Time and Weather

There he goes, Father Time, marching along. He goes quickly if you don’t pay attention.

I breezed through my anniversary of moving to the Dominican and my second year home-aversary for my Chancie, so I thought I better do a blog for both sites.

I started a writing job online almost three months ago now. While I like it, it’s mostly easy and actually rather boring. Which is perfect. But I have been neglecting my own writing.

June 10th marked Chancie’s second year living with us. I can’t imagine him not being here, although Jango doesn’t always agree.

Chancie, dreaming of fishes

image.png

The 16th of June marked my fourth year since arriving here. So many miles between my old life I never expected.

Jango, enjoying a bask.

image.png

There were wine and tuna for both occasions. I don’t partake in the tuna, they do not care for wine.

I’ve actually lost several friends, but on consideration, I don’t blame them. I understand what it’s like to be envious.

After the first few months, I tried to be very conscious of not being a brat about it all. It doesn’t seem to matter. Like, if I posted something today about the heat, which was 38 heat index by 10:30, people jump down my throat about it.

“Well, you moved there, you can’t complain”. The same people freak out at me in the winter, when they post things about how cold it is, for some reason that’s okay. If I counter with a picture of my January, which is hot, then I’m boasting or rubbing their noses in it.

I can’t say, ‘well, you decided to live there’ because then I’m an asshole. So I just shut up. I had a really rough few months here, and for some reason living in ‘paradise’ has no downside. Even when you can’t work, can’t buy food, can’t get your power turned back on and don’t know anyone.

For some reason, I stopped mattering.

I’m really happy I’m here and am okay with the culling of the herd. I guess I didn’t need them after all.

Fuck them. I have a job now that I’m really happy with it.

The cats are both well, thank you for asking.

Till next time.

I’ve included some pictures for you.

This was my walk today for cat supplies. Mango season!

image.png

 

 

Ode To Family

On my walk to one of my grocery stores, there is a wall I pass. It’s only about four feet tall, maybe a bit more. It’s a retaining wall, as there is nothing much behind it.

Nothing but garbage, that is. Heaps and heaps and years worth of garbage flung behind the wall. The wall is made of concrete cinder blocks and has been painted with some colourful images, graffiti, some words in Spanish I assume are for advertising.

The wall has been at a tilt for as long as I’ve been walking past it and I always marvel that it is still standing. But marvel no more. Last week on my way past, it had finally given up its secrets.

Layers and layers of garbage, clothes, trees, paper, garbage. Just a wall of it. A wall behind the wall.

I have now stopped in front of it and just stared at it. It’s years worth of crap, crap that has been building and finally let go.

Which brings me to my family. So-called family. I have mostly referred to them as my dad’s family.  Have done for years.

The other day I left a snarky comment on my facebook wall. My wall. It wasn’t directed at anyone in particular and certainly didn’t name anyone.

What followed was my family’s wall of garbage. Finally collapsing down.

Immediately, a few people from my dad’s family snarked back. People who as a rule, don’t seem to even know I’m alive. One comment, from the elder of my father’s family, called me spoilt and called me a brat.

Well, fuck you.

To be honest, his response had nothing to do with my asshole comment as the comment had nothing to do with him. This was something that’s been sitting in the chamber a while now. Years would be my guess.

What it tells me was that the last piece of garbage it took for his layers to come tumbling down. This from someone who, aside from this year, couldn’t even be bothered to wish me a happy birthday.

Mostly because he’s too busy sharing posts that depict racial and xenophobic messages. Memes, I guess that he’s too fucking stupid to know are not an actual photograph.

One of the other comments suggested that ‘It was really very simple if I didn’t like something, then I should just keep moving and shut up’.  Ummm… kinda like you just fucking did? Oh, no. I guess you’re exempt, aren’t you Princess?

She still isn’t able to see the fucking hypocrisy in her comment. Check your fucking ego.

I decide to just say fuck it. Fuck them, my father’s family. If they are that cunty to me on my facebook, image what they must say about me while they are sitting around hating me.

You want an apology? Here ya go.

I’m sorry my dad left his money to me, his daughter, and not you, whoever the fuck you are. We don’t owe you anything. You are the one who inherited his business. You are the ones who drank it into the ground.

I’m sorry that after struggling for over a year to survive, I actually fucking did it, without your help. Without your compassion or even your concern.

I’m sorry you are ao boring or bored or stuck up your own stupid asshole to enjoy life. But I no longer care. It’s been mostly making nice anyhow, as we have never been close.

Yeah, sorry, not sorry, as the kids say. From the kid no one gives a fuck about.

Rant over. My dad’s daughter, out.

 

54bcfef4b4462dd2316532e9566fcccd

 

My Birthday Blog

It’s my birthday tomorrow. I love my birthday. It’s a great time to reflect and look ahead. Having a spring birthday when I lived in Canada was nice because everything is new and starting over and coming to life. Here, it just gets more sweaty.

Last year, I drank wine, but I hadn’t drunk for about six weeks before that. I had decided that I should give it a bit of a rest, mostly because I could no longer afford it. I treated myself last year to some nice red wine and was hung over for two days.

This past year has been pretty bleak and scary. It was always a struggle and wondering and worrying how things would work out. Thankfully and very recently, they finally did.

But I am not going to talk about my shitty year, but focus on the year ahead. Last year when I put down the wine glass, the cocktail glass, the beer glass, the champagne glass, the martini glass,  … well, you see where I’m headed.

I strapped on my old running shoes and headed out in the early morning hours to go for a walk. I see a small group go by each morning and felt inspired to do the same.

I started out just walking around the few blocks of my neighbourhood, then I added a bit of a jog to it. Not a lot, just enough to get me moving and sweating.

Then, last Easter I ventured a little farther and went towards the park I like. I thought it would be good to run the stairs there, and I did! I got all the up and didn’t even puke.

I was quite surprised to see a lot of people there, walking running and biking. The whole road was closed, and I thought it must be something for the Easter weekend.

But it’s a regular thing. Every day, from about 6am to 9 am, people use the street to exercise. There are armed police and guards and all types of people there. Young, old, fit, obese, on canes, stroke victims, I absolutely love it.

I feel like I have some community here. I see a lot of the same people all the time. Some say hello, some call me a prostitute. there is lovely Santos who talks to me and the guy I see early mornings with two enormous sacks like saddle bags on his motorbike full of fresh bread and buns to deliver to the stores and restaurants.

Here’s me just over a year ago and then me today, in the shirt. It fits a bit better and I feel a lot better. I’m not trying to get movie star thin, just tired of being circus fat.

15622015_10154812045429717_7740426115684525052_n

Photo on 4-18-18 at 1.45 PM

 

I’m really happy I found this new job. It’s one of those situations that just has to come to some sort of conclusion. I’m very happy about this one.

I love going out early in the morning. It’s cool and quiet. I run a good long way now. Not fast, but steady. The street and park are directly up the hill from where I live and get a perfect view of the ocean.

I stop every time I’m there to take in the view. I marvel that I am so lucky that I get to live here. I marvel at the beauty and I’m making it work and all of a sudden, everything looks brighter.

IMG_1531

I am looking forward to my next year, to living with my new number. The job is pretty open and I have the choice to work as much as I want and make as much money as I am able.  But I think, considering the year or so I have just come through, that my motto this year will be,

“Take what you need, leave the rest”

Happy Birthday, Baby! I love you!

 

Writing Because​ I Found Work

quote-there-is-nothing-so-degrading-as-the-constant-anxiety-about-one-s-means-of-livelihood-money-is-w-somerset-maugham-251319

You know the saying?  Write when you find work. That’s what I’m doing. Writing because I found work.

I’m ridiculously happy about it. Happy, relieved and still a little surprise, to be honest.  Like the quote says, it’s a worry. it’s been over a year of worry, fret and things got rather dark for me, as well.

I wrote about that, had to. Death just rears it’s ugly or peaceful head to add its voice to the long or short lists of solutions. But that seems to be solved, for now.

I have been working online but it had been mostly a festering sack of shit that barely pays and then some asshole doesn’t want to pay at all. That happened to me on the site I work on a few weeks ago.

Then, out of the blue, well, out of the job site Indeed, there was a reply to one of the countless resumes I send. I barely noticed as I get replies all the time. The last one I got excited about made me get references, kept sending me next phases of the employment process and then the last email I received was an introduction to the head honcho.

It was a guy, all in pink and as far as I can tell, it’s a new cult for Jesus. Hard pass. I do believe they are building the bunker.

But my job is a writing job. The topics are mostly boring and they have very specific guidelines as to what they want and it’s absolutely perfect. I can’t really commit to many online jobs because my power situation is sketchy, at best.

I won’t be vulgar enough to talk dollars but I will tell you that by writing two articles a day, I make a very easy livable wage. The first week pays my rent and all my bills. That’s Santo Domingo prices on a USA wage.

The relief is overwhelming. I’ve spent the past year, or more scrapping and worrying and freaking out. It’s a weird place to be in, to realize once something runs out, like laundry soap, you may not be able to replace it.

But I can.  I am still a bit shocked that what I wanted, actually showed up. I knew it was possible and usually had a glimmer of hope somewhere and then, presto bango, there it is.

I get paid twice a week, sweet!  I was determined to make rent last month on my own and actually did it, but not quite on time. However, it was easter so I blamed that on the slow bank to my landlady.

I’m still trying to play catch-up with the household supplies, but I’m getting there. Today I went out for groceries and treated myself to a new pair of shoes, seen here, some chai tea and cockroach spray. Oh, the glamorous life I lead.

The shoes were pretty exciting.On sale for about $12 and the smell of the rubber and the canvas was intoxicating. Plus, a new box for kitties.

IMG_1962

 

On the way home, loaded down with groceries, I walked passed a group of people milling about and they were all privy to see me get beaned on the head with a mango. High hilarity, indeed, before they all headed in to the funeral home. The security guard dashed up and grabbed the mango.

But its okay. I have a job, the cats got food, I have chia tea and new blue shoes. I got to ake some people laugh on I’m guessing, a pretty shitty day. Maybe down the road, when they think about old uncle Carlos, they will have a chuckle about the old white lady getting bonked with the mango.

Good times!

 

My Dominican Diary ~ Extras ~

After nearly four years of living here, I thought I should jot a few things down, rather than just random Facebook posts. It really is a magical city, even though I do bugger all, like the shut-in I am, which makes it all the more exciting when I do get out.

This morning I was rather busy, and feel I’ve had a full day, even though I was out twice and still home by 11am.

I answered an ad on a Facebook group I belong to for a casting company looking for ‘foreign’ looking extras for a commercial. I sent them a picture and a few deets, like you do, and they said to come by where they were auditioning.

I looked up the place on the map and realized it was totes easy to get to, so good, I was going. I went for a run and then came home for a shower, then ate an entire pineapple, as you do. They are 4 for 100 pesos, so why not, is right!

I got ready and headed out. I love Sunday mornings here because it’s so quiet. I caught a public cab and all was good. A little way along, a young woman got in and gushed all over my tattoos. She spoke English and I ended up taking off my shoe and sock to show her one of my foot tattoos. She said I didn’t have to, but what the heck, right?

On her way out of the cab, she told me it was nice to meet me and said my tattoos looked good on me. I won’t lie, it was a bit of a relief. Like maybe she would have told me they made me look fat?

That last guy got out at a main street where the subway line is and is also where I get out to go to the passport office. The driver said something to me, like maybe I wanted to get out, as well, and then maybe he could go get a coffee and have a piss.

I said the name of the place I needed and then he nodded and carried on, pulling up and stopping for me when we got there. This is when I realized I had been here with my friend when we were trying to sort the banking nightmare.  I wandered around until I found a security guard, two of them in fact, sitting in lawn chairs, having a good chat.

They led me in to see two more guys on security detail, both of them staring at their phones. I showed them the company name and they did a lot of hemming and hawing, before deciding I was wrong. I went back out to the lawn chair men, they sent me to the hotel next door, who sent me back to the place I was meant to be.

The two inside finally walked me through the maze of hallways and closed businesses to the offices of the name I had showed them and yes, they were closed. One of the men kept telling me to come back tomorrow. While this was all happening, there was also a lot of walkie-talkie action back and forth.

Standing in front of the closed office door, I flipped it the bird and both men thought that was pretty funny, but on the walk back through the maze, the bigger one got a squawk on his walkie talkie and put his hand and his eyebrows up at the same time.

Yes, he nodded, there were some people here from the company, just arriving. Sure enough, when we got back a pair of youngish people, one of each, came in with backpacks and laptops and stuff, all official like.

We walked to the office, a different office space, and I said to the big security guard, ‘late!’ in Spanish like a cross school teacher and got another really good laugh and a pat on the shoulder.

Thankfully they both spoke English so things rolled along. She set up a laptop and he got out a camera and they took pictures of me against a white wall with florescent lighting. Great.

I had to hold a sign with my deets on it, like a mug shot, then a profile for both. As he was taking them, I was saying, Canadian woman arrested, found drunk and naked … if I don’t go for the laugh, my friends, I don’t go at all.

Short and sweet, I was back out. I had to walk the two blocks up to get the public cab back to my end of the city and ended up having one all to myself. After a few blocks, we were at a red light and my driver yelled over to the driver of a cab beside us, then said something to me, and when my only reaction was to stare at him, he said it louder and then louder. He finally handed me back my 25 pesos and motioned for me to get out. I got in the other cab and home we came.

It’s very exciting for me to go out on an adventure like this. I love taking the public cabs and love seeing that end of the city. It’s closer to hotels and casinos and tourist areas and I had spent a lot of time looking to find a place to live down there. Not that I don’t like where I live, it’s just a bit nicer.

I thought it was an exciting day, said the shut-in.

 

7b958e31f65b902400ed5b09f29e41ac

 

Adventures in Passports

My passport is due for renewal. I won’t lie to you, it’s been a source of anxiety since about October. I don’t know why, but I have this unfounded fear of going somewhere where I have never been before.

If you are thinking, but you got on a plane and moved to the Dominican without ever being there before, you are correct. Yes, I had a lot of anxiety, but it was mostly for my cat.

The anxiety comes in small stages, the steps I have to take to get there, what happens when I get there, but the steps, the first steps.

I actually knew where I had to go. I looked it up and it’s just up the street from where the bus stop is, the major bus that I took to visit Santo Domingo from Sosua when I was apartment hunting.

I even tried to talk my friend into driving me, even though he just had knee surgery and can’t walk. I suggested he wait in the car, but I guess he can’t bend it far enough to drive, either. Whatever.

I took the public cab, and asked the driver if he could tell me when the street came up. He said yes and then continued to talk to the young man in the front seat. I kinda knew anyhow, just wanted that bit of insurance.

When the corner I needed came up, it was the young man from the front seat who told me it was my stop. Our driver had not once shut his hole the entire trip. Nice of the kid.  I love it when that happens.

I was going to take another public cab the other direction but the ones I saw were already about six people deep, so I opted to walk. I have been finding the weather this winter absolutely gorgeous, so didn’t mind.

I reached my destination in about half an hour, and will share with you this tidbit of trivia. Did you know the Canadian Consulate in Santo Domingo is housed in a building that also has a Hooters?  You’re welcome.

I walked up several flights of stairs, as it turns out, I didn’t need to. Had I just kept walking, I would have found the section of building I needed, Hooters-free. I stop in front of one of those ‘You are Here’ maps, it was a multi-layered mall. Loads of fast food places but nothing said ‘Your Passport here’.

Waaa… am I not in the right place? Next step of anxiety.

Then I asked a woman who worked there, and she shoved her cleaning cart behind a big sign for a store and lead me away. She took me to where I needed to go and come on, how nice is that! I love it when that happens.

The scenery went from shoe stores and French fries to security body scanners and scanners that read your face in order to get through. People were shooting through these turnstiles by their fingerprints. So Macgyver.

I signed in, got a visitors badge and then had to get through the turnstile, which was clearly locked but did not stop me from throwing myself at the locked bars like a demented toddler.

The guy who scanned me in then ran my purse through an X-ray as I was going through the body scanner. Here’s a tip. When it beeps, don’t throw your hands up and pretend you are being sprayed with bullets by jerking around, ala Bonny and Clyde.

Not only are there men there with actual guns, but the suits all coming in to work were not terribly amused. I already stand out here. Of course, I now had to get in to the elevator with them and ride the 18 floors. Luckily it went fast. Luckily they avoided eye contact.

Once I reached my floor, I was asked for my visitors badge. That’s right. I had a badge. Then I had to get my purse scanned again, like the kind at the airport, in case I found a Glock on the elevator and then through another walk through scanner, same beep, same ‘riddled with bullets’ routine, still no laughs.

Then, if that isn’t enough security, and I think it is, considering how un-secure most things are my new city, the woman helping me is behind, I will just assume, bullet-proof glass with just the smallest tray to put my documents in and then a lid slams shut, as if I might change my mind.

It was all over within about 10 minutes or so and I was free to reenact my ‘suicide by security guard’ two more times. On the way out on the ground floor, the security guard actually did laugh so my persistence in doing the bit til it works paid off. Once a comedian.

I was happy to be back on the street and was very relieved that it was all over. I walked back down the hill but in my delirium of the perfect weather and the anxious task long forgotten, I also forget that the street I need is a one way at that end. I decided I didn’t care and could have just walked back ups a block to get the public cab, but walked anyhow.

Did I mention the weather is glorious? Yes, I believe I did.

 

 

Happy Hairy Heart Day!

My cats have been fighting and I have no idea why. It started on Sunday, I was making my breakfast and doing up the dishes and both cats were hanging around, which is not unusual, in particular for Chance. Anything in the kitchen might mean something for him. Either given or dropped.

I saw them swatting at each other at the same time I heard the hissing. This part isn’t unusual at all. Jango, more so, when it comes to the three-legged upstart always getting all up in his grill, but this escalated quickly.

All of a sudden, there was hissing, screaming and fur flying, they were tearing around and it wouldn’t stop. Jango got by the door and they sat there for a bit just growling, but that deep guttural growl that frankly frightened me a bit. Chance, right in front of him, their eyes huge and wild, staring at each other. Chance’s back hair and his tail were at full height.

Then, Jango made a move to just get away, Jango, the Lover, and Chance, Chance the fighter, was on him. They went around at each other and it was just a blur of fur, like on Bugs Bunny cartoons when the Tasmanian devil does his spinning thing, and they were going at it like I had never seen. The sound alone was unbelievable.

Jango managed to break away and went and got under the bed, Chance right behind him.   At this point, I went in and put one of the pillows down to cover where Jango was and cut off the insane eye contact that was going on.

Chance finally tucked himself up in the corner behind my big fan and ten minutes later they were still growling, even though they couldn’t see each other. I went in to suss the sitch and when I looked under the bed at Jango, he had blood on his ear, and it was dripping on the floor.

I went and got an oven mitt on and managed to get Chance out of the corner, even though I didn’t need the mitt, he can do some damage. I got him out to the chair on the balcony and closed the bedroom door, to give Jango so time to recoup. He isn’t used to this type of activity and he is turing 13 or 14 this year. I’ll have to check. I’m not a bad cat mum, half the time I can’t remember my own age.

I took some water in for him and just left them in their own space for a while and when Jango wanted to come out, it happened all over again. The noises coming out of them, it was enough to set the neighbour’s dogs off.

I have no idea what is going on. They ended up on the balcony with Jango under the chair, so Chance had him trapped. I took my flip flop off and tried to put it between them. I know. I tried to just stop the paws and claws from doing more damage and I ended up giving Chance a whomp on the head with it, so thankfully it wasn’t a Doc Martin!

It startled him enough to stop for a second and then I managed to get him back inside and slid the balcony door over. There is a lot of power in the that little cat!

Monday was pretty much a repeat, so Jango spent the better part of the day on the porch, either under or sitting on the chair, with Chance glaring darts at him from inside.

Tuesday morning started out okay, with them actually eating their breakfast together, which they normally never do, that has to be in shifts. I mean, honestly! Cats!

Then, Chance just walked up to Jango and started washing his ears like nothing had even happened. Honestly, the relief I felt!

They both got quite hurt through it all. Jango now has cuts on both his ears and has been favouring his left front leg, but he did let me look at it and I didn’t see any scratches, so it likely just got banged against something.

Chance lost a claw, which I found parts of wedged in the back of Jango’s neck. Plus, this morning when I kicked of my flip flop, he gave me a low growl. Ha Ha … I never even hit him very hard, but point taken. For the record, I do not hit my cats.

So, Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, there was a bit of growling but no fisticuffs, so maybe it has passed. I don’t know what started it but I was shocked when it happened and it really stressed me a lot. I was also shocked how quickly I was siding with Jango. He’s been with me a long time and he is not a fighter, at all, and he isn’t particularly active, either, so it was a lot for him.

I remember telling him years ago, back in Toronto, as he was play fighting with me, that he was lucky he lived with me and didn’t have to fend for himself in the wild, because he would have his fuzzy butt handed to him by an arthritic squirrel. An arthritic squirrel with a bum leg and one good eye.

Chance, on the other hand, has had to fend for himself in the wild. The Dominican wild but he had to find food and defend himself against other animals and that’s very apparent to all of us when something like this comes up.

I have no idea what stared it, maybe because I’ve been so stressed for the past few months that now I’m actually seeing a bit of sunshine through my fog, that they felt it was time they let theirs out. I know they feel our feels, but they don’t understand.

Here they are, not really talking yet, but in the same space with out tearing each other’s hair out in clumps.

 

IMG_1914

Happy Hairy Heart Day