Friday, September 25, 2020

ROBBLOG #856

 

I know many of you have not been sleeping well.

You are all worried sick about my packing plans. 
I can feel it- in my tape dispenser hand.
Well, Dears, I am here to tell you to relax.
I have started the packing following the plan I talked about in the last blog.

Yesterday I packed 23 boxes.
23 boxes!
As I picked up my trusty tape dispenser I deftly stuck the tape to the side of the first packed box-
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrip.
Ah that lovely sound.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrip!
I ran the dispenser along the top of the box and down the side.
I hadn't lost my knack!
I was excited!
I quickly folded and taped box 2 then, stuffed it full of bric-a-brac.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrip! Rrrrrrrrrrip!
I was a master at the craft of packing boxes and thank goodness, I had not lost my
way. I believe I was a perfect 10 in my performance.

The Universe in all it's craziness was smiling down upon me- watching me.
Listening.
Look at me rrrrrrrrrrrip!

Then, this morning after a couple of cups of coffee, I made my way downstairs.
I picked up Mr. Tape Dispenser and began folding boxes.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrip and Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrip again.
I was masterful.
I stuffed boxes with DVD's, photos, Christmas ornaments and  VCR tapes.
Yes! I still own a few VCR tapes and a turntable and a receiver too.
I don't give up on the past that easily Girlfriends.
I respect the past and think of what could have been if DVD's- not to mention colour televisions
had not been invented.
What would we do with our free time?

I guess a conservative estimate would be 54.
Fifty-four boxes in total.
I would hope Mr. O'Toole would agree with my numbers even though he- as most Conservatives, find it hard to agree with anybody or get along with anybody.
Enough now.
Back to the task at hand.

54.
The number of boxes I now have packed.
I hear your gasps...
I amaze myself at times too.
Right now I am ahead of schedule and ready to relax for the weekend. I do keep a couple of boxes at the ready, in case the mood to pack just one more strikes me.
As an experienced packer, I know- like a smoker and a young man who craves relief, that the need to pack could strike at any time of the day. It's the reason I stand ready with my tape dispenser full and my felt marker handy to record package contents.

I am sure, in time, someone else will benefit from all my "box-making" and packing experience.
Nevertheless and furthermore, The Mister and I  have found our reason to hitch up the oxen and strike out for a new land full of hope, glory and promise. 

Que the heart-wrenching musical finale....

FOOTNOTE: I hope all you ladies have put away your white purses this being three weeks post Labour Day.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

ROBBLOG #855- Elephant Toes and Cardboard Boxes

 

Damn. Elephant Toes!

I'm sitting in the sunshine in my white flip flops and I look down and see Elephant Toes.
You know...that's when you see those little wrinkle lines that elephants have on their legs only now they're on my toes.
Well, that's just wonderful.
Now, I need Botox on my toes.

Could be worse I suppose.

Anyway, other things to worry about. To think about.
Number one on my mind is packing an entire house.

I'm thinking it seems like I just did this a short while ago and then I slap myself and realize that I have packed recently- a short three years ago.
The difference this time is the packing and shifting will be much easier.
This time the Mister and I are not moving half way across the country- three time zones.
This time it's about 15 minutes from the west side to the east side.
The upper east side.
To the mountain and almost the top of the mountain.

We've "borrowed boxes" from an Ontario friend from Owen Sound who just moved here in July. Another friend- from Mississauga Ontario who moved west in June is also supplying us with boxes. We, in turn, will pass the boxes on to a neighbour who is also on the move in our valley.
It's a cardboard chain.


I have the packing process all figured out- in my head.
I am leaving our main level untouched- for now.
I will begin by packing lower level items. Three cabinets in particular which hold family photographs in frames, a Santa Claus collection and more. Last time all these items had to be packed and wrapped in paper and bubble wrap and carefully place in heavy-duty cardboard boxes or plastic tubs.
This time a bit of paper and careful placement in a box.
It's a short trip remember.

This time too I'll not have to wrap painting after picture after print because of the short trip. I'll take these off the wall at the last minute and load them into the van. They'll travel with a towel or two tucked between and will be fine.

Once the pictures are removed, I am going to cover the nail holes. I bought this stuff that fills the holes. It goes on pink and dries white. Then a quick run over with some sandpaper.
A dab of paint and voila a perfect, untouched wall.
Some friends say- why are you going to all that trouble?
It's because I want to leave the house in pristine condition.

At least all the packing and the lifting of these boxes will be light.
We are leaving the heavy stuff for the movers because at my age,
I don't want to drop a dresser on my "Elephant Toes"!

Monday, September 14, 2020

ROBBLOG #854- Shopping for Dollars and Things

 


It's has begun.

The Holiday Season- or should I say "the Season of Holidays".
We just put Labour Day to bed and here comes Thanksgiving, Harvest, Halloween and Christmas.
I should include "Remembrance Day" as well but every year somebody, somewhere gets their tits in a wringer over this special day so, I don't believe I should refer to it as a "holiday"- even though Federal Employees garner extra pay and a day off to boot.

Anyhoo, I was looking at Home Depot online when what to my wondering eyes should appear-
but a scary, life-size clown bopping out of a huge jack-in-the-box! 
For only $288.
I'll take a couple at that price!!
You too can have a disturbed-looking clown for your front yard this Hallowe'en.
Actually, no thanks. 
We have one living and breathing in our very neighbourhood. Much scarier than the Home Depot version by the way. Remember my last Blog when I said the Mister and I were moving again? That means the life-like, disturbed clown will not be in our new neighbourhood. Gee, I might have to fork our $288 after all...

Also at Home Depot Online, there was a cute old witch in a rocking chair for under two hundred dollars. I remember seeing her in the store.She rocked and cackled with a cat skeleton on her lap.
No thanks.
The cackling is what we are moving away from!

Just below the photo of the clown and the old witch in her rocking chair, there was a bevy of Christmas Trees.
Branches outswept.
Downswept.
Upswept.
Straight out.
Trees were Flocked.
Not Flocked.
Green.
White.
Pink and
Black (?)
How Jolly.
Scrooge would be proud.

It doesn't take long for all these items to appear once mid-September has bit the dust.
There's a time for shopping.
There's a time not to shop.
There's a time to shop again...
There's a time to window shop and a time to online shop
or a time to not bother shopping at all.
I think it's all in the bible under Ecclesiastes or The Book of Testicles...something like that. 


I'm doing a lot of online shopping these days for the new house up on a hill I told you about. It's quite convenient for days I want to shop or I can just leave it alone for days I don't care to shop.
It's that easy.
I have been shopping for many items because time is of the essence- like flooring underlay and curved, chrome shower rods that the Mister and I shopped for today.
We actually originally had shower doors in 3 out of the four bathrooms.
I know.
4 bathrooms!
It's not right is it when so many people in Alberta are having to live without semi-automatic rifles.
Sometimes, life just isn't fair- is it?

We kept the shower doors for the Master Ensuite but opted for an easier method of cleaning now that we are in our golden years. A new shower liner from the dollar store is much easier than climbing into a tub and trying to spotlessly dry a pair of glass shower doors.
A lesson we have learned from past homes.
Older but smarter...

Enjoy this "Season of Holidays" whether you choose to shop or not.
Of course with covid, I understand that holidays like Hallowe'en might just be cancelled saving you all kinds of candy money. Your jack-in-the-box clown may have no one to scare.

I hear that Santa and his Elves are practicing physical distancing at the North Pole as they work away on this year's gifts. However, his yearly appearances in parades and shopping centres may be on hold for 2020.

We can only hope for the best this "Season of Holidays".
I know that the Toronto Santa Claus Parade is hoping to continue the yearly event by marching on November 15th. 

Time will tell...
and what the Hell is Santa doing marching through Toronto streets on November 15th? 
Good Grief.

Monday, September 7, 2020

ROBBLOG # 853- A House Isn't Always a Home

 


Well My Dears, it's been a few weeks- hasn't it, since a new ROBBLOG appeared.

I have an excuse.
We all have excuses but mine is a fairly good one.

The Mister and I are on the move...again.
Our wonderful home on this wonderful Island called Vancouver Island has been sold.
~take a moment to let it settle in~

Most of our friends are aware of our decision.
It is the new, new adventures of The Island Boyz. The last adventure of moving to this Island- three years ago this past August 23rd, is still fresh in our minds but we are moving on.
Moving forward.
Movin' on up to the "east side"...

We are putting down new roots again and NO we are not going back to Ontario although we have been telling the busy-bodies in our neighbourhood that that is exactly what we are doing. We don't talk to the busy-bodies really, they just overhear what we are saying to other neighbours and sometimes the neighbours and I play a game and we talk a wee bit louder so they can hear the facts.
The wrong facts.
Usually they are hiding behind a bush or in the semi-darkness of an open garage door to hear our little impromptu scene.
I kid you not!
This is what they do- especially the doorknob that lives opposite us.

A few days ago another neighbour gleefully told yet another neighbour that we had sold and even knew where we were moving and that it was a done deal.
It was not.
I was sitting right in the van in our drive and heard all this speculation.
It pisses me off.
Why didn't they walk across the street and ask us.
In this neighbourhood it's easier to "suppose".

It is one of the reasons we are leaving. 
Too much gossip.
Too much complaining.
Too much of the witch queen opposite with her gaping garage door open from morning to night.
Too much partying from a couple of houses of 30 somethings who lack respect for us more mature folks.

So I guess you get the reason why we are packing up and moving on.
Oh, I forgot to say I was also told to "Fuck Off" while standing in my own yard listening to the "high school" talk and fuck this, fuck that language coming from an outside party across the way from our back yard.

That party and the ensuing "personal direction" I was told to take was the straw that bent the poor camel's back.

We texted our real estate agent that night and when he called the following morning I said-
"Get us out of here!"
Those were my exact words.

A simulation of the Mister and I
An artistic simulation of The Mister and I

The surprise in all this?
It took only two weeks from that call to be where we are now.
Our house is sold- in two days.
We have bought new again after looking at 10 "pre-used" homes over the past months.
It's been a whirlwind!

When I said a few lines above- "we are movin' on up to the east side"- we are.
The east side is the home of the "elites" or so we've been told.
Funny how that word has crept into our federal politics recently. Now we are moving up to an east side, mountainous neighbourhood where we apparently are "elite" as well.
I can agree with that only because we have moved on up the real estate scale too.
~puff, puff~

Our agent told us from the start that "this is where we needed to be" on the Island and soon there we will be.
I am happy.
The Mister is happy.
We hope we will love this house.

The house we will leave in a few weeks has been nice.
I like it.
I like it a lot.
We put our heart and soul and design into this house but I never, ever fell in love with it- not like our Pine Tree House back in Old Home in Orillia, Ontario.

I already have "pangs in my heart" when I walk into this nearly completed new house.
I believe I love it already and our view!!
OMG!
Holy shit, I mean!
A lake.
Several mountains.
The Ocean.
A gulf island- Saltspring, plus a view back to the mainland around Grouse Mountain.

It's a dream come true.

It's been a whirlwind these past 14 days.
It's been stressful too.
My shorts are fitting much looser these days.
My sleep has been interrupted as has the husbands.
It's been hard to turn the brain off.

So Kids, that's my excuse.
A change once again and perhaps this time the last until I stand in front of the Pearly Gates and tell old St. Peter-

"Pete, it's been a Hell of a ride!!"

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

ROBBLOG #852- Honk

 


It was just past eight-fifteen.

The brilliant golden sunlight of a late summer morning danced on the small pond across the yard from my kitchen window.

I grabbed my old blue windbreaker from behind the kitchen door and slipped it on over my head and shoulders as I hurried outside. The zipper had broken months ago and "over my head" was the only way I could get it on. It was like an early morning wrestling match. I just didn't have the heart to pitch it in the bin. Of course, I could have grabbed a hoodie from the hall closet but I was in a hurry. Harriet, Lulu and Mr. George- my Toulouse Geese, would be waiting by the rickety picket fence for our morning walk.

We walked every morning at the same time.
A walk first and then all three would patiently wait for me to pour their morning feed into the three empty bowls that sat next to the old barn door.

A minute later I rounded the corner of the barn opposite the old cherry tree and there they stood. Mr. George was tapping one webbed foot looking indignant and wondering why he should have to delay his summer hike because of a human who obviously didn't value the purpose of a time clock.

"Hey Kids"- I called.
Harriet and Lulu honked a good morning in unison but I could see that Mr. George would take a little longer to warm up this morning due to my tardiness.
I understood how he felt.
Yesterday morning I was barely awake when I had to pull on my wellies at seven thirty to herd the sheep back up the path and into their pen. Someone hadn't closed the gate after letting them into the yard after a cozy night in the barn. That someone wasn't bright-eyed and bushy-tailed yet.
Hmmm...

Now, one might think it was me who left the gate wide open- I suppose, however, it was more likely Karl. Karl was the hired hand.
He was probably a little tipsy after spending a few hours in the local pub as he was want to do. He'd perhaps forgotten his late night checks around the yard as he stumbled into the cottage at the edge of the apple orchard.

Sometimes I wondered if Karl understood any of my broken German at all. The past three months, I had insisted he speak to me in his native tongue- mostly. I was preparing for a tour of Germany ending with a wonderful cruise of the Rhine.
I think maybe a tour of England's Cotswolds might have been easier to prepare for!
Maybe next year.

The girls- and Mr. George and I, headed off through the south gate and along the leafy lane.
They honked happily to each other looking up at me now and again expecting me to join in the morning conversation.
I was interested in all the usual barnyard gossip.
I really was  you know.
It was an entirely different world.

The ducks- according to Harriet were being their normal "quacky" selves and interrupted the Toulouse's quiet morning.

Mr. George insisted on quiet in the morning too. According to him, Bobbi the grey mare consistently whinnied at the morning sun and insisted on all that "horsey" singing to welcome the summer morning- much to the chagrin of Mr. George.


Peter the Pig and his girlfriend Brenda kept their pen in a horrendous state and something must be done to rectify the situation. At least according to Lulu.
"It was most distressing" she honked, especially when folks came over for a visit and had a chance to look over the driftwood fence into the pig's pen.
"A regular sty to be sure!" she added as she waddles along.

We had reached a turn in the lane where we headed left into the apple orchard. Harriet and Lulu chomped on a couple of fallen apples while Mr. George strolled over to the stream that cut across the orchard, eventually emptying into Lake Bee just on the other side of the road. He had a quick flap in the warm water and re-joined us as we head back through the orchard, past Karl's Cottage- where it was still very quiet- and into the barn yard.

I grabbed the bag of feed and filled all three Goose Bowls to the brim. All of the Toulouse Geese honked their appreciation- even Mr. George. I headed back to the house for coffee taking one last look over my right shoulder never expecting to see Karl standing at the door to his cottage slurping from a large mug.
I smiled and walked on to my kitchen door.
Soon, the enduring ritual of a country day would control all of the hours ahead.

The country life.
It's the quiet.
The animals.
The clear blue sky and the sparkling waters of Lake Bee and Karl too.

It was the very definition of a bucolic lifestyle and I loved it.
All of it.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

ROBBLOG #851- Sizzle

 

Hi Kids. Today a short story about Roger and Stan. I dunno why. Just because.

A week ago last Thursday Roger and Stan headed to the local lighting store- Light and Bright,
to buy a new pair of ceiling fixtures. Stan- the half of this pairing with a taste for indoor decor, had wanted new ceiling fixtures for the den for more than a year. Roger on the other hand couldn't care less one way or the other.
This pissed Stan off just a smidge but he dealt with it just as he had always dealt with it- with a modicum of taste and a heavy use of his inside voice.

After seeing an ad in one of the local papers, Stan managed to convince Roger to come along to Light and Brite with him to add his opinion regarding the two fixtures Stan was prepared to purchase.
They jumped into their little maroon-coloured Fiat 500 and tore down the street- as best a Fiat 500 can tear, with Roger behind the wheel.

Arriving at Light and Bright's parking lot, Roger wheeled into a convenient space marked "for small cars ONLY" and shut off the engine.

The boys climbed out of the Fiat 500, strapped masks over their ears, mouths and noses and headed for the entrance. Light and Bright was a huge store. Who knew there were so many lights, bulbs and fixtures in the entire world?

Stan loved this store.
Roger not so much.
Stan also loved "Winners".
Roger not so much.
Stan loved spinach.
Roger not so much- especially boiled and slopped on a plate next to mashed potatoes- bleeck.

Once inside Stan dragged Roger down aisle 23 and stopped at shelf number 22A.
On the shelf were the fixtures in dainty little boxes.

"Not much of a fixture..."- Roger commented.

"Like you should know!"- Stan countered. "Look up there Rodge. That's what they look like."
Roger looked to the wall above where the boxes sat on the shelf and saw the shiny fixtures Stan was obsessed about. Make no mistake, Stan was kind of obsessed- like his obsession with  photographs of Hugh Jackman- shirtless.
A story for another time I'm afraid.

"Well, if that's what you came here to buy, get it." Roger's tone was less than supportive.
Stan didn't care.
It usually was.

Stan grabbed two boxes of the fixtures shown above and spun on his heels and headed for the cash.
"Anything else you wanna look at Rodge?"

"Huh?"- Roger says. "I can't hear you through that damn mask plus you're turned away from me. I can't hear you. Just a mumble."

"Look."- Stan turned to face Roger. He was becoming miffed. "We are a country of mumblers now so get used to it Roger. Covid is the way of the world and wearing masks is part of this world."

Roger grimaced and slid past Stan heading for the check outs. Over his right shoulder he yelled-
"All I said was I can't hear you through that mask. I'm not asking for a lecture!"

"Good Grief. 'The Jesus'- give me strength." He followed Roger to the checkouts like a dutiful hubbie.

In a few minutes they were back in the Fiat 500 and on the road to home with a short stop at Tim's for a large triple milk and an iced tea. 
Roger loved iced tea.

Once inside the house Stan set the boxes holding the fixtures on the kitchen counter and sat on a stool to sip his coffee.

Suddenly, Roger- who had plopped himself on the living room couch to nurse his iced tea, came into the kitchen. He took a deep breath-
"Let's get these lights up so I don't have to listen to you whine all day and all night!"

"I wasn't whining Roger, I was sipping my damned Tim Horton's Coffee. That's all!!"

"Whatever. Let's get at it. Grab the step ladder and I'll get the screwdrivers." 

Roger disappeared into the depths of the basement. A few minutes later he returned with the tools. Stan was already in the den with the step stool in position. "Stan, do and turn off the breaker switch will ya? It should say den or small bedroom or office something like that. You should be able to figure it out. Pick one."

"One what?" Stan almost wished he had called an electrician. Roger always got so short with him when they worked on a project together.

Roger grunted. "Funny Stan. Real funny."

Now Stan was becoming irritated but he held his tongue and slipped into the pantry just off the kitchen.
Once inside he opened the cover plate on the breaker panel.
Speaking loudly he called out to Roger-
"Geeze Rodge, this panel should have been marked better when we had that wiring done last spring.
I can barely read the handwriting. I'm not sure what some of it says!"

"Will you just pick one and forget about last spring!" 
Roger was not happy and Stan could hear it in his voice. He was about to reply but decided to hold his reprisal and just make a choice as Roger had directed.
Flick. The breaker clicked off.

"Have you done it?" yelled Roger from the Den.

"Yes, I think so." Stan closed the pantry door and walked back to the den to find Roger on top of the step stool. He had removed the old fixture from the ceiling and was about to take apart the wires.

Roger look down at Stan- "You have it turned off Stan. The breaker that says Den? Did you do what I asked?"

"For fuck sake Roger. Yes. Yes. Yes!!" Stan was raising his voice at this point. "I turned off the goddamned breaker switch. Just once can't you fucking well trust what I am doing? The switch is not on. It's off. Happy? Check it yourself if you don't trust me!"

Roger shrugged his shoulders, ignoring Stan as usual and reached up to untwist the wires that gave juice to the old fixture."

Sizzle.
Zzzzzzit. 
Crunch.
Pop.

Roger screamed and fell from the step ladder to the floor below, landing at Stan's feet.

Roger's memorial service is the first Tuesday of next month.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

ROBBLOG #850- In the Limelight



In this apocalyptic world of covid and face masks, I want you to know I have made it safely to my 70th year.

Now as I trudge the days through my 70th year, I have started to think about how short this lifetime of ours can be- after you put decades of living behind you.
I mean, it can make a girl think.

I have added a new photo up above.
The "Official" Birthday Portrait.
I mean if Liz can issue an "official" portrait, why can't I?
It's recent.
By recent I mean 2017.
It was one of the last professional shots I had taken as I continued to perform in theatre. That has hit a brick wall these days. 
First, I should say here that my friend Seanna took that shot and a few others that I had stored away for a rainy day. Seanna is an Ottawa gal these days living in our National Capital with her family.
We talk and text from time to time.
We are both Orillia born and raised until we got out.
Her east.
Me west.

There are lots of theatre companies here on Vancouver Island but I haven't reached out and resumed a time I loved.
Being on stage.
I get a little verklempt when I think about it.
There were some great friendships there and when I think of certain shows they still me me smile and laugh.

Yesterday I was going through files of documents online and I came upon a script I had written a few years ago called "That's My Son".
I had written it for Janet-Lynne and myself.
I loved working with Janet-Lynne. We played husband and wife once in Brighton Beach Memoirs.
Now- there's another stretch, as well as Nuns in All For Nun- The 2nd Coming.
Sister Mary Margaret is one of my all-time favourite characters.
I wrote that show too and it's predecessor All for Nun.

Janet Lynn on the left as "Kate" and me next to her.
Brighton Beach Memoirs. Janet Lynn as "Kate" on the left,
then me and Patti Scott playing Kate's sister.

Anyhoo, Janet-Lynne and I are no way even close to being Mother and Son in real life- me being older. 
Much older.
I thought the script would work a few years ago.
Theatre is make believe after all.
Makeup, lights and distance can work wonders!
These days I am not sure there is enough makeup to make me look like I could be JL's son!

I remember we even read the script aloud one summer afternoon on our veranda back in Orillia, Ontario. I think we laughed out loud.
Anyhoo, I have the script here in front of me and I intend to read it through.
I will either laugh again or cringe at the thought that I had some sort of nerve thinking of performing the piece on stage.
It takes a lot of nerve being in theatre and I have that.

Part of that love I have to blame squarely on being a Leo.
We like the limelight.
We are always picked out in a crowd.
We love to lead.

Maybe once covid is history, I'll think about theatre again.
Maybe I'll have a lead part on stage once again.

As I always say- I'll lead anything. Got a band?