Thursday, February 14, 2019

ROBBLOG #769 Snow, Shorts, Shovels and Prognostications


First of all- F**K!

Now, I feel better and don't tell me Islanders or Easterners that you haven't said that out loud this past week or at least those same four letters have passed by on the tickertape of your mind.
It's been quite the six days- and that doesn't make a week but it sure feels like a year.

Pardon me if I repeat myself from the previous BLOG.
I did tell you that this is the most "Island Snow" in 23 years- right?
We are at or round 60 cms. That's close to two feet in an area that lives by its claim to be a Mediterranean climate zone.
The only one in Canada.
Mediterranean, Schmediterranean!
In defense of this climate, it does snow in Rome and even in Tuscany, a place where we think it's hot and grapes grow year round. I am reading a book on Tuscany right now and believe me it is one of the only things getting me through this "Snowmaggedon".

I just came in the house from scraping another few cms of snow off our drive here at Palm Villa. Now, a half hour later, I could probably go outside and do it all over again. There's another winter storm warning in effect with not only snow this time but with rain in the mix as well.
Gee, thanks Jesus.
I say "thanks Jesus" because some people are blaming Jesus and his Dad for all this weather.
As if...
These same people can't walk up the street or do something on their own that they are proud of without spouting thanks to God or his Son. Cheese and Crackers folks, give yourself some credit that you, a lovely human being, can do some pretty amazing things on your own without God sticking his almighty finger up your ass to prod you along. If God's got that much free time, ask him to shovel my drive once or twice!

I can see a weather trend that this snow-horror, this brutal, savage weather pattern is going to stop- maybe next week. We have some sunny days and 5c ahead. Not the 10c we should be seeing but it's a start. We actually walked today, the Mister and I. Someone had made a path with a 4 wheel drive ATV along the trail. We finally got some exercise. For a change, I even let the Mister scrape potatoes while I scraped the driveway.
See, I am not a monster after all.
I do my share of winter chores as long as I don't lift the stuff.
As we walked on the trail, along came three joggers wearing shorts. They had miner's lights affixed to their caps, running along merrily in the snow over the horse bridge near our Palm Villa. It was close to 6 o'clock and the light was dimming.
Typical Island stuff.

A neighbour- who I'll call "Tall Steve", because that's what I call him, has used some form of evil prognostication or otherworldly witchcraft to conjure up the date of March 1st when all this frozen white stuff will finally be gone and we'll be merrily cutting our grass, sending photos back to Eastern folks just to piss them off.
I am not sure.
I am hoping the result of "Tall Steve" dancing naked around a fire in the forest behind us will do the trick but I am a little hesitant to believe that or form a picture in my mind of "Tall Steve" prancing naked in the snow around burning brush or bush- in the case of his dancing prowess taking him far too close to the open flames.
Anyone else smell singed pubes?

In this mess of white, we guard our little red shovel with our lives and right now this instrument is worth its weight in a bar of gold.

Another sure sign of island snow- a neighbour with his son- both on a toboggan, sliding down the winding trail that leads from our neighbourhood to the Trans Canada Trail below. I would much rather have passed this "Daddy" on a hot, sultry, summer Island day when he is stripped to the waist, muscles glistening and sweat clinging to the thick mat of black chest hair covering his upper torso as he jogs up our street.
That's the first toboggan I have seen on the island last winter or this winter. It is not the first display of black chest hair I have seen on the Island- thank goodness!


Now, if all this snow-talk hasn't brightened your spirits, read this next bit and ponder it well. Islanders are aware that the last time we had snow like this was way back in the year 1996.
That's 23 years ago.
So, they say we'll not see another storm like this for a long time again.
Right.
If it takes that long, a little bit of figuring and conjuring with those figures- not necessarily while stripped naked and dancing the Hullabaloo in a forest around a flaming pit of fire, soon tells me that if this much snow waits another 23 years to fall, I'll be a spry, old 91 years of age. Why, I'll be strapping on my Depends to saunter over to the window to watch the flakes fall while I wait for  Nurse Ratchett to enter my room to change those diapers and wipe my hairy, old, wrinkly, white ass.

Put that in your bucket of snow and slush and ponder it well...

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

ROBBLOG #768 SNOWSNOWSNOWSNOW


I just yelled down to my husband through the open Lanai door-
"We're having Hamburgers or Polish Sausages tonight!"
He was leaning on his snow shovel in a pensive sort of way in our snow-covered back garden. He looked up to me standing at the door waiting for his answer.
It came back-
"What Polish Sausage?"
"The ones from Costco"- I said holding the door a open a few inches.

Now, two things are wrong with that back and forth above.
No, not the fact that we're BBQing in February.
That's the norm here.
What isn't the norm is the use of the word "snow" twice in one sentence!

Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow and SNOW!

Now, I know I just came clean two RobBlogs back about the possibility and eventuality of snow on our lovely Isle. However, over the past 48 hours it has become absolutely fucking ridiculous!
On Monday afternoon the amount of snow cover- specifically in the Cowichan, was being compared to a snowfall back in December 2008.


Now, today- Tuesday, this constant snowfall is being compared to a blizzard way back in 1996 when over a 24 hour period something like 65 cm of the stuff fell. We are edging close to two feet or metrically- 60 cm of white stuff.

This is not the norm for Vancouver Island.
It is NOT pretty and if one more person says that to me I may dig a hole in a "pretty" snowbank and shove them in it! Head first!

This snow is a fucking nuisance and a danger. This from a former Ontarian who was used to living with snow for 65 years then we moved out here hoping never to see large amounts of snow like we did back in Orillia, Ontario. Some winters the snow would virtually shut that Central Ontario city down- especially when freezing rain was added to the wintry mix.

The last snow of any consequence the Mister and I have seen while living on this Mediterranean-like Island was back in December of 2017 when on December 22nd or thereabouts a few cms fell. It turned cold and we had a bit of white here and there over Christmas- at least along the trail through the forest.

Before that we hear tell of a "white" episode in 2014 for a day or so but the major events were 2008 and 1996 as stated above.


Islanders are little prepared for this onslaught of winter. Even the Mister and I have only one snow brush for the van. One small red shovel. No snow rake. No Snow Blower and no winter boots.
I mean, I think we brought boots with us but we can't find them, so I'm shuffling around in my black, fully-enclosed, "Nurse Reid" Crocs.
No, I am not a Nurse or a restaurant worker. I bought these crocs online because they have no holes on the top or along the sides. The Croc ad said for "Crocs for Nurses and Restaurant Professionals". That's why I call them my "Nurse Reid Crocs".

The crocs have special soles that prevent slippage in foodstuff and humanstuff such as grease, oil, peepee or poopee. They handle quite well in snow- the treads, so that's what I have ventured out wearing. Of course, with only one little, red shovel, I watch while the Mister shovels.I did shovel some snow off the patio today.
I have to be careful.
If I lift wrong, I will be walking with a cane for a couple of weeks.
That's not pretty- like snow, Nurse Reid with Crocs and cane.

Here on Vancouver Island Highway and City staff are not well-trained in the art of snow removal- or driving in it before it's removed. Pickups with plows attached on the front bumper go up one side of the street, then the other, leaving a huge barrier of snow down the centre. Cross-streets are not cleared like back in Old Home. Snow is left here and there.
Some streets get one narrow, one car width swipe up the centre and that's it!
These Islanders do their best driving in it. Yesterday, one had to be careful when navigating corners. There were ruts of snow left at most downtown corners.

We don't have snow tires on our van.
We're Islanders for cripes sake!
We have tires with a triangle and a snow symbol in the centre that allows us to traverse the Malahat legally from late October until Late March. The Malahat is the mountain that separates Greater Victoria from the Cowichan. These approved tires can't compare to the "snows" we used back in Ontario and no one these past two winters has asked us the usual heard-only-in-Ontario question-
"Ya got your snows on yet?"

Sidewalk snowplows are nowhere to be seen. One doesn't hear neighbours ripping up and down their drives at Oh Dark Hundred clearing snow. Nobody knocks on your door in early October asking if they could have your snow-clearing contract for December through April.We build our fences and plant gardens, trees and shrubbery right up to the edge of the street.
Why?
Because we don't usually have this quantity of snow!
The question today is- where in H E double Hockey sticks will we put it if it keeps snowing?

So, who can we blame for this strange weather- from the vast forest fires that force BC'ers- including
 Islanders, to stay inside on hot, smokey summer days to today's Snowmaggedon?

Yes. Hello. I'd like to blame someone please?
All of us here on planet earth.  That's who.
It's that old chestnut "Global Warming". It's just that this "Old Chestnut" just happens to be true. Arctic ice is melting.
Forests are catching fire leveling towns, killing wildlife and humans.
The sun is hotter. Summers are dryer and winters- like here in this Mediterranean climate area of Vancouver Island, are more unpredictable.

From Cow Farts to factory, car and truck emissions, it all goes hand in hand when changing the climate of our Mother Earth. Of course assholes like Doug Ford, Andrew Scheer and that New Brunswick Premier all believe warming is a big lie concocted by the Liberal part to make money from the Carbon Tax.
Get a Fucking Life you right-wing doorknobs and start to think of all of us on this planet not just the rich Millionaires and old white guys- who just happen to be the type of humans who are rich millionaires.

So, enjoy a sausage or a burger and hope to Gawd that sooner- rather than later, these Hamburgers and Sausages will be all plant-based and cows and pigs will just be animals who live out their lives in a sanctuary field.

I've started myself on that road to helping.
I haven't eaten pork since September.
Beef will be next on my list heading to be as much of a vegetarian as I can be.
I am hoping some Canadian company- and it won't be a Conservative company unless there's millions to be made, will get into the business of making plant-based, meat-like products that will make us go yum!

It's the way of the future unless you let Doug and Andrew and that New Brunswick guy have their way.

Hey, I just looked out the window to my right.
It has actually stopped snowing...for now.
Well, whaddah ya know about that...

Saturday, February 9, 2019

ROBBLOG #767- Things Islanders and Others Say


So, today's topic- "Things Islanders and Others Say".

"Others" refers to Easterners and what they say about islanders. Just so they don't feel left out.
Sour grapes?
Perhaps.
I blame the filthy, freezing weather for some of these outbursts and words of wisdom that are weather-related.

Snow here in B.C. makes driving a little like a "Demolition Derby". That from a friend- who lived in Vancouver years back. These days, I think snow clearance is done in a more timely fashion. Years ago while living in Ontario, I heard that Victoria- for instance, had only one lowly snowplow and they shared it with the entire island. I expect that wasn't true- the sharing part, since Courtney- up island, is 3 hours from Victoria and Campbell River an hour further. A long distance to share one snowplow!

A Vancouver BCer says it's rare we have snow but when we do we just take a day off.
Simple.
Streets can be a little messy after a bit of snow.

Yup. This is a residential street a day after a few cms of snow
An Easterner- from Ontario asks me- "Do you want me to FedEx a snow brush/scraper to the Island?
Your poor trees!"
I know where our brush is, however, it wasn't needed- but thanks. Our one, small, red shovel was hanging in the garage. The Mister used it to push a few cms of snow off our drive and a neighbour's. It's now once again hanging up in the garage. Our driveway is bare.

Snow on Trachycarpus Palm
I expect the "trees" they mentioned are the hardy Palms Trees we have in our front and back yard. There are lots of these hardy Trachycarpus Fortunei- some refer to them as the Chinese Palm, everywhere across the island. They can be found in yards, roundabouts and lining the boulevards down city streets. Mature Palms withstand the chilly temperatures quite well tolerating down to -20c. Younger plants need crown protection and can suffer damage at around -8c.

Palms along the ocean in Vancouver
One of our favorite cafes here in the Cowichan is the Arbutus Cafe. We have become friends with the owners so, when we dropped by for brunch the other day, I said to Marina- the owner's daughter-
"I thought you'd have a reserved sign on our table."
She says-
"It's reserved in my heart!"
How sweet! An oral Valentines Day card.


Later, when the Mister and I texted a friend to say we were going out for a walk after brunch, the friend texted back-
"Be careful, none of us needs a broken hip."
She was referring to the ice on some sidewalks after yesterday's snow. Then, I lamented about the arctic air currently playing havoc with our Mediterranean climate that is to continue for a couple of weeks. She- being a former Ontarian just a couple of years back, reminded me-
"Ontari-oh- NO!" Flooding on the Thames in Chatham, whiteouts in Midland! Remember the long-range forecast on the island is often wrong."
I feel better.

Another former Ontarian- and Orillian, texts me to say the unusual Island weather is just "a little blip that will be gone in a week or two. It's still better than back east! A least we can get out and walk!"
True, as long as we don't fall on the temporary ice and fracture a hip!

A former Montrealer now a long-time Island resident says after the most recent snowfall-
"The snow around here is supposed to be up in the mountains!"
I replied- "Somebody needs to explain that to someone!"
His wife adds- regarding my snow-bitching- "I see you are not impressed!"
Too right!

Another Orillian when looking at a picture of my snow-covered palm says- "Poor things. Looks like they need you to knit them a sweater! We'd welcome you if you're moving back to Ontario."
Nope.
This is the first snow since a year ago last December and I am dealing with it as best I can. Refer back to the second paragraph above.

Another Islander- and yes a former Orillian, says that Honolulu sounds like an excellent plan to escape an Island winter for a week or two. Please note, there are many Ontarians here and even five or six Orillians that I am aware of- probably more.

Lastly, I was passing an Islander while I was walking in shorts along the trail in late January on a balmy 10c Island day, I was asked by the approaching walker-
"Are you from Alberta or Ontario?"
"Ontario..."- I said wondering if I had won a prize.
"I knew it!" She slapped her sides and trotted off in the opposite direction dressed with a heavy, woolen scarf wrapped around her neck, a puffy winter jacket- matching the scarf, on her upper body, heavy winter boots and warm, red mittens.
It was 10 degrees for cripes sake!

Geeze. The things Islanders say...


Monday, February 4, 2019

ROBBLOG #766- I Come Clean


Firstly, I realize I have to get myself a new head shot.

I like this one done by my friend Seanna. It's a few years old but then, many "actors" tend to latch onto a head shot they like and continue to use it until they're 80! If I am going to come clean, I should represent myself as I look now. The photo below is not a professional shot. It's a selfie I took in Victoria a couple of weeks back. At least my Samsung phone smooths out the "wrinkles". I need my friend Beav- aka Seanna, to take a nice, professional shot. It's just that now she's three time zones away in our Nation's Capital.
Shit!



Now another matter I intend to come clean about.
Anyone who reads this Blog of mine- especially the Easterners The Mister and I left behind, know that I wax poetic about the mild Mediterranean climate and the lack of cold and snow on this beautiful Island called Vancouver Island just off Canada's west coast. 

This Island and its lifestyle deserve to be bragged about. 
It is remarkable.
Only, now, today I must come clean.

That arctic polar vortex the eastern half of the country has been dealing with, hasa decided to nip around, biting us in the arse while it visits this most western of provinces. For the past week there have been a few warnings that snow was coming along with cold temperatures. We all just literally "poo-pooed" the forecast until the weather prognosticators ramped up the rhetoric over the weekend. Sure enough, Sunday evening as we sat at a local restaurant enjoying Chicken Parmigiana, we could see some flakes floating about outside the restaurant window. It looked like dandelion fluff to be honest but when we headed for the van in the parking lot after dinner it was more than fluff.

To come clean, the "fluff" continued overnight and by Monday morning the island was in a flap. Appointments were cancelled. People stayed home from work and school. Roads were ice. Sidewalks snow-covered with white stuff and green lawns were disguised as arctic tundra under the sheet of snow. 
I cannot tell you a lie.
We had snow and Monday was the coldest day I have felt on the Island in a year and a half.
I hear the snickers and can imagine the smirks but you have to admit, I have come clean.

On Sunday I covered the crown of my palms with doggie pee pads. That's the blue in this photo below. The crown is where the new fronds grow and I am told this is the most tender part of the Palm- especially if it's a young palm. The forecast said we'll have a few nights of -6c, so The Mister nipped over to Dollarama to buy a few packages of the Pee Pads- for canines. I stuffed them into the crown and hope the ill winds are kept at bay.


Here's the same view a day later.
White, eh?

Now, it's not much snow. 
I realize that.
Compared to 25 to 40 cms of snow covering the ground in the east- or in Winterpeg, it's a drop in the winter snow bucket- but here? It's a "happening." 
This cm or three would have melted today- if the temperature wasn't so fucking cold. 
However, this arctic blast is prohibiting the sun's warm rays from melting the blasted stuff. It was quite cool walking Koko- our mini-schnauzer today.
Why, it was only -1c.
I had to wear gloves!
Brrrrr.

There you have it.
I thought I'd come clean by scribbling down a few lines and add a photo or two just to let those of you across Canada who live outside of our Mediterranean climate zone know that we do get winter- occasionally.
It is Canada after all- said a neighbour of ours today.

This brutal cold is to last until February 18th when the plus 1 and 2 degree temps will inch upwards to 9 or ten degrees.
It's only fair. 
Last week cherry blossoms were blooming.
Snowdrops hugged the edge of sidewalks.
Purple heather covered the garden.

Meanwhile, I am waiting for my Camelias to bloom along the south side of the house.
I mean- it's February after all!