Tuesday, August 20, 2019

ROBBLOG #795- OK. See You.


Shit! I've gone and done it again.

I had two phrases I thought of the other night before shutting off the light. I was going to use them to start this blog. I knew I should have written them down.
I didn't.
Now, I can't remember what they were but they were to be the start of this blog.
Now that I've lost the concept I have to start all over.

Shit!

Hennaway, let me go in another direction. There are a coupe of people I follow on Twitter.
You know what Twitter is- don't you?
Good.
Now these people are a part of an organization, meaning they are not really speaking for themselves when they tweet but although known independently, they're tweeting for- let's call it a "non profit". If they make a comment it reflects mostly on this non profit- right?

Hennaway again, I've had two such "accounts" that I stopped following this week because the Twitterer had Tweeted something political. I've followed these accounts for quite a while but now what the accounts have to say has fallen silent- my choice.

I think these people tweeting under the face and name of something else need to be non-political and shut up. In the case of what I tweet on @SwissshRadio and what I write here on this blog it's a personal comment. Swisssh Radio is mine and obviously my ROBBLOG is mine since my smiling face overlooks these words from above. I don't believe it's any secret that I am not a fan of the Conservative Right. I believe in live and let live. I believe in rights for all folk. So, perhaps my comments and life are more centre-right.

When I make a comment on Twitter, I usually try to make it in the third person concocting a funny scenario by posting a photo- usually of a interesting-looking older lady. I engage this lady in a short conversation to perhaps another person in the photo or my favourite choice- to someone on the otehr end of a telephone line. That way I get my point across with comedy and without flat out saying it's me speaking the truth. I think it works quite well but I am sure occasionally I fail.

Agnes: "For Cupcake Sakes Blanche, Do you know what
 the spit he's talking about here on this blog?
Blanche: No Dear, I certainly do not. Is he talking about that Con guy Albert Scheer?"
Agnes: "Not Albert Scheer Blanche, Andrew Scheer that fellah that's always fiddling with his right side and who might need glasses I hear tell if'n he keeps that filthy habit "up". No Blanche, I'm rapping about this here Blog Fellah..."
For the most part I try to be entertaining but there are times when someone like Andrew Scheer pisses me off so much I have to unload.

You know, I really don't get the right wing Conservatives.
I don't know how anyone does.
They seem to be against everything that is good about our country. I can smile and allow the Greens and the NDP's their odious opinions. Usually, I can understand their point of view but while on the topic, I must say that Jagmeet  Singh is definitely not a "Jack Layton" or the guy that followed him- old "what's-his-name" who now is a political analyst for CTV News or something.
Go figure...
Can't get enough votes to be PM but he's good enough and apparently smart enough to be a political commentator.
Geeze.

Anyhoo, these political tweets forced me to "unfollow" the offenders.
It wasn't an easy decision.
I hummed and hawed for a few days like the time a month ago I stopped following Cher because of all her anti-trump tweets. I mean, I don't like Trump either but I'm a Canadian and I follow Cher for "Cher" not anti-Trump rhetoric.

Same thing happened with Bette Midler.
Now that was hard but her Trump-Tweets got in the way and again as a Canadian I didn't want to read them anymore. In fact I looked at many of the people I follow and if they "Trump-Tweeted" too much I got rid of them. Take Jean Soon who play's Mrs. Kim on TV's "Kim's Convenience.
She talked Canadian Politics but a little too often she let go on some stupid American, anti-Trump piece of dithering and I had to click that "Unfollow" button.
Sorry Jean.
You'll be happy to know that I still follow Appa- "Mr. Kim", Actor Paul Sunh-Hyung Lee.

Anyhoo, not that any of these Twitter folks I follow give a pony's patoot if I follow them or not but at least I have now publicly stated why I clicked the unkindly "Unfollow Button".

Okay. See you.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

ROBBLOG #794- An Anniversary

Two years ago today.

Just two years ago today, Tom and I slipped away in Priscilla leaving Orillia, Ontario behind forever. We had ourselves, a bunch of boxes, a selection of clothes, food and of course our canine and feline family Missy, Koko, Dickens and Doyle.

Things change.
Priscilla was sold last year to a new family in Port Alberni- in the centre of Vancouver Island.
Our family has changed.
We lost Doyle on August 17th at the KOA in Winnipeg. He ran from Priscilla about 1030 at night.
We never saw him again.
The last view I had of him was his puddy tail up in the air and his orange arse disappearing into the Manitoba night.
Doyle never got to see his new home here in the Cowichan.
I know I should stop but every day I check the Winnipeg Lost Cats Facebook Page looking for a glimmer of hope. Maybe some kindly Granny has taken him in and one of these days when he is taken to a vet, they'll check his chip and he'll come home to us...

Another special family member- Our Missy, made it to the Island but passed in September of last year.
That was devastating
She so wanted to stay a while longer with her Dads but that was not to be. A little BC cedar box sits on a fireplace mantle in our Master Bedroom holding her ashes. Her little knitted sweater with the red maple leaf is draped over the headboard- above my head, of our bed.
~sigh~

Gosh that morning leaving Pine Tree House.
I sullenly walked through every room in the house saying goodbye.
She looked so lonely and empty.
I just wanted to hug her.
How do you say goodbye to 25 happy years of your life?
The Parties, Mrs. P's visits, the Christmases, Birthdays, Thanksgivings- a Marriage.
The spot on the floor in front of the Keeping Room fireplace where Dr. Stephen sent our wonderful Kiki- our yellow lab of 17 years, over the Rainbow Bridge. ~double sigh~

Our Pine Tree House in Orillia, Ontario
It's all there still in memories and pictures.
You know, I never thought we'd ever leave that cozy, little Victoria Home but leave we did- three time zones and a few thousand miles away!
Good Gawd it took guts.
I don't know how we did it.
I do mourn and miss that house (Pine Tree House c.1882) and the familiarity that a quarter of a century of familiar places and friends brought.
I know this will sound stupid but I still wonder if given the same chance today would we have moved.
Silly, I know but this move is and was probably the biggest life-changing experience that The Mister and I have made together. I don't know how Military families do it. Moving all over the globe and rarely having a place to really call home but here we are two years later settled in this Mediterranean climate of the Cowichan Valley, in Duncan BC, in North Cowichan.
This is our home now.

Palm Villa in the Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island BC
Tom reminded me this morning that this was the anniversary of our leaving Ontario. I knew it was around this date but I hadn't taken to looking back at Blogs I wrote at the time. Now I am up to my neck in memories.

A friend from Orillia said in a text a week ago- "I hope you are not too lonely."
I hadn't thought I had given an impression of loneliness. Orillia and Ontario will always be in my heart but then again the years I lived in Mississauga were special too. What I miss most about moving here to Vancouver Island is the distance from Toronto and maybe Ontario.
I always loved Toronto.
I lived in a couple of areas of the city but my favourite was on Clark Street just off Queen Street east past the Don Valley Parkway. That was the small house I lived in when I first met Tom. An area of artsy folks, streetcars, the Beaches and a cross section of people from all over the world. It was a time when I didn't even have a car. I used transit to go everywhere.

So, yes, I miss Toronto and the shows and shopping and the Canadian National Exhibition. The EX was the best and I have so many memories of going every year. We tried the PNE here in Vancouver last year. It was a reasonable facsimile but not the Ex.
I still miss our perfect, little Pine Tree House too- and I always will.

So folks, a toast to two years ago and the day we loaded up our Prairie Schooner- better known as Priscilla, to head west to a new life.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

ROBBLOG #793- I Gotta Beef!


This pisses me off...just a bit.

As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I am trying my damndest to ween myself from pork and beef products. It's been months since I have eaten any pork product and just a few weeks for beef.

Attempting to make such a move is a little more difficult when going out to eat at a restaurant these days but if I can't find something on the menu, I ask to see if I can have this or that instead. I am still eating Turkey and Chicken- bless the short lives of these birds who give their life so I can eat a turkey sandwich or a chicken burger. When eating out I can order fettuccine with chicken- or not, or a salad with chicken or a even toasted turkey sandwich.

Shopping is an entirely different process.
I am buying veggie this and that.
Buying meatless "ground beef".
Purchasing veggie bologna- yum by the way. With all the crap in bologna- all beef or not, this veggie bologna tastes just as good with pickles and mayonnaise and lettuce. I even discovered a "fake" sliced turkey- equally as good.

Anyhoo, I have been actively searching for Beyond Meat Burgers in local stores. Sold out in one and probably placed next to the cheap dog food in another- I couldn't find it! A staff member I asked waved her hand and said- "It's back there somewhere because I've seen it come through..."
"Come through" means at the checkout.
Did she call someone to ask for me?
Nope.
You see this Beyond Meat stuff is beyond their comprehension. Oh, they sorta get vegetarian but "meatless"?
Not really.

Today I picked up another brand of meatless burger just to try it. As I am going through the checkout, the lady busily scanning item after item with beep after beep stops dead when she sees the "LightLife" plant-based burger among my items.
She picks it up. Turns the package over with little sausage-like fingers and using a long, painted, french-tipped nail she points out to me the large number of items in this plant based burger.
She looks up after circling her nail around the ingredients and says to me-
"You know, in beef, there's only beef- that's all!"

I say- "Yes but I am not eating beef because of ingredients I am stopping the beef parade because of some of the slaughtering practices at abattoirs and the indecent conditions pigs and cattle are kept in during their relatively short lives both at farms and during their transport to slaughterhouses. Many of these animals are not seeing the light of day or green grass beneath their hooves in their lifetimes.
"Bleeding heart Liberal"- you say.
That's what her face said!


Not "bleeding heart" in this case...okay maybe just a bit.
It just that I find it hard to look a cow or pig in the eye. Don't even get me started on the thousands
of horses shipped to China and Korea for consumption.
I have read about the deplorable conditions these animals experience during their sea voyage.
Compare photos of horses crammed on ships to bucolic scenes of  horses standing under shade trees in green pastures and you'll see what I mean.

Back to beef, not far from where we live I always see dairy cows confined to small, fenced-in areas outside their open-air barns- roof only. The "girls" are laying about in the muck of mud and the muck of urine and shit.
At least that black stuff they stand and recline in looks like shit to me.

Google "cow and pig slaughter" or search for Esther the Pig on Twitter and follow her. You might get a rude awakening. Some of that abuse has happened here in British Columbia and I am sure in all provinces.

Now those are 100% Beef Paddies!!"
So, back to this lady at the checkout who says to me- "in beef, there's only beef".
Hmmm. Don't think so. Farmers inject cows behind the ears with 6 different hormones that accelerate growth and allow cattle to eat less.
Why behind the ears?
Because when they cut off a cow's ears at slaughter or as one web account calls it- "Harvest Time", the cut off ear can be discarded so as not to contaminate the beef product.
So lady- it is not entirely correct when you tell me that beef is beef and only beef.
There's a lot of shit in beef too- relatively and figuratively speaking.
For gawds sakes- they stand in it. See above.

Health Canada sets maximum levels of hormones and antibiotics that can be left in food.
How nice.
Some studies say these hormones cause cancer and other cause puberty to onset early in children.
I am not an authority in that. All I'm saying is- there's more in beef than beef.

Imagine if checkout people pointed out ingredients on all products.
"Oh Honey, this breakfast cereal has too much salt. Oh! Look at the sugar content"
or
"the chocolate chips in these cookies are not really chocolate and the chemicals could fell an elephant!"

My point is don't tell me this because I am trying to eat so as not to cause an animal pain or discomfort.
It is my choice and it's NOT an easy choice.
It's hard.
It's a commitment.
It's a new way of eating.

I welcome you to try it but just leave me alone as I adjust and try- in my personal view, to do the tight thing.

Oh!
Not that I consider myself overweight or fat at all but I have found that I have slimmed down and lost weight since quitting beef and pork.

Whaaat's that you say???

Sunday, August 4, 2019

ROBBLOG #792- To Be or Not to Be


It's Hot.

August Heat has arrived on our Island in the Pacific just off Canada's West Coast.
The true west coast here on Vancouver Island.

31C but no Humidity.
The sun is prickly hot.
We lather on the sunscreen but sometimes one's cheek's and ears still become beet-red after a day of exposure. At the end of the day, I apply lots of skin cream to regenerate my skin.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Its my mantra...

Even though it's warmish we've been to the ocean, the farmer's market and to theatre- outdoors.
A festival called 39 Days of Summer is wrapping up here in the Cowichan. 39 days of music and fun and theatre.

We slipped down to Charles Hoey (rhymes with phooey) Park the other evening to watch four hours of Shakespeare in the great outdoors. Two of the Bard's best were presented- Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure. I had originally thought it would be bits and pieces of the plays that start a two week run at a farm just off Koksilah Road but to our surprise we saw both plays in their entirety.
Well almost...


The director of Much Ado told the Mister and I after the play, that she had cut a bit.
12 pages!
I knew dialogue went askew because I was following the script on my mobile. The director told us it was purely for time. The play would have gone almost three hours at full length.
Since Shakespeare is Public Domain- meaning a company pays no rights, the director can slice a bit.
I mean really, unless one was following along- like I was, a few hither and yon's and perchance's would never be missed. In fact if the slicing is done right it helps the play move along a bit faster.
Old Bill can get bogged down in flowery words and sentences not to mention scenes that have almost nothing to do with the overall story. These are usually Bill's attempts at humour and bumbling characterizations.
Sometimes they hit and sometimes they go flat.
In the second play we saw this was the case.
I had not seen Measure for Measure before and to be fair maybe it was the actor's or director's interpretation that fell flat.

To be fair again, I have never been in nor directed a Shakespearean ditty.
I am not sure that I ever will.
It's a lot of "language" to learn, yet some actors- like actors in these two presentation, learn parts in two different plays and perform them during the run.

I have had dialogue from two plays swirling in my head at the same time. I can only imagine what it would be like to have two of Shakespeare's.
Yikes!

Anyhoo, it was an enjoyable four and a half hours and I came away wanting to get back on stage again. Even Much Ado's Director said-
"Sounds like someone is itching to do more theatre."
Maybe...

Waiting for the Fat Lady to sing or recite Shakespeare
In between shows, I talked to a local gent by the name of Longevity John- a former Ontarian, who owns two small theatrical/stage spaces Downtown not far from Charles Hoey Park. John also is the man behind "39 Days". I had chatted to him before but had never said The Mister and I had a theatre company back in Ontario.
His eyes lit up when I mentioned it.
He said- "I'm all about community and we should definitely talk!"

I am thinking.
I am a little hesitant but one can start small, dipping one's smallest toe into the waters before jumping head first into the raging stream!

Already I am wondering how to raise money.
Who to cast.
What show to do and more.

Stay tuned.
There could be more news soon. Right now I have to go throw some baby powder on my dampish underarms.
Whew! It's a scorcher!

It's tough living on this Island Paradise...

Sunday, July 28, 2019

ROBBLOG #791- The Dance


The Mister and I have been going to many of the performances of the 39 Days of July
here in the Cowichan on Vancouver Island.

A Sunday afternoon ago while listening to the great music from the stage, I watched a young boy maybe seven years of age or so, dance on the green grass in Houey Park.
He was about 20 feet from where I sat in my two-toned grey lawn chair.

This boy, in a bright blue Tee shirt, wasn't dancing alone.
He was dancing with his Dad.
I wished I had a video to demonstrate to you how wonderful the moment was to me.
I hope it was for him.
It was so sweet my eyes began to water.

Every boy.
Every man.
Should dance with his Dad- more than once in his life.
It's 2019.
Why not?

I watched them together for a minute.
Then, they stopped.
Something had diverted the youngster's attention away from keeping time to the music with his Father.



A few seconds later another brother- maybe  a couple of years older was itching to Dance with Dad.
He had on a bright red shirt with the name "Cooper" in black letters sprawled across the back.

You could see he wanted to but what would people say if they saw that. A boy dancing with a boy?
He didn't know that I was watching. 
This young lad who obviously loved his Dad was too afraid of the peer pressure or what he had been carefully taught-
A boy cannot dance with his Dad.
It's not right.
Maybe he thought it would be "Queer".

Dad stood still and offered him his outstretched arms, encouraging him.
"C'mon," I was saying under my breath. "Do it!"
I was routing for him. "Take your Dad's arms!"
It seemed that I was almost yelling out loud but I wasn't.
C'mon, young man, just dance with your Dad.

The boy felt awkward.
I could tell. 
Two men don't dance together. It had probably been drilled into his head by those many years older. Maybe by school pals. Who knows.

Eventually, he pushed Dad so he was facing away from him and reaching around his Dad's sides, he grabbed the strong arms pulling them around to his Dad's back.
Nope.
He tried to swing this way and that but it just didn't work- not the way it had worked for his brother a few moments before. Finally, he pushed his Dad away and moved towards another brother- a bit older again, and he ran away to play some "silly" brother game.

Too bad.
It could have been memorable.
Not just for me- I was just an onlooker- it was for "Dad" and of course for the kid.

I turned back towards the stage and the musicians in front of me. It was lost. It almost happened but now it was lost for eternity.

During some applause a few minutes later, I took one final look around turning in my chair to see where the Dad and his three boys had gone. 
There.
I could see them behind me a few hundred feet away. They were walking- balancing really, on the rails of the old train tracks that cut through the centre of the park.

A new memory was being created.
The old memory, the special moment that could have been was gone.
Lost forever...



Friday, July 19, 2019

ROBBLOG #790- A Conundrun


I am in a conundrum...

In other words, I don't know what the Fuck to do. I know that sounds harsh but it's how I feel.
I started on my way to be "mostly" vegetarian" a few months ago.
I stopped eating pork.
Yup.

Bacon, sausages, ham etc.
I don't miss it except for bacon on a Sunday morning.
I wonder if Jesus has bacon on Sunday's before he sits back and listens to all that praise and those prayers that float heavenwards on Sunday mornings?

Does he tend to listen more to the United's? Does he ignore the JW's?
Does he like the pomp and circumstance and enjoys getting a holy laugh listening to the Catholics promising everyone Hell everlasting if they don't show up every Sunday or at least Easter and Christmas?

What about the Anglicans?
He's probably given up on them and their wishy-washy ways what with the question of Gay Marriage and all.
On again. Off again.
He's in all probability sitting up there on his "gold" throne- right next to his Dad, knowing full well he never mentioned LGBTQ2 in his earthly ministry. I'd say he might be a very likable guy if Christians hadn't Fucked up all he was supposed to have said.
Oops...
There's that word again which brings me back on topic.

I stopped eating pork as I said.
Now, I want to include beef. It has always been my plan. Then, this morning I saw a video on Twitter.
These dairy cows that had been confined most of their life to small spaces had been herded to a vast, green field.



In the video, they were being herded from the lush field, across a two lane blacktop to a slaughterhouse opposite. Most had not had that kind of freedom a grass patch allows. Most had never walked that far. You could see on their beautiful faces that many were in pain and were afraid.
No. Terrified.
Watching the video that someone shot from the cab of a truck, you could see many of them hobbling along. They were clearly not well and in shock.

Then, I watched one lovely cow limp towards the middle of the road. She was unable to walk on her right front foot. She stopped dead centre of the road and stood there for a second on her three legs. The fourth- that right one, dangled from the "elbow".
She looked right into the camera.
Broken. In pain. Afraid. Helpless.
The look on her face.
Help me. Why me?
She pause for those few seconds as her "friends" walked around her. Some barely able to move. One with a rear leg that didn't work any more.

She looked into the lens with those big, beautiful cow eyes of hers.
Tears streamed down my cheeks and out loud I said- "I'm sorry girl..."
She looked forward again to the other side of the road and hobbled on across onto the grassy field. I could see where the slaughterhouse stood just a few hundred yards away.

It broke my heart.
I have felt broken all day.
I don't want it to be like this for her or any animal.

This may just have done it for me.

If beef goes, then I have chicken and turkey remaining.
I don't know if I am strong enough but I will never forget the sad, beautiful eyes of that dairy cow.

Thank you for giving your life so we humans can enjoy our beef...

Friday, July 12, 2019

ROBBLOG #789- I Can Do It God Damn It!


Gotta love a Queen.
I do.

Well from one Queen to another, as it is.

Today, A Queen went tree planting.
I wonder how many young saplings she's planted over the years? I expect her Princely husband has "planted" many young ones- but a Queen? Herself?
Hmmm...

Anyways, there she was covered in red from head to toe when she was advised of the task at hand. Listening intently, she had a good think and appraised the situation as only A Queen can.

"Hmmm, a pile of dirt, a shiny shovel and the tree- WAIT! the tree's already in the God Damned Royal Hole? They're looking to me to be a tottering old thing- are they not?"- she looked 'round at them as stone-faced as One could have."

The attending crowd was hushed wondering what A Queen would do.

"One will show the multitudes." she thought pursing her rosy-red lips.
Looking straight at the young tree- sizing it up as it were, she turns to her lady-in-waiting and says something to the effect of-
"You'll have to hold this Dear- one's handbag, I can't do both.
One knows one's limits."

Then, a rather rotund, poorly dressed commoner steps forward onto the black carpet where A Queen is standing and proceeds to take it upon herself to explain what is about to happen and A Queen's options-
"Now then you can have someone actually plant the bugger for you- in this case a Horny Beamed Tree or you can wield this shiny, silver shovel that we purchased expressly for the Royal Hand."

She thought for a quick second- never looking up once while processing the situation.


"I'm not too old to plant a Fucking Tree!"- says the Queen, seeming a bit miffed and you just don't want to play around with a "miffed" Queen. I mean ask RuPaul...

She grabbed the Royal Spade and dug in with gusto exclaiming- "Oh Royal Fuckey Do Dah Day, One forgot to remove one's white gloves. Pausing for a moment between shovel fulls, she concluded that she was not to give it another thought for poor people in India or someplace like that were making more for One every day!" She clicked her heels with glee and continued shoveling the massive pile of black-brown earth into the hole surrounding the tree.

"I do hope someone threw in a handful of bonemeal before one started. It keeps the sapling stiff and strong!"- she said with a determined air and a lilt in her voice.

Someone in the crowd tittered!

After numerous clicks and flashes from press cameras, she threw the shovel onto the Royal ground in front of her, grabbed her bag from her lady-in-waiting and trudged off to have a Royal Pee in the privy nearby.

"Working in One's garden always makes one need to tinkle!" she called over her shoulder to the attending crowd and tinkle she did to the applause of all who were assembled in this Queenly spot!

Later that evening as her first dressing maid removed One's Royal stockings, she turned to her Royal Husband who was sprawled quite naked across the Royal Bed scratching his elongated, purple-hued balls and said-
"My Dear, they actually asked me if I could handle a fucking Royal shovel to throw a bit of dirt on the roots of a Horny Beamed tree and by the way who has ever heard of a Horny Beamed tree? Really, One would have preferred to plant a Prickly Pear!"
The Queen's Mister stopped scratching and nodded in his not-quite-Queen-like way for One should always but always agree with "A Queen".

"Why, that goes without saying My Dear!" as the Royal Male gazed down upon his own "prickly pear"!

Any Queen should be heeded for that matter or there could be H E Double Hockey sticks to pay.
Thus ended a Royal lesson of sorts...

Friday, July 5, 2019

ROBBLOG #788- A Cousin Gone Before Me


I had a short conversation with my Cousin Judy tonight.

Well, she did most of the talking. Judy passed from this earth last September but occasionally when the lines of communication are wide open, she comes through loud and clear and just starts talking.
I was eating pizza and enjoying a hot cuppa when the most recent conversation occurred.
I guess she felt she had my undivided attention as I dined on hot pizza pie straight from the oven.

"It's nice here- but different"- she began.
She laughed as only my cousin could laugh.
I could see she was sitting down and I was looking at her from her left side.
Her hair was a light brown and not the grey/white I had become familiar with in the past years of her earthly existence. It seemed to be thicker, healthier too.
I guess death can do that to a person or at the least the next phase of this life. The phase not on this earthly go-round you and I inhabit.

Judy had something in her lap and her hands were busy as she talked.
I think it looked like knitting. It was colourful.
I don't even remember if she knitted in this life actually.
Maybe she was separating bits and pieces of cloth. It came and went so fast it was hard to tell.

She continued:- "Things mean different here. You'll like it but don't rush to get here!"
She laughs her Judy laugh once again.

"Things mean different here" were her exact words. I don't know what that's about but I guess one day I'll find out first hand.

I miss Judy's earthly presence and at times I still find it hard to believe she left us after Labour Day a short year ago. At least she appears healthy and she's not suffering from all the medical conditions that plagued her final years.

She never got to see our new Island home but only the week before we were planning her coming to the Island for a month of two.
Of course, that was never to happen.
Tom and I were on the Queen of Cowichan, the ferry to Horseshoe Bay from Departure Bay when we started planning what we'd do when she came out west. Her niece- my cousin Karen, would come too.We couldn't wait to show her our new Island Home. It had been so hard to leave Judy behind in Orillia. I had feared we wouldn't see her again and that fear materialized.


It's funny how I hear departed voices from time to time. It's never at my choosing. It's always at their choosing. I am usually busy doing something- like brushing my teeth, when it happens. I hear a familiar voice speaking to me and not always in full, complete sentences.
Sometimes just snippets.
Sometimes, a few words with a picture thrown in.
Sometimes I am being told or shown something that I just don't understand.
Sometimes- a few days later, it makes sense.

You have to realize they don't communicate the way we do.
They used to do of course but on the new plane of existence it's a step back when they try to talk to us. As time and space go along, it becomes harder and almost impossible to communicate.
I believe that's where the pictures come in.
It's just easier for them to try and show me something.
The hard part is when I have to guess and I can't.

I do my best.
I feel comforted and at the very least happy that I am open to receive such messages from right here about six inches from where where are now.

Don't ask.
Someone on the next plane told me that years ago and I don't really understand it any more that I expect you too but six inches appears to be of some importance to them.

So Jude, it was nice.
It was brief.
I could feel the love and I could hear you laugh.

That was enough.

Friday, June 28, 2019

ROBBLOG #787- Dem's a Hot One, Dat's fer Sure


Here's a short summer story for today's ROBBLOG folks. It came to me as I watched a similar situation unfold a few days ago. It's best to be read out loud in a sultry, hot, southernish accent y'all can muster. Ask yer Mama or yer Man to play the Serina part! Oh and have a Happy Canada Day!

A hot summer day in a small Canadian backwoods town. Sweltering actually. The kind of day when you pray for a cool breeze. Any kind of cool breeze but it just doesn't seem to materialize. The world goes by but everything appears to be at a much slower pace. People can seem to be stupid and ill-mannered. Suddenly, you start to talk and think in a thick, southern-style accent. The kind you hear in a dull, old Tennessee Williams Play.

Serina is leaning up against the hood of a 1957 Ford. Light blue. Convertible. She's a beauty. 
The car- not Serina.
Serina is blond. Bottle blonde. She's wearing a blousey white top, open down a few buttons. Her bleached hair is tied up on top of her head but strings of  hair fall like a fake, blonde landslide, straight from a box of Clairol colour falling haphazardly down her cheeks. She's wearing powder blue jeans that are rolled up to her calves. She has bangles- seven to be exact, jingling around her right wrist. They clang in the hot, late morning sun.
She's wearing flip-flops each with a huge, purple, petunia-like flower on the strap. On her nose are propped a pair of black, oversized sunglasses.

One foot is resting up behind her, caught in the Ford's ample bumper as she appears to be striking a model's pose.
She's not perfected it at all.
He right hand is holding a rather long cigarette.
Maybe a Virginia Slims.
Maybe a contraband cigarette from the local reservation.
She pulls a long hard drag as she watches a bare-chested young man dig a trench a few yards away.
The man's chest and arms glisten with sweat from the unbearably high humidity- yet he keeps digging. His bluejeans are soaked from pocket to crotch. He seems oblivious to the notion that he's being watched. Glared at...

Serina calls over to him in a sultry, southern, sexy voice...

Serina: Hey!

The young man doesn't answer but keeps digging as sweat rolls down his neck and falls between the thick, black, matted hair on his olive-tanned chest.

Serina:(louder). Hey! I said Hey!...Can't y'all hear me? she puffs Whatzsamatter big boy? Cat's got yer tongue.

Man: Oh, I hears ya all right.

Serina: Then, why don't y'all answer me then- huh? (Her bangles clash and clatter on her wrist)

Man: (His shovel clangs against a rock in the trench slash ditch) 'cause I am suppostah be digging this here trench Ma'am.

Serina: Oh! Ma'am is it? I ain't you're Ma'am, I tells you that much. You think I'm old enuff to be your Momma or sumptin?

Man: No Ma'am. Not et all. Just being proper like.

Serina: Zat so. Zat's what proper is like on such a fuckin' hot morning as dis?

Man: Could be...

Serina: Could be! Dat's all you and your heavin' big muscles gotta say fer yourselves?

Man: 'ppears so Ma'am....I uh mean- Miss.

Serina: (she drags on the cigarette and holds it aloft in her right hand supported at the elbow by her left) I ain't no "Miss" dat for sure. Hey, whatz yer name anyway?

Man: Buzz.

Serina: Buzz? Like the bee? What kinda fuckin' name is that for a man such as yerself. Buzz? Why I ain't never hear of that name for a young, healthy-looking fellah such as yerself.

Buzz: Well, that's what they's call me. That's for certain. (He keeps digging in the hard, stony earth and only pauses long enough to take a red hanky out of his back jeans pocket to wipe his brow)

Serina: Huh! Buzz. Don't that beat all. (She flicks the ash from the end of her huge cigarette).
So...Buzz...how long have y'all be digging ditches?

Buzz: Trenches Ma'am...

Serina: It's god-damned Serina. "Sir" like a Mister and "reena".

Buzz: Serina. Pardon Ma'am. I means Serina. Glad y'all cleared that up. I was wonderin' somethin' fierce!(He looks down for a second at his work) Oh and this? This is a trench not a ditch.

Serina: S'iff ders a difference. Y'all pulling on my leg or somethin?

Buzz: No Miss Serina. I is not pulling yer leg.

She pauses and stares at the young man's rear end as he bends over to pick a big rock out of the trench and throws it, sending it sailing though the thick, humid morning air. It plunks down with a thunk in a brown field a few feet away.

Serina: So, y'all been diggin' these "trenches" fer long or you been diggin' other things s'well.
(she puffs and draws long and hard on her cigarette. The smoke circles her head)

Buzz: I don't always digs dees ditches. I do what's I'ze asked to do if'in the monies right and good.

Serina: So y'all digs trenches then for money. (pause) U'huh... Much money? (she places her right foot flatly on the hot earth next to her left and waits for an answer)

Buzz: Enuff all right. Enuff to keep bitches likes yerself guessin' in the late mornin' of a haus and pfeffer day such as this...

Serina: Bitches? Y'all calling me a bitch Buzz?

Buzz: If'in the name fits. Say, y'all lost the buttons on that blouse of yers or are's you just too poor to 'f'ord 'em?

Serina: Fuck off Buzz!!. Whatch y'all know about anything anywhay other than diggin' dem ditches and throwin' rocks a few feet away from where ya stand. Big hairy deal Buzz. Big fuckin' hairy deal!

Buzz: Why, y'all 'ppears to have a mouth on ya...'mungst other things.

Serina: Oh, so ya's not just a rock digger after all. Ya's also just a typical slimeball of a young asshole just trying to look a girl all over, up and down, top to bottom. I knows your type Buzz.(she points at him directly, bangles clashing as she nervously points)

Buzz: And I knows yours too Serina. Believe me- I knows yours too. Y'all stand there watching a poor, hard-working, half-nekked man such as myself here and ya's goes all to town ogglin' and a watchin' and a sizin' me up. I got's yer number sweetheart and it starts with a big "S"!

Serina: What? Why, you smart-alec'd piece of shit. I outta come right over there and slap you across your indecent mouth. Y'all think I'm a standin' here for the good of my health? Fer the fun of it on such a hot, damn day?

Buzz: I don't know what yer all standing over there for Lady. I ain't quite figgerer'd it all out but I'se gots the beginning of an idea and it ain't fitting for a lady. No lady. At all. Nevah.

Serina: So, (puff, drag) what's this word of yers that starts with a big ole "S"?

Buzz: Wow, y'all not such a smarty-pants, is ya now? Why girl, that big "S" stands for Slut and dat's exactly what's you are standing there for, thinkin' yer a-temptin me with all that girly stuff goin' on and lawrd knows what else ya gots hangin 'round in dat half brain of yers.

Serina: Now listen here boy- mister big shot trench digger with the heaving chest muscles and all them tight things there lining yer skin back and forth across yer belly just above yer jeans top, I'se just standin' her trying to grab some air, having a refreshing cigarette and passin' the time of day and y'all hauls off and starts to insult me by calling me names like "Lady" and "Miss Serina". Why there ought t'be a law. If'in my Daddy were here 'bouts he'd wup your sweaty ass right tuh the other side of town. That's what's he'd do to some piece of sweaty bugger shit like yerself- Mister Buzz whatever yer last name happens to be.

Buzz: Windsor- Haven.

Serina: (she stops and looks as the man as if he just recited the Lord's Prayer in Pig Latin) What the Windsor-Haven fuck? Dat's yer last name. Windsor-Haven?

Buzz: Y'sm. Dat's it. My Great Granddaddy was a Duke over in the old country.

Serina: Well, I'll be good, god-damned. A fucking piece of royalty standing diggin' a fuckin' trench right on my fuckin' street on the hottest fuckin' mornin' of the whole god-damned fuckin' year. Now, ain't I the fuckin' lucky girl?

Buzz: 'ppears you is Ma'am.

Serina: I be snookered up, down and sideways. (she butts out her cigarette and then lights another with the sharp snap of her lighter opening and closing) So, y'all know what- Mr. Buzz Windsor-Haven?

Buzz: What's dat?

Serina: It may jist be the heat but I'se don't gives a flying fart. Anyhoo, yawls just been peering over here tuh have a look see at my womanly bits and boobies. I sees dat. Y'all may be high-flootin' and stuff but yers still a god damned man with a prick and I ain't fooled one bit.

Buzz: Well, Ma'am, Serina, y'alls welcome to yer opinion.

Serina (she points at him with a cigarette clenched between two long, slender fingers)
Yes, well, y'all gots that right. Now, den, just averts yer big ole bug eyes and gets back to your diggin' and throwin' stones and leave a lady to enjoy her last few minutes of a glee-orious summer morning.

Buzz: Yes Ma'am. I cans do dat. I cans do dat exactly. (he laughs)

Serina folds her arms across her bosoms and Buzz continues to dig- while shirtless, at the hard, parched earth beneath his feet. The blistering sun throws down darts of stinging sunshine to all those- like Serina and Buzz who care to be outdoors on such a morning as this...

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

ROBBLOG #786- Plants, Puddies & Professors


A bit of this and some of that...

Last time, I wrote that we were planting Leyland Cedars along our front wrought iron fence as well as along a backyard fence. The idea was to afford us some privacy. We have since made a gardening change and are now the proud "parents" of 15 Portuguese Laurels. Here on the Island, Laurels have a thick leaf and stay green year round. This particular variety grows fast, loves full sun and makes a great hedge. These 10 litre pots hold plants that are about four feet tall now. In a few months they'll be at five or six feet in height.
Things grow fast on our Island.

I love this this time of the year.
I loved summer in Ontario too but I really love this extended summer and long, almost year round growing season that Vancouver Island affords.

Now, that a our gardens are full- and I do mean full, after 12 months of growing, we needed to add something to bring them to life- namely bird feeders. The Hummingbirds already visit twelve months of the year but we wanted to see other feathered friends enjoy our yard. We bought two feeders and boy did the birds come! Robins and sparrows and more. Everything was great until we experienced a couple of bird deaths. One may have come by way of our orange kitty Dickens.

We didn't actually see it happen but we found the expired birdie in the garden near our Easter Island  statue. It could have been from a pair of cats that live in a neighbourhood a couple of blocks away. We can't be sure but now we supervise Dickens more when he's out for his short playtime twice a day.

Dickens doing what he does best- relaxing!
By the way, our puddy is 9 years old today. We actually got him and his brother Doyle- who is still missing, on September 19th when they turned three months. They were quite the pair and we had problems with breakage and bad behaviour.
One event stands out.
Our schnauzer Missy was sleeping on her pouffe minding her own business when one of the brothers decided to pee right next to her- on her really.
Poor Missy!
Damned cat!
She was bathed and the pouffe was either laundered or thrown away.
I can't remember which.

I still check the Winnipeg Lost Cats page for Doyle almost daily, hoping for a miracle. Just two days ago a cat that had been missing for three years turned up at the Winnipeg Humane Society. He was chipped. The WHS called the owners and later that day they were reunited.
What a great ending!
I want the same ending.
Doyle will have been gone two years this August 19th. He jumped from our RV at 1030 at night as we sat parked at a KOA in Winnipeg.
Not having closure has been hard.

Finally, with all this right-wing, bullshit and politicians playing havoc with our world, I want to draw your attention to a BBC series called "Years and Years". It's in six parts and is a must see.
It smartly shows us what may happen in a world run by right-wing conservative types. It even alludes to the fact that the world has seen this before.
Those in power lying to the people.
Hiding facts.
Telling lies.
Painting the media as being false and untrustworthy.
Incarcerating people like you and I.
Think, Ford(s), Scheer, the People's Party, Communists, Nazi skinheads and that lardass with the orange hair.


I don't want to give any of the story away but as the Mister and I watch we realized that this could be our "real" future. This could be our Canada in a few years- and I am not talking a decade.
I mean less.
You might have to find an online link where you can watch it. The BBC Player will not work in Canada no matter how hard you try and disguise your ISP.

We watched the series on our Amazon Fire Stick. Check it out at amazon.ca
or do a search for Amazon Fire Stick. You might find a local company who can set you up with more and even provide you with the stick in their installation price.
Some sticks allow you to watch a 3000 channel universe- all in real time.
Sometimes, I watch Eastenders at the same time it plays on BBC in England. One just has to take into account the time difference.

Finally, speaking of time, did you hear about the US Math Professor from Virginia who ended up in Calgary instead of Carleton University in Ottawa? Of course both Calgary and Carleton begin with a "C". Can you understand his confusion?
No?
I couldn't either. Neither can Lucy & Ethel...

Huh- and he's a professor, eh?
Oh, I think so Lucy...
Hennaway, it seems this Professor was to attend a Math Conference at the University. As he flew north, he believed there was some "magical" time change happening as he crossed the border into Canadian airspace. He couldn't quite figure it out- until later.

After checking into the Calgary Westin he called for an Uber. He checked out the GPS as he climbed into the back seat to see how long his ride would take. The GPS showed him a very long route to Ottawa and Carleton University.
Finally, our Professor figured it out.
He was in the wrong city.
In his own defense, he says when he booked the trip from home, the Calgary Westin looked a lot like the Ottawa Westin- in nightime photos...
Whaaat?

Egads!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

ROBBLOG #785- Garden As Though You Will Live Forever


"All gardeners know better than other gardeners"- Ancient Chinese Proverb

There you have it folks.
Truer words.
I thought I'd talk about gardening here on the Island since I have been doing a lot of looking at plants over the past while.

Last weekend the Mister and I toured seven gardens in Chemainus- about 15 minutes from us and right on the Pacific. The gardens were for the most part in Olde Town Chemainus but two in a newer section of town. Well, by new, I mean 2004 and upwards.

We saw a garden bathed by Ocean breezes and the smell of salt water. It was private with a hedge of Yew- if I remember. The hedge had grown up and around a deer fence and all one could see was green. It was wonderfully private.

A Bee on our Butterfly Bush
We do have to contend with deer here. They wander around at anytime of the day or night. Chomping on hedges, flowers and this time of year- strawberry plants.
Just ask our neighbour "Tall Steve".
They are lovely animals until they start destroying your garden. I spray a product called Plant Skyyd on rocks around the garden's perimeter. It seems to work.
We also try to plant non, deer-friendly pants.

Other gardens on the tour featured vegetables mixed with flowering specimens and one with a plethora of palms, yuccas and Mediterranean type foliage.
Listen to me talk all garden-like.
"Specimens". "Foliage". Huh...

I especially loved a neighbourhood and two gardens in particular that could have been at home anywhere in Florida. The neighbourhood was fairly mature at about 15 years old. Huge palms were planted on many front yards. Sturdy Yucca's and evergreen plants including Heather was everywhere.
It was a delight and houses all seemed to have that Floridian or Island feel.
A nice afternoon and only 12 dollars each for admission.
A bargain.

Butchard Dancing Waters "Ross Fountain"
A couple of days later we did a day trip to the Butchard Gardens in Saanich near Victoria. We took the Mill Bay Ferry across the water to Brentwood Bay and then a quick five minute drive to the entrance. We had a vehicle and three occupants and it cost us 99 bucks to get in and park. Prices inside at refreshment stands, snack bars and restaurants were all inflated as well. Afternoon tea would set you back $41 which is pretty standard unless you care to go to the "mother" of all Afternoon High Teas at the Empress hotel and pay eighty-some bucks.
One hundred and eighteen if you plan to have a glass of wine.
Yikes!!

Anyhoo, after the initial shock of the admission price wore off, the gardens were amazing. I liked the Mediterranean Garden best since all the plants inside would grow here at Palm Villa.
The Rose garden was huge and the Japanese Garden quiet and thoughtful with a miriade of water features.
Very quiet.
Seventy or more gardeners both full and part time keep the Butchard Gardens looking pristine. It kind of feels like being in a Disney Movie what with all the colour and diversity.

After seeing the private gardens and the public- yet pricier, Butchard Gardens we knew we had to tackle the privacy issued we have at Palm Villa. Without going into lots of detail and copious amounts of "we said, they said, he said", let me just say that we have expressed our feelings to the Owner/Developer of the neighbourhood where we live. Privacy is the main topic we hear from prospective buyers as they walk alone the side street on the south side of our house. The builder- and I suppose North Cowichan official,s have deemed the space between houses is just fine and the lack of privacy in many yards- including ours, is "no big whup".

Well it is a "big whup" and I have told the builder that on several occasions. We are lucky we have a corner lot but we have a house built behind us that tower over our back yard. We even have a footpath about 10 feet from our backyard fence. Black, chain link fences look like a row of dog kennels and YES I have also used those words when face to fence with the builder.
His eyes glaze over when one talks of privacy concerns.
"Bet you don't have people walking by twenty feet from your back Lanai, do you"- I asked him one day. Imagine a glazed look at this juncture.

Palm Villa South garden
Our Arbour Roses
We've mulled this over and have made a decision.
We are having a landscaper plant a good bunch of Leyland Cypress trees along a section of our side yard and back yard.
This hedge is fast growing and will give us the privacy we need. Our gardens receive many accolades from neighbours and visitors alike and if you knew us in Orillia, Ontario and knew our gardens at lovely Pine Tree House you know we have a lot of plants!
Eight to ten feet of height is all we need from the Leyland Cypress and these plants can reach fifty!
Pruning sheers are at the ready!

Now, we don't need thick privacy that would allow Hugh Jackman to sunbathe naked if he popped by for tea, wanting to work on his "all over" tan as he sipped away.
Although, it would be nice if he paid a surprize visit...
Sort of private enough so we can't see a hacking, cigarette puffing neighbour accepting a weekly delivery of reservation-made, contraband ciggies to enable coughing and inhaling to continue through the next week.
Good Lawrd!

No, just nice and Secret Gardenish to be able to pull one's nylon boxer shorts out of the crack in one's arse after one has bent over to smell the roses.

It's the little things- isn't it?

Friday, June 7, 2019

ROBBLOG #784- Balls!


So, an Easterner tells me that Canadians- as a whole, are excited about the Raptors.

In fact- apparently, one out of every five households are thrilled with the Raptors and are glued to their TV sets.
Ummmm.
No.
Not exactly Johnnie.
I surveyed Island neighbours.
Three say- "I don't give a Rats...!"
That's not your typical, friendly, warm Island response.

Another mentioned they heard fellow workers talking about Raptors this past week and had no idea what co-workers were talking about. For one thing, we have a Raptor's Centre here in the Cowichan.
Not the two-legged, basketball playing variety but the two-winged, non-basketball playing variety. At this Raptor's Centre you can see these birds of prey up close and personal.
Two different things.
Apples and Oranges.
Are there any Canadian players on this Eastern Team even?

I have never been a fan of basketball what with all that dribbling and the shameless display of long, sinewy legs. It would appear as well, that this game is a "black man's" game.
I dunno why.
White boys can't jump?
Basketball is always featured it seems in movies that film scenes in a ghetto type situation.
Again, dunno why.

I believe a Canuk- a white one, invented the game even though- like most Canadian things, he had to get approval from the all powerful, all knowing Americans first before the game caught on. On television, the Heritage Canada Minute shows the inventor cutting the bottoms out of bushel baskets in order to curb the time-consuming practice of climbing a ladder to fetch the ball every time a player gets a "basket". I have even heard that early players sat on porcelain baskets to stop opposing teams from dribbling in a shot. Don't take my word on that. It could be a bum story...



No, it's not my game to be sure so you'll have to be excited without my assistance.
I'm more of a Tony Awards kinda guy. Now, that's another American institution like Gidget and Malt Vinegar- on fries? Whaaat?

The Tony's are great to watch but I feel so far away from Toronto and New York Shows living here on the Island that it hardly makes any sense watching the awards but I do for the musicals.
I mean really, what 100% Canadian Gay Guy doesn't?
Handsome men with great voices and the ability to dance the night away- in unison no less.
What's not to get excited about. Now if you want to talk legs, let's talk about the legs of a live theatrical showboy.
Oh boy!!


If you want to see more than just legs check out You Tube for "Broadway Bares 2019". Have your pacemaker handy. Broadway Bares is not for the faint of heart and it's much more interesting than watch a bunch of skinny, black boys dribble their balls.

No, Broadway Bares is more of a "cupping your balls in your hand" experience so as not to expose them to those thousands assembled in the theatre.
Although the exposing of balls- both white, black, brown and yellow, comes close, very close, there must be a NYC ordinance preventing their flopping about "willy-nilly" on stage during this charity-driven Broadway presentation.

Oh to be a fly on the dressing room wall.
Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Friday, May 31, 2019

ROBBLOG #783- Bear With Me



Summertime and the living is easy and ergo...I haven't really been thinking about blog-writing.

We have bears on this Island you know.
Yes, there were bears in Ontario too but we've had a couple of sightings in our neighbourhood in the past week.

One black bear- I'll call Yogi, was at the red bin next to the houses under construction behind our place. One evening, a lady came walking past Palm Villa walking her dog. She was walking at a very fast pace to tell us to beware or Be-Bear!
A small joke.

I went with a neighbour- Nurse Ratchett, to have a look.
No Yogi.
Just as well.
I am afraid of bears. Yogi's of all kinds.
I am also afraid- terrified really, of sharks, cougars and lions of any kind- even dandelions. Dandelions bring down property values when homeowners allow them to go to seed and then spread over to my "perfect" lawn.
Not acceptable or nice. It means for an immediate removal from my Christmas Card list!

I know that we are disturbing these "Yogis" neighbourhoods but good gosh there's lots of space out there Yogi.
Stay out of my yard.

A couple of afternoons back a black Yogi was near the steps leading onto a walking trail The Mister and I frequent. That is too close for comfort.
Too close to homes and a playground with kids.
I hear you!
Bears only eat nuts and berries and Cherrios- if there is a box handy, what's the fuss?
I have a question.
Why do they chase humans?
For sport?
No. To maim and kill.
Yogis need to keep their distance. I hear there's some nice Yogi Land up island near Campbell River.

The only real "bear" I like are the bears one sees in Gay clubs or Pride Parade. So soft and cuddly like big teddy Yogis. Yes, they may chase you but only to court you and to hug you and maybe to ask you to caress their furry chest with your nimble fingers.
I digress.
I was having an 80's moment there.

A bear and a "Bear". Both want to chase you!
In other Island news, days are hot and sunny. There's been no rain for a couple of weeks and none in the forecast a couple of weeks ahead.
Here you thought it rained day and night in British Columbia.
That would be wrong.
We do have rainy months- like November. December can be dull but the past two years January and February have been bright.
I care not to re-live last February's two or three weeks of "white-stuff" and talking to fellow Islanders, we all remember that unfortunate snow storm as lasting only a day or two.
Islanders have short memories or do we just simply like to remember things in a positive light?

It wouldn't be unusual not to see any rainfall until September.
It will get very dry. Many lawns will be a pretty shade of brown unless- like us, one is fortunate enough to have an automatic lawn sprinkler that waters the lawn several pre-set times in a week or drip irrigation that many people have to keep our Island Gardens lush and growing.

It's a different way of life out here west of Vancouver and Tsawwassen yet east of Hawaii.
Even the bears will tell you that...

Friday, May 17, 2019

ROBBLOG #782-Bye Bye Doris


Holy Cripes! Doris Day has passed.

Yup, this week. Well, she was 97 or something like that. Her time as they say...
I loved Doris but more than Doris I especially loved her movies with Rock Hudson and James Garner. I used to see the Doris Day films- The Thrill of  It All, Girl Talk and more in wonderful technicolour at the Geneva Theatre in Orillia.

Que Sera, Sera.
Me in the dark. Doris in all her bright, golden-haired, sunny goofiness up there on the big screen.
James Garner in all his black, chest-hair glory.
Rock with those Hudson muscles- and Gay to boot although we I didn't know it at the time.
The pool parties that must have transpired at Rock's House- Speedo optional swim parties I suppose.
Martinis and Muscles.

Goodness, my young boy loins- what was I about 13 or 14 years old, stirred when James Garner appeared onscreen bare-chested.
"Take me as I am Daddy!"- I yelled at the silver screen.
Not out loud of course.
What would it be like to have all that black chest hair and I wondered and what it would feel like to run my ~ahem~ fingers through it all.
Every last hair attached to that deeply tanned chest.

Doris Day who's last name rhymes with "Gay"
Good Lawrd!
Did Mr. Garner know what he did to impressionable young men such as myself?
Puberty.
Gotta love it.

I had another visitor in my sleep this past week.
No! Not Mr. Garner. Get your mind out of the gutter please.
It was- The Devil.
The Devil pops by now and then to see how I'm doing and to scare the livin' "bejezuz" out of me.
Now, I don't believe Lucifer exists and I don't believe he is trying to pull me over to the dark side through my dreams, although, with a toned body and a a pair of black wings I think I would look pretty hot if I were to cross over to the dark side and become one of his "Fallen Angels".
The picnics me and Michael would have...

Anyhow, I was walking across the living room floor in this small, white, two-story house and decided to go upstairs. I paused looking out a window just over a kitchen counter that had a double sink in it. I heard a rumbling in the darkness behind me.
I whipped around and it was him- Old Beelzebub.
I screamed out-
"Get out of here you crimson-faced asshole!"
I woke up screaming- according to Tom.
One of my best, loudest and longest screams ever.

Now, before you start to send the JW's to my door to save and protect me, I can explain.
I was talking about double sinks a day or two before my nightmare and I've been looking at a two story, white house with 4.37 acres of land. It follows that is where my nightmare would take place.
Where the fuck was Jesus when he should have been protecting me I do not know!
I say that for effect only because as we all know, Jesus is just a character in a storybook.
A badly written storybook- like Episode Five in this final season of Game of Thrones!

Then, an evening ago, I caught the promo for "Lucifer" a show on Netflix. Lucifer was downright hotty-handsome and there were plenty of well-built men stripped to the waist and more in the promo, so you can see why the Devil was on my mind.
I expect his pool parties last for days not unlike Mr. Hudson's.

Everybody into the Pool!
It's not the first time "the fallen one" has come to me and I am sure it's not the last.
I have no idea why I scream out loud but as the Mister assured me- this was my best scream ever!.
Is there an award for the best "Devil Scream" in a dream?
Did Linda Blair ever get an award for one?
Now, that Bitch could scream!
Let me know if there is one will you?

Speaking of the Devil...
I saw a tweet on my Twitter account today that amused me and quite succinctly bulls-eyed the Canadian Conservative Party- not to be confused with the People's Party of Canada (not to be confused with Communists- although....) nor Kenny's excessively right-winged Alberta Good Old Boys Party.
The tweet said-
"Thinking of voting for Andrew Scheer? One word- A L A B A M A." I could add two more words- Doug Ford, however, Ontario you got what you voted for!

If you pay as little attention to US politics as I do, you have probably at least heard that one by one Southern Confederate States are bringing back the death penalty and by that I mean abortion is becoming illegal again. It's a felony. The new laws were all voted in by old white men who drive pick up trucks with window stickers that say "Lock up your 14 year old daughters 'cause here I come!"

Speaking of window stickers, recently I saw a Ford pick up truck right here on the Island being driven by a country boy and his "friend".
That is not a Homosexual inference.
It was an asshole inference.
The boys were spinning the pickup around in circles in a gravel parking lot a few blocks from our house. Grey dust was circling towards Heaven.
They were acting out being the assholes they were.
The old truck- that had seen better days, had a home-made sticker emblazoned across the back tail-gate in 4 inch black lettering.
It said- "F U C K  Trudeau.

I can only dream of what that would be like...

I thank you for your time today.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

ROBBLOG #781- Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood


The Mister and I were riding our bikes along the trail towards Mount Prevost the other day.

At one point a lively caramel-coloured rabbit flew out from the underbrush and ran excitedly along the trail in front of us. After a few metres he exited- stage right, into a thicket.

I thought I heard a female-type, rabbity sounding voice say-
"Harold are you back already with the carrots from Mr. Grenfeld's Garden?"

"Not exactly..." was Harold's reply, "You see Mabel, I was about to cross the gravel path to Mr. Grenfeld's yard when all of a sudden two huge metal contraptions with humans sitting on top almost knocked me sideways!"

"What in the name of a Rabbit's Warren are you talking about?"

"The machines! They were very fast and I thought they were going to run over me right there and then!"

"Hog Varnish!"
You could tell Mabel was mad.

"It's just two human's- like Mr. Grenfeld and that contraption? It's a bicycle. They were riding them
for exercise. Really Harold. Don't you know anything?"

Harold pause briefly and said- "Well, I know I didn't get the carrots!"

"Ugh"
You could hear Mabel's exasperation from the gravel trail.

After the ride, I got to thinking about the animals I had when I was a young lad, although I don't remember any of them carrying on a conversation with me or any another animal for that matter.

In the Years before I turned to the ripe old age of ten, I had a menagerie of pets including a raccoon, several turtles- including tiny ones from the pet store which I kept in a plastic bowl that had a small palm tree in the centre, a white goose and finally a small black dog named "tippy" so-named because of the white tip on his tail.


The raccoon lived in a chicken wire enclosure but would come out to play on the green lawn between our house and the lake where we all lived.
I had him from a baby.
I presume he wandered onto our property and stayed. Dad built him the enclosure for his safety since our property backed onto a forest and other wild animals lived there who could do him harm.

The turtle I had wandered across the road from Smith's Bay in Lake Simcoe to a marshy area bordered by Forest Avenue and Victoria Crescent. I remember Dad stopping our old '42 Ford to let the turtle pass and like any kid I probably said- "Dad, can I have him as a pet? Oh, please!"
My Dad- as any Dad would, got out and picked the wayward turtle up and put him in a cardboard box next to me in the rear seat. Maybe I called him "Charlie". I'm not sure.

One September in the late 1950's, Dad was given a white goose. She was beautiful and he intended to fatten her up for Christmas. She lived in a pen with a wooden enclosed that had a trap door. If- let's call her Hilda, if Hilda was resting in her little, wooden house I could peek in on her through the trap door. She was as white as snow and honked when you addressed her by name.
"Hilda!"
"Honk, Honk!"
I think I got to understand her quite well and I loved filling her bowl with "Goose" Food- mostly grains I think that Dad bought from the Co-Op store that was alongside the CN Rail Tracks on Neywash Street.

Hilda did put on some weight as my Dad had hoped.
However, we all got so attached to her- Mum included, we didn't have the heart to end her life, so she lived and we had Turkey that cold, snowy Christmas.

The final "pet" from my years living on Lake Simcoe (1951 through the summer of 1960) with Maw and Paw, was a small, terrier-type puppy that we named "Tippy". He was all black, had the sweetest brown eyes and a tiny tuft of white hair on the tip of his tail.
I presume by now you have figured out why he was named "Tippy".
If you are smiling a big, warm-hearted smile right now, you may not want to read this next bit.
I don't remember having Tippy for a long time. Certainly not years more like months- I think.

Anyhoo- and here's where you might want to skip down to the next paragraph, one fine summer day Mum was backing the old, black Ford- the one with the rumble seat, out of the drive to head into Orillia to go shopping. Unfortunately, Tippy crossed the drive behind her and, well......


As I look back at the animals I remember having as a kid- to the best of my memory, I never had a cat. There was a cat I remember cuddling and petting at my Grandparent's house in town on Front Street, South. My Grandma Lillian used to place milk out for her in lovely, little, china bowl- my Gram did everything with such style. I loved to watch her little pink tongue lap up the cold milk. Milk that was probably more natural and certainly free from the chemicals that prolong the shelf life these days. She may have been strictly an outdoor cat but I know Gram fed her inside the sun porch that ran along part of the south side of 217 Front Street, South.

Next door was a paddock in front of Davey Park's barn where several draft horses spent their day when they weren't hauling logs or hay or whatever needed animal power for hauling. The gigantic animals would come to the fence for a scratch on the forehead or a handful of overgrown grass they couldn't reach from their side of the fence. It seemed magical.

Not only have all those animals from the 1950's passed on to their "greater reward" of course but so too Norman and Lillian Reid- my Grandparents- Dad's parents. They left this earthly plane an eternity ago in 1963 and 1965 respectively. A few years ago, their white stucco, two storey house that held so many wonderful memories was leveled and in it's place a new Ford Dealership was built.
My Grandmother would not be pleased nor would Hartly Foster.
Hartly? That's another story for another time.

I still love to get close to and "talk" to horses. Here on the Island I see a pair of horses every time I ride my bike. As soon as I stop alongside the gated fence, they whiny when they see me and saunter over to say hello- maybe to get a handful of long grass.

If only Hilda could see me now.

Monday, April 29, 2019

ROBBLOG #780- Goodbyes and Memories


Five years ago today April 30th, I said goodbye to my Mum- Marion Ruth Bartley, for the last time.

She passed at 2 pm.
My Sister Lynn and my brother Scott were there in her room and my brother-in-law Jim. Tom was
at home waiting for "the call" and arrived in the minutes after she left us.

Mum always claimed she was going to live to be 100, maybe 120.
She did her best. 92.
Old age, Lupus and maybe a bit of Cancer did her in.
The falls didn't help. The bit of memory loss but once she started falling that was the beginning of a downhill slide.

I didn't see my Mum for two and a half years- before she took ill.
We lived in the same city.
I saw her-thank goodness, over the last four months or so before she passed.
That good thing.

When Tom and I were planning our "Formal and Legal" Wedding, she dug in her heels and said she wouldn't come.
She said to me- "Why do you always have to make such a big deal of everything?"
I said- "I don't know if it is such a big deal but I have to do this. We both want this."
Eventually- in the week before 200 plus guests were to arrive for the party, she decided to come.
Thank goodness...

We spent some quality time in the past few months when she didn't really get out of bed.
I had her outside in the fresh air in this special wheelchair- once.
Tom and I had her to the dining room- where she valiantly tried to feed herself before yelling and throwing the fork down in disgust- once.

Mum was stubborn.
I inherited that from her.
She had a good sense of humour and loved to laugh.

Marion Ruth Reid
It was so hard that April afternoon leaving her alone in that room. We took down the prints we had hung on the walls a month or more before, trying to cheer the place up a little. We cleaned out some of her cupboard drawers all while she was lying there so still.
It was a sad parade as we closed the door to her room, seeing her laying there. Walking down that hall to the elevator and out the front doors to our vehicles was difficult but we all did it.

~sigh, tears~


In the final few days I never saw her eyes open and both my sister and I sat with her for many hours. She called out for her Mum- Lottie Bartley, a lot and her older sister May. She seemed to have the fear that May would head off to school without her and Mum always had to look after her younger sister- Wilma. She couldn't leave her behind.
Nothing you could say would calm her.
It was awful listening to her plaintiff cries...

She liked to listen to music and had a nice voice. In the 1950's, she always had Juliette's noon hour CBC Radio show on. As a kid in the 1950's I listened to Mum and Dad's old 78's on a humble phonograph player that plugged into our Northern Electric Radio. I think it was made of a lighter form of bakelite. Not too many plastics were around in those days.
When I would touch the needle to place it on a record by Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney or Guy Lombardo, I'd get a shock. Not all the time but enough that I was always a little hesitant to touch the tone arm.
I'd have Dad do it for me. He was my Dad after all and he wouldn't feel the numbing pain of electricity run through his fingers like I did or at least that's what I thought.
I think that where my appreciation of "good music" comes from. It all started all those decades ago.

My Dad. Walter Harvie Reid.
He passed on May 6 just after 7 in the morning. A cool, brisk morning with the sun shining and the birds singing.
That was 1992.
Dad had Cancer. Lymphoma. It rushed to every part of his body within weeks.
He never got home from the hospital once they had him in there the first time. I always had some hope he's magically get to come home but no.
He didn't.

Me and My Dad.
He was lucid until the last day or so.
On one of those days- although he kept his eyes closed, we were trying to make him comfortable. I sat on the edge of his bed, leaned in and said to him-
"Dad, are you comfortable?"
His blue eyes popped open. He sat up. Looked me square in my blue eyes and said in a loud voice that could be heard all the way down the hall at the Nurse's station and beyond-
"I'M DYING!!!!"

We all kind of chuckled. I looked at Mum and said something like- "Well, that's that! Good to know."

Dad also had a great sense of humour and loved to laugh at the British "Carry On" Films. He loved George Formby too- another Brit.

He would laugh so hard, he made me laugh watching him as I sat next to him on the chesterfield.
His lips were stretched to the limit and his one gold tooth sparkled as he guffawed.
I have gold tooth too. A molar on the side.

Dad smoked cigars occasionally. Outside the house.
He loved to fish. I didn't.
He could never teach me the patience required to sit in the rowboat on calm Lake Couchiching on a hot summer day or in the stinky, oil-heated fish hut in freeezing cold January with the snow piled high.
Ugh. Winter and the smell of fish!!
Not my cup of tea.

Dad was a great gardener and his thumb was very green. For a few years we had several greenhouses in our yard on Cochrane Street in Orillia. He'd sell the "boxed plants" from the greenhouses or from our front yard. 3 boxes for $1 in those days.
We'd even take the plants to the Saturday Morning Market.

I remember how moist Dad's blue eyes became when his Mother Lillian (Watson) - my Grandmother, died. His Dad- Norman, died a year and a month before Grandma Reid.
I remember watching him sit at our kitchen table when Grandad died.
He looked lost.

Mum and Dad loved to camp. It all started in a 9 by 9 foot green tent. Dad would pick up bails of hay from the side of the road and shove it underneath the tent's stitched in flooring in order to make a comfortable bed for us all.
"Hell, why d'ya need an air mattress when you have straw?"- he'd tell everyone who'd listen that we slept on straw.
Jesus. Mary and Joseph!!

I loved Beavermead Park. It was on the shores of Little Lake in Peterborough. I thought we were living in pretty upscale accommodation the year Mum and Dad bought a box tent with two rooms- a kitchen diner at the front and a bedroom behind.
Since I was a teenager, I had graduated to my own little blue tent. The blue die always rubbed off onto my feet and summer shorts. That tent never lost it's "new canvas smell".
I can smell it right now. It takes me back...
Oh, I had an air mattress by then.

In later years Mum and Dad had a comfortable trailer with indoor facilities but you could only do number one- a pee, never a poop in the toilet. One had to walk up to the washroom at the park for that bit of business. I had stopped camping years before but when Tom and I visited them at Beavermead Park on Armour Road in Peterborough- their summer address, we knew full well- never but never, ever poop in the trailer toilet.
Only pee.
Get it? Got it? Good.

I have so many stories. I have started many times to write them down. I think I have told many in several of these blogs over the years.

Time goes by.
I get older.
Now, I'm a Senior.

I still miss them both- every day.
Love you Mum and Dad.

I'll see you soon...