Sunday, May 27, 2018

ROBBLOG #722- Space the FINAL Frontier

Space. The Final Frontier.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 26, 2018

ROBBLOG #721- People are Funny

Mother Mary, people are funny.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

ROBBLOG #720 Is it Cricket?

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

Friday, May 18, 2018

ROBBLOG #719- An Empress of a Weekend!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 11, 2018

ROBBBLOG #718- Sweet!

It's been a busy week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 5, 2018

ROBBLOG #717 ...Like an Old Aunt

Am I bad?

Like an "Old Aunt" who calls to say-
"Sorry I haven't written or called lately, I've been busy sorting my stockings"-
I feel like I haven't kept in touch  very well of late.

I do have an excuse.
I am outside a lot.
The weather is beautiful and we have been doing a bunch of yard work trying to make our gardens look like they have been here- in our yard, for years.
Oh, we have a watering limit for those young gardens already.
Phase one.
Hand watering from 7-9- evening and mornings. Most people here in the Cowichan- who love their gardens, have drip systems to keep plants alive.
We have one too.
A quick switch on and the lines of plastic water the roots in gardens around the house. These type of lines wouldn't work back east- at least not in the ground all winter. Many folks here tell me they don't even have the water blown from the lines in preparation for "Island Winter". However, it's about 50 bucks to have it done and does prevent cracking of plastic pipes if the temperature decides to dip below freezing for a few days.

As well as our gardens, we are keeping busy with bike riding, walking and just talking to the neighbours. Oh...and afternoon martinis on the back lanai. That's "island talk" for verandah or porch.
I am well-tanned already and some folks believe The Mister and I have been away.
Just bountiful Island Sunshine.
Island Life is a busy life and I LOVE IT!

A view from Mount Tzhouhalem
We managed to fit in an afternoon of theatre this week. We saw "Kim's Convenience" at the Chemainus Theatre and yes- it is the play that spawned the charmingly funny television series of the same name.
It was a great show.
We were centre, front row. Nice and close.
I must say seeing the stage with it's Toronto references- including the TTC Subway line stations, I felt a bit Ontario "homesick".
I believe I always will.
I love Toronto.
The noise. The traffic. The theatre. The people. The neighbourhoods. Shopping, Lake Ontario and the TTC.
I used to live in what they were calling Cabbagetown Two, right off Queen Street West. The Beach neighbourhood started a few blocks west of me. I am familiar with Regent Park where Kim's Convenience is set. It's not the nicest of neighbourhoods but it is home to many.

I used to walk along Queen Street to Yonge and the Subway. It kept me fit dong that 45 minute walk twice a day. Past shops like Kim's. Past Moss Park where drunks and addicts laid on the lawn.
Past store fronts where the drunk and sometimes the dead, lay sprawled in the morning sunshine.
Colourful and sad at times.
City life.

Now, the Island is my home.
It's May and the trees- especially the Dogwood, are in full bloom still. Double Pear blossoms in bright pink are lining many neighbourhood streets and apple blossoms proliferate on others.
It's really is kind of magical.

So, I'll keep in touch when I can.
For those of you in Canada's east, I know you too will be outside on warm days dreaming of lush, green gardens and flowering plants.

Gotta love it!
..and write soon, won't you?