Thursday, August 17, 2017


We said goodbye years ago, so why was I still saddened to say, "Goodbye" one last time?
Four years post stroke and life in a rehabilitation hospital, my father passed away. He was a boisterous man who demanded to be the center of attention, made apparent by his 2 o'clock Sinatra karaoke sessions, almost nightly, like he needed constant validation. Having 6 siblings (or 7?) makes it understandable. He could only mumble the last 4 years from what I've been told, unable to be the voice in the center of the room, and had few family and friends as he notoriously burnt every bridge still standing. He was the center of ... nothing.

I forcibly left home at 18, then at 19, both times at his request. I realized I have zero pictures of us or any family photos really, after this time period. I initially came home for personal reasons and to take care of mom after her spinal fusion surgery around 2008.
Months after returning home, my accident happened and there you were again, trying to wrangle me into one of your business ventures in the Philippines while I sat there paralyzed in a hospital in a body brace unable to move. I think the last time we saw one another was 2009, you really tried to be with me, but the timing was so off. I truly believe you felt bad about us being estranged, but we were always awkward and never had the right words.

You were not the kindest man, lacked empathy, painted broad misogynistic strokes, were secretive, were a terrible husband, and did not treat us well. We lived in fear constantly and for good reason. At some point, you may have intended well in your mind, but you scarred us for life. Your darkness destroyed every bridge and every gesture of kindness. The idea of trust was foreign to you, perhaps it was how you were raised (?). I'll never know since we were never introduced to the family or really acknowledged.

Though you were dark, I always secretly hoped that maybe you'd be a real father, interested in, at least, our family. I will choose to remember the few moments of light as "Daddy's little girl", though maybe inaccurately, and know that we (my mother, brother, and I) are good people because of and despite of you. I am a lot like you for better or worse and am okay with that.

You built our front yard from scratch and were an exemplary engineer. After working in the Nikon factory, you went on to open Manny's Camera, initially with another Manny, across from KTLA next to a Coney Island burger joint on Sunset. I watched Xanadu on the television when waiting for you. Solo, you successfully became a Hollywood Staple for camera repair/maintenance. My love of photography and pictures came from all the photo journals you kept around. The many things you invented/created will be lost due to your mistrust of everybody and that saddens me.

Dad, I hope that you found peace at the end and that you are not suffering anymore.

Manny Ripoll Almalel "Noli"

Monday, August 8, 2016


Without question,  39 has been the most interesting year. I've met the most incredible people who have turned into mentors and friends alike.  I dove deeper into my family life and have conquered my fear children. My nephew is the light of my life, knowing that I was most likely not having children, God let me know that I was built to be an auntie.  My spirit is solid is connected to its fullest .

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Feeling Grey

I'm always bouncing around the 5 steps of acceptance.   Today I'm fighting a tag team duo: Depression and Anger.  They're in good fighting shape.

I spent this entire day waiting to get home, sucking back fits of ugly tears.

I accept a lot. 

Paralysis, a broken body that keeps breaking down, anxiety, depression, fear of lack of independence, physical separation on a human level and on a living situation level (I live downstairs and am not skilled to get out of my chair on to the floor (unless I'm being tossed out - it's not pretty) let alone up the stairs.  That education has been put aside until I can get at least 10% (20 lbs) off of me (if ever).  I'm not a part of my family completely.   I'm Harry Potter living in the cupboard under the stairs sans the hateful family.

When PMS hits the fan, duck!  It's like the wrestler who comes out of nowhere with "the chair".  Emotions become icing on top of fondant, coated in chocolate, then shoved into a molten lava's too much, it's artificial and real at the same time.

Today, everything went wrong and I feel like I'm crumbling inside.  I could be tired, my blood sugar could be out of whack, I most likely have hormones running a muck like 2-year-olds on Pixy Stix.  It's overwhelming.  If I wasn't so vain about the great makeup job I did today, I'd be sobbing my eyeballs out.

I was reminded this morning about how little I have (possessions downsized 75% from an apartment), and how much space it takes, how annoying it is to some people.  It's like moving all your stuff to a Manhattan Loft.  No space.  Oddly enough the stuff taking up space is mostly medical supplies...again reminded of how much of a burden one can feel like when not able to fully function like before.  Fuck.

On the way to work I had a driver who wanted to complain about her ungrateful daughter that she refuses to call because she thinks that a selfish 22-year-old is abnormal.  Well it's not my kid, it's yours...just saying.  Don't push your pity party into mine (Selfish mental rants galore).

I was left behind by my work shuttle and was treated like a nuisance when I asked for help with the mobile shuttle tracker because their driver left me.

Lots of little things went wrong today.

I am always grateful for the big picture and know that I have to endure today.  I just can not wait till I get home to become a basket case.  Is that weird to schedule basket case moments and pity parties?  How convenient.  ::sarcasm::

Sunday, June 1, 2014

What is a life worth?

Mamma mia, it's been 4 months since my last post.  The brain needs to be relieved.

I'm still working part time, working out 4 days weekly, am "trying" to consume 1200 calories daily, and am working on accomplishing physical goals that have failed multiple times over the past 18 or so yeeeeeaaaaarrrrrs.  I need to get this weight off.  My dietician always offers analogies of being thin and marry said analogies with the ideas of how life would be easier.  I've never been thin, well maybe when I was 10 or younger, so these ideas she tries to apprise me of seem foreign, unreal.  My faith in God is amazing, tangible.  The schoolgirl crushes have returned , but the mature woman in me (cougar status applicable?....divide by 2, add 8...) knows when to say, "when".

Someone I knew in the wheelchair community has passed on to her next great adventure.  It's the 2nd person in 2 years that has died as a result of unhealthy behavior.  The paralysis (life traumas for some, tragedies for others) can either perpetuate existing bad behaviors or force you to finally choose a new (better) path for your life.  NO middle ground really exists, just a murky combination of the two.  Coping skills are as unique as one's DNA and finding balance is a more complicated matter.  This young girl who's paralysis had resulted from her husband stabbing her in the neck, was spunky, loving, loud-mouthed, imposing, beautiful, awkward, and sweet.  Watching her life spiral downward, removing myself from her behavior, was sad to say the least.  She's free of her suffering and frustration, many of us will miss her.  Injuries, physical and emotional, would possibly be better remedied if we understood that to get better you had to make a choice to acknowledge your situation, choose to be educated, allow support (which is invaluable) from loved ones and community members, and put into action what you've learned, all under the umbrella of faith.  This I learned from an amazing mentor.

Getting older seems to be like deleting hundreds of e-mails all at the same time.  You start by innocently (or recklessly) clicking all the newsletters, replies upon replies, business notices, etc, and by the time you get to maybe the 200th e-mail you become more meticulous in selecting sequential messages because "one wrong click" results in all of your carefully selected "messages to delete" to UNcheck themselves and have... to...start...over.  (Insert face palm).  Only in life, having to start over in your later years proves to be more difficult, frustrating.  My bankruptcy took 10 years to disappear, the D.U.I. along with the $15,000 I had to pay seem to be eternal, and the paralysis resulting from the spinal cord injury from a hit-and-run accident could be forever, but NEVER say, "Never".

I'm not dating and am not looking for Mr. Right, but know that I will take life's offerings and consciously experience all of it's amazing mysteries day by day.  I increasingly say, "yes" every day and one day will say "yes" to an amazing man.  I met with an old flame a few weeks back.  We've always had great chemistry as individuals/friends and that maintains, yet it's always a weeeeee bit awkward when he says "My wife" this, and "My wife" that.  His two kids are both in, and on their way to college and we now have conversations that consist of retirement plans, work ethics, physical accomplishments now that we're older, like low cholesterol, lol.  What we had was a lifetime ago, yet I cherish him because finding someone in this world that can reciprocate laughter and chemistry is truly a rare find.

Last Friday, I attended our church's women's group.  Forgiveness was the topic at hand and I was asked to share my testimony.  Forgiveness is a 2-sided coin in that you have the opportunity to both forgive, as well as, ask/receive forgiveness.  It's a divine act that calls us to replicate it if we say we love God.  It's choosing to remember a hurtful/painful situation with better perspective and offering the darkness to God knowing that he is capable of being completely just.

My DUI resulted from poor judgement and affected another human, their family.  I will never be able to undo or take back that night.  You know, I (you) easily could have been the driver that paralyzed someone or worse and was spared from ever having to experience that.

On the flip side, I found myself on the giving end after being hit by a vehicle in December 2008.  After many months of physical rehabilitation and time to think about my life, I reflected on the fact that God offered me grace, and matured me beyond my years in a mere matter of months.  Again, our roles could have been easily flipped.  The process is difficult and necessitates divine aid.  Many people wonder why I'm not vengeful, spiteful, depressed, or vindictive.  Truthfully, I have experienced grace, I own my faults and have learned to be a better human.  

I will say that the situation most difficult to approach is the hurt my brother experienced.  He's experienced a level of anger that has just now subsided to an intermittent low level hatred towards this individual.  I feel such sadness when I see the hurt in him.  As for me, I'm more assertive, more loving, compassionate, kind, more faithful, more open, more giving and I'm still funny as hell!  I lived, I survived, I won.  I'm in round 2 of my life and I choose to forgive the individual, the one that caused undue stress on my family, my friends, the one who wrecked my body, the one that caused all kinds of collateral damage in my life.  I pray that they experience God's grace and I pray that they become a better human too.

OOOOHHH and did I mention that I have a super awesome nephew now???  I doooooo and he's been able to put the biggest band-aid over the broken pieces of our hearts.  This little life fixed all of the adults in our home.

Meet JimJim!


In the famous words of Edna Mode, "You will remind him of who YOU are!...GO and confront the problem!  Fight!  WIN!..."

You haven't won over me yet.. Design by Exotic Mommie. Illustraion By DaPino