My Poppy

It’s Veteran’s Day. It’s also my dad’s birthday. He’s not been with us to celebrate for seven years now. It’s not a birthday you easily forget.

My dad had a myriad of health problems throughout his life. One, in particular, was his eyesight in his later years.

At this time, he was around 80 years old and had to have medical and eye tests done to keep driving.

At his eye appointment, the doctor said there was a strange dark mass behind his eye and he recommended my father to a specialist.

Even hearing this news caused me a great deal of worry. It’s not something anyone needs to hear, let alone live with.

I remember when the date of the specialist’s appointment arrived. I was worried sick all day. I had to wait several hours before calling him due to the time change.

When I finally called, my dad, in a very grave voice said, ‘I have some really bad news’. Seriously? My blood froze and I stopped breathing. For those few seconds, I imagined all of ‘worst case scenarios’ coming true.

What is it, Dad? I was almost too frightened to hear the answer.

‘He took my driver’s license away’

It took me a second or two, then I  laughed a bit out of sheer relief.

‘He’s a bastard’! he screamed down the phone.

It’s all about perspective. Cancer might have been bad news but losing the license was a loss of his freedom and independence. He lived in an apartment building with other seniors and he was reigning ‘cool guy with a car’.

I suggested perhaps if he was to have eye treatments that driving wasn’t likely the best idea but he wasn’t hearing any of it.

He ended up having laser treatments and did get his license back for a few more years. I often think about that, the ways we reacted to the same situation.

In the words of Louie Prima, ‘Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.

 

My parents on their way to a movie date.  Enjoying themselves.

 

Mom and Dad

 

 

Write When You Find Work

Did I use this one already? No matter. It’s been well over 3 months since I started my online writing job and I still have it! Woot! Woot!

The job itself is somewhat unremarkable, other than it’s saved me, I like it and I can do it.  It’s blog writing for marketing purposes for other people. I churn it out, get paid every week and don’t get a byline. But that’s fine. All of it. Way fine. I don’t know if I’d want my name on most of it, as it’s mostly boring and verging on clickbait.

Working online is fabulous. I have actually been doing it for a few years now, but I worked for sites that charged exorbitant fees on top of shit wages. With this job, I make my rent and bills within a few days.

If I worked in an office or a physical space with these people, I wouldn’t have lasted a day. Maybe two days tops.

Our main way of communicating is through a page on Facebook. Also, most of the people who work here are 20 somethings. A bunch more of 30 somethings. These are the ones all over the Facebook page.

If they get an article rejected by the client, or even told they were less than perfect like mummy does, they rush to facebook crying about. I mean, they act as if they’d been shot. So hard done by. They are so fast to complain and then wait for all the tut-tutting and there-thering, it’s shockingly pathetic.

They love to complain and they also love to beg for applause for actually doing their job. I mean, for fuck sakes. I lost count how many times someone had to mention they took one of the harder or less interesting topics to write about. All the little twats clap and cheer. Bitch, Please. It’s. The. Job.

One of my favourites is they all rush on and ask about how to concentrate on the work. Well, stay off facebook might be a good start.

We have writers, topic makers and quality control people. The QC, as they are dubbed, can be right annoying. It’s the 20 years olds showing off because they have a diploma from agricultural college and live in a state where you can’t even buy alcohol.

They love to pick your shit apart and send it back. A few times they have been downright insulting. My natural instinct is to tell them to go fuck themselves, but I can’t lose the job. I do, however, snark back.

I’ve been heckled as a comic in some pretty seedy rooms, so having a chubby twat in middle America who was homeschooled tell me my article didn’t blow her skirt up, I’m not upset.

One woman told me to tame it down, and take the ‘flirt’ out. No thank you. It was about the sexiest shirts for me.

My less than frequent trips to the page is me shouting, ‘ Oh, Shut Up’ a lot.  I don’t comment or get involved. I did at first and was met with complete silence.

I get it, though. I do. We all have our lives to live and people shouldn’t hold theirs up to anyone else’s. There are a few people who work here like me, who live in a different country.

Unlike me, they are there spreading the good word of Jesus. My Jesus, or Hayzeus, drives a cab. Sells fruit.

Some post pictures of their scenery or view of where they are working, one put a picture of her lap and laptop from her plane seat. It’s meant to make other’s jealous.

They love the memes. I hate the fucking memes.

But, I am really relieved to have it. It seemed to swoop in at the last minute like a Prince Charming on a white horse.

I work when I want, I take time off. I sit on my crappy couch, sweating in my underpants, and it’s fabulous.

I’ve paid back everyone who helped me, (almost) and I still get giddy when I’m able to walk home with all my groceries.

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I will complain here and to my friends but refrain from commenting on facebook. I had to complain to the top guy about one of the quality control bitches who was well out of line and she’s no longer with us.

Some bitch told me the other day my writing was dry and boring. It was an article about how to save energy. I told her it was just my personality and I was surprised she didn’t call the article, ‘fat’, as well.

I also said I was under the impression the article was meant to be informative, not bring the reader to orgasm.

She didn’t send it back.

Write on!

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

 

Olds

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I recently joined Twitter. I put it off as long as I could, but I don’t have much for a news source except Facebook, and well, you know. Twitter isn’t much better, mostly I keep waiting to see the post about Trump going to jail, impeached, shot, what-evs. I can’t say I like it all that much, it’s a bit surreal, to be honest, what with having first hand access to celebrities, kind of takes the sting out it all… but more about that at a later date.

The one thing I do like about it, there isn’t a lot of tolerance for shit-talking in the comments. Commenting on actions, policies, that’s fine but to just call someone fat or ugly is a cheap, easy hit and it’s not tolerated. I applaud that. Someone made a comment about KellyAnne Conway’s looks, called her ugly and the commenter was tackled pretty promptly and thoroughly. Good. A friend of mine puts a birthday wish for friends and famous alike on his Facebook everyday, it’s great, and one day one of his friends referred to a birthday recipient as ‘ugly’. I made a comment about it and was immediately blocked. Again, what-evs.

Fine for you, to sit in your house without mirrors in your cloud of breath-taking beauty and not raising kids to be decent human beings to go about calling people ugly. First of all, it’s not up to you, asshole. Up to a certain point, we can’t help what we look like and while I may not be your cup of tea, I am still loved and beautiful in someone’s eyes. So is everyone. So fuck off with that.

But it’s the commenting on stuff I wanted to address. It drives us all nuts, I had to take off the CBC and Toronto Star Facebook page because the comments people make were so horrible.

Another friend of mine made a comment after the Women’s March about how some men still didn’t get it. I made a flip comment about it, always trying to go for the laugh, the comment was “Boys are dumb and they smell” Fine. I’m 55 so clearly trying to use the voice of a six year old. This comment was fine for everyone. Everyone except her new daughter-in-law. She kept coming back to it, trying to make something out of that wasn’t there. That’s these Millennia’s for you. No one was upset by the comment except her. And she was like a pit bull on a toddler about it. I don’t know her from Suzy Q, and frankly could care less.

She kept trying to make that the comment was about her husband, whom I have never met and therefore can not comment to his intellectual prowess nor can I comment as to his malodorous misgivings. She’s in the house, not me.    When it became apparent no one was going to back her, she parted with a comment calling us OLD, like this was an insult. Ummm…. Derrrrr.

She’s young, beautiful with a new husband and new baby. I can’t say what her motivation was, and to be fair,  couldn’t give two tiny shits. But hear this. As a young wife and mother you better hope to fuck you make it to be this ‘OLD’. In most cultures, old is revered, respected, honoured. With age comes, wisdom, intelligence, beauty, refinement, betterment.

The phrase Aging Ain’t for Sissies is very true. Age shaming is like fat shaming or Ugly shaming and has no part in a society where young people take their own lives rather than face harassment, so be mindful of your asshole comments.

You know not whereof  you speak, fuckface.

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.

Can’t Wait!

 

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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.