Too Heavy

 

Cloud

 

I was walking home with groceries this morning, heavy ones and in my mind I said, ‘My life is too heavy’.  Then I tried really hard not to cry.

Truth is life has been very heavy lately. I’ll try not to make this all ‘sitting in the garden eating worms’ but sometimes a little self-mewling is in order. It’s financial, isn’t it. I’m out of money in a country I can’t legally work in and don’t speak the language and likely won’t learn much Spanish because statistically, being over forty greatly reduces that as a reality and as I’m over fifty I’d be happy to remember the grocery list I wrote ten minutes for I left for the store without it.

But it gets you down. Last month I had to borrow two hundred pesos from my only friend here, (Nobody likes me, everybody hates me… sing along if you know it) just to have water for the week. I actually went several weeks without cash, in the bank and on hand. I had spent the very last of it, the bits I’d been hoarding on cat food and litter. I also had to carry it home, which was brutal.

I’m looking online for work, really my only option, but it’s bits and pieces. I use several websites but recently had a falling out with one of them. I got offered a job, and the pay was good, very good, in fact. Not just for this website, but in general. The guy wanted to chat through Skype, but only instant messages, never laid eyes on him.

He came across as a bit of a prick but I persevered. I got the first assignment, finished and set it to him thought the website where he hired me. It was a job writing articles and for those of you who have done or are doing it now, it’s horrendous. Mostly, I want to punch my own spleen out. The job was up to five articles a day, finish it, do the next one.

I never heard from after  the first one and then the next day saw him on Skype and asked what was going on. He immediately started in on me about how I was way too late and he didn’t work like that and blah blah shut the fuck blah.

I pointed out I had sent the article within an hour of getting it the day before and if he would kindly stop swing his cock about and maybe put it back in his purse he would see said article in his account inbox.

He said we both had a bit of a misunderstanding (he) but we soldiered on. I did a few of more articles, some were fine, a few of them just a nightmare, but I got through them. I was sending them to him through Skype but also through his account on the actual site, and using their system of tracking my hours. The last one I sent wouldn’t go in to his account and when I checked it, it said it had been closed.

Super.

I contacted their ‘chat’ customer service do-ma-jiggy, to find out what’s going on. It’s at this point I’ll mention that;

a) I’ve had wretched service on this particular site before

b) I’m fucking mad

c) there is no alcohol in my house

I live in a third world, or developing country and customer service here is ghastly but still makes theirs seem like silver service.

This twat I’m talking to immediately started blaming me and telling me I was at fault and then things just got all white and hot and it spiraled in to several ‘fuck yous’ (mine) and then I got an OFFICIAL FIRST AND FINAL WARNING and I asked her to poke that up one of her smelly hairy holes as well and then they took the whole five dollars out of my account. I mean, really.

To top it off, because that’s not enough, they sent me an electronic invoice, just to show me the money I could presumably poke up one of my smelly holes.

I started to walk/run in the early mornings. I started a few months ago. It’s mostly really nice, somewhat quiet, not too much traffic, I see the ocean and other walkers/runners and beautiful scenery but also rats and dead animals and garbage and that is really hard to take.  Mostly the dead animals.

My body is getting lighter.  My life is getting heavier.

 

 

Kathy’s Desk

Going back about 500 years when I lived in Calgary, I was at my friend Brad’s place, (you’ve met her, she comes for hols) we were just hanging out and having tea and a chat. He was talking about a social gathering he had been at recently and he mentioned that someone we both knew had been there with his new boyfriend. I asked what the new boyfriend was like and Brad replied, “Maybe  a bit of S and P to taste, she’s a bit bland.”  We had a good chuckle over this and carried on chatting but what happened was, that phrase got planted in my brain.

It comes to me , mostly without realizing it. When I myself use the S n P, to taste, I hear him saying it. When someone is boring the tits right off me, same.

So, going back another 500 years past that day, back to when I was in Grade One, yes, I remember, my friend Kathy, (her real name) sat across the aisle and one up from me, she was a front row kid. The worst. Brats. Ever. I could see in to her desk, and although neat, it was full of paper. I clearly remember one day her sliding her books in to the desk, old fashion type, and even though the books slid in easily, they were on top of a ton of paper.

So the bottom layer of her desk was all these papers she had never gotten rid of; Very Important Papers, like coloured ducks and some nonsense about Dick and Jane and their dog Spot. It had been in this state for some time, and for some reason it was really cool to me. This layer of trash with plenty of room for the other stuff on top, stuff like books about Dick and Jane and their dog Spot and sandwiches in paper bags.

Mrs. Rogers, our teacher, called her on it one day. Mrs. Rogers, if you will, picture Godzilla with a tartan dress and maybe some glass pearls. Horrid Hound From Hell! She made me go to the from of the class once to throw away my gum and then SPANKED ME in front of everyone, but I’m not ready to talk about that yet. So she made Kathy take down her mountain of papers, important or not and toss them.

Kathy’s Desk is also a yardstick in my life. Like if I can’t get through the crowd in the grocery store, or the cards in my game of solitaire are all built up and I can’t get the ones I need out, sometimes just a cluttered mind, it has been Kathy’s Desk.

I moved here to the Dominican Republic with the gentle guidance of my friend, Will. He died Sunday.

I don’t know how to process it yet.

It’s all Kathy’s Desk.

 

will

 

William, easing in to his day.

Life Map

 

wall

My power went out today. Not an unusual thing here at all. It goes out all the time, some sort of conservation thing, I think. As a rule it’s only about a half an hour, hour, then back. Today was five hours. Seriously. It’s like having no arms.

After the first hour I finally got the broom out, pushed a few things around, tried to wash my dishes, but by then the water was gone. We have reserve tanks for the building, but after everyone using it, it’s gone. Saturday morning, everyone is home.

I eventually ended up head first in my bedroom closet. It’s mostly storage, piled up, crap I don’t know what to do with as yet. Excess. Thankfully, I’ve been watching ‘Hoarders’, so I’m in the mood to shift stuff.

Every apartment I’ve had here is solid concrete. Was, floors, the lot. I assume it’s due to the extreme humidity and the regular earthquakes. But I’ve never been able to hang my pictures. My last place had a few nails and I did hang two of my mother’s paintings up, it’s amazing what familiar things can do to you. It’s so comforting.

This apartment has a bit of wood. The kitchen cupboards are wood and the back wall of it is the wall for the main room. Termites are a massive problem here as well, so concrete it is! I have termites here,  but a bit of Windex seems to slow them down.

In my closet hoard was a suitcase full of artwork from a dear friend of mine. I have a lot of it and have always hung it up. I haven’t been able to here, until today.

How marvelous to see it all! The memories, the history, the beauty of it all. I hammered in a few nails, the rest I had to tape up. We’ll see how that goes, the humidity may knock them down. What’s really cool about a lot of the pieces is they are Mail Art. He makes postcards and sends them to friends, other artists, and other mail artists. It was always very exciting to receive a very colourful piece of art amongst the phone bills and pizza flyers.

But also very cool was as I applied the tape to the back of the post cards, I would see the address it was sent to. It was quite interesting to be reminded of all these places I lived, mostly Toronto, and all the memories it brought back. My first one, the Elvis Building, is dated ‘Christmas, 1988’.

elvis

What a wonderful treat, to revisit the past. To see these lovely pieces, hanging them up, it’s well over due. There are a few I don’t even know which end is up but it really doesn’t matter. My friend Theo’s work, my old address’, touching them, seeing them, arranging them, all of it. Like visiting an old friend.

Which,really, I was. He can’t send them here so I am hoping for a delivery in person.

Hanging Up!

phone

 

 

 

Had it happen? Someone blocked you off their Facebook page? Maybe you had to block some twat who was being a, well, twat? It’s my generation’s answer to slamming down the phone. Fuck, that was always so satisfying!

About a month ago, a good friend of mine blocked me. She’s relatively new to Facebook, well, internet, really, so like all of us Olds, she has a lot of pent up anger to vent. Oh, the discovery of disagreeing with someone who is miles, countries away, getting all angry and shit and then just losing it and calling them a stupid cunt or something! Woof! That’s good.

 

So, about a month ago, she was on Facebook, shitting all over stuff she had no business shitting on. It’s about 5 am here, so about 1 am for her in Alberta. She went on to one of my friend’s page and starting in, and I called her on it. I wasn’t nice, but not as mean as I could have been. I was just fed up. I can do that. We’re friends.

We’ve been friends for a long time. A. Long. Time. We started hanging out when I turned Bar Age, which was 18 in Alberta. I turned 18 in 1979. That’s right, my Lovelies. I’ve been hammered for almost 40 years.

But she blocked me. How disposable we are, with a click of a button we cease to exist.  In my days of slamming down the phone, or having one slammed in my ear, we all lived in the same town and it was almost impossible to avoid each other. We had all the same friends.  We have fallen out before. Many time, actually. I assume she’ll come around. Maybe not.

Perhaps it’s all just run it’s course. I hope not. I haven’t lived in the same town as her since about 1986 but we always kept in touch. Always. maybe she’ll think fondly of me. Maybe she has enough friends already.

In this disposable society, I hope I’m at least recyclable.

Sweet Gees

Sweet Peas

 

Edith Bunker came home with flowered sheets and Archie bleated out, “If I want to wake up covered in flowers, it’s when I’m dead”, or something similar. My father thought this was very funny, chuckled and gave my mom a glance, ‘wouldn’t know about that, hey Gladys?’ then back to the show. It’s the equivalent for anyone else barking out a laugh and yelling, ‘I feel ya, Brother’.

My mother loved flowers. Loved them. Not only was her garden a proper cornucopia of flowers, all blooming at different times, all varieties of colour but the scents as well.  I loved it out there. It’s a place I often am reminded of, standing in the garden eating peas right off the vine or new carrots out of the ground with just a few swipes across my pant leg to remove the fresh dirt. The smells and sights of the flowers; it was like that little garden patch was its own oasis, where magic happened.

When she was in her last days of life, she was very proactive and went through her things to donate or give to friends. One day I was there helping her and she pulled out a blouse from the closet, looked at it and then hung it back up.

“I just can’t bring myself to part with anything that has flowers on it.”

After she passed, I found flowers everywhere. Sheets, clothes, tee towels, writing paper. Everywhere. All types. I doubt she own many solids at all.

I’ve always been a balcony gardener and now that I’m settling in the new apartment, I decided to get some blooming plants on the go. My friend who was recently here for Christmas brought me cat grass and I actually found soil in one of the grocery stores the other week, so grass planted, I thought about my seeds package.

I have a collection of seeds I’ve gathered over the years, still have a few little bundles with my mother’s handwriting on them, one of them, a bundle of sweet peas. I love them. Love them. She did, too. The delicate heads, the heady aroma, I was thrilled to find them.

I put about eight seeds in water to see if they would sprout and sure enough, I noticed yesterday they all had cracks in them and were likely going to bust a move. I got a pot ready and was very excited about the smell of these sweet peas, the memories they would evoke.

I came out to the balcony this morning to check on them and they were all gone. It’s been ridiculously windy here lately and I guess they all just took off.

It actually pleases me no end, the thought of my mother’s flowers landing in someone else’s yard, or flower pot or just back yard. Maybe one will catch by the side of the road I walk down everyday and I’ll still get to see it.

My mom passed away twenty years ago, but she’s still spreading the love and power of the flower .

 

 

Year New

Well. Here we are, then. Teetering on the brink of the old one, about to dive in to the next. It’s different for all of us, some looking forward to seeing the back of 2016, others may have had a good one and be sad to see it go. It’s been a proper bitch for the celebrity death toll, but it really only affects of superficially, doesn’t it?  We like their movies or music, but  it’s not really OUR loss, is it?

I’m pleased with this past one. Mostly near the end. My old landlord showed his true colours, greedy green, so it seems, but it meant a move to a better neighbourhood and way cheaper rent. When I say better, I mean for me. I lived in the ‘burbs before and hated it. All  my neighbours had maids and no one of those fuckers could be bothered to take out their own garbage. I mean, what?

My new place is very close to a main thoroughfare. It’s loud, busy, noisy with horns, people yelling, car alarms, music blaring, the honking or shouting from the fruit and veg vendors and I LOVE it!  Before my view was a parking lot, now I can see for miles… and miles and miles… (Little Who reference for those in the know) I can walk to the stuff I need, hang my knickers on my balcony to dry (absolute NO-NO at last place) and buy almost anything I need from my door step. There are about five or six colmados close to me and they will deliver anything. Well, they would if I knew how to ask for it.

My newest favorite thing is the public taxis. They travel up and down the same route all day. All the major and even minor streets have them and in any country these cars would not be deemed road worthy. I had taken them when I lived in Sosua to Puerto Plata but my ‘car mate’ (won’t call her friend) and I paid for the whole back seat, so twice as much. But for a long trip, it’s fine. Here, it’s perfect. The first time I took one, I handed the driver 50 pesos and was ridiculously delighted when he handed half of it back.

Here, it’s 25 pesos, which is about 70 cents Canadian, and you can go three blocks or three miles. I would have taken them in my old ‘hood, but they don’t go off the beaten track, just the main street, so it wasn’t really worth it as I still had another ten minute walk to get home. They stuff 2 in the front and 4 or 5 if they are small in the back. These are not big cars.

I love them. The cars are complete pieces of shit and it’s a wonder you make it there. I had my Brad friend here for a week and we took them several times. He loved them, too. These cars are everywhere, stop for you and drop you off absolutely anywhere. I find it so civilized. It’s the best way to travel here. We had a joke that the ride itself was 10 pesos and the rest was a gamble whether you would make it or not. There is often no inside of the doors, just the metal and a bit of coat hanger to keep the thing closed.

One day, we walked to the grocery store, had a wander through a department store, had a pizza, then bought pineapple off the truck. We hopped in a car, Brad got in front and when I jumped in the back, I was only slightly surprised to find no floor. I sat speed eagle with all our groceries on my lap while the woman and her daughter stared at us.

It’s great. My move has been great. Mostly, I feel like I finally live here. I had to buy a fridge and stove for this place, both of my other places were ‘furnished’. So, it’s all mine now. There is nothing fancy about the neighbourhood, except that it’s fabulous! There is a great flea market that sets up on Sundays but I walked past today, being two days before new year’s day and it was rocking. it’s like Goodwill is having a yard sale. Plus, I have the Caribbean ocean out my back door, a new language I’m still trying to learn and new people to meet.

The bonus, as well, in a way, is that I’m almost out of money. I can’t afford to leave even if I wanted to, I don’t, but now I have to survive, which is great and scary and exciting and what life should be. So, this year, my friends, ignore what your mother told you about getting in to stranger’s cars. Take a chance. Pay the 25 pesos, get in the car. You never know what you’ll find. Perhaps yourself.

 

ocean

Can’t Wait!

 

hawk006-2

 

 

Well, it’s a month away from Christmas. Are you excited? I’m excited because I get company. Visitors from a far away land, bringing me news of my long lost lifestyle and special Canadian treats like cat grass seeds and Cheesies. Mostly though, conversation and someone to drink with who is in the same room!

I’ve been noticing lately that people say, “I can’t wait!” a lot. I remember very clearly saying this to my mother as a child while she sat at the kitchen table reading, perhaps eating something sweet, I said, “I can’t wait!”. I don’t remember what it was about but it’s just something we say. “Well”, she said between chews of her caramel, “you’ll just have to.”.

I’m not going to lie, it really took the wind out of my sails. But of course we have to. It’s a silly thing to say, really. I can’t wait. If you are running late, for instance, and you are at the barber or there is a line up for the latte, you can say, ‘I can’t wait.’ If you have a bladder like mine, ‘you can’t wait.’.

Waiting for a holiday, waiting for company, waiting to move, we just have to wait. We can’t make time shift itself any faster but we say ‘I can’t wait’ as an expression of excitement of something coming up. It’s just that everything I hear it or read it I hear my mother saying in her matter-of-a-fact way that I simply have to. No argument, no debate, just have to.

But Christmas is coming and my friends are coming and I have to wait.