Thursday, September 26, 2019

ROBBLOG #801- Change Please

Distance does funny things.

Not laugh out loud funny. Maybe more funny-interesting.
Being three time zones and a few thousand miles away from where one lived one's entire life is, well- life-changing.
It gives one a different perspective on life and living.

I guess I expected things to stay the same back home in Ontario.
Does everyone think that when a major move is undertaken? Perhaps.
I think you get so far away, that you lose sense of what it was like to live in that "other" place where your entire life was formed and lived. Being removed from that previous "living space" is one thing but living somewhere else and coping with the change is completely different.
It has to be.

It does take some getting used to, however.
I know that first-hand.
Since moving to this Island in the Pacific called Vancouver Island it has taken some thought and perseverance.

Oh, it was all so easy packing up Pine Tree House back in Orillia, Ontario.
The excitement of it all.
The move! The BIG Move!
Then, the reality when you hit the Island and live in a 30 foot RV called Priscilla for a month while your home is being finished.
One day you're told there'll be a delay.
Then a couple of weeks later yet another.
A move to an apartment to at least feel like a normal person in a normal house with a normal roof over your head comes next.
Sometimes that upheaval seems so long ago now.

You have to centre on where you life now and where it will be for the foreseeable future.
The point is you work at making your new community home and you believe that people in "old home" work at keeping things the same.
To wait for your return?
That isn't how the world spins.

There is change back in "old home" it's just that you get so wrapped up in your new home, new places, new people that you forget the world evolves back east.

Change can be as simple as new paint on a neighbourhood door.
New neighbours on the street where you once lived for twenty-five years.
It could be a century building torn down- like my old high school ODCVI that sat a block away from our house. Now, it's just empty space.

Change could be a new building erected on a farmer's field.
New businesses opening where once only rocks and dirt lay and weeds grow.

Change could be a birth or a death.
That's when you realize you are no longer a part of the world that was back home.
A death.
That person who has passed was there all your life and now when you go home, they aren't there to greet you.
Hug you.
Smile at you.
Ask how your new life is unfolding.

It's strange.

At times I feel like I am just on a long vacation and soon all these new people and places will drift away and I'll find myself back in the past, back on the side veranda at Pine Tree House, back to the way things were once upon a time.

I think autumn makes me feel this way, only with a twist these past years. Autumn, when things die off. Streets  become bare of green. Gardens are put to bed and "the social season" begins again to get a body through weeks and weeks of cold, miserable winter.

Living here on the Island this is our third autumn and it is different.
Leaves that change colour are minimal. Most leaves turn brown and fall off from the summer drought. Some trees turn a yellowy-green. Many plants, trees and bushes just stay green.
Green is the colour of autumn here and the colour of what Islanders jokingly refer to as "winter".
Not an Ontario, snow-bound, blustery, freezing rain, bone chilling white winter like Ontario has but a gentle Island time when mother nature replenishes the moisture lost in summer dryness.
If it's an average year, nature brings signs of spring to January and a sign of summer in February when one has to start cutting the grass again.
Last year I remember seeing Islanders cutting grass in December.
We go to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and fireworks from the rooftop of City Hall wearing sweaters and nylon jackets. No winter boots and scarves except worn by those who are followers of fashion. I even slip on a scarf I bought in London or Paris just to be Holiday fashionable from time to time. It's different and a notable change from Ontario where winter drags on every year.

So, I am still getting used to change.
Change is accommodating me.
Most change here on the Island has been gentle. 
The weather which just might be the biggest change is quite nice.
It plays with your mind when you can sit having coffee in the morning sunshine in January. Yes, I'd have a sweater or a hoody on but still try doing that in Ontario in January.
Oh and in front of me is one of three palm trees on our property.

The Mister and I have adapted to this change.
Oh, we love seeing old friends come here!
We enjoy seeing them fall in love with our island- and they do.
We don't have to convince them. Usually by the third day out of nowhere a visitor will say:
"You know, I could live here."

For us, we are certainly Islanders by now since there is a decal on the back window of our van with the words "Island Life".
The "I" in Life is the Island.

Funny, eh?

Thursday, September 19, 2019

ROBBLOG #800- How To Tell Your Kids About Justin

How To Tell Your Kids About Justin's Blackface

In light of this horrible, horrible, shocking disclosure that our Prime Minister once- okay three times, wore blackface, I present this story- keeping in mind as the media has been telling us over and over and over again, that this is shocking, horrific, unbelievable, misdirected, liberal,wrong and the big mother of all words- "Racist".
Well besides "Fuck" that is....

Part I

We look in on a modest two story home in a marginally liberal neighbourhood. A mother decides to sit her son down and have "the talk". No, not about penises and vaginas, about The Prime Minister's Blackface for she had read that she should have a talk with her "son". She read that in the right-wing newspaper called "the Sun" which happened to be laying on the floor in the toilet at work...

Mum: Now Howie, Mummy wants to sit you down and have a talk about Justin wearing blackface.

Howie: Okay Mummy.

Mum: Now Dear, it is not right for a man like this country's Prime Minister to colour his face with black paint and pretend to be a Sheikh or Nat King Cole.

Howie: Harry Belafonte.

Mum: What?

Howie: The Prime Minister wore paint on his face to act like Harry Belafonte and he sang The Banana Boat Song? Day-O?

Mum: He did? Oh, I love that song....anyway, he should not put paint on his face to be someone else.

Howie: Okay Mummy but do you mean like Mr. Brown down at the centre or Ronald McDonald.

Mum: Mr. whozit at the whatzit? No! Ronald McDonald is a clown!

Howie: Well, so is Mr. Scheer. I heard you tell Grandad that the other night on the phone.

Mum: You were listening?

Howie: Mum, you have an extremely LOUD voice.

Mum: Oh. Do I? Anyway, Mr. Brown?

Howie: Mr. Brown. He reads to us at the centre and sometimes he has red or green or yellow or black paint on his face.

Mum: ~Agasp~ All over his face? Maybe he wants to be a clown too.

Howie: Uh-huh.

Mum: Well, maybe's he's telling a story about people.

Howie: Oh you mean like Indians, Chinamen, Towelheads, Bog-trotters or Dagos?

Mum: Howie!! Do not use that word Indians. It's a bad, bad word. Or any of those others as well!

Howie: What should I say Mummy?

Mum: Well, Aboriginal or First Nation.

Howie: Should I put warpaint on my face?

Mum: NO! Don't put anything on your face!

Howie: Al Jolson did?

Mum: Al Jolson? How did you know about Al Jolson?

Howie I saw it in a movie on...

Mum: Television. Well that was a different time and a different place. Not Canada.

Howie: Mummy, Are Indians still Indians?

Mum: Well, yes but we can't call them that.

Howie: Are Cowboys still cowboys?

Mum: Yes.

Howie: So, I can call a cowboy a cowboy but not an Indian- Tonto?

Mum: Well, yes. I guess you can call a cowboy a cowboy but no, you can't call an Indian "Tonto" OR "Chief" for that matter.

Howie: Even if they are one? A Chief I mean.

Mum: No! Well, I mean I don't think so.... Oh nevermind, ask your teacher. The point is all that name-calling is wrong. That's what we call "Racist"!

Howie: Oh...~pause~ Is that what Mr. Celebrum is when he calls Gay People names?

Mum: No Dear, he's a homophobe.

Howie: Is it what is Mrs. Carnavole is when she calls the Lesbians rug munchers?

Mum: Whaaat? No Dear that still a homophobe.

Howie: What about when the man at the store makes fun of my friend and calls him Bisexual Berenie?

Mum: Well, that's a Biphobiant.

Howie: What about people from Mexico, are they beaners?

Mum: No! For goodness sake no. They are people just like us. Just people.

Howie: Oh, I thought they were Spics.

Mum: Howie, where did you ever hear that?

Together: On TV!

Howie: I hear faggot and nigger too. That's a Gay man and Black person- right?

Mum: Oh My Goodness!! You can't use any of those words- ever!!

He pauses...

Howie: Mum, will I still be able to paint my face green like The Hulk for Hallowe'en?

Mum: Ummmmm. Leave it with me will ya Howie. Mummy needs a drink.

Howie: Are you a drunk Mum?

Howie: Go outside and play Howie.

Part II

There is no part two. Just common sense....

Sunday, September 15, 2019

ROBBLOG #799- This IS Gonna Get Gritty

Today, here's a "Fractured Fairy Tale" for your gratification or at the very least edification.
Look, just read the damned thing and take from it what you will...

Roger Locks was out taking a walk along a trail in the deep woods. He like to keep active and keep his muscles and heart in shape. Every kilometre or so, Roger would fall to the ground and do twenty push ups. He knew he had a great, firm ass and he intended keeping it that way.

It soon became a very, very long walk. Mr. Locks was enjoying himself so much he actually lost track of the time. Hours had past and by this time he must have completed more than a hundred push ups.

He was becoming a little tired and hungry and thought that he should turn back. As he rounded a bend in the trail he spied a small, woodsy cottage next to a gigantic oak tree.
"How cute!"
Certainly someone could spare a drink and perhaps a slice of bread before he turned back for home.

Roger walked up to the front door and found it cracked open- just a bit.
"Hello!"- he shouted, ""Is anyone 't-uh home?"
No answer.
He tried again.
"Hello? I was wondering if you could spare a glass of water and maybe a slice of bread- with butter?
Still no reply.
He pushed the door open farther.
Looking into the cottage's interior he could see an old wooden table set with cloth and a vase of flowers in the centre.
Roger walked into the room forgetting he might be trespassing.
"Odd..."- he thought.
Along one side of the table were set two steaming bowls of what appeared to be spaghetti, piled high with tomato sauce. An additional bowl was set at one end. There were three chairs- all made of old wood, probably quite antique.

Roger Locks was now standing at the side of the table smelling the wonderful hot pasta and sauce.
He picked up a spoon next to the bowl and sat down in what was the largest of the three chairs and had a taste.
" delightful!"
He tried another and then another and yet still another!
Roger was becoming full.
Near the centre of the table was a pitcher of lemonade. He looked around and saw glasses on the sideboard next to the table. He stood up and took one filling it to the brim with cool lemonade.
Mr. Locks plopped down in chair once again and as he did so the chair burst into bits. It literally fell apart.
"For fuck sake! I don't know my own strength!"
He grabbed his huge left bicep with his right hand.
"Nice!"- He smiled, "But did I eat too much?"
He did of course.
He was quite muscular too- of course.
Roger Locks picked his six foot two, athletic frame up from the floor and with his right foot shoved the bits and pieces of the chair under the table- as if no one would notice.

He looked around the room and yawned.
"Who would go out and leave their door unlocked with a wonderful hot lunch on the table?"

Through an open door on the right he saw a bedroom. He walked to the doorway- yawning still, looking inside. It was a perfectly comfy looking bed he thought. I am sure the owner wouldn't mind if I had a quick cat-nap. Roger removed his shoes- it was only polite that he did so, then slipped off his shirt and shorts. He was asleep- fully raw, seconds after his head hit the pillow.

A few minutes passed....

Soon the sound of voice came from the front door.
Roger Locks snoozed on. He heard not a thing.

Into the main room of the cottage where the table and three bowls of spaghetti sat came three bears.
As they came in single file, each one was larger and more hirsute than the one before.
Typical of bears. Being hirsute.

One bear looked at the table and exclaimed_
"What the hell? Someone's been eating my spaghetti!"
A second bear ambled to the table and saw the empty lemonade glass-
"Hell's Bells, someone has been drinking our home-made lemonade!"
"Yah, well, that's not the worst of it boys, look at my chair! It's smashed to smithereens!"
The third big, furry bear sounded angry.
Very angry.
"Why if I could only get my hands on the culprit who did this I'd give him a "Judy Garland" to the face!"
"Judy Garland?" questioned the middle bear?
"Oh, that's what I call my new fist punch when I'm using the bag at the gym- my Judy Garland."
"You are so predictable!"- remarked the last of the Three Bears.

Suddenly the middle bear screamed like a girl and pointed towards the open bedroom door.
"Look!"- He cried clutching his pearls, there's someone lying in your bed Big Daddy Bear, "And he's asleep.

Big Bear motioned to the other two to remain where they were.
"I'll handle this."
He kissed his right fist and called it "Judy".

Big Bear walked into the bedroom and politely "ahem-ed".
Three times.
Upon the third ahem- the loudest of the three, Roger Locks awoke.
He looked up at the huge, hairy bear standing next to the bed.
Throwing the covers aside, he lay there exposed and said in the most charming of voices-
"Want a bit of the old slap and tickle?"

Big Bear paused briefly- keeping Judy Garland at the ready.
He looked down at Roger Locks lying there all provocative and naked.
Then while slamming the bedroom door shut he growled,
"Ya, alright then..."

Monday, September 9, 2019

ROBBLOG #798- Dis and Dat

I can't remember the last time I did a  "Dis and Dat" so here goes...

'DIS and 'DAT

I had been following a couple of political sites and persons on Twitter with some manner of political insight regarding the Federal Election- which hasn't officially begun yet. Over the weekend I got so fed up with the lies and misinformation and crap I was reading I unfollowed all of them. My stress level is much lower today. I am not convinced as to why I should vote in October's election anyway.
Are you?


Hearing from friends back in "old home" I understand that some September nights are coolish already- like lows of 6c with a chill in the air. Now being a former Ontarian, I know this will pass and more days are ahead with temps in the mid to upper 20's. Here on the Island our overnights are still in double digit territory. Our slide into autumn is more gradual here without the colourful treescape and that distinctive autumn smell. It's just different here.


Speaking of Autumn, stores have Harvest Decor and Hallowe'en stuff on the shelves already.
I am not surprised.
It happens every year. Although I haven't seen Xmas decorations yet I know Christmas Cards are on the shelves for those of you who like to start addressing them early to beat the postal deadlines. Best to get them addressed before October first to ensure delivery in Canada before December 25th. If you have friends in Lower Slobovia, you are already too late to have a card arrive in advance of Christmas Day this year but it's never too early for 2020.

A few days ago we had an hour of thunder in the afternoon. Unusual for the Cowichan on the Island and the first we've heard since leaving Ontario two years ago.
Huh- you say if you're from the Mainland.


A couple of first anniversaries to mention.
My Cousin Judy passed a year ago as did our little schnauzer Missy. We miss them and know that someday we'll see them both again.
There's joy and comfort in believing that...


Several folks have asked me lately- "So, what's on your schedule for today?"
"Nothing..."- I reply.
"What about tomorrow then?"
"Ummm. Nope. Nothing."
"Later in the week perhaps?"
I am sure they felt there'd be something happening there at least.
"No." I say, trying to muster up some memory of some item from our calendar- even to the point of making something up but I couldn't.
"Nothing pressing that I can think of. I think that's why they call it retirement!"- I happily conclude.
Folks usually stay quiet for a few seconds.


Then, I was telling our landscaper friend the other day that I needed the two large plants- I had bought at the garden centre, to be placed in one hole. 
Two per hole. Two holes. That's why I bought four plants.
The plants are Miscanthus Gigantica. Beautiful 12-14 foot tall grasses.
Our landscaper- who I'll call Cameron, suggested just one plant per hole because as he said- 
"In a few years they'll fill in and look quite full."
I said- "Look Cam, I don’t have 20 or 30 years to wait for something to grow and fill in.
I need big now."
He just looked at me perhaps thinking a move was in the near future.
"You know," I continued, "In twenty years I’ll be 88. How old will you be?"
He looked down into the hole he had dug for the Miscanthus and said- "Your age."
I smiled- "So, that kind of puts that in perspective- doesn't it?" 
Time flies when you're talking to a youngster!



I saw a video on Twitter.
A fellah in the Middle East- Saudi Arabia perhaps, is washing his face in camel urine.
Then, he begins to drink handfuls of the warm, yellowish liquid from several different camels smiling all the way as he demonstrates the proper technique to slurp piss. I would imagine camel pee tastes a bit like the soft drink- Dr. Pepper. This is supposed to bring him infinite blessings.
I mean, I wash my face with the same stuff that Jennifer Aniston uses but cripes- I don't drink it!

I swear I saw one camel nudge another camel and laugh...just a "wee" bit.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

ROBBLOG #797- What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Teacher (Miss Symposium) : Class! Class! CLASS!!!!!!

~class settles~

Teacher: Today class, I want you to write a theme...

Class: Oh, no. Not a theme... ~mumble, grumble~

Teacher: Yes, you little pile of dried up turds- a theme!

Billy: Miss Symposium, I don't think you can call us "turds".

Teacher: Fine! Little shits then...

Class: ~ummmm....~

Teacher: As I was saying, today you will write a theme. The topic of the theme is-
"What I did on my Summer Vacation!"

~time passes~ Little Robbie passes in his theme.

Miss Symposium 
What I Did on My Summer Vacation

1. I read Lucy Maud Montgomery's second Anne Book "Anne of Avonlea". It was most enjoyable and since I have never been to PEI it was like taking a little vacation. I am also thinking of dying my hair red and growing pig-tails.

2. The Mister and I saw Jersey Boys at the Royal Theatre in Victoria. Not as big a show cast-wise and set-wise as we saw in Toronto a few years ago but still it was entertaining and a summer evening in the big city.

3. Up Island in July we saw Mama Mia! in Chemainus. A small stage and big cast and for two hours of  Abba music- entertaining, although not as massive as the Toronto Show we saw a few years ago.
I hear you- must everything be compared to Toronto?
The answer?

4. The Mister and I settled in for 4 hours of Shakespeare at the 39 Days of July. The offerings were Measure for Measure and Much Ado About Nothing. The latter the review for the former which my husband appeared in back at the Orillia Opera House in old home.
I hear you- there isn't 39 days in July Rob.
"Shut up!"- is my retort.
On the Island there is...

5. We caught up with my brother Scott (his real name) who came to the Island for 12 days in July into August. He might be back. I can say no more. We could have left him on the beach at Cherry Point and he would have been happy. By the way, there is a huge property for sale just off the beach for a million seven.
I can dream...

6.There was a huge Birthday celebration for the Mister who turned 65 in August. We partied hardy at the Arbutus Cafe. Okay, for two hours in the early evening of a Friday but whaaddahyawant? We are Seniors. At least he gets on BC Ferries for free now- Monday through Thursday. Old Age has its good points.

There's History Through that Door
7. I fell in love with the Dallas Road area in Victoria which is right on the Pacific Ocean. The neighbourhood is chock full of Victoria Homes all valued at around a million dollars or more. Again, I can dream- can't I?

Victorian in Victoria
8. I bought an original piece of art- actually three pieces, at Art on the Avenue in Ladysmith. The painting is called "Cow Hide". Agnes the Cow- which is what I have named her peers over a clothesline with huge "cow eyes". The line is laden with quilts of many colours. There are two smaller pictures that continue the clothesline theme on each side of the main painting. On these smaller canvases, little colourful birds clutch the line also covered in brightly covered quilts. Don't ask how much.
It's art!
And that would be rude.
Have some class, eh?

9. We had other guests over the summer. I am protecting their privacy. They all want to move to our Island in the Pacific and no we did not encourage them. My Cousin back in old home thinks I want everyone from back in old home to move out here to new home.
Not so.
I don't have to say anything.
By the way, his son is moving out here next month...
This little Island of 800,000 folk sells itself to all who come.

10. We took the ferry from Departure Bay one Wednesday Morning in July to sail to Horseshoe Bay on the Mainland just up the coast from Vancouver. Our friend Bev (not her real name) came along for the sailing. Once there on the mainland of British Columbia, we met up with our friends Karl-Heinz and Jimmy May (I didn't ask if I could use their real names so again, I made them up). We lunched at a fish and chip spot called Trolls which The Mister and I hadn't been to in 30 years.
Horseshoe Bay has changed.
A lot.

There you have it Miss Symposium, that is what little Robbie did on his summer vacation.

I expect an A+.