Friday, November 30, 2012

A Special Non-Facebook Birthday Wish

There are so many things that are taken for granted. For instance, a phone call from a friend, a handwritten letter instead of a text, and of course, a birthday wish made in person and/or a greeting card sent. Those little things that were done more often in the past have become forgotten about - lost in the shuffle of Facebook reminders that your Aunt Lily's birthday is coming up. It's no longer engraved in our minds like it was before. Technology reminds us. Technology also keeps a memory of someone's phone number. Remember when we used to know everyone's number off the top of our heads? I do... It was comforting to know I didn't have to flip through all the letters of that person's name to get their digits. I'm not saying it's bad now, but how sincere is a birthday wish made when it's on a Facebook wall? You know everyone's been alerted, so does it make it special? I've seen many of my friends' birthdays pop up in my reminders and of course, wished them a very special day, but sometimes it's nicer when someone just remembers. For the past week, I have brought up to Mad that our friend Tamar's birthday was coming up on the 30th. So Happy Birthday, Tamar. I'm boycotting the Facebook "happy birthday wishes" because even before Facebook was even invented, I have always remembered your special day, even decorated your office cubical in the most ornate ribbons and balloons. I still can't remember your phone number, but your birthday will never be forgotten. We love you!

Here's a funny post Tamar had written as my guest blogger for my 200th post. It's about the days when we used to work together at a busy call center for a telephone & internet company. Hope you enjoy it. Click here to read.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just Not Lest Ye Be Judged

Not a good look...
The older I get, the more I'm finding out that people of my generation who are gay or lesbian are living in some time warp. While it's great to still feel young and to never grow up (because I never will), there comes a point where it's time to step out of the nightclub and well, get a life. I'm writing about my opinion on this simply because someone judged the way I lived. I was told that I'm "too domesticated" and "too content" in my life by the way I live. Why yes I am, and I love it. The reason why I trekked off to nightclubs at least twice a week was because I was trying to seek a life -- well maybe just a date at first -- and settle down. Isn't that the point?  I can't see staying out till 5am getting trashed more than twice a week appealing. And don't get me wrong, my wife and I love to go out and mingle, but we're so over the hangovers and drama that comes with staying out way too late. This person even went as far as to mutter the word "boring" regarding my life. "Well, you're 'married with kids' (1 chihuahua) and have dinner ready almost every night."  While that may ring true (eh-hem), I enjoy every. single. minute. of. it. In fact, even to get ossified at someone else's place is a bit too much for anyone. When Mad and I go out, we designate a driver for the evening. I'm only speaking about what I'm witnessing. I know there are plenty of people who are not gay who do the same thing, but this is what I'm seeing in my community. Reckless behavior.

Here are my thoughts.

  1. There isn't any restaurant out there (5 star and all) that compares to my cooking, in my opinion anyway. So while we do go out occasionally for dinner, it's always about the company and not the food so much. I'd rather cook at home. (And my friends & family never mind that.)
  2. I love my home. I make better drinks, I love where I live, I enjoy my life with my best friend and have a lot of fun having dinner parties or just having a quiet night at home. It's all good.
  3. I'm so glad I don't have to stay out till 5am. As I age, (yes I said it), I no longer care for the hangovers that make me feel like I have a wicked flu and I'd rather enjoy the morning and daytime doing something more productive. 
  4. What's good for you may not be good for me. I'm a homebody. If we do go out, we tend to go to other people's homes for dinner and socialize. If we head to a pub, it's usually for dinner and drinks and home at a reasonable hour. And that's the way I like it.
While they judge my life at the same age I am, I can also criticize their reckless ways of living. For one, driving while intoxicated isn't what I call 'fun' --- neither is it when it happens to kill an innocent person on the road. I've been there and have done the same thing when I was younger. Sometimes I'd wake up and ask, "How'd I get home?" That life is gone and I am happy to say I will never go back to that. I'm happy I'm still here to talk about it. There are consequences to living on the edge, and if you want to judge me for having a cocktail at home (because it's too "boring") or not staying out till 5am, go 'head. I'm not the one with a minor rap sheet carrying a vodka drenched liver. One of our friends had to do weekends in jail for too many DWIs. That's not the life I want to live nor wish upon anyone. So, give me some credit for being happy and somewhat safe in the comforts of my own home. My only danger is my ankle biting chihuahua. I can live with that. Hmm, maybe I am getting old. 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Facts About Twitter, In My Opinion...

Remember the days of Myspace, where people could just leave random crap on your account without the ability to comment back? You would have to trek over to their account in order to respond to anything. It was tedious and well, self-indulgent in regards about your page being all about you, photos of you, tons of glitter, what you like, what you do, live, work, etc. Facebook is like that but much broader. Anyone can comment on anything you post, depending on your settings. It's more private, where as Myspace was usually kept open by many people. I admit, Facebook has become a major part of my communication with friends and family, but it doesn't help me search for things of interest like Twitter does. Twitter is fascinating, if you really learn about how to use it. At first, I was like, "Why would I just want to leave a bunch of status messages?" It's more than just telling the world you had the best seafood taco - it's about hashtagging topics of your choice and getting firsthand information from everyday people to big time media sites. You can jump right into a conversation by hashtagging your topic. So if I was watching American Idol, I would just write my opinion on who I liked or who I didn't like and at the end, type #AI or #AmericanIdol (without separating the words). It's a great way to share photos and information about what interests you, but it's also a unique way to communicate with the entire world. Twitter is useless in my opinion if you make your account set to private. No one can see your comments if you hashtag -- and that's the fun part about it. The downside of hashtagging is developing a fake following, like spambots with eggheads (no photos). I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind it, but it's annoying.

Connect. I see many of my friends hopping onto Twitter and then asking me, "How do you get followers?" Connect with people. Pick a hashtag (#) of interest. So you like gardening, then hashtag #gardening into the search engine and jump into a conversation, perhaps even review a particular account and follow them. You have to follow in order to gain in most cases. Friends of friends is always a fun way to meet others on Twitter. They usually have similar info. A forewarning: everybody's a comedian on Twitter. Some of it is funny, while others try way too hard. Don't feel you need to be funny in order to tweet. It's better to say nothing at all if you don't have anything to tweet about. But keep it current because people will unfollow inactive accounts. I see some of my friends with only 5 followers, who ask me, "What's wrong with how I tweet?" I look at their accounts and they are trying to communicate with celebrities or organizations of interest. While it can be fun to get a response from a celebrity, interacting with everyday people is much more fun and rewarding. I have gotten some great recipes on Twitter. I also get firsthand news, before it's even plopped on the mainstream media on TV. I even connected with someone when my dad passed who sent me a beautiful oak tree for his memorial. The people on Twitter (in my opinion) seem much more updated on current events, and seem a bit more tech savvy. If you're a blogger, remember to always link your Twitter account so people can follow you, as I do at the end of every post. As soon as I started doing that, I gained a ton of people hopping onto my account. (They must be crazy.)

I know this isn't one of my normal posts, but a few of my friends have just joined Twitter, so I am writing some tips which have helped me gain a following. I usually Tweet from my iPhone and there is always a website that enables you to automatically tweet their article or video right from their page. It's very easy and if I may say so, much better than Facebook. Just keep in mind that when you tweet anything -- it goes on the web forever. Anything you decide to post, whether it be  blogging or tweeting, make sure you want the world to know before regretting a post or two. If you don't have a Twitter account, try it out and don't forget to FOLLOW ME!!! Ok. That's all. Tweet your hearts out folks.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lola to the Rescue

It's our second snowfall of the year. It looks so beautiful and Christmassy outside. It's also our first winter without Dad. He loved it when it snowed. Nothing was impossible. The forecast could have called for ten feet of snow, but it was never a challenge for my dad. He had his huge tractors and backhoes ready for whatever buried us in. Years ago, when Madelene and I lived with  my parents before moving into our condo, we had these outrageous storms that blew in. Madelene and Dad were tough cookies. They were a team. Both of them would head out in these ridiculous hats and oversized snow jackets cleaning off the cars and plowing the entire driveway clean, while my mother and I sat inside cooking and having coffee like two kept housewives. "The men are outside," I'd say to Mom. I would head up onto the deck and throw snowballs right into the cab of my father's backhoe. "Sonnovabitch! See dis kid?" he'd yell at to Madelene while she'd back him up and say, "Don't worry Dad, I'll get her back." Mom and I would have a roaring fire going enjoying our coffee and Dad and Madelene would both walk in saying, "Oh sure, look atchyooz' -- all warm and cozy while we're bustin' our asses out dare'!" Dad always told that story...a million and one times. "Remember when it snowed and you troo' snowballs into my cab?" He'd laugh at my silliness and now, I miss annoying him like I used to. It would have been great if he was still here, healthy, plowing our roads while Lola barked relentlessly at him. "Goddamn dog!" Even during his last day home before his final days at hospice, my dog was barking so much because the entire family was in Dad's room trying to comfort him. He shook his head and said, "Ah, that damn dog!" We all laughed because he loved our little monster.

I'm supposed to go to a bereavement support group later today, but they may have to cancel due to the snow. I'm not sure how I'm going to feel. Will it help me? Or will it make me more depressed? The director of it said that hearing other people's stories helps others to cope better, but I have to wonder if other people's stories will make me less receptive in my healing process. I invited my mom to come with me, but it's not her thing. She said it would make her more sad. She's coping the best she can, but yesterday she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "I miss him so much." I tried keeping all my tears in so she could rely on my faux strength. I try to neutralize things or break things up with humor (which always works). Have you ever noticed that when you comfort someone who on the verge of crying or is already crying, they cry even more? Once you hug them after a tear has fallen, more tears start gushing out. Maybe it's good to let it all out, or maybe it just makes them more depressed. If I'm crying or having a 'moment', if Mad comes over to me and hugs me, I start crying more automatically. The only thing that breaks up my sadness most of the times is my silly chihuahua and how she tries to talk to me if she sees tears in my eyes. Once she sees that I'm sad, she'll start using her actual 'voice' and make sounds as if she's trying to talk. She instantly heals me with her efforts of communicating with me. As I was typing the first paragraph of this post, I cried a little. You can see Lola making her way over to my computer. She senses something's wrong. She actually put her paw on one of my keys to see if it would stop making me cry.

Someone recently told me, "Oh wow Deb, I cannot believe you actually have a pet!" I used to be anti-pet because of my OCD. I thought my house would be ruined with doggy smells and chewed up furniture, but I was quite surprised. One day I just got on PetFinder.com and surfed through thousands of dogs. It literally took me months to finally pick one. She stood out and something told me, "Get her NOW! This is the one!" It's unlike me to react that quickly, but I did. I don't know what I would do if I had to go through all of this alone, or better yet, without Lola. She makes me laugh in my saddest moments. She comforts me when I'm not feeling well. She even pets me if she sees I'm in pain. I have always taken a liking to high strung vicious little ankle biters. They make me laugh. Although Lola has the 'small dog syndrome' and believes she's a 100 lb Pit Bull while barking at the cats and deer below, she is also very loving, cuddly and so calming -- at least for a yappy chihuahua. I couldn't have asked for a better dog. She also has this HUGE bond with my mother. As soon as she visits "Nanna", her ears instantly fall back and she becomes this huge mushball. She has given so much comfort and love to my mother in her time of sorrow. They say that I rescued her, but I think it's the other way around.  Dad would have loved to see the bond she created with my mom. Here's a video we all laugh at. This is her "tough guy" act on top of the 30 ft high deck.


For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Are You Happy?

The other day, I asked Mad, "Are you happy?" It was one of those trick questions where I wanted to see how she responds to it all - not necessarily, "Are you happy in our marriage" type of digging. I just wanted to know in general, was she "happy"...? She literally sprung up from the couch and said, "Of course! What's there to be unhappy about?" and then went on to the list of "happy little things" in our lives. I wasn't speaking about what we're grateful for, but merely an overall question about one's true happiness in life as a whole. They say happiness is a choice. Mad always tells me that words have power, but when you speak words that you think may bring those powerful 'happy' vibes over, is it more of wishful thinking -- like whatever you put out into the universe you'll get back type of mindset? Or is it a matter of believe it and receive it? Bear with me on this subject because it gets even more confusing. I have something similar that I do and I swear by it. Take for instance a couple of years back when I had excruciating pain on my right side. I had to get all these crazy tests done to find out that I needed my gallbladder removed. I started reading about how important the function of your gallbladder is and refused to have it removed. Instead, I THANKED God for ALREADY healing me. Do you know I have never had that pain again since? With anything, and with faith, when I say, "Thank you for taking my headache away" or whatever ailment I'm experiencing at the time, it simply disappears. Or, is it my mind and the powerful effects that it has on the body? Science vs. spirituality again. Polar opposites.

And no way am I saying, "Oh God, thank you for giving me a million dollars" and voila - you're bank account mysteriously grew enormously. What I'm trying to say is, in overall belief of your words -- can it really affect the way you think or feel? Can it even have positive effects on your health? I read an article once where it was stating that the most healthiest people were religious ones because their faith alone got them through their trials and tribulations. So basically, it is an argument over science and spirituality. Is it our mind or is it God? "Whatever you put your mind to....blah blah blah" --- or is it the faith and trust that goes into relying on God for our needs? While Mad pipes in about how "happy she is" -- there are a TON of factors that I can see with my own eyes about her life that I can say, "How can you???" She works over 12 hrs a day sometimes with no days off and hardly any time to visit her family who she loves so so much. She wakes up, goes to work, comes home, sleeps, goes to work. If we're lucky, we can get a day in to visit family or just go out and enjoy the day. I asked her again, "Are you really happy?" And then she looked at me and said, "How can I make it better for you?" (Thinking I was insinuating that I was unhappy.) I am, but I'm up and down - happy one day and pissed off the next - an array of lovely hormonal emotions...

Here's where it boils down to: she said, "Well would you be happier in a bigger house?"
"No. My happiness or unhappiness is all within 'me'. So whether or not I happen to stumble on the biggest cookie cutter mansion with 10 different luxury cars in my driveway, I will still be a miserable bitch from time to time." She laughed at my honesty, because she knows how I am. My happiest times are when she has off from work and we take a drive to our favorite lunch joint and take Lola to the dog park. I am happiest when I get to cook for my family. I love that. I am happiest when I take my mom out for dinner or just out in general. I am happiest when I see my two nieces and my one nephew. For me, if I ever won the lotto, it wouldn't be about the money itself and what it could buy, but it would be about the TIME bought with that money. Time flies and before you know it, you're retired with silver/blue hair and ready to move to Boca Raton. So, today I am unhappy. Why? Because not only did Mad's job make her work yesterday, but they mandated work for today. We were supposed to cut our own Christmas tree and come back home where I could cook a nice meal and have some cocktails with her as well as decorate our tree. I was looking forward to this all. week. long. However, I am grateful for many things. I just wish I could win this Powerball's $425 million dollar jackpot - just to buy some more time, and perhaps a few nice sparkly things.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Little Thankin' & Giving

If there is one annoying thing that I've noticed about Thanksgiving, it's the fact that I see many people taking it for granted. I'm not talking about the holiday itself - I mean the entire concept of Thanksgiving - what we are thankful for and how grateful we are. It's become one big "annoyance" for many. Some people have to travel to two or more locations in order to do their 'holiday rounds,' while others dread the day because it's just too much work. And it is work...but work done with love. Whether you spend it with family and friends or even alone, it's a holiday where you can count your blessings. Also, you don't need to have a holiday in order to count your blessings, but it's just a nice reminder on a starred day on our calendars. It's a time to forgive and to throw away any bitterness or resentments toward anyone. No fighting. No quarrels. No family drama. (Although sometimes that inevitable.) It's a perfect time to express your gratitude to those who have helped you. It's also a day when you can take the opportunity to give of yourself, without any expectations of anything in return. This time of the year can be a very sad one, and a reminder of who we lost who unfortunately won't be sitting at the table with us. I am so grateful I got to sit with Dad many times at the table while he told his stories for the millionth time. What I wouldn't give to hear the same stories all over again. But... if he was still with us today, most likely it wouldn't be a happy event. It would be all too painful for him. He would still be suffering, and I don't want that. So, instead, I'm just so incredibly thankful that he made all of our holidays so bright and colorful. I'm just going to have to remember which knife it was that he used to carve the turkey with.

To all my family, friends and those who have come across this blog, Happy Thanksgiving! Tell the people in your life how much you appreciate and love them, because believe me, life is too short as I'm finding out the hard way.

Here are some funny little phone calls from Mom reminding me what to do and what not to do on Thanksgiving. Hope you enjoy them. These videos were all taken over four years ago.



For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bill of Rights for Grief

From insomnia straight into a full fledge "sleeping beauty syndrome", like that Pennsylvania girl who has Kleine-Levin Syndrome, I slept well over 12 hrs last night. Periodically, Mad would shake me and ask, "Are you ok?" I was in a zombie-like state, staring at her not knowing what she was asking me - just seeing her lips move. Usually, I can't go to sleep at all, and if I do, I get these crazy jolts that wake me up. Some doctors believe it's sleep apnea, but it's only when I'm filled with anxiety. Mad watches over me while I sleep sometimes, and when I get these jolts, she notices that my breathing never stopped once. I even get these 'jolts' while I'm awake, but when I'm overtired. It's more neurological or something. I'm not sure. Doctors want me to take a sleep test, but I know for a fact I will never fall asleep. Even while being in the hospital overnight, I didn't sleep one second.  Yesterday was a very trying day for me, emotionally-wise, so I attribute the much needed 12 hr rest to letting it all out - letting the anxiety and sadness out. I guess there's something to that.

I seem to be suffering from a lot of fear. It's held in for the most part, and after some time, it's let out by these jolts while I try to go to sleep. I fear about a lot of things: my mom's well-being, the vulnerability of all of us just being mortal, and even just growing old itself scares the shit out of me. It scares me to the point of making myself sick. It's quite obvious though, when I'm further away from my faith, that's when the fear kicks in more. I seem to be going through phases and right now, I'm recouping from a week of total panic. I know with the holidays coming up, I have this heavy feeling in my chest about our first Thanksgiving and Christmas without Dad. After the week I've been through, I decided to reach out and join a bereavement support group which is conveniently right around the corner from me. I guess a lot of things are hitting me hard lately and I'm not sure how to deal with it. I haven't been myself lately at all. I've been pushing my close friends further away, and that's not what I want. If I venture out at all for anything of a social nature, it's going out to dinner with the family or visiting them at their houses. And even that's even rare sometimes.

I found a girl named, Emily who has a blog over here. She lost her husband and deals with her loss by blogging for the most part. I found something she had posted that I want to share with you or anyone who may be going through a loss of a loved one. I'm hoping this may help my sisters too. Thanks, Emily...

"Bill of Rights for Grief" (Source: http://family.lifegoesstrong.com/article/bill-rights-grieving)

  1. You have the right to take whatever path you take through your grief without judgment. 
  2. You have the right to ignore or incorporate any or all of the MOUNTAINS of advice you will get. 
  3. You have the right to say: "No thank you." 
  4. You have the right to grieve for whatever you have lost, including things you never had but ache for, like phantom limb pain. 
  5. You have the right to ask people to bring you pizza, not platitudes. 
  6. You have the right to your own definition of grief. For someone else the loss may have some unknowable reason; it may be a journey, a blessing 'in disguise', bad karma, a teachable moment, part of a plan, a test, a process, a choice. It doesn't have to be any of those things for you. It can simply be where you are at the time. Or it can be senseless, stupid, meaningless and profoundly awful. 
  7. You have the right not to be grateful, reasonable, inspired or inspiring. 
  8. You have the right not to feel or believe or be comforted by any of the following: "he's in a better place; his work here was done; she's in your heart; it's a blessing; it's no one's fault; time heals all wounds; you'll find a new one; it could have been worse." 
  9. You have the right to buzz around, filling your life with activities and people so you don't have to feel a thing. 
  10. You have the right to feel what you can feel when you can feel it. Be numb when you are numb. Seek comfort when you can stand to. Sometimes the deep fog of grief can make all intimacy too painful - any feelings unbearable. You have the right not to bear them even when everyone around you says you MUST FEEL YOUR FEELINGS OR YOU WILL NEVER MOVE ON. 
  11. You have the right not to "move on." 
  12. You have the right to ungodly, ugly, blind rage. 
  13. You have the right to feel complete, utter hopelessness and despair, and to say – out loud – over and over, that it will never get better, you will never feel better – without everyone shushing you. 
  14. You have the right to eat or sing or say whatever you want. 
  15. You have the right to be inalterably changed. The person you were before the death of your loved one is gone. You are now someone else. You don't know who yet. It's your right to find out.
  16. You have the right to experience the many tricky, shape-shifting forms grief takes in whatever order you experience them: Here it looks like rage. There it takes the shape of obsession. It has many forms. They are all true. They are all lies. 
  17. You have the right to stay where you are. Sometimes there are no signs at all and you are moving through grief's darkest depths without knowing it. It's like starting on the bottom floor of an elevator in the deepest core of the earth. Each floor you go up, the doors open, only to reveal more darkness. It all looks and feels the same, but it is not. You are moving toward where you need to be. 
  18. You have the right to self-pity, selfishness, self-loathing, self-awareness. You have the right to be YOURSELF. Deep grief is a profoundly lonely experience, and yet, it binds us all. We all walk beside you, which will give you comfort when you are ready.


For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Restored Faith

At times it's hard to decipher what's real and what's not. It's said that we only use 10% of our brain, which to me tells me there's so much power held in our little noggins that we haven't even tapped into yet. Is that the place that God lounges out in - our conscience - where our little angel and feisty devil sits together making all of our decisions for us?  Are dreams real? Do you believe we step out of our bodies and reach another world, or do you believe that it's just our subconscious telling us more than enough about ourselves in indirect ways? Another question: do you believe that deceased loved ones can talk to us in our dreams - like an actual visit? Or is that just our mind's way of mourning still? What about those psychic mediums on TV and others who claim to hear "dead people"? Some are right on target, but on TV, I usually suspect a little research about their victim is being done. Yes, I'm a skeptic, but not skeptical that our loved ones can reach us through whatever source.

The other day, I sat on my therapist's couch and explained to him about the psychic I went to just for shits and giggles. I told him about how the psychic immediately apologized for my dad's passing without even knowing me or having me tell him so. He even said that my dad traveled up to Cape Cod with me, as I always begged him to because it was a huge fisherman's town and I knew he would have loved it. Skeptic as he was, I then continued to tell him that I can actually "hear" my dad talking to me - not profound words or giving me the lotto numbers (which would be awesome), but like when I'm cooking, I hear, "Watch ya don't cuchyerself'!!!" in his Brooklyn accent. As I was cutting vegetables for my mother, as Dad always did for her, he guided me to cut them a certain way. When I handed the vegetables over to Mom, she said, "I...I can't believe you cut these just like your dad used to." In a dream I had, he was talking to me. Strange as this may sound, but I was "alert and aware" in my dream - I had control over what I said or did.  Anyway, every time he would say something to me in my dream, I would say, "Well how do I know that it's not just my mind making you talk?" And he let off a wheezy laugh and said, "I'm right in front of ya - ya so crazy!" I insisted though, "Tell me something to prove it."  He said, "Ok - remember da time I took you to get your first ATV and you almost backed it up right on the highway?" He laughed, as he always used to tell that story. "No Dad, I know that story. Tell me something I don't know...  Prove it." He said with his hands flying in the air, "Ok, ok ok --- how 'bout Freddy 'Griffin'??? He lives in Brooklyn - he's in his late 60's." (Name of course is changed.)  This was a name that was not familiar to me. It wasn't even an Italian name. I wrote it down as soon as I woke up. As I'm telling this to my therapist, he just nodded and kept listening...

I explained further, that the next morning while I'm having my coffee, checking my Facebook, I see a person on my friends list with the last name of Griffin. I immediately emailed him and asked if he had a relative with this description. Sure enough he did and kept asking me, "How do you know him? What's this about? Is everything ok?" This guy worked with my father down at the South Street Fish Market for years. Even my own sister remembers him from taking trips over there with Dad. I asked my mom, and she remembered him too. I. never. heard. of this man before in my life. My therapist looked up at me and said, "Well, you probably heard the name while you were young and it just crept up into your subconsciousness." Fair enough, I thought. And that may very well be. Who am I to argue with logic and plus, my therapist is super intelligent. He knows a lot about everything. I know spirituality and science are polar opposites, so you really can't argue or convince someone who is more logical than they are spiritual. But I have to admit, it did leave me feeling as though I lost 2% of my faith (maybe even a little more). I can't explain it. I started questioning life and what happens after we die. Are we just molecules and cells that develop into these intelligent beings and then after somewhat years, we end up pushing up daisies? I started to think even more: one day, I'm walking outside with Dad trying to rehabilitate his hip he had broken recently, while telling me he loved me, and then not even a week later, I'm carrying him home in a small gift box of his ashes." How do you explain that? I started to get frustrated, angry and then I was just sad. The strongest man I have ever known was being poured into a small dug up hole where a baby oak tree would lie on top of him. I started begging God for more proof of His existence. I need my faith to be.....and there it was written on a bottle of mouthwash: "restore". I need my faith restored. Funny how the brain works, huh?

All these logical reasons of all my spiritual experiences left me somehow empty with a bunch of unanswered questions. What makes someone be here one moment and then 'poof' --- gone the next? It's just so unexplainable, and yet it is. A friend of mine just lost her mother suddenly this week. What makes someone lose someone so close to them just. like. that? I don't know which is worse: knowing a couple of years before a parent's death or a sudden one. My wife lost her dad suddenly as well. What a hard, unexplainable recovery to go through, and she still goes through it every single day. No more conversations. No more spending time with them. Their existence is completely fizzled out -- gone -- and yet we have all of their belongings still here on earth - like a slap in the face. I don't care how much faith you have in God - you have to still have a little wonder about our afterlife. I guess I do admit, I need more proof, maybe just a bit more faith restored.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lesbian Seeking Men

For years I have spent hours and hours on the couch of some psychotherapist trying to defend my childhood or why I “chose” to be a lesbian. “You may very well be regressing some prior sexual abuse as a little girl, which is why you are gay.” And the worst part of that sentence is that it was from another gay therapist. She went on, “We choose this lifestyle and for good reason.” I looked at her confused and asked, “Then do people choose to be straight because they weren’t abused? Because if so, I know plenty of abused heterosexuals out there. Explain that to me please?” She couldn’t. I stumped the psychoanalyzing chump. Years later she had lost over 100 lbs worth of PTSD in weight by squeezing her stomach with a lap band and a ton of therapy to go with her eating disorder. Of course I had to change therapists and I started seeing another interesting character who had claims of seeing UFOs. It was then I stopped therapy with females altogether and just relied on my favorite logical ‘down to earth as he sees it’ guy. Female therapists were always quick to blame “mommy” or that I had “daddy issues” of some sort. I never understood that. I never even brought them up in therapy most of the time, so why even head there? But, psychology teaches this bullshit to the extent of placing all these problems or ‘issues’ upon the wrong person who doesn’t happen to fall into one of these categories.

Many of my female friends and family all ask, “Why do you see a male gynecologist?” I will never again let a woman examine me --ever. I had so many bad experiences with women that I have to wonder about their compassion in that line of work, or if they even have a vagina to even comprehend any sort of understanding of the female anatomy. I will admit, I didn’t see a gynecologist until I was 20 years old. I was already dating Madelene during that time. The doctor put me in the stirrups after asking if I was sexually active. She also asked there was a way I could be pregnant. I assured her I wasn’t. When she placed the speculum inside and I screamed bloody murder. She looked at me and said, “Just ease up and relax,” and then tried again to only have me screaming. She got so angry and impatient with me that she yelled out, “This is smaller than a penis!!!" She was laughing afterwards, almost mocking me. I immediately snapped back with, “Well thank God I don’t put penises up there -- I’m a lesbian! Now get me out of this fucking chair! You have no clue how to handle women gently.” I ripped off my paper gown and stumbled across the floor to get my pants back on. “This shouldn’t hurt,” she said, almost -- almost trying to apologize, but she didn’t. No compassion whatsoever. And even if there was a problem, if I HAD been abused and mentally ‘closed up’ for business --- MORE compassion please! What’s wrong with these idiots? I then found myself relying on men who treated me much gentler and with much more compassion. And that’s why I only trust male doctors and therapists. Sounds odd coming from a woman, especially a lesbian, huh?

Strangely enough, I still remained ‘me’ - remained gay. It wasn’t a “choice” or a symptom of being abused. Sadly, many people in professions such as psychotherapy and in the medical field start to get that thousand yard stare. I don’t speak for all, but it’s so true. When I stayed overnight in the hospital last winter, all the male technicians and phlebotomists were all gentle and so kind. The women? They all either gave me a hematoma from jabbing me so hard with the IVs and needles or they were just rude and abrupt with me. I even once said, “I would prefer a male nurse please.” I do this a lot when I’m stuck in some medical situation. I can’t be the only one who feels this way. I actually feel bad admitting to this, but why are so many women so brutal with their patients. I realize there may be men out there in the field that are the same way, but I haven’t found ONE that was rude or made me feel bad about being there or “wasting their time”. This is probably another reason why I would never vote for a female president, no matter how much I agree on the issues they stand for. I hope one day some woman in the medical field proves me wrong. That would be a breath of fresh air.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Counting Other People's Money

Life. Strange. Mysterious. Complicated. Surreal. Some people have all the "luck" in the world, while others suffer so terribly. I always think of that song, "Only the Good Die Young" by Billy Joel and I have to wonder, is it true? Even with fairness overall -- (to which I just had this conversation with Mark, a fellow blogger), why is it that there are people who work 12 hr shifts 8 days a week, while some wealthy guy sits back and collects inherited millions? Hard work. What is hard work? There are some people who have quit school and gone to work making more than the person who went to college for over 4 years with the desired career of choice. It's not about "fairness" -- it's all about our choices. We make our choice and yes, you can say, "Well I didn't choose to be poor, no one will hire me!" And of course, the wealthy man collecting inheritance money could say, "Well I didn't choose this either, but I'm sure as hell fine with it!" All of our paths are different. I don't think anyone's life is "easier", maybe a bit more financially stable, but that means nothing when you look at the bigger picture. That rich man may suffer with depression, suicidal thoughts, drug problems, self-esteem issues, mental disorders, physical disabilities, too many deaths in his family to count, and on top of that, loneliness. I'd rather have less money and less of those problems. We never know how truly lucky we are until we find ourselves in the shoes of others.

“Is Your Cross Too Heavy to Bear?"

"The young man was at the end of his rope. Seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer. 'Lord, I can't go on,' he said. 'I have too heavy of a cross to bear.' The Lord replied, 'My son, if you can't bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then, open that other door and pick out any cross you wish.' The man was filled with relief. 'Thank you, Lord,' he sighed, and he did as he was told. Upon entering the other door, he saw many crosses, some so large the tops were not visible. Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall. 'I'd like that one, Lord,' he whispered. And the Lord replied, 'My son, that is the cross you just brought in.'"

This past year, I've noticed a few people making judgmental remarks for various reasons regarding other people's lifestyles. I've heard someone state that a particular 'someone' wasn't fit to be good dating material because he hadn't found a "real" career nor had any hobbies of his own (or the same one as hers I should say). He had a fairly good job, but nothing directed to anything of 'greatness'. I nodded and didn't say anything. I just wondered how much better it was on the path to 'greatness'. I solely believe that in order to have a healthy relationship with anyone, you have to be complete yourself - happy with who you are and what you do before you can intermingle with another person's life. Why is his or her career an issue? (Unless of course they're drug dealing or hooking, that's a whole other can-o-beans.) Materialism has hit the "it's complicated" box and has gotten in the way of many potential relationships that otherwise, would have worked out beautifully. Sadly, money is the reason for way too many divorces. The ones you'll see happy aren't the ones who have a whole lot usually. This is what I find anyway. They're content and grateful for what they have and don't feel as though they don't have enough.

Then there's the other side of the coin: people counting other people's money. For instance, a friend of mine was holding a fundraiser last year. He said, "Well he makes almost 100k a year, he could afford to give us $1,000.00 for this year's event." First of all, he doesn't know for sure how much money he makes, he assumes by the big house and nice car that he has to make at least that amount. He never thought about people who live beyond their means as well - those who are working only to make ends meet so they don't lose the nice house or the luxury car(s) sitting in their driveways. Some can't even put a full tank of gas into their vehicles. My friend never realized that he may have more money in his pocket than this "$100k" friend did. And that's the sad truth of many people. Never assume someone has money just because they have nice 'stuff' - and that's all it is. Live their life for ONE day. You'll be begging to come back in some cases. I'm not saying all 'well to do' people are unhappy or trying to make ends meet because they're living beyond their means --- I'm just trying to make a point of how wrong some people can be when they're trying to count someone else's money. Most of this stems out of jealousy or resentment. If you're happy with your life, then why judge another's? If you're unhappy with your life, then change it. Simple...or is it?

I've heard someone say to me once, "Happiness is a choice," and while that may be true, why are so many of use choosing sadness, anger, resentment, bitterness, jealousy? I truly believe that if we were to take a glimpse of hell itself, it wouldn't be all fire and brimstone - it would be people all suffering from sadness, anger, resentment, bitterness and jealousy - you name it. It would be a place of moaning & seething - a place of total anguish. Why make life that way?  And once we judge another person for "appearing" to live the perfect life, we automatically take one step into that arena. It's absolute hell to feel that way. If someone "undeserving" wins the lotto, be happy for them anyway. And for the love of God, stop counting their goddamn money! "Don't count my money, for I have none." --Some Rich Man

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

'Dude', You Made My Day

I pulled up to the grocery store to find that there wasn't one single parking spot available. Everyone was rushing around getting Thanksgiving food already. It was packed. I finally found a spot in the way way back of the lot, where they divided the parking lot with cement and brick wall. I didn't mind. After all, a little exercise wouldn't kill me. As I got out of my car, I noticed that I startled some young girl who was standing on top of the wall, overlooking the street below with her headphones on. I immediately waved and said, "I'm sorry I startled you!" She nodded and said, "No dude - you're cool...you're cool." So I continued to walk up to the store chuckling at her response. I remember being her age and all my friends making fun of my 'proper English". I always asked them, "Doesn't it get tiresome starting out every sentence with, 'dude'?" All the time, I heard, "Dude, let's go downtown to grab some smokes." "Dude, there's a party at Jen's house later on." "Dude, wait up!" "Dude, whaddya' doing tonight?" Dude! Dude! Dude! Or even --- just "Dude!" when someone does something really messed up. The word "cool" has always been a neutral, yet rare word that would fly out of my mouth. But I remember the language all too well.

When I finished shopping, I rode my cart full of groceries down the hill toward where my car was parked. The young girl was still standing on the wall. Before I could even open my trunk, I heard, "Dude, wanna see me dance?" I looked at her and I'll admit, I examined her like a bug under a microscope. I can immediately see something wasn't 'right'. Her baggy sweatpants had a huge hole near her calf and her sweater was large enough to be worn on a 300 lb man. She took her hoodie off and unleashed her thick brown straight hair. Her face looked like Angelina Jolie, with the roughness and attire of Ally Sheedy when she was in Breakfast Club and High Art. I had no other choice than to say, "Sure." She then started to breakdance right on the macadam, trying to swirl her feet around her body, sometimes stopping midway because she would get stuck. I felt like I was in an insane asylum courtyard momentarily, hoping that this would be a brief encounter, but it wasn't. This dance lasted an entire and uncomfortable 3 minutes. I tried to end it by saying, "Wow, that's great!" But she said, "Dude, watch this..." and then continued to try to maneuver the wave, (to which I can do perfectly by the by). Yes, I did this back in the day. I put my bags back down into the cart and did the wave for her. She said, "Dude! That's totally awesome!" So here I am, in Shoprite's parking lot...breakdancing with a 16 year old.

"You look familiar, do I know you?" she asked, hoping we'd have some 'people' in common. I was shocked by her question, because clearly I'm much older than she is. "I may know your parents," as I chuckled thinking, oh GAWD I'm so fricken old. She then got her iPhone out to show me all of her guitars. I immediately got my iPhone out as well to show her mine. We... (this is hard for me to say) ... we...had too much in common and started talking about music and even breakdancing. I told her that years ago that was the shit and that everyone would go down to the roller rink to breakdance in the smaller rink. There were competitions every Friday night. I told her she should go down to NYC to show her stuff off (even though her stuff was a bit rough). She said that breakdancing was making an emergence (not in those words of course) and that she was trying her best to get into one of these competitions. We then headed into 'car talk' because she wanted the same one as mine. It didn't end there because right after that, she asked if she could sit in it. I let her and then told her I had to head back home to feed the kids. (I know, I know...) She said, "Dude, you have kids? You're like what -- 20 years old?"

And that was my high for the day: a 16 year old (nut) thought I was 20. Any derogatory comments WILL be deleted, ha... Go 'head, make my day. She did.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Exorcising the Demons

People amaze me sometimes. I cannot believe there are people still spewing hateful crap on the internet over the election. It's over. Done with. Finite. Move on. As you all know, I was a bit on the fence, doing research on both the candidates. Many of my readers and friends had piped in with their views and thoughts about why they're voting for who they were, and it definitely made a difference. But honestly? You know what pushed me over the edge to vote for Obama? The hateful right wing "Christians" who were bashing anyone and everyone who would dare disagree with them. I am so happy I didn't vote for Romney just because of his following. I can't even tell you how many times I have seen "Christians" call each other such hateful names -- filled with curses and racial slurs, and as you've seen through my experience, bigotry toward homosexuals.  In fact, I'll take it a step further. I can actually understand why so many people who do love God hate to be called Christians. They call it "spirituality" or something a bit more lucid other than a pronounced organized religion and such. I get it. I really do. The passion that goes into the hatred with certain Christians is alarming: to hate in the name of God isn't anything Jesus would have done. But, arguing over religion is just as bad as arguing over politics I guess. But it makes sense: any time a person of politics or fame has a revolting following, it makes you wonder if you should actually be a "fan" or not, no matter how much you agree or disagree with the person.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that life should be all about puppies and dandelions, but the disrespect and hurtful words being tossed around by so many angry Christians is enough to make me back off from that party altogether. I have noticed one thing though --- the people who aren't that religious who did vote for Romney were not angry, nor were they hurting one another with childish name calling or dooming them to hell. They were logical, sensible with their arguments -- if they even resorted to an argument. Most kept their decisions to themselves, in hopes they wouldn't come across such negative and combative political wars. That's gotta tell you something right there. Is religion making people nutty? If you have so much faith in God, in Jesus, in Allah, in whoever ---- do you think that YOUR argument is going to make a difference? Isn't that saying you don't have faith in your own God to determine the fate of this country? In the Bible it says whatever happens has already been done. It's already decided. God knows the bigger pictures while we sit here and wait....in faith. Where is the faith among these right wing Christians? Christians believe that God is the only one to take revenge and fight against evil --- it's up to us to turn our cheek. I haven't been seeing any of this "Christian nature" among any of them. In fact, I have been seeing a lot of evil when things don't go the way they wanted. They're all like a bunch of crying babies claiming Obama is the antichrist and that the world is going to end due to the election. If they're so scared the world is going to end --- with faith that they're going to heaven ---- then why be so concerned?  The lack of trust and faith on their part has me thinking they have plenty of skeletons in their closet. This election was like exorcising the demons of this country. They're all screaming bloody murder, scraping the walls of this earth with their fingernails and cursing those who are really, in fact, Christian, or at least at peace with their beliefs that God is in control, or at least, a greater power is.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bright & Shiny

If there is one thing I have learned in all of my, umm, 29 years is this: never expect anything from anyone. I don't mean to think less of someone else's abilities to do something for you, but never expect what may seem "appropriate" or what someone "should do" ---- they're not you. They can't read minds and if you don't tell them what you need, they may never know. "Well, he/she should know." --Not acceptable. People have these high expectations for others, which sometimes can be seen as unreachable or unobtainable, and it's not fair because that one person being mentally battered hasn't got a clue of what's brewing. For instance, and this one is not a huge deal, but my dad had a long time friend for years who had stopped calling once he passed away. Mom piped in, "Well he should have called by now."  But if you look at it in a different view, maybe he's taking it much harder than we realize. Granted, yes, he "should" call, but people are different. Even though "he should" --- we can't expect him to pick up the phone and chitchat, when in fact, there wasn't much chitchatting going on with him and my mom in the first place - it was my dad's buddy. But yes, out of respect, maybe it would have been nice. 

No matter how much you do for others, never expect the same in return. If you're only giving in hopes that everyone else will return the favor -- is it really "giving"?  "Well I did this for you, so you should do this for me." That type of mindset will leave you bitter and resentful toward anyone that crosses your path. At times, when people help out so generously, there are people out there that may think that you don't need a thing in the world. It sounds twisted, but it does make sense if you think about it. When you let someone borrow money, act as though it's a gift and that you will never see that money ever again. The more expectations you put upon a person, the more disappointments you will always receive. It's a law. No doubt - there are good people out there, and it's awesome to give people the benefit of the doubt, but it's also a bit more realistic to see things as they are once you're left empty handed without an offer of help or even a simple, "How are you?"  Every man for himself so to speak, and if help is offered ---then great! Communication is key. Never assume someone knows what you're going through. If you're unable to talk to someone about what you need or what you may be going through, always keep in mind the other person may see your world as "bright and shiny".

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Absent

Thanksgiving is only like two weeks away. Everyone is scattering around making plans to go wherever for a nice turkey dinner to gather with friends and family. This is going to be our first Thanksgiving without Dad. It feels strange to not have him around----period. It feels like there's a missing part of the circle that completes us -- like an opening that somehow needs to be closed. It feels drafty, unsafe, and more so, unpredictable. We want to keep that circle closed so that nobody else falls out. Anyone of us can fall out of this circle we have - and that makes it all too surreal. We do the best we can every single day, trying to cope with our great loss and support one another emotionally. We have been going through 'recovery mode' and trying the best we can to heal, but now, the holidays are approaching. Dad was a huge participant, so it's weighing down our hearts a bit more.

Years ago, when I was growing up, we would always spend Thanksgiving home. Our relatives came up from Brooklyn to spend it with us. Mom and Grandma would be in the kitchen fighting over the apron, mustering up these awesome appetizers, especially the famous antipasto salad with alici (anchovies) on the side for my dad and myself. We were the only ones who touched them and spread them onto our bread while everyone 'ewwed' us. We sat around the big dining room table passing around dishes and listening to stories told mostly by Dad and Uncle Tony, while my mother and her sister would be found laughing hysterically over at the way end of the table getting snockered up on gin and tonics. My grandmother would sneer at them for celebrating so "inappropriately". After the appetizers, Grandma and Mom would shuffle off to the kitchen to bring out the huge pot of tortellini soup. After soup and a few cocktails later, came the manicotti. After that, came the turkey, ham, stuffed mushrooms, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, stuffing and cranberry sauce. By the time everyone was done eating and drinking, each one of us was flopped upon some couch or even the floor like a bunch of beached whales. It didn't end there. As soon as we were floating into our second rem stage, you'd smell demitasse and Sambuca wafting through the air along with a ton of pies and cakes being piled onto the table where it once held a ton of food. The men mostly rose for the occasion and gathered around to talk 'business' - like a makeshift brandy & smoke room with way too many hens inside.

Christmas was similar, but now, Dad was the head chef and ran the kitchen like a boss. Since he spent his life working at the South Street Seaport, getting fresh fish was easy. We'd always celebrate Christmas Eve Italian style: Feast of the Seven Fishes. He would start the night before - from 8pm until 4am, prepping, cooking, making crab and lobster salads and making the stuffing for his delicious baked clams. I would smell shrimp and lobster being boiled along with other marinades he would conjure up. He was one helluva' cook. He would then go to sleep around 5am and then wake up at around 4pm to celebrate Christmas Eve with us. The house would fill up with tons of people from family, relatives, to even new people we were introduced to. Unlike Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve was unorganized - you could either sit over at the table where the food was placed or you could bring your sturdy plastic plates over to the sofas. Even cocktails were served in fancy plastic cups - for wine, liquor or soda. It was just too much randomness for mom to handle a huge slew of dinner plates and wine glasses that would eventually be shattered onto the floor. With the enormous mess afterwards, it was decided the kids would all open their presents on Christmas morning. And that was that. The best thing on Christmas morning was watching Dad opening his gifts. He was such a big "kid" -- he loved electronics and little trinkets more than he did gloves, hats and winter gear for his excavating job. He'd tear through the wrapping like an 8 yr old boy about to get the biggest toy ever. And the entire family would gather into his bedroom (which was like half a living room) just to watch him. It was a big event for us to see him smile and "ooh" and "ahh" after each present. I'm really going to miss him and his wondrous nature, but I'm so grateful to have those awesome memories of him.

I have to say Dad held on for a long time - even to attempt to make the same dinners as we would shift all of the holiday traditions over at my sister's house. Even while being ill, he would try his hardest to repeat the exact same dishes and then cart them over to my sister's house, hoping it would feel like 'normalcy' again. We all tried for normalcy, even in the last days of his life - almost to the point of denial just to get him to smile again. One Thanksgiving, while Dad was ill, he had to leave my sister's house to rush home. He wasn't feeling well. My mom was crying, not because she was missing a turkey dinner, but because she knew it would never be the same again.  I was at my place cooking a turkey midway when I got the call. I packed up my turkey and the trimmings and rushed over their house to finish making my Thanksgiving dinner, so that they wouldn't feel so 'out of the loop' or realizing "too much" all at once. I can't explain what I mean, but I had to go there. And now it's all we can do to try and give Mom a sense of normalcy as she has to spend her very first holiday without her husband of 50+ years. Although we'll all be together, we're all are going to feel a great huge absence as well. And to my family: He is with us in spirit. He won't be in pain or any discomfort. He'll be watching over us, laughing at our crazy conversations and smiling at all of his grandchildren. He doesn't have to miss us -- he's already here. The last days of his life he held my hand and said, "Wouldja' lookid' dis? We're living like kings, kid! Who's luckier than us? We have such a close-knit family - who needs money when you have all dat'?" ----Straight from his mouth. No matter how differently holiday traditions may change, we'll always be together, whether here physically or in spirit.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Romney vs. Obama

Eeny meeny miny mo...
It's that huge day where we all gather in some school or firehouse to elect which candidate gets to be head honcho. You all know how on the fence I was about this entire ordeal and even though I know who I'm voting for, I still have so many questions. I have been reading every single site that explains why you should be voting for 'this candidate' or 'that candidate' and I have kept in mind that all sites have their political stances: left, right and in between. After looking at all the 'extremities'  --- I then head over to read what the middle man has to say about all of this, whether it's Obama or Romney. I'm finding out that I'm not the only one that was absolutely baffled over the choice. "Pick the lesser of the evils" is a horrible way to walk into voting polls. I used to LOVE walking into our voting place and feeling so confident and proud over the candidate that I was going to choose. Today? I feel like getting drunk before going in, this way I can say, "Well I was under the influence when that idiot got into office."

I'm not looking forward to going into the place where I vote. These ladies (and yes, it's like 90 percent women who are over the age of 60) are all having bake sales and handing out refreshments while you stand in line. Back on November 2, 2004, when Bush was running against John Kerry, I was confronted by one of these ladies while standing in line to vote. She said to me, "Such an important election this term, isn't it?" I nodded my head and agreed while she looked like she wanted to get her claws into my voting decision. "My son has been in Iraq for too long and those troops need to come home. If we vote for the same disaster, we'll only get the same thing for another four years." She kept on insinuating and trying to sway my vote to John Kerry. She didn't say names, but she spoke about incidents of the past four years. I had to slink out of her grips to get away from her. Thankfully, Madelene was with me, but filling out some forms while this was going on. She came back to stand in the line with me and I immediately turned my back towards this lady.

This year I'm walking in with my iPhone in my shirt pocket with the camera pointing outwards, because this isn't the first time that's happened to me in this place. Although I'm more likely to be on their side this time, I think it's horrific that these people try to push their views on you moments before walking into those polls. I was even watching a show on LOGO with Wanda Sykes, Judy Gold and RuPaul discussing politics in a very comical way. Of course, being that they're gay and lesbian, you'll have to assume it'll be more of a leftist discussion, but I listened to them anyway. RuPaul said something important though. He said that voting starts from within, no matter who you vote for.  What's important to YOU? I have learned a lot these past couple of months, crunch time before election, and I have to say that most of what's important to me falls almost equally under each candidate. It wasn't enough -- I needed more confidence, so I picked the brains of all those passionate intellectuals, on both sides of the fence and came to a final conclusion of my own. I can't rely on media to teach me. I can't rely on the candidates themselves when both of them have flip-flopped. I have to weigh the pros and cons of what others teach me. I've read all political statements, watched the debates, and yet --- my decision is only 10% over who I would have originally voted for. To make matters worse, you have the electoral college. No one can ever explain the complications of that system to me. If you're feeling overzealous and feisty about changing someone's vote, tell me why I should even vote when the electoral college is the final decider.

I'm still voting, but this time not feeling quite enthusiastic about it. So I have a few questions for my readers or anyone who is viewing this blog for the first time.

  1. If I vote for Barack Obama, is it true that he's taking a lot of our defense away from our country, leaving us more vulnerable for more terrorist attacks? 
  2. If I vote for Mitt Romney, will this mean that he'll take away a woman's right to choose what happens over her own body? Can that law be passed under his term? 
  3. If I vote for Obama, does this mean we won't be tapping into our own resources for oil, solely relying on the middle east to supply us, while gas prices sky rocket? 
  4. Mitt Romney, who happened to be governor of MA while my wife and I married under the Bush administration stated he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. But my question is: can his religious views take away our marriage license and rights to visit one another in the hospital? Should religion be a deciding factor in politics? 

Those are my concerns.

Hope everyone is more passionate about this election than I am. Please vote for what's in your heart. My 10% overflow isn't enough for me to smile while in the voting booth.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Gina Hoppis Stated That All Americans Think Gays & Lesbians Are Disgusting

This entire argument started over this post of Obama. 
Yesterday afternoon, while being trapped inside the house going stir crazy because of the Sandy aftermath, I found myself scrolling through Facebook and came across a post a friend had commented on. It was a photo of Obama that said, "WANTED: FOR MURDER!" I had to read why my friend was commenting on this. As I scrolled down to the comment section, I saw the poster, Jan Watts (who bragged over working for the largest radio enterprise in all of USA, a radio announcer, lifestyle editor and even had her own local TV show but who only has 200 Facebook fans) say, "DO NOT VOTE FOR THIS MAN!!" Then I saw my friend agreeing with a gentleman who had said, "I am not a Democrat, but posting such messages like this is disgusting. Any President would have had a terrible time in this economy. And, by the way-the economy has added a ton of jobs in the last three months. It will take time for our country to dig itself out of this hole. Did I mention I am not a Democrat?" As the post began to make it's way toward war, I decided to put in a snarky remark to make my friend laugh, "I'm certainly not voting for him! I prefer being a housebound Stepford wife with no equality to men in the workforce. I'd rather be barefoot and pregnant, cooking for my husband and home schooled children. And for shame!!!--That Obama is letting the gays get married! Don't they know they're all gonna burn in hell?" And of course with that, brought in comments that I was bringing up the 'gay agenda' and that's all that leftists care about.  Personally, I don't care about political posts. I mock them because the reality is -- no one is ever going to agree with you on politics or religion, so you might as well tuck in your political rants and call it a day, because at the end of the day, the choices are already made up in the minds of many. Getting angry and combative over who to vote for is absolutely senseless.

Homophobia starts at home. 
As I kept entertaining this thread, a woman named Gina Hoppis came along and made it clear to me that parents like her are to blame for kids bullying other children in school for being gay. Her comment (copied and pasted) said this, "Debra Pasquella you are very sarcastic and uninformed...you keep throwing out there that you are a bull dyke....who cares if you like to dive in the bush...fact is most american find it disgusting....but live in your little fairy land and be happy...but you are totally insane if you really think that attack was from a video...gay boi obama watch as those americans were killed...and did nothing but lie...;..and he didnt get osama bin laden...seal team 6 did.....I believe he watch on his bigscreen while somebody else did that for him.......so as you say go on back to your scrubbing the floors where you belong and stay off the porch with the big guys...." It wasn't enough to just debate or disagree with my lifestyle, which is absolutely fine, but why do extreme right winged Christians always think about sex when it comes to gays and lesbians? It's the very first thing that rambles out of their mouths: sex. They never think about loving relationships, as they would with a straight couple. She must think about it a lot. She referenced me as a "bull dyke"...? Does she even know what one looks like? Is that even a bad thing? She also stated that I like to "dive into bush". Wrong. I hate hair on any part of the body except for the head -- but that's neither here nor there. And it's news to me that Obama is a "gay boi" -- interesting she spelled boi the way a lesbian would if they want to be referred as a "butch". Terminology is right on. My gaydar is going off. But the most important issue I have with her is that people like her will teach their children how to hate. Her kids will also demonstrate that in school, possibly leaving the result with a teen suicide due to her kids' bullying. It starts at home. Kids learn what they are taught and if they are taught to hate...then guess what? In my opinion, she is a very close-minded bigot with so much hatred for gays and lesbians, that I truly believe that her homophobia is based upon her being a closet lesbian. It's psychology 101.  On top of that, her grammar is horrific, and you all know how much of a grammar nazi I am. I don't care if it's just a Facebook comment, but if you comment with a kindergarten level education, you're going to be seen as an idiot, whether or not your issues are valid. She said that Americans think homosexuality is disgusting, but I think teaching your children to hate people of different lifestyles is disgusting, especially with her white trash smut mouth and references to "diving into bush". She must be an unsanitary 'beast'. (Just a thought.)

People seem to forget...
Usually, I tend to ignore people who are so hateful, but I have to wonder about the well being of those around her, especially her kids. Why care?  Because others will be affected by her bigotry. Of course, others chimed into the Facebook thread throwing scriptures out at me from the bible, and you know how much ammunition I have stored up, so that didn't work well. Every scripture backfired on them. They just kept repeating themselves like a broken record. One lady named, Ruth de los Santos (who happens to be in an interracial marriage) came onto the thread to tackle the issues as well. I left the thread before I could even comment back, but I reminded her with a very important fact as I addressed a gentleman who was being attacked by her. "I wouldn't argue with someone like Ruth. Remember, 50 years ago (especially in her interracial marriage) she wasn't allowed to get married. Let's put things in perspective because Mitt will definitely throw her back into time and have her scrubbing floors barefoot and pregnant. And Ruth, you may Google those facts since you seem to be in the dark about what Mitt stands for. I hate Obama too, but Mitt is going to have you downgraded like an old beat up car at a rundown dealership. Good luck & God speed. Many lemons in the extreme right wing section. Bitter. That's all they are."

No response after that. None whatsoever.

The fact is, I don't care who you vote for or if you vote at all, but why tear down those who disagree with your choices in life, or your choice in the candidates alone? Vicious attacks due to political or religious debates are so unproductive and irrational. I've had many debates in the past, but when it comes down to name calling and especially making personal sexual references towards each other, it's time to reel it in and call a spade a spade. Ignorance is bliss and it's a shame they haven't got a clue.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, November 02, 2012

No GAS? Git' Yer' Guns Ready Ya Crazy New Yawkas!

No gas in sight.
I honestly don't think people realize the severity of the aftermath that Sandy left us with. (Of course the ones who never lost electricity or those who lost it for a mere two days or so, with no damage to their homes or lives lost.) I'm actually fascinated with Facebook right now, reading and scrolling what people are saying or complaining about, and those who are asking for shelter or a place to stay and those even offering. So it's a mixed bag. There are quite a few things that concern me: #1. People who have absolutely no understanding of the word "disaster" or "tragedy" and want their internet back on NOW. #2. People who cannot grasp the concept that gas is in demand, for gas stations themselves as well as for individuals filling their generators. People are killing one another over gas. New Yorkers, people in Florida have been through worse - power out for days, weeks, even months and you're sitting here complaining about unexpected inconveniences? You would never see this type of hysteria over this type of storm in Florida --- ever. They pull together. I thought New York was tougher than that, or at least in my area but they're a bunch of whining babies who have been spoiled all their lives. There are people disguising themselves as FEMA or insurance assessors and knock on people's doors to rob them. One local man was shot and killed at the gas station. Are you kidding me? I can't even imagine this area being under a truly devastating tragedy, like one of the nuclear plants blowing or some sort of terrorist attack.

THANK YOU for all your hard work!
Are New Yorkers truly survivors? I guess so if it means 'each man for himself' - but there are some good stories out there as well. People are offering their homes to people without power or water -- to people they hardly know. GOD BLESS you for doing that. There are people donating clothes or volunteering their time to help in this crisis. The utility companies are working such long hours just to get us back up and running. And of course, the fire, EMT and rescue crews are on mandatory call at all times. They can't even leave their jurisdiction. Thank you. Thank you for helping us and not panicking. Thank you for giving 110% of your hard work, time and effort. I'm ashamed of what I'm seeing around me - people robbing one another, fighting, killing each other over something that is so very temporary. Is it worth it? I will say this though: I will not hesitate to shoot and kill the person who is trying to break into my home and possibly hurt us, just because they need some gas, food or water. I have my gun handy at all times and I have an excellent shot. If my gun is pointed at you, trust me, it's not to scare you off. I can hear a car pull into our long driveway the second it hits the dirt road. I'm glued to the video cameras lately. I don't trust anybody. I would do anything to protect my family. Don't even test it.

Hey you kids! Git' off mah' lawn!
So if this is how bad a minor downgraded hurricane comes down to for New York, I say you all better prepare yourselves if you live here. Prepare yourselves good. Because I'm sure that when the next bigger catastrophic event comes along, you're going to need protection and to be very prepared. I never thought I'd sound like a shit-kickin' hillbilly, but hee haw, I'm ready to take you down or take you in if you need shelter. Pick what you want. Yep, Deb done lost her mind. Enjoy your weekend, folks. I'll be on the porch playing mah' banjo & shinin' up mah' shotgun.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Sandy Aftermath: Count Your Blessings If You Can

"Watsamatta' whichoo?? We got everything we need!"
Years ago I remember our power went out on Thanksgiving because of a hurricane. I forget which year it was, but it was a powerful one. I was only around five years old and all my sisters lived at home. Our turkey was halfway cooked and my dad, being the creative savior through all of this said, "Let's get the gas grill going and cook the turkey in that!" We all didn't know how he would do it in the rain and wind, but lemme' tell ya --- that man cooked the best turkey in our entire lives. I even remember how good it was.  Dad did a lot for us - if not everything. He protected us, provided for us and made sure his family was safe and warm. We never worried about severe storms or the lack of power --- we were with Dad, what could go wrong? His mind worked overtime and with that, I have learned to prepare ahead of time or at least, get creative with what you have on a second's notice. He was a hunter, a fisherman, a guru on heavy equipment and machinery. Although he's not here today with us, he left us with his preparedness. My mom said to me this morning, "If things get really bad, remember, I know how to prepare a deer." (I hate using the word "gut" - don't ask.) Not that I would let her - but I would let her guide me. Dad showed me how to shoot a gun and left me with his rifles. I saw a fat deer on our lawn and said to Madelene, "There is she, our dinner," joking around, but what if we were in a catastrophic event worse than Sandy?

This is next to our driveway. The telephone pole is on the right leaning. We weren't sure if they were live wires or not. 
This was across our driveway. We literally were trapped.
A leaning pole due to the gigantic fir tree that took it down.
Two days before the storm after I filled my entire car with gallons of water and canned foods, I stopped at the gas station with my mom in the car. She asked, "Why are you getting gas, you're practically on full." I said, "Every drop counts - it could mean one mile to safety." She giggled and shook her head. She knows how much of a 'doomsday prepper' I can turn into, but this morning, she realizes how much we needed all those things. We made coffee with the percolator on top of the wood stove. We had one of Dad's friends chainsaw a tree that was trapping us in. Nine fir trees fell onto my neighbor's yard. These trees were planted back in the 50's, so the height of them is just amazing. They were uprooted, taking part of the ground along with them. Electric poles were dangling so we couldn't even hop around the fallen trees due to not knowing if they were live wires or not. We were literally stuck inside waiting for help. And still -- the electric company has not come to take the wires and poles away. We called about three or four times and still nothing. I realize there are many without power and worse off situations, but it goes to show you there is only so much help to go around, even if it means staying inside trapped in your house for days on end. We're just super grateful that it isn't freezing outside.

There are lines and lines waiting at the pumps over at the gas stations. One side is for pedestrians trying to fill their gas containers for their generators and the other side was for cars. The line went down block after block and you can only buy $20 worth of gas. Is it worth it? I don't know. People even ran out of gas while waiting on the line in their cars. I have never once seen New York in such a 'state of shock' before. People lost their homes and some lost their lives. Another thing to consider is to take out cash before the storm hits. And that's no joke because at the supermarket this morning, they said, "Cash only, our credit card machines aren't working." There is no way to buy food if you don't have cash. I understand why some people don't take weather warnings seriously - most of the time it is media hype for us New Yorkers, but realizing storm after storm, and seeing how worse the weather it is getting, you have to be prepared. Some believe global warming is a huge factor in all of this and some people believe that we are in fact, living in Revelations. It's like a woman going through labor pains -- it only gets worse until the final relief comes. I belief in both theories: global warming and Revelations. It's all relative.

I pray that everyone is safe and warm. I pray that the areas that were affected gets back up on their feet and that our community pulls through to help those in need. There are people out there whose homes were severely damaged or who have completely lost their homes without any insurance to cover it all. And for those who lost loved ones in this storm, my heart goes out to them. For the people who just lost power for a few days and complained and bitched their way into oblivion, consider yourselves very lucky, because next time you may be in the 'worse case scenario slot'. Count your blessings.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.