Wednesday, March 27, 2019

ROBBLOG #775- A Bunny Tale

Dear Readers,

Here's a tale of little Bunnies that I wrote way back in 2011. It suits both Springtime and Easter.
It also allows me to post something"sort of" new while I prepare to go on a late March/early April Vacation with The Mister.

The Mister and I celebrate 34 years of love and companionship and marriage (in 2006) on April 4th.
We are going back to the place where it all started all those decades ago- Honolulu, Hawaii. It's been fours years since we were there last. Up until this morning, I thought it was three years ago but it's four. My Samsung phone reminded me of that when it showed me a selection of photos from Hawaii taken on this day in 2015.
See how fast time passes? If you want to do something new, do it. 
Make your plans today. Tomorrow can be a whole new ballgame.
This go round at life is way too short.
Get with the gusto!

Tom and I first met on a Wardair Flight on the way to Honolulu and our hearts have been entwined ever since.
I know. Awww....

It's not all been happy days these 34 years but we always end up smiling. 
Life can be a bitch at times and there are days when...
You fill in the blanks.

We'll celebrate our Anniversary by having breakfast at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel- right on Waikiki Beach, where we first enjoyed breakfast together all those years ago.

A "fairy" story?
Yes, in more ways than one but I digress, now my "Bunny Tale".

Honolulu is beautiful but it's big and bustling

Flopsy, Mopsy…and Florence were three of the cutest little bunnies you would ever want to lay your eyes upon.

They were so glad it was finally spring!
The days were warm.
They loved to tumble and nibble on the fresh, green grass that covered the big field next to their log home like a fluffy comforter on a big, brass bed.
The grass tasted oh so sweet!
However, the greens in Mr. Alabaster’s garden were even sweeter- especially in the spring, just as the first few sprouts of lettuce popped out of the warm earth on a warm sunny day.

The bunnies weren’t thinking about Mr. Alabaster’s garden at this particular moment. Flopsy was sitting next to a big, gray boulder grooming her white fur. Mopsy and Florence meanwhile amused themselves trying to do headstands in the tall grass. They tried and tried but fell over with every attempt giggling and snickering louder each time. Their bunny laughter was contagious. A few chickadees in a tree near the boulder chirped merrily too at the funny goings-on below.

“Come on you two”- cried Flopsy. She had finished her grooming. “Let’s run all the way down to the old cedar fence!”

“Okay Flopsy. Bet I can beat you!”- Mopsy squealed and she was off like a shot.

“Running. Always running!” Florence stood with her paws on her hips tapping her right paw gently on the green grass. “Really you two!” She was raising her voice now since her brother and sister were half-way across the field.

Flopsy and Mopsy soon reached the cedar fence. Flopsy was just a hare ahead of Mopsy.
They both collapsed in a heap near one of the cedar fence posts.

“Honestly, you two. Get a life. Both of you.” Florence had hopped on down to the fence to join the other two. She seemed a little upset.

“What’s the prob Flo?” It was Mopsy who dared even ask the question.

“Florence had placed a paw on each of her furry hips once again-
“Look, it’s just that there are more interesting things to do you two.”

“Like what?”- asked Flopsy.

“Well…” Florence thought for a moment. “Like thinking about what are we going to do for Easter. We haven’t even looked for a present for Mumsy and Dadsy yet.”

“Awwww. Get ‘em some chocolate eggs. They’ll be happy with that.” It was Mopsy who spoke and suggested the idea.

Flopsy snapped a paw and added- “That’s a good idea and we can place them in a nice basket filled with fresh grass and tie a big pink bow on top and ohhhh…we can tuck Michael Buble’s new CD in the basket too!”

Florence and Mopsy looked at Flopsy. They stared for a couple of seconds, then looked back at each other again. Their little bunny noses twitching. Finally, they turned back, looking Flopsy right in the eye and speaking in unison said-

“That is so Gay!”

The End

Friday, March 22, 2019

ROBBLOG #774- Let's Get Away From It All

All is right with the world.

Spring has sprung here on our Island Paradise and the Kids in the Playroom are fussing over there in Ottawa.

Is anyone else- besides me, tired of the shenanigans in Ottawa over the past few months? Can we please return to the way it was and can Andrew Sheer pull his lips up over his head and go away.
Jody and Ms Philpott can move to another country.
Now realistically if all that happened, what would Lisa LaFlame have to talk about on the nightly news on CTV. My suggestion would be something that really matter to Canadians- like fashion or the taxes on gas. Gee, gas prices are crazy on the Island- $1.39

We've had great weather on Vancouver Island this past week. Many days of 20c+ and lots of sunshine. Now we need rain because our gardens and lawns are dry, dry, dry.
We are never happy.
I did think that the snow cover we had would keeps things damp but no. The south side of our house is like a desert already, so we have had to water. Our automatic drip system in the gardens and the lawn sprinklers are not turned on yet. We are waiting for a new fancy timer to be installed. We've been asking for the installation for months and now we need it, so maybe we'll have to return to the old timer system to turn on the water for the time being.

Even so, our plants are budding and the Christmas Rhododendron is in bloom. A few crocus and daffodils are as well. It was a tough winter for us Island People. We are behind about a month weather-wise. What with that snow for two or three weeks and a week or so of extended cold. Those of you not from the Island or the lower mainland have to understand that the minus temperatures and the 30 cms of snow we experience are not normal for us- like people actually considering voting for the Conservatives over Justin's Liberals.

The previous winter we skipped merrily through January and February but this cold and snow was ridiculous. A neighbour's husband who is a smarty when it comes to all things you have to be smart to know, says that he believes this will be the norm because of global warming. He says winters here in the west will feature the Polar Vortex in winter and hot, dry, forest-fire inducing summers. It's a new world order folks and in the midst of all this upheaval the Mister and I are getting away for a while.

Diamond Head on Oahu
What used to be a long flight to Hawaii is cut to about 6 hours from here in the west. We are looking forward to being on the Island again. The trades, the blue Pacific and huge palms. The last time we were in Hawaii was three years ago. While there this time, we'll celebrate 34 years together and I've already said we'll be going back again next year for 35.
I mean, we have to- right?

I've started thinking about clearing US customs. Last time we had to actually lie. Helpful Vancouver International Airport agents told us to be sure to fill in our US travel docs as being "not married". I remember an agent and her supervisor telling us that the US Officers just don't get it like here in Canada and we'd save ourselves a lot of trouble declaring each other as being single.
" I am travelling with a friend"-I told the stern, burly Customs fella.
"Where is this friend you are travelling with?" he asked me.
I thought I seemed nervous going through US Customs for the first time.
Pull it together Rob.
"He's over there."- pointing to Tom a couple of passenger lanes over.
He turned his trunk-like neck around and looked for Tom.
He turned back around, gave me another glance and stamped my passport.
He waved me on.

Now, with a new dynasty in the States, I am wondering if I can tell the truth seeing as same-sex marriage is legal in the US these days. I'll let you know. Maybe they'll refuse us entry to make some kind of point.

In the meantime, I'm putting this out of my mind and going outside to see if any new spring flowers have opened.


Monday, March 11, 2019

ROBBLOG #773- Woke up this Morning, You were on my Mind

March and I have a few things on my mind.

Firstly, have you ever had someone in your neighbourhood who "bugs your buttocks" from time to time? The Mister tells me to "take a pill" and relax but we hear folks have moved away from this person over the years- on purpose!

This neighbour smokes like a chimney and has contraband cigarettes delivered weekly from a noisy, rusty, reddish- coloured van.  I don't know if cigarettes- I presume from an aboriginal reserve, are illegal or contraband but it sure looks that way when the van wheels up in front the house in question and backs up to the open garage door where the neighbour stands waiting- a long cigarette stuck between upturned fingers. Usually, "the buyer" appears first, standing there sucking in all those carcinogens for a minute before the delivery vehicle roars up the street, covertly backing towards the open garage door. When it pulls away all that's left behind is a cloud of grey, smelly smoke and a hazy shadow clutching a box of cancer-sticks scurrying into the house through the man-door in the garage.

The Mister and I always hear the "grand slam" of the door as ill-gotten goods- like a squirrel storing stolen nuts- are hastily taken inside. I don't believe nuts are as injurious to a squirrel as cigarettes are to a human.
How many chemicals are in one filthy, tobacco-infused stick?
A hundred?
I dunno. Something like that.

Oh and another thing, that fucking garage door that the delivery van backs up to weekly is open from morning to night. I questioned "the open door" policy- once.
"Look at the nice view you see when you look out across the street into the neighbourhood and look at what everyone sees in return, nothing but a gaping space where a garage door should be.
"Oh, I always keep it open..."
That was a less-than-satisfactory retort.

On a safety note, open garage doors do invite "petty thievery". Some thieves are out there looking for everyday items to grab and sell, with easy access. The word also gets out that a neighbourhood could be an easy target and there's something worthwhile behind all those "closed" garage doors- besides Mini-Coopers.

Well, I want to thank all those dog-walkers who've let their pooches pee on our front lawn over the past "winter" months. The Mister and I are now the proud owners of a dozen or more brown circles of dead grass. Oh, folks walking by the house are not alone in shouldering the blame here, for a nearby  pooch has "watered" this small green space as well on several occasions.
When we vocalize our dismay with the pooch's owner, we are cheerfully told- while puffing away on six inches of cancer in a stick-
"Don't worry, the rain will wash it away!"
We sigh.
Yes- eventually it will but it also kills the grass in the meantime.
The short end of the story is the plain fact that our front lawn is the size of an extra-large bath towel from Winners, so a few doggy spots really makes the lawn look crap.

We have new neighbours moving into the hood.
They are not moving from very far away.
They tell us their former neighbourhood is not what it once was and is in a steady downward spiral what with students possessing little respect taking short cuts through a nearby fence along with the litter from area fast food establishments and ciggy butts.
Homeless people roam the area too and druggies pick up needles at an area needle drop-off.

What a world we live in where those killing themselves by injecting substances into their bodies have a drop off place for their old needles, picking up fresh ones in return.
It is just crazy!
It's like smokers who never look at the big picture.
In the end we pay for their medical bills when any number of medical malaise hits.

These are the riff-raff, who steal articles from open garages- hint, hint and then sell them at numerous thrift shops for fast cash and a fast-track to more drugs.
I have mentioned before that many parks here on this part of the Island have yellow boxes affixed to trees asking the addicted to deposit their scuzzy needles inside so as not to leave them laying on the ground.

This homeless/drug problem is one of the dark clouds hanging over the area nearer the Island Highway. Although many people won't say it out loud, many of these people are Aboriginals. You see them in the open spaces along the Island Highway, under the trees with empty booze bottles haphazardly strewn about.
These so-called homeless which life may have dealt some bad hands, cower and cuddle up in the doorways of many businesses.
They leave garbage behind.
They urinate on buildings and defecate in corners.
They yell and scream obscenities.
They stand at busy street corners holding signs saying "help me, I'm hungry".
Yah, well, try eating something rather than shooting crap into your arm or living life through endless bottles of cheap booze.

You are right!
I have little patience for this as many Islanders do. I know it's a thorn in the side of municipal officials and people just trying to run a business and provide for themselves and their families.

Even in beautiful Victoria last week, a gal wearing white earplugs and dressed nice-enough approached the Mister and I asking-
"Do you have a dollar?"

"Nope."- I replied, "Do you?"

What happened to-
"Hey Mac, ya got a quarter for a cup of coffee?" or "Ya got an extra cigarette?"
The answer was still no but it was a way better deal if one decided to submit.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

ROBBLOG #772- Beware...

Life is short. Beware the Ides of March. The future is now...and all that Jazz.

A friend recently announced that her and I were on the wrong end of 60.
That should be chiseled into my headstone- if I had one.
Here lies Rob.
Still and- on the wrong side of 60.

It was a few weeks ago that I began another search for a friend I hadn't seen nor heard from in almost 20 years. It is quite easy to lose contact with someone.
Life just gets in the way.
Cate was an airline friend.
We worked together in the late 80's at Wardair at Pearson International in Toronto. In fact there is a circle of friends from those airline years that The Mister and I are still in contact with on a regular basis. I don't now what it was about that time with Wardair that forged forever friends.
But it did.

However, Cate disappeared off the radar a couple of decades ago.
In the summer of 2017- before The Mister and I set foot on this Island, a group of airline friends had a summer goodbye for us at a cottage in Muskoka. It was fun. At some point the conversation turned to "our" Cate- a Brit by birth. It seemed that none of us had heard from her or knew where she had gone. Someone suggested she had returned to England. Others suggested she had got lost in Toronto or some other big city.
No one had any answers or clues as to her disappearance.

Shortly thereafter, I began an online search. I had her surname from both marriages I was familiar with and knew approximately where she might have been in England. I also had her daughter's name in Ontario. What I didn't have was her maiden name.

Anyhoo, that first search failed, although I did find someone with the same name listed at an airport in southern England. I e-mailed a contact at the airport. He replied that this might be the person I was looking for but she no longer worked at this particular airport.
For employee confidentiality purposes, he couldn't tell me more.
I am sure he knew, he just couldn't say.

I let the searching go for a few months until a few weeks back when I re-visited the airport website in the south of England once again. No clues there as I re-read the information but it did allow me to focus on that general area. I knew that she had to be within a comfortable driving distance of that airport. There were many communities from which to choose.

A few days later when I returned to the search, I wondered if she had returned to Canada. I did a 411 search.
However, a bell went off.
If there was a Canada 411, perhaps the UK had the same thing.
I searched several websites but they all wanted a few pounds to look for phone numbers and addresses. Finally, I found one website which was free.
I typed in Cate's name.
One response appeared on my computer screen in all of the UK.
Her name- Catherine, along with a familiar last name, a cottage name, street and village name and phone number was right there in front of me.
I was beside myself.
I called The Mister- "I think I've found "Our Cate"!- I cried.

Wardair's DC 10 and 747
I was a little timid about calling her.
What if it was someone else?
What if it was an old lady who lived in the cottage thought she was being followed or scammed and sent Interpol after me or the very least- Scotland Yard.
No, the safest, most gentlemanly thing to do would be to write a note in a nice card saying who I was and including a business card with all my particulars on it.
I did that and posted it on Family Day weekend.

I didn't have to wait long.
The following Friday, Cate's name and the first line of her e-mail-
"You could have blown me away with a feather" appeared in my inbox.
There were tears.
I couldn't believe it.
Here after almost 20 years was the elusive friend who never left our hearts and minds.

The following day we made a call.
I was anxious. Happy. Beside myself.
Once the ringing stopped there was the sound of a familiar voice...
From the past.

Tom picked up the extension and for the next couple of hours we caught up like it had only been a couple of weeks.
That is true friendship.
We don't know how the time flew.
She told us she had decided to go "back home" to England.
We had moved west to Vancouver Island.

We won't let this happen again.
There's no time.
Another 20 years cannot be allowed to pass.
We will meet up- in person, soon.

"Rob, we are on the wrong end of 60, you and I"- Cate said.
We laughed.
How true.

Life is short here at the wrong end of 60.
The Ides of March is waiting for us all.

So, look for an old friend.
Renew an old acquaintance.
You'll feel good about it.