Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Grateful

In the fall of 2011, I remember setting up a flat screen TV in Mom & Dad's living room. They never had a TV in there before because Mom wanted that room to be the "conversation room" --- for parties and guests, etc. She didn't want some TV blaring away while people were trying to talk. As a kid, I was always confused over why we never had a TV in this gorgeous room, but Mom said no and that was that. As Dad and I were having a cocktail together in the living room, we had such an amazing conversation. He was on a good wave that week - no pain, no anxiety and very upbeat. For many, cancer just sucks the life-force right out of you, in all aspects. But that night was a good night. We sat there talking for hours and at some points during our conversation, we held hands. Dad was really never the type to show affection through hugs or by holding hands, almost ever, but he did show his love in many other ways by his actions. For the longest time, he was resentful over a lot of things, like being betrayed by his closest friends, or getting screwed out of money business-wise…by "friends", as well as being disappointed in humanity overall. I always used to tell him, "Why does it matter, Dad? We are so lucky we have such a close-knit family. I'd take that over money any given day." He'd always respond with something like, "But I wanted to give you girls everything!"  And he did. Both Mom and Dad provided the best childhood for me and my siblings. Our family functions were much more important than any materialistic thing, although they came through more than enough when we were greedy little tikes running around. Yes, I consider ourselves quite the spoiled brats as kids.

"You know sump tin', Deb? We're living like kings here! We're so lucky that we have a close family like we do."

I sat there listening to him repeat my words that I once told him.

"All dose' times I complained abow' this one screwing me over or dat' one taking the food outa' my kids' mouwz' --- we always had it made. I wouldn't trade it in for the world. I am so grateful for all youz'," he said in his Brooklynite accent as he held my hand tightly.

"I love you, Deb." he said, as he giggled with an embarrassing grin.

We never said "I love yous" very often, or at all before he was diagnosed with cancer. It didn't matter. He was saying it now.  I knew he loved me, but verbalizing it was very nice and sometimes awkward since I never was like that with Dad. He said his "I love yous" to Mom like ten times a day and to my sisters as well. He knew. He wanted to say it instead of guessing if we already knew. But the most important thing was, he knew we were happy. He knew that we were grateful for all that we had while growing up and all we have right at this very moment. And even he was grateful for everything he had, unfortunately finding this out later on in life.

So for that, I am grateful that Dad was grateful in the end. I'm so happy he figured out that family time was so much more important than materialistic things. We sat there watching the end of the Yankees game. Dad was a huge fan. And although the Yankees were losing, it was one of the best games he had ever seen because he saw everything with new eyes.  Sometimes, it takes the worse case scenario to make you see 20/20.

This Thanksgiving, I am extremely grateful to be spending it with my family. I am heartbroken still that it's another Thanksgiving without Dad…again…but I know he is with us in spirit, smiling down on us.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Be grateful for every single loved one sitting around the table this Thanksgiving. A few good ones disappeared from our family photo, but the memories will forever live on.

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, November 25, 2013

Are They Hypochondriacal ER Visits?

As much as I joke around about my crazy hypochondriacal life, a lot of frustration is involved with the anxiety which is the "probably" the root of the problem. We all fear death. We all fear illnesses and pain, but when does it come to the point of losing your marbles over every single ache and pain?  My mind says (and so does WebMD) that the chest pain I'm having is linked to a possible heart attack. When in doubt, check it out, right? Who wants to mess with a possible heart attack? Some people, like myself who have GERD or some underlining bogus diagnosis of costochondritis live with periodic intense pain that comes from the chest, sometimes radiating into an arm (usually the left for me). So, how am I to know this isn't the big ticket into heaven? (I'm assuming heaven.) For instance, the other night I'm about to go to bed. I slip into my comfy PJs and cuddle up to my wife and our little chihuahua. We were about to watch a movie when all of the sudden, the gnawing pain in my stomach worsened. Ok, no big deal, just a stomach ache from something I probably ate. But then, the familiar symptoms (which I've read over the internet) of belly button pain that travels down to the lower right side had me scared. The pain continued to worsen and worsen. Madelene was even scared and said, "We should go to the ER, that's not good." She doesn't enable my hypochondria all the time, but this is one symptom I never experienced. Immediately, we both thought, "appendicitis" due to how much pain I was experiencing with each minute passing by.

We jumped out of bed, scooted into the nearest jeans available, slipped on some shoes, kissed our chihuahua goodbye as she looked at us like, "What's going on? Why aren't we sleeping," and headed off into zero degree weather with snow squalls swarming around our car while we drove on the highway. Luckily, the staffers that were working the night shift in the ER didn't recognize me, until I gave my name out and of course, it's like "The Diary Of Deb's ER Visits" rolls out onto their screen. Don't think they don't note the frequency of your ER visits. I also know that whenever they ask what medications you are on, it's a sure sign of judgment.

"Any medications at the time?"
"Ativan when needed."
"And you take that for…?"
"Anxiety."

JUDGED.

Their notes probably read something like this:

"This patient frequents the ER usually around this time of night with chest pain. Sometimes in an ambulance or sometimes with her 'friend'.  Please note she is on Ativan for anxiety attacks and Prilosec for her GERD, which is usually the diagnosis for her 'fake' heart attacks. Administer an IV and set her up as if her visit is real. Check her vitals, give her an EKG and take blood (not to the lab, just throw it into the hazard basket because we're not checking this time) and tell her it's GERD. If she comes in for any other ailment, such as blood clot in her leg like she did this past summer, administer an ultrasound and reassure her that it's edema as usual. Do not argue with the patient. A patient with anxiety disorder may become defensive and/or combative out of fear that they are losing their mind. Thank you."

When we arrived at the hospital, there were a few people waiting, but they took me in immediately because I was curled up and hunched over crying in pain. When I got into the ER room, the nurse said, "Wow you look uncomfortable," seeing me cry and not being able to even lay down on the bed. I had to lean on a chair. They finally got me on the bed, injected Demerol in me so I can finally speak…or slur my words at least. They poked and prodded my stomach and when they got to my right side, I screamed as they pressed down.

"OK! Get her an ultrasound and a cat scan right away!"

The Demerol was taking a toll on me where I couldn't even pronounce anything at all. The nurse asked, "Do you want another injection? I gave you a small dose." Immediately, I shook my head and managed to say, "Noooo!" I couldn't handle this drug at all. "She's not here for pain meds that's for sure but wow, she is in such distress!" I was glad they knew I wasn't schmoozing for some pharma-fun. After all the tests, the doctor comes in and said to me, "It looks suspicious for appendicitis. Your appendix seems to be inflamed, so we're probably going to admit you and do an emergency operation laparoscopically."

"Is it painful?" I asked.
"Isn't this painful? You can lose your life by neglecting this." she said.

Hypochondriac enabler? 

After 5am, one shift ends and another one enters the situation. The doctor that was now on duty looked like he was 12 years old wearing skinny jeans and a lab coat. He looked like a bleached blonde Doogie Howser. His voice and tone sounded very teenager-sih -- the only thing missing out of his vocabulary was, "dude". I can just picture him skateboarding up to the emergency room, throwing on his lab coat on and winking at all the cuties over by the nurse's station. It was if he just waltzed into my examination room, flings through a few x-rays and files and says, "Eh, it's not appendicitis and your gallbladder is fine. You have a cyst on your liver." In my head, I hear "tumor", when it's actually just a goddamn zit sitting on the one thing that soaks up my vodka.


"Is it dangerous?" I asked.
"You just have to follow up with your primary."
"Should I be concerned?"
"You just need to keep checking if it gets larger."

As if I can do that myself! So do I have to keep getting cat scans to see if this huge pimple on my liver gets bigger? Here's what gets me: why are there so many ailments that mimic large and valid concerns? Right side pain on your abdomen could be anything from constipation, muscle cramping or even just good ol' agita. If you have a chest pain, it could be anything --- muscle pain, heartburn, nerve pain and of course, good ol' agita. Unfortunately, people with anxiety disorder like myself are full of hot air, so their symptoms mimic every fatal ailment known to man. So what are we to do when we feel these threaten things and in our anxiety-ridden minds, we of course go to the worse case scenario? So now I wait…for the next "big concern". Anyone willing to donate money toward my medical bills?

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!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Facebook Discriminates Against the LGBT Community

Facebook rejected my post due to this image.
For the past couple of months, I noticed that periodically, I would get an email from Facebook telling me that my post (article) was rejected due to violating their terms of service. It's not like this is an erotica blog or some sort of hate group blog --- it's a nonsensical, semi-political, everyday type of rants kind of blog. It has no importance whatsoever other than maybe someone relating to my madness. Once in a while, something really gets under my skin, like a mother asking her son to "stop being gay". So I write about it and encourage people to accept one another regardless of their gender preferences. I don't think I have ever written anything in a hateful manner -- maybe a few complaints about this and that, but that's as far as it goes. Well, third time's a charm. Facebook once again notified me that they would leave my post up on my wall, however, it would not show up on any of my "fan's" feeds. It's a page -- I hate saying "fan page" - it's my "writing page". I like to separate my writing page from my personal page because I want people to opt in if they sincerely do "LIKE" my page. Anyway, I asked what the problem was now, and the first time they said it had to do with targeting gender, racial or religious groups in discrimination. I assured them that if they read my blog, they could see it had nothing to do with any hate mongering content. It was appropriate, respectful and loving in my opinion. Then they emailed me again and said that the image on the post contained too much text. It said, "population" on the stork. So, okay. Let me get this straight. I post a photo up of a stork that says, "resources" and then shows the bundles with letters on the cartoon that says, "population" --- and that violates your terms of service? Really?

So for now, if you wish to continue to read my blog, please just come straight to www.debrapasquella.com or straight to my fan page at www.facebook.com/DPasquella. How ridiculous to ban me from showing up on people's feed because of this stupid "violation".  You know what's funny about Facebook's "terms of service"? They allow this group who discriminates against the LGBT community on this fan page. Wow, look how much promotion they got! Facebook - you're a bunch of lowlife bigots!

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, November 22, 2013

"He Will Not Stop Being Gay!" - A Mother's Ignorance

To be completely honest with you, I'm really not sure if being gay is a choice or not. There hasn't been "concrete" evidence that it's purely genetics, but then again, there are unexplainable behaviors in young children that determines their sexuality later on in life. For me, I knew all my life I secretly preferred females. I also dated guys when I was a teenager. I even fell in love with one man. Overall, I "chose" to live a life with a woman because the emotional connection I have with a woman exceeds any connection I ever had with a man. Some suggest that I'm bisexual. I'm not. I'm just a person who loves whoever I fall in love with, regardless of gender. My point is: it doesn't matter if it's a choice or if it's genetics - it's about loving someone and wanting to be with that person. It's about your happiness. I have had a couple of my 'gay' friends, (one lesbian and one gay man) say to me, "Deb, I hope you won't be upset with what about to tell you, but I prefer the opposite sex." I laughed and thought to myself, "How backwards and how absurd to think that I wouldn't accept you for who you are!" It's the same thing. Coming out as a gay man or lesbian should not have such a great impact on anyone, whether friend or family member. The funny thing is, my "closet heterosexual" friends were shunned by some of their former gay friends. Ironic, huh?

What if your own parent was the one who was disgusted by your overall "choice" or "genetic" sexual preference? This parent in the article was afraid that she would be "made fun of" for having a gay child.  The one thing that gets me is, "He will not stop being gay," and the fact she thinks that he's only "being gay" because she forgot his birthday. Are people that self-absorbed and ignorant? Amy Dickinson wrote the perfect response. "Try choosing a different sexuality." And when you really think about doing something like that, doesn't it feel "wrong"? I mean -- to you? So that's why I sometimes think, yes - it is genetics. Regardless, parents like this should not breed. I remember a long time ago having a debate with a diehard Christian fundamentalist and he said to me, "You were put on earth to procreate! That's why marriage is legal for only a man and woman." What about straight couples who can't have a baby?   I've seen many couples, straight or gay adopt children which is a great option because there are so many babies and young children who need a home. There's also artificial insemination as well. But even when I throw that on the table, I get, "Well, a child needs a mother and a father. Who will be the father figure in their life?" I ask, "What about single parents who raise perfectly good kids?" …Nothing.

Whether the bigotry is stemmed from Catholic guilt or just plain ignorance, we were not placed on earth to "procreate". On the religious side, in the bible it does say to procreate and have many children, but this was in the days when people were developing. Earth needed more souls. Why do you think China is limited to only have one child per household? We are overpopulated anyway as a nation, as a world. The conspiracy theorist in me also believes that it is true that they are putting a type of contraceptive into our flu vaccinations. It's certainly not for procreation. A family doesn't need children. A "family unit" can be just you and your spouse. Personally speaking, my partner and I wanted to have children. We always talked about it and discussed raising our kid in a loving home. These days, I would be horrified to have a kid in this world. The world's gone absolutely mad between school shootings, bullying via social media and all the suicides that string along with it. It would drive me straight into the nuthouse. I couldn't handle it and I respect every single parent that I know who has a young child going to school --- they have their hands full. In this day of age, for a parent to even write into a paper making such claims as "make him stop being gay" and lowering his self-worth is absolutely despicable. Isn't it enough that he has to deal with life's pressure as a kid growing up in this mad mad world? What do you think?

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, November 20, 2013

Grounds for Divorce Part II

She gets the tinfoil hat of shame.
Without a rebuttal from my better half, because (fortunately), she doesn't have access to blogs or social media at work, I am pleased forced to post a part II on her. Yesterday, as I was reading a fellow blogger named Katy go on about her grandmother and how she feels the government is out to get her, I shared my story telling her about Madelene and how paranoid she is - conspiracy-theory-paranoid about the government. I'll start with the other night while I was preparing dinner. I was washing something in the sink. We have this huge window overlooking the wooded area outside, and now that it gets dark around 4:30, it was pitch black. I turned the shade down and said, "Ugh, feels like I'm being watched for some reason," in reference of not being able to see outside. I always get that feeling if I can't see beyond a certain distance. Mad quickly turns around and says, "You are." All you hear is a "ka-plank" from me dropping a dish in the sink and me yelling, "What? By who?" I seriously thought she was about to tell me she caught my neighbor snooping, but it was worse.
"Do you know they have flies and mosquitos that are actually drones from the government? They can watch every move you make? They can be out there right now."
"Mad! Stop!"
"Why do you think they're launching all those satellites up into space? That's not for space exploration! That's to watch us down here like Google Earth."
Don't get me wrong, I totally believe in quite a few conspiracy theories, but this one takes the cake. I wasn't ready for that 'heavy' response right after a nice glass of wine. I mean, who the hell would wanna watch me for the love of God? Knock yourselves out. You'll be asleep in no time.

This morning I hear, "I'm gonna get you back for writing about me! You just wait!" So she is insistent on writing her pet peeves about me pretty soon. But for now, let me go on and on…about her. I have this studio/office set up that's located on our second floor. The bathroom is on the other side of the room, however when Madelene takes her shower, she prefers to shower with the door wide open, leaving the doggy door window all fogged up and part of my laptop screen with a little mist on it. (Which happens to be no bueno for computers!) I keep telling her, "Please shut the door because the moisture is going to wreck my new computer." This morning, same thing. By the time I get to shower up, I see circle marks all over the mirror with little tiny dots of tissue paper sticking to it. She has no clue that it leaves a complete mess by the time she leaves here. She then keeps the crinkled up paper towel on the side of the sink, as if she's going to use it another time. My OCD kicks in because it's a used paper towel. I pick it up with another tissue and throw it out. I have no idea.

Almost every single morning, Madelene seems to have forgotten something upstairs. That's okay, I can totally understand that since I've been finding myself walking into rooms lately not knowing what I came in there for --- so I'm cool with it. But now, it's quite different. She goes downstairs to the second bathroom so she can shower in her cologne before going to work. But the thing is, she is not allowed back upstairs once she puts that crap on. It smells like bug spray. So every morning, I ask, "Did you forget anything up here before you go downstairs to take your PR shower?" And she laughs and says, "No, thank you very much," in her sarcastic tone. But two minutes later, I hear her creeping up into my office area. Not even seconds later, the entire upstairs is fumigated with bug spray cologne. Here's a video to prove how much cologne she uses.



So I wait…for her rebuttal.

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, November 19, 2013

Grounds for Divorce

My wife and I are very much alike in many ways, but very different in a lot of other areas. We seem to hate purses. Now, the difference here is, I carry a purse, but I tuck it away, leave it in the trunk or I just take it to carry the OCD/neurotic essentials: water, antibacterial gels, an EpiPen, inhalers, Benadryl, aspirin and gum. I guess you can call it my first aid kit. There is no money in my purse. There are no credit cards or anything of value (except for that damn EpiPen) in my purse. If it was stolen, I couldn't give a rat's ass --- it's just 'stuff'. Everything of value is in my inner pockets of whatever I'm wearing. I just refuse to get the crusty ol' man wallet tied up with a rubber band. Her wallet as seen as above used to have so much crap in it --- receipts, business cards, dry cleaner reminders, discount cards, and oh -- a picture of me when I was only 20 years old. Don't ask. It was so packed that it looked like an oversized Italian sub. One time while we were at the checkout, she took it out and all of her 'stuff' fell everywhere -- on the counter, on the floor and even in part of the aisle. I let out a huge sigh. "Fix that." I said under my breath. She finally busted my chops the other day while I was in her office trying to help one of her coworkers out with something. I said, "Can you keep my purse behind your desk for me?"  I wanted it there because I had water and tissues in it. I felt like I was coming down with a cold, so I needed extra 'stuff'. Hours later, I'm rushing out of there because my head was spinning and I couldn't stop sneezing. I hopped in my car, drove over to the Chinese takeout to grab some soup and went home. Minutes later, I realized, "I forgot my damn purse!" Madelene answered the phone snickering at me. "See? This is why I don't carry a 50 lb bag with me!"

TVs in this house are plentiful. We have TVs in rooms that nobody even stays in. The one difficult room is the bedroom. (Don't even go there.) I am going to use "she" in this next sentence… SHE keeps the remote control in the middle of the bed so we can both reach it. I suggested that we each get a remote control for each of our nightstands. "No, why? We just need one." I explained to her that I sometimes roll over the thing, having it stab me in the middle of my back or -- I just can't find it -- period! We shuffle under the covers searching for this lost remote, sometimes not realizing it's on her nightstand. So, I got extra remote controls and she won't program them for me. I am dumber than a box of rocks when it comes to programming crap on remote controls. She's just being difficult now.  Now I have to use my Optimum Online app in order to change channels or lower the volume since she puts it up to 100 because her hearing seems to be going bad.

Question: when you're putting away leftovers in your fridge and they're still in bowls or plates, do you wrap it up with Saran Wrap or tinfoil? Mad only uses Saran wrap. So when I go back into the leftovers for a little something, folding it back is a pain in the ass. It folds up, twists up, crinkles up and turns itself into a sticky game of 'you'll never unravel me again' puzzle. Tinfoil's easy peasy: put on, take off, put on -- voila -- no frustrations. The hardest part about this is, she buys the money saver brand, "Great Value" -- and while I love saving a buck or two or three, there are a few things on the list I will not buy: over-the-counter medications, food of any kind --eh hell, basically everything. Nothing good ever comes out of "Great Value" -- been there, done that, never even got the t-shirt it was that bad.  But I digress, her usage for Saran Wrap is just wrong. Wrap up a half a lime, a half an onion or even a half a tomato. No bowls, plates or pans. Madelene's going to dispute these claims (or back her reasonings up and even complain about my habits), so stay tuned for part II.

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, November 13, 2013

Social Media: It's Just Another Way of Life

I was bored waiting for Mad to check her circulars…
Did you ever notice a lot of people complain about social media (including myself) and how society has just plummeted to a whole new low by being antisocial because of it? I remember a girlfriend of mine was talking about her sister-in-law and said, "She's on Facebook like 24/7 -- doesn't she work or have a life?" And when you think back to the good ol' days when there were no smartphones or any "devices" to connect you to the world other than the dial up internet connected to your wall, then yes, I would have to say, "GET OUT OF YOUR HOUSE!" But that's not the case here. Now, it's quite the contrary. People who do have lives and have something to say about it are all posting about it with their smartphones. I'm an avid tweeter, Instagrammer, Facebooker, and if I see something funny or something that'll raise your eyebrows, my iPhone is gonna capture it and send it out to the world. The best thing is waiting at the doctors office or even standing on a line in Walmart, I'm tweeting away or getting the latest news on "real news" or just random nothingness from friends that'll make me laugh. We're always trying to achieve the best entertainment while waiting for something while we're out and about, and our phones are the perfect remedy. The one thing that makes my blood boil are people using their phones while driving. Nuff' said.

This is our outing at Walmart as I mock Madelene all the way through our shopping extravaganza. (Hit play for these collages below.)


Capturing moments like these are priceless.

Capturing special moments. Didn't they try to do that with the Polaroid? We used to stuff them into big photo albums that no one wanted to open, unless they were in it of course. We stashed away quotes, scrap books (which some still do, and then came Pinterest) and tried to keep memories alive. Aren't we doing that now? I can't tell you how grateful I am that my father let me film him while he was getting his hair cut by my mother and sister. You can see that video here. Usually, he'd curse the living daylights outa' me and tell me to get lost if he saw any camera around. But one day while we were talking, he was talking about my writing and asked, "Deb, can you write a book about all of my stories?" From funny to gruesome, his stories always brought the party together, or had you stuck sitting with him until he was finished. I never did get around to writing that book for him…yet, but he let me capture him on film, happy, laughing, joking and telling his wacky stories and even let me post it onto Youtube. He said to my mother (and you can hear this on the video) "Hey Ro, we're gonna be on da' internet!" There was something strange that day, perhaps a different energy or a feeling of "knowing" --- as if I was taking this video for a reason. Right before I filmed him, Mom looked up at this huge fur tree that an old friend of hers planted in our backyard. It had died and needed to be cut down. There were no more pine needles left on it -- just old crumbly branches. She looked at me and said, "I think that's an omen. Something's gonna happen or change."

On a lighter note, my brother-in-law always says, "I don't get why you need to take photos of your food!" For one, I'm a foodie and I love to cook. I started a cooking blog over at Deb's Cucina (check it out) and now, one of the biggest reasons why I take a photo of my dish is because of my blog. I have everything from my pre-Paleo days, from pasta dishes to steak, lamb, chicken, fish and clams. Some recipes are usually inspired by my parents and tweaked by my own likings and most are my own concoctions. So if you see me cooking and hear "snap" --- you'll know why. It's funny because there's this commercial that makes me laugh. The mother is complaining to her son on Skype about all the food pics he posts up. "Why eggs? They're EGGS, Timothy!" But I can't help it. I go about life capturing all I can, because you never know when you'll see that special place again, have that special meal again, or even, see that special someone again. Capture it all and if someone complains about it, tell em' not to log onto your page. Happy posting y'all.

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!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Why You Should Start Blogging

So I'll admit, most of my posts nonsensical. I have a million and one fluff pieces to dish out so bear with me. I never said I was a journalist, so just keep that in mind. Also it's Saturday and I'm in my pajamas still and of course…I'm a blogger. I. am. a. blogger. Even with that being said, I have received quite a few emails regarding a few of my posts where people were so outraged over my opinion. Who really cares what I have to say? But hey, it stirred the pot and if people are outraged by your content, then you must be doing something right.  It's my nonsensical opinion as a blogger. The art of blogging is so lost. So many of my blogging buddies have either deleted their accounts or have just let their blogs float away out into cyberspace somewhere. A lot of the opinionated bloggers, such as myself can easily received more than their share of hate emails per day. I try to limit my 'piss you off' posts the best I can. At times, it's great to have this blog in case I feel I've been wronged in some way, or even harassed. I will 'out' that person and their full name which goes onto Google, which is then forever tarnished. I always tell them in advance, "If you keep it up, I will post everything you write onto my blog which will then ruin whatever reputation you have." They usually say, "Go 'head with your little blog." Weeks later they are begging me to take it down, but by that time, the search engines and web crawlers have eaten it up to the point of no return. So be careful and be sure you definitely want "this" going out into cyberspace. Once it's up -- it's up forever. Blogs are a great tool for getting the info you want 'out there' --- and if you have a good ranking, boy does that info spread like wildfire. I really think everyone should have a blog just for the purposes of speaking your mind -- and sometimes, don't you just want to scream it out to the rest of the world, whether good or bad? The art of microblogging like, Twitter and Facebook has become more of a rage than anything else. People are receiving and putting out information so fast that it'll make your head spin. So why read a two to three paragraph blog post? There's so much to say and not enough room on Twitter other than its 140 character limit. They have "Twitlonger" where you can basically…blog it. What's the point? And if you write too much on Facebook, people are annoyed.

Not only is blogging a great outlet even if you wanna do a great fluff piece about whatever it is that's on your mind, but it's also a great way to reveal your political or religious beliefs without forcing them upon your "friends" on Facebook. They choose to go to your blog so if they disagree, they can just "X" right out of it. I always suggest to people to have a blog. One night while talking with a friend at TGIF's bar, she was telling me these awesome stories about her family life, especially her eccentric mother who drove one of those 1970's Volkswagen vans around protesting in every political event with a tambourine in one hand and a joint in another. She even had tons of photos and videos of this as well.  She seemed to be quite whimsical in many ways. Whenever I would hear one of her childhood stories that included her mother, in my mind, it played out like a movie. In fact, I think it should be made into a movie. (Sometimes that can get a bit touchy when you write a blog or screenplay regarding your family.) But I thought it would have been such an awesome idea to put her thoughts and stories down onto a blog, even throwing out some videos of the past to give the reader a real feel for a life she once had. I just saw such potential for greatness there, but she wasn't comfortable enough to do it, which is fine. You have to be 100% comfortable to write about a topic that is very meaningful to your heart. Understandable. But wow, I would have been an avid reader if she would have went through with it. I love hearing about people's family lives and the way they grew up, especially if the parents were hippies or they had some sort of wild life in their past that they can now appreciate as conservative adults. It makes it so entertaining. And that shouldn't be read as an insult whatsoever.

So if you're one of those types who are contemplating starting a blog, but afraid that you'll be judged up and down for it --- remember this --- you're giving insight to yourself and your opinions about the world. You're giving yourself a voice. You're making up your mind and posting articles about whatever it is you want. And trust me -- they'll read it. Do you have a strong opinion about the government? Are you a conspiracy theorist? Do you have strong convictions in your religion? Do you have a enormous amounts of opinions when it come sot our POTUS? Tell us. Are you afraid that your boss will read it? Go anonymous like most bloggers do. Make up a fake name. Go for it. Sometimes, YOUR opinion can sway other people's opinions. I'm not saying that it happens all the time, and that's not why you want to blog, but for me, I have read blogs where I did more research about a 'once opposing' opinion. I happily changed my mind over the proof and facts that this one blogger put out there so beautifully. You have influence. You have a mind, thoughts, heart and the ability to write it all out. Who has the time to blog, right? Do it at your pace. Plop the link up on Facebook and if people are truly interested, you'll see the results. Build it, and they will come. And that's my nonsensical thought for this beautiful Saturday afternoon. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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, November 08, 2013

OCD: The Reason For My Madness

To the best of my ability, I try my hardest to stay away from any doctor offices or hospitals from October to April because that's when I get sick the most. Let's face it - that's when most people get sick the most. Even with all my effort, it seems pointless because I also take my mom to doctor appointments as well. Her appointments don't require much "family care practice" - it's more rheumatologists, pediatrists, cardiologists and of course, ophthalmologists with bad cases of halitosis. "Why doesn't he pop a breath mint before examining his patients," Mom complains, as she stumbles out of his office, dizzy from holding in her breath the whole time. But that's not the point --- I am plagued with sick people in these "non-sick" (thought-to-be) places. Last night, I'm sitting in the waiting room while Mom was getting blood work done by her rheumatologist. She has gout, so she has to check her levels every so often. As I'm sitting there, I noticed a huge sign that reads, "DO NOT USE CELL PHONES IN THE OFFICE!" Fine. I grab a magazine, which I normally don't do in a doctor's office because I'm a germaphobe and start flipping through pages, pretending to read as I eavesdrop on everybody else. The office suddenly became crowded. I started to feel the warmth of "people" and even thought about waiting in the front lobby. Every single person sitting next to me was coughing up a lung. Even the receptionists behind the glass window were coughing and hacking away. One lady decided to sneeze ten rounds without holding her nose, face or making sure no one else caught her droplets. I clenched up and found the one thing that could possibly save me: an antibacterial gel dispenser.    

Moving on…

I thought dinner and drinks may remedy the situation, so for the long wait at the doctor's office, I decided to bring Mom out for a while. As we're sitting at our table waiting for our drinks, I noticed the waitress shuffling over with a tray of our cocktails. After the waitress placed my wine glass on the table and filled it up with a small carafe, she wiped her runny nose with the palm of her hand. (Internal freak out!!!) I looked over at my mother who didn't notice this sinful offense and decided it was better off I didn't say a word. I slowly took a napkin and wiped off the stem of my glass and continued on having a meal with Mom. It wasn't too long until the restaurant started filling up with its bar patrons, which happened to be in our section. Not even five minutes after their arrival, they all started coughing, gagging, sneezing and wiping their noses with napkins. I felt the air getting less and less as I kept hearing the wails of flu-like symptoms. At this point, my conspiracy theorist in me started to beg me to get the flu vaccine, but nevertheless, my paranoia kept that thought in check. I then noticed Mom wiping her nose. "You okay?"
"Allergies."

Backtrack two days ago, my sister and I went grocery shopping together. As soon as I grabbed my cart, I grabbed one of those antibacterial wipes that are left out near the door. I always wipe my sister's cart off because she'll never do it herself and I wipe my own off. This time, there were no wipes left. I panicked. I decided to use my sleeve to hold onto the handle and continued shopping. Shopping shouldn't be a scary task unless you're like me, OCD-ridden and neurotic. I quickly zoomed past the pharmacy section, because, well, for obvious reasons and headed toward the frozen aisle for safety. My sister follows me, checking every Paleo (and non-Paleo item) that I throw into my cart. We're both on an 80/20 Paleo routine, so it's fun to go shopping with someone who likes similar food. As I take my phone and rearview it back, I notice her grabbing bread and pies behind me. "Snap! Snap! Snap!" (Evidence.) When we were all set and ready to go and check out of this germfest, we got first place at the cash register. As I'm placing my items on the conveyer belt, I was pleased to see that the cashier had latex gloves on. Not sure why she would need them at this station, she wasn't preparing food -- but it made me happy…until…she wiped her runny nose ON. HER. GLOVE. She then proceeded to touch our items and bag them herself.  So the next time you make fun of me (you know who you are) about getting Shoprite delivery services to my home, remember the reason for my madness.

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, November 06, 2013

Dining Etiquette? Does it Exist?

The other day Madelene and I stopped off at this restaurant and bar to have a glass of wine. I was having some sort of anxiety attack, so we stopped in just for a bit. It had to be almost dinner time and the restaurant was preparing for its normal crowd to come flooding in. We sat at the bar and decided to also have an appetizer. Maybe it's because I don't pay attention enough or maybe it's just that people sometimes annoy the hell out of me, but this man sitting near us was eating his late lunch/early dinner, but so loudly that I wanted to vomit. From slurping, to smacking his lips and even grunting while shoveling a pile of mashed potatoes into his mouth. He was also eating a lot of his food with his bare hands getting gravy all over his shirt. At the end of his dinner, he was scraping his plate so loudly that I shot him a look. It was like scratching nails on a chalkboard. I'm thinking to myself, does he even know how rude he's being or am I just overly sensitive? I saw the bartender shoot him a look and then smirked while glancing over at us. That just confirmed I wasn't the only one hearing this disgustingness. I know we all have our pet peeves, but when does it come down to the obvious dining etiquette to downright nastiness, especially when you're going to be around strangers? Bad enough if you know them because you really can't say anything. Either way -- whaddya' gonna say? "STOP!"

Years ago, I was dining with a bunch of coworkers when I worked at this company over in New Jersey. We all went out to a retirement luncheon. I had to sit next to my supervisor who was quite large - talking 350 + lbs with a bad case of alopecia. She had curly hair that only grew on the sides of her head -- like Bozo the clown. I only describe her (to a tee) like this because she was a very mean person. And I mean, MEAN. I could have toned down my description, but the truth was, she was a beast --- more so personality-wise. Anyway, when it was time for our soup, I cannot tell you how mortified I was when I heard my boss slurp every spoonful in. It was so loud and obnoxious that I was literally pulling my hair to make myself stop paying attention to it. But now I was totally focused on her to where I couldn't even pay attention to whatever conversation was being had. I know the others heard it too, because you could have heard the slurping from the other side of the restaurant. It was my first time sitting next to her at a luncheon or dinner. I never saw her eat. When the main course came, she had this urge to want to make a speech with a huge mouthful of her crab cake sandwich. She had so much food in her mouth that her voice was muffled and unable to pronounce a goddamn word. At one point, pieces of crab cake were making its way out of the corners of her mouth, and that's when I just had to turn around start giggling. I couldn't take it anymore - I could not hold it in any longer!  One of my friends glanced over at me, and then she bursted out laughing. It trickled over to everyone and finally, my boss said, "Did I say something funny?" She looked at her blouse as if something spilled on her, but it wasn't that --- it was because she had crab cake crusted lips.

Typically, I don't say a lot about all the dining pet peeves that get me boiling, because people will tend to be a lot more cautious around me. And believe me, last night while I was out to dinner, I got a little sauce onto my scarf --- so I'm not perfect either. But there's a fine line between accidents and just plain rudeness. From watching a girl eat saucy hot wings and licking her fingers and then wanting to shake hands with me to someone literally spitting out crab cakes with each word --- something's gotta give. I remember Mom always telling me to eat with my mouth closed. I learned that it was rude to talk with food in your mouth, which is why I take the smallest of bites. Some even make fun of me because I eat way too slow, whereas one person is completely done with their meal, while I'm on my second bite. I don't go to movies because I cannot stand people fussing with their crinkly bags of candy and rummaging through a humungous bucket of popcorn…and of course, the inevitable crunching while I'm trying to focus on the movie. Let's not forget when they finish the end of their big gulp sodas. I. just. can't.

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, November 05, 2013

First Date No-No's

There's a big difference in "be who you are" and just "being plain obnoxious" when it comes to a first date with someone. Of course there are no set rules and you certainly don't want to pretend to be somebody you're not, but there are some unspoken guidelines to go by in my opinion. The other night I was in a heavy discussion with a group of my single friends. I was surprised by what they were saying, especially 'giving it up' on the first date for some. One girl said, "Well you just gotta go with your feelings - what's so bad about having sex on a first date?" The best relationships start out with a foundation of friendship (at least for me), which is why I'm married to my best friend today. Think about all your first experiences with someone in particular. You have to get used to them, it can be awkward most of the time, and you always have to learn with the other person prefers. That's a given. But once you 'give it up' on the first date, in most cases, one of the two isn't going to want to explore the possibilities any further. Most of the time, it becomes more of a booty call rather than a romantic encounter on the second, third or fourth round. It becomes just sex, and sex should be the bonus of a relationship, not the main course. Making the mistake of the first date encounter can result in unhealthy behaviors. Whenever intimacy is the only factor of a relationship, egos get in the way and of course the ugly green monster rears its ugly head. Self-esteems plummet and fights begin to brew. Sound familiar?

After our "sex talk" discussion which turned out to be a hung jury, we delved into the topic about talking about your past. Yes, tell him or her about your past careers, dreams, family and friends. Do not ---and I mean --- do not bash the ex or even speak of them. If they ask if you were married in the past, a "yes" or "no" should suffice, unless they ask, "Well, why didn't it work out." Just limit it to, "We both grew apart." And that's usually the case -- even if the idiot cheated on you. NO EX BASHING EVER. It's just like the rules of a corporate job interview. When I was in human resources, we were told that if someone went on and on about how bad their prior employer was, we'd automatically disqualify them. You get marked up as a "whiner" or someone who plays the victim all the time. On the other hand, you don't want to let your date know that you're still in contact with your ex and that you're "friends" -- even if you are. It just sounds bad, especially if there are no children involved --- trust me. Two things happen in the thought process of your date while discussing your ex: 1. If you talk too negatively about them, it seems as though you're extremely bitter and you still have lingering feelings for him or her. There's a fine line between love and hate and it's detected very easily when you're ex bashing. 2. If you speak too kindly of your ex, again, it might also appear as though you are still pining over your ex. Limit limit limit it!

We all want to find someone who can relate to us. We want the perfect "soulmate" --- especially if we practice a religion on a regular basis. I know even for myself, it was important that my perfect "soulmate" was Christian. That's just me. These days, most people go on some dating site and they can see their denomination right off the bat. Back when I met my future wife, there was no internet or photos to be exchanged. We met through a newspaper personal ad. "SWF seeking blah blah blah." That was it. Even if you see that your date has the same religion, it does not mean they practice it nor do they want to discuss it over wine and appetizers. It's just not the time or place. You can have the same religion with total different beliefs. It can be an automatic deal breaker. So stick to the basics, ask him or her a lot of questions about themselves -- what they like to do, how many siblings, what are their hobbies, etc. I would steer clear from work related topics, because you never know if they're in between jobs, or not wanting to reveal where they work or, if they can actually pay half the tab after the date.

Of course you knew the next topic: politics. Their online profile may have said "left", "moderate", or even "right", but you truly don't know someone's political stance or personal feelings on certain issues. Steer clear of this conversation if possible! I don't care if you're one of those political bullies on Facebook pushing around your 'agenda' --- you want to keep this date going, right? First impressions mean everything. Let them find out once you two have befriended each other on Facebook, or better yet, don't talk about it until you're three months into the relationship and do it very gingerly. If you do post political crap regularly, change your settings so they don't have access to view it. You never know, you can run into a conspiracy theorist type like myself who thinks Obama's the devil. But I can say that because my wife thinks so too. Moving on…

You say texting, they say sexting --- just call the whole thing off at that point. First of all, "sexy talk" can be awkward, especially if you're not accustomed to it and more so, if your autocorrect goes off in every sentence because you're just way too nervous or umm…excited. Quite embarrassing. But above all, never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever….(takes deep breath)…..send over a nude photo of yourself --- even semi-nude. Leave something for the imagination, but more importantly, never trust anyone holding a photo of you that may ruin your entire reputation or career. It may not even be your date who is held accountable for spreading your photo around like wildfire. It may be a jealous gal friend who sent that photo to her phone and then spread it from there. Nude photos are never deleted. Trust me on that one. I cannot put enough emphasis on this enough about my warning on sending someone a risqué photo of yourself. Not only is it classless, it shows that you want approval of yourself. It shows low self-esteem ---even if you have a killer bod, it just shows a lack of self-respect as well. You wanna throw your cleavage out there, fine. But once you cross the lines of full frontals or just….eeek….genitals, you're asking for trouble. Hopefully, if you have done this in the past, that person is not still holding it in his or her files of "ex-rated-T&A".

Well, that's my two cents on what not to do on a first date. Believe me, I had way too many first dates, but the only time I went by the rules was with my wife. And here I am twenty years later. It wasn't always perfect, but we stuck it out together and made it work. Good luck ~

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!