Wednesday, December 30, 2020

ROBBLOG #867- Words

 


Words to Live by...

Not all these  words are new words. 
Many we've heard and used over the years but one is new to us all- covid.

Eventually, it will fade into textbooks like "polio" and "leprosy".
Covid has made such an impact on the entire world and in record time.
Hundreds of thousands of people have died.
Hundreds of thousands of people are battling the disease this very day.
More of us haven't had covid and that's good.
We play safe.
Work safe.
We wait it out.
6,783 new cases in Quebec since Christmas Eve.
Incredible.

One day covid will be just a story.
"Hey remember that Holiday Season when we all stayed in and "Zoomed" with our families?"

Here's more words I thought of. 
I wrote them down to re-type them here. 
There are others but how's this for a start:

mask
cases
isolation
variant
vaccine
closings
layoffs
CERB
Zoom
Moderna
Pfizer
safe
healthy
19
overcrowding
two
metres
physical
distance
social

2021 is a big question mark.
Will the vaccines put covid in its place?
We all hope so.
Will masks be the new fashion accessory even after covid?
Will be be able to celebrate the season next year like we did the years before covid 19?
Will summer 2021 be close to normal? Will theatres open?
Will the PNE, CNE and other huge people exhibitions open again?
Fingers crossed.


Still, with covid killing so many of the earth's population and all the sadness that brings, there's still the crazies shooting and killing people.
It's just nuts.
There's always time for more killing it seems- even in a pandemic.
Right. I forgot that one.
Another world to add to the list.
Pandemic.

Be safe.
Be positive.
Be present.
Be patient.
Soon this will all be a memory as well as a chapter in a book.

Finally, please give a listen to The Island's GOLDEN CLASSICS on Swisssh and Starlite- Island Brite.
Who knows what the new year will bring for both my stations.
www.swisssh.ca
 On voice-activated devices: "Play s w i s s s h Radio" or "Play s t a r l i t e Radio Island Brite"
or
www.tunein.com and search Swisssh or Starlite.
Thanking you in advance.

All the best in 2021.





Wednesday, December 23, 2020

ROBBLOG #866- Strive to be Jolly

 


I've had a hell of a time trying to compose a Christmas Greeting this year.

It hasn't been the best of years for most of the world.
Our day to day lives have been shattered and overcome by a virus that is now striking people on every continent on this earth.
Incredible.

I was going to take inspiration from a Christmas song but that idea fizzled out.
Then, I wondered what I wrote for a Holiday Greeting a few years ago when the world was a different place. I looked back and found a greeting from December 2006. I'm not going to simply copy it here but I will copy some paragraphs and place them in italics.

As far as Christmas 2020 goes, do the best that you can to be happy. There's no sense of telling people not to gather because people will gather- even if they shouldn't. In some places it just makes sense to stay home while in other places gathering is a chance that people will take and damn the consequences. 
Make the best of it.
I know you can.

Now some thoughts from December 2006- like a Christmas TV repeat of an old 60's television show.
Here's the first bit:

"We should all pause during this time of the year- when the heart of mankind is one and re-evaluate. It’s the opportunity to take some quiet time and reflect on body and soul, for every single one of us on this earth is “good enough”. We all should have the same chances, the same opportunities as the person standing next to us.

Make good on our promises, make good on love and relationships. Make good with each other not just at Christmas but every day of the year. Yes, it’s a daunting task but there are much harder obstacles that many of us overcome daily."



Now this from December 2006:

"There’s the “good feeling” of having “good friends”. Friends to share in special moments.  Friendships that endure even during the rough times. We have been lucky to make many new friends over the past year. Friends who have stories to tell. Friends who share their lives, their homes, their laughter and tears. It’s one of the best gifts we could hope for and it doesn’t even require a bow or fancy paper. We are all “good enough”. We need to say that- and more, to each other. We need to embrace the “good” in people and celebrate that “good” not just at Christmas-but all year long. We need to strive for tolerance. 

As Dickens says of Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”- 

He became as good a friend, as good a master and as good a man, as the good old city knew or any other good old city, town or borough in the good old world…And it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well….  

Finally from my Greeting back at Christmas 2006:

"At this time of year, we (here at Pine Tree House) think it good to remember those who have passed on over the years. Mother’s and Father’s, Aunts and Uncles, Grandmothers and Grandfathers, Cousins and memorable friends. They may have passed but they are held tight, wrapped in warm memories."

Now, back to the present- December 2020. Tom and I always remember our four-legged friends at Christmas, for they hold many warm, funny memories and remain an important part in our lives.

There’s Samantha the Irish Setter, Max and Lucky past members of our beloved feline family and another Samantha-our first Mini-Schnauzer. We remember Luma an orange tabby who's life was cut short by breast cancer. There's Kiki our well-loved Yellow Lab who spent 17 Christmases with us! Little "Missy- another Schnauzer, who passed on the Island two years ago. We also have to pause and remember Doyle our orange tabby who bolted from our RV while parked in an RV Park in Winnipeg as we were making our way to our new home here on the island. We never saw him again. The feeling of not knowing what happened to him still haunts us almost every day. ~tears~

Today, we share our new, mountain-top, Island home with our third schnauzer- Koko, who is so much like our yellow lab Kiki it is remarkable. Finally, Doyle's brother- Dickens, at 10 years old is still with us and is actually sitting right on top of my chair back, behind my neck, as I type. It's a favourite spot for him.

Here’s to another Christmas, a different Christmas this year.
We celebrate in a new home after moving in October from a new house we lived in two months short of three years.
Things change.
We strive to be happy- and we are.

Take “refuge” in this season, for it’s a safe haven in what was a year of stormy weather. Enjoy the quiet hours, the peace and time spent around a shimmering Christmas tree. Be mesmerized for a few moments by the flames of a flickering fire. The Holiday table may be a little empty this year but you'll get through.
I know we will.
Enjoy every special moment. Wrap it in a bow and hold it tight throughout the year.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and let's hope 2021 will usher us in to a new healthier, safer time for everyone.



Tuesday, December 22, 2020

ROBBLOG# 865- Sounding Joy

 


Repeat the Sounding Joy.

Repeat the sounding Joy.
Repeat, Repeat- The Sounding Joy.
This Season we all have to look a little harder and be a little more creative when it comes to looking for Joy and repeating it.

2020 has been a stinker of a year.
Does it feel like the Holiday Season to you?
To me- sometimes yes.
Sometimes no.

I watch all the Christmas Movies I love to watch every year- except for all that Hallmark CRAP.
Especially the Hallmark CRAP that is filmed here in Canada especially British Columbia under the guise of keeping Canadian Actors employed- for the most part in secondary roles.
That's the way it's always been here.
We're second banana's to the Yankees.
Stupid really.


How can you be sure that a "Canadian Made" Christmas film is American?
Well for one thing even before you read the credits- if you stay with the film that long, all you have to do is count the number of American Flags in a scene.
They are usually everywhere.
On mantels. On streets. In town squares. Hanging from porches. Stuck on buildings.
Everywhere.
It's the optimal hint of knowing a film is shot here under the guise of being in America. The flags are just in case a viewer or two recognize the landscape or streetscape as being quintessentially Canadian.

Personally, I always watch for facades of the "Royal Bank" or "Tim Horton's" in the background.  Green Maple Trees, flowers one usually doesn't see at Christmas, bright sunshine and actors wrapped in thick scarves when it's obviously a warm day are other signs to look for. The other night I saw a Home Hardware sign in a movie covered with another name but you could be sure it was "Home Hardware" underneath.

I don't know why the film just can't take place here, in Canada.
Maybe if it were "flagless" it could be almost anywhere- even when dubbed into German. It doesn't change the story. Still you have to be pretty hard up to sit down and waste 90 minutes on Hallmark Crap- and they're so white and straight! If they do venture into "living colour" or LGBT  storylines it's like 80's stuff. The Gay character has had a rotten, sad life even after coming out- if they've come out. The Gay character- if old enough, has suffered or knows someone who has suffered from AIDS. 

When the character does come out during Christmas dinner with their invited "friend" watching from across the table, the Mother says- "I always knew."
Dad curses, spits and says-
"Awww, go out and find yourself a girl. That'll set you right!"

Then Dear, old, Dad excuses himself from the table running to vomit in the guest bath as he imagines his son in a naked embrace with the "invited friend" sitting opposite his son.
Good old Dad. 
Thanks for your love and support.
"It was all those hugs from women when he was a kid that made him that way"- says Dad gruffly.
"He never learned to throw a ball like the other boys."
Just can't cope with sonny boy being a Fag.

I'm afraid if you want to feel the spirit this Christmas Season, you'll just have to look elsewhere to find your Joy and definitely not in a Hallmark presentation.

I Repeat.
To find your sounding "Joy" look elsewhere this Holiday Season. There is lots of Joy to to be found even though it's been a difficult year for us all. You just have to look a little harder.

Happy Holidays. Seasons Greeting. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2020

ROBBLOG #864- Kismet for Christmas


 Kismet for Christmas.

No, it's not a substitute for Holiday Turkey- it's Kismet.
Kismet like it's meant to be.

Take for instance if you stood on a spot...
"What spot?"- you ask?
Oh, any spot, I guess but in this case it's a special spot. A Kismet spot.
"Oh I see. Tell me more."- you say.
I will.

Kismet happened to us in the past couple of years. It may have started a few years before but let's start with the most recent manifestation.

There as a certain spot on this Island that the Mister and I now call home. It's a spot where we took visiting guests. It gave guests- especially Easterners from Ontario, an idea of what our Island was like as far as topography is concerned. It never failed to impress.
How could it not?
There's a lake. Several mountains. An ocean view. Sky for days and even a view of the mainland- especially at night when the lights of Grouse Mountain flicker in the distance.
In summer it is a "hot" spot. Plenty of sunshine. Almost desert-like with yucca's and cacti and palms.
This time of year- at Christmas, it's magical. 
It may be green but it's a magical green.
You can see in the distance Grouse Mountain's ski resort lit up with the lights twinkling. THat's where the snow is.
There and up island about two hours to Courtney/Comax. It's where winter enthusiasts on the island go.

"So Kismet?"
Oh yes...well this spot where we stood time and time again is now the spot where we live. Our house is built on the very spot. We see our ocean, lake, sky views daily and even some snow on top of mountains like Mount Benson and Prevost.
It is magical and it's so unreal some days one has to pinch one's self. Like when we were kids and we ran into the living room to see piles and piles of gifts under a sparkling, green balsam. Well, that was my Christmas as a kid. I had to pinch myself.
I was spoiled. Very spoiled. My Mum and Dad went whole hog for me at Christmas when I was the only kid in the house.
Today this spot, on this Island, in this province, in this country, on this globe called earth is Kismet.

We had dreamed of getting away from Ontario winters.
To those of you still employed, retirement and your own "Kismet" may seem a long way off but it's coming.
Make plans now.
Dream and what better time to dream and make your dreams come true than the holiday season.


Kismet doesn't always work the way you want it to the first time.
It didn't for us.
We needed to make another change and we did. As human beings we can be in control of our future.
Our destiny.
Our Kismet.
Those that don't seek change are missing the train of happiness.

If you are not happy- change it.
Dolly Parton wrote a song called "Change It".
So do it.
Make this Christmas season happy.
Make it your Kismet.
Make a change now. Today. Dream and make your dreams come true.
You can do it.
I did. The Mister and I did together and believe me if we can- you can.

So jingle your bells.
Be merry.
Screw covid- it's meeting it's match in 2021 anyway.

Make plans for a happy Holiday Season and all the days ahead now.
Don't wait for the years to fly by because before you know it your desire for Kismet is just a memory.
Something to regret a few years down the road.

And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing...

It's time to find your glee.

Sing out.
Ring the bells.
Cheers to the season.
Here's to happiness and here's to the first day of the rest of your life.

Kismet...

Friday, December 11, 2020

ROBBLOG #863- Peace 2020


 P-E-A-C-E

The last time I looked at this word PEACE was in December 2014.
Let's see what 2020 brings...

Peace. A word that in itself sounds warm and quiet. Peace. A little shush with the “c” on the end.

It's time to think about PEACE.
Peace in the Middle East. It's a never ending wish.
PEACE of Mind for the families of the two Canadians- the two Michaels, still jailed in an unforgiving country like China.
Unforgiving for whatever reason. The Canadian Government has been unable to free them and give them Peace.

Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards men. Peace doesn’t just mean being kind and thoughtful and peaceful during the holidays, it’s a word that should resonate the entire year through. Peace should be a top priority.
Take a few minutes, light a candle this season for Peace.
If any message could ever break through and catch the ear of any Supreme Being- Peace is it.
 
I’m still not an expert on Peace.
Is anyone?
People in government get paid for being experts on Peace but have they learned anything? Doesn't seem that there's an easy way to deal with a cold, distant, communist regime such as China or North Korea and I presume Russia too. I mean look at Hong Kong. Things were pretty good when the UK was still in "control". Now Hong Kong jails any citizen who mildly disagrees with their tyrannical regime.


I still don’t know how if this world will even get close to understanding the word “Peace”. Terrorism is out there lurking in the light of day as well as the dark of night. It makes us mindful and careful.
When we travel to other countries- who knows when that will be again, we always take extra care and are aware of our surroundings. Take last year at this time in London the Mister and I were sitting in a cozy cafe watching folks rush by on the sidewalk just outside our window table . We were waiting for our room to be ready at a hotel down the street. Soon, our phones starting buzzing. When we looked at text messages they were from home. Friends and family wondering if we were alright. If we were safe.?
We didn't know it but there had been several stabbings on London Bridge.
Terror during a time of Peace.

We need to find Peace. 

Take a few moments to reflect in a quiet spot away from the hustle and bustle.

Quiet contemplation over a hot chocolate paired with a shortbread cookie.

Take some time for quiet thoughts while watching tree lights flash and twinkle. Contemplate an ornament that you've hung on your tree for decades.

Reach out and touch a friend who may be lonely or needs some help. Reach out to a stranger and it doesn't have to be a corporation like a church out there ringing their bells as they stand close to a bin of cash. Do it yourself.
Cut out the middle person. 
Buy a coffee or a sandwich for a homeless person sitting on a street corner huddled in a blanket. You can be sure the help and thought you provide is going directly to the source.
A warm smile and a nod of the head to a passing stranger goes a long way too. At least it used to. It's much harder in these times when most of us are wearing masks. I've seen masks that say "I'm Smiling". It makes me smile.

A physically-distanced walk with a friend or loved one in the crisp evening air is a nice holiday activity. It does the spirit the world of good. It starts those endorphins moving and you'll feel one hundred percent happier and peaceful. There doesn’t have to be words on a walk, just positive thoughts.

So let's send thoughts of Peace during this Holiday Season and together just maybe someone, somewhere out there is listening.

Monday, December 7, 2020

ROBBLOG #863- Bah Humbug

 


Honestly, I might just as well take the bloody tree down today.

What a dull, old, sad, sappy, crispy-critter of a Christmas this is turning out to be.
I mean as I read Dickens A Christmas Carol, even good old Scrooge is having more fun than most people are this holiday season.
Bah Humbug.

Oh sure, I'm shopping- online mostly.
The Amazon drivers and Canada Post delivery people know me by my first name.
We are exchanging birthday cards next year.
They are at my door more than the Jehovah's.

The biggest problem is the joy of Christmas is being lost this season.
Covid is to blame.
Out in the stores everyone resembles a version of the Stepford wives- all masked up with only eyes showing overtop of mini-cummerbunds. I can't recognize anyone I know!
Then, if you attempt to smile at someone as you round the corner at Stupid Store or Walmart, it's lost beneath the mask. I try to smile with my eyes but it doesn't seem to be working.

Yesterday, I was standing at a freezer looking at turkeys. Two ladies stood to my right. We were all doing our best to give each other space. Not one of us had a measuring tape in our bags so we approximated the best we could. Suddenly and without warning I head a voice speaking to me-

"The turkeys are suppose to be 99 cents a pound at Thrifty's but they didn't have any. Walmart's are cheaper than these. 30 dollars for a turkey this size. It's criminal"

I looked at each lady but couldn't figure out who was speaking to me. Only their eyes were working and they gave me no hints. I said- "I think I'll check out Walmart."
No nods. No smiles. Just a pair of masks hanging there on two empty faces.
Happy Holidays...


It's the new way of the world, I guess.
Vaccines are coming according to Justin but it doesn't mean covid will be wiped out in a fortnight.
Maybe not even by this time next year.
It does take the jolliness away from Christmas though- doesn't it?

If I took our tree down the only one who'd notice would be the Mister because we can't have anyone else in the house to even see our tree if we are to follow Dr. Bonnie's edict.
That may change today.
Today, she is to tell us BC'ers what we can and cannot do this Christmas.
Can we see people in our homes?
Can more than one household get together in a restaurant?
Who knows?

(UPDATE: She told us the rules are extended to January 8th 2021. Awww Nuts!!)

Here in Beautiful British Columbia most of our cases are on the mainland in Fraser Health and the Lower Mainland- including Vancouver. On the Island as far as I know there are no cases here in the Cowichan. Our Island Health cases are in Port Alberni in the centre of the Island and also in the Saanich Peninsula.

I think Fraser and the lower mainland should have been shut weeks ago- like the Maritimes.
It would probably have prevented a lot of new cases.
There was talk about stopping ferry service but here on Vancouver Island we depend on the ferries not just as a means to get to the mainland- not that anyone wants to go. We also use the ferries as a way to get food and fuel and other supplies delivered. It's a conundrum but I'll do the right thing and follow Dr. Bonnie's advice.

Guess I'll go sit next to the Christmas Tree and hum Christmas Carols to myself as I sip my morning coffee.

Fah Lah Lah Lah Lah it's depressing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

ROBBLOG #862- Passages of Time

 


December 1st. The Holidays.

Where did you come from?

I swear it was August just a week ago and yet when I stop and think about it we saw a house, bought a house and moved into a house all in a matter of three, short months, so yes- December first is here in all it's sparkle and shine.

Did I mention we are blissfully happy? 
Happy like Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn when he finally gets his woman- at the end of the movie mind you. Of course in my case, it's the Mister.
We have been so pleased and yes happy that we made this huge move to the Island three and a half years ago. 

You should try it Easterners. We have two houses filled with Ontarians just three and four houses down the street. One family from Guelph, the other Ajax.

It's true that we- mostly just me in the beginning, were not happy with our first house. It took a while for us both to realize that. Anyhoo, that's old stuff and barely a pleasant memory these days. We love this mountain home and the views!
Most days we are gobsmacked.
It draws your attention away. 
It's like heaven some days when you look down on the clouds covering the valley. I've not seen the "real" Heaven and gawd knows there probably isn't one but at least I know what it could be like living up there and looking down there upon the clouds.

Speaking of Heaven...
My sister texted me yesterday to say that a friend had asked her to tell me that my Grade 7 & 8 art teacher- Margaret Leith, had passed away last Friday. Margaret was a great mentor. At Regent Park Public School in Orillia, Ontario, she encouraged me to take art in High School. She was supportive of what I did. In latter years, she would attend every stage show I was in for MAT and Double R Productions. She always waited after the show to get a hug.
She will be missed.
I am sure when I was eleven years old in Grade seven that Margaret knew I was different.
Did we even use "Gay" in 1962?
I wouldn't have known.
Another part of growing up taken away.

So, I read Miss Leith's obit.
Cremation had taken place and a memorial service will be conducted at a later date as is normal in these trying Covid times.



While in the Obit section, I browsed through the listings of the past few months. I do this once in a while to keep up. My Mother always made a habit of reading the death notices in the paper. As long as she didn't read her own name, she was good.

As I browsed through I found four other people I knew- we knew, who had passed.
An Orillia neighbour Don Banks. Don told us many stories of his life. Some very long.
He'll be missed by his family and wife Jackie who helped usher at our Theatre Orillia stage shows the last few seasons.

Further down the page- Sara Jenkins. I did not know she had been an Olympic Swimmer. She was a lovely lady and was always was glad to see you. He Obit was long and very interesting. Kudos to the author. Now I know who suggested my name to Telecare Orillia when I was asked to speak to a half dozen of the Telecare phone people a few years back. I never knew who had suggested my name to speak about being Gay. Their calls from young, questioning people were increasing.

A bit further down the page I saw Jack Tolland's name. Jack ran a driving academy in Orillia for something like 40 years. My cousin Judy- who passed a couple of years back, encouraged me to go to Jack for driving lessons.
I booked my first lesson.
After the first lesson Jack turned to me sitting there stiffly behind the wheel and he said-
"Rob, go and get your license."
I did.

Lastly as I scrolled down the page I saw the name Jeanette Law.
Jenette worked at the Orillia Antique Mall for years when the Mister and I moved to Orillia. She sold us many antique pieces and bric-a-brack.
She was a lovely lady and even came to tea at our Orillia Home- Pine Tree House.
I'll always remember her for our antiques and tooling around town in her Volkswagen convertible.

What did I learn from reading of these passing's you ask?
Firstly, I applaud the lives lived. 
It's just the circle of life and all that but mostly it tells me that time is precious on this earthly plane.
The next 20 years will tell the story.
I wonder if I'll be active two decades on?
Will I do the things I do now? 
Will I be healthy?
Will I walk around or ride my bike?

Only time will tell...

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

ROBBLOG #861- Traditions



Traditions.

Traditions are a part of Christmas and the Holiday Season. It's what I look forward to more than anything else. 
Yes, the gifts are nice. 
The music is nice. 
The decorations are nice but traditions...

Tonight The Mister and I completed a Holiday Tradition.
We watched "Love Actually"- the Movie for probably the 20th time. The movie was released in 2003 to little acclaim but every year since we have taken the time- early in the season because that movie starts about 4 weeks before Christmas, to watch and be merry.

It has some good laughs yet some very touching bits too.
The scene with Andrew Lincoln- long before Zombies ruled his life, flashing those Cue Cards at Kiera Knightly.
Brilliant.

When Hugh Grant- as the Prime Minister, dances through his private apartment much to delight of one of his secretaries catching him unaware.
Lovely. 
I remember Mr. Grant in an interview saying he was embarrassed by the scene because he said he was frightfully bad at dancing. Nonetheless, it was like watching an elf "get jiggy with it".

The Scene where Colin Firth goes to Provence to ask Aurelia- Lucia Moniz, to marry him and on Christmas Eve no less. Sighs and tears every year when he does.
Beautiful.

    Selfridges Department Store on Oxford Street, London

Of course, Rowan Atkinson as the man behind the jewellery counter at Selfridges on London's Oxford Street was so memorable.
His attention to detail is what one would expect at Selfridges.
Completely over the top. The prices are too.
I love shopping at Selfridges every December and would be there again this year if it were not for Covid. I like to walk through the department where the movie scene was filmed with the Cartier Store in the background. If you want to tour Selfridges- owned by Canada's Weston Family, just search for Selfridges Oxford Street London UK. You can order online for Christmas too and they'll send it to you.

If you go in person, take the time to have Afternoon Tea in the Cafe named after the sisters who had a real life dalliance Mr. Selfridge.
Maybe one.
Maybe both of the Dolly Sisters.
Who knows.

Anyhoo, I love watching this movie with The Mister
It's fun.

After you've looked online at Selfridges Christmas website, take a moment to google "Oxford Street Christmas Walk 2020". Look for the walk that is about an hour and a half long. If you've never been to London- especially at Christmas, it'll feel like you've been there.
If you have been along, Oxford Street, New Bond Street, St. James, Regent Street and Piccadilly, it'll being back fond memories and it won't cost you a ticket or a hotel stay.
Marvelous.

London at Christmas.
There are no words... 

           Regent Street, London, at Christmas         

Saturday, November 14, 2020

ROBBLOG #860 A Fresh Start

 


Well My Darlings, it has come to pass.

The Mister and I have started a new life- again.
We couldn't be happier.
I've had a lot of sadness and a feeling of being displaced over the past three years. It was not easy assimilating into a new province. It was not easy moving across the country- although we knew it was the right thing to do. There have been many happy times since coming onto this island and we've met some fabba-luss people too. We've also met a few people who showed their true stripes along the way. That's not exclusive to this Island, that happened in Ontario too and Gawd knows I am NOT a perfect representative of a "perfect human being".
I try.
We all try...

You know there's that old saying that some folks stay with you for your entire life while others drop in for a short while and leave. It's happened to me before and I am sure it has happened to most people. You just have to keep your eyes on the ball. Look to the road ahead. Some people never change and they don't want to change. It's why their lives are a drudgery but you know that's their problem. We each have to sort our lives out and live the life we were born to live.

So kids, after a trio of years of ups and downs we have finally landed on our two feet atop a mountain in the Cowichan on Vancouver Island. Living up here feels very much like our life back on Ontario.
A good distance between houses.
A proper street.
People walking by pausing briefly to say hello.
Just living life and it's wonderful.
It truly is wonderful.
I haven't felt this satisfied being at home feeling in a long while.

The move was fairly easy. We packed a bunch ourselves. Box after box- and this after downsizing from Ontario. We hired a truck. Friends helped for a couple of days. I felt like Noah on the Ark. We were rushing to take one box of every kind while there were those that stood and stared not knowing that the rains would come- eventually.


Then, one day the moving boys came and packed up the big stuff and placed it gently in our new home all within four and a half hours. We had closed the door to recent memories and sailed away. Of course, the putting away and sorting through stuff took a while longer but basically a week later we were heaving a huge sigh of relief that we had put down new roots.

Let me tell you the views atop this mountain are beyond spectacular. Some mornings the cloud cover hangs over the valley and you wouldn't even know that there are green spaces and people living beneath. A couple of mountains have snow on them now.
It is quite pretty and really as close to snow as I need or want to be.
We have walking trails galore in every direction and we are making good use of them. Again, the views are never ending and sometimes you just have to stop and look and take it all in.
It's life-changing.

So now that we're settled- what's next?
Well, even with all the turmoil of the move I managed to get Starlite and The Island's Golden Classics on Swisssh back on the air. As a matter of fact, both online stations started playing all Christmas Music just yesterday and as usual the listenership is solid.
I am glad of that.

Today, I am mulling putting up the outdoor lights and maybe next week I'll start to decorate the big inside tree. 

More than ever, I think we all need a little Christmas and there's no hard and fast rules of when it can start. You are your own liquor control board as a friend used to say.

So, put a little joy in your life, get out the twinkle and bling and be happy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

ROBBLOG #859- Old Time Radio

 


When I was but a child- an older child of 20 or so, I started my career in Radio.

It was a long time ago but recently I was thinking about the early years. I was wet behind the ears but excited at the opportunity to work my magic behind a "live" microphone. I had been second in my class at Broadcasting School only to be beaten by Chris Wilson.
He was good, had a real smooth voice and one of the best moustaches I had seen-ever.
I think I actually heard him on radio years ago down around St. Catharines or maybe it was Toronto.

I never thought I had the best voice ever for radio but I thought I was sincere on air and always remembered to image I was speaking to just one person when that mic switched on. 
Usually in the first few years of my broadcasting career, I worked the six to midnight shift and a couple of times midnight to 530.
That's how a new radio person learned the ropes.

Back in the early 1970's it was usually all guys on air.
Maybe Betty Kennedy in Toronto on CFRB but in the stations where I worked there was never a female voice on air until early 1980 when Sharon Edwards started working at CHAY FM in Central Ontario.
A few times over the years a gal would do a commercial voice but other than that- nothing.
As a kid I do remember Auntie Marg on CFOR in Orillia. She also did a "Woman's Programme"- as it was known in those days. 
You know- recipes and such.
Woman's stuff!

Basically though, it was just the men.
Working nights at a couple of stations I saw a lot.
I mean- A LOT!
A lot of men doing things that they shouldn't be doing and expecting me to me a "man-pal" and say nothing about what I saw.

Most radio stations seemed to have a couch in the Manager's Office.
"How cozy and comfortable"- I thought.
In those days I seem to remember that ladies were supposed to have a "couch" somewhere at work where they could lay down if their Aunt from Red Bay came visiting.
I soon found out that the couch in the "Manager's" Orifice...
Sorry, I mean office, performed other duties.
Smut for instance.
Oh my Gawd, Shirley Feeney would be shocked.

One night I remember walking from the studio- where I was on air, down a short hall towards the newsroom. As I reached the stairs that went down to the front door and the street, I saw our news director coming up the stairs with a lady who had a pair of the biggest bazooms I had ever seen.
Keep in mind I was not interested in big bazooms at the time and in fact I am still not interested today.
You can imagine just how large this twosome was to grab my attention!
The lady of which I speak was not the news director's wife.

I didn't care.
I much preferred the news director as far as eye-candy goes. Once I had seen him in a tiny-ish bathing suite at a local beach.
Oh my, oh my but he was pretty.
Some summer evenings he would walk into the studio shirtless with little drops of perspiration hanging from a few thick, wiry, blonde chest hairs.
Oh. My. Dear.

He'd ask how were things.
Shoot the breeze.
Did I want a cold drink or coffee from Tim Hortons or something.
All the while wearing nothing but very tight shorts and flip flops with one muscular arm reaching up to grab the top of the studio door practically handing off of it while he conversed with me.
That was the 70's.
My! Is it hot in here or is it just me.


At another station, one time I saw the morning man come into the station absolutely polluted with a young lady on his arm. That's back in a time when drinking and driving was encouraged!

"I jusht came in fer slumshing in the offish upshtairs"- he would say from a partially open studio door spraying rum-spit across the counter where my records sat piled up in order of their upcoming play.

"Yah. Okay."-I'd say. "Kinda busy here."

"Oh. Slorry. I'll jusht nip upshtairs then...Oh you never sleen me- right?"- At least it sounded something like that.

"Oh right."- I'd say holding my breath from the smell of booze and loose women.
The little lady stood outside the glass wall to my right smiling with lipstick smeared across her cheek and hair tussled and askew.

I believe those couches got quite the workout over the years.
I never personally sat on them- if I could help it, when in the Manager's office.
I also never had a workout on a manager's couch but I do remember one young, well-built radio fellah and one hot, sultry summer afternoon but I'll leave that for another time.

You know, to this very day, I blame what never happened on a manager's couch on a hot, sultry summer afternoon on a Michael Bolton song.
Michael was strictly a girl-thing and came on the radio that afternoon at a most inopportune time.
Now Tom Jones. 
There was a man's man who got one's juices flowing!

There were various other bits of traffic that passed me by in the evenings or overnight hours. The stories I have just told you were a compilation of events that happened.

If I told all the stories or told them as they really happened, I'd have to place a "Smut" warning at the top of this RobBlog.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

ROBBLOG #858- Cutie and Cooties

 


Look. Here's the absolute truth!

Covid 19. It's for Sissies!! 
The real disease that was much, much bigger and deadlier than Covid 19 could infect Boys- and Girls, at the touch of a finger back in the good old 1960's.
What's that you say? 
Yes, I say.
It was the most infectious disease in Canada- ever.
It was "Cooties".

Wikipedia defines "Cooties" as-
"A fictitious childhood disease in Canada used as a rejection term and infectious "tag" game."
What does Wikipedia know about anything!
Take it from me, Cooties was real and the worst and was spread by the slightest of touches.

Cooties unlike Covid 19 took sides.

More girls had Cooties than boys- naturally.
That according to a recent study and rightly so.
This "recent" study comes from a major university. Never mind what university and where it's located.
Cooties can be caught and thrive in many places on Boys. 
It can be on hands or feet.
On a cheek, a shoulder or thigh.
Cooties can be caught on almost any part of the human body- yes even there.

I am sorry, I cannot go into detail on how a "you know what" could get Cooties, however,
I will tell you that back in those days, I hoped that Mr. Luker would give me Cooties. That's a private boyhood infatuation and I will not under any circumstances describe my want for Cooties on my
"hoo haw" and why I wanted Arthur- I mean Mr. Luker, to give them to me. 

Mr. Luker taught me several subjects- including PE.
That's "Physical Education."
He was my home room teacher and quite the stud- in the eyes of a young man like me.
You know, I think he liked me.
He didn't give me Cooties but he did give me an "A" in PE on my Christmas report card. That "A" slipped to a B at Easter and finally a C- in June but I still respected him and would have gladly received Cooties from him.
Is that dirty?
Perhaps.
If I had a photo of him in gym shorts back in 1962, you'd understand.


Now, pay attention!
With Boys, Cooties was selective infecting various body parts.
Boy friends would run up behind me and slap me on the shoulder and say-
"Hah! You got Cooties. You got Cooties!"
Mostly it was Boys giving me Cooties although one Girl- Frances Johnston, delighted in slapping me on the buttocks and saying in a weird, witchy tone-
"Robbie's got Cooties. Robbie's got Cooties!"
Then, she'd laugh and run off down the street to attach her Cooties to some other poor unfortunate.
I hated Frances when she gave me Cooties. Why couldn't Peter Ferguson or Randy Switzer give me a good dose of Boy Cooties but oh no, it was Frances "googly-eyes" Johnston.
Really?
Yes. Really.
Frances was the devil's child.
Once I traded records with her. It was a 45 record of Cliff Richards singing "Summer Holiday". In exchange for her getting Cliff, I got  Dion De Mucci's "Donna the Prima Donna". To this day I regret that exchange and wished I had of opted for Cooties- in this one circumstance at least.
When she wasn't giving me "Cooties", Frances would turn to me in History class and say-
"Wanna laugh?"
"No!"- I'd say back, "Not in Miss Leith's class. She'll cast a spell on us or at the very least send us out into the hall.
We'd laugh anyway and we were never sent down- not that I recall.
Cooties might even have been much more pleasant- even from Frances Johnston, than having a spell cast by Miss Elizabeth Leith.

I wouldn't want Cooties from Miss Leith either.
I'll bet she'd try to pass them on to Frances though. I mean Frances was the kind of girl who deserved Cooties. Well, her and Cathy Rutherford.
Cathy Rutherford.
Ugh!
Cathy wore bright red, whore lipstick in Grade 6. Mrs. Cox almost had a heart attack the first day she sauntered into class adorned in Satan's favourite colour of red!
Cripes.
She could give Cooties through the air without any physical touch whatsoever that Cathy Rutherford.

Anyhoo, the study concluded that girls- even to this day, have way more Cooties on their hands than men.
Good to know.
I wonder how many Cooties they have on their whole bodies and what would happen to the world- as we know it, if they passed along all their Cooties to the rest of us?
Geeze.
It would be apocalyptic!

I hope I have taught you something today. Even though you think Covid is tough and nasty- and it is, Cooties was nasty in it's own right too.
Nobody died from Cooties according to the study but it still makes my flesh get all bumpy and hot when I think of getting Lukercooties.

Even now and then I daydream about Mr. Luker in his tight, high-cut gym shorts and all the chances I had to ask him to give me- a good dose. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

ROBBLOG #857- Cardboard

 


First of all Darlings if you start reading this RobBlog and have no idea what I am talking about, you'd better read ROBBLOG #853 and then come back to #857.
I'll wait....

Ok, now we're on the same page.

The motions of moving are in full swing. Boxes are everywhere. Our house smells like a cardboard factory. If I ever happen to be homeless, I'll feel right at home in a cardboard box in the middle of a busy road.

"You had a box?"- my brother would chortle, "I remember as a kid we sat in the middle of the road without a box- only a newspaper."

I'd reply- "You had a newspaper? We'd have someone shout the headlines from passing cars!"
and so it would continue.

After five weeks of knowing we are moving, I have come to accept a couple of facts.

Fact One, I think I will enjoy living in our new neighbourhood. We worked hard and travelled a long way from Ontar-ee-ary-oh and now we are movin' on up. 

Fact number two, I realize that this house we are leaving is not the final resting place for the Mister and I. Of course the "final" resting place will be when I go to be with "The Lord"- me and a billion others. No, I jest.
I mean the final resting place as in where I'll live and breathe after this move. They'll be rolling me down the cliff out of this new place when I'm called up yonder. Although, it could be a much quicker journey to Hell for me where I'm sure Dear Satan would welcome me with fireworks and pits of molten lava.
I digress.

" So, they're really movin' on up?"

Also under fact number two I need to add a "catch phrase"- as in Fact number one. This phrase is "Trailer Park". Now I must apologize to any friends or neighbours who read this. In the past three weeks since our property has been sold, I have heard this neighbourhood referred to as a "trailer park" three times by three different people. None of them live here. Once from a person at another location in the valley building more new homes for people. I'll call him Cleave.
Cleave said- "Well it's good you got your money out of that place because it's just a trailer park now."
We went- 'What??"

These days I find myself singing while packing boxes and I smile so broadly my cheeks ache.
Last time I packed up the house in Ontario- it was a chore.

Maybe it's my heart singing on the outside.
Maybe the smell of cardboard is making me high.

I can hear my Brother.
"Gee, when I was young we didn't have cardboard- only stiff brown paper!"

Friday, September 25, 2020

ROBBLOG #856- Rrrrrrrrrip

 

I know many of you have not been sleeping well.

You are all worried sick about my packing plans. 
I can feel it- in my tape dispenser hand.
Well, Dears, I am here to tell you to relax.
I have started the packing following the plan I talked about in the last blog.

Yesterday I packed 23 boxes.
23 boxes!
As I picked up my trusty tape dispenser I deftly stuck the tape to the side of the first packed box-
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrip.
Ah that lovely sound.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrip!
I ran the dispenser along the top of the box and down the side.
I hadn't lost my knack!
I was excited!
I quickly folded and taped box 2 then, stuffed it full of bric-a-brac.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrip! Rrrrrrrrrrip!
I was a master at the craft of packing boxes and thank goodness, I had not lost my
way. I believe I was a perfect 10 in my performance.

The Universe in all it's craziness was smiling down upon me- watching me.
Listening.
Look at me rrrrrrrrrrrip!

Then, this morning after a couple of cups of coffee, I made my way downstairs.
I picked up Mr. Tape Dispenser and began folding boxes.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrip and Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrip again.
I was masterful.
I stuffed boxes with DVD's, photos, Christmas ornaments and  VCR tapes.
Yes! I still own a few VCR tapes and a turntable and a receiver too.
I don't give up on the past that easily Girlfriends.
I respect the past and think of what could have been if DVD's- not to mention colour televisions
had not been invented.
What would we do with our free time?

I guess a conservative estimate would be 54.
Fifty-four boxes in total.
I would hope Mr. O'Toole would agree with my numbers even though he- as most Conservatives, find it hard to agree with anybody or get along with anybody.
Enough now.
Back to the task at hand.

54.
The number of boxes I now have packed.
I hear your gasps...
I amaze myself at times too.
Right now I am ahead of schedule and ready to relax for the weekend. I do keep a couple of boxes at the ready, in case the mood to pack just one more strikes me.
As an experienced packer, I know- like a smoker and a young man who craves relief, that the need to pack could strike at any time of the day. It's the reason I stand ready with my tape dispenser full and my felt marker handy to record package contents.

I am sure, in time, someone else will benefit from all my "box-making" and packing experience.
Nevertheless and furthermore, The Mister and I  have found our reason to hitch up the oxen and strike out for a new land full of hope, glory and promise. 

Que the heart-wrenching musical finale....

FOOTNOTE: I hope all you ladies have put away your white purses this being three weeks post Labour Day.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

ROBBLOG #855- Elephant Toes and Cardboard Boxes

 

Damn. Elephant Toes!

I'm sitting in the sunshine in my white flip flops and I look down and see Elephant Toes.
You know...that's when you see those little wrinkle lines that elephants have on their legs only now they're on my toes.
Well, that's just wonderful.
Now, I need Botox on my toes.

Could be worse I suppose.

Anyway, other things to worry about. To think about.
Number one on my mind is packing an entire house.

I'm thinking it seems like I just did this a short while ago and then I slap myself and realize that I have packed recently- a short three years ago.
The difference this time is the packing and shifting will be much easier.
This time the Mister and I are not moving half way across the country- three time zones.
This time it's about 15 minutes from the west side to the east side.
The upper east side.
To the mountain and almost the top of the mountain.

We've "borrowed boxes" from an Ontario friend from Owen Sound who just moved here in July. Another friend- from Mississauga Ontario who moved west in June is also supplying us with boxes. We, in turn, will pass the boxes on to a neighbour who is also on the move in our valley.
It's a cardboard chain.


I have the packing process all figured out- in my head.
I am leaving our main level untouched- for now.
I will begin by packing lower level items. Three cabinets in particular which hold family photographs in frames, a Santa Claus collection and more. Last time all these items had to be packed and wrapped in paper and bubble wrap and carefully place in heavy-duty cardboard boxes or plastic tubs.
This time a bit of paper and careful placement in a box.
It's a short trip remember.

This time too I'll not have to wrap painting after picture after print because of the short trip. I'll take these off the wall at the last minute and load them into the van. They'll travel with a towel or two tucked between and will be fine.

Once the pictures are removed, I am going to cover the nail holes. I bought this stuff that fills the holes. It goes on pink and dries white. Then a quick run over with some sandpaper.
A dab of paint and voila a perfect, untouched wall.
Some friends say- why are you going to all that trouble?
It's because I want to leave the house in pristine condition.

At least all the packing and the lifting of these boxes will be light.
We are leaving the heavy stuff for the movers because at my age,
I don't want to drop a dresser on my "Elephant Toes"!

Monday, September 14, 2020

ROBBLOG #854- Shopping for Dollars and Things

 


It's has begun.

The Holiday Season- or should I say "the Season of Holidays".
We just put Labour Day to bed and here comes Thanksgiving, Harvest, Halloween and Christmas.
I should include "Remembrance Day" as well but every year somebody, somewhere gets their tits in a wringer over this special day so, I don't believe I should refer to it as a "holiday"- even though Federal Employees garner extra pay and a day off to boot.

Anyhoo, I was looking at Home Depot online when what to my wondering eyes should appear-
but a scary, life-size clown bopping out of a huge jack-in-the-box! 
For only $288.
I'll take a couple at that price!!
You too can have a disturbed-looking clown for your front yard this Hallowe'en.
Actually, no thanks. 
We have one living and breathing in our very neighbourhood. Much scarier than the Home Depot version by the way. Remember my last Blog when I said the Mister and I were moving again? That means the life-like, disturbed clown will not be in our new neighbourhood. Gee, I might have to fork our $288 after all...

Also at Home Depot Online, there was a cute old witch in a rocking chair for under two hundred dollars. I remember seeing her in the store.She rocked and cackled with a cat skeleton on her lap.
No thanks.
The cackling is what we are moving away from!

Just below the photo of the clown and the old witch in her rocking chair, there was a bevy of Christmas Trees.
Branches outswept.
Downswept.
Upswept.
Straight out.
Trees were Flocked.
Not Flocked.
Green.
White.
Pink and
Black (?)
How Jolly.
Scrooge would be proud.

It doesn't take long for all these items to appear once mid-September has bit the dust.
There's a time for shopping.
There's a time not to shop.
There's a time to shop again...
There's a time to window shop and a time to online shop
or a time to not bother shopping at all.
I think it's all in the bible under Ecclesiastes or The Book of Testicles...something like that. 


I'm doing a lot of online shopping these days for the new house up on a hill I told you about. It's quite convenient for days I want to shop or I can just leave it alone for days I don't care to shop.
It's that easy.
I have been shopping for many items because time is of the essence- like flooring underlay and curved, chrome shower rods that the Mister and I shopped for today.
We actually originally had shower doors in 3 out of the four bathrooms.
I know.
4 bathrooms!
It's not right is it when so many people in Alberta are having to live without semi-automatic rifles.
Sometimes, life just isn't fair- is it?

We kept the shower doors for the Master Ensuite but opted for an easier method of cleaning now that we are in our golden years. A new shower liner from the dollar store is much easier than climbing into a tub and trying to spotlessly dry a pair of glass shower doors.
A lesson we have learned from past homes.
Older but smarter...

Enjoy this "Season of Holidays" whether you choose to shop or not.
Of course with covid, I understand that holidays like Hallowe'en might just be cancelled saving you all kinds of candy money. Your jack-in-the-box clown may have no one to scare.

I hear that Santa and his Elves are practicing physical distancing at the North Pole as they work away on this year's gifts. However, his yearly appearances in parades and shopping centres may be on hold for 2020.

We can only hope for the best this "Season of Holidays".
I know that the Toronto Santa Claus Parade is hoping to continue the yearly event by marching on November 15th. 

Time will tell...
and what the Hell is Santa doing marching through Toronto streets on November 15th? 
Good Grief.