My early impressions of Vancouver Island...sigh.
The landscape is, of course, absolutely beautiful. Old growth forests, mountains, ocean, all that cool stuff that draws people to the island.
The day I arrived, a cougar was shot two blocks from my place after ingesting a couple of housecats. Apparently, this critter had no fear of humans, so wasn't a candidate for relocation.
I came across a cockroach in my garage. As I've never seen a cockroach in real life before, I'm not sure which of us was more startled. I think it'll be a few days before I'll make it back out into the garage.
I'm renting a house in a suburban neighbourhood. It was the only place I could find which would allow dogs, so I took it without any knowledge of the neighbourhood (although the hefty rent I'm paying should have given me some indication). Turns out, it's a very exclusive area. A number of the residents tried to stop the home owner from renting the house out, as they don't want their little piece of heaven being sullied by tenants. So they were biased against me before I stepped foot on the property. Now, I was raised with money in an area similar to this one, but the folks back home seemed far less eager to flaunt their wealth. The women around here don their D&G shades, LuLu Lemon yoga capris, and Mac lipstick to take their pedigreed pooches out for a stroll while their maid service is busy in the house. Ok, I wear a Hurley hoodie, but I found it in the boys' section of the store, so it doesn't count.
Speaking of dogs, one of my two dogs was hit by a car and killed the day before I moved out here. I found the poor thing right in front of my driveway around lunch time that day. The miserable bitch who hit her didn't bother telling me that my dog was laying on the side of the road dying (I'll always wonder if she could have been saved), yet she did drop by later to collect money for the damage that had been done to her car. For a few moments, I realized that I do have it in myself to kill another human being. Luckily for the killer and me, a friend who was helping me pack the truck kept me at a safe distance from her.
I was told over and over again that people out here are very relaxed and easy-going. No so on the roads. They drive like fucking maniacs. Most of them drive 20 - 30 kms over the speed limit and are quite impatient with those few of us who are trying our best to avoid speeding tickets. They don't seem to have any idea what signal lights are for, and during rush hour(s), the roads take on the feel of a go kart track.
I know things will get better, but right now I just want to go home.
08/09/08 - Now for some cool island stuff
- I just discovered a pet-grooming shop down the road from my place called "Doggie Style". There's hope for this place yet.
- The local paper lists high tides for the month. Ok, that may not be cool, but I've never lived near an ocean, so I think it is.
- The Welcome Wagon is coming for a visit. I know this isn't the least bit cool, and there's a chance the guy may be bringing chloroform and cable ties along with whatever crap he digs out of his desk drawers, but it's something I've never experienced before.
08/09/09 - Damn. The Welcome Wagon guy was not packing chloroform.
Two minutes into his visit, I was desperately hoping he'd pull the chloroform out of his pocket and get down to the real business. Sadly, he was legit. He spent an hour in my house, expecting me to ooh and aah over every one of his many coupons/free gift offers, which he meticulously laid out for me, one every couple of minutes, in order of proximity to my home. I had no idea there were that many business on the whole fucking island! See, this is what I get for trying to be receptive to people. On the plus side, he did tell me about an ice cream place on the beach called The Udder Guys. He says it's great, but what would he know about good food? He's British.
08/09/10 - I think my neighbours are pod people.
I definitely don't fit in. Not that I care overly much, just sayin'.
On the plus side, a large animal is trumpeting (?) in the forest behind my place. I think it's a caribou, but I'm sorely lacking in knowledge of the local fauna, so that's just my best guess. Or, maybe it's a pod person with one of those long plastic horns that people take to football games. God, I feel so ignorant. I really need to buy a couple of books.
08/09/15 - Yet another example of my seemingly boundless ignorance...sigh.
I checked out one of the island's tourist hot-spots on the weekend. It's situated on the west coast of the island, nestled in a lovely bay. The coastal road is lined with artsy shops and restaurants, and the bay is crammed with yachts.
Now, I've spent most of my life in a boom and bust province. When oil prices rise, building commences. When developers run out of land, they begin tearing down older buildings to make way for the new. (That's likely why driving out to the country to photograph broken-down farm structures - in black and white, of course - is so popular back home.) You'd be hard pressed to find a "rustic" building anywhere near where I lived.
So anyway, I begin meandering down this street, and rather than being impresed by the rustic charm of this place, I was somewhat revolted by the dilapitation of the buildings, wharf, and street. I couldn't imagine eating food produced in any of those ramshackle restaurants. I couldn't dredge up any interest in checking out any of the many art shops. I did force myself to into "The Udder Guy's" ice cream and candy shop. The ice cream was mediocre - I ordered chocolate fudge crunch, and the fudge was so nasty (it tasted of molasses), I ended up chucking all of the fudge bits out. The store sells bags of black-only jelly beans, but only because a employee puts a jelly bean into each cone before adding the ice cream, and so many people hate the black ones, they are picked out and put aside to ensure that none end up in a cone. I'll head back to Ben & Jerrys next time I want ice cream.
Now I am trying to distinguish between "rustic" and "decrepit", and so far, I've had no luck.
08/10/09 (I think) - If this is God's Island, as the locals claim, then God has a strange fondness for slugs.
(Not sure if anyone's still reading this...) The slugs out here are 3 inches of disgusting. I accidentally stepped on one the night I arrived, and I still feel queasy every time I pass its slowly shrivelling corpse on the ground. Naturally, I'm too squeamish to dispose of it. I'm hoping it'll eventually disappear. Hmm...maybe the cockroaches will eat it.
The squirrels are hunchbacked, and somewhat deranged looking. Ugly as shit, and mean enough to fight off even the most aggressive housecat. Otherwise, they seem to be slow and stupid. I've had to brake a number of times to avoid running them over (not that don't want them all dead - I just don't want to be the one to kill them). Anyway, I've been trying to sic my cats on them since we arrived, but so far they've only managed to bag a couple of rats, which is a real novelty for them as they'd never seen rats before. I still haven't seen a live one.
I've learned to take the Malahat at 20 kilometers over the speed limit - quite an accomplishment, considering it's as twisty as anything I've driven in the Rockies, and I'm a prairie girl. I haven't gotten a speeding ticket yet, but I have managed to rid myself of the majority of the ass-biters on the road.
I discovered an excellent pizza place, and a very cool chocolaterie(?) in the neighbourhood. Sadly, it seems that my stomach will be the cause of my eventual assimilation. Speaking of which, the pod people are, for the most part, maintaining a healthy distance. Maybe that means I can stop donning my tin foil hat every time I leave the house...
08/11/16 - Well, I'm starting a new job tomorrow.
I should be excited. Instead, I'm dreading it. I had decided early on that I wasn't interested in participating in the cluster fuck that is rush-hour in Victoria. Unfortunately, that meant I wasn't able to apply for any jobs with standard hours of work. Of the one job that I found with flexible hours, I chose it. So, after quitting accounting years ago because it's so mind-numbingly boring, I'm back to it.
The Malahat has to be one of the most beautiful highways in the world. Old-growth forest on one side (with occasional glimpses of the strait), towering rock face on the other. One twist in the road might bring you into the center of a cloud, the next twist will bring you out. If I travel this road every day for a decade, I think it will still take my breath away.
It's spawning season, and people are flocking to watch the salmon bash themselves against the rocks and current until they die. When I was a kid, a friend and I were rafting out here during the salmon run, and I saw a bit of it. It depressed me back then, and the thought of it still does. I have no idea why this is a tourist attraction, but it definitely is.
Life here in LuLu Lemon Land is still annoying. This neighbourhood brings out my claustrophobia. On the plus side, the neighbours have, for the most part, accepted that I'm not going to bring down the value of their properties. Well, not yet, anyway.
Before work tomorrow, I need to read over the code of conduct in preparation for my swearing-in, so I'll end here.
09/04/10, or thereabouts - Vertigo, my mother, and cohabitational bliss :-(
Before I talk about the vertigo, I'll just mention that I was given the option of affirming or swearing, so I affirmed. Yay.
I love hiking. I love hiking in the little mountains here on the island. Today, I was attempting to hike to the summit of Mt. Finlayson, which, I think, is around 450' and fairly steep. No big deal at all. Around a third of the way up, I happened to glance back to see how far I'd gone, and suddenly I was frozen in place. I felt like I was about to plummet back down the mountain. This shocked me, as I'm generally sure-footed. Now, I remember feeling the same way about 10 years ago in Chichen Itza, as I was climbing the temple steps. It hit me so hard that time, I had to go back down on my butt. Too embarrassing! Anyway, I didn't want to look like a complete ass in front of my fellow hikers, so I asked them to go ahead, and I sat down for a bit. I managed to get down without a problem, but I felt like I was about to take a dive every second of it. Anyone else have this problem? Dumb question. I highly doubt anyone will read this.
My mother is coming for a visit. I should say, my mother, who hates me and is dying of cancer, is coming for a visit. For many years we avoided each other like the plague, but in light of the fact that she's about to keel over, we've decided to bury the hatchet. We had a bit of a talk lately, during which she admitted that I'm the second worst relationship of her life - the first being my father. Hmm...d'ya think maybe I'm too much like my dad? Actually, I was never the daughter that she felt I should have been, and we've done nothing but disappoint each other for a lifetime.
Anyway, she's coming here. We've already agreed that there's absolutely no need to rummage through our nasty past, or pretend that we really give a damn about each other. I guess for her this is easy, as I'm just one of a handful of children. She, on the other hand, is my only mother, and even though I'm feeling ambivalent about her death, I will always grieve the fact that we will never experience the sort of relationship that mothers and daughters should have. Kinda makes me want to snag myself an older dyke.
Ah, I'm too stressed to bother with the cohabitational crap. Some other time, I guess.
09/07/21 - I miss thunderstorms, and Kiai!
I miss thunderstorms. I miss those wild storms that make the windows rattle. I miss angry black storm clouds. Here on the island, it's either sunny or rainy. Period. I guess if you live on the west side of the island, there's some chance that you may encounter a tsunami, but where I live, the only thing I have to worry about is whether or not to take an umbrella to work. I guess it's no wonder that these people seem so bland. They take after their environment.
I've taken up karate, and I love it! I get to the dojo three nights a week, and try to practice at least three more. Anyone else into martial arts?