Thursday, August 29, 2019

ROBBLOG #796- Ethel and Me Zzzzzz

So, I had this dream the other night.

The Mister and I were on a train going somewhere. It looked like First Class seating, which of course is me all over. I love being "in front of the blue curtain" and it's even better- on a train in Europe, to be in the First Class Carriage. No undesirables walking through the carriage or sitting across the aisle
shelling peanuts.
Oh and usually- no screaming kids.
Like Miss Coco Peru says- There's a place for Kids.
She actually says more but I digress...
Now, I don't mean that to be nasty, it's just the plane truth. Quiet kids are best on train, plane or elsewhere.

Anyhoo, there we were- the Mister and I, sitting in the front row of the First Class Carriage when I decided I needed to stretch my legs. We had just dined because I could see the "fancy" Royal Darby plates on the white, linen-clad table in front of us.
I stood up and turned to walk to the rear of the carriage. As I did so, I glanced down at the lady in the seat directly behind us.
It was Vivian Vance!
I looked her straight in the eye and spurted out-
"Oh My Goodness, Ethel! Ethel Mertz, how lovely to meet you!"
I had caught Ethel by surprize but still, she stretched out a white-gloved hand towards mine.
Uh, my hand was not wearing a white glove.
I don't know why she was wearing white gloves on a train but I do remember that it sort of looked like the 1950's judging by clothes and the style of the train car- or carriage, keeping in mind it is a dream after all.
My Dream.

As her gloved hand reached mine I realized that I had called her Ethel.
"Oh Dear!"- I said in a regretful manner, "I mean Vivian. Vivian Vance!"
"Oh that's quite alright Dear," she replied in her Ethel Mertz manner. Freddie always did the same thing!"
Freddie? Hmmmm, Maybe I was right after all. She continued-
"Yes, people do that to me all the time. It's only a name. I am quite used to it. Honestly, I am."
"Good to know, Miss Vance." I said, getting all proper like. "Funny I should meet you here on this train- like this, because just the other evening I was watching an old movie of yours."
"Really?" she asks. "Which one was"
She gestured expecting me to share my name with her.
"Oh! It's Rob." I chuckled more from embarrassment than anything really. "Yes, my name is Rob."
"Fine. Rob. So, what movie from my glorious career did you watch?"
Miss Vance batted her eyelashes while she waited for my reply.
"Well, it was that one where you danced with what's-his-name."
She looked puzzled for a moment then said- "What's his name? Let's see Astair or Gene Kelly?"

Shit, I thought. I can't remember so I suggested- 
"you know, the one with all those dance steps and the twirls."
Nothing from Miss Vance.
I tried thinking again looking pensive.
"Oh! I think you were dancing in a grave yard with lots of trees and headstones!"
I think I had nailed it!
"Yes. Very spooky. I remember now Miss Vance.."
I was getting quite excited by this point.
Miss Vance lit up.
"Oh Rob! That was Gene Kelly and the movie was entitled- Human Remains! A terrific musical!"
I grabbed my pearls and said- "That's it! You are absolutely correct Miss Vance! It was Human Remains!"
"Oh call me Viv. Lucy always did!"
OMG! I paused.
Lucy did? Now I have been invited to call her Viv too. I started to shake- just a bit. Does life get any better than this? I thought I should move along. I am sure a big star like Viv had better things to do than talk to me- in a dream no less.
"Well- Viv, I'll let you go. I have taken enough of your time and I only wanted to stretch my, I mean my legs."
I blushed a little.
Miss Vance smiled slightly and said- "It was a real pleasure Rob. See you again some time. Maybe in church or in the movies or at the very least Heaven!"
She threw her head back and laughed, then turned to look out the window at the countryside whizzing by.

What a strange old broad I though, as I continued to walk to the end of the First Class Carriage and back. By the time I had turned around and headed back up the aisle, Miss Vance, I mean- Viv, was gone. On the seat where she was sat there was a bit of fluff and one white, glove.

Believe it or Not!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

ROBBLOG #795- OK. See You.

Shit! I've gone and done it again.

I had two phrases I thought of the other night before shutting off the light. I was going to use them to start this blog. I knew I should have written them down.
I didn't.
Now, I can't remember what they were but they were to be the start of this blog.
Now that I've lost the concept I have to start all over.


Hennaway, let me go in another direction. There are a coupe of people I follow on Twitter.
You know what Twitter is- don't you?
Now these people are a part of an organization, meaning they are not really speaking for themselves when they tweet but although known independently, they're tweeting for- let's call it a "non profit". If they make a comment it reflects mostly on this non profit- right?

Hennaway again, I've had two such "accounts" that I stopped following this week because the Twitterer had Tweeted something political. I've followed these accounts for quite a while but now what the accounts have to say has fallen silent- my choice.

I think these people tweeting under the face and name of something else need to be non-political and shut up. In the case of what I tweet on @SwissshRadio and what I write here on this blog it's a personal comment. Swisssh Radio is mine and obviously my ROBBLOG is mine since my smiling face overlooks these words from above. I don't believe it's any secret that I am not a fan of the Conservative Right. I believe in live and let live. I believe in rights for all folk. So, perhaps my comments and life are more centre-right.

When I make a comment on Twitter, I usually try to make it in the third person concocting a funny scenario by posting a photo- usually of a interesting-looking older lady. I engage this lady in a short conversation to perhaps another person in the photo or my favourite choice- to someone on the otehr end of a telephone line. That way I get my point across with comedy and without flat out saying it's me speaking the truth. I think it works quite well but I am sure occasionally I fail.

Agnes: "For Cupcake Sakes Blanche, Do you know what
 the spit he's talking about here on this blog?
Blanche: No Dear, I certainly do not. Is he talking about that Con guy Albert Scheer?"
Agnes: "Not Albert Scheer Blanche, Andrew Scheer that fellah that's always fiddling with his right side and who might need glasses I hear tell if'n he keeps that filthy habit "up". No Blanche, I'm rapping about this here Blog Fellah..."
For the most part I try to be entertaining but there are times when someone like Andrew Scheer pisses me off so much I have to unload.

You know, I really don't get the right wing Conservatives.
I don't know how anyone does.
They seem to be against everything that is good about our country. I can smile and allow the Greens and the NDP's their odious opinions. Usually, I can understand their point of view but while on the topic, I must say that Jagmeet  Singh is definitely not a "Jack Layton" or the guy that followed him- old "what's-his-name" who now is a political analyst for CTV News or something.
Go figure...
Can't get enough votes to be PM but he's good enough and apparently smart enough to be a political commentator.

Anyhoo, these political tweets forced me to "unfollow" the offenders.
It wasn't an easy decision.
I hummed and hawed for a few days like the time a month ago I stopped following Cher because of all her anti-trump tweets. I mean, I don't like Trump either but I'm a Canadian and I follow Cher for "Cher" not anti-Trump rhetoric.

Same thing happened with Bette Midler.
Now that was hard but her Trump-Tweets got in the way and again as a Canadian I didn't want to read them anymore. In fact I looked at many of the people I follow and if they "Trump-Tweeted" too much I got rid of them. Take Jean Soon who play's Mrs. Kim on TV's "Kim's Convenience.
She talked Canadian Politics but a little too often she let go on some stupid American, anti-Trump piece of dithering and I had to click that "Unfollow" button.
Sorry Jean.
You'll be happy to know that I still follow Appa- "Mr. Kim", Actor Paul Sunh-Hyung Lee.

Anyhoo, not that any of these Twitter folks I follow give a pony's patoot if I follow them or not but at least I have now publicly stated why I clicked the unkindly "Unfollow Button".

Okay. See you.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

ROBBLOG #794- An Anniversary

Two years ago today.

Just two years ago today, Tom and I slipped away in Priscilla leaving Orillia, Ontario behind forever. We had ourselves, a bunch of boxes, a selection of clothes, food and of course our canine and feline family Missy, Koko, Dickens and Doyle.

Things change.
Priscilla was sold last year to a new family in Port Alberni- in the centre of Vancouver Island.
Our family has changed.
We lost Doyle on August 17th at the KOA in Winnipeg. He ran from Priscilla about 1030 at night.
We never saw him again.
The last view I had of him was his puddy tail up in the air and his orange arse disappearing into the Manitoba night.
Doyle never got to see his new home here in the Cowichan.
I know I should stop but every day I check the Winnipeg Lost Cats Facebook Page looking for a glimmer of hope. Maybe some kindly Granny has taken him in and one of these days when he is taken to a vet, they'll check his chip and he'll come home to us...

Another special family member- Our Missy, made it to the Island but passed in September of last year.
That was devastating
She so wanted to stay a while longer with her Dads but that was not to be. A little BC cedar box sits on a fireplace mantle in our Master Bedroom holding her ashes. Her little knitted sweater with the red maple leaf is draped over the headboard- above my head, of our bed.

Gosh that morning leaving Pine Tree House.
I sullenly walked through every room in the house saying goodbye.
She looked so lonely and empty.
I just wanted to hug her.
How do you say goodbye to 25 happy years of your life?
The Parties, Mrs. P's visits, the Christmases, Birthdays, Thanksgivings- a Marriage.
The spot on the floor in front of the Keeping Room fireplace where Dr. Stephen sent our wonderful Kiki- our yellow lab of 17 years, over the Rainbow Bridge. ~double sigh~

Our Pine Tree House in Orillia, Ontario
It's all there still in memories and pictures.
You know, I never thought we'd ever leave that cozy, little Victoria Home but leave we did- three time zones and a few thousand miles away!
Good Gawd it took guts.
I don't know how we did it.
I do mourn and miss that house (Pine Tree House c.1882) and the familiarity that a quarter of a century of familiar places and friends brought.
I know this will sound stupid but I still wonder if given the same chance today would we have moved.
Silly, I know but this move is and was probably the biggest life-changing experience that The Mister and I have made together. I don't know how Military families do it. Moving all over the globe and rarely having a place to really call home but here we are two years later settled in this Mediterranean climate of the Cowichan Valley, in Duncan BC, in North Cowichan.
This is our home now.

Palm Villa in the Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island BC
Tom reminded me this morning that this was the anniversary of our leaving Ontario. I knew it was around this date but I hadn't taken to looking back at Blogs I wrote at the time. Now I am up to my neck in memories.

A friend from Orillia said in a text a week ago- "I hope you are not too lonely."
I hadn't thought I had given an impression of loneliness. Orillia and Ontario will always be in my heart but then again the years I lived in Mississauga were special too. What I miss most about moving here to Vancouver Island is the distance from Toronto and maybe Ontario.
I always loved Toronto.
I lived in a couple of areas of the city but my favourite was on Clark Street just off Queen Street east past the Don Valley Parkway. That was the small house I lived in when I first met Tom. An area of artsy folks, streetcars, the Beaches and a cross section of people from all over the world. It was a time when I didn't even have a car. I used transit to go everywhere.

So, yes, I miss Toronto and the shows and shopping and the Canadian National Exhibition. The EX was the best and I have so many memories of going every year. We tried the PNE here in Vancouver last year. It was a reasonable facsimile but not the Ex.
I still miss our perfect, little Pine Tree House too- and I always will.

So folks, a toast to two years ago and the day we loaded up our Prairie Schooner- better known as Priscilla, to head west to a new life.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

ROBBLOG #793- I Gotta Beef!

This pisses me off...just a bit.

As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I am trying my damndest to ween myself from pork and beef products. It's been months since I have eaten any pork product and just a few weeks for beef.

Attempting to make such a move is a little more difficult when going out to eat at a restaurant these days but if I can't find something on the menu, I ask to see if I can have this or that instead. I am still eating Turkey and Chicken- bless the short lives of these birds who give their life so I can eat a turkey sandwich or a chicken burger. When eating out I can order fettuccine with chicken- or not, or a salad with chicken or a even toasted turkey sandwich.

Shopping is an entirely different process.
I am buying veggie this and that.
Buying meatless "ground beef".
Purchasing veggie bologna- yum by the way. With all the crap in bologna- all beef or not, this veggie bologna tastes just as good with pickles and mayonnaise and lettuce. I even discovered a "fake" sliced turkey- equally as good.

Anyhoo, I have been actively searching for Beyond Meat Burgers in local stores. Sold out in one and probably placed next to the cheap dog food in another- I couldn't find it! A staff member I asked waved her hand and said- "It's back there somewhere because I've seen it come through..."
"Come through" means at the checkout.
Did she call someone to ask for me?
You see this Beyond Meat stuff is beyond their comprehension. Oh, they sorta get vegetarian but "meatless"?
Not really.

Today I picked up another brand of meatless burger just to try it. As I am going through the checkout, the lady busily scanning item after item with beep after beep stops dead when she sees the "LightLife" plant-based burger among my items.
She picks it up. Turns the package over with little sausage-like fingers and using a long, painted, french-tipped nail she points out to me the large number of items in this plant based burger.
She looks up after circling her nail around the ingredients and says to me-
"You know, in beef, there's only beef- that's all!"

I say- "Yes but I am not eating beef because of ingredients I am stopping the beef parade because of some of the slaughtering practices at abattoirs and the indecent conditions pigs and cattle are kept in during their relatively short lives both at farms and during their transport to slaughterhouses. Many of these animals are not seeing the light of day or green grass beneath their hooves in their lifetimes.
"Bleeding heart Liberal"- you say.
That's what her face said!

Not "bleeding heart" in this case...okay maybe just a bit.
It just that I find it hard to look a cow or pig in the eye. Don't even get me started on the thousands
of horses shipped to China and Korea for consumption.
I have read about the deplorable conditions these animals experience during their sea voyage.
Compare photos of horses crammed on ships to bucolic scenes of  horses standing under shade trees in green pastures and you'll see what I mean.

Back to beef, not far from where we live I always see dairy cows confined to small, fenced-in areas outside their open-air barns- roof only. The "girls" are laying about in the muck of mud and the muck of urine and shit.
At least that black stuff they stand and recline in looks like shit to me.

Google "cow and pig slaughter" or search for Esther the Pig on Twitter and follow her. You might get a rude awakening. Some of that abuse has happened here in British Columbia and I am sure in all provinces.

Now those are 100% Beef Paddies!!"
So, back to this lady at the checkout who says to me- "in beef, there's only beef".
Hmmm. Don't think so. Farmers inject cows behind the ears with 6 different hormones that accelerate growth and allow cattle to eat less.
Why behind the ears?
Because when they cut off a cow's ears at slaughter or as one web account calls it- "Harvest Time", the cut off ear can be discarded so as not to contaminate the beef product.
So lady- it is not entirely correct when you tell me that beef is beef and only beef.
There's a lot of shit in beef too- relatively and figuratively speaking.
For gawds sakes- they stand in it. See above.

Health Canada sets maximum levels of hormones and antibiotics that can be left in food.
How nice.
Some studies say these hormones cause cancer and other cause puberty to onset early in children.
I am not an authority in that. All I'm saying is- there's more in beef than beef.

Imagine if checkout people pointed out ingredients on all products.
"Oh Honey, this breakfast cereal has too much salt. Oh! Look at the sugar content"
"the chocolate chips in these cookies are not really chocolate and the chemicals could fell an elephant!"

My point is don't tell me this because I am trying to eat so as not to cause an animal pain or discomfort.
It is my choice and it's NOT an easy choice.
It's hard.
It's a commitment.
It's a new way of eating.

I welcome you to try it but just leave me alone as I adjust and try- in my personal view, to do the tight thing.

Not that I consider myself overweight or fat at all but I have found that I have slimmed down and lost weight since quitting beef and pork.

Whaaat's that you say???

Sunday, August 4, 2019

ROBBLOG #792- To Be or Not to Be

It's Hot.

August Heat has arrived on our Island in the Pacific just off Canada's West Coast.
The true west coast here on Vancouver Island.

31C but no Humidity.
The sun is prickly hot.
We lather on the sunscreen but sometimes one's cheek's and ears still become beet-red after a day of exposure. At the end of the day, I apply lots of skin cream to regenerate my skin.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Its my mantra...

Even though it's warmish we've been to the ocean, the farmer's market and to theatre- outdoors.
A festival called 39 Days of Summer is wrapping up here in the Cowichan. 39 days of music and fun and theatre.

We slipped down to Charles Hoey (rhymes with phooey) Park the other evening to watch four hours of Shakespeare in the great outdoors. Two of the Bard's best were presented- Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure. I had originally thought it would be bits and pieces of the plays that start a two week run at a farm just off Koksilah Road but to our surprise we saw both plays in their entirety.
Well almost...

The director of Much Ado told the Mister and I after the play, that she had cut a bit.
12 pages!
I knew dialogue went askew because I was following the script on my mobile. The director told us it was purely for time. The play would have gone almost three hours at full length.
Since Shakespeare is Public Domain- meaning a company pays no rights, the director can slice a bit.
I mean really, unless one was following along- like I was, a few hither and yon's and perchance's would never be missed. In fact if the slicing is done right it helps the play move along a bit faster.
Old Bill can get bogged down in flowery words and sentences not to mention scenes that have almost nothing to do with the overall story. These are usually Bill's attempts at humour and bumbling characterizations.
Sometimes they hit and sometimes they go flat.
In the second play we saw this was the case.
I had not seen Measure for Measure before and to be fair maybe it was the actor's or director's interpretation that fell flat.

To be fair again, I have never been in nor directed a Shakespearean ditty.
I am not sure that I ever will.
It's a lot of "language" to learn, yet some actors- like actors in these two presentation, learn parts in two different plays and perform them during the run.

I have had dialogue from two plays swirling in my head at the same time. I can only imagine what it would be like to have two of Shakespeare's.

Anyhoo, it was an enjoyable four and a half hours and I came away wanting to get back on stage again. Even Much Ado's Director said-
"Sounds like someone is itching to do more theatre."

Waiting for the Fat Lady to sing or recite Shakespeare
In between shows, I talked to a local gent by the name of Longevity John- a former Ontarian, who owns two small theatrical/stage spaces Downtown not far from Charles Hoey Park. John also is the man behind "39 Days". I had chatted to him before but had never said The Mister and I had a theatre company back in Ontario.
His eyes lit up when I mentioned it.
He said- "I'm all about community and we should definitely talk!"

I am thinking.
I am a little hesitant but one can start small, dipping one's smallest toe into the waters before jumping head first into the raging stream!

Already I am wondering how to raise money.
Who to cast.
What show to do and more.

Stay tuned.
There could be more news soon. Right now I have to go throw some baby powder on my dampish underarms.
Whew! It's a scorcher!

It's tough living on this Island Paradise...