Thursday, September 8, 2016

Remembering Gaga

Yesterday, I took one of the most beautiful photographs of sunrise in Nagshead, NC. A few hours later, I knew why. A very special woman in my life had made her journey beyond. I am certain that the beautiful sky was created and sent by her.
She was my two best friends grandma. She was the hippest, coolest grandma ever. We called her Grandma Gaga, after she revealed to us years ago that she liked Lady Gaga. She became my Grandma Gaga as well. Hell, she was everyone’s Grandma Gaga.

She was quick witted, with a sharp tongue, she was everything you looked up to as a woman. She would do anything you asked her to do, just like in my favorite photo of her. We all wanted and still want to grow up to be like her.
If you visited her, she always offered you a beer, that she kept in the cardboard containers that a 12 pack of pop came in. It wasn’t to disguise her beer, she said that beer should come in boxes like that so it was easier to put into the refrigerator.
Don’t try to use her microwave, it was full of toothpicks for some reason. She loved toothpicks, they were everywhere.
I was with her when she took her first shot of Tequila. She said she always wanted to try it. So while we were all visiting and playing Skat, we did a shot. Votive cups were her shot glasses. She took her first shot and exclaimed, “That tastes like gasoline!” Yes, Gaga, it does.
Those who know me, know that I do a mean chicken impression. She always reminded me how I traumatized her former parakeet, Blue, by clucking like a chicken at him. Her newest parakeet, Tweetie, will be living with me once I return home. I think I will change his name to PeeWee, which is a nickname that some family members called her.
I am disappointed that I won’t be at her memorial service on Sunday, since I will be in California working a show. But I will be there in spirit.
I never imagined life without her. I am going to miss being “Gagafied”, which is when she would go on Facebook and like about 100 old pictures in a row, so that your notifications were all from her. I am going to miss her jokes and puns. I am going to miss her wit and sarcasm. I am going to miss her.
My heart skipped a beat this morning when her face showed up in my notifications. It was reminding me that it was her birthday. What better way to spend your birthday, but in Heaven with the man you loved, sending us beautiful sunrises.
Happy Birthday and Godspeed Gaga.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Laws Are Made For the Guilty

If you’ve never been the victim of something, I have news for you, the laws are there to protect those who mean to harm you.  Those who threaten you, who stalk you and who harass you, they have rights.  Even though you may be a victim, they have the right to do those things to you until you finally get to the point where the system will finally stop them.

This is something that I never realized.  I guess it may be that I try to follow the rules, follow the laws, that I was oblivious to this.  I never realized how messed up our system was until I had experience with it first hand.

An individual can be mentally ill and be allowed to repeatedly harass you, threaten to kill you in many ways, threaten others and even invade your personal space, but they still have rights.

Some of those rights are the right to be able to walk around and continue the threats and harassment.  The right to have a family member bail them out only to have them run and be unaccounted for.  The right to show up for plea court with no representation, so that the trial is continued for another month while they TRY to get them to accept a public defender.  This has happened three times now.

So as a victim, you are left, clearing your schedules to make court appearances, to testify against them, only to have those trials continued another month because they showed up again, representing themselves, and they are deemed not competent to do so by the court. 

What does it take for family and the system to see that they are dangerous?  Do they actually have to harm or kill someone?  It’s a sad state of affairs.

Family members will bail them out and then dismiss you, as someone, who is  overreacting.  “They don’t know where you live” yet they come to your home when they aren’t permitted within 50 yards of you, your home or your workplace.  “They don’t have anything on them to hurt you”, I guess that means weapons, yet the deadliest weapons we all have are our hands.  “I guess you are happy now” when they fuck up for the umpteenth time now and are going back to jail.

Its time to stop making excuses for these people.  Stop coddling them.  Stop bailing them out.  Start making them accountable for their actions, get them the help that they need.

Tomorrow, I hope we are finally on the way to stopping this destructive behavior we’ve been dealing with for years, most seriously since November.  It’s time to get this person the help that he needs.  He doesn’t need to be out, running amok, living as a homeless person, unaccounted for.  It’s time he is either in an institution or a jail cell.  He lost his right to live as he wants to a long, long time ago.

It’s time to take our lives back, one without fear, one without having to constantly look over our shoulders.  A life that doesn’t begin with having to check into SAVIN and the PA Docket application each morning to ensure that he is still in jail.


Tomorrow, we pray that it begins to be our time.  We are going to be able to stand and look at this individual and say “FUCK YOU”.  You don’t own us.  You have no right to treat us this way.   Our rights outweigh your rights ten to one.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sticks and Stones.....

Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.  Whoever said that first is an asshole.  Some things are just hurtful and yes, maybe that makes me weak for being hurt by the opinion of someone who really doesn't matter at all.  But hey, I'm human.

Everyday, we are surrounded by bullies.  Some are big, some are small, some are kids and some are adults  Well, I was taught this week, by my friend, Kim that to ensure that the bully doesn't win, to stand up to them.

I will not be as classless and childish as they are and call them out, personally.  That would only give them more power in my life.

I was sent a screenshot of someone referring to me as The Purple Piglet.  Someone else commented further about all the food that I would be eating.

First of all, I would like both gentlemen to go right now and take a good look at the women you both married and look at their asses.  You will see that they are not small.  They are not supermodel size.  They are not much different than mine.  So, would you say the same thing to your wives?  To the mother of your children?

Second, last time I looked it was Big MAC not Mack.  Personally, I prefer Wendy's or Dairy Queen, but you seem to be very knowledgable in McDonald's food, so you should know how to spell it.  Then again, maybe not, because a quick look at your profile on FB, shows that you don't know the difference between they, their and they're, to, two and too, our and are.  Mr. Troth, God rest his soul, is rolling in his grave.

So, why the hell should I care what the fuck either of you think of me?  I have done nothing but try to be nice, try to do the right thing and this is what I get.  Well I sleep at night, knowing I am a hard worker, I am a very active member of my community, I donate time and money to a lot of organizations and charities.

I then am shown where you were discussing how I am a spoiled bitch and have never worked a day in my life.  That, right there, proved to me that you have absolutely no fucking clue what you are talking about.  I grew up in a cock roach infested apartment with a single mom.  I've worked since I was 12 years old.  At times, I worked four jobs at a time.  Don't you ever say I never worked a day in my life.  Fuck you.  You don't know me and I could give a shit if you ever do.  You are an asshole.

I feel sorry for your children and grandchildren.  I have witnessed first hand how they have been taught to hate for no reason.  It's quite sad.  I pray for them.

Now, you have hurt me, but, being the "BIG" girl that I am, I am getting up, shaking it off and giving you both a a big, double, middle finger, crissie cross fuck you.  Be on the lookout for the new LA Taco that is LOVINGLY being called The Purple Piglet.  I am honored to have a taco named after my big, fat ass!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dual Ablation Time

When I had my first ablation in October, we pretty much knew it was not a success since most of my electrical activity was on the back wall of my heart, which they could not ablate without burning my esophagus.   Despite that, I felt better and when I went in for my check up in May, I thought I was totally fine.  Wrong.  They didn't like my readings.  At all.

So, today, I will be in the fine hands of two amazing doctors.  Dr. Moreca will go first and ablate my heart from the outside.  Once he is finished, Dr. Thosani will go inside and clean up, like he did during the first ablation.

I will be in the hospital until Sunday or Monday, so I am sure I will be going crazy again.  There is an 85% success rate for me and these wonderful doctors developed this dual procedure.  I am in good hand and both of them are really easy on the eyes!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Feeling Fabulous

Here is the update on my heart.  It's doing it's job and I feel amazing.  I mean, I felt pretty good for awhile, then felt bad, then felt good, but once we finally got this all worked out, I feel better than I can ever remember feeling!!

Last time I updated, I just had my ablation.  It was to take three months for my heart to heal.  I did feel good however, I went into Afib and never worked myself out of it, which is what always would happen.  When I went to my three month check up, I had reported that I was getting really short of breath constantly and this was new.

I wore a halter monitor for 24 hours and was scheduled for a stress test.  In between those two things, I had another Cardio Aversion, where they stop and then shock my heart back into rhythm.  I felt so good that day, then in two days I was feeling awful again.  I went to my stress test.  To say I failed the stress test was an understatement.  I lasted 2 minutes and 45 seconds on a slow, uninclined treadmill before I was so short of breath, I nearly passed out and felt like I was going to puke.  I was convinced I was in Afib again, but I was not.

I was so discouraged at this point.  I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life feeling like shit.  I was almost to the point where I was going to admit defeat.  Then, my Pittsburgh doctor recommended that I stop all of my heart meds for a week to see how I felt.  Those meds were keeping my heart rate low and I mean low, like 52-56 low.  I agreed to do it and call in one week to give a report, since I would be on vacation.

Day seven came and went and I totally forgot to call, I was feeling great.  I called on day 10 to report that I felt fabulous.  I feared that it was mind over matter, since I was not only on vacation, but I was in Hawaii.  Who wouldn't feel fabulous there?

As the days wore on and turned into weeks and now at the one month mark, I am convinced that I have beat this!  FINALLY!  I feel amazing.  I still have my meds just in case I go into Afib and need to slow my heart rate down.  I will still, most likely, keep taking my blood thinner just in case I would go into Afib since I am at risk for a stroke if I do.

So no matter what your struggle is, no matter how long you have been struggling, do not ever give up!  There is a light at the end of the tunnel and when you reach that point, you will be so thankful for all that you still have left to live for and the ability to live it with joy!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Final Manicure

I've been in the business for 13 years now.  We've lost a few clients, who have passed, but most were sporadic clients, that only came a few times a year and were elderly.  I knew the time would come that we would lose someone we are close to.  It happened.  Twice this month.

The first one was one of Kylie's clients.  Miss Elsie just lit up the room when she walked in the door.  She was one of our original Hip Grannies.  She always had us in stitches.  Kylie worked on her and worked on her and finally, we got her in glitter.  In the fall, she asked Kylie to remove her nails, take her out of the book and not ask any questions.

Elsie was a proud woman.  We knew what was going on, yet deep down, we hoped she would beat it. Sadly she did not.  We did find out when she came home with hospice care.  We sent her flowers and told her that we loved her and missed her.  We hope that she got to see and enjoy the flowers and know just how much she touched our lives.

More recently, one of my personal clients passed.  I had heard last week that she was in the hospital and then heard the devastating news that she would most likely, not be coming home.  I offered to do her nails in the hospital with gel, since it has no smell.  I wanted to have one last chance to talk to her, even if she couldn't answer.  I never got to do that.

I was asked by the family to do her nails for her service.  I never hesitated.  Kathi loved her nails and to be honest, she would have been pissed if they didn't look great on the final day people would see her.  I was nervous.  I never worked on someone once they had passed.  I am glad Kathi was my first.

When I arrived, her stylist was doing her hair.  She had been growing her hair out, so she was unsure of what looked best.  I gave her my input and she ended up doing her hair beautifully.  She then helped me out, since she knew it was my first time.  We chuckled and talked to Kathi, just like we would have had she had a regular appointment with us.

I am so glad I did this.  This was my final gift to this wonderful woman, who knew everything about me, my life and especially my fur babies.  See, she was just as much of an animal lover.  I know there are industry and business experts that preach to us that our clients are not our friends.  I wholeheartedly disagree.  You can't hold someone's hand for an hour, every few weeks and not have a connection with them.

Kathi was my friend.  Elsie was my friend.  Hundreds of others are my friends as well.  They trust us with their deepest secrets, their fears, they share their joys and milestones with us as well as their failures.  They celebrate our successes with us as well as support us when we have bad times.

I was honored to help make Kathi beautiful in the end.  I know she would have appreciated it.  I am going to miss her.  I was just looking through all of the nails of hers I took photos of.   She was always one that asked, "What did you learn new?"  She would let me try anything.  Sometimes, I wasn't happy with the result, but she always was.

I hope in heaven that you look up Tom Holcolmb.  I know, without a doubt, he will be doing your nails and so fabulously that you will be saying "Rhonda, what the hell were you doing all of these years??"

Godspeed Kathi.  I will miss you.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Control+ALt+Delete=Reboot Tomorrow

Well it's been three months since my ablation of my heart.  I felt amazing UNTIL I was on my way home from California on November 18.  I got off of my first flight and my ankles were so swollen, they hurt to bend I was also very short of breath.  When we arrived in Pittsburgh, after my second flight, it was worse.  I was sweating, dizzy and thought I was going to have to go immediately to the hospital.  I tried to play it cool so I would not alarm my travel companion.  Thank goodness she was the driver.  By the time I got home, I felt better.

From that day forward, I never felt good again.  I've been horribly winded by simple things, like walking to the car, getting dressed.  I am constantly hot, sweaty and clammy.  It makes me crabby and irritable, restless and gives me a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness.  I am very forgetful and I sometimes have problems thinking straight.

I saw my local cardiologist on Monday, he put a 24 hour monitor on me and ordered another stress test for this coming Monday.  I had my follow up with my Pittsburgh cardiologist, yesterday.  He was the one that did my ablation.  He wants to cardiovert me tomorrow.  It's pretty much a reboot of my heart to get it into regular rhythm and see if I can stay there.  So tomorrow morning to Pittsburgh I go.  I already had this procedure a year ago in December.

If this doesn't work then they will do the ablation again with a second doctor, who will be able to use a different catheter that can try to cauterize the back wall of my heart, which is where all of my electrical activity is coming from.  They couldn't do that with the original ablation because they would have burned my esophagus.

So, wish me luck and if I've been crabby, impatient towards you, snapped or just not seemed like myself, please know it's not you.  It's all me and I hope to be back to my jovial self soon.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Oh, Sweet Heart of Mine

I haven't blogged in forever.  This seems the easiest way to update everyone about my current condition.  For those catching up, I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation last June.  This was after YEARS of complaining of being tired and winded all of the time.  It was blamed on being overweight and diagnosed as acid reflux.  I was put on meds.

In December, I had a Cardio Aversion, which means they stop then shock my heart, hopefully getting it back into a good rhythm.  See, Afib causes the top part of your heart to beat faster than the bottom, so blood will pool in there running the risk of stroke.  So blood thinners are a must.  When I work a 24 hour heart monitor then, my pulse rate fluctuated from 189 to 59 in twelve hours.  The Cardio Aversion seemed to have worked, or at least I thought it did, see, I can't tell if I am in Afib.  I guess I am used to feeling like shit, so that's normal.

When I went for pre-op testing for my hysterectomy in July, I was found to be in Afib.  I will admit, I was surprised, since I thought I felt good.  So, who knows how long I have been back in Afib.

It was determined that I was a good candidate for a Heart Ablation, where they take a catheter into the top chambers of the heart and cauterize the areas that are misfiring.  They then try to put me back into afib and proceed until they can't.  The goal of this procedure is to get me back into rhythm and off of all of my meds, since I am young and essentially healthy.

I had this procedure on Friday.  They cauterized electrical activity on the front wall of my heart and all along the top.  I had a lot of electrical activity on the back wall of my heart, which they could not do anything with, due to my esophagus being right against it.  I woke up feeling great.  Then an hour later, I went back into Afib.

To day I was devastated, is an understatement.  I looked at the nurse and said FUCK.  She then looked at me and said "You want to cry, don't you" and you know what, I did.  And boy did I cry.  Like a big baby.  I had one hell of a pity party for myself that night.

Once all of the anesthesia wore off, which was a lot, since I was sedated over six hours, I remembered that this is okay.  That my heart was just burned and needs to heal.  I calmed down and made the best of it.  Sometime that night, while I slept I went back into rhythm.  The next day, right after dinner I went into Atrial Flutter, which is similar to Afib, just a higher pulse rate.  I stayed in it.

Yesterday, I finally came home after a three night stay.  Before I left, I went into and out of Afib four times.  The docs think that's a good sign.  It will take three months for my heart to totally heal and this may happen until it's healed.  If I continue to go into Afib and stay in it, they will shock me again.

So, I am hopeful.  I realize now, how long this has limited my life.  I have suffered with this for years.  Scarily, I suffered with this all through playing roller derby.  It is a miracle that I never had a stroke.  All those times, I was using my inhaler because I was told I had sports induced asthma, I was in Afib.  All of those times my legs were so tired and felt like bricks and I was screamed at to pick it up and had eyes rolled at me because some thought I was just fat and lazy, I was in Afib.  Scary shit.

So I guess what I want to say, is, stop judging people.  Yes I am overweight.  Trust me, I try to eat healthy.  I cook four meals a week and try to make them as healthy as possible.  Yes, I drink soda, however, I don't drink near as I used to and I totally drink clear sodas, which don't have caffeine.  I have given up coffee, expect for the one cup I am allowed each day, which I savor.  The only think I can't do is be active.  I just can't physically do it any longer.  Just walking up the stairs from our basement exhausts me.

I look healthy, I act healthy, so to most, I look like an overweight person, who is too lazy to do things.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  I want to do things.  I want to join my BFF at Zumba and have a good time.  I want to take my dogs for a walk.  Somethings, I just know I just can't physically do any more.  When we were in Vegas last week, there was a day we were all going to walk to shop at the mall, a favorite thing for me since there's a Hello Kitty store there.  I had to stop when we got to the bridge at the end of our casino, because I knew I wouldn't make it.  I sent everyone on without me and spent some quiet time alone.

I am sick of feeling like this and I pay to God that soon, I can get my life back and get more active.  So please stop looking at people as being fat and lazy.  There are some of us, who just can't fix it, even though we want to.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Religion - Attending Church

As most of you know, I was raised Catholic.  I went to Catholic school.  My mother wasn't an avid church goer, but she thought it was important that I be raised Catholic.

After my eighth grade graduation from Catholic School, I have maybe stepped into a Catholic church at the most, three times, most likely for either a wedding or a funeral.

My husband was raised Catholic as well.  His father was married previously, and his wife left him.  So, when he married Nick's mother, it wasn't recognized as a marriage in the Catholic church, therefore when Nick came along, they refused to baptize him.  After Nick's grandmother made a nice donation to the church, they changed their mind.

Mr. Bruises is what I refer to as a Chreaster.  It is someone who goes to church on Christmas and Easter.  I, personally feel that if you are going to go on those two holy days, you should go regularly.  I choose to not go at all.

I still believe in God.  I still try to live my life in an honest and giving way.  I still try to do the right thing and still try to find the best in people.  I just never felt the need to go to church.

Recently, BFF Jill invited me to attend Pittsburgh East Community Church with her.   It's in Plum, which is almost an hour drive.  She lured me with driving past the Abby Lee Miller Dance Studio, from the show Dance Moms, which is just down the road from the church.  I was IN!

The first thing I asked her is what should I wear.  She said jeans and a nice top.  Really?  Jeans?  That was frowned upon the last time I was in Catholic church, but hey the times have changed so maybe that's permitted there now too.

When we pulled in, I was astounded at the size of the parking lot.  I felt like I was going to a concert.  Little did I know, I pretty much was.  The parking attendants were all very happy and cheerful.  You could tell that everyone wanted to be there.  Everyone walking in was in a good mood.  The greeters at the door made me feel like I was an old friend.  It was a VERY inviting atmosphere.

Next thing I noticed was people walking around with coffee, soda, danishes, muffins, you know FOOD!  This would never be permitted in a Catholic church.  Then everyone was talking.  Some loudly.  Again a Catholic no no.  I was so out of my element, I didn't know what to do, so I just sat and observed.

They had a live band on stage that played current music and then some Christian songs that you would never guess were church songs.  The lead singer was wearing Chuck Taylors, he had a faux hawk, an earring in his year and boy could he sing and capture your attention.

After about four or five songs, with encouragement and words on a big screen to sing along, we were asked to meet each other.  Perfect strangers met me with a smile and a hand shake.  The pastor and his wife came on stage for the sermon.  This was the beginning of a six part series called True Love.  It was all about making relationships work.

I sat and listened to them.  They never professed to be perfect.  They actually told us of their failures and how they worked to overcome them.  After the sermon, we ended with another popular song and it was time to go.  Time just flew!!

After that I got my reward and got to do a drive by of the dance studio.  On the ride, Jill asked me what I thought.  I was still a little out of my element and really couldn't answer since it was nothing like what I expected.  It was nothing like I had experienced in the past.  It was so different, but in a good way.

After about a week or so, I told her I wanted to go again.  We went this morning.  The same things were apparent.  EVERYONE wanted to be there, even the kids.  If you would see the area that they have for the kids, you would understand why.  Everyone was so happy, welcoming and genuinely friendly.  The sermon was another good one and I found myself applying the suggestions multiple times later today.

Here's another thing that I realized.  This is a church that doesn't judge.  They don't care how you dress, how you wear your hair, if you have piercings or gauges, if you are tattooed, if you are in a relationship with someone of another race or in one with the same sex as you are.  You are welcome and loved no matter what.

I think this is the biggest difference.  Whether the Catholic church wants to admit it or not, they judge.  You never feel worthy to be a Catholic.

I will most definitely be going back.  The energy in that church is just infectious.  It's no wonder people are filling their parking lot.  Church is FUN!  It's entertaining!  It's educational!  Oh and I can sing my heart out, drinking a coffee, wearing jeans with my tattoo sticking out!  I'll take it!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How Long?

How long do you imply that I am not good enough for you before I start to believe it and realize I am better?
How long do you continue to blatantly exclude me before I no longer want to be included?
How long do you continue to do this to people over and over again before you have no one left?
How long before I realize I don't have any more second chances to give?
How long before I realize I can't overlook things any longer?
How long before I realize that I am worth way more than I am given credit for?
How long before I go my own way?

Not very long.  Not very long at all.