Friday, December 31, 2010

Happiness, Forgiveness & Love in the New Year

2010 brought some magnificent people into my life, new career opportunities, a tentative date for the completion of my documentary and importantly, better health towards the end of the year. With that being said, 2010 has also opened my eyes to new ways of thinking; a new attitude that will hopefully carry me through this new year’s journey. I believe that all the things that have happened this past year are all meant to better my upcoming year. My family has been through personal conflicts and health issues. It was an intense year. From my point of view, I have learned so much from it. I have learned and realized how much I really do love every single one of my family members. That’s without question though. I've also heard the words "I love you" for the first time with some. With each of my sisters being so wonderfully different than another, it has been a great discovery finding that even though we’re so unique in our own ways, we have so many similarities that are undeniable. I’m starting to understand the challenges of growing older, as well as growing apart at times. And I’m also learning that if I miss a sibling, due to “busyness”, then I try to consciously make time for them. I also ask them to make time for me - and they do if they ‘know’ I need or miss them. I never told them before. I just hoped they were mind readers and would anticipate a phone call asking to spend time with them, when in fact it should have been me making that phone call. I’m trying to make a point to be there, not just say, “I’ll be there”. My three sisters are my best friends in the world. Yes, I do miss them at times. Yes, I do understand life’s crazy schedules but yes, I will always love them and make room for them in my life.

With family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers and especially those who are no longer in my life for whatever reason, my New Year’s resolution is to put the past behind me. I will choose not to remember arguments or a particular conflict. I will never bring up, ‘well you did that and you did this’ ---everything disappears--- a clean slate. This year, I will choose to be happy instead of diving into ‘whatever I feel at the moment’ ---meaning if I wake up feeling depressed, I’m going to turn it around the best I can. I’m going to verbally state, “I feel terrific” -- and carry that throughout the day. I’m no longer going to “wish” for things anymore. I’m going to pray and thank God for everything I have, not things I wish I had. I’ve always been grateful for everything, but sometimes I would fall into that pit of, ‘woe is me’, when there are so many people much worse off. How can I ever complain? This morning, my sister noticed a quote I had written on my facebook account: “Happiness is not having what you want; it’s wanting what you have.” I’m not quite sure who the author is, but it’s so true. We all keep “wanting”, and when those wants aren’t met, we then find ourselves disappointed ...and at times, become depressed.

For those of you out there who I have met this year, for those who have been there for many years, and those who were in my life for a period of time but no longer in my life for whatever reason ---I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I wish years and years of happiness, laughter, love and friendship for you. As one of my favorite quote says, “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime” -- and I accept every part of that quote and thankful for everyone who has crossed my path.

Most importantly, I'm grateful for my best friend & beautiful wife, Madelene for deciding to spend her life with me. I'm grateful for my family all sticking together as one as we ride out this rocky road regarding Dad's health. With the strong bond we all have - the "togetherness" - we can pull through anything. We just have to remain together, as we always have.

Happy New Year!

Take a look at this video by Bishop T.D. Jakes. It's very inspiring, especially for the upcoming new year ahead of us.


If you can't view the video, please click here.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Childhood Christmas

Growing up, my parents would prepare for Christmas Eve. “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” was always on the menu. My grandma and dad would cook their asses off the day before the big event, well into the night of Christmas Eve. It was an amazing process. The party always started around 6 pm. Our Christmas tree was this huge, fake and tacky monstrosity full of candy canes, tinsel and those big bulbous Christmas lights that could produce enough heat to fry a couple of eggs on. Guests would start packing in, some wearing huge fur coats, four inch heels and flimsy low cut dresses along with the strongest musks omitting through every pore. Their diamonds could blind you if you stared long enough. The same “construction crew” would come in with their fancy clothes, all smelling like they showered in Old Spice. I always went to bed smelling that way because everyone would wanna “pick up the baby” and pinch my cheeks or pull my hair - anything to annoy and scare the living bejeebers out of me. My mom always insisted I call the “976” number so I could see where Santa was. The recording would say something like, “Hello! Santa Claus is now in North Carolina and heading up to your area soon!” If you called again, he’d be in California. His route was dicey, but I didn’t care, as long as they said he was coming to my state soon, I was happy. Of course, hours later knee deep in seafood, Santa Clause would come waltzing into the living room, “Ho! Ho! Ho! Merrrrrrrrry Christmas!” We’d all clap while I sat in the corner scared to death because Santa was way bigger than I had expected. All my sisters knew who it was, except for me. Santa went over to sit on the rocking chair near the fireplace. “Come here Debbie, tell Santa what you want!” I hesitantly crept over near Santa as he quickly grabbed me up onto his lap. I looked straight into his eyes. Soon after that, I started tugging on his beard. “Daddy?” I asked, wondering why he was dressed as Santa. “Ohhh your daddy is in his bedroom changing his shirt. He spilled a drink on himself.” He said, hoping I’d be gullible enough to fall for it. I looked again, but those green and yellow eyes didn’t fool me. He has the most amazing eyes in the world. After making a couple of requests, he put me down and headed off...into my dad’s bedroom. “Mommy? Why is Santa going into your bedroom?” She looked guilty and said, “Oh he climbs back out through our window sweetie.” I didn’t buy it. Four years old or not...you couldn’t fool me. As he walked closer to the door, I noticed his pants were ripped right down the middle of his butt and I let out a scream, “Daddy’s pants are ripped!” And everyone, I mean every single person in that room started laughing hysterically. It was a moment I’ll never forget.

Half appeased with Santa’s visit, mom would carry me into my room to sleep with grandma. While grandma stayed with us, she would sleep on the pullout bed in my bedroom. It worked out well for the most part, even if she did suck in the curtains with the intensity of her loud and earth trembling snores. I felt safe with her, because I had just recently stopped sleeping with my parents. I was the luckiest of all my sisters because grandma put a black and white TV inside my bedroom so she could watch her “programs”, as she called them. No one else had a TV other than my parents and the living room area. I’d always have a hard time falling asleep because I knew the next morning, we’d all be tearing apart wrapping paper hoping to get whatever we begged mom for that year. Grandma would always get up hours before me, just in time to make coffee and put out sugar cookies for everyone. I was always the first one of my sisters to get up and skippy on out into the living room. Grandma would just shoot me a look as though I was this desperate little monster waiting for my presents. And I was. They all wanted to rest, unwind from last night’s activities and have a cup of coffee before the chaotic rustling of gift opening started. They never had a chance with me. “Well go wake the girls so we can all open the gifts together.” my mom would say, hoping the girls were way too tired to even move. I ran as fast as I could up the stairs, hoping my sisters were wide awake. They already heard the tippidy-tap-tap of my little feet hurrying up the stairs and swish over in my feet pajamas to wreak havoc. They would all play possum and make believe they were sleeping. “Come on! Hurry! Wake up! Santa left the presents in the closet!” See, our family never put Christmas gifts under the tree like normal people, because my sisters, including me were all impatient, sneaky lil’ critters. My mother started placing all the gifts into this closet that had a lock on from the inside out it in the corridor of the upstairs bedroom area. Only mom had the key. Mom said that’s where Santa puts them because it was on the top floor so he had easier access. It always baffled me because the fireplace was in the same room as the Christmas tree...but whatever, right? They all voted me to open my presents first since I was the youngest, and of course, the most impatient of them all. They’d all watch as I open the first gift, perhaps a pair of socks and chuckle to themselves, knowing this wasn’t what I had in mind. I’d viciously tear apart another gift among the twenty boxes I had left. Each one got better and better. The last one of course, was the one I agonized my poor mother with. Back then, I didn’t say thank you to my mom or anyone, because Santa was the one who brought them...right? After everyone else opened their presents and oddly thanked my mom for some reason, we’d all hang out till noon and and stuff ourselves leftover seafood.

It was always sad to see Christmas end, but then again it wasn’t too long until New Year’s Eve arrived, where the same chaotic guests would pile into our home and make our huge living room into a dance floor. Every single person had a tumbler of scotch in their hands and a swing in their step. It was always fun watching them until mom would tuck me away after the ball would drop. Holidays were always a fun time until later in the evening when nobody remembered their names anymore. I didn’t understand exactly what happened, but I know it had something to do with the glass of carmel colored liquid my mother always told me not to touch.

I truly miss Christmas when I was younger, but so grateful I still have everyone here to celebrate it with. Merry Christmas to everyone & Happy New Year! May it bring beautiful, nostalgic memories as it does for me.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Evil Gay Agenda

Back when I first started this blog, it was 80% worth of “religious” topics and more about defending my stance on Christianity and the various beliefs within that one religion. The other argument of course, was about homosexuality vs. religion. I spent a lot of time defending myself, writing in bold and trying to convince people “I was right” - when in actuality, no one is “right” about a belief. Belief is faith. Faith is something you believe blindly in, or in my case, and many others, they have witnessed a spiritual experience. Call it “all your head” type of stuff, but as real as it was to me - it made my faith even greater. With that being said, my faith was now “knowledge” to me - I was quite strong and sometimes abrasive with my approach about sharing my views with other people of different faiths and/or those who lacked any faith whatsoever. I argued with Christian fundamentalists about homosexuality in the bible. Looking back now, it was totally pointless. There wasn't any learning experience other than realizing how bitter people can be when discussing religion. Go figure. I’ve had my most brutal fights over topics regarding “God”. ...Imagine that? Eventually, blogging in itself became tiresome and drained every ounce of energy I had. I became bitter. It almost came to the point of bashing antigay Christians and with their own bible being my weapon. There were people blogging about the “Christian lesbian being an oxymoron” and other things that were less than pleasant.

After a while, I took a long break and just focused on my relationship with God and tried pushing aside those who would tell me to either be a Christian, or denounce my religion and just be a lesbian. Why do I have to do either or? It didn’t make sense. God made me this way - and wow - He accepts me. But, that’s “my” belief. I can’t convince anybody, other than sharing my experiences with them. I’m not going to say, “You’re wrong” - I’m not going to tell them they’re not on the “right path” or “this is the TRUTH” - because what may be truth for me may not be truth for somebody else. I had a blogger who commented on my previous article.

A person that goes by the name of Celso had written: “The bible and Christianity do go against homosexuality much like it goes against many other things for no rational reason. You're prescribing to a religion that hates you, quite honestly. Why even bother with it? The woman is insane, clearly. But insane because of what her religion has taught her. The good thing is that society and people don't need to believe in the bible since it is nothing more than a man-made fallacy strung together by illiterates in the bronze age.”

Me: “There are so many people who interpret the bible differently. For Celso's comment - I believe in the bible, however, I also believe that what people interpret as "homosexual" is more on the lines about promiscuity, as it is also bad to have "pre-marital" sex ---but who has never had pre-marital sex before? It's much more than just "reading the bible" ---it's seeing through the lines and understanding it on a much deeper level than just text alone. Also, there are many scriptures that contradict one another (so it may seem) but there are many books written by many men back in that day, so it gets a bit dicey. Although the words may be inspired by God, yes it was written by man. This is why I think it's so important, that if you are a Christian/Catholic/Jewish, etc., that you have a "personal relationship" with God before even trying to comprehend the mess they wrote years and years ago. Even the various translations - NLV, KJV, NLT, etc., have the same scriptures 'sometimes' meaning different things to different people. It's kinda like a game of telephone. (OK, bad analogy!)”

Celso: “Actually god is a lot of things according to the bible. He's spiteful, vindictive, petty, narcissistic, violent, bigoted, oppressive, homophobic, sexist, etc, etc, etc. He's all about love but also kinda-sorta condones slavery, bride-price and human trafficking. Hmm. He's real great! I, for one, am thankful that there is zero proof to his existence.

It's very convenient to fall back on the good, hippie parts of the bible and completely not bother to acknowledge all the horrific things god condones and wants you to do in his name. I know most religious people have selective biblical memory but come on.

Deb, people have been leaning towards atheism (which is the fastest growing group in America) because people are getting better educations and distancing themselves from the spells and burning bushes of the bible. It's a puerile belief to think that god invented the world and loves every single person on it and actually cares about them.

In fact, it's ridiculous to believe any loving being is on our side when so many people, regardless of how devout or good, suffer tremendously. God clearly only loves people that grew up in industrialized nations. Even then, you better not be a minority.

Honestly, is it any wonder that deities always choose to show themselves to poor, bewildered and uneducated people? I often wonder why an intelligent god would choose to present himself (and son apparently) to illiterates in bronze age middle-eastern wastelands and not China which was much more advanced at that time.

I guess god is a populist.”

Me: "I totally understand where you’re coming from. Look at your very first comment where you said, 'The good thing is that society and people don't need to believe in the bible since it is nothing more than a man-made fallacy strung together by illiterates in the bronze age.' With that being said, then you have your choice not to believe in the bible or God, however there are some people who believe differently, for example me. I have had actual spiritual experiences that have led me to not only believe God loves all of us - but that He exists. The problem with “faith” alone is, the more intellectual one gets, the more science will debunk God. ----Now, since science and spirituality DO not mix, the less belief there is in the hereafter. But if God created science - which I happen to believe He did - then why on earth would He ever have us figure it all out? You gotta think about that. The bible has so many stories in it that have so many translations that it’ll nearly blow your mind. If you sit, pray and meditate before opening that big book of “wrathful things to come” ---you’ll see some amazing scriptures that will warm your heart. The book I published, “A Prayer Away From Healing” has many scriptures in it that I interpret for people who lack faith that want to know more about ‘what it all means’. 

In John 20:29 it says, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.”

I've visited your blog. You seem to be very angry at conservatives, Christians, etc. I'm guessing you've been burned by them like I have too. Understandable if that's the case. I respect your beliefs...or lack thereof.”

After that last comment, Celso decided to rebuttal in a very defensive way, calling me “foolish”, “tacky”, “spineless”, "scummy" and that it’s “all in my head”, as well as other angry responses that I chose not to release onto my blog. My thing is: I’m so done with arguing over religion with people. Feel free to share your views, thoughts, beliefs, whatever ---but if you’re looking to fight with me over faith, it’s not going to happen. I can only share what I believe - I can’t convince you and vise/versa. You can share your thoughts on why you think God doesn’t exist, but don’t call me “foolish”. Celso’s website is called, “Evil Gay Agenda”. Most of this blog is dedicated to their distaste in Christians or even people of their own community, as they viciously critiqued the entire cast of The A-List NY, which two cast members happen to be friends of ours, Ryan Nickulas & TJ Kelly. Every blog post of theirs has such a bitter theme to it. I don’t think there is one positive article in that entire blog.

While making his critiques on The A-List NY, he commented about Ryan Nichulas:

“Ryan is hairdresser/gold-digger who claims that, 'at any given day, you could come into my salon and sit next to Pamela Anderson, Isaac Mizrahi or even Rachael Ray.' So make sure to sit down on a clean towel and avoid exposed surfaces at all times! Ryan married a rich older guy, his 'Mr. Big,' to live out his delusion dream of being an over bleached Carrie Bradshaw. He definitely succeeds at coming off as a fictional, vacuous, one-dimensional character.”

Umm, can anyone say green-eyed monster?

For TJ Kelly, Celso writes: “The banal, token catty queen and most obnoxious person thus far. His presence in the show conveys that typical image of a boring, haggardly cunt of a gay man that revels with every insipidly trite comment he makes. His goal in the show is to be as outrageous as possible for maximum screen time.”

Wow. That’s an angry critique if I ever saw one.

In another unrelated article, Celso writes, “Religious people know little about their own religion and next to nothing about others. I cannot fathom ever joining an organization without knowing exactly what I was getting myself into. This study also highlights the salient point that Atheists are smarter. We are Atheists because we know about religion, not because we have a lack of it. And we are smarter because we sought out that information in the first place instead of blindly following silly religious doctrine like a cattle to slaughter. The only people lacking in knowledge seem to be the religious.”

Celso says he or she is “smarter” because they lack faith. Celso also stated that the only people who believe in God are those who are uneducated and poor. I guess he thinks our own president is stupid, and yes...poor too. After not posting Celso’s comments, he or she then decided to continue commenting, knowing I wouldn’t release it calling me a “coward” and other lovely gestures. I have to say that I can kind of relate to Celso. I’ve been there before. I have been burned by other Christian people in the past and it caused me to be super defensive with almost everything in my life. I was bitter and it showed. I would claim “Christianity” but somehow, I wasn’t showing it. I’m not perfect and I know I have a lot of work ahead of me, but this blogger, Celso reminds me of myself about seven years ago or so. I remember being that outraged over everything and consumed with bitterness. Although this blogger is not “religious” and yes, atheist, I pray that he or she has peace in their lives and hopefully, one day, they’ll realize that people they rant on and on about aren’t out to get them as much as they think. Peace comes from within first, and as a result, the peace ultimately shines through that person. 



Peace my friend!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pray Your Gay Away!

Every morning I would trek down to the deli to have them make my lunch. Our company never offered a real cafeteria, where they cooked for their employees. It was just a big break room with a bunch of vending machines filled with processed foods and day old ham sandwiches. I went up to the counter along with my two liter bottles of water and paid before my lunch was even made. I knew the cashier well. She was a neighbor, probably in her mid-fifties, who had about ten foster kids under her wing and probably fifteen of them who had already moved out. It was a constant flow of children. I remember her telling me she wasn’t able to have kids, so she took this route. Although it may give you that warm & fuzzy feeling - this woman ran a military base like a drill sergeant. My best friend was among the ten children in that household. Whenever I’d sleep over on a Saturday night, she’d wake us up with some kind of loud horn and have us up and at ‘em just in time to go to mass. She had us lined up like a bunch of ducks with different colored feathers. I used to dread Sunday mornings there because it was so rigid and uptight. From a night of playing games and acting like little devils to waking up and acting like complete angels.

“I’ll take a pack of Marlboro Lights, please.” I said, while fumbling through my purse looking for a dollar fifty. Back then, at the age of twenty-one, I had a bad habit of smoking. The good part about it was --it wasn’t extraordinary high in cost. She shook her head in disapproval as she turned around to grab my pack for me. As she threw it on the counter, she asked, “Does your mother know you smoke?” I chuckled to myself because I felt like I was a kid again in her home getting reprimanded for saying something less than appropriate. “I sure hope so since we drink coffee and smoke together.” She was displeased that my mother would ever encourage me to smoke. But being that I was of age and the fact that my mother loved other people smoking with her (misery loves company I guess), it wasn’t a big deal. What could she do at this point?

“You know smoking is a gateway to other bad things in life.” she said, with a stern voice.
“Maybe smoking made me gay too.” I said, now trying to get a rise out of her.
“You’re what?”
“I’m gay.”
“Oh come on, what kind of life would you have being gay? You know God doesn’t approve of that - it’s a sin!”
she said, mortified and taken back by this horrible confession.
“I guess I’ll let God be the judge.”

She placed my sandwich in a paper bag very slowly, staring at me to see if I was joking around with her. By all means, I don’t go around screaming, “I’m gay--I’m gay” -- but this “perfect” Catholic woman needed a dose of reality, and who better to give it to her other than moi? She was also against interracial relationships of any kind. So her rules were: No Jews with Christians, no whites with blacks, and certainly, no females with females or males with males----ever! She was married to very nice man who always remained mysteriously quiet. Perhaps he was just too scared to say anything around the drill sergeant. So this droll conversation continued...

“How would you ever reproduce? God made a man and a woman to marry so that they can procreate.” she said, looking for a response on my end.
“Really? So that means we can’t do what you did --adopt children and give them a loving home?”
“But it’s not natural for a woman to be with another woman. Their parts are the same.”
she tried to convince me once again.
“Well, we figured out a way to love one another on many levels. If God made a man and woman to only procreate, then does that mean you should divorce your husband since you two can’t?”
“It’s a sin. You should really go home and pray to God about the path you should be on.” she said, not even entertaining my question about her inability to have children the natural way.

As she pushed the bag of lunch toward me, she still held onto it and leaned over so she could tell me one more other thing.

“You’re going to have to answer to God one day. What will you say then, Deb?”

I smiled at her in confidence because I already knew the answer.

“I would tell Him, ‘Thank you for making me. Thank you for letting me have the ability to accept people of all races and all lifestyles, just like you did when you were here on earth.’”

Not even a year later, my old best friend who was her foster daughter till the age of eighteen, left the house to marry a black man and had two beautiful girls. Another daughter outed herself as a lesbian, also leaving the house to live with her partner. I wonder what she had to say about that, but in all honesty, I really felt sad for this woman. She was so consumed with bitterness and 'the wrath of God' that she couldn't see through her own misery and realize she could have been part of her children's lives, however they wanted to live. We never did see her again after hearing the news. Was it that traumatic?

And that, was the best lunch I have ever bought in that deli.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Love You Too, Dad

The words “I love you” has to be the most difficult three words one can possibly conjure up sometimes. It displays vulnerability, perhaps even weakness for some. For others, the fear of saying it makes them look foolish or they may just feel awkward overall. On the other hand, saying “I love you” too much loses its value somewhat and at times, it becomes inaudible; taken for granted and lost in a pile of ten million other “I love yous”. For me, I’ve always thought actions spoke louder than words, although it is nice hearing those three little words from time to time, but not necessary. Throughout my childhood, my dad never told me that he loved me. I just knew he did. He used to go out of his way to do things for us, buy us our favorite things and would take us on vacation. He treated all of us very well. Then there were times when I simply thought he didn’t love me at all. Even when I was away or someplace other than home, he would never speak to me over the phone ---ever. When I moved out in my early twenties, we never spoke over the telephone, he just said, “Hiya Deb, hold on here’s ya mudda.” And that was that.

While staying in the upstairs portion of my parents house after losing my job years ago, I had walked into an explosion: dad. He started yelling at me for not locking the doors on my way out. “Whaddya’ want the feds to come in again and raid da’ house? Wassamadda witchoo?” Knowing he was the last to leave the house, I mistakingly blurted out in anger, “I locked the doors on my way out. It was you who left last! You didn’t lock the f%cking doors, dad!” ..............Nobody talked back to dad---dare they even threw in profanities to boot. If I could only describe a 300+ lb man jumping up, and then running after me - just imagine how fast I took off running into the other living room and then fleeing out the back door into my car speeding off as fast as I can. I’m too old for this shit. I didn’t come home for two days. Mom kept calling me, “Please come home baby, he didn’t mean it. It’s fine, he’s not mad anymore.”
“What does he have to be mad at? Himself? He’s the one who forgot to lock the doors. Maybe if he wasn’t so goddamn paranoid he wouldn’t lose his temper so much!”
“He knows, he knows,” my mom would keep insisting, hoping I’d return and make up with dad.

When I arrived home, I saw dad walking around with a dish towel over his shoulder like an old housewife. He looked over at me, then looked back down at what he was cooking and said, “I made-ja’ ya favorite meal - pot roast.” Mind you, I hate pot roast, but to give you his translation: “I’m sorry for yelling at you, I made you something special to show you that I love you.” You never heard the words, “I’m sorry”, or “I love you” from dad. He just did things to show you that he did. To me, it was better than words. I looked at him and said, “Wow, thanks dad, I love pot roast!” I kissed and hugged him, knowing he wouldn’t budge to hug back, but the smile on his face meant more than anything to me. We had a great dinner and talked about everything other than what had transpired.

A few months later, when I was finally settled down into our new home, I went to go visit my parents. Upon leaving, I went to open the door, and I hear, “Hey Deb?” I looked back at my father sitting in his Archie Bunker recliner, and he says nervously, motioning his right hand as if he was weighing something out (an Italian gesture of sorts), and says, “I love you.” This was the very first time in thirty-three years I have ever...ever...heard this man say those three words to me. I stopped dead in my tracks with my mouth wide opened--not that I didn’t love him, but I felt very awkwardly paralyzed with fear. I said it back. “I-I-I- I love you too, dad.” And of course, I meant it.

Both being aware that we loved one another this entire time, I felt such happiness and also sadness - kind of like a feeling of ‘why hasn’t this been said sooner’ - but it didn’t matter. It was said. That’s all that counts. My father has been recently diagnosed with cancer. They have also found an aneurysm in his aorta that can burst at any given moment. He needs a couple of procedures done, but the one where they want to remove the aneurysm can be a bit tricky due to his weight problem. Without too many details, lately my dad has been chatting up a storm with me over the phone and ...saying... “I love you” much more than he ever did, or more like, he never did. I’ve never seen such a strong man so scared in my life, but that doesn’t make him weak at all, it makes him more human than I ever thought possible. The hardest part is watching the man who could do anything effortlessly, even a twelve hour excavation job in 105 degree weather, turn into a man who can barely bring in a couple of pieces of wood for the fire. Sometimes it takes all he has just to walk from the bedroom into the living room. Seeing dad depressed is heartbreaking. He wants to do everything for everybody, and now, he can't do much for himself at this point. Dad always - and I mean always had a fun loving spirit - always happy, telling his stories and cracking on everyone. My mom always says, “God, I wish I had his spirit, he’s never depressed.” He never was. Angry sometimes - yes. Depressed? Never. I just pray that he gets better, that God heals him and he can become that happy man once again.

Sorry for the sad post this morning. In turn, I am posting the funny video clip of my dad getting his haircut by his favorite women, telling his stories & cracking some awful politically incorrect jokes. I want this happy-go-lucky man back. Please pray for my dad?

If you cannot view the video from outside sources that mirror my blog, please click here. Warning: contents of this video may be umm...offensive. But that's dad...

To read more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The A-List NY's Ryan Pampers My Wife

For the past few years, the only types of Christmas gifts I would give to my wife were gift certificates to spas or have a massage therapist come over to our home and untangle the stress from Madelene's aching body. In the past, I used to give her beautiful jewelry - everything from tennis bracelets to diamond crosses, but much to my surprise, she’s into a more simplified type of jewelry, where I can’t possibly rush off by myself and pick it out for her. She likes custom designed jewelry. Usually, that means trekking over to Sugar Loaf, NY where we have a few friends who make their jewelry right on location. It’s always a fun trip, but for some reason, I just wanted to get her something different this year.

Then it dawned on me. One Monday night while watching The A-List New York on LOGO, one of the cast members who happens to be our favorite of the bunch owns his own salon. They would show Ryan Nickulas dazzling up a model and working his magic into her hair for a photo shoot. I thought to myself, “Hrmmm, wouldn’t it be nice if I could just get in touch with Ryan to have him do Madelene’s hair...?” Since Madelene has been dying to get her hair done, I had this crazy idea but wasn't sure how to pull it off. Questions started floating through my mind: is this show “real”, because a producer friend of mine from Granada who owns the network would tell me that 40% of all reality shows are mostly scripted. Is there really a salon in the West Village or is this a set? I’m sure many people have asked this question while watching the show. So on a whim, I took it upon myself to check Ryan out on Twitter. On Twitter, all your communication is even more public than facebook. I then tweeted him: “My wife needs you to do her hair. Any chance I can get her in?” Within an hour or so, I got a tweet back saying, “Call me!” And, I did. I got an appointment with Ryan himself for the following week. So, needless to say, an early Christmas gift for Madelene.

As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by TJ and Ryan, taking off our coats and offering us coffee. They were incredible hosts. Madelene got washed up and headed over to Ryan’s chair. As we got to know one another, it was amazing how much Madelene and I had in common with Ryan and his husband Desmond. We all go to the same vacation spots, we were all legally married in Provincetown, MA in the month of October no less, and the dynamics of both our relationships are very similar. Ryan noticed that “I was him” in the relationship, as Madelene was “my Desmond”. Ryan and I are both affiliated with similar charity organizations that helps out homeless gay teens. He’s involved with The Ali Forney Center, as I am with OUT 2 Connect as a columnist. It seriously felt like we already knew them - not from just watching the show - but we saw ourselves in them. As we spoke even further, we then began to notice even more similarities, as far as our interests and tastes in many things in life. I felt like I met my brothers for the first time. I never felt so at home before in a salon as I did with them.

Ryan did Madelene’s hair so beautifully, she was glowing all evening. Jokingly, I said, “Yeah, great. Now that she has this beautiful model-like hair, she’s gonna start tanning, working out and then leave me for someone else - that’s how it always happens.” They all chuckled, but she was beautiful before she even stepped in. Ryan just enhanced it, making her look like even more of a supermodel. My eyes were fixated all evening. As he snipped away and blew her hair straight, I filmed a little part of it because it was so entertaining. He described what products he was applying and the techniques he was using so that Madelene can go home and try to mimic what he had done. While Madelene was getting her hair done, cute little TJ shuffled over right next to me and started giving me a complimentary manicure. The entire salon was engaged in the same conversation. It was like we all somehow knew one other. We had so much fun just sitting there, hanging out chitchatting with our two favorite boys from The A-List NY.

With that being said, Ryan has agreed to be apart of my documentary, Gays & Lesbians of Faith, to speak about his opinion regarding ‘religious’ people who condemn homosexuals. We spoke about it at length and we may be filming this either in his New York apartment or in his salon. I always leave the location up to the person I am interviewing so they’re more comfortable being in their own environment. Overall, our experience going to New York, meeting Ryan and TJ and getting to know them on a more personal level was better than I had ever expected. If you want the best cut, style or manicure, please check out the Ryan Darius Salon in the West Village. Make an appointment. And don't worry if Ryan's not available, all of his other stylists are trained to do the same cuts and styles as Ryan does it.

Here's the video of my beautiful wife getting her hair done by the beautiful Ryan Nickulas. A big thanks to Ryan who worked his magic & made us feel at home and a special thank you to TJ who gave me excellent manicure. What incredible guys.

(If you are unable to see this video through other websites that mirror my blog, then please click HERE.)



For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Monday, December 06, 2010

The End

As she sat across the table from me, her finger swirled around the rim of her coffee mug, perhaps thinking of a better way to convince me that saying goodbye wasn’t the answer or solution to our problem. It was a late Sunday afternoon in early November. Her scarf was wrapped around her neck, snug and yet somehow, fashionable as she always managed to pull off. I grabbed a newspaper and placed it under my coffee just in case the silence was deafening. With one small table between us, it felt like she was miles away. We had spent all weekend together, knowing it would be our very last. Every single moment counted. We knew it was time...time to call it quits. Although our minds called it quits, our hearts were struggling to jump out of both our chests and embrace forever. It was a bittersweet, awkward moment that we’ll both never forget - similar to a romantic novel where there’s a cordial, loving ending to it all...a happy ending.

No such thing.

“Can this be ‘our’ place?” she asked me, hoping to keep something that we could call our own. Our “planned out friendship” would consist of an occasional Saturday afternoon filled with shopping and then, coffee. Her face was flushed, her eyes were watery - what could I have possibly said other than, “Of course?” We continued to sip our coffee, sometimes remaining silent, and other times reassuring one another that we’d stay in touch. Both feeling like we had two large boulders stuck in the back of our throats, I decided to break up this heaviness with another source of heaviness: a homemade chocolate brownie with whipped cream. Her eyes lit up and a beautiful smiled bursted out, like sunbeams after weeks of raining. I loved seeing that smile. We both continued our “goodbyes” a bit longer, sharing our favorite guilty pleasure.

Knowing the answers to the following questions, I sometimes sit and still ask them over and over in my mind, because for me, it’s different. For me, it’s about forgiveness, forgetting, putting aside all differences and possibly managing to hold onto someone or something you love, even if it’s not in the romantic sense. I have a lot to learn about people and their feelings. I know this. Is there such a thing as ‘the wrong time - the wrong place’ type of theory? “Oh, it just wasn’t our time to meet.” Then when? How do you break away from someone with mutual admiration and love without walking through life feeling like you’re missing a huge piece of yourself? “Just give it time.” I agree with that statement, but to me, every second in life counts...why waste it? --“People need to heal.” Don’t we all? Maybe some people need to be braver and face their fear of a possible broken heart. Maybe I should listen to my own advice about my own fears. I believe there is a bigger plan to this thing called life - a plan where we have no clue as to its ending or like those movies on a DVD where you can pick your own ending ---can we pick our own ending, or is it already directed otherwise?

Although I try to make things better, sometimes it’s not always for the best. What may be “my best” may not be someone else’s best...and this I have to accept. But what I do have are all the wonderful memories that’ll carry me through in life: all the talks over coffee, all the Saturday mornings spent in our PJs listening to David Sedaris’ podcasts, hoping those special moments would never end...

The End.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Days Like These...

Most of my days aren’t so ‘gloom & doom’ - they’re either mediocre day-to-day average or very pleasant, hoping to exceed the ‘most exciting day of my life’ type of day. With no real high expectations, I do make the best of the days I have left. Looking back, I clearly remember my friend Jamie coming over while I was down in the dumps about whatever was brewing at the time, and she would sit herself down on the couch across from me and turn on her little Macbook. I’d shoot her a glance from across the room, noticing her shooting a glance back at me, hoping I would listen to whatever came out of her tiny silver laptop. It didn’t even matter if I was watching TV, because most of the time, I was just zoning out like a zombie over-thinking, over-analyzing, everything you can possibly imagine inside my little noggin. I then would start to hear some strange man speaking, (possible gay or just super flamboyant), telling his life stories with the most driest sense of humor I have ever heard. I didn’t look in Jamie’s direction. I tried to ignore it and continue stewing in my gloom & doom.

A chuckle would erupt from the other couch. Jamie’s laugh was the most contagious laugh you could possibly imagine. If she kept this up, I would have to leave my gloom & doom mood & crumble right before her very eyes. I have to be strong...I have to be strong... But it wasn’t too long before I would plant myself next to her, questioning what she was listening to. She’d just give me a look with her shiny smiley eyes, so proud of herself that she managed to snap me out of my bad mood and join her little 'funness' over on the love seat. “David Sedaris.” She'd say, pausing the podcast as she giggled and would quickly tell me a funny short story of his just to lure me in even more. We sat there for over an hour listening to his life, with his droll and dry satire, giving me the perfect therapy: laughter. It wouldn’t have been funny with anybody else, because this was Jamie’s type of humor. It was more about the company and the way we used to find certain things funny, as others would perhaps, find it a bit ‘eh’.

Jamie never used to ‘interrupt’ my gloom & doom - she would wait for me to jump into her funny little world instead...and I always did. It was a known thing. I would sometimes avoid her if I was in a bad mood, because I knew she would snap me right out of it. There are times when I just want to ‘be in it’, perhaps sulk a bit more, but with her being present, it wasn’t possible. It’s days like these, where I would give anything just to spend one hour of those funny moments, sitting on that small love seat with Jamie, listening to David Sedaris unwillingly at first, but overall, hoping that moment would never end.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com