So much in so little time

Well, that’ll teach me! I haven’t written since the New Year and so much has happened. Where to start.

Well, I left Colorado for a California retreat. Melissa loaned me her spare van to make the trip, and I’m currently staying in Pasadena in a cool and funky experimental situation.

The van is liveable with a bed and a full kitchen. And then I rented an Airbnb camper. The camper is stationary, basically a permanent “guest house”. It’s hooked up to city plumbing and electricity so it’s not EXACTLY camper living, but it’s giving me a taste of living small and deciding if this life works for me.

It doesn’t look like much but it’s a full kitchen. I have a rice cooker, burners, tiny oven, and can make full meals.

The camper is very tiny but has a cute and nice-sized fenced yard around it. It’s working out really well. And if I can still say that in a few weeks, this will be my new existence. There’s a lot I love about it – freedom to live where I want with my dogs, flexibility to move around, and a lack of housing costs just to name a few. Downsides? Many. But the freedom and independence are worth it.

Emotionally, I’m actually in a pretty good place considering I was living in an ocean view mcmansion a few months ago! The reverse culture shock, the roller coaster, the tough adjustment, losing my independence, and gaining it again in just a couple of months feels exhausting at times but I have to say I’m in a better mental place than I’ve been in a long time.

Not everything is rosy. There have been some deep and dark challenges and I struggle with loneliness and a sense of purpose. But it’s all an ever-evolving process and I think I’m right where I belong.

My RA is strangely under control. I stopped the chemo drugs a while ago again because of the side effects so I’m drug free. The climate here seems perfect because I’m not having pain.

The dogs are great. Sadly I left Donovan in Colorado with my friend for this time. I miss him a lot but it was the right thing for him while I’m figuring this out.

I’ll update more often now that I’m in a bit of a groove. I’m hoping to share epic adventures and be able to see a side of life where I belong. 🙂

Peace.

~ Lisa

No such thing as recovery

It’s been a tough week for me. Being a guest in someone’s home is tough. You don’t want to intrude. But you’re 52 years old and have 7 dogs.

I had whittled down my possessions again, and except for clothes and toiletries, everything lives in suitcases now. It’s not easy to move into someone’s home and life. Trying to take up as little space as possible. Mentally beating myself up a lot right now, and feeling like a huge loser.

I’ve been really sick. 99% sure it’s covid. I’ve been sick for several weeks and nobody has really known how sick except a couple of friends. It’s hanging on and it’s pretty extreme and it’s most likely covid. I know enough people with extensive experience to know when it’s dangerous, and it’s kicking my ass but I don’t feel I need a hospital. Hospitals here in the area are at full capacity anyway and are asking those with symptoms to stay home unless they are unable to breathe. I can breathe so I’m okay.

I haven’t been able to take care of myself because my roomie is gone a lot traveling for work and personal reasons, which leaves me in charge of 15 dogs and 5 cats. It’s not what it sounds like; her 8 dogs are somewhat more of forever boarding cases, and not really family-type pets. They require twice daily physical needs met like food, water, and cleaning up. Then you try to squeeze in some emotional and social time for them too, but they can’t be together so you spend time with one dog at a time. Tending to the dogs means several trips up and down steps that are difficult to navigate 12 times twice a day. I knew she needed help with the dogs but I wasn’t prepared for her being gone a lot so quickly after I arrived.

The one benefit I am getting from being back in the US so far is the conveniences. I placed orders for recurring dog food delivery today and I ordered a couple of pairs of jeans. All will be delivered to the house ASAP and I don’t have to stress about finding dog food or going without clothes I need.

Holidays, all of these changes, sickness, among other things have me feeling pretty blue. Physically besides the covid, my RA and spinal pain are off the charts. Just off the charts. I need to get some medical and mental attention soon, and I need to make some choices for my own health and well being.

What a mess life is. Nothing is as I thought it would be. Nothing is as it should be. I’m just tumbling through some sort of existence that doesn’t allow me to sleep or rest, doesn’t connect me with circumstances that just allow me to heal and recover or even take care of myself when I’m really sick. I need to find my way and I need to fix this. All of it. Mental pain, emotional pain, physical pain, loss of direction and control, loss of hope in the future, loss of hope in general, homelessness, joblessness. A new location again. And the fucking holidays begin again.

Fuck.

Homecoming

As I woke up I realized I was in more pain than I could describe. I couldn’t move. My spine and my hips were fused into some painful twist and couldn’t stretch out. I was rocking side to side, back and forth. I could hear and feel every tiny pebble on the road beneath. Every slight turn, my body painfully bracing to adjust and compensate. And it all came back to me. I was 52 years old, traveling with all my worldly possessions, my dogs, and myself. Sleeping in the back of a cargo van.

Fuck. How the fuck did I end up right here, right now? How did I end up homeless, in the back of a van, depressed, lost, and with zero direction in my life?

I can’t even begin to describe my feelings. I can only say I’m really, really going through a lot. Things I didn’t expect/have never considered have hit me. Reality hits me.

The dogs are adjusting well. Me, not as easily. It’s great to be in a place where conveniences exist again. Where I can understand and communicate more easily. Where I have more options and more connections. But I also have to adjust and accept what’s been lost. Moving here was giving up the last piece of independence I had; my own place. I’ve had my own place since I was 18. I have to look towards a future I’m not prepared for. I have to seek what I need and know it when I find it. I have to start again.

Fuck.

Melissa my host friend is a super talented vegan cook.
So I’ll be eating like this 😁
Making friends
Comfy

Chapter 3

I’ve changed the name of the blog to Chapter 3 now. Chapter One was the nightmare that was the death and immediate aftermath. Chapter Two was the nightmare that became my life in the Dominican Republic. Chapter 3 is now; leaving the DR, and settling back in the US in the near future. Hopefully without the descriptive word “nightmare”. But one can never get too confident.

I’m sure as time goes on, I’ll share more of my DR experiences. But I thought I’d put it into a nutshell for those of you who are catching up. In the span of 16 months, I have:

  • Been home invaded and had my car stolen while I slept just a few feet away
  • Lost/ Sold my home in MN because my renters screwed me over
  • Walked away from the job and the free house I came here for, losing my entire rescue in the process.
  • Lost my “circle” in the process of walking away from aforementioned job
  • Been sexually assaulted in my home by a service worker here to install internet
  • Taken on a foster puppy that has never left, leaving me with seven dogs, one of whom is said foster puppy that is a lot to handle.
  • Met a new group of friends who shunned me because I posted anti-racism things. (#blm)
  • Deteriorated rapidly with my RA symptoms and condition
  • Been taken advantage of to the tune of thousands of dollars, both here in the DR and by my supposed friend in MN.
  • Isolated for 7+ months now with ZERO human interaction except trips to the store.
  • Tried to date one guy who ended up being a stalker
  • Lost my best friend in MN (see reference to being taken advantage of above)
  • Lost my sanity

The sanity one has been a process, but I have literally found myself in a scary and unhealthy place when I decided if I don’t get out of here, I won’t live much longer. I just can’t do it anymore. There’s no safety, no companionship, no support system, no decent health care, no security, and no happiness here for me. It becomes a daily challenge to find something worth living for. It always comes back to my dogs. I’m here for them.

But then something happened. I wrote about it on my FB page, so sad that I couldn’t get out because I can’t get all my dogs on a plane, and my FB/ rescue friends rallied. These folks who I previously considered “rescue friends” proved themselves to be the true crew of people who cared and who had my back. They put together a GoFundMe to raise money to book a charter flight and get me out of here, and it has raised a little over $5000. I am so humbled and shocked and I’ve been so surprised by so many people that I thought really didn’t notice me much. I’m only a few thousand short of my goal and I’m borrowing that money if I can’t raise the rest. And that’s how the story has led to me getting off this hell island in just a few weeks.

I’ll be starting my US adventure with a friend who has very generously offered me a place to stay with my SEVEN dogs. I’m not sure what my end game is, but I have a soft place to land. It will probably take me a while to recover from this entire ordeal. I can’t believe all I have been through. But I am excited and grateful to have the chance to start over again. Again.

I’m not currently working. I was doing some freelance work but I gave that up because I found myself not enjoying it and life is too short.

I’ve learned so much. One of the biggest things I have learned and examined is the extent of my PTSD. The grief is always present, yes. But beyond losing my dad and my husband, the process of watching them die really impacted me. It’s hard enough to lose the two most important men in your life just months apart, but it’s just made more deep and complicated by the visions and the actions of them dying. Caring for and tending to their every need when they became helpless or incoherent. Those last comatose days. The middle of the night wailing, crying because they don’t want to die, unable to listen to reason and doing things that scare you to death. Losing them right before your eyes far before they are gone.

THAT fucks your head right up. So when people think I’m just stuck in grief, well to an extent I am. While I’m not walking around sobbing all the time, grief has become a monster that walks beside me. I’ve made friends with it. I know it’s there and it may not always stop me, but it’s ever present. And right beside that, the PTSD. The sights, the shapes, the sounds. The recall. The conversations. The good moments and the hard ones. The goodbyes.

I’ve learned that PTSD is to be respected just as much as grief. It’s not something you ever “get over”. You can learn to cope with the thoughts for the most part, but you still have those dreams that you can’t shake when you wake up. Or those middle of the night screams that make you sit up in bed even though they aren’t real. Or those fucking moments when you think you want to pick up the phone and text your husband or call your dad.

So…yes, I’m walking with grief every day and functional for the most part. BUT – I’m a more fragile version of myself. A braver, more honest version of myself. A FAR more self-aware version of myself. More than ever I assess what is important and what isn’t. What’s worth my time and my life and what isn’t. What I want to feel and what I don’t. Who I want in my life and who I don’t. It all leads to a more evolved (albeit darker and more fragile) me.

Until next time, Peace.

~ Lisa

Pity/Panic Party for One

Yep. I know. We are all struggling.

I’m trying to be a good friend and a good listener. I care about others. I’ve given money, support, and love to my friends. And now, I’m suffering.

I did the best I knew at the time with very, very clouded judgment. I sold everything I owned including my home. I uprooted and moved to a new country with hopes of rescuing animals. I had a job and an income and free rent. It sounded like it was meant to be.

Months later, I had no job, no free rent, and no income. But I was going to be okay. I was going to make my way. And I still had my tribe in MN.

But alas, here I am. 10 months after arriving in the DR. I am out of money. I have no tribe. My RA is in full flare-up and I’m in constant pain. My MN friends don’t check on me. The ones I gave money to, aren’t giving anything back. The ones I have listened to in the middle of the night, the ones I have helped in any way I could, the ones I was always there for – they’ve moved on and are in their own worlds now. Their worlds no longer include me.

Here I am. On an island. No way to leave but even if there were, I have no place to go. I’m homeless in every sense of the word except I have a house. I have no roots, no connections, nobody longing to see me. I miss a life and people that no longer exist. My oldest friends don’t exist in my world anymore. My new friends here are wonderful and kind, but they’re also in relationships and have someone to lean on. It’s not that they don’t try, it’s that it’s not enough.

My mind is starting to fight with me. I keep reflecting on all I have lost. My life. My loves. My parents. My rescue. My country. My health. My money. My confidence. My abilities. And now, I don’t know what comes next.

I can’t make plans. I don’t know where I belong. I know that saving dogs is all that comforts me, but the stress and people-part of rescue is too much for me to deal with.

I don’t know if I like myself very much. I see where I’ve landed in life, and I am so disappointed in the choices I have made and I believe I’m alone because I deserve to be. This is how things end when you aren’t a good mother. This is how things go when you don’t deserve to be happy or to have loved ones in your life.

I’m incredibly angry at myself for making the mistakes I have made, all of which have led me to this moment and this place and this life situation. I’m incredibly angry at the universe for punishing me so much and leaving me with nobody to share my life with. I have a long list of people who think poorly of me, and I have the life to reflect that.

All of the friends in the world don’t help when it’s the middle of the night and you don’t want to live anymore. All the messaging and chats don’t help when there’s nothing to look forward to. If anything, they just magnify how alone I really am.

I look around my island and I see people and animals starving. I see people with no homes. I have a home, a beautiful view, my dogs. And I’m angry that I can’t appreciate that.

Being quarantined with someone you don’t like is a bitch. Especially when that someone is yourself.

Be safe friends. Appreciate what you have, and do a better job than I have. ❤

Peace.

~ Lisa

The Experiment Continues

Hi, guys.

After a couple of months off the blog, here I am again! The past couple months have been spent processing, breaking away from toxicity, clearing my energy, and letting go. I had a really hard holiday season this year for lots of reasons, but I came through and now I’m coasting in a pretty chill place in my mind.

There’s a lot going on, much of it trivial, so I’ll stick to the notable things.

Yes, I’m still in the Dominican Republic. I dig it here! Are there frustrations and things I don’t like? Absolutely. But I’m not planning on going anywhere for a bit. I love my view, I love the climate, and I love that I’m not in the US. I love the friends that are truly friends, and there’s never a dull moment. 😂

I haven’t been doing a ton, but I’m taking steps to find my groove here. I’ve been doing some freelance writing for friends in the states mostly, writing blogs and newsletters and other marketing things. I’m also working on starting up a small cupcake side biz.

I’m still rescuing dogs. Not with any rescue in particular, but I’ve made lots of rescuer friends here and that’s been a wonderful experience. I’m itching to start something up, but I’m also really evaluating what I want and can do. I currently have two foster pups here, Newman and Donovan. ❤️

Newman – sweet mixed breed, 3 yrs old

Donovan- Pitbull puppy

My RA sucks here. I’m aggressively working on addressing the rapid progression. I’m dramatically changing my nutrition to focus on anti/inflammatory foods in hopes that I can get some relief. I’m committed to staying on the poison pills for at least 6 months. I’m spending time in the pool which feels great and helps.

Michael. Well, he’s always in my heart and my head. I’m still having tsunamis, but they seem less frequent. I have meltdowns and I also have many great days. I still break into tears sometimes for reasons I don’t understand and I’m very fragile.

I find myself wondering a lot if he’s disappointed in me. And that’s a heavy, sad burden to carry. I also have frequent nightmares and waking flashbacks. I always feel doubt and insecurity, wondering if he’s just shaking his head at me. It’s pretty tough.

I’m trying to discover who I am as just Lisa. I’m trying to learn where I’m going without controlling it too much. I’m just observing and seeing who I am.

One thing is for sure: Michael was the biggest thing I liked about myself. Having him was like having a built-in support system all the time. And that support made me confident. It made me an over-achiever. It drove me and lifted me.

He really was the best thing about me.

Now, I’m just…I don’t know. What I do know, is that I miss being someone’s everything. I miss having someone who was also my everything. I miss the team we were. I miss the trust we shared. I miss my partner. I miss having someone to hash things out with, to help me reason things out, to help me plan or decide big things. I’m just…I don’t know. Invisible.

It’s been a year and a half. And it’s not easier. I’m more used to it, but it is not any easier.

My life sentence.

Now that’s not to say I’m depressed or walking around wanting to die. It just means that my life isn’t the same. Never will be. And I’ll always miss him so much.

I promised an experiment when I started this. Sharing my private life very publicly, believe it or not, hasn’t been easy. My readers have been privy to all of it. It damaged my relationships with some, and it has earned me respect and new friendships with others. Come what may, the experiment continues.

Peace out, and I’ll be checking in more often.

~ Lisa

Depression Confessions

Hello everyone 🙂

My heart is heavy today, actually the last couple of days. And I need to talk about it.

For starters, let me say that as a rule, people here shame me for grieving. This isn’t the case with EVERYONE – but a large part of the people I have spent time with in the DR quite simply have very little compassion or understanding, and they are of the 1950’s belief that you just pull up your boot straps, get over shit and move on. If you are in a sad place, something is wrong with you and you really should hide that because it’s boring, nobody cares, you’re a negative person, and nobody likes you. This, I learned quickly and harshly.

As Mr Rogers’ mom said, “Look for the helpers”. Fortunately for me, there are helpers and beautiful souls who do understand that there are many layers to a person and that I am much more than just this mood or that state. There are those helpers who cared enough about human connection to do just that – connect with me. I think maybe they’re surprised to find out I’m not the loser that others think I am, and I can tell you I’ve had some of the sweetest and most fun times with them. They are my people. They’re messy, they’re complicated, they’re dealing with their own stuff, they’re honest, they’re authentic, and they’re there. For good days or bad. They don’t say stupid shit like “well you have a lot to be thankful for!” or “well you know, the reason everything is sad is your fault for looking at it that way”.

Anyway, suffice it to say I have very limited outlets for my feelings and learned very fast that it’s not everyone is “safe” to be yourself with. I used to wish I could help them understand me, but then I realized that I have no desire to spend time with human beings who can be mean and who can judge anyone in my situation so I no longer have the need to earn their respect or affection.

But let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about how some days it’s all I can do to get dressed. Or some days, the thought of leaving my house is paralyzing. Let’s talk about how the chronic physical pain adds to the sadness. The medications that are kicking my ass, all in the name of some sort of improvement on the physical side. Let’s talk about the added element of PTSD and waking up to night terrors and voices and replays of horrific moments in time. Let’s talk about waking up in another country with a dead husband and the number of people you can really trust in your country is like, three – and there’s a whole faction out there that has belittled you, lied about you, and left you with nothing. Let’s talk about the friends you thought you had; the ones who said how much they loved you and yet never reach out; the ones who promised they would come to see you yet there’s been not a mention; the ones who have stopped messaging and barely reply to you when you message them. Let’s talk about the HELLIDAYS. OMG, it’s brutal and painful and sad to live through this time of year. Let’s talk about how in spite of all of these forces I managed to find a house, I am working on finding a car, I am building a small business and making income, I am taking excellent care of my dogs and the house, and I am making time to build the connections with the few people who don’t choose to think they are above me. I am actually creating a life, all by myself, in another country. Nobody gave me this house. Nobody is giving me money. Nobody is supporting me.

Yes, I have really bad days. And I have really good ones too. Do I suffer from depression? Absolutely. PTSD? Yes. Does that mean I don’t have joy? A sense of humor? Have fun? Absolutely not. Do these conditions define me? Absolutely not. They’re just another layer.

Every day starts anew with a beautiful view, a delicious cup of coffee, time with my life dogs, and a fresh slate. Some days are so amazingly happy, and others are empty. This is life. And anyone who represents themselves as always happy and always grateful and always on the sunny side is full of shit. Because newsflash friends: this is the human condition. We are not robots. We aren’t always “on” and anyone who claims they are is lying to themselves and to you.

Depression isn’t an attitude. PTSD isn’t “hanging onto the past”. Grief isn’t a mood or a choice to be sad. This shit is real. It’s hard. It feels insurmountable some days. I wish he had never died. I wish I had never ended up “relying” on others. I wish I wasn’t a widow. But I’m not going to hide from it either. I wish everything was different. But it’s not.

In the very beginning of this hell or as I call it the Life Sentence, a friend Cheryl (who just recently passed away from cancer 😥 because why the fuck not), told me something I will always remember. When Michael got diagnosed she reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to hear the good news. And the good news was that when this was all said and done, I’d know who my real friends were. She told me, even those who were there during the worst may not turn out to be my people. She told me that I would lose far more than just my husband. But what I’d be left with would be a treasure. And she was right on every single count.

I have lost much of what I “thought” I had, but anything I have lost wasn’t mine to begin with. I have in my hand a few beautiful diamonds, and I’m slowly adding another one here or there. The coal has all fallen away, and while it was and is a painful process, who wants a handful of coal anyway. It just gets everything dirty and taints everything it touches.

My diamonds know who they are.  I will always treasure them and carry them with me. The ones in the DR have had such an amazing impact on my life and have given me so many reasons to keep going.  And I do have true friends in the states, those who talk to me late at night or send me a quick message to tell me they miss me or they’re proud of me. They tell me the drama in THEIR lives because they trust I’m not a fragile cracker and that maybe, just maybe, I can be of help.  Leaning on me shows faith in me.

And that’s all. All we can do is the best we can do. We can choose to be diamonds or we can choose to be coal. There’s nothing “wrong” with me. And the diamonds know that. The coal isn’t for any of us to worry about. All you’ll get is dirty hands.

Peace,

~ Lisa

 

From Barrio to Opera – Finding my Groove!

Hello everyone! Wow what an amazing week I have had really enjoying and seeing so much more of this beautiful place where I live.

One day this week, I spent the day with my good friend Nancy. Nancy is a New Yorker (Brooklyn baby!) but she’s been here for many years. And Nancy ain’t screwin’ around. Nancy lives in Puerto Plata right in a barrio. And hanging out with her was awesome. She taught me how to make rice old school, and showed me the Dominican washing machine OMG…her house is tiny but has everything you would need. In her living room, one chair and a motorbike parked so it doesn’t get vandalized or stolen outside.

Then we went out on the bike! I was on the back of a moto for the first time. Part of Puerto Plata day was getting a hot fresh-made empanada from a little hole in the wall (literally). SO delicious. This little video at the very end, you will see the empanada hole in the wall. 🙂

 

Then we went to the port. It was cruise ship arrival day so Nancy knew that the vendors would be out selling their little knick knacks. So we bummed around there, there’s an AWESOME amphitheater, and then we cruised through town on the moto. MOTO!!

 

We stopped and saw umbrella street and the pink street. Went back to Nancy’s and had real Dominican food (minus the meat!). It was just a fabulous day that was so good for my soul and my mood. I can’t wait to do it again. I put the photos of Puerto Plata into a slideshow.

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Then Thursday, I went to the horse ranch where I’m volunteering for them to help them raise some funds and awareness. Angela and her brother Manuel are seriously some of the most pure, accepting, kind, grateful, humble and insightful people. Angela is with her horses like I am with my dogs. Excellent care for every animal in her care. The ranch currently has 17 horses, a donkey, two geese, some chickens, a rooster and some dogs. ❤ All in the most beautiful and peaceful setting. Angela and I are becoming friends and we don’t speak the same language. It’s almost comical. She speaks FRENCH. And I DON’T. She speaks NO English. And we both speak AWFUL and VERY LITTLE Spanish. LOL but somehow we connect and we laugh and communicate. Manuel and Angela are also musicians. Angela is a vocalist. When I arrived this week, I accidentally interrupted their rehearsal. When they told me to sit and enjoy, I was STUNNED when Angela opened her mouth to sing. STUNNED. Out of her tiny body and soft spoken demeanor, the most powerful voice came.  It gave me chills. She was rehearsing, Manuel on the keyboard, dogs lying around, horses in the distance. Just ethereal.

8ghandi
Donkey name Ghandi with an injured foot.

2horse
One of the beautiful horses getting his daily grooming.

 

Thursday was just that – Thursday. And I like it that way. After I went to the ranch,  I went out to the local watering hole with a couple of friends. It was a nice, chill, no-pressure day.

D
Happy Thursday!

Today, my foster girl Rae left on a jet plane to meet her new family in Canada! We will miss her a lot, but she’s going to have a wonderful life. She was with us for a couple of months!

1Rae
Sweet life, baby girl! 

This was by far the absolute best week I’ve had.

When I decided to move here, I didn’t want to live like an American in another country. I didn’t want to live in the all-white gated communities because I felt like, why live behind a gate? If you live here, you live here. But after the robbery, I feel differently. ONLY because I am alone. If I were here with Michael we would never live in this house. He would have laughed at the idea and told me to come down from the pedestal and reminded me that we aren’t big huge McMansion people. Truthfully the house is uncomfortable in that it’s too much. It’s so big. SO BIG. Much more than I need. But I digress.

I can live behind a guarded gate and still not let my life be whitewashed. I have ALWAYS really dug diversity and I’ve always really dug people that can just be. No plans. No money needs to be spent. Just come over and we’ll screw around or hang out or go act like tourists. Come over and hang out with horses and share some coconut water and listen to people’s dreams. My circle of friends is SO diverse and I’m loving the way my life is setting up. I don’t need to surround myself with people like me. I need to grow and explore and take it in and DO. I don’t mind being the only person that looks like me in a whole crowd. I LOVE it. I love to look at my circle of friends and realize they are all so interesting and so different but yet there’s a way to connect with them all.

And I just ended the week by announcing publicly that I am moving on from my rescue and the DR rescue. It was incredibly freeing and felt really good. I also finalized some chats with an upstart rescue in the US who is focused on the China Dog Meat Trade. I am officially taking on their communications. It’s bittersweet because it carries a very heavy responsibility with it, and I know it’s going to be emotionally draining, hard work. But I have decided that while I serve my life sentence I’m going to LIVE. I’m going to travel to China. I’m going to do everything I can to bring light to the subject.  It crosses into some grey areas for me…such as, how do I advocate about this without preaching vegetarianism? It’s a whole other topic for another day, but there’s an invisible line somewhere saying it’s okay to kill certain animals to eat them and not others. I’m a veggie for those that don’t know.

And that wraps up my week in pictures and video! Just a happy week. The first of many now that I’m in a good headspace.

I hope you’ve all hung in there, and if you’re a holiday loather I hope you made it through the first wave alright. The next month is going to be a sick torturous ride of merriment and happy families. Hang on tight.

Peace,

~ Lisa

Improvements and Setbacks

Hello everyone! Well here we are, Thanksgiving week. Is everyone planning their traditional feast?

TGiving was never a huge deal to me or in my house. More than anything, it became a nice long weekend for Michael and me to spend together, we’d work on things around the house, maybe go see a movie or binge on something at home.

More than anything, it marks the beginning of a painful season. The holidays just suck. This is my first AWARE TGiving without him. Last year I was still in a haze. Not this year. Christmas music, food, lights, decorations, they’re everywhere. And it hurts.

There are some good things happening:

My pills are WORKING. My hands and my elbows always show signs of flare-ups and damage. My index fingers are pivoting inward…the fingernail is starting to face the finger next to it. My second flip-off fingers are also starting to go astray and bend and pivot. Nodules appear on my fingers, elbows and toes. So…I’m in the midst of a flare-up right now, but the pain is minimal. I’m able to go down the stairs normally instead of one leg, one step at a time. I can ALMOST make a fist. Things are improving.

In other news, last week I did a video/fundraising day for the rescue in DR. I have also been openly letting people know that I’m looking for freelance work. All of that came together in the past few days. The video was the catalyst for a couple of people to reach out to me for work, and then I was also recommended for a really exciting project by a friend and business contact. I had worked with her before and have known her a few years. She is quite successful and well known in non-profit world. And it made me feel really wonderful to know that she thinks enough of me to recommend me to someone. So…I’m potentially looking at a nice body of work doing some really exciting stuff with a rescue.  I’m excited to exercise my work and brain muscles again. I’m also really excited because I’m also going to start helping a local horse rescue that’s right by my house with their communications and marketing and fundraising. And horses! I’ll get to know horses.

I still love the house I’m living in. It’s a lot of work because it’s big. I don’t even go into the extra bedrooms except to steal the furniture in them for other places in the house, and to vacuum and clean up. I still think the kitchen is WAY too tiny. But I love it here. The view, the quiet, the security, the location. It’s a good place for me and the girls. I’m going without some basic “luxuries” like cable tv and the internet leaves a lot to be desired, but that’s because construction is concrete. No drywall here!

I had a meltdown this weekend. Was talking with a friend and told her that it felt like Michael died today. And that really, it feels like he dies every day. I’m backsliding in my process. I don’t call it losing progress because this isn’t a race and there is no finish line. This is the life sentence. Or as this article says, “Dying to Leave, Trying to Live”. I feel a bit better today, exhausted from my meltdown but that also is part of life after Michael.

I was really proud of myself last night. It was my friend’s birthday and she was going out to the local watering hole. I felt kinda cruddy from the poison pills and decided I wasn’t going to go. But I changed my mind. Went out, parked and walked to the place by myself, and hung out for a couple of hours and a couple of beers. This is BIG stuff for an introvert. Progress. 🙂

Lastly, I have decided to adopt my foster dog. He’s special needs. We thought he was paralyzed, but he’s not. He has spinal injuries but he is able to move his legs and we are doing lots and lots of PT with him. He is SUCH a good boy and he’s a LOVE. And the girls like him too. So, he’s staying. We’re attached to each other. Meet Walter. ❤ He’s a few years old, about 30 pounds, and he has a long way to go to get shiny and healthy and mobile. I’m looking forward to watching him get stronger and more active. ❤

Walt

So once again this year, Thanksgiving will instead be called Thursday. I have plans to go work at the horse ranch because they are having a Thursday too. ❤

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving with those you love, and extend a loving hand to those who may be alone.

Peace,

~ Lisa