunity to read this fucked up truck even though schools had a professional development day here on the island. Of course is he's cruising around the island, I'm sure many have had the opportunity.

My question is- Why didn't his fellow workers say something?
Is it a buddy thing?
Did they think it was funny?

By the way one of the sorriest things I hear today- living on this building site, is one straight man calling another- "Buddy". 
Where did that come from?
I mean one Gay man calling another Gay man "Bitch" is a sign of love and respect but Buddy??

There is one thing I believe sounds worse- that is a grown man calling his son "Buddy".
Use his name for Gawd's Sake. These are the same men who refer to their wives as "The Wife" no doubt. What happened to calling your son or wife by their first name?
I think it's a sense of ownership.
Once again, I am not a shrink.

So complaints were fielded and the fellah- who is a drywaller, got a call from his boss who said he'd have to cover the offending words up. 

We never heard anything more about his shortcomings but here's the result.
Truck Tape.



Wednesday, October 10, 2018

ROBBLOG #744- Vrooom


I first posted this story seven years ago.
I tweaked this and that and here it is again in it's entirety plus a bit more.

One summer day, a smallish, young man with a penchant for singing show tunes walked along his street to a quiet, little parkette just around the corner from his little house.The day was bright and warm with oodles of sunshine.

He carried- in a little pink case, his beloved pussy-cat. Her name was Miss Chinchilla. Miss Chinchilla loved to go to the parkette with the little man. He carried some special teats just for Miss Chinchilla in his tiny pockets along with a bottle of fresh water. Miss Chinchilla purred with delight.

Not to be left out, the smallish, young man had also packed a picnic lunch for himself. He had made cheese sandwiches and placed a bunch of olives in a sealed plastic container. The little man loved olives as much as he loved his pussy cat. He also carried a huge jug of ice-cold lemonade. All this was safely tucked into a big, yellow backpack he had flung over his shoulders. 

As he walked along the smallish, young man sang some of his favourite showtunes! He belted- “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” from Oklahoma and “It's a Privilege to Pee” from Urinetown.
Even singing one of his favourites from Showboat- "Old Man River". He accompanied himself on the harmonica which was a feat in itself. He played and sang and sang and played. Even Miss Chinchilla purred along in perfect harmony! 

They soon arrived at the parkette. The smallish, young man walked to his favourite bench beneath his favourite Maple tree and sat down with his pussy by his side. He started to sing one of his most favourite Broadway tunes from Flower Drum Song- “I Enjoy Being a Girl”. 

As he did so a portion of a group of righteous locals- who were sitting on blankets spread on the ground under a huge oak tree, heard the song he was singing. This Gaggle of Locals- who didn't fit into any specific "group" profile that the small, lean, young man could recognize- including but not totally excluding any of the collection of such groups currently forming across the country.
 
At the very least, they could be sympathizers or followers of that Quebec right-wing politician who recently won a majority in the Quebec Provincial Election. You know, the Air Transat guy.
Right. Him.
Like the rest of Canada, who cares what happens in Quebec anyway.
Maybe the group supported the brother of the former Mayor of a literally huge centrally located- but a bit to the east, city.
 
So, back to our story...
 
A few of them rose to their feet from the blankets and walked to where the smallish man was seated- singing, on the bench.

They stood in front of him and told him he was going to "someplace bad"- and HOT cried a rather plain looking, 12 year old blonde girl, for singing such a song. Then, a big, black, quite muscular as well as a strikingly handsome man- moved forward from the group and began speaking by telling the smallish man his name was Henderson.

"Dear Sir, did you know it is just plain wrong for a man to sing the words you are singing? Especially a white man singing "Old Man River"!
 
The small, debonair man pooh-pooed this as he remembered seeing Andy Williams singing that very song many times and Andy was very, very white.
 
"Why, what if someone omnipresent was to come upon yawl just sitting here on this bench singing those words?" 
His pectoral muscles twitched as he spoke.


The smallish, young man looked at the muscular man along with the rest of the group standing in front of him- including the plain blonde girl. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a few pussy treats offering them to Miss Chinchilla. Then, he opened the backpack he had placed on the bench next to him. Unzipping the zipper, he reached inside.
He snapped open a plastic container and ate three olives.
Then, he took out a Havarti cheese sandwich- on whole wheat, unwrapped it, then took a big bite. 

Henderson spoke again. This time his huge, black, biceps undulated under his tight, long-sleeved white shirt:

“You are just not listening to the words we all are saying to you Brother. You will be confined to the fires of damnation for eternal life for singing those oddly sinful songs from the Broadway stage.” 

“Oh well,” said the smallish, young man, “Guess I`ll see you all there!” 
Then, he looked directly at the huge black man- square in the face, and said:
"Golly, you really do have such nice, large muscles!"

Henderson started to fume. His massive chest muscles heaved.
He actually seemed to blush but owing to the fact he was an oversized, chocolate-skinned man, one could never tell but being a good, decent man he said no more.
Making a silent wish, Henderson spun on his heels and motioned with a large, black hand for the others to follow. The entire group spun on their individual heels and returned to the remainder of the gaggle of locals who had remained seated on their blankets beneath the huge Oak Tree. 

The smallish man took a few more bites of the cheese sandwich. Then, the smallish, young man poured himself a glass of lemonade and sipped away, all the while keeping an eye on the Gaggle of Locals beneath the oak tree. 

Suddenly and without warning Miss Chinchilla- his lovely pussycat, opened the door of her little pink case, stepped out and sat on the bench next to the smallish, young man. Miss Chinchilla pondered the situation. The smallish, young man seemed sad. She looked up at the smallish, young man and winked a pussy eye.

Then, taking a huge Black and Decker chainsaw out of her pink case, she scampered over to where the locals were sitting on their blankets. She climbed a few feet up the huge Oak Tree, started the chainsaw with a horrendous vroooom and made a nice, clean cut right through it. The mighty tree fell, right on top of the Gaggle of Locals- even the huge, black, muscular, handsome man, sitting beneath. 

The smallish, young man and Miss Chinchilla thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the day eating cheese sandwiches, olives and pussy treats. They drank lemonade and fresh, bottled water. 

The Gaggle of Locals never bothered the smallish, young man and his big pussy ever again.
 
Oh, the smallish man- after admiring Henderson's huge biceps and chest muscles, decided to join a gym and he did so the very next day.

The End.

Friday, October 5, 2018

ROBBLOG #743- Giving Thanks


It's our First Island Thanksgiving in our own home- Palm Villa.

Last year we were on the Island and had Thanksgiving twice. We were sort of considered "nouveau" Island orphans I suppose.

One day last Thanksgiving we were at our good friend Donatella's.
We feel like family now.
It was at Donna's (I started calling her Donatella about that time) where we stayed in her lower level apartment while we waited for our new home to be finished. It was to be for two months and a couple of weeks. We will be forever grateful that we were allowed to live- almost normally, for those two months. I mean, Priscilla our RV was terrific- she really was, just not for an additional two months of "roughing it". I say this telling you Priscilla had a three piece bath, full kitchen and queen size walk around bed.

On the actual Thanksgiving Monday last year we were at another Thanksgiving celebration at our friend Leanna's Mum and Dad's. Karen and Ed made us feel ever so welcome as did Leanna and hubbie Jason just a few months before when we met them at the Duncan Market. Leanna was actually born right here on the Island. Kind of her claim to fame. Well, there's more including an infamous murder trial she can't talk about to this day- but let's leave it at that.

So, this year the Mister and I bought a big Turkey a week ago before we asked guests to join us.
We started doing that this week.
Making verbal invitations.
At one point, we thought we'd have up to nine around our table but the latest count has been rounded off at six or thereabouts. That number could change.

With the exception of one guest, everyone has come to the Island from Ontario including those three invited guests that had to take a rain check when transportation over the Malahat from Victoria didn't work out. Bus service on the Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend is just not as reliable and convenient as Monday through Friday, so we'll blame BC Transit for our lower number of guests.

Anyhoo, it'll be a nice dinner.
Lots of laughter and chatter and stories.

I'm using my Grandmother Lottie Bartley's- My Mum's Mother, Wedding China if the number stays static at six. It's a china set I have had for decades with a floral pattern and gold along the plate's edges. It's very old and has to be hand washed- but it is worth it.
It's good for a conversation starter around the table as well.

Looking down on us will be my Dad's Mother- Lillian Reid in a portrait that shows both her and her brother around the turn of the last century. It's very Victorian looking and I am so lucky to be in possession of the portrait.
It's a photo actually rendered in charcoal on top of the photographic image. It's in a gilded oval frame with roses and swirls.
It hung in my Dad's workshop for years collecting dust.
One day- maybe twenty or more years ago, I asked him for it.
He gave it to me- dust and all.
I think it hung in a spare bedroom at my Grandparent's House at 217 Front Street South in Orillia, Ontario if memory serves me correctly.

Their house nor address doesn't exist these days. It was torn down a few years ago to make room for a car dealership's new garage and parts department. When I was a kid in the 50's and early 60's Davy Park's barn sat on the spot next door and there were always huge horses grazing  along the wire fence next to my Grandparent's house.
I guess it's the reason why I love huge horses like Clydesdales and Percherons even today.

Nice memories. The past.
I hold them tight but we are making new ones in the present.

It's one of the reasons I love Thanksgiving and even though there will be special people missing from our table this year- those that have passed and those that are distanced by several provinces and time zones, I expect they'll all be there in spirit.

We'll be thinking and giving thanks for each and every one.

Happy Thanksgiving from our Island.


Monday, October 1, 2018

ROBBLOG #742- All the News that's Fit to Print


Boy, when you stop reading Ontario Newspapers online, you sure are out of the loop.

I started- or rather stopped reading news from "old home"- Orillia, Ontario, back in February. I was still reading the Toronto Star now and then to see what Ontario was up to but since then the Star has slapped a $14.99 a month digital fee to read their paper online- after 5 free articles, I stopped They tried this a few years ago and then they returned to a free Star online. Now, they've gone back to this online fee crying about a downturn in print advertising.

I am sure that's the truth because I've heard of many Ontario papers shutting down since we arrived here on Vancouver Island. Even Orillia's daily newspaper- The Packet, gave up the ghost last November. Is it greed on the part of the owners or indeed is print failing?

Doesn't seem to affect The Enquirer.
I still see their ludicrous headlines at the Walmart checkouts.
Some glossy magazines publish larger editions and feel quite confident charging the consumer an inflated price for the enlarged volume- with no advertising to be seen on its shiny pages.
I mean people buy them.
I know I have...

So, here's the Star asking for 15 bucks a month to keep up their superior brand of reporting.
They call it "ground-breaking investigative journalism and robust local reporting".
Whatever...
I call it 200 bucks a year for news I can read for free on other websites- like cbc.ca
or ctvnews.ca
Both are way up there on the "investigative journalism" scale.

When Newspaper Ads were the big thing!
The Star has a Vancouver edition too. Not that'd I'd shell out 15 bucks times 12 months for it either, since all the news is about Vancouver. You wouldn't even know the Island existed.
Maybe that's a good thing. Keeps Easterners east.
At least I think it does. Yesterday, I saw my first "Je Me Souviens" licence plate on a rust bucket of a General Motors van. It's not often you see vehicles- with rusted fenders held on with duck tape, here on our Island. Our vehicles don't rust away like that on the Island.

With the Toronto Edition, I don't really have an interest in Ontario politics what with Ford as Premier. I did read this week that the "temporary" figurehead of the Ontario Liberal party- I forget his name, actually said Ontarians were right when they booted Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals out of power.
Gee, I'll bet the Ontario Liberal party really thanked him for that show of support.
I imagine Kathleen sent him a smart, hand-written note that said-
"Hey thanks for your warm, supportive thoughts you Ass Hole"!
I know I would have sent something thoughtful and warm-hearted like that.
I'm sure Hallmark has a card specifically made for assholes.
If they don't, they should.

Now and then I think about looking at a "local" online paper from "old home" just to see what has been going on but I try not to do that. I do read the twice weekly Cowichan Citizen even though most of the news I've already heard through the local gossip mill before I even pick up the paper left on my doorstep every Wednesday and Friday. The online version is better and certainly more up-to-date.
I pick it up to peruse the numerous print ads in each edition before I throw it into the recycle bin.
I must say I flip through the real estate section that comes a couple of times a month. One never knows when a bargain is at hand.

A bargain??
On this Island.
Nada chance.

Anyhoo, I do just fine with the CBC and CTV and occasionally the Huff Post. I also keep my fingers on the pulse of newsworthy items by following selective folks on Twitter.
There, I get news straights from the source.
The newsmaker's themselves.
I can decide what's relevant to me or not and when I get tired of all the blarney and staying in the loop...I just click the "unfollow" button.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

ROBBLOG #741- Get Over It


Get Over It!

It could be my new mantra.
We had brunch with another new Island friend. An Island friend who has come into our lives through Guyana, Toronto, Mississippi and now Vancouver Island. She's lovely.

Over brunch, we were having a discussion about our homes and this and that when she goes from zero to sixty looking across the table from behind those caring, concerned dark eyes and says:
So what's this angst you have going on...

Oh. Yes. What we were talking about the day before...
She's a Professor. A Doctor of Anthropology and Linguistics
She's both life-smart and education smart. Her students at the University deep within the Mississippi Delta are very lucky, however, she's tough.
I could see that as her eyes focused squarely on me as I started to explain.

When I had done that, she thought for a moment and without losing eye contact she says to me-
"Rob, this is not the right answer or a good answer but I am going to say it first and I apologize for being blunt. Get over it!"

Tough love?

With "Get over it" as a start point we had a discussion and I discovered a couple of things that I knew were there inside but I hadn't been able to put it into words.
She did.
She found the right words and I am grateful. I am not going into details because it's private and even though I have said a ton of things in this Blog over the years, that's all you're going to get- this time.
So, get over it!!

What's that Dear. What did you say?
Oh...Get Over It!
Will do. Thanks for calling.
Bye now.
Here I am embarking on a new tour de life called "Get Over It" and I will try.

Saying goodbye is never easy but the road ahead needs to be traveled.
Get over it...

The past is past and the future is now and it's right over there.
Get over it...

Going back is not always the answer. Moving forward can be and probably is.
Get over it...

I don't have a million dollars in the bank.
Get over it...

I hate the fact that pot will be legal soon.
Get over it...

I hate when pot smokers blow smoke in your face as you pass by. It wafts into my nose and mouth. I can taste it. It's terrible and I hate it.
Get over it...

When someone keeps a garage door wide open from morning to night for no better reason than all garage doors in this person's history on earth and ownership of garage doors, have stayed open.
Get over it...

At times I feel like my insides are being pulled as if in a tug-of-war contest.
Get over it...

I don't like the policies and the mindsets of those far right of centre. How can one be a caring human being with that kind of shit going on in your head.
Get over it. No. Them this time, not me...

I always get red lights when I am in a hurry to drive someplace.
Island Time. Island Time.
Get over it...

Our new home- Palm Villa, is not an 1882 Victorian Home such as Pine Tree House back in Orillia.
Get over it...

I may not be able to perform in a theatre on a stage play ever again.
Get over it.

There are people that I may never see face-to-face again. Ever.
Get over it...

I can't think of anything else to write, right at the moment. I'm tired.
Get over it.

Monday, September 24, 2018

ROBBLOG #740- Good Grief


You know, I'm not exactly sure how one goes about handling this thing called mourning.

I know it isn't easy.
I've been on this road before- too often these past few years.
Life they tell me...
It's just life.

No, it isn't.
It's finality.
The end.
It is death.
The end of our mortal existence and for that reason it has to be sad at the very least.
It has to be tough.
It has to be emotional.
It has to be warm.
It has to be a time for heavy sighs, salty tears and a future without familiarity of life.
I suppose at some point, uplifting as well.
That's the part I am waiting for.

Some days and during some times of some days, I feel fine.
Then, I take one look at our Missy's basket or glance over at Dickens snoozing on a chair with one of Missy's stuffed animals next to him.
~sigh~

I watch Koko curl up in Missy's familiar basket while I am sitting here at this keyboard and I feel such sadness. I try to remember what it was like looking into those dark Schnauzer eyes or cradling her in my arms even during her last few moments.
That's the tough bit.


Some days, Tom and I are out for our daily walk and images of my Cousin Judy and her voice come floating along as if on the wind. Judy always said she'd come by- if she could.
I think she has several times already.
I feel her warmth as if she has placed her hands on my shoulders.
I hear her voice. A whisper in my ear.
"I'm just fine..."
Her laughter.
The reminiscing when we would get together.
Then, I begin to miss her even more.

For the past year we haven't been face to face since I'm here- on the Island, she's back in Ontario.
We talked every week.
Sometimes more.
The week before her heart attack we were making plans for her to come out and stay for a while. Her Doctors were cautious and said no flying. She was waiting to hear from another. She knew her kidneys were not good but the last couple of times we talked she seemed so strong. Her heart was always a problem but I felt she should strike while the iron's hot or at least the body was willing.
Who knew?
I certainly never thought I would be writing this blog at this time.

Time.
We always think there is more time but there isn't.
Time is fleeting. That's old- I know.
Time rushes by like a speeding train to the station at the end of the line called "Mortality".
That station waits for us all. We've already bought our ticket. The final excursion date is set- for some of us earlier rather than later.

It seems like a waste of time this sadness but one has to work through it and it's probably different for everyone. Whether mourning a four-legged family member or a two-legged one- it still hurts.

Writing helps.
The understanding of family and friends helps.
Breathing. Walking. Reading and Hugs help.

Tears do too somehow and they will stop...

one day.

Friday, September 21, 2018

ROBBLOG #739 It takes...


We've all heard the proverb or a derivative of the proverb: It Takes a Village.

Origins of this "proverb" are usually related to raising a child and come from Africa. However, I think it can be used successfully in many diverse instances.

Lately, I have been thinking of this proverb in the sense of making the move to Vancouver Island and the many, many people who have welcomed Tom and I and made room for us in their already busy lives. It's really incredible when one thinks about it. We arrived here like "pioneers" a year ago only instead of a covered wagon it was our RV Priscilla that made the journey from far off Central Ontario. Before we left, we hugged friends and family. Saw tears. Made tears. Had doubts and wondered how this move- three time zones away, would work out.

It has worked out fine for the most part.
Of course, there are days I feel a little "homesick".
I'm not sure if that is the right word.

The Mister is a little more stalwart than I.
I blame it squarely on his German Heritage. More than the Brits and their stiff upper, his German background almost comes across as "gruff" when I occasionally ask him if he still "feels at home" here on our Island Paradise.
He does....
I just worry sometimes about our choice being the right icing on this slice of cake called life.
I worry too much anyway.

After all, It took me a couple of years to convince him that we should go "westward ho" from Orillia in Central Ontario. Now, here we are settled after more than 12 months, yet some days I hear that inside voice pose a question- was this the right thing to do?
My answer to myself is a curt yes!
What's your problem Rob?
Shut up for Fuck's sake Rob!!

You know what Ethel?
What Lucy?
They'll never come back. They're gone to stay.
Yuh think...
I do miss some folks and the comfortableness of living in a City where everybody knows your name, well- almost everybody. Being familiar with the streets and the shops and a neighbourhood really puts one at ease. It's comforting but if you are too close to it- like if you are still living in Orillia or Ontario, it doesn't mean as much.
I say Ontario because I miss being close to Toronto.
That's right.
I loved the busy streets like Avenue Road, the theatre, the summer's CNE and the stores and shops and malls. I think about the places we didn't visit before we departed. Places like like Niagara-on-the-Lake, Peterborough, Mississauga, Port Perry, Kitchener and many, many more.

Would I move back?
Not at all probable. You see, all I have to do is take a gander at photos from the past 25 years that were taken in January and February and like a hard slap to my face it brings me back to reality pretty damn quick.

Now about this village I am speaking of that has opened up it's arms and given us a hearty hug. I want to say thanks. We couldn't have done it without you. Of course, I would like to name everyone we have come to know in this short year. I may forget some Islanders but for starters here are some of the people we see or hear from on a regular basis starting with the first three people we met:

Victoria Brenda, Leanna and Jason, then: Dave, Kelly, Donatella, Carol, Ladysmith Brennda, Sandra, Martin, Shanny, Tina, Steve, Trudy, Steve, Jeremy, Jill & Tim, Ron, Marj & Jim, Kathleen, Joan, Sharlene, Darren, Thomasx2, Mona, Hugh, Karen & Ed, Doug & Bertie, Jakie & Bev, Jason, Joanne, Marina, Darlene, Brittany, Michelle, Brian, Steve, Alex, Barb, Heather, Leslie, Susan, Norman, Kaye, Rene, Cal, Bruce, Chandra, Angie, Del, Kelly, Val, Bevie, Tyler, Katie, Kate, Sue & Rob, Surjit & Indujit, Cam, Mike, John-Henry, Daryll, Gus, Jean & John, Karl-Heinz & Jimmy, Jill & Jim, Bev, Lily, John, Mavis & Don, Gaylene, Bruce & Bob, Vanessa, Doug & Frank and many more.

Friday, September 14, 2018

ROBBLOG #738- Rough

So, how am I doing?

I am hanging in there.
So's the Mister.
It's been a rough week as the previous two blogs suggest.

Still thinking that it is so surreal that my Cousin Judy is not on this earthly plane anymore. Every now and then I think- I must call Judy.
My head spins and reality sets in.

The next minute I look at our Missy's empty basket, a toy, her leash or her sweater and the tears flow.
Is it getting better?
In small bits.

Neighbours and friends have been great. E-mails, cards, flowers, words of wisdom.
We've had company over the past week and that has both helped and hindered.
It helped Tom and I by taking our minds off our troubles. It also delayed our mourning somewhat as well as Missy's passing.
Life goes on.
A corny line at best...but it does and will for us. I think- once we have Missy's ashes back, we'll feel a little better.
I think...

My Cousin's Celebration of Live is in November and you know what? I may not go.
~gasp~
I am still working through that. For one thing, it's along way to go to be sad for a couple of hours. For another, I'm just not ready to head back to Orillia. It's taken me months to get over leaving "old home" and I don't want to start all over again.
Maybe you can understand that.
Maybe not.
Doesn't matter. It's my decision.
Life is falling into place here on our Island and for now I want to hold that steady as we head forward into the future.

You know how things seem to happen in three's?
My Sister had to go into hospital a few days ago. A major operation.
More worry and concern but she came through and I have had a chance to talk with her back in "old home".
She sounds good.
She sounds relieved.
Terrific.
I hope her future is bright and health problems vanish.

Enough now.

So what is ahead for me on this Island?
Autumn weather- of sorts. The Island Autumn (IA) is not like a Central Ontario Autumn. (COA)
The leaf colour here in an IA goes from green to brownish red or yellow. Mostly from lack of water.
We had a bit more rain this past week than is usual for September- which last year was hot and dry. Most of October was the same. This cooling trend is hanging about for another week.
Cripes, there was snow on the Coquahalla and in northern mainland areas- even good old Canmore, Alberta. Remember- "I'm Mike...from Canmore."

The nights are not crisp here as back in a COA and we probably won't feel that crispness until December when the temps dip down to the lower single digits overnight.

Oh...The Holidays are coming!!
There is no doubting that.
Walmart has Hallowe'en, Harvest/Thanksgiving and Christmas décor all piled on shelves in the seasonal department. Shop for three holidays all in one easy spot! What's so bad about that?
I haven't heard them play a Christmas Carol yet- Walmart is slipping...

I must confess, I am looking for a pre-lit, LED Christmas Tree. Back in Ontario, I had two pencil trees that fit- one on each side of our Parlour Fireplace. When all the boxes from our move were emptied, I found that I was missing one tree.
I have no idea where.
Maybe it was sold in an Orillia garage sale by mistake.
Maybe the movers shifted it to another home along the way.
The trees have matching décor, so I have decided to buy one larger tree and throw all the gold balls and ornaments on it, rather than try to match the remaining pencil tree with a new one.


You see, these are the type of earth-shattering problems I have to deal with now that I am retired and living the Island Life!
It's rough sometimes.
No, I mean it.
Rough!
Why, just the other day I looked at a half dozen cinnamon-raisin bagels at the 49th Parallel Grocery Store.
They were priced at $5.19!
WTF?
I just want to buy some bagels not the company! I left them on the grocery shelf to hopefully pass their best before date. That'll teach that grocery store to try to sell a Senior over-priced bagels.
Damn!

Other than that the days go by one after another just like they always have only faster these days it seems.

Gee, I better put a tin foil turkey pan on my shopping list in case they all sell out over the next couple of weeks. I mean Thanksgiving is three weeks Monday.

See what I mean?
Rough.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

ROBBLOG #737- Our Little Missy Has Passed


Just this side of the great whatever is a place called the Rainbow Bridge.

A place of peace and serenity where our beloved pets go to wait for us to pass. Then, we cross the Rainbow Bridge together, into the next plane of existence. It sounds so beautiful.

In my last blog, I told you my Cousin Jude died Friday.
Now, today, Sunday September 9th 2018, our wonderful little mini-schnauzer Missy has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
We are so, so sad.
Heart-broken...

She would have been 14 years old this November.

She hadn't be well this past week. In December, we were told she has a slow growing cancer plus her liver levels were high.

A couple of months ago, the Vet told us she is in stage three Kidney Disease.
Tom and I figured we'd have just a couple of months with her. We've been down that road before with another Schnauzer. Even in December we felt she would leave us by Christmas. Dr. Sara called her a Miracle Puppy and that's why we tried a couple of meds to try to get her back on track over the past week. We knew they might not work- which they didn't.

We took Missy to a vet in Nanaimo- since our vet is closed Sunday. No vet- that I could find, is open in the Cowichan Valley on Sunday. The only choice is to drive to Victoria or Nanaimo. Now, that really ticks me off. With all the Vets here certainly one could provide an emergency service- but no.

So, we were shuffled via an answering service to an Emergency Vet Hospital in Nanaimo. I looked at the website- what there was of one, reading a few comments. Some were good but some were very bad. I don't always believe what people write online but because the website was supposed to be new and yet still unfinished, I didn't get a good vibe. I did a Google search myself and found the VCA Island Animal Hospital. Open till 5pm Sunday. On their website there were descriptions of what they do and photos of the vets. I liked what I read.

I called and a lovely young lady by the name of Tiffany, answered.
She was kind and patient with me. She answered my questions. She said she took all her pets to the clinic even before she worked there.
"The vets are all very nice"- she said.
I sobbed a bit.
She was supportive and told me to take my time.
She slotted us in for 230pm.
It was noonish when I called.

Tom and I had spent most of the morning with Missy wondering when we should make the decision.
Should we wait until Monday morning and see our vet clinic here in Duncan?
Problem was, our Vet wasn't full time there and she wasn't in again until Tuesday.
We had already booked a Tuesday appointment a week ago.
We had been trying to wait until then trying to  encourage Missy to eat and drink.
She did her best.
We did our best.
We knew it wasn't working.
Then, she was having trouble standing yesterday afternoon.
I remember our yellow lab Kiki having a massive stroke the day she passed and this was similar but all on Missy's left side. It wasn't nice and Missy was plainly confused as to what was happening to her little Schnauzer body.

Our Darling Missy. Forever in Our Hearts.
As I said, it was just about noon, when we decided that Missy couldn't wait any longer to cross the Rainbow Bridge. That's when I called the Animal Hospital.

Dr. Jamie was wonderful. She stroked Missy and I could see she was upset as well. She took Missy away from us for a few minutes to insert a tube in Missy's right leg into which she'd dispense the drug dose when Tom and I were ready. When she came back into the room, she said what we had heard many, many times over the years- "She's such a good girl and a sweetheart."
We know.
We had Missy wrapped up in her beige blanket. Jamie passed her to me. Tom was holding Koko. We whispered our goodbyes into those floppy little ears. Koko sniffed her nose and leg where the tube had been inserted.

We nodded to Dr. Jamie and she inserted the needle into the stent and the pale greenish-blue liquid poured into Missy's vein.

It was quick.
It always is...
Jamie removed the stethoscope from around her neck.
She listened intently to Missy's heart.
Then... she softly spoke to us- "She's gone..."

More tears. Puppy kisses and goodbyes. All three humans and Koko formed a circle. We hugged each other and stroked Missy's head and chest. I passed her to Tom's waiting arms.
Her head flopped onto his chest.
Believe me, this is the worst part of sending a family member on their way.
When the head "flops" to the side you understand that all life has left.

We kissed and hugged her a bit more and softly pulled the hair on her legs.
I looked into her puppy eyes.
The light was gone.
It always is....

We hoped that Missy was already with Kiki.
I hoped that Cousin Judy was there to catch her as she fell through to the next plane of existence just this side of the Rainbow Bridge.

It is just not possible to believe that she is gone. That she is all alone. She is so small. So loving, she had to be met by someone- Human or Canine, on the other side. It doesn't matter.

We have sent so many on their way: Samantha, Max, Lucky, Luma, Samantha 2 (Our first Schnauzer), Kiki and now Missy. We can't forget our Doyle who disappeared a year ago. We may never know his fate but he is loved and will never be forgotten.

It will be a quiet few days around Palm Villa here on our Island.

Like all our four-legged family members who have passed over the Rainbow Bridge,
we will miss our Missy forever.

"Your Dads will see you soon- Whiskers Miss Samantha Rose..."
Missy...

Saturday, September 8, 2018

ROBBLOG #736- A Ford Falconer Forever


Another Chin-Wag with the Big Fellow Upstairs

Me: One ringy-dingy. Two ringy-dingy's…

Himself: Hello Rob, been waiting for your call. Had Gladys clear my schedule for the next hour.

Me: Oh. Gee how did you...Oh right. You're omnipresent...Gladys?

Himself: You're finally getting that- eh Rob? And Gladys is my right hand, omnipresent Angel.

Me: Well, that clears that up, I guess. So, God. Mr. Big Stuff, how are you doing it's been a  while.

Himself: More to the point...how are you?

Me: Me?

Himself: Yes. I know you are going through a bunch of turmoil in that earthly plane and all.

Me: They call that life down here. Yes, our Puppy Missy is ill. Not much time left for her but we are hoping.

Himself: Hope is good. It's all you have to cling to sometimes. Some life on earth, eh? So, listen sorry about your Cousin Judy. She was quite the gal indeed.

Me: You know, I mean knew Judy?

Himself: Of course Rob. Like I say, I'm...

Me: Omipresent?

Himself: No, I was going to say "in the know". Anyway your cousin arrived over on this side Friday morning at 1020 local time. Now, let's see, that was oh seven twenty your Island time.

Me: Yes. Correct.

Himself: So how are YOU doing? Judy's just fine over here. She being looked after.

Me: Oh. That is good. You know God, I think part of the mourning here on earth when a special person passes is the not knowing. Wondering if they're alone. Been taken care of.

Himself: The concern and question of the centuries. What happens after the "earthly plane".

Me: Well, we do wonder...

Himself: Look and this burns my holy arse but if those "Godly" folks on earth would just take some time and listen to their hearts and minds, they'd have figured it out by now.

Me: Figured out?

Himself: Life and stuff my son. It's not such difficult knowledge to swallow.

Me: Maybe not from your perspective but some people here need to be told how to get through and deal with life and having a "superior" figure like yourself to look up to helps- I suppose.

Himself: Now Rob, you don't really believe that do you? I know you don't.

Me: No. I do not.

Himself: Fair enough. I don't exist to tell people how to live. I lend some support around here when they need it most, that being when they "pass over" not before and I'm not the only one here.

Me: Really?

Himself: Yes. Really. It takes a while to get used to things on the next level you know but she's- I mean Judy, is in fine hands with the Intake Angels?

Me: That's good. Ummm… "Intake Angels" like a Concierge at a hotel?

Himself: Now you've got it! So Rob, tell me about your Cousin Jude.

Me: She ummmm...is more of a sister than a first Cousin. Her Dad and my Dad were brothers. We did lots of things together when we were young.

Himself: Like what...

Me: Well, we went to movies at the Geneva Theatre. You know, I never saw the opening credits to a movie until I was 15 or 16 years old. Jude was always late getting ready or she hadn't scrubbed the stairs like her mother asked. That's when they lived at 52 Colborne. Ummmm, for reference, that's where the Mariposa Market parking lot is these days..

Himself: I know. Remember..

Me: You're omnipotent. I know. I guess there is a whole bunch of movies that I have never seen the first fifteen or twenty minutes of because of Judy's tardiness. She never got a handle on that!

Himself: What else?

Me: Oh, we used to tool around town in Uncle Ivan's Turquoise Pontiac Biscayne. Big as a bus that car was. We'd pool our coins to make a dollar and go over to Totten's Gas Station to get Mr. Totten to pump us a buck's worth of gas- right to the penny. We could cruise all evening up and down Mississaga Street and down through the park. Oh, ~laughing~ we'd sing at the top of our lungs- "Send me the pillow that you ~huuump~ on, so Darling I can ~huuump~ on it too..."

Himself: Huuump on?

Me: I have no idea. We made it up. Maybe it had a "dirty" connotation, I dunno. We sang and laughed until we had to pee. Then, we'd go to the Tasty-Freeze for a 10 cent soft ice cream cone. Damn, we had fun.

Himself: Sounds like it. What else?

Me: Judy was a life-saver. When I was in one of my worst depressions, she took me in. The Doctor said either I was hospitalized or I had to find someone I could live with for a while until I was stabilized. Judy stepped up. I will always love her for that. Gee, there's so much. So many memories.
The past few years we re-connected after not seeing one another regularly for a few decades.

Himself: Why so long?

Me: Life. Just life. I regret that time lost.

Himself: That's it? Life?? Rob, you learned a valuable lesson- no time like the present.

Me: Well, you should know "Mr. Omnipresent"?

Himself: Careful Robbie-Bobbie. Don't make me smite you!

Me: Oh...sorry.

Himself: Jesus- I'm only joshin' around.

Me: Whew! Good to know. Did you just curse?

Himself: Good Gracious No!! Rob, are you sad?

Me: I am. Like an anvil is tied to my heart and it's pulling me down but you know what?

Himself: I probably do...

Me: You know...I am not too bad. I feel lightas well. I mean, I didn't want her to leave- especially since she hasn't seen Tom and I here on the Island.

Himself: Not to worry. Soon, she'll be able to pop into your realm and see you whenever she wants.

Me: That is comforting.

Himself: There will be a sign when she's next to you.

Me: I know, I've felt that before with others.

Himself: It's a gift you have Rob. Not everyone can see and feel folks in another plane. You can.

Me: In fact God, I feel a warmth around my neck and shoulders right now. Do you think...

Himself: Early days but she was...I mean IS a strong soul. If she wanted to contact you bad enough and your channel is open- well, I have no power over that. No power at all. I'll tell you one thing.

Me: What's that?

Himself: I'll have her to lunch one day soon and we'll talk about all you've said and more.

Me: Gawd, we used to laugh. Laugh all the time. Once when her eyesight wasn't so good, Tom and I sat her within a foot of our big screen TV to watch Grease "live" and we described who was on the screen. She could sort of see colours. It was fun. I was so glad when she had eyesight return in one eye.

Himself: Rob, both are perfect now.

Me: ~pause. sniff.~ Nice. I will always miss her. A part of me is hollow.

Himself: That is to be expected. Life and Death. Two hard lessons for you folks- especially first timers down there. Now you. You've been around a few times.

Me: I feel that I have.

Himself: You have and you are smart about it.

Me: Is Judy smart?

Himself: The smartest. You see taking Latin in High School with Mr. Holloway was one of the
best things your Cousin Jude ever did. It helped her be smart. To learn. To know. To be a good and lovely person on earth. Oh, she had some ups and downs.

Me: Yup, she did make a few doozies when it came to "choices".

Himself: You all do. It's part of the process. One thing Rob...

Me: Yes?

Himself: Making mistakes and expanding knowledge is one of the biggies. Learn. Progress. Love and especially "Love Life". You all have such a short time down there. Short but the best time if you take the time to realize it. Separate all the bad stuff and negativity and look for the good. It's right there under your nose. Everywhere.

Me: I believe you.

Himself: That's all you need. Believe not in me. I am nobody. You are the big deal. Judy- your Cousin, is the "big deal". She knows it now, I'm sure. She really does and you know what Rob?

Me: What's that?

Himself: She misses you already.

Me:

Himself: Rob? Are you all right?

Me: Never been better. I better go. You're busy and I've got to think of all the great times Judy and I had- together. Tell her I miss her too.

Himself: Tell her yourself. She is standing right behind you. Bye Rob.

~bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Dial Tone~

My Cousin Judy. Nice glasses but maybe remove the tag!


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

ROBBLOG #735- A Miracle of Universal Proportions

 
I wanted to tell friends and family- who knew what was going on, this little tale before I posted this ROBBLOG.
 
No, we are NOT moving back to Ontario. That would be un-thinkable even though as I have said before, I miss Toronto's Big Shows and Ontario Summers.
 
Here in our new home on Vancouver Island, we have had a terrible few days with Missy our senior mini-Schnauzer. She'll be 14 years old come November.
 
She started feeling unwell at the beginning of the Labour Day Holiday Weekend- of course.
Everything happens on a holiday weekend or in the wee hours of the morning when one needs medical assistance.
 
Our Missy stopped eating. She was throwing up bile. She was not drinking. We dealt with this all weekend through until I could call the Vet for an appointment early Tuesday morning to make an appointment.
 
I made the Vet appointment with the intention of sending Missy over the
Rainbow Bridge. If you are uncertain what the Rainbow Bridge is- Google it please.
 
All day Tuesday she was drinking a bit but eating very, very little. It was the same pattern over the past four days. Tom and I had both worked up the courage to say- "Missy, you can go."
 
It took a miserable, gut-wrenching few days to work ourselves up to that point. It is a very difficult moment to work up to telling a family member, in this case our little girl, our special Schnauzer- "It's all right. Your Dad's won't see you suffer. You can go. We'll let you cross the bridge"
 
Then, we go to the appointment at 330 pm.
Good Gawd, Tom and I had made that trip a few times before. I even made the trip a couple of times without Tom since he happened to be across the pond at the time when a couple of our pets passed
Believe me, there were tears and sadness all the way to Prevost Vet Clinic on Canada Avenue here in Duncan.
We didn't say a word to each other.
What can one say.
It could be the start of a new day-without a special someone.
This story has a happy ending- so far...
 
Missy (L) & Koko

Just a few hours later,we have Missy at home again.

We are surprized to say the least.

After a discussion between Tom and I and Doctor Sara- and a few tears too,
we made a decision to try something. As Doctor Sara said, Missy is already somewhat of a Miracle Dog. We didn't expect her to last past last Christmas. This is when the kidney/liver/cancer diagnosis first reared it's ugly head. Then, only a month ago, we had been told that her Kidney disease was at stage three.
Not good news.
We had started planning on saying goodbye sooner, rather than later.

Dr. Sara has her on anti-nausea drugs which Tom and I will administer. She also had an anti-nausea needle and had water inserted under her skin via intravenous- since she was a little dehydrated.
We don't know what her kidneys or liver will do.
It is a medical gamble.
I can't even think about the friggin' cancer right now.

We have no guarantees this will work but happily it gives her Dads a little more time.
When we came home, Koko went nuts. She was jumping up and barking. She wanted me to put Missy down on the grass. Even Koko didn't expect to see Missy home.
Before we left for the appointment I laid on the bed with Missy.
Almost immediately, Dickens- our orange cat, as well as Koko jumped up and laid beside us.
~insert many tears here~
..and they call them dumb animals.
Mum always said that.
We used to roll our eyes and smile when she did.
 
So, that's that. There's no more to write at this moment. Things may change in a few days.
I have asked the Universe to give us at least another spring with The Miss.
 
Oh yes, with all this drama here on the Island, back in Orillia my Cousin Judy is in hospital after a massive heart attack on Labour Day Monday. She is improving- slowly.
Life is short.
Life is precious.
We have to live it fully today. Don't wait for tomorrow.
Today is today.
 
Boy, the Universe has its work cut out for itself over the next week to ten days!

Now, it's up to you Universe...

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

ROBBLOG #735- Almanac Hooey


Reason number "three thousand, four hundred and sixty-seven" as to why you should live on Vancouver Island.

The Farmer's Almanac- Yee-Haw, has released its winter forecast for Canada. Now being a "learned" man, I have studied this forecast very carefully.
Alright, that's a bit of a stretch.

I know very little about weather- except for the years the Mountain Ash Berries were in abundance back in Ontario. I figured it meant we should look out for a cold, nasty winter. I came to that scientific conclusion by noting that years when this happens it's always extremely cold and snow-packed come January and February. The birds that stay for those winters appreciate the January berry treat.

Of course, when I look at January and February past- back in Ontario, they are all cold and nasty- with very few exceptions.
How's that for global warming?
What global warming say the Tories?
By golly, you know, one day I might find myself votin' for that Scheer fellah and maybe even kissin' the rotund, fatty asscheeks of that there Ford boy once he raises himself to be King of Canada with the help of his "Ford Nation".
Another thing, why do Conservatives say "golly" and drop the "G's" off many words?

Anyhoo, all in the life of a Tory.
My life?
In my dreams of course.
"Fuck the carbon tax too!"- I might even scream in one of those right-wing dreams and "let's take all those liberal rights away that we been given over the past decades."

I'm kidding of course but really, how can someone actually say they are Conservative. It's like stepping backwards in time. They must have their head shoved ear deep up a horse's patooty!
In fact, I hear the Conservatives are so far in the past they'd endeavour to ask Sir John A. MacDonald to write the sexual curriculum for schools right across this fine country of ours.

Now I must say to their credit they seem to understand this Carbon Tax thing- since they don't want any part of it. They are actively poo-pooin' the pants off it whereas me, on the other hand, haven't the foggiest what a carbon tax is or what it does.
Ignorance can be bliss and this is one of those occasions.

Okay, back on topic...
Now that the Farmer's Almanac has released its winter forecast determined through the stars, planets and holding a saliva-soaked finger to the wind here is what it says-

"...'cold' weather in the Maritimes and Quebec. 'Biting cold' in Ontario and 'teeth-chattering' cold across the Prairies. BC bucks the trends with 'typical winter temperatures' in the forecast."

Ah-Hah.
Ya hear the sound of that?
Biting.
Teeth-chattering.

Then, relief comes in two words- "Typical Temps" in BC.
Alright, that's four words but you get what I mean.

"Typical" meaning one can sit in January Island sunshine and not freeze your nuts off.
Typical means green lawns.
Typical means no 20 foot snow plies in the Wal*Mart parking lot.
Typical means no huge icicles hanging from your eaves or a monkey's brass nuts.
Typical is February grass-cutting, palm trees, rhododendrons and magnolias as green as a turkey's arse at fly time!

Salt Spring Island View on a weekend in August
Now, to be clear, we Islanders don't want a bunch of you Easterners- particularly you "Orillia-Types", coming out here and spoiling it all for the rest of us.
I know you sneak a peak at this Blog of mine from time to time. Of course, when it's cold and snowy there's little else to do and I get that.
I really do.
I was an Easterner once.
A died-in-the-wool Ontario lover just a little more than a year ago but I have changed my old ways.
I have.
I mean that.
Stop laughing...

Why, if I encouraged the lot of you to come west, you'd be clogging our check out lines at Stupid Store in no time! Merrily chatting with the cashier. Smiling smugly at January Forecasts in the check out line newspapers published from three time zones back.

You'd all be holding up the cashouts at the numerous liquor stores- Liquor World. Liquor Plus. Liquor Barn. More Liquor. BC Liquor. Liquor Mart and a dozen more.
It just wouldn't be right.
Why I'll bet if I said that North Cowichan has more liquor stores than it has Tim Hortons, you folks would be out here in a flaming flash!
That wouldn't be right.

So, when you read that Farmers Almanac Winter forecast and it says typical, mild temperatures for British Columbia and out here on the Island, just ask yourself- "What in Hell do a bunch of right-wing, Conservative-lovin', God-fearin', tractor-ridin' farmers know about forecastin' Canadian weather.
Nothing.
Absolutely zip.
Reason enough to stay right where you are at.

I thank you for your time and attention.

Note: The preceding has been presented by the association of former Easterners trying to keep Vancouver Island for the Islanders.

Monday, August 20, 2018

ROBBLOG #734- Time Flies When You're Moving


I'm a bit early writing this post.

I had planned to have this ROBBLOG posted on August 22nd, one year since we drove Priscilla
onto this Island. However, I wanted to mention a bunch of stuff and it was getting all clogged up in my mind.

So, going back 365 days- give or take, Priscilla, The SwissshMobile, Tom and I, the mini-schnauzers Missy and Koko and our orange boy Dickens (Doyle stayed behind in Winnipeg) crossed the water on board the Queen of Alberni. It was a beautiful day for a sail- blue skies, sunshine and the smell of the ocean underneath the BC Ferry.

We had been on the road for eight days all the way from Orillia, Ontario through two eight hour driving days- just to get out of Ontario, then Manitoba, across the Prairies with salt flats and tumbleweed, driving up and over the majesty that is the Rockies, down the Coquihalla and across the mainland to Tsawassen to board the Ferry to Vancouver Island.
Whew!

We did it.
We survived the sale of our wonderful Pine Tree House.
We still miss her so much but she gave us our future and a new home here in the Cowichan. For that she will be forever in our hearts. We know the first buyers flipped her. They had no idea what she meant to us. We thought she was being sold to someone who cared about the house- our home, not just making a dollar.

We know for those back in our old neighbourhood it is tough looking at her sitting there with new owners, perhaps not as loved as she was for the 25 years she was in our care.
At least, that's what your e-mails and texts are saying.
We are truly sorry for that.
Pine Tree House deserves more than a casual caretaking.
She needs devotion and constant upkeep.
I have to move on now or the tears will flow..

Our c.1882 Pine Tree House when we lived there.
Gawd, there was the packing.
BOXES!!
Garage Sales. A car sale.
The Goodbyes..
~gulp~
The many heartfelt goodbyes.
I can't.....

Then, the final driving away early in the morning when the neighbourhood was quiet, late August pretty and forgiving, realizing we would no longer be a part of its daily life.
The fabric of a neighbourhood we loved.
Memories...
Believe me it hit home at that moment.
That was hard. Real hard.
The driving away down Matchedash Street North...

~pause for a moment for the tears...again~

A year in the life.
Here we are today settled in our new house- Palm Villa, in a new neighbourhood, in a new province on an Island that's not so new.
It's been an adventure.
Sometimes challenging. Tough. Unexpected.
Today we have many new friends.
We go out to dinner. To the Theatre. We socialize with friends and neighbours.
We tell stories of our time in Pine Tree House and the years before.

West Coast Island Living. This is Palm Villa
Some things in our day-to-day lives are new- like smoke!
As I write this, I am staying indoors. The smoke is relentless today. We can't see Mount Prevost from our Lanai. Blue smoke swirls between trees and houses.
It's in my eyes causing them to water and itch. It's in my throat.
I can taste it  The air is thick. It's hot feeling like 30c.
We have all the indoor exhaust fans on and the air cleaner working at full blast. The air quality is not good which is to be expected with more than 500 fires burning across the province.

We were going to spend a couple of days in Vancouver- just the two of us, then, the smoke worsened and we cancelled out hotel and ferry crossings.

Usually you see Mount Prevost there behind that Hill.
That is all smoke!
It isn't as easy to travel about here on our Island as it was in Ontario. There you just pick up and go. Head the van south and you're in Toronto in an hour. Go east and you're in the Kawarthas or west to Midland and Owen Sound.

On the Island, you have to fly from Nanaimo or Victoria International to leave this paradise. Since we are former airline employees we stand by for available seats on flights. That's not always easy. The only other way off the Island besides swimming for the mainland is to take a Ferry from Departure Bay, Duke Point or drive all the way down to Sidney- east of Victoria in the Saanich Peninsula, to Swartz Bay. One more option would be Harbour Air- located about ten minutes from us at Maple Bay, flying in a float plane right into downtown Vancouver.

Driving is a new experience here with the many roundabouts and dead end "no exit" streets. That's because either a mountain or the ocean stops the road from continuing. Here in Duncan, city streets don't always allow you to "get there from here". You would understand that if you visited or lived here.

It is beautiful.
The ocean.
The flora and fauna- palms, banana trees, dogwoods and rhododendrons.
Many plants remain green all year through.

We don't have much of that moisture that Easterners think we have year round. We haven't had rain in a couple of months and things are brown- unless you have drip lines in your gardens or built-in lawn sprinklers and still there are watering rules. Vancouver Island is green in the winter and dead-brown in the summer.
It takes some getting used to but we don't get cold.
No minus 30's.
No snow piled high for months on end.
A sweatshirt and a weatherproof jacket is all you need from November through February. I wore a leather jacket only a handful of times last year and just a scarf or two- just for fashion.
We sat outside having coffee on sunny mornings in December, January AND February.
We planted in our gardens in all of those months!

Anyhoo, there it is and here we are, an entire year later.
So many changes and such a future to look forward to.
People from back home who have visited us- and in two cases moved here, say Tom and I look younger, healthier, better.
Thank you!
We feel that way.
We walk almost every day.
We relax. We garden. We read. We talk to neighbours. Everybody talks to everybody here on the Island- even in the grocery store lineups. It's disconcerting at first and then you get used to it. It was easy for us because we talk to every George, Dick and Harry we meet anyway.

Maple Bay with Salt Spring Island- 10 minutes from us
So Dear Friends, Family and former Neighbours, we are doing well.
We have settled.
We are smiling.
We have started a new life here on Vancouver Island- just don't get us started on ICBC insurance or some other government stuff!

Finally, we sold the Swissshmobile last fall- our Montana Van.
That was difficult.
Priscilla- the RV that got us here safely? She has just been sold and listen no matter what the folks at Heidi's back therein Ontario tell you, you will not make money on your RV when  you sell it here.
Quite the opposite.

And lastly-as the last Blog told you, our Doyle (Dicken's Brother) is still not with us and we can only hope he is happy- and safe, wherever he is- because we are...

The Island Boys


Thursday, August 16, 2018

ROBBLOG #733- Nine Lives. Done.


No picture of me this time.

The photo is one of our boys- Dickens on the left and Doyle on the right- staring into the camera lens.
They were eight in June and they came to live with us eight years ago on September 15th.

The picture is not perfect these days.
If you followed the blogs of our journey from Orillia, Ontario to Vancouver Island last year at this time, you may recall that Doyle left us on the evening of August 17th at a KOA Campground in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

We were devastated.

I had been writing a blog that evening while sitting at the dining table in Priscilla- our RV. Doyle was laying on the back of the seat just behind my head. He had been there for an hour or more, gently purring in my ear.
It was normal. Things seemed normal.
It's funny how fast normal can turn into tragedy.
Dickens had gone to bed with Tom and our mini-schnauzers Missy and Koko.
I liked the quiet when writing.

At one point I felt the air a bit cool. It was about 10:30 pm August 17th. The door to Priscilla was wide open except for the screen door that was closed to keep out summer bugs. I got up to close the door. It was hooked snugly to the left on the outside of Priscilla. I took a few steps to the door and reached out to grab the outer door latch. As I did this Doyle ran outside in a flash!

I stepped down and called.
He'd come back in a few seconds.

It was pitch black.
I grabbed a flashlight.
I called to a young lady who was parked two doors down, asking if she had seen him.
She hadn't but she grabbed her flashlight and we shone the beams under her RV.
There he was!
Eyes shining wide in the light beams.
I was able to crouch down, grab him and hug him to my chest.
"I have him!"- I called to her.
"I'm glad"- she cried.
Then suddenly Doyle jabbed his back claws into the palm of my left hand.
I don't know why.
The claws jabbed so deep I yelled, releasing my grip a bit. He then jumped up, over and out of my arms. His tail disappearing into the black night was the last I ever saw of him.

I have gone over this scenario a thousand times in the past year and it doesn't make me feel any better.
I had him.
I lost him.
I had him tightly and safely in my arms and he jumped free.
Why?

Back in Orillia Priscilla sat in our drive. Just outside the door to the left was the backyard gate which was propped open when we were in Priscilla. We tried to get the "kids" used to being inside in her but Doyle knew the safety of Pine Tree House was just outside and around the corner...only-
this time it wasn't.
All that lay in the darkness was unfamiliar smells.
Unfamiliar territory.
A deep, dark, black nothing.

I called to Tom awakening him from a sound sleep.
I told him what had happened.
We called and called his name into the night. We walked the perimeter of the KOA.

We left food outside. His litter. A familiar jacket so he could sniff us.
We went to bed.
A fitful sleep.
Even Dickens was crying out. Then around 330 am a horrendous thunderstorm.
Lightening. Heavy, heavy rain. Loud crashes of thunder.
Doyle would be scared.
Our hopes dimmed.

We spent the following day and the next morning after that searching and calling and asking people if they had seen an orange tabby.
Nothing.
The next night the KOA Groundskeeper knocked on our open door saying he saw him with a bunch of feral cats along the shore of the Assiniboine River that cut through the KOA.
We took flashlights.
We called.
We could see cat's eyes in the river grasses but Doyle didn't come running out to meet us.

Leaving the KOA the following morning was tough.
We sobbed salty tears.
The Groundskeeper assured us he would call when Doyle returned.
We had some hope.
I don't know how Tom could see through his teardrops as we drove out of the park and onto the Trans Canada Highway leaving a part of us behind and alone.

We haven't stopped searching all this past year.
Almost daily I check the Facebook Lost Cat Pages for Winnipeg. We have been registered with the Winnipeg Humane Society. Doyle is chipped and if he were found and taken to any vet, the chip would lead him straight home to us- his Dads.

Now a year is up.
I told myself we'd hold our hopes high for a year.
We've seen so many photos of cats that look like Doyle I could fill this page and several more with their photos.
So far- nothing. The leads always fell through and that made us sad all over again.

Our Boy...We'll always Love You...
The best we can hope for is that someone is looking after him.
Good Food.
A warm place to curl up and snooze.
I don't even want to think about the freezing cold temperatures in Winnipeg last winter.
Back in Orillia he might have come out with us for a few minutes on the side verandah in the mild sunshine but on a cold, crisp day or night?
No.
We still have a glimmer of hope but reality has pushed hope way down.
We have to be realistic.

We will miss him forever.
I'd love to hold him in my arms again. Have him snooze on my lap or curl up in front of the fire in a doggie bed he borrows from Missy and Koko.

Dickens had some rough times a couple of months ago. Even he realized his brother was not coming home again.

So, we have memories and we love each and every one.
We hate the not knowing where he is tonight.
Is he safe or what happened that night a long year ago and what about the past 365 nights.

But- enough now.
Goodbye sweet Doyle wherever you are...

It's done.
~heavy sigh~ ~tears~