Wednesday, July 08, 2015

July 18th......

My heart is heavy.

On July 18th- both the Black Panthers AND the Ku Klux Klan will be "demonstrating" in Columbia, the state capitol of South Carolina.

Neither side is willing to change the date of their "Rally".

In case you didn't know- The Black Panthers promote "Anti-white" hate. The Klan promote "Anti- black" hate.

Now- A few years ago- this Confederate Battle flag issue came up and was VERY hotly debated. Various organizations got involved, but front and centre was the NAACP, I believe.
And so, after many weeks of arguing and debating and going back and forth,  it was decided and AGREED UPON by everyone concerned that the Battle flag of the South would stay flying- and there was an African-American Monument built to honor that particular race of peoples. Martin Luther Kings Birthday was also made a honest bank holiday. And Lo- and behold- most people were happy with that lovely compromise.

Until recently.  I rarely keep up with the news, I hate listening to the doom and gloom that's regularly spouted instead of uplifting stories, so I'm not exactly sure what the catalyst was- and lord someone PLEASE enlighten me if you have the time and inclination.....anyway.
Wait- it might have been that nut job Roof when he shot those poor people down in Charleston and his social media pages had all those photos of him holding the Battle flag and spouting about starting a race war. Looks like the little bastard is getting his wish. I feel so sorry for his family.
Anyway, next thing I know it's all over the news about Nikki Haley is speaking out in favor of removing the flag from the state house grounds.

Now we have the Black Panthers, The NAACP, the Klan, Lord knows who else coming to our state to  stir the pot. As the good people of Charleston said just after the tragedy, "Stay away- we getting along just fine down here in South Carolina- we don't need your kind coming and stirring up trouble where they ain't none."
But no- the pot stirrers just can't let it go and leave us alone. They all gotta come down here(there, I mean- sometimes I forget I'm not living back home now- but it's still my home no matter what and I still get my say at the end of the day.)And get everyone all riled up and fightin' each other.

On the other hand- we have groups like Sons of Southern Pride. People of ALL races joining together who are going out and doing good by showing pride in themselves and their community and their flags.  They plan visits to nursing homes and children's hospitals. They are holding car washes and bake sales for charities and to help out the less fortunate in their communities. They are good people just showing their support in any way they can.  They are peaceful, and kind people who don't go out looking for trouble- they just want to be able to be proud of their heritage and fly the flag their ancestors fought under. They are the kind of people that stop to help an elderly person or a woman with kids in the car, or a man with a arm in a sling change a tire  instead of riding past them.  Yes- they are proud of their heritage and of their flags. And why shouldn't they be? Every Race and Nationality has pride in their history. And every Race and Nationality has a part of history they would rather forget.

And most of all remember this- Under the Battle Flag of the South- the races all fought together. The Whites, The Blacks, AND The Native Americans.

What's my take on this?
I have mixed feelings.
On the one hand, I think it's time the flag should be removed from the state capitol. Not because it's racist- and it's not-....But because it IS stirring up so many bad feelings among folks. I think we should all get together and make a new flag- one that symbolizes the love of the south and the people that live here now. Put ...oh I don't know- some pic up trucks, and some BBQ Pulled pork sammiches and a glass of sweet tea on it.  Put The beach- and some banjos and a hammock on it. Put a whitetail buck on it and a big plate of Soul food like my  Friend Miss Belle used to make on Sunday Afternoon. Put some biscuits and tater salad on it....and a skeeter- lawd we ALL battle them critters in the summertime and don't none of us like 'em.

On the other hand...... I saw where some folks was getting mighty upset about that flag coming down off the state grounds and was calling for that beautiful African American Monument Memorial to be taken down too. And I don't think that's right either. I don't think ANYONE should have to have anything taken down, destroyed, removed. 

A flag....a monument or memorial....the kind of shoes we wear, piercings, tattoos, glasses, blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes, smokers, non smokers, old, young,  or the color skin we have doesn't matter. We are all human beings, and bleed red blood and we really need to stop this damn foolishness and get along.

So whats the solution? Does everyone have to get rid of all their remembrances and memorials and flags- or does everyone get to keep them and teach each other of the history of our ancestors so we can learn and not make the same mistakes again?

Just Sayin'.......

Friday, May 15, 2015

Our 11th Wedding Anniversary.......

Today is the 11th Anniversary of our wedding.

 Because I have a sweet and thoughtful husband who is doing everything he can to support me in my new lifestyle, this is what he bought me-altho we had agreed we wouldnt do anything for our anniversary until all the auto tax and auto insurance and the MOT(Auto inspections) were done after the end of the month- because we think there's a good possibility that the car might need a repair or two before it passes the MOT.


You have no idea how happy it made me to get this!! It basically is a Nike-Plus monitor- except instead of the sensor going in your special shoe- it's worn as a bracelet on your wrist. It measures your steps, distance, calorie burn, and you can log into the site on your computer or phone and set goals, log your food, other excersize and water consumption, too.....It even monitors your sleep patterns!!!!

I'm recording all the things I need to on it- and it's doing the hard part automatically for me!!  It even has a pay-for premium service where you can get even more information out of it AND a e-personal trainer that makes suggestions on improvement in all areas it/you record(s). And it's a very affordable yearly fee. I will be getting that service after the auto stuff end of the month!!

I am in love with this gadget and even MORE in love with my HUSBAND for thinking of it for me!!!
Some women might have taken it as an insult to receive a gift like that on their anniversary from their hubby, but I think it's just the best thing EVER!! He loves me and wants me to be around a long time!!! 
Image result for holding hands

Now- I've been taking my hormones, and eating clean(for the most part-I have made a couple of allowances, but not gone overboard with anything.) and being more active. And it's working. I'm feeling much more optimistic, happy, and energized. My symptoms have almost completely stopped....ALMOST. I still have the occasional hot flash-(3 since starting the meds and diet), I've lost 7 pounds(half a stone), and the crying three times a day over nothing- or everything- has stopped. 

Life is looking up.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Test Results In.....

Well, it's been a while since I posted, but there's been a perfectly good reason.

I've been a bit ill. I've been in the hospital and then in the doctors for lots and lots and LOTS of tests.

I went for the final results of all the tests last Monday- and this is what the outcome is.

I'm in post menopause. My blood pressure is sky high. I'm depressed. I'm exhausted.  I'm over weight. I'm slightly asthmatic. And I'm one point away from being a diabetic.

If I were a horse they would take me out back and shoot me.

What are we doing about it?

1) The doctor put me on an inhaler and is referring me to a sleep clinic for the asthma and sleep problems.

2)She also put me on HRT with my approval for the depression, and stress and which are both- along with the breathing problems caused in part by the menopause.

3) She's referred me to a Blood Pressure clinic where I have to go have my blood pressure checked on a regular basis.

4) She's strongly suggested going on a diet and exercise program and sticking to it until my excess weight is gone and my blood sugar numbers return to closer to normal. She said at one point away from the Diabetic Line I may as well act like I am already there- BUT I can make it better by following her recommendations.

Over the past week, I've started on the HRT tablets and am seeing a tiny bit of difference in my sleep and my mood swings. I was to the point I was crying all the time. I'm not even joking- I would be on top of the world one second and the next- anything made me cry- just burst into tears for no reason at all.....well, I obviously thought there was a reason, but it was anything from the advert on TV was sad, to Paul said I looked nice, to the Guinea pig must feel lonely, to it's started raining again. I even cried once because the toilet roll needed changing. I'm not joking an iota.

I have never been this moody and upset all the time in my life. With Two exceptions....the first few months after my daddy passed away- and the same with my son. When I think about them I still get terribly upset like that- but there's a difference between being upset over missing/losing your loved ones and being upset that badly over the toilet roll needing changing.
The doctor asked me why I hadn't asked about HRT sooner  as it could have alleviated a lot of these symptoms much sooner for me. (Apparently, I have been going thru pre/peri Menopause for about the past 8 or 9 years.)
 I explained that from the studies I had read on HRT women with a history of cancers in their family have a greater chance of getting it if they are on HRT. And they way my luck runs, I didn't think it was worth the risk with the history of cancers in my family.

Why am I open to the option now? Quite simply- Quality of Life.
I'm at my wits end being so emotional all the time. I'm faking being happy more than I spent  actually being happy.  And I've reached a point I'm thinking- I don't care anymore- I'd rather take the HRT with the small chance of getting cancer somewhere down the line in a few years and have these symptoms alleviated and be able to be happy again the rest of my life than to feel the kind of depression and misery I was feeling without it.

 I researched  diets and eating plans and came to the conclusion that the Clean Food  Eating Plan was best for my weight loss/ high blood pressure/ diabetes issues. I allow myself one small glass of diet soda and one small cup of coffee a day...(non dairy creamer only for the coffee). The rest of the time it's at LEAST 2 litres of water a day.

I have to choose my clean foods carefully because of the GI content- but I can have the high GI foods occasionally.

I can have treat meals where I have anything I like occasionally...but there is the key word- OCCASIONALLY.

I can also eat out- as I learned this weekend.
We went out to town and hubby asked where I wanted to eat lunch. I said SUBWAY since I knew I could get a Clean salad there. But when we arrived it was packed OUT. So across the road was The Chinese Buffet. I was skeptical(hahaha) of eating there as I was sure they wouldn't have more than a couple of foods there I could eat- even on their salad bar- but lo and behold I managed to have a LOVELY CLEAN lunch!!!
I had Tuna, Lettuce, olives, beetroot and boiled eggs.. It was lovely!!!   My usual fare there is  Chicken Nuggets, Salt n Pepper chips(my fav), onion rings and sweet n sour chicken ...maybe even some naan bread.

I've stopped eating anything sweet except fruit. No added sugar to anything. I have given up chocolate full stop- except for the VERY special occasion. The first three days, the withdrawal were absolute HELL. But the past two days hubby has turned to me and offered me a tiny little chocolate covered cookie and I had no desire for it. Not even tempted in the least.

And I've been walking....Up and down the stairs at work when the weather is bad, when it's nice I've walked to the doctors office for my blood pressure check and for my meds at the pharmacy next door to it (on my lunch hour). Hubby and I had a nice long walk around town on Saturday too. Sunday I'm doing my exercise video or yoga.(Pretty much a day of rest but I'm still doing SOMETHING for exercise.)

Since Monday when I found out all the test results and starting on the Clean Food Eating plan, I've lost a grand total of....6 pounds.

I know that's mostly my body sloughing off the excess fluids, but it's headed in the right direction.

So now you know...The Rest Of The Story. (Trademark *Paul Harvey)

Thursday, April 02, 2015

*An Interview With Sarah Jordan*

*Interview with Sarah Jordan*
In my journeys, I have met many interesting people from all walks of life.
This is an interview with one of those persons - one who not only dreamt a dream- but made if come TRUE with nothing short of dedication, bravery and determination.
This is Her Story……

 Hi Sarah. Can you tell us a bit about yourself in your own words?
Thank you so much for such a kind statement!
I’m Sarah and I’m a Transgender Woman in South Carolina! I have always felt my gender at birth doesn’t fit the gender I feel I am.
I was about four years old when I first introduced myself as Sarah! When I heard my name I felt strong, beautiful and alive! I knew that was my true name! That name fit me more than any other name I was called. Since then I’ve known I am different than others. I learned to hide how I felt and built a shell around me that I lived in until I was ready to come out!
I have been transitioning from male to female since 2009 and on hormone therapy since 2011. I first came out to a friend and co-worker whom I felt comfortable just being myself with. I confided in her a secret I had kept inside for my entire life and she was comforting, supportive and understanding. She was the only person at that time to ever know the real me! She encouraged me to open up more and peel away the layers of insecurity and fear built up over a lifetime of hiding, until I was finally true to who I am.
Accepting to live as the person I am and not the shell of a person I created has been extremely difficult. I face discrimination, prejudice and judgement every day! I have lost lifelong friends and even some family. I have also met some inspiring people whom have given me strength and hope. Life is hard and having people who love you can carry you through the worst of it. I am fortunate to have lots of love in my life from my parents, boyfriend and a new family of friends. 
How old were you when you decided to begin your transition? How old are you now? OOPs- sorry about that- you should NEVER ask a woman two things… her weight and her age- so you can ignore that last question if you like.
*I don’t mind revealing my age, lol. I was 32 when I came out and slowly began living as female full time. I went through the recommended and psychological therapy and lived for 2 years as my preferred gender before I began Hormone Replacement Therapy. I have been on HRT just a little over 4 years. My whole life I’ve struggled to be myself and after a long time I’ve finally accepted my true self.

I understand you work in a pretty much male dominated job. How has your transition affected your work-life?
* Working in Law Enforcement/Security is more challenging than I ever considered, working in such a male dominated field is the biggest mistake of my life.

This is the photo of the day when I came out to the HR department and all of my supervisors.
After explaining what I was going through, the response was cold and uncompassionate. I am forced to maintain a masculine personna at work, and have been deemed a trouble maker just because I’m not like them.

The battle with work forcing me to keep their image.
 Management all share the same attitude; I don’t belong and I’m not welcome! I'm slipping deeper and deeper into depression, because of the emotional pain I suffer through each night I work. Many days I’m left with suicidal thoughts from feeling trapped and forced to live as everything I worked so hard to let go. I have been unsuccessful in finding other employment being transgender and also because I haven’t changed my legal name. I fear that changing my name will result in termination! I pray every day that I can be free of the nightmare soon- but on my terms and without hurting myself further through unemployment.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your transition physically? And is your transition complete?
*The most challenging aspect of my physical transition has been weight loss/gain. When I finally accepted myself I felt so alive and capable of handling anything! I challenged myself to get from a size 22 to a size 4! I reached that goal after losing over 150lbs, then started HRT, came out to everyone I knew and began living as a female full time. In 2014 depression overcame me and I succumbed to old habits; re-gaining the weight I lost. I have many more challenges ahead in my transition most of which include legal, physical and surgical changes. I still have a lot to do!

And mentally what was the most challenging aspect?
*Mentally the most challenging aspect of transition has been the discrimination I deal with daily everywhere I go. It is so hard to keep my composure and not scream at people when they stare, snicker, point and laugh. I am living my life and I love myself. I have fought myself every day to accept that. It hurts so deeply when people are so thoughtless and cruel. I’m not a punch line or a perversion. It is extremely difficult to stand proud when faced with discrimination. It takes a tremendous effort to get up out of bed and face the day as the Woman I am! It takes more COURAGE than I have most days just to face the world without HIDING!

Who was it most difficult to tell when you had made your decision to come out? Were they supportive in your decision or was there discord?
*My family was the most difficult to come out to. My parents have always been supportive and very important in my life. Mother was the one that first recognized my need to come out. I was wearing my first pair of earrings, small cubic zirconia butterflies. She asked if I was “trying to change my gender”. I turned to her and looked her in the eyes and said “yes”! Daddy was a little more difficult. He wasn’t ready to accept me as Sarah. Daddy wanted to help me “overcome the illness taking over my mind” and to pray for it to leave me. Coming out to them really broke their hearts. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with and we shared lots of tears and pain. We are much closer now and they accept me as I am and love me unconditionally, and have also accepted my boyfriend as part of the family. My three sisters, however, are not willing to accept me. It causes me to be excluded from family events. My sisters have asked me not to come around them or their children ever again because I am not welcome anymore. However, Mother and Daddy still make the extra effort to include me with separate days to celebrate together.

Have any of your family members or friends had an about-face (in either direction) on their views of your life change?
More than I can even count! I had friends who after friendships of decades turned their backs on me instantly. Family relationships are strained and a few dear true friends are still with me. I have been fortunate enough to make new understanding friends from co-workers and even neighbors!  

I’m going to get a bit more personal now. I know you are quite beautifully statuesque! I, personally, have referred to you as the Modern Day Julie Newmar.  Are you a very girly-girl and wear heels? Or do you prefer to wear flats? And why? What style era are you most identifying with? And being statuesque is it hard to find clothing that you like?
*Thank you for that comparison, Julie Newmar is beautiful, I I am not a really girly-girl. I am 6’5” and hate towering over everyone so I rarely wear heels; I stick to flats most of the time. My favourite pair of shoes is canvas sneakers, comfy and cute. I prefer to be comfortable when just at home or running errands. My favorite outfit is Jeans, Tank Top and Sneakers! Style Era’s I most relate to- well, I don’t have a particular Era I most relate to. I love Victorian style for the Corsets, 50’s inspired hoop flared skirts, I love the 60’s- but Jackie O. more than Marilyn- sleek and elegant. I wear what draws my eye and makes me feel attractive. My height really only effects my wardrobe when I find a cute skirt or dress. They are always too short! Shoes can be a challenge but I’m used to it, they always have been all my life. I have extra narrow feet and most medium widths fit fine, the length is tricky but I have a couple of go to stores that always have my size... they just don’t have much selection.

And what Brands of make-up do you prefer? How did you learn about applying makeup? (Something I still haven’t mastered quite as well as I would like.)
*Makeup: I’ve been through so many brands and styles, MAC and Bobbi Brown were staples early on though I prefer L’Oreal Lummi Foundation and Cover Girl pressed powder. Eyes: I like Wet n Wild eye shadows, L’Oreal liquid eyeliner and Cover Girl Lash Blast mascara, and I use mostly Cover Girl lipsticks. I love makeup; I expressed an interest early and in my youth and it caused many “talks” with Mom n Dad about it not being acceptable. When I invested in my own I would end up tossing it out most of the time after being “caught”. Lol… I have learned the most important step in any makeup routine is to care for your skin. I exfoliate, use cleansers and moisturize religiously!

I understand there was more to your transition than just the gender issue. You went thru quite a weight loss as well, correct? Was that the beginning of the gender transition- or was it the catalyst?
* In the very beginning, before coming out to anyone, I researched the steps and results of transition. I would dream an impossible dream that I could be the Woman I knew in my heart I was! It wasn’t real until I made a ridiculous goal: get to a size 4 and I will come out to the world, start hormones and live as Sarah the rest of my life! I made that goal to myself because it was impossible. I was a size 22 with lots of help from waist cinches, girdle’s and compression undergarments. It didn’t seem possible. Then, I began to walk the stairs at my work 3 floors. Every time I wanted to go upstairs I forced myself to take the stairs. Then, I changed my diet habits and started to think maybe I could lose a few pounds. I remember thinking one day when I was sick of the stairs and ready to give up, "My dreams will come true if I can get to the top of the stairs." I started running the stairs from that point on. I would run up and down 3 flights of stairs, 4 times in a row. Up, then down, made 1 repetition. I would run 4 reps as one set and 3-4 sets per night running as hard as I could! I started to take it serious and switched to a Paleo diet and started Jillian Michaels 30 Day shred workout DVD along with Pilates, Yoga and Ballet movements to add long muscle, cut fat and strengthen my core. A year(ish) later I had lost 150lbs! A friend and co-worker whom had been there for me from beginning was getting married and I was invited and when I went shopping for a dress to wear I was so proud when I tried on a size 4 and I fit!! I bought it, wore it and felt amazing! I had met my impossible goal! Unfortunately, I gained it back and now I have to start over again. 

The Beginning

The Pinnacle of My Success

I admit the first time I saw you after you had lost the weight I hadn’t seen you in several months and I KNEW I knew you but couldn’t figure out who you were at first. Even when I THOUGHT I knew- I still had to ask you. It was quite an amazing transformation in itself!! So please-tell us- how did you do it?
*Hard work, Self-Discipline and Drive. I used to get asked a lot when I would share my story- "What’s the secret?" There is no secret!! It’s the same thing we have heard all our lives: A Healthy Diet and Regular Exercise! The key is to never slow down and never let up; just keep pushing no matter how much you want to quit!

What is your relationship status? Is there a Special Someone in your life?
*I am in a relationship with a great guy! We met through a dating site and I really liked his profile answers. He seemed genuine and kind, and I was right. I love him so much! He has been my rock more times than I can remember. Every time I get down on myself he stops me, tells me I’m beautiful and strong and he loves me. I’m so lucky I have him. It isn’t a total fairy-tale love, his parents aren’t supportive and that causes a strain and we have to hide our relationship- which is why I have excluded his name. I’m fortunate my parents accept and love him as part of our family, and they go the extra mile to make us feel included. My man gets along with Daddy, they talk about sports- and Mother likes him, too. I’m so glad we make it work. My sweetheart drives 3 hours every weekend- each way- just to be with me. We share our passions and goals, support each other and love each other very much.

Now that you feel comfortable in your own skin, what are your hopes and dreams for the future? Career changes? Marriage? Children?
*I desperately am seeking a career change- First and Foremost! I really want to get married and have children. I think about it almost every minute of every day. I love my Boyfriend and I would love nothing more than to be his wife and Mother of his Children. I know I can’t give him children and we aren’t in a place to adopt. We’ve talked about a small intimate ceremony with a couple of close dear friends and no more. We both agree that’s the wedding we want, but before we can reach that goal, mountains have to be moved! I encouraged him a couple of year ago to come out to a friend he could trust. He did and that friend created a stir with my man’s parents, they tried to keep us apart and we now have to keep our relationship hidden from them. Marriage isn’t something I can see for us right now, but I hope with all my heart I’m wrong!

Is there any advice you would give to anyone who might be thinking about coming out to their family and friends about any sort of transitions in their lives?
* I got some very sound advice from a dear friend and her wife before coming out just let people know you love them. I started off with "I love you and I want you to know me for who I truly am." almost every time I came out to family and close friends. Transgender is a very hard path to follow. You have to fight every day to be yourself! Gender isn’t as simple as Pink or Blue for us. Just be respectful and listen, try to understand how hard it is to be different.

What is the one question I didn’t ask that you thought I would? And what is the answer to it?
*I think you covered everything! Thank you, I really had to take time to dig deep and answer the best I could. I hope I represented Transgender Woman well. I have also a few videos up on YouTube they are pretty old now but for anyone thinking of transition they are a help to hear real issues. Easiest way to find them is search SarahMTF or Sarah Transgender

Sarah, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to interview you for my blog. Altho I’ve known you for ages- before and after the transition began- it’s hard for me to think of you or remember you in any way other than “My Girlfriend, Sarah”. I can easily talk to you about anything I would talk to any of my sisters about- and that is a true test of being a woman. I’ve had bad experiences with men- never felt very comfortable with them, in groups or on their own, unless they are my partner…you might have noticed I always stay near a door or window- some kind of escape route- just in case….but I’ve never felt that way around you. You have always been the woman you felt you were meant to be- and now truly are.
I wish you all the joy and happiness you deserve in your future!!!

Thank you Sunny -It was so fun

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

And The St. Patrick's Day Scary Bits....

Yesterday I had an episode at work.
I had really bad pains in my chest, I felt nauseous, my jaw was throbbing, my left arm was tingling and I felt fuzzy...lightheaded-disoriented.
I went outside for a few minutes as I've had a couple of episodes like this before but not nearly as painful.
It eased up a bit- so I went back inside but then  a few minutes after going back in- it started up again.

I don't mind saying it scared the heck out of me. I got up and walked down to my husbands department- stopping a couple of times along the way because my chest was hurting so bad. I was almost crying by the time I got downstairs to my husband who took one look at me and when I said "I think I need to go to the A&E" - asked no questions but grabbed his coat and took me straight there.

They took me straight back for an EEG as soon as they heard my symptoms and then brought me back to a room on the other side for blood work. After that was done they said I would be there probably at least overnight unless the test results came back negative for a heart attack. By this time the chest pain had eased to about a 3 on the pain scale- every 45 minutes or so it would go up to a 5 or 6 and then after a few minutes go back to a 3. They decided to move me up to a ward for the duration of my stay with them. So up to the ward they rolled me and there I stayed . Getting stuck numerous times for all the different tests...going to have x-rays done- and numerous EEG and EKG.

There was another factor that raised my stress levels as well.....There was a patient in the ward who in my opinion should have been on the psyche ward. He was in a hospital gown, but roaming the wards. Every 10 minutes he would come walking into the ward, pulling back the privacy curtains and opening the bathroom(loo) /shower room doors. He even was yelling in a strange mixture of English/German at the patients who tried to stop him from looking in their personal belongings as well as the nurses who tried to get him back into his bed. There was a security officer in the ward because of his behaviour but there may as well have been no one there- that guard was sat with his ass glued to a chair and his eyes closed like he was napping every single time I went past him on my way to another test.
I mean come on- think about it- you are in a hospital bed, naked except for that useless piece of clothing they call a GOWN, and you have a nutcase walking around pulling open your privacy curtains and coming in and plundering in your clothes and handbags? I took numerous photos of him and his very offensive behavior and made my thoughts on the matter perfectly clear after a couple of hours being on pins and needles and seeing the terrified looks on every ones faces. I was hurting and stressed and in no mood to hold back  and I told the nurses and the doctors who came in that they needed to get him in a bed away from everyone because as for me- he was making my stress levels elevate immensely and if he came near me there was going to be trouble. He got past them a few more times, but after that they were more vigilant in keeping him out of my ward which I think the other patients(all MUCH older than me) appreciated. I still wasn't comfortable, but I was less stressed than I was.

Anyway, so there was one positive to the event. As I was having a suspected heart attack, the hospital is a University Research Hospital and one of the research teams was developing and testing a two machines that would cut the time of a heart attack diagnosis from 2 to 3 hours to a scant 20 minutes. They wanted me to participate and I agreed- mainly because there is a history of heart disease on both sides of my family. I think if they had had this technology when my grandparents were alive both of my grandmothers would have been with us much longer than they were. And if I can contribute to the development of a machine that can give a quicker diagnosis and let people be treated sooner thus ensuring a bigger chance of surviving a heart attack and reducing the damage to their heart- I'll do it. Gladly. Maybe it will save one of my children or grandchildrens or even great-grandchildrens lives in the future. Who knows?!

So that research testing was completed at 8:30 PM- when they took the last of the blood tests needed to determine if I had had a hear attack. That test also takes 3 hours to develop results so I decided to try and nap while I waited. I was physically and mentally exhausted at this point and they were still coming in every hour for blood pressure checks and  just as I was nodding off they would come wake me up to ask if I was okay...No rest at all.

At 1AM the doctor finally came in and told me the tests had come back and it had NOT been a heart attack. They wasn't quite sure what exactly it was but they referred to it as a "heart related incident".
 If I had to try and diagnose myself, I would say it's what my Granny Miller had been diagnosed with..... Angina.
 I couldn't remember the name of it yesterday when they were taking the medical history- because I was so fuzzy and disoriented, but I remembered what it was called this morning when I got up and I googled it. Exact same symptoms except I was just a bit disoriented as well.
 I have to go to my doctor on the 31st so we will discuss it then.

Any who...They said they would be releasing me in the morning- but said I could leave then if I had a way home or someone to pick me up. They said normally they would just wait- but there was a bed shortage and if I wanted, I could leave then. It seemed like it took them forever to get the paperwork done after that, but long story short I was home by 2AM. I relaxed and got a drink of diet soda before heading to bed in the spare room so as to not wake my sweet sleeping husband in the master bedroom. Bless his heart- he takes such good care of me when I'm hurting and it's such a blessing to have him by my side. He is the love of my life. With all that went on yesterday I didn't get to sleep until close to 4AM, so rather than go in to work and stress myself out by being exhausted. I took the day off. I thought about going in at noon, but I think the full days rest will do me more good and I can go in tomorrow rested and be more productive.

So I've been to bed and slept a few more hours. I'm going to shower and have a bit of a healthy lunch and then I'm going to nap for a couple MORE hours. It was seriously a very exhausting day and night.

Oh- and the doctors suggestions health wise?.....Stop smoking COMPLETELY(even my lovely e-cig) try not to get too stressed- .......and lost a bit of weight.

Well, Duh.

And what became of the psyche ward candidate?... the nurses finally got word from the doctor to give him a sedative and he was sleeping like a baby when I was discharged.
Bless his heart.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Interview with the Fabulous Lisa Barber

*An Interview with the Fabulous Lisa Barber*

In my journeys, I have met many interesting people from all walks of life.
This is an interview with one of those persons - one who not only dreamt a dream- but is making it come TRUE with nothing short of inspiration, willpower and determination.
This is Her Story……

      Hi Lisa.
      Can you tell us a bit about yourself in your own words?
Well what is there to say? 
I’m a girl from a small town from Ohio and decided that living by other people’s rules was not my bag so I up and left.  I lost a lot of friends doing that but it was the best thing that I have ever done.
This journey that I have been on has been a journey of self discovery and ultimately a journey that has resulted in loving myself.
Growing up was a bit difficult at times. My older sister is a very talented singer.  She has a singing voice that is amazing. She went to university at Wright State and trained with some of the top vocal teachers in the country. One of her fellow classmates was the fabulous and gorgeous Nicole Scherzinger! 
I was kind of pushed aside as a kid. My sister’s needs were kind of put before mine. I was kind of the afterthought. While people were oooo’ing and awww’ing over my sister I was in the wings so to speak. This led to some pretty shitty behaviour on my part.
I started to act out. I stole, cheated, my grades dropped, I stopped caring because I felt that I didn’t matter. I got the attention that I wanted but it obviously wasn’t the right sort of attention. I acted outrageously and dangerously. It lead to depression (I was diagnosed as being bi polar when I was 16.) and lead to bulimia when I was 18. I was an absolute wreck.
That’s why I decided to leave America. I wanted to get out of that situation. I was never Lisa. I was always Angela’s sister. I wanted to find out who I was.

So you decided that living by other people’s rules was not your bag so you up and left. That was a pretty drastic move on your part. How old were you when you made the move? Had you finished school?
I dropped out of Wright State University and left at the tender age of 21. I was doing an International Business course. 

It seems your sister was a bit of a shining star? Did you think that maybe trying to outshine her at something YOU were good at would have been a better plan that acting out?
I didn’t know what I was good at. Everything that my sister did, my Mama made me do. She put me through singing lessons, piano lessons, clarinet lessons, trumpet lessons. Everything. I cannot sing and I hated playing clarinet and trumpet. I loved playing the piano. My sister was a genius on it but I was kind of good. When I was 16 I started writing music. That seemed to fit but I kept it secret. It was very personal to me.

What played the biggest part in your decision to leave it all behind? Was it your sister, or was it the need to find your own shining path?
I needed to leave because I felt like everything I did upset my parents. I loved them very much and I could see my actions hurting them.  I figured if I, the source of their misery, left, they would be happy. It has done wonders for our relationship. My Parents and I are very close now.

Where exactly did you up and go to? Did you have friends or family that helped with the transition?
I left and went to Italy first to be with my Nonno (Italian for grandpa). I loved him so much. I stayed there for 3 months and then moved onto the South of England and the crazy journey began.

How did you begin “Reinventing” yourself?
When I left home I was constantly trying different looks. I tried dying my hair blond and being tanned (biggest mistake ever!!), I tried a Goth look, black hair, pale and red lips which I loved. I tried all different types of fashion but only when I hit my 30’s I realised what style I loved the best.  I started looking through the photographs that my Nonno gave me. I loved the way my Nonna and Mama dressed when they were younger. The hats and coordinating handbags and shoes and the structured dresses, I found my niche!!

I understand you are really big on style and fashion. Have you always been such a girly-girl or was that part of your transition when you relocated? And what’s your favourite style era?
I was a bit of a tomboy growing up. I wore shorts and t-shirts in the hot Ohio summers, jeans and sweaters when I was in the cold Ohio winters. I went through so many different looks but it was definitely when I started to feel comfortable as a woman recently I settled into my style. I was born in the wrong decade definitely! I’d say I am a 1950’s – 1970’s girl but I have recently chopped all my hair off a la Mia Farrow which I am loving.  It’s liberating!!! I have always said that fashion is an expression about your feelings and thoughts. If you make the effort, put on a great outfit with fab shoes, do your hair and makeup, nothing can get you down. It’s armour to me. 

So a little birdie whispered in my ear that you have a modelling Gig in Blackpool? Wanna spill the beans?
Yes!  That is very true!  I recently changed my hair from a graduated bob (which I have had for 3 years) to a pixie crop.  He messed it up the first time....badly!  But he has since rectified it and it is gorgeous!!! My hairdresser is the best color correctionist in the Northwest of England and he has won a lot of awards for his skills.
He asked me to take part in the Blackpool Hairdressing Competition as a hair model to showcase his skills.  I was shocked!  I mean, I am not your stereotypical fact I would go as far to say that I am the anti-model!!!  (A short size 16 woman with a pixie prop and loads of tattoos!!)  So I am well excited for it! 
The theme is black and red and so a friend of mine is doing my makeup and I will be wearing a black jumpsuit, a red waist cinching belt, red and black skull printed Iron Fist Peep toe stilettos and red accessories. 

How many pairs of shoes do you own now?
I own about 153 pairs of shoes. I see shoes as a form of art.  Some are elegant and sweet like a pair of 6 inch stiletto Mary-Janes (my current favourites) and some are just functional like your every day gym shoes.  Shoes can make or break a whole outfit. I have seen many a girl on a night out wearing a gorgeous dress wearing the most hideous shoes that completely ruin the look. You can never go wrong with a simple black or tan patent leather peep toe. They are the little black dress of the shoe world! 

How did you choose your career path? Has it changed much since you initially set out on your own?
The truth was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I stumbled into what I do now. I started out as being in the warehouse in the South of London, worked myself up to being in the office. One day, the supply chain manager said, hey you over there.  We need you. And 2 years later I was promoted to Supply Chain Team Leader. I have gone onto being a buyer and working in Procurement. Do I like it?  Mmmmmmmmmm.....kind of. I prefer doing stock. 

What has been the biggest obstacle in your life so far?
Myself. I am my own worst enemy. I believe that we can get through anything. It’s just us that makes it hard for ourselves.

Who has made the biggest impact on your life/lifestyle?
My Mama. I didn’t get along with her growing up. But now I see the beauty in her. She’s an ex-model. Never left the house without a full face of makeup and dressed like a lady. The woman doesn’t own a pair of jeans!!!! She is my hero. 

What do you do for fun?  And what one thing would you LIKE to do at some point but just don’t have the courage to do quite yet?
For fun? I have started to learn to cook and have been going to the gym.  Not that the gym is fun but I am kind of enjoying it. And as for the last bit, once I get to the size I want to, I want to do a tasteful nude photo-shoot as a reminder that I need to take care of my body.

Is there a special someone in your life? If so, how did you meet?
Ahhhhhh, yes, my better half Rik, or Ricardo as Mama calls him! We meet online. It was a whirlwind romance but we are together pretty much 24 hours a day. I work for him and go home and cook his supper. He’s different to my ex-boyfriends in that he has a lot of ambition. The status quo isn’t good enough and that’s the sort of man that I want to be around. Someone that is always going forward.

Do you think your career path will change in the future? What about your Personal Life? Any hopes or dreams you’d like to share with us? I don’t think you are one to shy away from change of any sort, are you?
I definitely want a change in career! I would love to write a weekly article for a newspaper or have a lifestyle slot on a TV program. I feel like I have a lot to give. Change doesn’t bother me.  Change is how life evolves.

What is your biggest strength?
I can adapt to everything. Throw me anywhere in the world and I will somehow adapt and go with it. 

And your greatest weakness?
I wear my heart on my sleeve. I trust too much and forgive too easily.  That and white carbs...bread and pasta... I can’t help it, I’m half Italian!!!!!

 Any regrets so far in your life?
The only regrets I have is that I didn’t save more money and that I didn’t take care of my body the way that I should have.  But instead of being sad and dwelling on it, I am turning into a positive and taking care of my body and I am starting to save money.  The boyfriend and I want to move into a house at some point.

What is the one question I didn’t ask that you thought I would? And what is the answer to it?
Hmmmmmmm...Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I see myself doing my column and having my lifestyle slot on TV. I see myself married, happily, with lots of beautiful clothes!!! But also having a humble side. I would like to get involved with charity work (that’s something that I am working on now) and give back to the community. And who knows, I might have a hair color that you can find in nature!!!!  (And not the electric blue that I am currently considering...)

Lisa, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to interview you for my blog. You are one of the strongest persons I have ever known. You’re a real go-getter who didn’t like what she saw and decided to go out and re-invent herself. A true Real Life Valkyrie who isn’t afraid to fight for what she wants!
I wish you nothing but all the happiness and joy you so richly deserve!!