Welcome to a quick photo tour of some of the things I’ve done around the house to bring my zen in. 🥰
It is really incredible to get rid of almost everything you own and realize what you chose to save as important things. In my case, little mementos and quirky things that make me happy. And a lot of Heisenbergs.
So here’s a tiny tour of my special Boothisms that make my house mine.
What a busy week I’ve had! Work, personal, DR, MN, rescue, other rescue, early mornings, and lots of animals.
Let’s start with work. This week, we had 4 days of clinics. Clinics happen when we have visiting veterinarians that want to volunteer. The vet tells us how many animals they can accommodate, and then we set up our Rescue Rover (mobile spay/neuter bus) in different barrios and spay/neuter the community dogs. Over 4 days, 120 animals were spayed/neutered!
Clinic days are long and hot but so rewarding. We start early in the morning for setup and put in about 10 hours before we go home and get ready to do it all again the next day. 10 hours doesn’t sound like much, but unless you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to work on the bus, it’s 10 hours of blazing heat and carrying animals and bending and squatting and sweating. In spite of all that, clinics are my favorite thing to do. I LOVE seeing the impact we can have and I LOVE meeting all the animals. SO many people come together over the course of a week to make this happen. It’s such a great thing to be a part of.
Home in the DR
During my trip to MN, I packed up MANY boxes to ship to myself. I left them with a friend and asked her to please ship me one box a week. (it’s expensive to receive packages, $4 a pound on my end! so I need to trickle them slowly). I also left one box with my daughter and asked her to ship that right away.
The first box arrived with some of my things which was awesome. ❤ I’m also starting to personalize my yard as I always have, and have put in some solar lights that glow at night. Gradually I will do more in the yard.
One of the things about living in DR. Living day to day is very inexpensive, but setting up to live here is quite pricey. EVERYTHING costs more: furniture, electronics, appliances. I’ve done an AWESOME job scouring FB marketplace and so far I’ve gotten a brand new toaster oven, an almost new stick-vac, two bedside tables, a 50″ TV, and LAMPS. Lamps are hard to find here – everything is overhead lights. I’m a lamp person! Anyway, I’ve gotten all of those items for about $550 so I’m extremely proud of myself. The bedside tables are old-fashioned and need a makeover, but they’re MINE! No more plastic lawn furniture for the bedroom! It’s the little things that count, yes?
I have started putting pics up, brought down some pods for my Keurig, and in general I’m feeling at home. It’s different, though. This is the FIRST home I have ever lived in that feels like me and nobody else. It’s a happy and a sad thing. I miss him. ❤
I still don’t have a car and that’s a huge bummer. Working on that.
House in MN
UGH. This is a stressful nightmare that will end soon. After postponing putting it on the market so my daughter could move out, postponing again and again because she still wasn’t out, she supposedly is wrapping up and moving out today. I have a friend who has a housecleaning service on the side, and she went and deep cleaned the house yesterday. It looks wonderful.
So fresh and so clean!
In just a couple of days, I’m giving my realtor free access and we are selling the house as is. It’s in great shape, but I didn’t finish the trim, doors and paint/patching. I’m really expecting it to sell quickly. Wish me luck.
My pain is through the roof. Spinal stuff and RA stuff. Both seem to be kicking into high gear. I cannot get any pain meds because my rheumatologist wants me on chemo drugs instead. Since I’m not doing that, I’m on my own. I would KILL for some vicodin or percocet but it’s not available down here.
I’m feeling very stressed about MN goings-on and I’m starting to accept and understand what my role is here. It’s not at all what I expected so it’s been a learning curve! I’m catching on. I’m still dreaming of an ocean view but I’m just not sure it’s smart to spend money on rent that I don’t need to spend. The house is really coming together nicely with the gates in place. I still can’t really use my pool because I am gawked at when Mark and Debbie have someone at their gate which is quite often, so I’m realizing I don’t really use the pool at all. I am supposed to be getting height added to my wall to prevent this but I’m not sure when.
My Bella is struggling. For those who don’t know, she’s old, she has degenerative heart disease, she is partially blind, she is deaf, has a dislocated shoulder, and she has mammary cancer. She still is funny, playful and has a great disposition and quite honestly I cannot believe she is still with me. But her airways are getting more tight, she’s coughing and hacking a lot, and I’m wondering if this is the beginning of the end. I will enjoy every moment I have with her! She’s a good girl and I will know when it’s time.
That’s all for this week. The week ahead looks to be much quieter since the clinics are over, and I’m looking forward to a few days with no alarm clock to wake me up! Thanks for tuning in. More to come in the next few days. 🙂
Wow. I’m just getting back home after a tornado trip to MN. So, so, so much.
What started as a 7-day trip became a 10-day trip because it didn’t take me long to figure out that there was NO WAY I was going to get things finished in just 7 days. I didn’t get them finished in 10 either but I made a LOT of progress.
Walking into the house, and staying there, was not a sad thing for me. The WHOLE task at hand was sad, yes. But somewhere along the line when I flipped that switch, it stayed flipped. The ONLY time I got really emotional was this morning when I was leaving for the airport. I backed out of the driveway and realized I would never come home to this building again. I flashed back to the first day that Michael and I saw this house about 7 years ago, and pulled into that same driveway. If we only knew then.
The rescue is also making big changes, one of which is that we have to move out of our office/storage location because we can’t afford the rent any more. It’s going to put a hardship on us, but we are determined to rescue and to take ourselves to a higher level. We used to be an amazing and inspiring rescue. We will get back to that. It’s just taking some time and some shifts. So a part of my visit was tending to the office and the equipment and supplies and sorting and trying to wrack my brain about how we are going to rebuild.
Like I said, I accomplished a LOT. I met with my realtor, signed the paperwork to LIST the house (!), I sold more things, and that paid for my baggage to come back to the DR plus a housecleaner, a junk furniture hauler, and a lawn maintenance guy. I assigned a Power of Attorney to handle the closing of the house. I ordered and received a new phone, turned off Michael’s cell phone (:’(). I also ended up getting a VERY small storage unit right up the street because I ran out of time. Things that maybe someday I can get down here, but for now I just needed a place to go. I ran about 20 carloads of trash and another 10 of recycling. Took 5 or 6 trips to storage with heavy stuff (OMG those old red metal toolboxes? FILLED WITH TOOLS. OMG WHY!). I cleaned out the garage, wrapped up all my dad’s minerals. Sold more stuff. I mowed my half-acre lawn not once, but THREE times because it was so long I had to start long and gradually take it shorter. I trimmed the hedges, removed a dead tree, and weed-whacked. I moved furniture, packed and repacked a million times. Spent some time at the office a few different days. And tried my best (and kinda failed) at spending time with friends.
I was able to bring back 6 heavy bags of belongings; only half of one was rescue stuff and the rest was personal. Most notably:
Michael. He’s here now. And yes, it makes a huge difference that his ashes are with me. It just does.
My Bissell Crosswave fancy shmancy floor vac/cleaner thing. I took it apart into many little pieces, packed the pieces up in many suitcases, and brought it 😊. Why? Because if I bring it intact, I have to pay customs and tariffs on it, that’s why!
Bella’s FAVORITE bed ❤
MANY of my dad’s most beautiful minerals.
A GENERATOR! Complete with a SOLAR CHARGER thanks to my completely platonic lesbian caretaker best friend. Oh, hey – completely platonic lesbian caretaker friend? That solar panel damn near earned me a body cavity search AND a missed flight! TSA had NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH ME. NO. IDEA.
There is so much more that I have to unpack.
Just a couple of days ago, I got word that my foster-soon-to-permanent pup Soleil passed away suddenly. It kicked my ass to be so far away from her and to realize she was gone. I had already packed up supplies I got special for her: an adorable pink harness with a bow on it, a stuffed toy that had a heartbeat like momma’s. I had plans drawn up for her PVC wheelchair. I had plans. I loved her. It was sudden. I hate distemper. It’s a cruel, awful virus.
And here came the monsoon. Not just a wave, mind you. A full-blown hurricane-force tsunami. A moment in time where once again I questioned WHY the fuck the universe does this to me. Here I am wrapping up so many memories and closing so many doors. That just wasn’t enough? I wondered what exactly is the point of all this? I decided that it’s not worth loving anyone. That part passed, and questions have passed too. Asking why never yields the answer. All it does is make you focus on your sucky life. And deciding never to love is just stupid.
Then came a defeated acceptance. A knowledge and an understanding that for whatever reason on whatever level, whatever forces guide this life of ours have decided to keep throwing fireballs at me. It’s kinda like a video game. A cartoon character running around and dodging fireballs. And getting directly hit by them on a regular basis. Getting slightly burned by that one – being exhausted from running away from that one – only to run right into the path of the next one. This is what it feels like to be me. I don’t feel sorry for myself or question it unless it’s when another crisis hits. To question it is insanity.
So here I am, home in the DR. It FEELS like home now. I’m still figuring out how to do it my way. I make conscious efforts to protect my emotional process and my healing. I make mindful choices about what I will and won’t spend my energy on. All I want to do is be someplace beautiful and save animals. And hang out with my pups. ❤
And, as I’ve said before. Whether we want it to or not, Life Goes On.
There’s so much to say. So much to share. Many of my followers are also my Facebook friends, so there won’t be many surprises here as I’ve been regularly posting on Facebook.
Throughout that time, I realized that I needed to take my pain and my challenges off Facebook and move them to a bit of a more remote spot. My FB audience and my blog audience are two different intended recipients.
For those Facebook friends, I apologize as most likely, the next few posts are going to be a repeat for you. But it’s important to my walk through this life that I recount it in my way. I’m hoping it will help me continue to process.
Because I’m not okay.
I know it’s OKAY to not be okay. I know that. But I’m really not okay. I’m overwhelmingly sad and my grief actually seems to be intensifying. I’ve lost touch with the widow blogs I follow, and need to get back to them because they TRULY are such a valuable resource. I hope to become that resource one day as well. I hate that I will need to, but I hope I’m doing this right. Because if future widows are anything like me, reading a real and raw and honest story from someone who has been there themselves, might save their lives.
Chapter Two is my Life in the Dominican Republic.
Alone for the first time in my life, DR for the first time in my life, and a WHOLE 180 from anything I was living just a few months ago. I am working on writing this out in a way that makes sense; the things that have happened that have led me to where I am today – physically, mentally, emotionally, geographically, and spiritually. There is a lot of humor in my tales, that’s for sure. But it’s not all funny. Just as always, it’s going to be a bipolar swing of writing styles and moods because I write true to myself in that moment. And always, when things are funny, I turn to tell him and he’s not there. When there’s overwhelming sadness, pain, and loneliness, I turn to him for comfort and he’s not there. It’s not for lack of company. It’s him I miss.
We used to talk and half-joke that for both of our sakes, he had better die first. We both thought if I were to die and he were left alone, he would crumble into a tiny ball. Maybe even end his life. Man, how wrong we were. I think back to very trying times; the loss of his mother and my father, the loss of countless loved pets. And in those moments, he made me proud with this strength. When the chips were down, when there was conflict or disagreements, when someone needed a hand, this unassuming gentle guy became a force to be reckoned with. He had a beautiful talent for being strong and converting into a mountain when a mountain was needed.
And I gotta tell you, I think he would have handled losing me better than I have handled losing him. Gone is the strong bad-ass woman who could overcome anything. Recently some memories came up on FB that took me back to a time when I really liked who I was. I looked at those memories and thought, man that was my time. I felt alive and fulfilled. And I was killing myself. I remember coming home from that trip and throwing up for two days because I was exhausted. And he was there. And when I said I was going again 10 days later, he didn’t flinch. He knew it was what I had to do.
Looking at those memories made me proud and sad at once. All of a sudden I feel like an old woman looking back on a younger stronger me. But the memories were only 2 years ago. And it reminded me. That Lisa died. She’s in the urn with him. And I miss her. I miss her because she would have handled this better in some way or been stronger. I think she would have made him proud.
Until next blog very soon, thanks for reading. I hope you come back.
Hello blog readers. Cindi told me today that it felt like I fell of the face of the earth. I’ve been so active on social media and kinda spaced out that not everyone is on Facebook.
I’m posting all about life in the DR on Facebook. Multiple daily posts sometimes. I’ll talk about it here as well, but not to the extent of Facebook.
So, I will say that I love being here. I’m in a peaceful content place and I feel happy. I love the culture, the weather, the beauty, the work. I love it here. So far, so excellent. ❤
And it still sucks. But being in a place that I love makes such a difference. Being able to walk on the beach and see the ocean whenever I want makes such a difference. The pool is making a huge difference in my RA. I’m in a full flare-up (I can tell because I get nodules on my elbows and fingers), but I’m not in any discomfort. My hands and elbows swell from time to time, but it’s really not an issue. My back pain is an issue, even more so than before, but I’m also doing a lot more and lifting a lot more. I’m not sure what I’ll have to do about it. Surgery was the plan, but I’m not ready to take on another spinal fusion surgery.
So, as anyone who is paying attention knows, this is a hell month for me. I’ve handled things surprisingly well, or I was, when last week I heard that Michael’s Aunt Marlene and probably my favorite human in the world, was going into hospice. The moment I heard, I reached out to her son, Michael’s cousin Brian, and he arranged a video call for me to talk to her. I will never be able to express to him how grateful I am for that gift.
Marlene and Dave were always really important people in my life from the moment I met them. I had gone through the wringer meeting lots of friends and family members, some of whom were determined to call me Michael’s ex-wife’s name. Some who were determined to tell old inside jokes and stories and exclude me. Some who wouldn’t even acknowledge me because they thought I was Michael’s mid-life crisis. But not Marlene and Dave. The moment we met, I knew I had met a kindred spirit. She embraced me warmly, welcomed me into her home and heart, and never stopped welcoming me. She would occasionally jokingly call me the ex-wife’s name, but that was because she was a punk-ass. She and I shared the same sense of humor and found laughs among the mundane occasions where we were often sitting together. She and Dave adopted Michael and me, and they were the only people he wanted to see before he died. He asked for them, and they came. Marlene and Dave are a connection to Michael. She would tell me stories about him growing up. She knew him his whole life. She saw him born and then saw him die. 😥 She was our mom.
So, the video call. She and I video chatted for a while. She was in good spirits. She was ready to die, but not in a depressing way. She was bright, alert, coherent, funny, sweet, and loving. Just like she’s always been. While she’s lying in her death bed, she’s asking me if I’m happy. She needs to know, Lisa are you happy? 😥 And although we didn’t say the words, we both knew it was goodbye. On a video call. Sobbing into the camera, saying things that I wanted her to know. Her saying things that will stay with me forever. Then she said maybe we’d do this once a month. But we both knew we wouldn’t do it again. You’d think I would be better at this by now. But I’m not.
Marlene passed away on July 2. 😥
This has kicked my ass. When I’m busy working (I LOVE the work, I LOVE my job), I’m okay. But all it takes is a tiny trigger or someone asking me about it, and the dam breaks. I don’t know HOW many times a person can say goodbye to the most important people in their lives. This is three now right in a row. Can we call it done now? I’m running out of people to say goodbye to. 😥
Saying goodbye. It’s such a gift. The time with my dad and the things we got to say will stay with me always. Michael and I said goodbye too many times through too many scares – I think it was 3 or 4 goodbyes. Marlene and I said goodbye. And I wonder, is it really better than not being able to? I can’t speak for anyone but myself. My mom died when we weren’t speaking to each other. We hadn’t spoken in over a year. And then I got the call that she was gone. There was no goodbye, no clearing the air, no making peace. She was just gone. And I’ll tell you, I think that was easier. But, easier isn’t always better. The opportunity to say goodbye is one you should take if you are ever given the chance. Ever. Not to apologize. Not to speak your peace. Just to say goodbye.
July 4 was a bitch. Last year I was in a hospital room with my dying husband watching fireworks out the window. It was a night that sticks out because there was a lot of drama going on as well, so it was just a gross time. I’m glad I wasn’t in the US for it. Soon will be the dreaded deathaversary. Then, my birthday. My 50th last year was horrible. I was home alone and had doritos for dinner. Then, our ANNIVERSARY!
Once again, it’s all so surreal. I’m dreaming about Michael a LOT lately, and they are very clear dreams that I remember fully. I’m waking up in a fog that he’s still here. It’s all starting over again. I don’t think it will ever end. I will always find myself in this orb of disbelief. Is this real? Was he real? What is real, anyway? How the hell am I living in a country that I never saw until a few months ago? How has so much changed in a year? It really is unbelievable. If I wasn’t living it, I wouldn’t believe it.
There are lots of good things happening in my life too. I do love this place and I love the people I’m working with. I love where I am. I love the work I’m able to participate in. My dogs are happy. We see horses, donkeys, cows and chickens right outside our door. I take the dogs to the beach often. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place. The only thing missing is him. ❤
Next blog: Photos and tales of life in the Dominican Republic.
I’ve got some new followers this week. Thanks for looking. 🙂
I thought now might be a good time to share my “About the Writer” with you on the very good chance that you haven’t clicked on that. If you haven’t read about me or who I am, please do so.
Everything in there is all still true! It’s like I could have written it yesterday.
I’m still incredibly raw. Emotional. Sensitive. Scared. Alone. Lonely. Sad. I literally think about Michael almost every minute of every day. I talk to him, I grab the phone to text him. I look at the time wondering when he will be home.
I’m still stunned by it all. I still sometimes have to remember this is REAL. And then other times I have to remind myself that HE was real. This isn’t a life I would wish on anyone. I mean that. Anyone.
Surrogate Momma/Marlene in hospice has hit me hard. 😥 Nothing more to say about that except I wish I could see her. 😥
My tenant screwing me over is hitting me really hard financially and stress-wise. The change in jobs is really hard. I’m not used to working with people who don’t know much about my morals or ethics or integrity or drive or rescue abilities or heart. I need a car and that’s taking time. And I find myself once again wondering how much one person can take. And why everything I do has to be “hard” or fought for.
Today I shut myself in the house, napped, sobbed, and tried to deal with my shit. Tomorrow is the bad day for me that I talked about last night. One year ago tomorrow, my life changed forever. It was the day my heart and my spirit died. It was the last time that I had any hope that he would survive. One year ago tomorrow was the first time we said goodbye :'(. Sadly the universe didn’t think that was enough; we would be forced into several awful, gut-wrenching, soul crushing goodbyes before it really was his time.
So, don’t be jealous of me, friends. Yes, I’m in a beautiful place now. I just relocated to the Dominican Republic which is a whole other topic in itself. The fresh environment will be good for me. And while I NEEDED to get away from the place where everyone knew me as Michael’s widow, it’s also tough to be in a place where nobody knew him at all. My efforts to keep his memory alive are incredibly important to me and nobody else here. I’m living in paradise, but the internal hell stays constant. My heart and my spirit never recovered, and I’m a shallow version of what I used to be. No matter where I am, he’s still gone.
Hello! This post is LOOOOONGGGGG. Grab a beverage.
Wow, SO much to write about. I’m in the Dominican Republic – YAY!!! This is my first day with internet!
The trip started off really nice, a beautiful sunrise at MSP airport. Then all hell broke loose. One of my bags was too heavy so I was the girl at the check-in counter with all my shit spread out on the floor, taking things out of my suitcase to throw away. Meanwhile, the airline dog travel nazi lady was ogling the kennel with Cass and Bella. Walking around it. Calling over her peers. Whispering. Shaking their heads. And all my shit is still on the floor as I take things out, weigh the suitcase again, take more things out, weigh the suitcase again. The culprit? My desktop computer. It got a little banged up but it’s working and all is well!
Airline dog travel nazi approaches me and says that two dogs can only travel in one kennel if they are puppies. I say, oh I thought it was a weight thing – not an age thing. Mark steps in and surely enough we were right – but my two dogs were “stuffed” in the bag “like tacos” lol. Nazi lady felt that if I just took out the SUPER THIN blanket, that would suffice. 🙄
MEANWHILE, I’ve gathered all of my things, selected the stuff I have to get rid of, and I’m looking for a trash can. Dog airline nazi lady asks me something, and I tell her I’m so sorry I’m just frazzled. I just lost my husband, I’m moving to a new country. She then says “omg he just told us that too (Mark). We don’t want you to have to lose anything else. We’re going to get you a bag for that stuff, and you take it on the plane. We’ll call ahead to let them know.” Cool! Super cool, yeah? But wait for it…
It was a black trash bag. I carried it to the gate, sat with it, looked at it, pondered on it, and decided I wasn’t going to be the person shlepping across the world through airports with a trash bag. So the stuff got tossed regardless. And then come to find out Mark’s shirt was inside out all day…so really, I’m super glad I didn’t take the trash bag because then we would have been THOSE people. Instead, it was just MARK that was those people so I’m good. 😂 In nice news, airline nazi lady called ahead and Mark and I got to preboard the last flight from MIA to POP.
Dogs did great, no issues at all. And we’re all here and settled!
The house is awesome! The only complaint I have is that it’s made for or by giants. The closets, cabinets, and even the mirrors in the bathrooms are made for GIANTS. Why is there a chair in my bathroom? Because the mirrors are so high, I need to stand on it to check my business.
Debbie is a badass. I mean, yeah. I built an entire shed in a day. I thought I was pretty damn handy. But I had NEVER drilled concrete before. We mounted a TV and had the cable company come out, but the TV won’t stay on. LOL But MAN! That drill is something! Debbie has been over about 712 times so far helping with the hiccups. I think they bother her more than they bother me.
Having a pool is so cool. When I got here, there had been some electrical issues, so it was green. Debbie shocked it (along with shocking the tadpoles and almost frogs) and in just a day it looked like this! Bella and Cass BOTH walked right into it the first day, like they didn’t know it was water. Turns out, both of them are great swimmers! Since then, I have to watch like a hawk if Bella is out there. She can’t see much and it scares me a little.
So many “weird” things to get used to. Here’s some interesting stuff about living here!
– You can’t drink the water! Bottled water. Even for brushing your teeth.
This is a switch that tells me if street power is on. It goes out frequently. I have backup power that kicks in if that happens, but I watch the light to make sure. If the street power is out, I need to try and conserve energy while I’m on the battery backups.
I’ve only been here a few days so I have a lot to learn and see! First there is a sticky frog. It’s about as wide and as long as three fingers. Debbie said they’re harmless! If you see one inside, just pick it up and toss it out. That made me throw up in my mouth a little.
The beach is a quick walk out my door. I’ve taken all the dogs, two at a time. They all enjoy it except scaredy cat Baby Faye. She won’t get TOO close to the water. I think it’ll happen. 🙂
I have chickens, cows, and horses as neighbors 🙂
Everything happens earlier here or really late. It gets REALLY hot so a lot happens in the mornings. Also, it gets darker earlier. It feels a lot busier in the day but for a shorter period of time. The Dominicans party late into the night. Sometimes I can hear music drifting this way. Last night we went to Sosua and partied for a bit!
I was really scared to drive but I’ve been driving with Debbie and I think I’m doing alright! It’s very different here. There don’t seem to be any laws as much as just people going with the flow. Pass when you want, do whatever you want, just pay attention. People don’t get pissy if you pass them or if you don’t. It’s just every man for himself and try not to get hit or hit anyone. Not as scary as I thought it would be.
I still have a lot of settling in to do. I’ve been super exhausted and trying to catch up on rest too.
I feel at peace. I feel home. My spirit is definitely in its element. I’ve had no panic attacks or regrets.
I have so much more to share, but I’ll leave you for now with a ton of photos.