Monday, January 25, 2021

ROBBLOG #870- s' Know Fun

 


Here on Vancouver Island we've all been waiting since Thursday past.

No, not to have The Prime Minister give the Governor General a quick boot in the Astronaut Pants.
This is something much more important than that- at least to Islanders.

We've bought extra milk, bread and bananas.
We've checked our toilet paper supplies in the cupboard under the stairs.
We've rummaged around in the garage looking for the one lonely snow shovel lying hidden beneath this year's outdoor Christmas decorations. We haven't had the chance to put them away in their proper places- yet.

Yes. 
We are prepared for snowmaggedon here on the island.
It's all about the 5 to 15 cms of heavy white stuff the forecasters have been warning us about in "weather bulletins" since 4 or 5 days ago.
We've seen some rain so far.
We've been spending our time hovering around inside our homes, hiding from the treacherous weather the professionals have been warning us about.
It's a change from covid!

So far, nothing has happened.
It could still happen tonight on the Island- so they say.
The weather people.
The Malahat- the mountain range between Duncan and Victoria could see 10 cm.
No maybe 15cm.
No, it is back to 10 cms now.
Oh H E double hockey sticks, just stay off the Malahat until those in the know can give us an "all clear".

It's tough for the weather folks, I'll admit.
Our weather here on The Island changes just a kilometre or two up or down the Island Highway what with the Pacific and mountains and valleys and straits and the mainland- it's a forecasters nightmare!
That being said it doesn't  make it any easier for those of us living on this beautiful Island off Canada's west coast- British Columbia's "Big Island".
We pay attention to weather reports.
It's all we talk about in the lineups at Thrifty's or Save On Foods.
Will it or won't it?
Who knows?


Usually, when they start ranting about a major storm so far ahead it eventually fizzles and simply does away. I heard Vancouver and Surrey and other Mainland spots saw some white stuff but here on both Saturday and Sunday the Cowichan was green- as usual.

When the snow does fall- like the week before Christmas this past December, it's a different snow than the east. It's heavy and can break a Canadian Tire plastic shovel in a snap!  It plays havoc with out backs and our wrists.
We twist with a shovel full of heavy snow and pay for it long after the snow has melted away.
Usually that's later in the day or the next day. That's why a lot of us just wait for the fecking stuff to melt away on its own.

Islanders have short memories when it comes to snow however. We know what the word means and when forecasters yell in our faces and ears about the inclement weather coming our way it's rather like listening to a German General address his troops in an old black and white World War II movie.
Don't they know a General can get more respect whistling the "Theme to the Bridge on the River Kwai" rather than screaming, yelling and spitting?

Island Forecasters should take heed- especially the national prognosticators who try to tell us about our weather when they hardly have an inkling as to where Duncan, Ladysmith, Port Albertni, Courtney or Sooke really are located. Somewhere off the mainland they figure and not as far out in the Pacific Ocean as Hawaii.

So, as I write this eight hundred and seventieth Blog I am still occasionally checking the window to my right, wondering if I'll be building a huge snowman in an hour or two.

Probably not...but...

Monday, January 18, 2021

ROBBLOG #869- Like Ice

 


It was a cool, crisp morning as Bunty scurried along 7th Avenue.

It was early yet and nary a vehicle passed by on the street. 
She hoped that Pippa would be on time at the coffee shop. Pippa was not good early in the morning.
She always had trouble rising from her warm cozy bed. Bunty didn't like having an early start either but she managed to push herself just a little bit harder. She had pulled on an extra pair of socks this morning to keep the cold at bay. She hated cold feet. The earmuffs Aunt Flo gave her at Christmas held tight against her ears.

At the corner of Elm and 7th a delivery truck backed out from a short laneway behind a fruit store. An early delivery from the docks. Fresh fruit and veg from who knows where she thought.

The street lights flickered and turned off.
It must be just past seven. Bunty could have looked at her watch but her hands were too cozy and warm inside her gloves that were shoved in her pockets.
As she walked along the strap of her brown leather bag slid down over her shoulder.
She anxiously shoved it back up in place.
Boy, I hope Pippa's on her way to the Coffee shop. She'd call once inside just in case that girl had overslept. If she had Bunty was would be jealous knowing Pippa was still safe and warm beneath her sheets and a warm duvet.

In the distance a siren wailed.
Bunty could hear the deep-throated whistle of a passenger train scooting down the tracks a few blocks away. For a few seconds she imagined what it would be like all warm and cozy on the train, a cup of coffee and fresh croissant on the tray in front on her, heading for a destination several hours away. Goodness only knows where. She was thinking about that "where" when she could see Pippa a half a block ahead of her waving frantically.
She had made it up after all- and in time.
Will wonders never cease...

Bunty picked up the pace and was embracing Pippa in a quick minute.

"Gosh, I thought I might have to call you when I got to the coffee shop"- says Bunty, just a bit out of breath on a icy city morning.

"My Dear, you have no faith in womankind!" laughed Pippa.

"Oh, I do have faith in womankind, it's just my faith in you is a little less at times!"- Bunty smacked Pippa across the shoulder and grabbed her right arm sliding her left arm into to Pippa's, locking elbows as they walked the rest of the way to the shop and their morning coffee.

"So my Darling Bunty-" Pippa held the word "Darling". It seemed to hang frozen in the February morning air, "What should we do after our coffee?"

"Coffee and a breakfast sandwich of some sort-" interjected Bunty her breath hanging in the frigid air, "I don't now why I am so hungry this morning."

Pippa looked Bunty straight in the eye and said-" Well maybe it's just the early hour. Your insides are all confused!"

"Probably. Here we are!"- Bunty pointed to the Coffee Shop's entrance- "Let's get warm."

They entered the front door and could instantly feel the warmth of the shop's inside. They chose a table by the window near a hot air vent. Taking off her hat and gloves Bunty looked at the menu behind the counter- "What are you having Pip?" As she perused the menu board, she slipped her brown bag over the back of her chair.

"Goodness, I don't know- well, a big coffee with double milk of course."

"Ditto"- agrees Bunty.

In a few minutes they had ordered and taken the trays- on which their breakfasts and coffees were placed, back to their window table.

"Did you want to eat first or...you know..." Pippa seemed impatient.

"Doesn't matter to me. You decide this time." Bunty took a sip of hot coffee and waited for Pipa's answer.

"Let's get it out of the way now." Wow Pippa had made a decision."Righty O Pippa." Bunty took the gun from her coat pocket and shot the server behind the counter-
ten or twelve times. 
The shots rang out loud and clear. Customers ran from the Coffee Shop.

"Your turn My Dear!" Bunty sat down and took another sip of coffee. As she did Pippa walked away from the table, slipped behind the counter and emptied the cash till. She took it's contents back to the window table where they sat.
"Shove these bills in your bag will you?"

"Of course." Bunty took her bag from the chair back, stuffed all the cash inside and replaced the strap over the chair's back. "Gosh, the sausage muffins are very, very tasty this morning Pippa. I'm so glad we came here."

"Mmmm." Pippa agreed. "I am so glad we came here as well. I've been wanting to knock off this place for a while!"

Monday, January 4, 2021

ROBBLOG #868- Of Fame and Sparkly Gowns

 


I always wanted to be famous.

I don't know why.
It's appealing to me for some reason.
Maybe it's more the idea of being RICH and famous because I am sure there are famous people out there who would not consider themselves rich- perhaps because they have those offshore bank accounts.

In my own small way, I guess I have been marginally famous.
I was a broadcaster on both AM and FM radio for 30 years.
I still am a broadcaster- online of course, with my stations Starlite- Island Brite and The Island's Golden Classics on Swisssh.
When you think about it the average person doesn't even have that tiny bit of stardom. I now there are listeners around the globe that hear my voice and listen to my stations.
Maybe some of them are famous.
I dunno...

Broadcasting aside, I was also a thespian for many years.
I was in many stage shows and even in latter years- along with the Mister, ran our own company. Still our Facebook Page for Double R Productions continues. Mostly a few funny bits here and there written by me. Some times I post some photos from productions I was involved in. Occasionally, Sister Mary Margaret drops a video onto the site but she hasn't really since the early days of Covid. You can check it out at
https://www.facebook.com/DoubleRProductions2017

I write too.
I have for years.
Stories, shows, articles, reviews, song lyrics and of course this very blog. Some friends even today are surprized when I tell them I have been writing this RobBlog for many years- more than 15 maybe 20. Look upat the top. 
This is the eight hundred and sixty-eighth Blog I have composed and published.
That has to count for something- right? 

 An onstage moment in drag singing "Sisters". Ahhh Showbiz!
I loved that sparkly, sleeveless gown. Don't ask about the helmet...

There is a downside to being really famous of course- the loss of one's privacy. I wonder if Ryan Reynolds or Hugh Jackman can slip into a Tim Horton's or McDonald's without being recognized?
I think probably not.
Autograph seekers would converge.
Social media devotees would haul out their mobiles and pepper the web with fan pictures.
Individuals might lust after Hugh until I'd be forcible removed by Ronald McDonald himself...
~ahem~
My outside voice...

I suppose if one had a few million dollars in the bank one could deal with stardom and being famous. I know I'd at least like to give it a whirl.
I'd like to be driven here and there by a chauffeur.
Shopping at Hudson's Bay or Winners- even if one could afford to have a professional shopper do it.
I would miss sniffing out bargains at Winners.
My handlers- my people, would try to discourage me from frequenting such casual, everyday, working class stores. They'd waltz me to Toronto's Bloor Street or London's Oxford Street and have their way with my purchases. 
One their own, they'd have all the fun. I would just sit at home- in my mansion with the security gate down the drive, waiting to see what they had brought for me.
You know, I don't think that's a way to live.
Maybe I could suggest to my personal shoppers to call Hudson's Bay or WalMart and ask for a private shopping session after hours.
I would even be happy to zip over to Paris and buy new "poo poo undies" for myself at a shoppe along the Champs d'Elysees.

Anyhoo, back to reality...
I am not that famous or doubt I ever will be unless the Mister's horse (read Lotto Ticket) comes in one day and I buy my famousness.
It's not "old money" or movie star money but I'd take it just the same.

Maybe I should set up interviews for my own personal shopper and of course there's pool boys to consider too.

We'll leave my dream of interviewing pool boys for another Blog.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

ROBBLOG #867- Words

 


Words to Live by...

Not all these  words are new words. 
Many we've heard and used over the years but one is new to us all- covid.

Eventually, it will fade into textbooks like "polio" and "leprosy".
Covid has made such an impact on the entire world and in record time.
Hundreds of thousands of people have died.
Hundreds of thousands of people are battling the disease this very day.
More of us haven't had covid and that's good.
We play safe.
Work safe.
We wait it out.
6,783 new cases in Quebec since Christmas Eve.
Incredible.

One day covid will be just a story.
"Hey remember that Holiday Season when we all stayed in and "Zoomed" with our families?"

Here's more words I thought of. 
I wrote them down to re-type them here. 
There are others but how's this for a start:

mask
cases
isolation
variant
vaccine
closings
layoffs
CERB
Zoom
Moderna
Pfizer
safe
healthy
19
overcrowding
two
metres
physical
distance
social

2021 is a big question mark.
Will the vaccines put covid in its place?
We all hope so.
Will masks be the new fashion accessory even after covid?
Will be be able to celebrate the season next year like we did the years before covid 19?
Will summer 2021 be close to normal? Will theatres open?
Will the PNE, CNE and other huge people exhibitions open again?
Fingers crossed.


Still, with covid killing so many of the earth's population and all the sadness that brings, there's still the crazies shooting and killing people.
It's just nuts.
There's always time for more killing it seems- even in a pandemic.
Right. I forgot that one.
Another world to add to the list.
Pandemic.

Be safe.
Be positive.
Be present.
Be patient.
Soon this will all be a memory as well as a chapter in a book.

Finally, please give a listen to The Island's GOLDEN CLASSICS on Swisssh and Starlite- Island Brite.
Who knows what the new year will bring for both my stations.
www.swisssh.ca
 On voice-activated devices: "Play s w i s s s h Radio" or "Play s t a r l i t e Radio Island Brite"
or
www.tunein.com and search Swisssh or Starlite.
Thanking you in advance.

All the best in 2021.





Wednesday, December 23, 2020

ROBBLOG #866- Strive to be Jolly

 


I've had a hell of a time trying to compose a Christmas Greeting this year.

It hasn't been the best of years for most of the world.
Our day to day lives have been shattered and overcome by a virus that is now striking people on every continent on this earth.
Incredible.

I was going to take inspiration from a Christmas song but that idea fizzled out.
Then, I wondered what I wrote for a Holiday Greeting a few years ago when the world was a different place. I looked back and found a greeting from December 2006. I'm not going to simply copy it here but I will copy some paragraphs and place them in italics.

As far as Christmas 2020 goes, do the best that you can to be happy. There's no sense of telling people not to gather because people will gather- even if they shouldn't. In some places it just makes sense to stay home while in other places gathering is a chance that people will take and damn the consequences. 
Make the best of it.
I know you can.

Now some thoughts from December 2006- like a Christmas TV repeat of an old 60's television show.
Here's the first bit:

"We should all pause during this time of the year- when the heart of mankind is one and re-evaluate. It’s the opportunity to take some quiet time and reflect on body and soul, for every single one of us on this earth is “good enough”. We all should have the same chances, the same opportunities as the person standing next to us.

Make good on our promises, make good on love and relationships. Make good with each other not just at Christmas but every day of the year. Yes, it’s a daunting task but there are much harder obstacles that many of us overcome daily."



Now this from December 2006:

"There’s the “good feeling” of having “good friends”. Friends to share in special moments.  Friendships that endure even during the rough times. We have been lucky to make many new friends over the past year. Friends who have stories to tell. Friends who share their lives, their homes, their laughter and tears. It’s one of the best gifts we could hope for and it doesn’t even require a bow or fancy paper. We are all “good enough”. We need to say that- and more, to each other. We need to embrace the “good” in people and celebrate that “good” not just at Christmas-but all year long. We need to strive for tolerance. 

As Dickens says of Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”- 

He became as good a friend, as good a master and as good a man, as the good old city knew or any other good old city, town or borough in the good old world…And it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well….  

Finally from my Greeting back at Christmas 2006:

"At this time of year, we (here at Pine Tree House) think it good to remember those who have passed on over the years. Mother’s and Father’s, Aunts and Uncles, Grandmothers and Grandfathers, Cousins and memorable friends. They may have passed but they are held tight, wrapped in warm memories."

Now, back to the present- December 2020. Tom and I always remember our four-legged friends at Christmas, for they hold many warm, funny memories and remain an important part in our lives.

There’s Samantha the Irish Setter, Max and Lucky past members of our beloved feline family and another Samantha-our first Mini-Schnauzer. We remember Luma an orange tabby who's life was cut short by breast cancer. There's Kiki our well-loved Yellow Lab who spent 17 Christmases with us! Little "Missy- another Schnauzer, who passed on the Island two years ago. We also have to pause and remember Doyle our orange tabby who bolted from our RV while parked in an RV Park in Winnipeg as we were making our way to our new home here on the island. We never saw him again. The feeling of not knowing what happened to him still haunts us almost every day. ~tears~

Today, we share our new, mountain-top, Island home with our third schnauzer- Koko, who is so much like our yellow lab Kiki it is remarkable. Finally, Doyle's brother- Dickens, at 10 years old is still with us and is actually sitting right on top of my chair back, behind my neck, as I type. It's a favourite spot for him.

Here’s to another Christmas, a different Christmas this year.
We celebrate in a new home after moving in October from a new house we lived in two months short of three years.
Things change.
We strive to be happy- and we are.

Take “refuge” in this season, for it’s a safe haven in what was a year of stormy weather. Enjoy the quiet hours, the peace and time spent around a shimmering Christmas tree. Be mesmerized for a few moments by the flames of a flickering fire. The Holiday table may be a little empty this year but you'll get through.
I know we will.
Enjoy every special moment. Wrap it in a bow and hold it tight throughout the year.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and let's hope 2021 will usher us in to a new healthier, safer time for everyone.



Tuesday, December 22, 2020

ROBBLOG# 865- Sounding Joy

 


Repeat the Sounding Joy.

Repeat the sounding Joy.
Repeat, Repeat- The Sounding Joy.
This Season we all have to look a little harder and be a little more creative when it comes to looking for Joy and repeating it.

2020 has been a stinker of a year.
Does it feel like the Holiday Season to you?
To me- sometimes yes.
Sometimes no.

I watch all the Christmas Movies I love to watch every year- except for all that Hallmark CRAP.
Especially the Hallmark CRAP that is filmed here in Canada especially British Columbia under the guise of keeping Canadian Actors employed- for the most part in secondary roles.
That's the way it's always been here.
We're second banana's to the Yankees.
Stupid really.


How can you be sure that a "Canadian Made" Christmas film is American?
Well for one thing even before you read the credits- if you stay with the film that long, all you have to do is count the number of American Flags in a scene.
They are usually everywhere.
On mantels. On streets. In town squares. Hanging from porches. Stuck on buildings.
Everywhere.
It's the optimal hint of knowing a film is shot here under the guise of being in America. The flags are just in case a viewer or two recognize the landscape or streetscape as being quintessentially Canadian.

Personally, I always watch for facades of the "Royal Bank" or "Tim Horton's" in the background.  Green Maple Trees, flowers one usually doesn't see at Christmas, bright sunshine and actors wrapped in thick scarves when it's obviously a warm day are other signs to look for. The other night I saw a Home Hardware sign in a movie covered with another name but you could be sure it was "Home Hardware" underneath.

I don't know why the film just can't take place here, in Canada.
Maybe if it were "flagless" it could be almost anywhere- even when dubbed into German. It doesn't change the story. Still you have to be pretty hard up to sit down and waste 90 minutes on Hallmark Crap- and they're so white and straight! If they do venture into "living colour" or LGBT  storylines it's like 80's stuff. The Gay character has had a rotten, sad life even after coming out- if they've come out. The Gay character- if old enough, has suffered or knows someone who has suffered from AIDS. 

When the character does come out during Christmas dinner with their invited "friend" watching from across the table, the Mother says- "I always knew."
Dad curses, spits and says-
"Awww, go out and find yourself a girl. That'll set you right!"

Then Dear, old, Dad excuses himself from the table running to vomit in the guest bath as he imagines his son in a naked embrace with the "invited friend" sitting opposite his son.
Good old Dad. 
Thanks for your love and support.
"It was all those hugs from women when he was a kid that made him that way"- says Dad gruffly.
"He never learned to throw a ball like the other boys."
Just can't cope with sonny boy being a Fag.

I'm afraid if you want to feel the spirit this Christmas Season, you'll just have to look elsewhere to find your Joy and definitely not in a Hallmark presentation.

I Repeat.
To find your sounding "Joy" look elsewhere this Holiday Season. There is lots of Joy to to be found even though it's been a difficult year for us all. You just have to look a little harder.

Happy Holidays. Seasons Greeting. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2020

ROBBLOG #864- Kismet for Christmas


 Kismet for Christmas.

No, it's not a substitute for Holiday Turkey- it's Kismet.
Kismet like it's meant to be.

Take for instance if you stood on a spot...
"What spot?"- you ask?
Oh, any spot, I guess but in this case it's a special spot. A Kismet spot.
"Oh I see. Tell me more."- you say.
I will.

Kismet happened to us in the past couple of years. It may have started a few years before but let's start with the most recent manifestation.

There as a certain spot on this Island that the Mister and I now call home. It's a spot where we took visiting guests. It gave guests- especially Easterners from Ontario, an idea of what our Island was like as far as topography is concerned. It never failed to impress.
How could it not?
There's a lake. Several mountains. An ocean view. Sky for days and even a view of the mainland- especially at night when the lights of Grouse Mountain flicker in the distance.
In summer it is a "hot" spot. Plenty of sunshine. Almost desert-like with yucca's and cacti and palms.
This time of year- at Christmas, it's magical. 
It may be green but it's a magical green.
You can see in the distance Grouse Mountain's ski resort lit up with the lights twinkling. THat's where the snow is.
There and up island about two hours to Courtney/Comax. It's where winter enthusiasts on the island go.

"So Kismet?"
Oh yes...well this spot where we stood time and time again is now the spot where we live. Our house is built on the very spot. We see our ocean, lake, sky views daily and even some snow on top of mountains like Mount Benson and Prevost.
It is magical and it's so unreal some days one has to pinch one's self. Like when we were kids and we ran into the living room to see piles and piles of gifts under a sparkling, green balsam. Well, that was my Christmas as a kid. I had to pinch myself.
I was spoiled. Very spoiled. My Mum and Dad went whole hog for me at Christmas when I was the only kid in the house.
Today this spot, on this Island, in this province, in this country, on this globe called earth is Kismet.

We had dreamed of getting away from Ontario winters.
To those of you still employed, retirement and your own "Kismet" may seem a long way off but it's coming.
Make plans now.
Dream and what better time to dream and make your dreams come true than the holiday season.


Kismet doesn't always work the way you want it to the first time.
It didn't for us.
We needed to make another change and we did. As human beings we can be in control of our future.
Our destiny.
Our Kismet.
Those that don't seek change are missing the train of happiness.

If you are not happy- change it.
Dolly Parton wrote a song called "Change It".
So do it.
Make this Christmas season happy.
Make it your Kismet.
Make a change now. Today. Dream and make your dreams come true.
You can do it.
I did. The Mister and I did together and believe me if we can- you can.

So jingle your bells.
Be merry.
Screw covid- it's meeting it's match in 2021 anyway.

Make plans for a happy Holiday Season and all the days ahead now.
Don't wait for the years to fly by because before you know it your desire for Kismet is just a memory.
Something to regret a few years down the road.

And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing...

It's time to find your glee.

Sing out.
Ring the bells.
Cheers to the season.
Here's to happiness and here's to the first day of the rest of your life.

Kismet...