Monday, April 29, 2019

ROBBLOG #780- Goodbyes and Memories

Five years ago today April 30th, I said goodbye to my Mum- Marion Ruth Bartley, for the last time.

She passed at 2 pm.
My Sister Lynn and my brother Scott were there in her room and my brother-in-law Jim. Tom was
at home waiting for "the call" and arrived in the minutes after she left us.

Mum always claimed she was going to live to be 100, maybe 120.
She did her best. 92.
Old age, Lupus and maybe a bit of Cancer did her in.
The falls didn't help. The bit of memory loss but once she started falling that was the beginning of a downhill slide.

I didn't see my Mum for two and a half years- before she took ill.
We lived in the same city.
I saw her-thank goodness, over the last four months or so before she passed.
That good thing.

When Tom and I were planning our "Formal and Legal" Wedding, she dug in her heels and said she wouldn't come.
She said to me- "Why do you always have to make such a big deal of everything?"
I said- "I don't know if it is such a big deal but I have to do this. We both want this."
Eventually- in the week before 200 plus guests were to arrive for the party, she decided to come.
Thank goodness...

We spent some quality time in the past few months when she didn't really get out of bed.
I had her outside in the fresh air in this special wheelchair- once.
Tom and I had her to the dining room- where she valiantly tried to feed herself before yelling and throwing the fork down in disgust- once.

Mum was stubborn.
I inherited that from her.
She had a good sense of humour and loved to laugh.

Marion Ruth Reid
It was so hard that April afternoon leaving her alone in that room. We took down the prints we had hung on the walls a month or more before, trying to cheer the place up a little. We cleaned out some of her cupboard drawers all while she was lying there so still.
It was a sad parade as we closed the door to her room, seeing her laying there. Walking down that hall to the elevator and out the front doors to our vehicles was difficult but we all did it.

~sigh, tears~

In the final few days I never saw her eyes open and both my sister and I sat with her for many hours. She called out for her Mum- Lottie Bartley, a lot and her older sister May. She seemed to have the fear that May would head off to school without her and Mum always had to look after her younger sister- Wilma. She couldn't leave her behind.
Nothing you could say would calm her.
It was awful listening to her plaintiff cries...

She liked to listen to music and had a nice voice. In the 1950's, she always had Juliette's noon hour CBC Radio show on. As a kid in the 1950's I listened to Mum and Dad's old 78's on a humble phonograph player that plugged into our Northern Electric Radio. I think it was made of a lighter form of bakelite. Not too many plastics were around in those days.
When I would touch the needle to place it on a record by Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney or Guy Lombardo, I'd get a shock. Not all the time but enough that I was always a little hesitant to touch the tone arm.
I'd have Dad do it for me. He was my Dad after all and he wouldn't feel the numbing pain of electricity run through his fingers like I did or at least that's what I thought.
I think that where my appreciation of "good music" comes from. It all started all those decades ago.

My Dad. Walter Harvie Reid.
He passed on May 6 just after 7 in the morning. A cool, brisk morning with the sun shining and the birds singing.
That was 1992.
Dad had Cancer. Lymphoma. It rushed to every part of his body within weeks.
He never got home from the hospital once they had him in there the first time. I always had some hope he's magically get to come home but no.
He didn't.

Me and My Dad.
He was lucid until the last day or so.
On one of those days- although he kept his eyes closed, we were trying to make him comfortable. I sat on the edge of his bed, leaned in and said to him-
"Dad, are you comfortable?"
His blue eyes popped open. He sat up. Looked me square in my blue eyes and said in a loud voice that could be heard all the way down the hall at the Nurse's station and beyond-
"I'M DYING!!!!"

We all kind of chuckled. I looked at Mum and said something like- "Well, that's that! Good to know."

Dad also had a great sense of humour and loved to laugh at the British "Carry On" Films. He loved George Formby too- another Brit.

He would laugh so hard, he made me laugh watching him as I sat next to him on the chesterfield.
His lips were stretched to the limit and his one gold tooth sparkled as he guffawed.
I have gold tooth too. A molar on the side.

Dad smoked cigars occasionally. Outside the house.
He loved to fish. I didn't.
He could never teach me the patience required to sit in the rowboat on calm Lake Couchiching on a hot summer day or in the stinky, oil-heated fish hut in freeezing cold January with the snow piled high.
Ugh. Winter and the smell of fish!!
Not my cup of tea.

Dad was a great gardener and his thumb was very green. For a few years we had several greenhouses in our yard on Cochrane Street in Orillia. He'd sell the "boxed plants" from the greenhouses or from our front yard. 3 boxes for $1 in those days.
We'd even take the plants to the Saturday Morning Market.

I remember how moist Dad's blue eyes became when his Mother Lillian (Watson) - my Grandmother, died. His Dad- Norman, died a year and a month before Grandma Reid.
I remember watching him sit at our kitchen table when Grandad died.
He looked lost.

Mum and Dad loved to camp. It all started in a 9 by 9 foot green tent. Dad would pick up bails of hay from the side of the road and shove it underneath the tent's stitched in flooring in order to make a comfortable bed for us all.
"Hell, why d'ya need an air mattress when you have straw?"- he'd tell everyone who'd listen that we slept on straw.
Jesus. Mary and Joseph!!

I loved Beavermead Park. It was on the shores of Little Lake in Peterborough. I thought we were living in pretty upscale accommodation the year Mum and Dad bought a box tent with two rooms- a kitchen diner at the front and a bedroom behind.
Since I was a teenager, I had graduated to my own little blue tent. The blue die always rubbed off onto my feet and summer shorts. That tent never lost it's "new canvas smell".
I can smell it right now. It takes me back...
Oh, I had an air mattress by then.

In later years Mum and Dad had a comfortable trailer with indoor facilities but you could only do number one- a pee, never a poop in the toilet. One had to walk up to the washroom at the park for that bit of business. I had stopped camping years before but when Tom and I visited them at Beavermead Park on Armour Road in Peterborough- their summer address, we knew full well- never but never, ever poop in the trailer toilet.
Only pee.
Get it? Got it? Good.

I have so many stories. I have started many times to write them down. I think I have told many in several of these blogs over the years.

Time goes by.
I get older.
Now, I'm a Senior.

I still miss them both- every day.
Love you Mum and Dad.

I'll see you soon...

Monday, April 22, 2019

ROBBLOG #779- Like Right??

So, the other day I was waiting for Tom to pick me up from outside a restaurant door.

He had a rain jacket on.
I didn't.
I had left my umbrella in the van, so he said:
"Stay here"- meaning at the front door to the restaurant, "I'll get the van and pick you up. Saves you from getting wet."
Made sense to me. I could stay dry.
Two Teenage girls stood a few feet to my right while I waited on the Mister- right?

Two Teens- I'll call them Rhonda and Rachelle, talking and texting at the same time...

Rhonda: So, like he says prob, right, eh? (she texts Mary Ellen)

Rachelle: Right? (Texting Brad)

Rhonda: And I go like right...

Rachelle: True, right...

Rhonda: But then, he...

Rachelle: Yah...

Rhonda: He like goes like I'm not sure- right.

Rachelle: What the...

Rhonda: I know- right?

Rachelle: Right

Rhonda: 'Cause he knows it- right?

Rachelle: Psssbtts (mouth noise) Yah, like too true- right...

Rhonda: Right. That's what I said.

Rachelle: Fer sure, I guess.

Rhonda: Cause, like I know that he did- right?

Rachelle: rolls eyes and texts Yah.

Rhonda: So, I say- What the fuck Brad (texting Shondra)- right?

Rachelle: Right...and why wouldn't you- right? (posting pic to Instagram)

Rhonda: I know.

Rachelle: Right? (pause) So...

Rhonda: Whaaat...

Rachelle: If he didn't (pause while texting) like, then maybe Brad is like, you know right.

Rhonda: Right? (texts Julianna about shoe shopping)

Rachelle: I mean, like, he could have- right?

Rhonda: (stops texting and thinks- if that's humanly possible) Like Brad is so like cool- right?

Rachelle: Ya, right...

Rhonda: So, I should think about it right?

Attention diverted...a new text arrives

Rachelle: Oh look, Mike just texted..

Rhonda: Mike Mike? Right?

Rachelle: Ya, well who else right...

Rhonda: Right...

Thursday, April 18, 2019

ROBBLOG #778- I Love My Garden

I Love My Garden.

There I've said it.
It's out there for all the world to hear.
I Love my Garden.

I have just read an article from Oliver Sacks, a New York Doctor who passed in 2015. The article was sent to me by a friend who intends to use my/our garden for meditation and reinvigorating the human spirit. It's a suggestion that Dr. Sacks made and something he did for his patients- taking them to nearby botanical gardens for plant therapy".

Our Pine Tree House Garden in Orillia, Ontario
Our friend is welcome to do that in our garden.
Sit and reflect.
I get that feeling too from the garden that the Mister and I have here on Vancouver Island and from the memories and photos of our garden back in "old home" in Orillia, Ontario. A garden is a wonderful place whether it be a secret garden or a garden for all to see. I love walking along a street and peering into a garden behind a cedar fence or brick wall. It's like peering into someone's imagination- or soul.
Their choice of plants.
The arrangement of pathways and flowers beds.
The colourful containers holding multi-coloured, spreading blooms adding colour and life to a space.
Every garden has a unique personality. It could be totally the garden's owner that shines through or a garden might even take on a personality of its own.
I have a fondness for quirky garden accessories from gnomes to welcoming seating to Greek statues and car parts.
Car parts?
Yes. I have some small car parts sprinkled throughout one garden.
A fan blade.
A rusted alternator and another unidentifiable rusty-red piece of metal- once part of a vehicle that hummed along Island Roads. I collected these bits from the land behind Palm Villa which at one time hosted a bit of an auto wreckers. Probably- from what I can find out, just one guy with a yard and a penchant for collecting and perhaps fixing old vehicles that were past their prime.

It's difficult when you have to leave a garden you've tended for over two decades. Tom and I did just that when we hitched our wagon- RV really, and made the trek out here.

Good Gosh, we had to love that Ontario garden to bits because we brought 50 Lily plants all the way west and they are thriving here in our Mediterranean climate. Some lilies have had flower bracts on them for a couple of weeks. I apologize to many Ontario Gardeners who are just now looking at daffodils beginning to sprout. Been there done that here on the Island. We also brought some garden statuary with us in our move. Our Lion Head fountain and our frog which pumped water into a pond- not only at Pine Tree House in Orillia but in our previous home in Mississauga. Now, that little greenish-blue, concrete froggy is spewing water into a new pond here in our backyard in the Cowichan. The frog does more work here since the pond becomes active in early March and is still splish-sploshing in November- even longer if it had not been for a cruel cold streak last December and repeated in February.

Gardens at Palm Villa on Vancouver Island
Yesterday, I planted a flat of Yellow Bonanza Marigolds around our Palm Tree at the front of Palm Villa. A bright, sunny, yellow that looks good with our yellow Muskoka Chairs on the front patio.
I've already planted a small laurel plant and a bridal veil- in full bloom. Tom replaced a clematis which didn't make it through the "winter" season. Speaking of making it, my green banana plant that reached up to the sky about 14 feet has started to pop up a few inches- more every day. The green banana in the south garden is up a couple of feet and is pushing out new shoots every second day it seems.

Since Tom and I broke the bank last year when it came to buying plants from garden centres and greenhouses, we are trying to let plants flourish that are already in the garden. It's difficult to browse a garden centre and not buy a thing. Case in point is the Sandpiper Garden Centre in Old Chemainus. Her plants are wonderful and she has quirky accessories as well. I could spend money there- and alas, I did.
Well, just a small plant- or two.

You know how it is...

Sunday, April 14, 2019

ROBBLOG #777- What's Goin' On?

What in the name of living Bejezus is goin' on?

I don't know what's happening in this country CANADA of ours but it must be something in the air.
The right-wing, anti-immigration, anti-gay, anti-everything faction of Alberta politics is surging ahead. Federally the Tory's are knocking on the door. The NDP are fading into oblivion with what's his name. The "People's Party" is running candidates federally.
How long will it be before swastika-wearing people will be strolling in parks and malls on Saturday mornings or lighting crosses on fire on Sunday nights?

That Asshole Doug Ford is giving the Ontarians- who overwhelmingly voted for his candidates, exactly what they deserve. How do you like him now? It's not that you didn't have plenty of warning. Remember brother Rob- the drug kingpin, drunk in public, high and cursed by not only Torontonians but folks around the world? I remember folks sitting next to the Mister and I in London a few years ago. They were having a good chuckle and wondered how such a man could be Mayor of Toronto. I expect now they'd be on the floor with their sides heaving from laughter knowing Douggie is in control. Of course all they can think about these days is Brexit and their PM Theresa May.
Can you say mess?

Back in Ontario there's Tory Blue on provincial licence plates coming in the future. They're cutting education and teachers. Increasing classroom numbers. Now, he is about to pass legislation that pretty much ensures he or his government can't be sued. Now, why would a political party need something like that in place?
Look out Ontario!

Look out Canada!
Look out Justin!
Right now, for the first time I couldn't care less about politics in this country.
The righteous Jane Philpott is speaking out on television hinting she may join another party.
Who the fuck will you align with Jane?
A Liberal going to Scheer's conservatives all to get back at the party that fired you- and rightly so.
The Liberal Caucus should have kicked you and your sidekick Jody out of the party back in January.
That whole waste of time was an Indian VS White thing. The same thing that's been going on in this country for years!
Get over it! It's 2019!
Cripes I'm surprized the French are quiet these days!
Aboriginals got your tongue?

I used to be supportive of the French in this country. The history and heritage. However, one morning I looked at my Rice Krispies  box and thought- enough! Join the Americans and they'd build a wall around you before you could say Rene Levesque- rest his soul. (Wait, he didn't have one...)
We had a French-Canadian couple join us in our elevator in Honolulu a week ago. They could barely spit out a "hello".
I mean we understand Bonjour, if English leaves a bad taste in your mouth- and oh, what's it say on that passport in your bag? CANADA?...

Today, the polls are showing Scheer ahead of little Justin. I am not surprized what with this SNC mess and the two gals I mentioned above. Two MP's bringing down a government.
My, these girls must be proud. Very proud- and to what end?
Put on your bug girl panties and get on with your life.
Guess it's more important to support a right-wing, hateful party taking control.
It's in the cards- and polls, folks.

Everything we have in this CANADA of ours is up for change.
Gay men and Women- look out. We may have our freedoms now but that can change in a heartbeat. Within 10 years they could be scooping us up and throwing us in camps.
Taking away marriage rights, adoption rights and equality in the workplace.
You "straight" ladies may all be barefoot and pregnant again before you know it. Strap on your pearls and keep hubbies slippers and pipe at the ready for he's coming through that door any minute.
I hope you're ready and re-applied your makeup for your man's imminent arrival.

Don't laugh!
It's been done before.
Nothing's forever. Too bad you burned all your bras.
You'll need them.

I sat beside two, nice senior ladies in a cafe the other day. Eventually, they mentioned Justin- I can't remember why, then, the roof fell in. Apparently Justin has given 5 billion dollars to a women's movement and yet Seniors need help.
I'm a Senior too Goddammit! What 5 million?
I had no idea what they were spouting off about but I know one thing- they will not vote for Justin.
I said nothing.
The one gal was even wearing "Liberal Red".
She also said during our conversation that when she came with her husband to the Island from Nova Scotia, her church- The Church of the Nazarene" helped.
I said- "Oh, the Church of the Vaseline!"
She slapped my arm.
I said-"Look if it works for you- that's great. I am a member of the Church Of Atheism and I've never met as many "Humanists" anywhere as I have on this Island. She was agasp!
I can only surmise I was the first Atheist she had ever met. I think she was looking for my horns to appear atop my head or fire to spurt from my nose.
Anyway, all in all, she was a nice lady. Her friend was too. The hubbies who sat at a table behind were jolly and seemed to have a good sense of humour.
We had a fun chat.

So, folks, in a nutshell, change is in the air. Conservatism is rampant. Not that it's all bad. The extreme right-wing segment is- I believe.
For Fuck Sakes- live and let live!
I can only hope that Jason Kenny or Mr. Scheer have Gay sons and I mean GAY.
Screaming, lipstick wearing, full on lisping, Queer to the Nth degree GAY...and NOT that there's anything wrong with that. I can be a "Queen" with the best of them in the right company.
It's fun.
It's Liberating.
It's Life.

So take a pill everyone and calm down.
Enjoy life.
Stop the persecution of Gays and blacks and Aboriginals and Muslims and Immigrants of all flavours.
Stop the right-wing cronies.

We are all one big Family of Man- or Woman.
Take your pick.
Be happy.


Sunday, April 7, 2019

ROBBLOG #776- Home to "our" Island

From One Island to Another.

The Mister and I have only been off the Island three times since arriving in August of 2017 and here this time we leave "our" Island to travel to yet another- Hawaii, specifically Oahu.

We've been going to Honolulu on Oahu for 35 years+ and it is still such a happy place to be. Memories come flooding back- some not so good but I don't intend to air my dirty "Hawaiian" Laundry on this blog.
I heard you- "Why stop now?"
Saucy reader!

View on the Screen at my Air Canada Sleeper Seat
showing flight line from Vancouver to Honolulu 5hrs +
Other memories are warm and comforting. My Grandmother- Lottie Bartley, passed when I was on that Island almost 35 years ago. I was on a charter ticket and I couldn't get back to Ontario. However, on the plus side, I met Tom there and almost 35 years later we are living happy lives and we love going back to Honolulu. I can't begin to count the number of times we've been there but let me say- lots!!

We've tentatively put our names in for a condo next year that we had a few years back. This year's lodgings were not as nice. In fact the first room they gave us was terrible. It was worse than sleeping in an unfinished basement! We complained right away but nothing was done about it until the following morning. We used our airline points this time and we wonder if that was the reason we were given that dump of a room.

We did get into a nice room and were even offered the top floor with a roof Lanai- an upgrade we were told, however, anyone in the hotel could help themselves to any of the tables and chairs placed a few feet from our door.The view was amazing but we said "no thanks" without even looking at a room.

View of the Pacific and Kapahulu Avenue
We chose a room with condo kitchen and a Lanai with a Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head view exactly what we had the trip before. Look out though, Hawaii has this new thing called a "resort tax" and that gets added to your room. It's for cleaning your room or something like that when you vacate. It seems like a tax with a vague reason for being. Oh and shops all charge 15 cents for a bag. It's a law. Not too sure if the Crocs store charged us when they shoved our purchase into their logo'd bag.
I know that somewhere along the line Tom asked a clerk if they were prepared to pay us for carrying their bag with advertising emblazoned across both sides as we walked along Kalakaua Avenue.

We walked and dined and shopped and spent late afternoons on Waikiki Beach- Kuhio Beach actually. Kuhio, Queen's Beach and Waikiki Beach are all there. Hundreds and hundreds of vacationers cram into the space called "Waikiki Beach" and yet a few steps in a Diamond Head direction one finds no crowding, just ocean and sand and nice grass beneath swaying palms.

Sunset over Waikiki
We flew on Air Canada on three out of four flights but we returned from Honolulu to Vancouver on WestJet. It was our first time on this airline.
What to say about WestJet.
Not my cup of tea, I guess.
As an Air Canada pilot who was leaving on the Air Canada flight that we really wanted to be on said to us-
"It's a different product!"

Yup. That's for sure.
An unshaven, overweight, tank-top clothed, sandal clad man sitting in the wide seats- sold at a premium. Passengers in bare feet using the washrooms- yuck!
Screaming kids in front and behind us and a lady who had only flown once before- to the Island, nervously talking to the guy behind me. I heard her say to him- "I don't know how to turn off my cell phone and place it in flight mode, so I'll just leave it."
Not a good idea I thought and as I turned to look at her over my shoulder, the fellah across the aisle offered assistance.
Just before departure a flight attendant has to deplane what appeared to be a Mum and Dad and their daughter. I had passed by the lady in the departure lounge and thought she didn't look well. She was sweating profusely as she deplaned. Good that she did get off the plane, for if she was really ill during the flight we may have had to return if we weren't too far out over the Pacific.

The crew was nice.
Tom and I had paid for extra leg room and the seat between us stayed vacant.
That was nice but trying to sleep on a red eye was pretty impossible. The seats on their 737 reclined from here 
to here /
Just try snoozing or sleeping when upright to recline is about 2 inches.

The crew treated us very well. We had extra care and service. We didn't ask for that but we did bring chocolate-covered Macadamia nuts onboard to give to the crew.
As the Air Canada pilot said- Chocolates are the "bitcoin" of airlines.
It's just the thought of doing something nice. The "in charge" flight attendant said it's the appreciation of the whole thing. A small gesture but appreciated.
Yes, we pay for their service but if you have ever had to deal with the pubic- as you and I are members of, it can be trying at the best of times.

So, we chatted to the crew. Expressed our thanks and in return received a perk or two.
Nothing wrong with that- is there?

After being up all night and catching a small Air Canada Jazz flight to our Island- which was bumpy and threw us around  like crazy, we arrived home to sunshine and our own palm trees in our own front and back yard.

From Paradise to "Home" on our Island.
Pretty much equal.