Saturday, February 23, 2013

Insane & Unstable

We all want to be understood, heard, related to and even helped in some form or another. We also don't want to be bothered from 'whomever'. There are people that you can trust, those who are always there for you like concrete stone under your feet, and others who seem to undermine your entire being. Some mean well, while others don't. The worst type of help when you are in your darkest moments are from those who have never been through what you are going through. For instance, a psychotherapist may tick some people off, because they seem to have this 'perfect little life' in their 'perfect little quaint office' and their degrees from various schools hanging on their wall screaming, "I'm successful!!!" They possess an overwhelming knowledge of textbook psychology. It's pure bullshit in my opinion. They are trained to understand. They push pills to make it all better and yet, they never actually dig into what's really bothering the person. DING!!! - Your time is up. Here's your script, see you in a month, because let's face it, that's all most can afford with their astronomical fees. (I have to say I did find one psychotherapist who rocks - but that's RARE.) You can research what I'm about to say, but the truth is, most suicides happen when someone is under psychotherapy and antidepressants. Did you know that some antidepressants can give you suicidal thoughts? It's even absurd to think a pill can give you a thought. I wonder if it could give homicidal thoughts as well. You can see from recent shootings and their psychological background that it certainly does. The fact is, most people undergoing therapy never make it out of therapy and are flung into some dingy psyche ward where most of the patients are far more worse off than they are. So in return, that person gets even sicker being around those...who are sicker. And the cycle is never ending.

When I stayed over at the hospital for chest pains, they were giving me a slew of tests to see if my ticker was okay. And thankfully it was, but I have to say one thing about the medical field. They're full of shit and only out to make a buck. It's all a business. For one, they wanted to give me blood thinners and cholesterol pills. My cholesterol was at 200 -- "slightly elevated". I didn't even get advice to wean off red meat or perhaps, go on a diet. Nope. I was just told to take these pills and we'll see you in about two months. They also wanted to give me blood pressure medication. My blood pressure is 110/70. They said in case my blood pressure goes up. "In case" --- it's like saying, "Here, take some chemotherapy in case you get cancer." It's ridiculous. They gave me a general diagnosis of costochondritis. In other words, "I have no idea what's wrong with you." I remember a time when I was having severe stomach pain and upper abdominal swelling. No one knew what it was. I had to get an endoscopy done, to which they found nothing - a generalized diagnosis of "gastritis". In other words, "Well, something's bothering your stomach." I went to another doctor to give me a second opinion. He asked who my other doc was and then said, "Well, that's a conflict of interest since I know him." I explained to him that it was my right to have a second opinion. Anyway, he led me to a medical center that gave me a HIDA scan test to check for my gallbladder. When that was all said and done, they found that it was slightly abnormal (sludgy), but they wanted to remove it right away since it may be the cause of my heartburn and stomach upset. They're so ready to cut you open --- and they still can't guarantee that my suffering would end. The surgeon said that it was a "process of elimination" and that I really didn't need my gallbladder, despite what God thinks.

What's my point...?

There isn't anyone who can possibly relate to you or help you unless they have been through a similar experience(s). Think of it like this: it's like an AA director who has never touched a drink before or who is a moderate drinker. They haven't dealt with withdrawal or the need to pick up a drink because --- they. had. to. How is the medical field any different - especially psychological help? Wouldn't you want someone to have had those feelings like you're experiencing? Or do you want someone to give you 'fluff' advice due to extensive psychological training instead? It's like a robot trying to experience feelings. I know many will disagree with what I'm saying, but in my experience of sitting in a zillion therapists offices, I know for a fact that not one single "psychotherapist" has had a clue to what I've been through, or what you've been through...only what was taught to them. Yes, I know they're human, but they all just sit there nodding, staring, pretending, daydreaming. All the doodles on their tablets don't mean a thing. "Generalized anxiety" was written on many pads of my doctors. Like, "Big deal, generalized anxiety. Get over it." In my darkest times, no one -- not ONE, has ever diagnosed me with clinical depression only due to my appearance and my 'seemingly have it together' personality. If they only knew. They judge people by the way they talk, dress, body language, anything.

What about friends? Can you truly rely on someone actually understanding what you're going through? There are some people who don't want help. They say they do, but once someone offers, they're shot down and sometimes, even insulted out of self-defense or whatever the reason may be. Anger, resentment, a person's background or even just 'getting into their business'. Recently, I had a friend sit me down and tell me she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She explained that she had to get surgery the following Thursday. I told her I would take her, or just be there for her and stay if she wanted. The time came and I called her a couple of days before and she said, "Nope, I'm ok - thanks." The doctor stated that it wasn't cancer and that she was ok, yet they set her up for an operation. A doctor said, "You're okay" at stage 4 cancer? Really? People who do this sort of thing to get sympathy or just more attention are seeking help. They have a name for it: Munchausen Syndrome. They pretend they have an illness in order to gain sympathy, and sometimes to even raise money. I have to say that I also think this pertains to those who "cry wolf" and throw around the word "suicide" or perhaps even have had several attempts. While I think it's important to always take a suicide threat very seriously, it's also important to remember that the person is screaming for help. So, help them! But also for the person in need of help --- accept the help. I've been there before and yes, have thrown around the word and even attempted it once. I've never once have taken anyone's help for granted or told someone off because they weren't there for me when I "cried wolf". I did notice when I was in that dark place that people will avoid you at all costs, as much as they can. The darkness rubs off. People can feel negative energy right away whether they realize it or not. It's very emotionally draining to be around someone who is depressed or angry at the world all the time. That person has to understand that in order to draw your friends and family closer, something's gotta give. I'm not saying "don't worry be happy" and bullshit you through what you're feeling, but understand that you cannot be upset with people who automatically retreat once the darkness seeps in. Maybe they're going through their own darkness, and by being around you, it'll only enhance their negative experience. If you want understanding, you have to give understanding. If you want help, you also have to help yourself in the process. I learned that the hard way - through experience and not through some lousy psychology text book. This is not to be taken as professional medical advice, for I am insane and unstable. Thanks for reading. I am not a shrink, but I have sat on many of their pleather couches. So yes, I guess you can say I have experience in this field.

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!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thanks, But No Thanks!

Periodically, I'll get an offer emailed to me about a "potential partnership" and to make money advertising on this blog, which I have done and still do from time to time. But this one was interesting. They wanted me to incorporate key words into the content of my blog posts. So, for instance, if I'm rambling on about how politically incorrect someone was and complaining about this and that, I would somehow stick, free vacation giveaways -just like that along with a hyperlink. They wanted to pay me $25 U.S. dollars per word on just one post through my PayPal account. Not bad, but how in the world would I get away with having a semi-decent looking blog with my readers not cringing every step of the way? For me, whenever I see a blog flooded with advertisements and hyperlinks to advertise about Indian fish markets or whatever they're trying to sell (which happened to be one of the selling points by the way), I. run. fast. I could have made up to $100 in one post if I just kept sticking in free vacation giveaways everywhere. So, lately, with all these free vacation giveaways, I thought about visiting an Indian fish market, and was surprised to learn that Indians really don't like fish all that much. Neither here nor there.

Looks horrible, doesn't it? (But I hope you clicked on ALL of those links. There are some pretty bizarro photos I added.) But that's how my blog would look like, along with random advertising words. The worst thing anyone can do when they have reached a certain level of both audience and pay is to fling on a ton of pointless advertisements. Although many companies are legit, as the one who proposed this offer to me, it cheapens a blog a great deal. Sidebar advertisements, fine. But in the content or a separate paragraph after your article --- cheap. cheap. cheap. Which ultimately may want to make readers click the "X" box and head over to another site that isn't so obnoxious. I get it though. There are people who genuinely want to make a buck or two just by adding a few "harmless" lines into the mix, but it is SO not worth it. I am very appreciative of these offers, it's just too much. That's just my 2 cents on it. Okay, carry on kids. I'll be back tomorrow with less key words and hyperlinks and more substance, hopefully. Enjoy your Thursday.


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!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

When Everything Falls Apart

As miserable as I can get sometimes, I do realize that every single thing happens for a reason and in order, lined up in God's will. This is something I truly believe. I don't believe in coincidences. I believe in serendipity and also, being at the right place at the right time + the wrong time in some cases. Life is strange. We curse God when we lose someone we love or when we fall into a deep and dark depression when things don't go our way, but to those who smile while walking through the trudge --- those are the people who truly inspire me.  Unanswered prayers are usually a blessing in disguise. While praying for something that's not lined up in God's will -- I never realized how truly detrimental it would have been in my life if my prayers were answered. Hindsight 20/20. Have you ever noticed whenever there is a major tragedy or even a huge streak of luck, like winning the lotto or something --- some families tend to fall apart? In this case, I'm going to talk about tragedy. A friend of mine who had not too long ago lost her teenage daughter from brain cancer and not too long after that, lost her father as well. What happens to families once a huge event like that takes place? Many place blame on people or insinuate this one didn't do as much as we did, and so forth. Resentment and bitterness through sadness emerges and once that comes up to the surface, people tend to show their true colors. There are families out there who hold it together, go through it together and rough it out as a true unconditional loving family. That's what we all want. But what if right now, you could imagine in your mind what would happen if tragedy struck home, or your family was lucky enough to have a huge windfall? Tragedy: "You didn't do enough." Windfall: "You didn't give enough."

Major events can either make or break a close family. And maybe, it is a blessing in disguise to really find out how someone feels or what their true intentions were all along. Sometimes, you never hear from a particular family member ever again for whatever reason. Do you let it go or do you beg the person to be back in your life as it used to be? I know my friend has been tortured by sending numerous emails to her mother who refuses to respond. She hasn't a clue as to why. But the hurtful avoidance - no closure - no explanation or anything has her in a very dark place at the moment. Her mind is occupied with questions and past conversations, replaying moments again and again in her mind. It's absolutely maddening. She reminisces about the days when everyone she loved was alive, getting along, being what's called, a "family". She remembers Sunday dinners at 2pm in her Italian household growing up with everyone being so close-knit and caring. She goes back to those days often. ...But it's "today" - the current time where she has to make a choice - where she has to accept where she is, who she is, and who they are at this very moment. They say blood is thicker than water, but I say your family doesn't haven't to be blood related in order to call them "family". And for me to say that is very anti-Italian of me, but it is a true fact that friends can be family. If you're not friends with your family first, only bound by the bloodline - then what good is it? We get stuck in this nostalgic sense of "family" because we have a history together - a bloodline - genetics, etc. What good is it if your heart isn't in it? Right now, if you are religious or spiritual, would you say a prayer for my friend? Maybe a prayer of healing? Maybe a prayer where she can find her joy again? However you pray or meditate or even a positive thought sent her way, please send one out ASAP. I wish she didn't live so far away so I can at least be there having a cup of coffee with her right now. Thanks for reading.

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!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Enthusiasm: 0%

This morning I woke up to an alert for my iPhone to be upgraded to the "newer version". I spent some time last evening trying to upgrade my browser on my Mac, to which is tells me, "You need to upgrade your OS X." I tried utilizing Chrome for the longest time and now it will no longer run plugins and play videos - which is a major thing in the line of work I'm in because I have to upload videos that I edit for clients onto another server, so it should at least function somewhat. I went to Safari to only have it freeze up and quit on me, all. the. time. Every single thing in my life needs to be upgraded - and it's demanding the change or else nothing will work. Nothing. Upgrades such as the rotary to the touchtone was fun. Cord telephones to cordless was fun. Landline telephones to cellular was fun. Landline telephone, cable TV and internet are now all "online". ...Not fun. Why? Because if your power goes out, so does your landline telephone - granted you have one that still plugs into a wall without electric needed. My mother is probably the only one in this country that can call out when there's a power outage. I'll never forgot when I downloaded all the emergency weather and news apps before Hurricane Sandy punched us in the throat. I was so excited because I had everything I needed. I could watch the news on my smart phone. Oh how wrong I was. I couldn't even get a goddamn connection no less even send a text out without it failing somehow. My 3G network was gone with the wind. I never realized that most of my connection at home on my iPhone was through my wireless network. We relied on a good ol' AM/FM radio. How retro, and how...convenient? 

I invested in a Macbook back in 2010 because everyone raved about how you never have to buy another computer after a couple of years, as opposed to the PC, and how it never gets viruses, which results in zero $$ in investing in antivirus software. I did save money, but now, it looks like I either have to upgrade the entire system or just go with the Macbook Pro. Ever since technology has advanced, everything seems to be super inconvenient in various ways. So if you have any suggestions about what browsers I should use temporarily to support the OS X and tips on how to keep connected when the power goes out, I'd appreciate it. Right now, rotary telephones & pigeon courier seems like a much better option these days.  Then again, maybe I'll just ask my 10 year old niece for help.

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!

Monday, February 18, 2013

That's All She Said...

Paula took a deep breath and let out a pathetic Monday morning sigh as she hung up her coat in the employee closet. “I’ll just never understand why that girl chooses to live a harder life.” I remained quiet, sitting in my cubical overhearing pre-coffee mumblings of her complaints. It was 8:40 am, twenty minutes before we had to punch in. I always came in early so I could boot up my computer and prepare myself for a day of mayhem filled with an array of irate customers that would call in to bitch about a two cent increase on their phone bill. You had to mentally and physically prepare for this type of work. I heard Paula shuffling around her desk and rambling over on the other side of the tall wall that separated us. “Did I do this to her? I mean -what would make her become a lesbian at the age of seventeen?” I thought to myself: become a lesbian...hrmm. As if some lesbian fairy godmother came waltzing into her daughter’s bedroom wearing Birkenstocks and a dangling chain wallet, I doubt her daughter just “became” a lesbian out of the blue. Being that I was twenty-five at the time, already in a five year relationship with Madelene, I kept my mouth shut about my lifestyle for the most part. The only zinger was that I worked with people who I knew from school and outside the office. It was inevitable that ‘word’ got out somehow.

Thing is, Paula would talk loudly enough so that she could get people involved in her conversations. Usually, it was mostly gossip and union bullshit about how much she hated the company and wanted everyone to join her bandwagon. I never quite jumped into one of her rants until that very day. I picked up old invoices and pretended I needed to make copies. Paula was standing nearby, watching me and talking to a coworker even louder this time. As I accidentally pressed 50 copies, I was kinda grateful, because it gave me the opportunity to turn to her and say, “You know, when I came out of the closet at the age of nineteen, I didn’t just ‘become’ a lesbian - I knew I preferred women from a very early age.” She white knuckled her coffee mug and just stared at me in shock. She obviously didn’t know I was gay.
“You’re g-g-gay?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“But, you look 'too girly' to be a lesbian.”
“We come in all types.” I said, shifting my business skirt a bit to the left.
“Why would you choose a harder life though?” she asked.
“That’s a good question. Why would I if I wasn’t truly a lesbian? I guess it would be a harder life if I lived a lie and cheated a great man out of ‘true love’, eventually leaving him one day for another woman. We would both be cheated out of a happy life.”

She quickly ran to her desk and grabbed her purse. She pulled out her wallet and showed me a photo of her daughter. From what I can see, she was beautiful. She had short stylish cropped hair, big blue eyes and a figure one would wish to keep after the age of thirty. Although she was beautiful in my eyes, her mother said, “She would be so much more prettier if she wore clothes that were meant for girls and grew her hair out.” I felt a twisting sensation in my stomach as I looked up at Paula, who was wearing an old suit from the eighties, wrinkled up so badly that it was obvious she had never invested in an iron. Her hair was burnt out from all the dye jobs and perms she had gotten that year, shoulder length and uneven. As she showed me another photo of her daughter, it was of her playing soccer.
“Does she drink or do drugs?” I asked.
“No, she’s an honor student and watches her health better than any of us in the family.”
“So your problem is?” I asked, smiling and letting her know in a subtle way how lucky she was to have an amazing daughter like this.
“I want a life for her. I want her to have a husband who provides and children. She can’t have children if she’s with a woman.”

As I corrected her about gays and lesbians not being able to have children, I also went on to ask what was more important: her daughter being a “kept housewife” with a husband and kids or a successful and healthy daughter who feels loved and accepted by her family regardless of who she picks as a mate? She quickly threw the ball back into my court.

“So How long have you and your partner been together?”
“Five years.” (Now it's 17 years later of course.)
“Does she look more like a man?” (Assuming there was a dynamic in our relationship.)
“Not at all.” I went into my purse over by my cubical and showed her a photo of the both of us. Frustrated as she was, she let out a cry, “But why? You two could have any man you want!”
Any. man. we. want...

This wasn’t even about religious beliefs or condemning her daughter for “sinning”. It was more about “living the right life” and being provided for. Paula worked her ass off in that office every single day, sometimes six days a week, providing for her family. She divorced her husband a few years back and now has a successful career. I then threw the ball back into her court: “Look at you, Paula. I’ve never seen such a hardworking woman in my life. You’re successful and you’re able to take care of all three of your children without anyone. You’re someone to be looked up to.” I said, smiling, placing my photo of Madelene and I back into my wallet and walking away, forgetting about the 50 copies I had left on the machine where we were talking. When 4:45 pm rolled around, I started getting my things together so I could fly out of the office. I then felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around and Paula was standing next to the entrance of my cubical....with tears in her eyes.

“Thank you.”

That’s all she said.


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, February 15, 2013

We're All Gonna Die Anyway

There are times when the media is "fun and entertaining" and there are other times when the media can be questionable, or somewhat skewed in their facts. But the one thing that makes me crazy are conspiracy theorists conjuring up all sorts of stories to try and "debunk" whatever's brewing. For instance, remember the claims that the conspiracy theorists made about Newtown? They called it The Sandy Hook Shooting Hoax and claimed that they were all actors and that the tragic ending of childrens' lives were all staged. It went viral. Surprisingly, many, many people believed it because it was so incredibly shocking that some people just didn't know how to react to it, which resulted in various versions of the story. People are human and they get nervous -- they were traumatized. How are they supposed to act? In this video, you can see how "believable" it could have been if it just went a step further, one step towards truth. But it didn't. Conspiracy theorists claim 9/11 was a hoax and the government blew up the towers. We're made to believe awful things about our own president. And hey, if I'm wrong then fine, but the fact of the matter is, the theorists don't have concrete truth...or do they? As you've probably heard, there were hundreds hurt when a meteor struck Russia yesterday. I'm sure all the theorists are scattering around blaming HAARP for this "air strike". (The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is an ionospheric research program jointly funded by the U.S. Air Force.) Was it an act of war or an act of God? There's another question looming inside everyone's mind: with all our technology and military backbone, why didn't anyone think about striking the meteor before it hit? Couldn't it have been stopped? See how people can believe it was all a plan? They also blame HAARP for earthquakes and for the weather changes in our atmosphere. Science can rule that out and show you that this is indeed a pattern and has happened many years before our lifetime.

I remember about 15 years ago, I was sitting in church listening to the pastor ramble on about how we are the "end times" and that we should all be prepared. At that time, the war was going on in Iraq and people feared for their lives with all the chemical warfare and suitcase bombing threats. Religious people scare the hell out of me, and yet I believe in God. But "religious" freaks tend to push the envelope a little and persuade people into being apart of their church and religion with scare tactics. If religious people are that "faithful" -- why would they try to instill fear into others? Do you remember post 9/11, when there were escalated terror alerts -- everyone started duct taping the insides of their homes because they feared chemical warfare attacks and some of them actually suffocated and died? I remember I grabbed a gas mask and ran into the living room where my father was and said, "We've been attacked! There's only one mask! I'm sorry!" He laughed so hard, that he had tears streaming down his face. The photo to your left was my office -- a bottle of wine and a gas mask. If I'm gonna be taken out, I wanna be drunk.  I'll never forget the time I was working out at a nearby gym in the late afternoon. All over the news, the terror alerts were "red" and at the worst. Everyone jumped at the slightest noise. After my workout, I went inside the tanning room and slid into the coffin-like bed. As I was finally relaxing, listening to music through my earbuds, I felt and heard the biggest bang ever! It shook the gym and made the floors ripple into little sonic waves. Let me tell you how fast that tanning bed cover flew off. I jumped up, ran up to the door and opened it up...topless. One lady saw me and said, "For the love of God, ya' think these lunkheads would place a weight down properly!" Months later, people still had the fear of God in them. I made plans with a bunch of friends to have dinner in the West Village. We found a nice place, but it was so crowded that we had to literally sit in the alley. Thank God it was late August. As we were all having a good time, we heard a loud bang - like an explosion. We all got up and people were running to see what was going on beyond the buildings that was hiding the fiasco. As we turned the corner, they were shooting off post 4th of July fireworks. My point is, I am so sick and tired of the media scaring the bejeesuz out of everyone.

Personal fears that control me:

I fear what cannot be controlled. I fear having a stroke or heart attack. I fear having a health issue late at night or somewhere in public. I fear -- fear itself -- having an anxiety attack in public or just having one period. I fear taking medicine. I fear side effects of anything. I fear getting allergic reactions, so I keep Benedryl in my pocket and an EpiPen in my purse at. all. times. You'll never see me without it. I fear getting the flu. I fear my carpel tunnel pain in my left arm is a sign of a heart attack. I fear Madelene falling ill. I fear my Mom not feeling well. I fear being around certain people which will remain nameless, all because I don't like confrontational people. I fear getting an asthma attack, even if I have all my inhalers and ways to cope with it. I fear I fear getting the results of my MRI. (Yes, I never got them back.) I fear checking out the mass on my left kidney that was found.  And generally, if you ask me if I fear death itself, I would have to say no. I fear suffering - emotionally and physically. You get my drift.

Who plants all of these fears into our heads? In my opinion, the media has a huge chunk of us all scrambling out buying different types of medications to help us out if our fear comes true. For instance, watching Dr. Oz tell women how to prevent a heart attack and giving signs and symptoms of one will freak me out. I can't watch certain health shows due to the fact that I'll end up having whatever it is they have because they demonstrated similar experiences to my own. If I have a symptom, I Google it. Worse. thing. ever. Most of my problems stem from the internet due to some idiot saying, "You're gonna die! Go to the ER ASAP!!!" Sometimes, my sister will tell me her back went out. Not even a day later, mine's out. (Which by the way happens to us both with one another for some strange reason.) Watching the news, they stated that certain foods can 'cause this' or 'cause that' - and so, I end up eliminating those foods from my diet. They reported radiation levels and an overload of mercury in fish. You will never see me eating fish unless of course, it's Chilean sea bass. That's just a huge weakness of mine. I blame it on the media and mostly for believing and taking on these ailments psychosomatically. Have I become a conspiracy theorist by believing everything I hear on the media are all scare tactics to make you run out and buy all the pharmaceutical products you can dig up? Maybe. But for now, I'm going to try to do everything in fear. I guess that's the only way, media or no media. Maybe I should fear the media. Then again, I can always blame HAARP for my erratic emotional states and illnesses. "They say" HAARP is able to produce magnetic frequency to control and produce anxiety, fear and depression. Hmmm. What do you believe?


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!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Menopausal Valentine

Remember when Valentine's Day used to be fun? OK maybe I'll just speak for myself. I still send cliché roses carnations to Madelene at her job, because well, I do love her and also, she and I are both allergic to roses yet send them anyway, because well, we have anger issues. Actually, she's allergic to everything - that girl can sneeze a mile a minute. That's neither here nor there. While I'm very grateful for receiving cards, wine, flowers and all that good romantic stuff that gets washed away by consumption -- (well not the flowers, I have some self-control) -- I'm thankful to just have someone here who truly understands my madness. I use that term loosely. This morning, while having coffee, I said, "Happy Valentine's Day, I'm going through menopause." No, it wasn't a joke. She laughed anyway, and cried just a little. While everyone says I'm "too young" (thank you very much), women who go through menopause under the age of 29 40, are more likely to suffer much more than those who go through it after the age of 50. We're more at risk for osteo-por-favor --- however you spell that -- the shit that makes you shrink to nothing and makes you look like you're ready to ring the bells when you get home. We're also at risk for heart disease at a much earlier age. Oh, did I mention weight gain? Maybe that's just all the wine and chocolate I consume. Nonetheless, it's here. So I have to welcome it with with open arms, a bottle of Ativan & vodka and hope for the best. Since my hormones took a turn for the worse and my hair follicles have been developing in odd places - doctors are trying to help me for my own sanity and well-being. Psychiatrists want to throw antidepressants and gynecologists want to shove estrogen pills down my throat. And I just need a drink.

Don't forget to take your happy pills!
Here's where I'm at... As I said, going through menopause at my age can greatly increase my chances for heart disease...and so can estrogen pills. Okay, I guess I gotta weigh them bad boys out. While being depressed for way too long, my therapist gave me Zoloft...which can increase suicidal thoughts. Wait, what? But let me state this --- I asked for Zoloft because I was over the deep end and I really hit rock bottom. It was my only option. So I started taking 50 mg a day. Holy hell -- you wanna talk about wacky side effects? First, my yawns were literally getting stuck. You can read that last sentence again. I couldn't close my mouth. They even have a term for it called, "yawngasms". Nice, eh? While you're in the thralls of your "yawngasms", your sex drive dwindles down to nothing. Lucky Madelene... I felt like a zombie all day, walking around in a fog. I felt like I was 'not there'. Then one day as Madelene and I were shopping, I dry heaved in public out of nowhere. (Was a sight to see!) People looked at me as my head jerked forward and my cheeks blew up like big balloons. Great, this is really helping my agoraphobia. Thankfully, I didn't get sick - it was just a strange side effect of the meds. As I've always said in my articles, I am SO against antidepressants due to all the chemicals altering your brain, but I was desperate and didn't care. My life was at stake here. It was either that, or a botched up attempt of jumping off a one story ledge, which would require yet another ER visit. I'm sure they miss me.

With all that being said, have a Happy Valentine's Day while I go through Zoloft withdrawals hoping I don't grow another unsightly hair on my chinny chin chin. These visuals are enough to make anyone's sex drive diminish. But now you know what's brewin' in my life. Aren't you glad you visited my blog today? Feel free to send me flowers, chocolates and lots of wine. Enjoy yourself kids!


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!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Slavery, Rape & Baby Killing: Approved by the Bible

How can you ignore animal cruelty here in the U.S.?
If you're going to judge on the base principles or historical events upon someone else's religion, then be prepared to read your own bible. As I pointed out yesterday, the tweeter who goes by Dartell stated this:

 No not westboro follower. You love your dog right. In Islam Dogs are hated and .... Get the picture.

The photo she included had Muslim people (or thought to be) beating upon dogs. I asked her if she knew why we had so many rescue and kill shelters here in the United States. My dog was a rescue pup. She was abandoned and left for dead in Puerto Rico. Millions of dogs around the world are beaten and treated horribly. "Well Muhammad hated dogs." Okay. And so you want to hate all Muslims because of this? So the Qur'an has some historical teachings about the way they treated women, dogs and so on. Another reader also asked me to read the Qur'an and learn about all of their sins, to which homosexuality is detested. He also listed a few more sins of Muhammad. But what about the Holy Bible? I want to remind Dartell that slavery was "okay" in the Bible, in fact, it was encouraged. Do Christians feel the same today about it? Of course not. Death as punishment, getting tattoos, eating a ham sandwich, shaving your beard, getting male genitalia injured or having it cut off (many MTFs out there) will not enter the kingdom of heaven, as it states. Other abominations include, reading your horoscope or going to a psychic, reading People magazine (which is gossip), having your wife fight your battles, remarrying after a divorce, (remember the scarlet letter?), working on the sabbath - Saturday or Sunday (hope you don't have a gift shop or work in retail), women speaking in church, eating shellfish, premarital sex, and last and certainly not least, rape was condoned and approved in the bible. Just read Judges 21:10-24 NLT. 4) Laws of Rape (Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT) "If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her." (Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT) Polygamy, rape and baby killing were all apart of the Holy Bible. If you're going to hate a particular religion based upon historic teachings, then you might as well hate every religion due to its past.

I have absolutely no tolerance for ignorant small-minded people who judge innocent followers of a religion. In Dartell's current avatar on Twitter, it's a photo of Bugs Bunny saying, "I am who I am. Your approval isn't needed."  Then let me ask, why is her approval needed? It's a fact that you literally shrink your world if you hold prejudices for any type of group. You lessen your understanding about people and go by general bigoted mindsets. The KKK is a Christian organization. Do I really feel that they are behaving like real Christians? Again, The Westboro Baptist Church is a Christian ministry. But as she stated, "They're not Christian at all." But they are going by the historical standards of the bible. Is it hateful? It sure seems that way. Is burning a cross on your lawn seen as "hateful"? Sure does. So, before anyone asks me to read the Qur'an fully, I will request that they open up the bible and check out the many things listed which would seem unfair and criminal. As they say, you can't judge a book by its cover, but as I say, you can't judge someone by the historical events of their "good book".

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!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Small Minds, Small World

For a few years, I've followed this person who goes by "Dartell" on Twitter and had some interesting conversations with her. She had insight, seemed intelligent and was very friendly. She's a black woman in her early 30's I'm guessing with extensive political views. But lately, her political views have taken a turn into the dark side. At first, I thought she was just retweeting a few borderline racist posts. Ok, she hates Obama - which is fine, but accusing him of being Muslim and sending billions of dollars to terrorists seems a bit much. She is highly against Islam. In one post, she added a photo of a man holding a knife to his neck and states, "Muslim threatens to slice his neck. Hell WTH is he waiting for...ISLAM IS A CULT. )0v0(." Another tweet includes this: "Islam's War on Women. Egyptian Islamist Imam Says Tahrir Female Protesters are “Crusaders” Who 'Want to be Raped'." Other tweets involve incidents that include Islam involvement, and then after the tweet, she puts, "ISLAM IS A CULT." Now you get my drift. After a ton of unconfirmed photos of people doing horrible things, possibly in different countries (because half the photos people post are from another incident), she uses this to trigger emotions of those reading her. I will also note that she can be very influential with her thoughts and opinions since she is very intelligent, but one response to her followers had me rethinking that notion. Someone said, "ur a racist M8", to which she responded with, "Islam is worst than racism. Disonnect. And don't tweet me," with a photo of a man holding a bunch of knives with blood all over him along with a quote at the bottom that reads, "Come for the infidel-killing, whore-stoning religious purity, stay for the terrific falafels." She also told one of her readers to "F- off" and battled some more with a few people who highly disagreed with her.

Christians can be hateful too.
I honestly thought that she had lost it. This wasn't like her, so I thought. I knew she was a diehard republican, but not to this extreme. I then tweeted her. I asked her if she thought that all Christians behaved the way the Westboro Church behaves. She replied, "No." Then she sent me a private message telling me "not to go there with her because she lost many friends over this conversation." I replied, "I can see why." I also informed her that "some" people may have not wanted Obama in office because they seem to think that "all blacks are uneducated". (Which is far from the truth.) But if I wanted to go there, I could pull some pretty hefty ammunition on those small-minded..."facts". Here's her tweet back to me: "@dpasquella Westboro is a cult as well, they are not of Christians. Wannabe in the lime light to get more kooks like them. DM me." Well if she thinks that the Westboro Church aren't real Christians or Christians at all, wouldn't she also think that the people of Islam who commit such horrid crimes, aren't truly of that faith at all? Isn't she categorizing extremists and those who practice a loving and peaceful religion into one? There are Christians that kill. There are Christians that picket at soldiers' funeral thanking God for their deaths. But, then again, she doesn't feel that they are "real" Christians. I have a very close friend who is Muslim. He practices his faith 5 times a day and is the most generous, kind-hearted person you'd ever want to meet. No rap sheet whatsoever.

In a country where we're trying to all live in unity, begging for equality for all, wouldn't you think this is a bit far from trying to encourage peace? For instance, about five years ago, I had a black woman tell me that being a lesbian wasn't natural and that she was voting against gay marriage. I reminded her that 50 years ago, blacks and interracial couples weren't allowed to marry either. We all want "our" rights, but when it comes to other people's rights, --religions we don't follow or lifestyles we don't agree with, when does it come to the point of officially calling our country an unfair and unjust nation?

****Edit****
Dartell just tweeted this:

 No not westboro follower. You love your dog right. In Islam Dogs are hated and .... Get the picture.

I told her many Americans beat their dogs too, which is why sadly there are animal shelters and reminded her that my dog Lola is a rescue pup. How shallow and ignorant can people be?

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!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Unsociable Media

Remember when Facebook first emerged? Practically everyone searched for their old friends from high school and then added them as a "friend". Whether they hadn't seen each other in one year or twenty years, it didn't matter. It was good to electronically catch up. Then there are some people who are still somewhat stuck in the past, whereas they expect to just hop into your life 'just like that' --- and while it may be a treat for you, it may not be an option for everyone. I have had the pleasure (and I mean that sincerely) of meeting up with old high school friends a couple of weeks ago. I haven't had that much fun in a long time. I also plan to continue to meet up with them when it's convenient for all of us. But what about people who want to connect with those who don't have the desire to reconnect? That's a touchy situation, because say in that person's mind - you were their absolute best friend in the world while you thought nothing of it, or perhaps you once did and just grew up and realized you were two very different people now. There is no easy way to say, "Oh I'm sorry, I just don't feel we have nothing in common anymore." Why are we searching for our past to begin with? Are we leaning toward our past friends in order to gain some sort of nostalgic comfort to ease the tension of "today"?  Do we really miss our old buddies, and if so, why haven't the lines of communications held together? I do sincerely think that there are genuine connections after a period of time that we can safely blame "life" for getting in the way.

As we grow more and more into our technology, smart phones and social media, we are growing more apart from our friends and family even though we stay electronically connected. If you want to see what 'so and so' is doing, just look them up. "Oh, she's at the supermarket getting a deal on chicken filets," -- "Oh he's up at the lake house with his new fiance, how nice." Everything is 'out there' --- so with all of this knowledge, we'll wait until it's the right opportunity (or thought to be) to connect with them, as Facebook says they're "living life". But what about people who rely on Facebook solely to see what someone's life is about? Most of us are all on our phones capturing life's moments. And that's great. While getting almost 200 "happy birthday" messages on my Facebook last week, I realized that I only knew a quarter of them - most being some of my readers and people I network with for work-related reasons. Nonetheless, still a nice gesture, but a sort of a grim reminder that most people do not remember birthdays, anniversaries and even phone numbers because of Facebook. When was the last time you actually dialed a friend's telephone number one digit at a time? I have an anti-internet/social media friend who doesn't even use a computer - just an old flip top cell phone. Every single event in my life, my birthday, my anniversary and even holidays, she texts or calls me. That. is. rare. And hey, I'm totally guilty of being a social media junkie too and tend to forget special events as well, but I'm just saying, it's so different now and dare I say...unsociable.

With that being said, I am now making my Facebook a bit more vague and private. I always have really -- nothing personal ---  maybe a few photos of my dog (ok a million) and a few comments about something insignificant. In taking this step of making my Facebook more private, maybe the people I love the most will want to check up on me in person, or actually pick up the phone to see what's brewing in my life. My public Facebook account will still remain in tact. Feel free to visit anytime. I miss the days when the only outlet of someone's life was a blog. Imagine that?

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!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Underestimating the Power of Pets

These are Lola's cousins.
It's so true when people say, "If they don't have kids, they just don't understand." And while that may be somewhat true, the person may have an idea of how they'd go about taking care of a child, but not really understanding what it's like - the experience itself - to be in the parent's shoes. But this isn't about kids. It's about dogs - animals in general. I haven't had a dog since I was a kid and basically went through life in my adulthood without pets. I even developed allergies for cats and dogs since I haven't been exposed to them much. Between my OCD manias and allergies --- dogs were not going to be a part of my world. I'd hear people call their dogs "my babies" and other 'mommy-wannabe' types of sayings. I'd cringe. It's a goddamn dog. It's a pet. Come on. I never understood why some people would have a hard time putting their pets in a kennel if they had to leave for vacation or a business trip. I always thought it was pathetic to treat animals as if they were human. What? You're gonna actually cook for your dog? What? You're going to buy a fortune in doggy beds and blankets for it? It's a dog! And the most mortifying one of all ---- what, you're going to SLEEP with your dog and let the dog on your bed? Craziness. I even underestimated someone's sadness over losing a pet once because they were comparing it to the death of a human loved one. While I still have strong views of the importance of pets vs. humans - they are indeed family.

So, my mind changed. Lola came into my life. And like any other overzealous new mommy, (yes I said "mommy"), I have the mile-long trail of photos in my iPhone, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram --- on my desk. My friends and family are like, "Oh...another photo of Lola. Great." I had new rules for the house:

  • No dogs on the couch 
  • No dogs on the bed
  • Dog will sleep in crate
  • Will not kiss dog on face or let dog lick me

Well, after a bazillion "NO's!!" and attempts to keep Lola off the couch, she is now comfy wrapped up in her blanket...on the couch. We first kept Lola in a crate...in the next room. We. never. slept. The crying and whining lasted for over an hour. Then I decided to put her crate in our bedroom. She was great. She was next to us and felt safer. But then in the middle of the night, she'd cry. One of us would bring her out to do her thing, but that's not what she wanted. Eventually, I started playing with her on my bed before we went to sleep. She absolutely loved being on the bed. It was then we fell asleep one night all cuddled up. I didn't have the heart to move her to the crate. Now, I cannot sleep without her ---ever. Between kisses, playful bites and puppy licks, this dog has diminished my OCD problems. (Although I still wash my hands 1,763,987 times a day.) During her first heat, we had to put diapers on her due to the blood stains. My OCD cranked up a tad. Not only did I have to change a dog's diaper, I had to wipe her clean and gag a little. It became something of the norm and I began to just love her even more.

You think changing a baby is hard?

Now, I'm "one of them" -- those pet owners who are super obsessed with their dog or cat. Tomorrow morning, I have to bring Lola (sniffles) to get spayed. I know it's such a common practice and a healthy one -- but I'm so scared she'll be in pain. On top of it, she has to stay overnight. I said to Mad, "Can we bring her blankets and her stuffed toys? Is she going to be cold? All the other dogs are going to be keeping her up at night!" I'm freaking out. Mad assures me she'll be too tired to even notice and she'll be just fine, but the 'mommy' in me wants to come in with a bowl of chicken soup and make it all better. The old me: "It's a goddamn dog for the love of God!" Wrong. She's my baby. Nonetheless, please send out little puppy prayers for my little girl. She's getting her bread basket taken out. No more flirting with the boys next door.

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, February 01, 2013

Rules & Regulations

In any household, whoever is "the cook", or the "cleaning lady" has a system. Things are in place for a specific reason, unless you are like me and riddled with OCD. But that's neither here nor there. I have system. First, never, under any circumstances place ice cube holders on top of the toaster. The next time I peel off melted plastic on top of the toaster, you don't get fed. Plain and simple. Another unwritten rule that Madelene hates is, do not leave the remote control on the couch. Do not leave the remote control 'floating' on the bed. Self explanatory and one of the main reasons why this gets screamed out, "Where's the remote control?!?!" Mad yells at me and says, "You have too many rules and regulations here!"  ....And I do. The refrigerator is a whole other can-o-beans, if you will. I have no idea why she insists on wrapping up the tiniest ends of a used up lime, or a centimeter of a leftover onion and perhaps a clove or two of garlic in the same tiny dish. "Well you might need one so it's right there in the front."  But they're all together in this messed up dysfunctional family of odd combinations of food. I might want to review my life in that regard. So, I chuck em'. My mother did the same when my Dad used to do this. He'd save the tiniest little piece of tomato and store it for later use. Mom would chuck it. Fact is: it. never. gets. used. again. End of story.

Over on the cleanliness side of pet peeves, it seems that Mad has figured out a very natural way to disinfect the sink drain by placing a half a lemon in the catcher. I can see that since lemon does kill germs, but now she is placing limes in there ---- which has sugar in it, which creates the attraction of ants. "Can you stop putting limes in there?"  And she assures me that she won't. The  next morning ------ limes. I also respect anyone who saves their bottles of seltzer/sodas/and whatnot, but when my sweetie does this, the piles of bottles seem to stack up to the point of submitting an application to that show Hoarders. "Let me just chuck these in the recycler." She says, "No! I want to get money for them."  So months later, she receives like $5.00. I would pay someone $5.00 just to remove them from my pantry. One day I took all the bottles that were piled up and threw them into the recycling bin in our complex. She comes home and says, "Wow, you took these to the recycling machine at ShopRite? You hate going to ShopRite. I'm proud of you!" I looked at her, nodded and threw down $4.35 on the table. "There you go. See? I did it."  She stares at me while I'm walking toward the kitchen and says, "It's too bad that Stop & Shop doesn't accept those bottles, Deb." God help me.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

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!