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Chancer Blog

Here’s my helper, writing outside on New Year’s Eve morning. The power is out, but is it? It is really?

 

This marks my fifth Christmas here, I can hardly believe it myself. I’m still stopped in my tracks in amazement all the time, the things that you never get used to. It’s important to feel wonder at everyday things.

I’m doing a cleanse to mark the end of this year. I feel I need to shed it all off of me, glean what I can use and discard the rest. I’m not doing the type of cleanse that makes you shit out a wagon wheel you had in grade four. It’s a different type of voiding.

I started by removing a few people from my facebook. It was so exhilarating, I went in a took off a few more. I went back a few days later to sweep up a few stragglers. I’m not done, but I’m done for now.

It’s not that I don’t like them, or that I lost interest, but I also did lose interest. I just really feel like I need to move forward. Many of the people I removed pay little to no attention to me anyhow, so I doubt a lot of them even noticed.

Some of them were dead, and that’s a strange sensation, removing the people who are no longer here. Many of these ‘friends’ are people I remember as a teenage and snow they are grandparents. It’s nice to connect and catch up but that’s enough. You know where I am if you need me.

I like my life and often feel distracted by what others are projecting, your kids or grandkids or your holiday. Yeah, it’s nice but I’m trying to focus more on my own life. Not what I project it to be, the real one.

I cleared out all my emails, too. Some were there from people who are no longer alive. There were a few that popped up while mass deleting from my job this past year. It was a strange sensation, to see them.

The company use a cartoon-like character that is red and looks really angry. It always bothered me, to open an email and see this angry face. Did they think it was helping? I used to get stressed each time I saw it, and I am truly relieved I don’t have to see it any longer.

I had an interesting flood of reaction to it, and none of it was pleasant. As much as I miss the weekly payday, I really don’t miss the job. It’s made me more determined to become more self-self-sufficient without the aid of agencies or these writing mills that are just factories.

I’m taking a page or two out of the Book of Cat. They are content and feel none of the stress of not knowing where the next meal is coming from. They know exactly where it’s coming from. The cupboard beside the stove.

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Absolute purfection. Look how he crosses his hands.

I didn’t know what to expect when I first moved here, and frankly, I still don’t. But every year is still a wonder and a marvel and I love it. Not every second, but I’m pleased that I’ve been able to live here and function and I’m sitting outside in the warmth.

My power has been out for about three hours already and I love that my neighbours a few doors down are using their precious generator power to blast music. It’s New Year’s Eve, so what if it’s not yet noon? That’s how we roll here.

I’m making some changes and taking what I’ve learned to move forward. I can do that. I’m changing the way I think about things, the language I use, (not the swears and stuff, I’m keeping that) and deeming myself worthy.

I certainly learned a lot this past year. About myself, about friends, like who is and isn’t. About how to survive and that I admire myself a lot more than I give myself credit for.

I’m at the end and the beginning. I’m reset to 000 and starting again, but better.

Here’s to shedding the old and finding the new.

2018, you sashay away.

Merry Tuesday

If you celebrate, if not, just have a Tuesday. I’m ignoring as much as I can about this season. Last year sucked a lot, and I swore it would be better this year. The middle of the year got marginally better, as I had a regular (mostly) payday, but I hated earning it.

This year I’m broke and just hovering at zero, but at least I’m not crying and thinking about killing myself and the cats. That was really difficult. So, in a sense, it is better this year. The mood, but not the situation.

Many years ago, when I moved to Vancouver and it was too far to participate in regular Christmas traditions, insomuch as my family had them, this season became so much easier. After my mother passed, my dad and I claimed we didn’t care if we had a Christmas or not.

It was kind of like when you and someone else are expressing yourselves and both say it at the same time. My dad and I did that. ‘I don’t give a shit’ ‘Whew’ ‘Are you sure?’ ‘Yes’ ‘Whew’ ‘Me, too’ ‘Well, I’m glad we had this talk’ ‘You hang up first’.

it was so much easier after that. I didn’t have to spend a shitload of money I didn’t have and be happy about a bunch of crap I was receiving that only proved after X amount of years, my parents had no idea who I was.

I thought about this past year and I had a few really good days, a few weeks and even months, in fact. If there is anything I have learned from life and these forced holidays are enjoy the good when it’s there. It won’t always be.

I decided that those days a few months ago when I had money and was drinking wine on my balcony and my cats had tuna were enough to carry me through this stupid season. Why does it have to be dictated when I can enjoy myself?

When I had income, I bought a large bag of cat food, but not for my cats. I carry some with me and when I see a stray dog or cat, which is always, I give it to them. I often buy a can of dog food, just to have on me for these poor souls, as well.

My Tuesday is okay, today. I still have a bit of food in the house, the cats are fed and it’s a beautiful day here. I can hear music and people celebrating and I am always acutely aware there are always people worse off than I am.

Happy Tuesday, from Jango, Chance and me.

 

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

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Happy Hairy Heart Day

Our Dance With Irma

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Luckily it was closer to a waltz than the Cha Cha.

Hurricane Irma skirted past the Dominican Republic on Thursday, but left again soon after with minimal damage. Thankfully.

Thursday morning I went out for a brief walk, just to suss the sitch, you know. Check it all out. I knew the stores were closed but I walked that way anyhow, I didn’t need anything, just being a nosy cow.

It was eerily quiet, no cars, no noise, no people walking about. Except the birds. All the stores closed, mind a few of the corner stores or colmados. The delivery guys there with their motorbikes ready to deliver stuff for those who didn’t prepare.

Some of the stores went a step further and taped or covered windows, but not too much of it. Many of them had security out front to deter looting, but honestly, if shit did get real and you really wanted to loot the gas station, good luck getting past that surly teenager staring at his phone while perched on an upside-down plastic bucket.

The other bit that was eerie was the extreme noise coming from the birds and the scurrying about of rats. Rats are a common sight here, but not dashing about in front of me, some with expensive luggage.

The circling vultures were just a bonus.

My cats seems a little restless but not enough to keep Jango from sleeping on the balcony even after the rain started.

We lost power a few times, but that’s a regular occurrence here anyhow. I think when the rain and wind really got serious it was likely just cut.

To be honest, I wasn’t terribly concerned. My biggest fear was the wind, the wind hurling things at my building and windows. I’m very close to the water, the Caribbean ocean is about a block that way, so the wind gets pretty strong on a slow day.

I love it, my apartment is on the top, forth floor but there isn’t much blocking me around, so I can see a long way and get the best, fresher breezes coming through here. My cats love to find the optimal spot for the cross breeze. This time of year is ridiculously hot, as well.

The rain managed to make everything horrendously humid. I woke at around 4 am today and the humidity was 78% making it feel like about 36 Celsius. Yikes.

Hurricanes are a bitch, and Irma is living up to that. We were very lucky here, Irma asked us to dance, we danced but she left with the guy who brought her.

Later next week, we will see if Jose is as well-mannered.

 

I Didn’t Ask.

When I initially decided to move to The Dominican Republic, I didn’t really tell anyone. Moving wasn’t new for me or my friends and family but I didn’t start telling people right away.

I lived in my hometown of Bentley, Alberta for eighteen years, then Red Deer, Alberta for another seven, Calgary, ten, Vancouver, close to three, Toronto made it to seventeen. But the few people I did mention it to never chose to support me, but rather to dissuade me. So, I stopped telling people.

I wanted to just slip away, tell people via Facebook once I’d settled. I did start to tell a few people a little closer to the date but the same thing happened. People seem happy on the surface but they say mean things. If they are jealous, I understand that. Say that. Say, “Fuck you, Bish! (Bish from SNL) I understand being jealous. That is an emotion I’m very close friends with. People would question my safety. Why? Because they spent a week in an all-inclusive resort five years ago. Seriously?

So. I stopped telling people. It wasn’t until my friend Hugh sent me a message he would be in my ‘hood in Toronto painting a restaurant and invited me down to chat. I walked down to the pub and we hung out for a few hours and I confessed to him that I was leaving and that my birthday was coming up that the cat got out of the bag. He insisted on a party, said he would plan it whether I was going to show up or help him, it was going.

We did a Facebook event and sent out invites. One of my friends we invited, who, P.S., isn’t my friend any longer, asked me what the invite was for. I told her I was moving to the Dominican. I had told her some months prior and her response was completely incredulous. “Is that still on?” she shriek. Yes. She shriek. Her face was all puckered up, too. I replied it was and why would she assume it wasn’t. Just because I don’t have the need to broadcast every sandwich I eat, every cat hair I find in it or the colour it was the next time we met doesn’t mean my life isn’t moving forward.

The advise started. What I should and should do. Always with the questions. I had never actually been here before I moved here so I didn’t really have a lot of answers. The only certain answer I had was the cat was coming with me. Otherwise my best response was, “Is that what you did when you moved there?”.

Now my chats ore on Skype. I chat to a few people regularly and as nice as it is, I can’t just chat. Why do people always feel they need to solve your life’s day to day? I like to vent sometimes. We all do. Just let us. Just let us vent and complain and tsk or nod or shake your head or a few there there’s and a ‘Bastard’ thrown in is all we want.

But stop telling me how to solve shit you know nothing about. I live here. You don’t. Enjoy your own unique situation, solve your own bullshit before sticking your oar in to mine.

We’re just talking.  I didn’t ask.

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Triple Play, Not Played

Several days ago I had a marvellous idea for my newest blah blah blah. Oh, it was clever, I was pleased! Then I drew a blank on most of it, remembered some, not all. Woke up this morning and Bango-Presto! There it was! Woot! Woot! … and gone.

My second choice was scratched on one of my notepads. Scratched and undecipherable. It looked like it was written by someone who had been drinking. Drunk, even.

Third choice, and only third because it’s bigger than just a blah blah blah here, is my new cat! I got a new cat! When I moved here from Toronto, I brought my beloved Jango with me. About six weeks ago we got a new roommate. We met like many do, on line. Through Facebook. Like that!

A few months back my friend was having a little rant on her wall and almost as an afterthought she added that to top off the already crappy day, someone had just brought her cat who had been attacked by a drunk with a machete. My friends have several foster dogs and several more of their own. People in their barrio take their wounded or sick animals to them because they think they will help. The people of the barrio are not wrong.

I tried really hard to put it all out of my mind and did so until they posted a picture of him coming home from the vet. There he was. As soon as I saw that tiny, scared, curious, wonderful pointy little bastard face it just poked a hole right through my heart. I fought it but I knew resistance was futile. I was a goner.

He had to have his back left leg removed. After a few days at the vet my friends took him home, but he ended up with an infection and had to return to the vets for an extended stay. I saw a picture of him in this tiny concrete cage and started to mentally prepare myself for the new family member. Can you ever? Not really.

He came in like a hurricane, tasmanian devil, whirling and running and wrecking stuff. He had some pretty hardcore but understandably severe food issues. I started giving my Jango wet food in the morning. It was our little bit of dinner theatre. More theatre than dinner, mind. Jango liked the show more than the food. I get the bowl down, do a bit of a dance, few good strokes down the back, some cooing and oohing and then we’re all set. He eats about half, maybe, then has a 45 minute bath and off to snooze.

The new one, once he understood what was happening, would lose it. Crying, attacking my feet and legs, (kitten-style) and then wolf the whole thing back without breathing. I was worried about the whole pecking order thing, but not to worry. This worked itself out, thanks to my dear heart Jango. He saw the desperation in him and just sat back, knock yourself out, dude.

It’s much better now. He only dances with a few plaintive mews and after a few gulps, can walk away. Jango sits out until it’s his turn, so he gets his own bowl and a new flavour, cuz that’s how we roll here, yeah we do. Jango made me so proud, while he waits, I love the bejabbers out of him.

When he was in foster care he was called Tripod, but we call him Chance. He lost his leg taking a chance trying to find food. We took a chance on bring him home. That’s a chance that was win-win!

 

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His first day with us!