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~

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

ROBBLOG #732- A Year in This Life


August 15, 2017.
The day we left Orillia, Ontario under the cover of early morning light to make the eight day trek across this wonderful country we call Canada to our new home on Vancouver Island.

Now, back up one day.

The day before, we packed up Pine Tree House our wonderful c.1882 Victorian Home on Matchedash Street, North.
L3V 4V5. I still remember the postal code!

The moving van arrived in late morning and took up the entire stretch of pavement in front of the house. Four movers helped to dis-assemble the interior.
Tables, wing chairs, cabinets, patio tables and more.

 
The BIG Truck in front of Pine Tree House
This was to be known as the boxes and chairs move by Great Canadian Van Lines from Coquitlam, British Columbia.

We didn't have a chesterfield or couch but we had wing chairs both static and moveable like our
Laz-Z-Boys. We had antique rockers and commode chairs. Wooden dining room chairs and arm chairs- with and without padded seats.

Then the boxes.
I dunno…
Over a hundred. Closer to two hundred maybe.
I never want to pack boxes again. At least not that many and this was post-purging.
The stuff one collects during one's life.
I couldn't believe it.
Even so, it was incredibly hard to part with "stuff"- but I did.
We did.
Well, more me but I will use the plural for the Mister was a good guide to run things past.

Boxes and Chairs
The day was sad.

We kept busy but it was sad.
Friends popped by.
There were tears.
Lots of tears as I remember.
There were hugs.
Many hugs.
Words that cut to the heart-
"We'll probably never see you again."
"It'll be so different without you living in Pine Tree House"

Then, the best goodbye of all.
I think if you go back to a blog a year ago I mentioned it.
Our lovely neighbour Louise sauntered across the street.
She was sad.
She was upset.
She stood for a second clenching her fists and sort of rocking from side to side on her heels. I had no idea what she was about to say but she did say something.
It was bombastic.
It was from the heart.
It was sincere.

She looked up into my face through reddened eyes.
Then, while a tear or two came rolling down her cheeks she said:
"Well, Fuck You!"
"Just Fuck You!"

It was the most heartfelt of goodbyes and I will never, ever forget the moment.
The look of sadness on her face.
The damp on her cheeks.
We hugged and she tottered off across the street back to tell Don- her husband, what she had said no doubt.

It was the first "Fuck You" of the rest of my life!

The Parlour at Pine Tree House

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

ROBBLOG #731- Awnings, Awwws and Pride


Good Gawd, it's August!

How in hairy, old hell did that happen? It was just May a couple of weeks ago. Now, in a couple of weeks , the Mister and I will celebrate one year on this Island of ours. Yup, Vancouver Island has lived with us for a year! I'll do a larger blog on that when we get closer to the date all about our year here and how we still look for our orange cat Doyle who will be missing one year on August 17th! We hope he's well and someone has taken him in back there in Winnipeg but I would still give anything to have him back in my arms. ~sigh~

Boy, it's been hot on this Island! I can't remember the last day with rain and like many other days in the past weeks it's been above 30c. The big different here on the Island than back in Ontario, is the heat continues without a thunderstorm- they are rare here, like tornadoes and summer bugs including mosquitos. Our heat pump has been keeping Palm Villa nice and evenly cool. Much better than the air conditioner in Orillia did. We always had a room there at Pine Tree House where we could hang meat or store ice cubes. Here, in this house, the cool seems to be evenly spread and the cost is lower.

The sun seems more intense here somehow. Maybe the lack of pollution. It's so hot on the east front side of Palm Villa that we would have to sit under an umbrella but boy are we tan! Tan like Hawaii tan. It's a much more golden brown. I don't sit for hours in the sun mind you. I mean, one doesn't have to or want to but one still tans up. Occasionally, the Island wind would topple our yellow umbrella, so the Mister and I spent a horrible amount of money on a new awning. The awning has an Italian/Western flair- since it is made in Italy, assembled in Mississauga and shipped here to the Island Awning boys. At times during the year they make their own but the install boys says it's just too busy these days, so they order the awnings from Italy, the parts in Mississauga and assemble them at the company warehouse in Victoria. Ours is sage green in colour- like Palm Villa, with a cream stripe matching the trim on our house.
Palm Villa with an Italian awning!
Imagne, it's like living in Tuscany without the Italian men!! Oh, you could count a couple of the building boys as Italian if they didn't open up their mouths to speak English. You know, chests covered with curly, thick, black chest hair. Talking with their hands. Nicely tanned.

Is it Tuscany or Vancouver Island?
Oh!
The Mister and I were just off the Island over this past BC Holiday weekend. We took the ferry to Vancouver and stayed with friends to celebrate Vancouver Pride. The Vancouver Boys live just a block off Davie Street where the Gay Village is located. That's just a few clocks from the Ocean and the beach.

Vancouver is a beautiful city. Expensive and busy but beautiful and the boys in the parade were lovely to look at as well. We watched the parade go by from our vantage point on Robson- the main drag, for two and a half hours. It moved much faster than the Toronto Parade but Justin was still there with a ton more security and his two special cars following closely behind. We never saw that in a Toronto Parade but then again some Aboriginals are so crazy pissed at the pipeline that Justin insists is going ahead whether they like it or not that tighter security is in order. I just ask myself- do these folks drive cars or heat their homes or buy products made of petroleum? We know many live in houses where garbage is spread from pillar to post across their land.

Oh yes folks, that's reality here on the island. On many Aboriginal lands one sees broken down homes, rusting cars and garbage spewed  from one end of a property to the other. I should take pictures and show you. We're not supposed to talk about that or point it out. Everyone knows it though like the Emperor and his New Clothes.

Once you're here a while, you just get used to it. I'd like to say to these Indigenous BC' ers to clean up their lands before they point a finger at big petroleum. You should see the garbage laying next to the Casino in Duncan. Not what we were used to seeing adjacent to Casino Rama back in Orillia, Ontario and believe me what I'm say is mild. Very mild compared to what I hear.

That's Our Justin!
Anyhoo, there were mega branches of this tribe and that- including two-spirited folks, in the 40th Annual Pride Parade. Did you know that "two-spirited" folks were held in high esteem in Aboriginal Society. This could possibly mean they had "Pride" celebrations long before us Gay white folks even thought of the idea.
Huh, the things you learn...
The remainder of the parade was filled with floats, bands, walking groups and muscle boys. I only saw one pair of lady titties- much different than in Toronto, as well, there were no penises flapping in the midday sunshine....more's a pitty.
Oh...
In Toronto, the Christians are all in the parade- except for the Baptists and the Catholics who still live in the middle ages. At the Vancouver Pride Parade I saw no religion marching. It doesn't appear to be such a big thing here on the left coast. Religion, I'm referring to here, however the Humanists (the Atheists) were there- signs and all. Did my heart good. One sign said- "This Atheist gives free hugs"

Boys and their Parade!
We also learned to book BC Ferries months in advance of a long weekend or in advance of the summer folks hitting the Island. We are surrounded by water and limited to escape via plane or water.
We made it both ways across the water to and from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. The ferries are very comfortable, have a couple of restaurants like White Spot and offer comfortable seating while you pass the 90 minutes to and from Horseshoe Bay on the mainland and Departure Bay here on the Island at Nanaimo. It takes us about 40 minutes to drive home after we dock on the Island.

Our Island Days continue to be full and there are times we feel like we are running our Bed and Breakfast again what with the company we get.
But, you know what?
It's all good.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

ROBBLOG #730 Bleeker Street Hots!


Off to Bleeker Street we go once again...A Thursday Afternoon in July about 1:40 pm

Jane: Well would you F*^%$ look at that would ya. That kid who mows Mr. Johnson's grass is stripped to the bloody waist! He's flaunting his man-made muscles and tanned skin all the way across the street so decent folks like us hafta look. ~puff, puff~

Blanche: What are you on about Jane?

Jane: That thing over there. Showing off his pecs and delts and Lawrd only knows what else.
~drag, puff~

Blanche: Now Jane Dear, it's very warm out and the young man just needs to be cooler while he's working.
~swings her chair to the window~
I can't see what the big deal is...
~Blanche looks across the street~
Oh, my stars! It is a big deal!


Jane: Uh, huh. I told you so. Lookit him standing there &*^% his rippling arms and flexing those stomach muscles, why if I knew who'd to call to place a complaint I would. ~puff, drag, puff~

Blanche: Now Jane, don't go upsetting yourself. I see it's just little Jimmy Hanson out there...
  ~pause~ but I must say he has built himself up quite well. Lot's of Wheaties in that boy I'll wager.

Jane: Yes! ...and there he struts for all the &^$#*&^ neighbours to stare and gawk. It ain't right Blanche. There's women and kiddies out there.

Blanche: Oh Jane Dear, since when have you been concerned about the neighbours? Look It's just a young man who has worked very hard at his health and well-being and today is a golden opportunity to show it off. ~pause~ My Goodness, those arms are quite impressive and the way those little droplets of perspiration are rolling down his smooth chest all the way to...

Jane: Stop Blanche! What the fuck is happening here? You're usually the one all over me for crossing a line and now your little girl panties are all moist over a 20 something stud muffin? Why,  I'd be ashamed of myself if I were you Blanche. &^%*$#@ ashamed!

Blanche: Oh, it's just a bit of girl fun. Tell you what Jane Darling...Go grab the "Brownie" and we'll take a couple of shots- you know, just to hang on the refrigerator door!

Jane: You want me to freeking well walk all the way up them stairs to get your damn camera, just so's you can take a picture of a bit of man-flesh on a hot summer day?

Blanche: Yes, Jane Dear, that's about the size of it. ~she looks out the window again and smiles~
Well, actually, it's hard to tell from across the street but if I wasn't in this damn chair...

Jane: But ya are Blanche. But ya are!! ~puffing away as she leaves to get the Brownie~

Sunday, July 15, 2018

ROBBLOG #729- A Fractured Island Fairy Tale


Our Daughter called the other evening from Medicine Hat.

Now, I know what you're about to say-

"Rob, Dear, you don't have a daughter in Medicine Hat."

That is true.
Our daughter Carol lives in Calgary.
Again, I can read your mind.
Calgary? Daughter? WTF??

Once again, I stand corrected.
Carol is our daughter-in-law. She's married to our first son- Michael.
Now, just stop it!
I am about to tell you why she was in Medicine Hat. Carol and Michael were visiting Carol's Aunt Maude who has lived in The Hat for these past twenty years. Up until that time, she lived back in Ontario. In Oakville. Maude was a teacher at Sheridan College. She taught voice and boy was she good at it! Standing next to her at a public event whilst singing O Canada will put the shame of Judas in one's vocal abilities.
Maude's first husband passed many years ago and she hooked up with Harley a few years back and for whatever reason, they decided to settle in The Hat.
I don't ask, quite frankly.

Anyhoo, Carol and Michael- who live in Calgary, were visiting Aunt Maude celebrating her 68th Birthday. Maude loves Jann and John Michael.
Jann and John Michael?
I wish you would all keep up with me!
Jann and John Michael are our Grandkids.
Jann is 12 and John Michael is 10. They both love their Grandpa Tom. Oh, they love me too but I am the one who refuses to leave the cookie jar on the counter when they visit. Whereas Grandpa Tom helps the kids steal chocolate chip cookies on a regular basis. They even sketch a treasure map of sorts to plan their evil cookie heist.
Good Gawd.
Tom is so good with those Grandkids.

I love this shot of Carol & Michael
Michael- our son (in case you are experiencing a bout of early dementia) and Carol, married 15 years ago in a beautiful little ceremony in Orono, Ontario- not far from Peterborough, where Carol's parents still live. They raise mini-schnauzers and have for 25 years or more. That's a story for another time.
They finished university at Trent in Peterborough and married in June of 2003. The kids came along a couple of years later.
Do the math.
By the way, I am not posting my Grandkids pics on the Internet and that is that.

So Carol called to say hi and forward greetings from Aunt Maudie. She asked how the celebration plans were coming along. I said fine. She still insists to arrange the flowers.

Wait...you are probably wondering- "What Celebration?"
Do keep up...
Tom and I celebrate one year on the Island on August 22nd and the kids want to make a big deal of it.
The Mister and I are letting them.
Kids, eh?

Then, just this morning, another call came our way. Tom was out front watering so I picked up the phone after reading the display.
This time the call was from Brad and David.
They moved to Vancouver Island- Victoria to be specific, in 2016. They had cajoled and pleaded with Daddy Tom and I to join them for over a year.
We had been thinking about it for almost two years and once Tom retired from his "In Charge" position with Air Canada- yes he was a stewardess for 42 two years, we set plans in motion.

Besides our Brad and David, I don't think I have ever seen anyone so excited as Joy and the Twins- Michael and Brad Junior, when the Homo Grandads finally moved into our new home in the Cowichan.


David and Brad (right)  Aren't they cute?

Now, once again I can read your minds!
Brad? David?
You have Gay sons??
Yes!
Well, only Brad is ours. What do they call it- blood related?
Brad was born twenty eight years ago from a surrogate Mum. I'll call her Michelle because we can't tell you her real name. It's a part of the original contact we signed with her. Brad could officially belong- DNA-wise, to either if us and NO we don't know and we never care to know. He's our son and that's that.

Oh My Goodness, you people ask a bunch of questions.
Michael is adopted.
Carol's Michael.
Look, just read the opening few paragraphs if you are still scratching your head.

Now, Brad's husband David is our son. Our son-in-law- through marriage, six years ago. We love those boys to bits. Chips off the "old blockheads"- Tom and I.

Joy- our Granddaughter, is six and the twins are four and yes, they are a handful to be sure. Brad and David have their hands full but Colleen, their live-in Nanny is spectacular and makes their life easier.
We are not sure what they'd do without her. She even comes up island with the kids for a weekend now and then to give the "Boyz" a break and she is a hoot. She has magic charms when it comes to looking after our Grandkids. Colleen gets a break too when she's here in the Cowichan. We tell her to go have a spa day or go shopping. Then, we all go out to dinner.
We have a blast!

So, Brad calls and says he and David have found another caterer they'd like us to see and talk with him.
Goodness!

Hennaway, Tom and I are heading to Victoria soon to meet Mr. Marcel.
I kid you not!!
When Brad said his name was Mr. Marcel, I just couldn't stop snickering. At first Brad was stern with me over the phone, you know, just snorting and giggling in between sentences. I knew he was covering the phone with his palm. Soon he joined in the guffaws for real.

Brad says that Mr. Marcel would appreciate the laughter. He is apparently very easy-going.
David picked up the extension and admonished us saying we needed to "grow up!"
NEVER!
I will never "grow up". David knows that- just as well as he knows his kid's first names.

Anyway the plans are in motion and The Mister and I are looking forward to a rollicking good time.
Oh...
Brad passed the phone to little Joy and she asked if the Grandpas were going to invite any Drag Queens to the party.

I chuckled.
Maybe. Just maybe we will Dear...

Thursday, July 12, 2018

ROBBLOG #728- Why Not?


I'm telling folks I'm running for Mayor.

A week ago a big vote was cast on joining the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan together. Since then-while talking to neighbours, I learned that not the Mayor nor a single counsellor in Duncan even lives in the City.
We don't either.
The Mister and I live in North Cowichan, which has it's own Mayor and Council too.
It's complicated.
Oh. The vote?
The vote failed and unfortunately like a bride leaving the groom standing at the altar, we remain estranged from the City of Duncan. Duncan is the smallest city in Canada by area.
One Square Mile.
Our address is Duncan but our taxes go to North Cowichan. I recently heard that Duncan needs help financially and once 500 more people live within it's borders they'll have to fork over more money for police protection- which they don't have.
So why didn't Duncanites vote for amalgamation?
I don't know.

I also heard North Cowichan helped Duncan paint arrows and crosswalks on City Streets because they lack the funds. Lots of stuff is painted on roads here. One of the reasons is there's no winter snow or ice covering the streets, so fewer street signs and more road markings. This takes a bit of getting used to. Crosswalks are everywhere. There's a profusion or arrows pointing this way and that. Many crosswalks are having new lights installed that flash when you push a button to safely stop traffic when one wants to get to the other side.
Sounds like a chicken joke..

Hennaway, (another chicken joke) me running for mayor. That may be a joke too.

Rob Reid for MAYOR
       Why not?

That's my slogan.
I know. It's empty. Void of political promise but then aren't most political promises?
Well, except for Ontario's Ford. He's ripping apart everything he can in Ontario- as promised. I can't believe that asshole is reverting to the 1989 version of sex ed for Ontario's kids.
what the Fuck is it with right-wing conservatives?
I wished they'd run away and start their own country- like in the jungles of South America or someplace.
Jeesh!

He's Mad! Absolutely Mad as a Hatter.
So me for Mayor?
It's just conversation.
I am having you on. Pulling your leg. I couldn't stand the political life.
I mean if I was Queen of Canada, that would be fine. I can hear the snickers...
Just stop and no "Gay Queen Jokes"!
As Queen I would enjoy cutting some ribbons like at the opening of a new No Frills store. I'd love watching the Snowbirds fly past for my birthday- which isn't but should be a national holiday even today. I could "rock" a crown or a tiara and I would be a goodly, kind and benevolent Queen. Anyone I didn't like or distrust would be told to royally "piss off". In fact I'd have that on my letterhead:

PISS OFF.
I am the QUEEN.
Deal with it.

Now, as I think about it, even without an official Queenly crown, I still tell people to piss off. I promised myself I would not be politically motivated living here in the Garden of Eden on Vancouver Island but I have had a couple of conversations with those in command.

I have also made it clear I have no use for the Strata. Usually, Strata is a little band of folks who thrive on telling other folks what to do. In Ontario it's Condominium Boards. Here in British Columbia it's Strata Councils and they suck. Joining the Strata council- for some, is the opportunity for these folks with nothing better to do, to tell people with something better to do, what to do. It's like we're children and have to be told-
"Put that down!" "Don't touch that!" "You can't do this!"

Our home is in a "free-land Strata". We own our property and house but the streets and the common parkway path behind our home is owned by everyone in the development and lorded over by the Strata Council with a paid- yes paid, leader who "manages" all the funds collected from each homeowner which currently amounts to 60 bucks a month.
I hear you saying- "Rob, that sounds like a Dictatorship."
I will let you decide.

Many folks don't understand Strata and believe it is all-encompassing here in our neighbourhood. I try to educate those folks who think that Strata dictates everything we do including the brand of toilet paper we choose.
Not true.
My advice if you were to move to BC?
STAY AWAY FROM STRATA OF ANY KIND.

Now, becoming Mayor would not allow me to make Strata null and void. It doesn't work that way. I have neighbours and friends on the Strata and that's fine. They keep a watchful eye on what is going on.
Our development is pretty.
Nice people live here.
Our house is a showplace- if I do say- and I do but so do folks walking by.
We work hard at the exterior appearance of Palm Villa- and it shows.

So Mayor? Queen?
Hmmmm... Not likely but at least it's something to talk about over coffee.

Monday, July 2, 2018

ROBBLOG #727- Almost a Year Already?


Summer is in full swing here on the Island.

Our first Canada Day Holiday and The Mister and I had 12 for a Bar Bee. It was a blast and I even got my wobbly dining room tabletop repaired.
What a laugh it was!!
Three Gay Guys- all ladies if you will, a heterosexual woman- a nurse in case there were unintended injuries and a straight man- a cobbler, all working together to fix our table.
Can you picture it?

At one point I was asked for wooden toothpicks.
WTF??
I don't know where the toothpicks are- yet. In fact I have given up the search. Obviously they have disappeared in our Island move. So, I improvised.
You know those tiny, colourful umbrellas that one sticks into summer drinks?
It was all I had and apparently six umbrellas were destroyed in the pursuit of a non-wobbly table top.
We all have to make sacrifices during these times.

The team was well-satisfied with their work in progress, then they made a further request of a large, thick screw...
~ahem~
It may have been the delivery. Maybe the party atmosphere.
I personally felt the huge guffaws resulting from such a request was the fault of the vodka, rum and /or wine. I'd like to say it was Doug and Bert's hats that cause the laughter and titters but they had removed them by that point. Oh, if anyone comes across a red speedo with a maple leaf emblazoned across the pouch, let me know. I'll advise Doug!


Almost a year you say? Already??
While I'm advising folks, how can I convince two mainland Vancouverites- Jim and Karl to buy a F***ing Smartphone. Honestly Ladies, it's 2018 not the middle ages.
By "middle ages", I mean the 1960's"!!

So, here we are working our way through July. I honestly do not know where the time has gone. Next month- on August 22, Tom and I will celebrate one year on this Mediterranean climate-infused Island in our beautiful Canada.
How fortunate are we to live in such a country and specifically such a Garden of Eden.
Adam would be pleased- with or without his fig leaf.

While the east suffers under "exhaustive" heat, Vancouver Island has been temperate- in the mid 20's, with no humidity. We can leave doors flung wide open because we don't have bugs. Well, not exactly true, I have heard reports of "two" mosquitos in the Cowichan.
I mean, how do we live with that? Where's the bug spray?

Our adventures continue here on this Isle,
We meet new friends.
Make new discoveries.
Smirk at winter year round.

Now, an additional two folks from Orillia, Ontario make their home on this Island.
My Gawd!
Soon, Orillia will be nothing short of a Ghost Town.

We apologize for that Orillia.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

ROBBLOG #726- Nurse Tina


Today friends I present a story of passion. A story of one woman's purpose to protect the Brotherhood of Man...or Woman. At the very least- The World and at the least- her City.
It's:

Nurse Tina. Citizen of the World. Neighbourhood Guardian. A Woman for All Seasons.

Announcer: It was quarter past seven-ish. A dark and somewhat stormy night. At least that is the way it seemed to Nurse Tina- Defender of the Left. Criticizer of the right. Ambivalent caregiver to the NDP and pooh-pooher of the Green.

While outside, the city and neighbourhood streets were hushed, inside Nurse Tina- Defender of the Hood, Citizen of the World sat at her well-worn, walnut-coloured desk at 423 Storey Street above Abe's Butchery. She was hunched over her desk, scouring the news of the day. Highlighting- with a lime green magic marker, the rights and wrongs of the day from the wrinkled pages of today's Citizen.

More rights than wrongs. Two birds did not a flock make.
Whatever that means. Nurse Tina didn't care as she smiled a large, smiley grin.

She checked the hour on her gold-plated nurses watch, which was dangling like a beacon of time from her right breast pocket. Her chest, a monument to the power of her kind and the want of timid men city-wide heaved up and down slowly.

She carefully read up and down each of the Citizen's Pages.
On one page-
A lost cat. She made a note of it's orange colour and neighbourhood where last seen.
A purse-snatching downtown. Duly noted.
Farther down, a poor revue for a favourite restaurant. She bristled. Not fair. Truth will triumph she muttered aloud.
Then the story of a woman who's car was scratched by a runaway shopping cart at the local WalMart.
Ugh. She tsk tsk'd those folks who refused to walk ten feet to place their carts in the appropriate
place. No class she thought. They deserved a jab of her needle of human kindness.

A quick check of her medical timepiece once more. Nurse Tina disliked tardiness. She was an on-time gal. There to do a job and not a minute too late- too soon maybe but never too late.

She turned another page of the rag spread before her on her desk.
It was going to be a busy night saving the right from wrong. The persecuted from persecution and the
do-gooders from the lazy, good-for-nothings on city streets.
A dirty job but she was up for the challenge.

Ah-Hah! Look here. Daylight robbery!
She smiled. A chance at redemption from a  life of petty theft.
She would find the fiend and make him submit. There had been a nabbing of funds from Farmer Jones' lock box placed trustingly on the honour system on his produce stand out on Mullet Road.
How could someone be so dishonest?
Why the poor farmer. Salt of the earth. Working from early morning to late at night.
Day in.
Day out.
Feeding our nation. An offence to the flag and the True North Strong and Free.
The bastard would be stopped!
Now! This very evening, if Nurse Tina has her way and her pepper spray.

Again, one more quick peek of Nurse Tina's timepiece dangling reverently from her enlarged bosom.
Almost time for her dark rounds.
An Angel of Mercy- and more, in the night.
A simple cape flung over her shoulders. Her nurses bag at the ready by her side- fully stocked with the tools of her trade.
The low-life should quake with fear knowing Nurse Tina was patrolling her city.
Making it safe.
Making it healthy.
Her prescription?
Do right by one's fellow man- or woman, means a better world.
A safer, healthier world.
A world kept in check by Nurse Tina.

She gently folded her newspaper, then grabbing a moist towelette from the middle drawer of her antique desk, she wiped her hands clean from the filth of the low life, sidewalk-licking humans that populated her city.
Tonight she would scour her beloved city clean.

She had the tools.
She had the power.
She had the smile and intestinal fortitude- if she just takes the proper bathroom breaks, her intestines would be good.
It was all good.
For she was "Nurse Tina"!

She clicked off the copper-coloured gooseneck lamp centred on the soiled blotter covering the desk's top. Grabbing her keys from the Portmeirion bowl next to the yellowed, fax machine- sitting strangely quiet since 2006, she strode purposely across her office floor to the door.
She turned the doorknob to the right.
The door clicked open. It groaned and squealed.
She made a mental note.
Bring the WD40 from home and her stethoscope. She had left the priceless piece of nursing equipment on the hall table, next to the empty, extra large Tim Hortons take out cup that had held her morning coffee
Damn.
She would have to recycle it before retiring once she arrived home.

Then, taking one last confident look over her shoulder towards her desk and a hopeful glance at the lonesome, quiet fax, Nurse Tina slipped into the night to do good and right the wrongs of a sick world that would soon melt like fine German chocolate under healing charms.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

ROBBLOIG# 725- A Banana a Day


June is fleeting.

Where has this month gone?
I have been busy outside in my lovely Island garden.
That makes time fly.

The Mister and I have plants growing that we have never grown before.
Among them: New Zealand Flax, Cordyline, 4 (count 'em) FOUR banana plants- one about 10 feet tall, two...no wait...three windmill palms, and grasses that have grown to shoulder height in a few short months. Pieris, weeping sequoia, weeping Cyprus and a happy hosta or two.

I call him Nanu- The Easter Island God
Our gardens are looking great!
Plants are growing like bad weeds here in the Cowichan. The sun feels so hot here too.
It pricks the skin.
Today was 34c degrees yet there was no humidity like back in Ontario. We were able to complete our exercise walk around 6PM with hardly a bead of perspiration on our foreheads. Once the hot, western sun sinks below the tall pines along the back of our property the temperature drops about 5 degrees. The evening is wonderfully comfortable, however, having a heat pump cool down Palm Villa's interior helps a bunch.

We thought that having a smaller property here on Vancouver Island would mean less gardening but we are finding it still takes many dedicated hours each week. Watering is the worst, especially when we have to stick within guidelines posted by North Cowichan. Right now we are at level one which means watering between 7 and 9 morning and night on odd days. It is hard to watch plants wilt on odd house number days- especially expensive plants, so many folks get out and give gardens a little squirt whenever they can. This will be frowned upon if we reach the "dreaded" level three.

Fire danger in our area is "high" right now, according to the signs posted along the Island Highway.
This new stretch of dry, hot days has just started. We had this weather back in May- almost the entire month, however the first couple of weeks of June saw overcast skies, cooler temperatures and a bit of rain. Weather forecasters are predicting a hot Island summer through to the end of September!
I am preparing myself for those weeks when we have to stop using the automatic lawn sprinklers and resolve ourselves to watching our grass turn browner than a turkey's turd at fly-time.

A quick trip to the Dairy Queen usually makes me feel better when thinking of burnt grass.
Funny, eh?

A banana palm, they say, keeps the Doctor away
We've taken part in other activities besides gardening. We walked to the top of Stoney Hill- again, to gaze out over the Pacific to Salt Spring Island. We traversed the Island via Port Renfrew to see how the "other half" lives. The other half of the Island I mean.

We met some new friends at a "Primetimers" dinner evening.
I know.
Me.
A "Primetimer".
It was a Hell of a lot of fun!

We even took new friends to Dinters- our favourite garden centre, receiving 25% off our purchases which included a couple of rosebushes and a pretty, aqua blue bird bath. Funny, just when you think you have all the plants and garden accessories you require, along comes a 25% off sale.
Go figure.

We have a couple of theatre dates ahead, a celebration of life service for a neighbour who passed from nasty, old cancer, then a trip to Victoria for Victoria Pride Celebrations in early July.

Life on the Island.
It continues to evolve.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

ROBBLOG #724- Christ on a Cracker!


Once, a few years ago I was doing a stage show. I had a makeup lady do my makeup to help me achieve a particular "look" for a particular character. This is what "may" have happened...

I am sitting in a makeup chair waiting for the elusive Makeup Artist. There's no sign of her- a gal that I'll call her Bernice because that is NOT her real name. I flip through a couple of magazines all the while checking my watch. Finally, I smell a waft of cigarette smoke and in enters the makeup artist. I'll call me- "Actor" because you know my name already.
 
Bernice: Did you think I wasn’t coming or what-eh? ~puff~ Oh hey-I’m Bernice. She reaches out a hand.

Actor: Hi Bernice. I shake her outstretched palm. I was just sitting here trying to “find some calm”. You know. Before I "go on". I look at the lit end of her cigarette and the smoke pooling above our heads. Ummm. Could you extinguish that cigarette, please, Bernice?

Bernice: Oh Geeze, you're one of those types, eh? Yah, well sure. Be back in a sec.
She leaves the room and I hear a distant toilet flush. Just like all those other Actor types. So you're trying to keep calm eh? Pre-show jitters Dear? Have you moisturized? How old are ya hennaway? Anyone ever tell you ya look like Christopher Plummer. I once made him up ya know...so what is your name Hun?

Actor: Um...Let's see- yes, no, yes, 60, that's interesting and Rob.

Bernie: Doesn’t feel like it. That you've moisturized I mean. Feels dry. Did you colour this hair recently, Hun.

Actor: Well, A couple of weeks back. Just a little wash. A bit of blonde maybe.

Bernice: A couple of weeks back. Some colour eh?

Actor: Well... yes. A bit- I guess. My hair was starting to look tired.

Bernice: A bit. Honey this hair was more than a bit tired? Christ on a Cracker- where’d you get the stuff. Dollarama? Geeze, it looks real cheap. Well, it fits, I guess.


Actor: That isn’t very nice.

Bernice: Oh settle it Hun, I mean your stage persona. (aside) Short fuse or what. So, you claim you     moisturized some too?

Actor: Yes I did- before I left home. I said already…

Bernice: Well that’s something anyway. Good God your hair feels like frickin’ prairie wheat. Now, let's get a bit of foundation on that mug of yours and maybe all those freekin’ age spots will disappear. What the Hell is that all about?
 
Actor: Um...well...
 
Bernice: So, what are ya like 63 or somethin’?

Actor: 60. And a half....

Bernice: Listen Hun. I got to tell you. Up front and personal. You know “Mano a Mano”. You don’t hide your age well.
 
Actor: What? I don't. I think....
 
Bernice:  But don’t you worry. Bernice is here to help. I am. I mean that. Now if we makeup artistes weren’t here for you, you can well imagine what you’d look like going out on that stage. ~Hah. Hah. Hah.~ She slaps my left shoulder with a stiff palm and red-lacquered fingernails.

Actor: I can’t imagine.

Bernice: You’d look like Hell. Pain and simple fact! Sorry for the profanity but I speak the truth. Now, I know you actor people work hard to bring those characters to life but you know we are here to help move you along and just in time for your sake. ~Hah. Hah~ She slaps me again. Now just relax. She rubs the back of her hand along my right cheekbone. Did you say you moisturized Hun?

Actor: Yes, I did. We’ve been through that.

Bernice: Oooh. Touchy. So, listen I have a galfriend. Now look, I don’t mean I’m one of those dollies  from the Isle of Lesbos or nothing. Oh God Honey, I have had my share of  menfolk in my day. Don’t get me wrong now. I am not one of them loosy-goosys like you read about on your Facebook and Instaham...
 
Actor: Instagram.
 
Bernice: ~pauses~ Whatever Hun. No, I pretty much keep to myself these days. Well, you have to- dontcha? What with all them SID's and stuff.

Actor: STD's

Bernice: Yes, well whatever Hun. Now Hun, sit up straight here or your manboobs will be on your stomach before your next birthday. So this galfriend of mine-who just so happens to be an artiste of makeup like myself, tells me last week that that actor fella who does those movies- you know who I mean? Oh Christ on a Cracker- y'uh know...

Actor: No, not really.

Bernice: He’s that funny guy with the big-
 
Actor: Voice?
 
Bernice: No. No. Head. Big Head...
 
Actor: I have no idea..
 
Bernice: So he sits across from my galfriend at the restaurant he’s got a bit of the white powder under his nose. Ya Know Hun? 

Actor: Powder? White? Whipped cream?

Bernice: You are sweet Dear but you live in another world. I mean drugs. You know. Powder under the nose? Coaltrain?

Actor: Oh. Cocaine.

Bernie: Exactly. Terrible waste. But good gosh apparently Hun, he has the temper. Not very nice at all. So what’s that gonna get him? Nothin! Did I ask you if you had moisturized.

Actor:  Ummm. I. Have. (I spoke through clenched teeth.)

Bernice: Never mind. Too late now Hun. So can you imagine? This actor-fella makes all that dough   and he can’t get up in the morning without snortin’ his life away. Good God that’s sad. Really sad. ~pause~ Good Lord in a bateau!
 
Actor What??
 
Bernice: You have some nasty-looking split ends here. Get yourself a good conditioner Hun.

Actor: I’ll look into that. Glancing at my watch.  I'm kinda in a hurry now. I need a bit on my eyebrows.

Bernice: Conditioner?

Actor: No. eyeliner!

Bernice: Now leave your face to the professional Hun. That’s what I am her for. So, eyeliner on the brows. Good Gosh. You need more than a bit. The audience wants to see those brows jump and twist and turn and twitch now- don’t they? Don’t you worry Hun. I’ll have you looking spiffy before you know it.

Actor: I’m not sure if “spiffy” is what I’m looking for…

Bernice: Well I’ll be the judge of that Hun. As for what’s happening below the neck, I couldn’t give a fat fanny. Me. I am just from the neck up. She makes a cut-off motion with a cut below my neck.

Actor: Well at least we know where we’re at. You’re here I motion across my throat and up and the neck down pointing down is another department. I understand that.

Bernice: Well, I am not surprised. You seem intelligent but you'd be surprised at those that don't have any sense of direction. Not one iota! Oh Hey, she slaps I remember one time I had a director say to me- Bernice, what do you think of that pink sweater vest for Veronicia in Act Two, Scene 1? Mr. Babcock I says to him. That was his name- Mr. Babcock- funny eh? She slaps me three or four times as she's lost in several  loud guffahs. So, Mr. Babcock I say, you had better ask Gladys in Costumes because I am just concerned with here up. She motions.

Actor: What did he say?

Bernice: What could he say? Hah! I said it all. Geeze. What a loser. I mean that Hun! She applies a few final, deliberate brush strokes and wallops my cheeks with some powder  piled on a white duster. Ok that’s it for you. Now have a nice day Hun- will ya?

Actor: I’ll try.

Bernice: And remember to put on some moisturizer next time for Christ's sake!

Actor: I give up.!

Bernice: aside Geeze, nice fellah but skin’s dry as toast.

Friday, June 1, 2018

ROBBLOG #723- It's In The Genes


First a warning.

It's something most people back east in Ontario are aware of. After watching Rob Ford and his idiot brother perform in the Ford Circus a few short years ago, how is it possible that the PC's could take 65 seats in the coming election and the Liberals might barely be able to hold onto party status. Voters have short memories. I am not fan of Andrea at all but rather the NDP than any- repeat- ANY Conservative anywhere at any time.
He sold drugs for Gawd's Sake. He covered up for his substance abused brother. He's broken the law.
His Mother has no taste when it comes to decorating a home.
I mean reason enough!!

I also think that Kathleen has been treated unfairly and I still believe she is the best, fairest and most forward thinking of any of the candidates. How can Ontarians vote against someone who has raised minimum wage and therefore the standard of living for many Ontarians. I mean c'mon.
That alone.

If Ford wins, I hope he provides Ontario with the biggest Fuck Up in the history of politics. Look out if you are a minority- I am talking to you white folks here too as well as women and LGBTQ2.
Minority.
I mean that word can pretty much describe every one of us these days depending on the situation. The Hubbie and I have been in a Subway car several times in Toronto in recent years and been the only two White Boys.
It's interesting to be in that position. Humbling I suppose.
So, if you fall into any of these main groups how can you even think of voting Conservative?
You are a thorn in their side and always will be.

Federally, it's not any better and now with Justin buying the pipeline out this way, he is doomed. The Federal Liberals are living on borrowed time.
I agree with the purchase.
We need oil.
Our world runs on it and no amount of protesting will change my mind or the facts. We run on oil. First Nations can beat the drum all they want. Hippies, professional protesters and people who need to focus on other skills can demonstrate and show up at barricades day after day. They'll make the National News on a  slow day but it won't make oil and the pipeline go away.

It's in the Ford Genes...
I have promised myself here in BC I will not be political. I am done with speaking out, reading about the various parties and most redneck of all- voting.
You see, I now believe- and I didn't used to, that it makes no difference.
No difference at all.
Good Lawrd...
I am turning into our friend from back in Orillia, Ontario. I will protect her by not naming her but Gee golly gosh and Holy Cow. I didn't see that one coming.

My main defense to refrain from political sniping will see the light of day if Ontarians vote for that Ford Fellah. In my country of Canada I can't believe there is even the possibility of that happening let alone the curse of that Sheer guy from Alberta one day leading our country.

I do have to come clean.
To be both clean- and truthful though, I did write a "Helmet Law Sucks" tweet this past week, supporting the removal of the mandatory bicycle helmet law here in BC. I agreed with a gentlemen who also denounced the forced use of helmets. In fact, here on Vancouver Island in British Columbia my bike hangs on a rack in our garage 90% of the time.
I miss riding but I hate wearing that fucking helmet more!
"Old Home" friends will be agasp!

Egads... I believe either the move west, the Island vibes or my impending, doddering old age has or is in the process of changing me.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

ROBBLOG #722- Space the FINAL Frontier


Space. The Final Frontier.

Here on Vancouver Island in the Cowichan Valley, six Islanders stood outside on a Sunday Evening waiting for the International Space Station to zoom overhead.
At approximately 2215 Pacific it did.

A bright, fast travelling, white light came into view over the tall trees in the western sky. In a flash it was above our heads heading East towards Calgary and the horizon. Some 27,000 kilometres per hour. That's almost as fast as our neighbour Tina (I did not change her name to protect her)- and good friend, drives down Cowichan Lake Road and Government Street to work!
She's a rip and get's there in time and in one piece.

It was an amazing moment watching that station go by and yet it does 24 hours a day. Its path changes but it's up there with a half dozen astronauts on board, whizzing around our world.
What a view. Venus, Saturn, the Moon and the Sun.
All the while, ne'er any sight of "Heaven" or spaceships or the Aliens aboard them who apparently live in the outer rim of outer space.
Thor- The God of Thunder is also out there somewhere with his big hammer and equally big biceps!

Imagine what it costs to fill up the space ship tank just to get to Earth. I hope they're collecting their PC Points towards a free turkey come the Holiday Season.

Captain Kirk was a luck bastard- wasn't he?
He travelled from planet to planet with the ease of a six-stop route on a city bus.
All with the help of his crew and his immortal paraphrased words- "Give me all ya got Scottie!"
Thank goodness for Scottie and Lieutenant- and later Commander, Uhura.
Hey, remember when Will Shatner lip-smacked that Uhura.
Kirk sucking face with another crew member and a female of colour too.
Yikes!
How the Final Frontier has progressed.

After the station slipped effortlessly past us in the sky- lit by a brilliant, full moon, I googled how to contact the astronauts on board. It seems that last Christmas you could and all season's greetings were passed along but now in the merry month of May the best I can hope for is an answer from NASA on my Twitter account.

I think it would perk up the day or night of the onboard crew knowing we were down here on earth like a half dozen puny little ants waving and cheering them onwards. Of course we are used to seeing planes criss-cross the blue Pacific Skies over our Island every day. Those skies can be quite busy at times with assorted aircraft travelling in a myriad of directions heading for Nanaimo, Victoria or Vancouver. Flights to Hawaii, Australia, Britain, France, India and The Netherlands flying right over our heads.

It is amazing when you stop and think about how busy the skies really are on a day to day basis.
Up high we have a collection of satellites, aircraft from dozens of countries, the Space Station and of course, one day, those folks drifting skyway during "the rapture".

In our lower altitudes the sky is crowded with balloons- both of the weather kind and the birthday party kind. There's kites that rip free of their owner's strings, missiles from war-torn countries and smoke from forest fires or volcanoes. It's a wonder the sky stays blue!

A small chill went up my spine as I watched the Space Station zip across the sky.
How wonderful- I thought but I could never do it.
Pooping and peeing in a bag I mean!
I have enough to concentrate on keeping regular down here on earth without worrying about getting the pee and poopy into a bag so as not to have it flying about the Space Station cabin smacking fellow crew members in the face.
Can you imagine the embarrassment of having to catch one's wayward poop with a butterfly net?
Egads!

So, hats off to the crew and I'll report to you if my Tweet get's twatted- or whatever one does with a tweet once it's read.

In the meantime, scientific humans continue to push for new worlds they hope to discover and to go to where we have never gone before...

Saturday, May 26, 2018

ROBBLOG #721- People are Funny


Mother Mary, people are funny.

Not funny as in- "I have a joke to tell you", because that is never funny.
Ever.
We have all stood while the joke-teller is regaling us with a joke that he/she warns us in advance may be dirty, racist, slanderous, petty and definitely unfunny. We never get the warning that the joke about to be told is not funny. We smile and nod and slap our thighs so as not to hurt the unfunny joke-teller's feelings.

No, funny people in this case of which I speak are people- one person in this case, who is definitely NOT funny. In fact, I'd say there's not a funny bone in their body. They are the lonesome dove, the outcast. The person that thrives on being unfunny, unfriendly and under your skin.

This human of which  I speak- as well as not being even close to funny as I mentioned above, is also a control freak. The rest of us should do as they say. Do as "they" do or thou shalt be judged.
Oh yah.
This unfunny human is judgemental in a non-Atheist sort of way.
What is the opposite of non-Atheist you ask?
Figure it out.
I'll wait....

Got it? Well, whatever floats your boat. Turns your crank. Grounds your soul.
I have to be careful here. Some folks reading today's blog will immediately know of whom I speak. Other readers will ultimately ask me- "Who are you writing about in that blog of yours?"
I canny not say...


I would like to tell you the stories that make me shake my head. The stories of this person's unkindness and steel-rimmed personality. Do you know what I mean?
Take a group of people- none of who knew each other when they first met.
Ninety-five percent of these folks are lovely people. One can have a laugh. Pass a comment. Lend a hand as humans do for one another. Then, as if in an error in judgement from a higher authority or power, a bad apple is thrown into the works just for fun and it begins to grind on the original group of nice people.

I'll bet that some of the "nice" people are bothered by the bad apple. The 5%- but are afraid to mention it to the rest of the 95% in the off chance they will be chastised or shunned.
This is a conundrum.

When we first moved into our current neighbourhood there lived a couple who many of us referred to as the gatekeepers. They strolled through unfinished homes- uninvited. They spied on one when one came to the construction site and often tried to hide their presence from the backside of a distant tree or a pile of lumber. They complained and fussed and eventually they had had enough. They stuck up a sign and in a few months were gone.
Buh. Bye.

I believe that karma will eventually bite this "human of which I speak" in the ass of the "human of which I am speaking". Meanwhile, the unfunny, unfriendly human is judging and controlling or tries to be. All others must tow the line and do as "it" does and not as individuals do. One day, someone might explode and be truthful face to face.
I hope it's not me for sometimes my outside voice talks before I give it permission and that can create a magnitude of problems.

Hennaway, for now let's see how this fable plays out.
I have to laugh though.
Not a knee-slapping hearty kind of laugh but more of a for "fucks-sake" kind of chortle.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

ROBBLOG #720 Is it Cricket?

 
Another weird tale for your consideration. I flipped back in my memory to January 2011 to present this piece of brilliance once again. Re-edited for your continued gratification and enjoyment.
Remember- "Not to understand fully is the way of Life". 
 
The day was a warm one.
 
Tiny beads of perspiration dotted the young man’s forehead as he entered the Great Room Library, cool and safe from the hot rays of a Global-Warming sun. He saw the Great One studying- as usual, at the far end of the lavishly appointed room.
 
“What is the meaning of life, O Great One?”- asked Allastar Appleton gently.
 
“I shall answer you in one word Cricket”- replied Wo Fat, not raising his eyes from the book laid out across his kimono-covered lap.
 
“It’s Allastar, O Holy One”. He wasn’t sure if he should even consider correcting a mystic man of such position as the Exalted, seated there in the Great Room library in such a grand chair.
He decided to continue. “But, one word only?” Allastar was taken aback- ever so slightly.
 
“Red Dragon” replied Wo Fat, his eyes till locked onto the pages of the book before him.
 
“Red Dragon? That’s the meaning of life? But Red Dragon is two words, O Exalted One!” How can that be? Allastar was generally perplexed.
 
“Depends how you spell Dragon, young snapper.” The old man scratched the side of his nose and took a deep breath. “You see, young bird, we know nothing compared to He who claims to know all?”
“You mean Justin Trudeau?”
Alastar was serious.
 
“No, little chipmunk, I speak of another society- not a left-leaning open society that is fair and just for one and all. That being said, this society is a secret none-the-less.
 
“Gosh!”- says Alastar Appelton as he thrust his hands into the deep recesses of his cloak. For Alastar wore a light cotton cloak on this day, spun from the golden fleece of the village sheep known for their unusual baaaa’s as well as golden fleece.
“But surly we know something- anything…”
 
“No child we do not. It’s secret and please do not expect me to answer too much”- Wo Fat, the great one sighed.
 
“Whatever do you mean, Sir?”
 
“Little rabbit, in this huge universe of nothingness, we both mean and know and say nothing. It is in the same way that this “secret society”- Red Dragon, remains unknown as a “secret sect”. The All Holy one had been generous in his response.
 
“Ahhh. I am beginning to see and understand. This is truly the meaning of life as we know and understand it!”
 
“I hardly believe so, young wheatsheaf.”
He continued.
“I understand and see much- yet I don’t care.”
 
“You don’t, O most Wonderful of Wonders?” Alastar’s mind was swirling.
“Oh Swammy of the ‘most’ High, I care.”
 
“The Ordained One glanced up at Alastar Appleton and said-
“I understand that you care, such as the care a mother toad gives to her young but as the moving finger writes so does he who is a pleasure-seeker seeking to buy pleasure.”
 
“One most high, I understand what you say- in part.” Alastar was shaken put managed to form the words with his lips and a voice so soft it was not unlike the ramblings of a gentle Queen of the Drag-
“Play with fire. Expect to be burnt.”
 
Wo Fat- the all knowing, all seeing one, smiled a small, impish smile.
“You have tremendous vigour and youth for one so young Mr. Alastar Appelton. Now, leave me, for I must study hard to become more brilliant than the sun rising on the calm blue waters of the ocean.”
The Kingfisher dropped his gaze onto the pages of his book  and motioned to Alastar to be gone.
 
Before leaving the Great Man's presence Alastar mused aloud- “Being Oriental is not accidental yet occidental. Now, I know the beginnings of the meaning life.”
 
Alalstar was satisfied. He turned, leaving the Bright Light to his book of learning and walked out into the hot, afternoon sun. He paused, snatching a harmonica from his pocket. Placing it tight against his lips, he played “Jimmy Cracked Corn and I Don’t Care”- farting along in harmony.
 
It was great to be so alive and have a life so full of meaning!

Friday, May 18, 2018

ROBBLOG #719- An Empress of a Weekend!


I can't remember that last day it rained here on the Island.

We have had an abundance of sunshine lately.
Hot, dry heat. Air conditioner and heat pump weather yet no humidity.
Still, I was amused when the Weather Network reported Duncan B.C. weather online this morning.
It said "Partly cloudy today. Partly sunny overnight."
Wow!
Global warming is really real!
For real!

So, the first Victoria Day weekend on the Island for us and I do want to emphasise "Victoria Day Weekend".
What is with this "Long weekend" stuff?
Nada. No and wrong!
What are we? All Jehovah Witnesses all of a sudden?
I worked with a JW once at a radio station.
She refused to perform many aspects of her job because of her JW Religion. She wouldn't say Merry Christmas, Happy Victoria Day Weekend or even Happy Birthday. She even got out of recording Christmas Holiday Greetings all because of her religion and yet- she got paid like the rest of us who had to do the extra work she wouldn't.
Not fair. Not fair at all.
We should have held a sit in or something but since radio broadcasters were a dime a dozen, there were many youngsters willing to do one's job for half the 10 bucks the rest of us were paid.
Oh yes!
Radio paid little except for the morning shows in the big markets. Even there if you were anyone other than Erin Davis- and most of us were, pay was poor.

Her Majesty- Queen Victoria
Hennaway, back to Victoria Day, this is a holiday you all get- we all get, because of feisty Queen Victoria. Queen of Canada and Empress of India. So, give her due respect.
Hem. Hem. Hem.

I'd like to be an "Empress" of some small country. Some small warmish country. I would sit royally on my throne all the while being fanned by sturdy young men waving banana fronds above my head to keep me relatively cool and comfortable. I would insist they were rather scantily clad so as not to overheat whilst fanning their "Empress".
I would take care of my subjects!
I really would.
Royalty cares and sets an example.
For instance, I'd say to my pool boy-
"Coco- bring me a lemonade please with two twists of lemon and a shot of gin!".
As he bowed and turned to leave, I'd playfully slap his tush pretending to sting my hand on his rock solid butt.
My subjects would adore their "Royal"- like Dame Edna is adored around the world!

Dame Edna
Speaking of Royalty- the Royal Wedding.
Once again, I am not invited. As a proud member of the Commonwealth who flies the Union Jack every Victoria Day Holiday Weekend and has been to England and even knows "English People",
I fully believe an invite would be fair.
Cripes! I'd even walk her down the aisle looking quite British and all-
Fah, Fah, Fah.
I am rather Fah anyway- or is that Fey?

Either way, I could do it with much pomp and circumstance whether I was an Empress or the plain , simple, Island fellah that I am.

Enjoy your Victoria Day Weekend and wave and say hello to your fellow loyal subjects all weekend long.

Friday, May 11, 2018

ROBBBLOG #718- Sweet!


It's been a busy week.

The Mister and I met our new Doctor this week.
She's a new Mom.
She's funny.
She listens and she doesn't push prescription drugs.
We hit it off right away.
Nine months on this new Island of ours and we have our Doctor. In fact all of our services are in line.
Sweet!

Our new Gazebo, bolted down to the cement patio
The weather continues to amaze as does the speed at which our plants are growing in our new gardens. I don't know if it's the year round growing season- it probably is, or the ocean air. Even new stuff we plopped in the earth over the past month is growing at an alarming rate. The banana is pushing out new shoots and our big palm trees are shooting out new fronds. While our rhody has finished blooming there are rhodys in the neighbourhood that are so big and so beautiful they take your breath away. I had no idea these plants were so large or bloomed in such an array of colours. There's a rhododendron in Ladysmith- about 20 minutes up island, that is twenty-five years old and extremely tall. It makes copy on CTV news and people drive to see it from miles around. We too will make the trip while it is in its blooming glory.

The painters are here this week.
Our house had such a poor, initial paint job, that the new painters are finding they have to re-paint our house from top to bottom. Some of the white trim was never painted by the time the "old" painters finished in the first week of December. The new paint is giving our Island Home a fresh clean look because the colour is a tad deeper and has a slight sheen.
It looks great!

The red furniture will be on the new grass- eventually
Not to be outdone, the landscapers laid more pipe to cover the watering of our back yard sod and installed drip-lines to keep our gardens moist. It's a "thing" here on the left coast. Drip lines keep plants alive in drought situations and that is something we saw when we got off the boat last August. A remarkable duration of time with no rain. We arrived August 23rd and the last raindrops were in the first few days of June. Even the next two weeks here in this merry month of May is to be warm- in the mid to upper so's, and dry.
There's no rain in sight.
So much for a soggy west coast. Yes, of course we have had rain. November was particularly soggy but you know what? We put on our rain gear. Laced up our west coast rain boots and we were off for a walk either with the dogs- in appropriate rain-wear, or just by ourselves.
No sleet. No ice. No snow to contend with.
I do vow that it is a secret the Islanders hold close to their chest. That secret is simple to discover.
The island is beautiful and the weather is terrific.

Budda Bing, Budda Buddah
Life continues...
In the next while we await a delivery of a new, white arbour for the back yard. A big, beautiful, curved-top structure with a wing of picket fence on each end. In fact depending how it looks when it's delivered, I may put some white picket fencing down the side of the house- just like we had at Pine Tree House back in Orillia. A picket fence says "summer".
We currently have a black, iron fence along the south side and we had bought a black arbour to match. Then, neighbours began strolling by saying how much they liked the fence. A neighbour just two doors up even copied the idea of the black metal arbour, so I had had enough even though imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all...

I sold the black arbour and hence we are looking forward to the delivery of a fresh, white, cottage-like arbour. Gee, I wanted the white picket fence along the south side of the property to begin with but The Mister and I were sold when we saw the black wrought iron.
I should listen to my heart a little more. We got our money back for the arbour since another neighbour up the street bought it from us.

Hennaway, it's all a process.
A long process and we've come a long way here on the island from a hole in the sandy, clay-like earth to a place we are calling "home".