Ode To My Bamboo Fan! Complaints About Hot Flashing In The Tropics!

Ok. This particular post is for the ladies...or those men looking for opportunities to man-splain something later and then get smacked for it!

When we first visited the Dominican Republic and then purchased a house the year after, I was normal, hormonally speaking. Lush tropical palm forests and green hills reaching out into the deep Atlantic blue ocean... or Caribbean turquoise... nice! Dreams of never shoveling snow again. Walks down a golden sunset beach, wind blowing through my hair and flowing beach wrap...these were the images crowding out all rational thought. Skip ahead a couple years and realities of buying a fixer-upper in the Caribbean with only intermittent opportunities to just relax in our house have come home to roost! Knock Knock! Who could it be? Open the door and in strolls perimenopause! Hand in hand with Hot Flashes, Night Sweats and Mood Swings. The worst uninvited guests a middle-aged woman could ever imagine! UGH!

Now the sun-drenched island heat that was the m…

The Glamorous Life in the Caribbean- NOT

Update: our friends who gave us the tour were also involved is this celebrity celebration  People Article on Breaking Bad celebs in our area of Dominican Republic
Heads up:  I didn't really have much to share other than the few photos I took during some villa tours, but I caught myself thinking exactly what I share here...oh, how the realities of island life have changed me!
In an attempt to convince my baby sister to go for a destination wedding here in the Dominican Republic, friends of mine at Everything Under the Sun Cabrera took us on a tour of some of the gorgeous villas for rent that are in our little town. It seems there are many mega villas in our area but fewer small rental homes. That is surprising to most people who have never heard of Cabrera. I was also pleasantly surprised at the prices. These villas rent for cheaper than a week at an all-inclusive for a couple and also provide a private chef and cater to guests every wish. And you don't have to share it with any…

Owners' Suite 70% Complete

When I first found our future casa on Sebastian's website I clicked through
the pictures and saved it as a favorite. Not knowing at that time whether or not Cabrera or even the Dominican Republic would be a possibility for our future lives. I documented the early days in my first couple blog entries. Back then the house was a model home (aka first house in a development of eventually 10 little 2 bedroom bungalows with pools and ocean views.) It was built in 2005, but then the global recession and the builder's own health changed the plans. Fast forward ten years and Thomas and I meet Sebastian at his office and he guides us up a road that is barely passable and to which he refers as the 'easy' way...through a rough looking ramshackle squatter village, up a steep rocky road...and down a two-track that led me to wonder "Are we going to be murdered up here? Will anyone find the bodies?" Sebastian didn't act or seem like a serial kil…

Laying The Foundation...On An Island

I finally get to blog about building. Originally, this whole page was about owning a vacation home and building in the Caribbean. For the last three and a half years, we have been "owning" and "repairing" in the Caribbean.  We have five lots now. One with a house and four that are so small that we are treating them as technically two.  One has a 'peek'-at-the-ocean view similar to our existing home and the other affords us a much more impressive wide open ocean view, provided we build our home on top of an eight to ten foot tall foundation/basement to overcome the neighbor's wall and other neighbor's guest house placement....sigh...

When we bought the house, we were the only structure on top of our little development. We knew that the two properties that penned-in our property and thus view had been sold and would have buildings there soon. I've blogged about that headache at length as well.  In a nutshell, we knew that one should never attempt…

Island Stress

I get a bit miffed when people refer to the Dominican Republic as the Third World. First, because that term really ended with the Cold War and secondly, it seems to denote an idea that the Dominican Republic is somehow less than the United States. Sorry. But, I don't feel in my gut that the US has any claim to superiority anymore. The history is different for sure and being a much smaller nation where corruption and poverty is abound means things don't get done in the timeframe we Northerners want, if it gets done at all. But, corruption exists everywhere and as does the fight between the rich and the poor. 
Still, there are a few things that I have come to appreciate about western industrialized nations, for example; flushing the toilet without a thought for where it all goes, which goes hand in hand with turning on the faucet and having potable water (although I'm from Michigan not far from Flint and that gave everyone in the State pause when it came to water quality), …

Living IRL

What is Real Life?  Is it job, mortgage, raising kids and all the like?  I happily tackle all the items on the daily Mom-Do-This list.  (Renamed the To-Do list for what it actually feels like most days...) Then we pack up and fly south to our little slice of heaven in the Dominican Republic and then I'm outside, breathing air and listening to all the birds, frogs and crickets, annoyed at how loud they can be! Somehow nature feels 'real' and the daily grind back home seems like a holding pattern. Does everyone feel this way?

I like when the whole family has to live in close quarters without internet really interfacing with one another. Add to that Grandma and all her games and it really is a family vacation akin to what I remember camping with the whole family to be like. With all the video games, apps, streaming TV and such, it’s no wonder we all feel a bit disconnected. It’s hard to be present in each other’s lives, let alone our own.

I think we can all agree that life ha…

How to Live Off Grid in Reality


You know the saying. "Your back-up power is only as good as your heat-aged batteries." Or, wait, probably you have never heard that tidbit of wisdom. It only applies to people living in the tropics. Prior to owning a home in Caribbean, my understanding of electricity is that it looks really cool during a storm and precedes booming thunder. Oh! And the story with Benjamin Franklin and the kite. Since buying the casa, I have had a crash course in electrical systems. I understand so much more, but it is also very clear that I know practically nothing that would assist someone in putting together a solar fed back-up battery system. But, I know things like:

We have a 24-volt system which means we can only add 4 x 6-volt or 2 x 12-volt batteries. But, they can't get added at different times because of the rule of thumb I started this post with. Batteries age in the heat and humidity faster than I would ever have believed.  Each 6-volt 200 amp hour battery in …