Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

New Year's Eve used to be crazy fun at my house growing up. My parents were quite the partiers. They would hold the most elaborate celebrations usually catered by my mom and grandma. There were cases upon cases of champagne piling up near the bar area. Family friends and acquaintances would pile in smelling like strong colognes and perfumes -- enough to suffocate you. Women came in wearing fur coats with the most gaudiest of jewelry. My mom would push all the sofas to the way end of the large living room area so it would become a makeshift dancing floor. Now, as a 5 year old, these people seemed ancient, when they were only in their early 30's to 40's top -- now seemingly young in my soon to be 40 year old eyes. They danced all. night. long. I remember sitting by the Christmas tree watching everyone have fun, pulling off the candy canes in need of a sugar high. I was allowed to stay up after midnight, because after all, it was New Years Eve. They let me watch the ball drop, I'd get a bunch of kisses from people I didn't know and then I would go to bed smelling like cheap perfume. New Year's Day was much more fun for me because the family was home and we were all loafing around watching marathon episodes of The Twilight Zone, eating all the leftover goodies from the night before.

Cheers! 
These days, I don't go out. I'm too afraid of what's on the roads on New Years. We stay home, have a few friends over sometimes or just by ourselves ringing in the New Year with a few cocktails and some good food. Sometimes, I don't even drink anything on this night. It's like a "forced party". As I got older, I started in with that New Years resolution bullshit. "Oh I'm gonna lose weight," every single year. I'd sign up for the gym with the rest of the world and go full steam ahead until February. I'm even tempted this year due to their enrollment free membership. I must be getting old if I'm excited about a huge discount, or they're going out of business soon. I never understood why January 1rst became the new "I'm gonna get healthy" promise to ourselves. Maybe because it's officially the end of the major "all you can eat" holidays, or maybe people need a fresh start to a date that's easy to remember. I haven't got a clue. I made my resolution in May oddly enough. I went on Paleo and stuck to it the best I could. I lost 30, gained 10, and now lost another 5. I have my moments of, "Ahhhh, I need carbs," and then get right back on track. I'm doing this for me because I want to be healthier for when I'm older --- like saving money for retirement. I'm saving my health for retirement. I don't want to be non-moving entity in this world who can't get up by herself. (I have my days mind you.) But I'm seeing so many people making these huge promises to themselves when I personally find them absolutely perfect as they are. If you feel you need to change, then do it for YOU…or you can just stay as lovely as you are.

Happy New Years to my family, my friends and to those who read my crazy blog. Please be safe so we can see you in 2014!

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!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Signs of a Heart Attack in Women

They say women are more complicated than men in terms of emotional and intellectual ways. We're over thinkers and obsess more than the average guy. But we're also more complicated in other ways, especially when it comes to a heart attack. For men, they get a chest pain. Bam! Heart attack. Simple. Easy to diagnose. For women, they can have a slight back pain, and that'll be the indicator of a heart attack. It's known as the "silent killer". We also get various other signs: jaw pain, chest pain that radiates in one or both arms and even good ol' heartburn. There's another ailment that plagues many hypochondriacs such as myself like costochondritis, which is an inflammation of a rib or the cartilage connecting a rib. It is a common cause of chest pain. I get this a lot, especially if I sleep on my left side at night. This pain is a sharp stab, usually in the upper left pectoral muscle which periodically hits a nerve that leads right down my arm into my left hand. Signs of….a…..?  So needless to say I have had my share of hospital visits and have stayed overnight due to these symptoms. I just can't get out of my head this one triage nurse who was going to take me into one of the rooms in the ER. As she left, she said to the security guard, "Oh can you stick around here in case anyone comes in with a fake heart attack?" Luckily, I was there for signs of appendicitis. I'm just one hot mess. But the sign of appendicitis is excruciating pain from the belly button that travels to the lower right. Had it. Didn't chance it.

The sign of a heart attack for a woman is this: NOTHING. I say that sarcastically because I see so many "women's heart awareness" bullshit flying around telling women to 'look for the signs'.  Signs of what? Heartburn? Muscle ache? Nerve pain? And even carpal tunnel can cause these like symptoms. Every time I ask a nurse how can we differentiate the sign of a heart attack oppose to the million and one other symptoms, they have no answer except, "When in doubt, check it out." Fair enough. But don't bitch and moan when you have a gazillion women in your emergency waiting room holding their chests saying their last prayers while you're secretly calling it a "fake heart attack". I cannot stand insincere nurses who have the thousand yard stare who has seen it all and knows that without a doubt, this chick is a hypochondriac. There are stories where people have gone to the ER with heart attack symptoms, hooked them up to an EKG and said, "Nah, it's nothing." Then they went home to have a massive heart attack and died. Lovely story for your Sunday afternoon, hub?

So last night, the pain in my chest was so horrible that I couldn't stop hunching over in pain. It radiated down my left arm and my hands were clammy (yet another sign). The pain got to be so severe that even Madelene was concerned. I said, "You know it's probably my carpal tunnel or some sort of nerve or that costochondritis thing." But another cause of this pain could be a pulmonary thing which is another scare tactic in my brain. Mad called the ambulance and they came right over within minutes, checked my vitals and hooked me up to a portable EKG machine. Instant ER right in my house. Now these guys have seen heart attacks more than the average person so they kind of know if you're having one or not. The guy looked at me and said, "I can't tell you what to do, but your heart seems to be okay by looking at the EKG and your vitals. Do you want us to take you?" He gave me a look like, "You're okay," but I was confused. He ruled out pulmonary which eased my mind. As we were walking outside so I can sign the papers letting them know that I didn't want to go to the ER with them, he hugged me and said, "I was the one who took your dad out of the house for the last time. You're probably having grievance pain. It's very common, especially around the holidays." After he said that, the pain disappeared. I had no more symptoms. I was stressed out so much this past week that I felt like I was gonna explode. Then he said to me, "Go inside and pour yourself a little scotch," as he chuckled and gave me another hug. He was the most compassionate EMT volunteer I have ever met….and I've met a lot of them.

I guess my point is, if it makes you feel better to get your chest pain checked out, DO IT. It'll give you peace of mind. But my advice is, if you can recreate the pain by pressing on your chest, then it's a usually skeletal/muscular strain. Take 2 Advils if the pain is recreated and see if it goes away within an hour or so. During the holidays, expect these symptoms much more than other times of the year. I'm going to go meditate and then grab a glass of red wine…because you know, it's good for the heart.

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, December 28, 2013

Rest. Breathe. Focus.

If there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that the people who work at the ER are burnt out, especially during the holidays. I'm one that has frequented that place more than enough times this year due to my back pain. They were amazed that I didn't want anything "heavy" to sooth the excruciating pain other than Advil, but they refused my ibuprofen due to my stomach bleeding. Here's the thing I've learned: if you come in with back pain, it's a red flag that you're a drug seeker. They judge you by the way you look, the way you talk and the time you walk in those doors. If it's on a Saturday or Sunday and you say, "My doctor isn't in till Monday --- bam --- you're an automatic drug seeker. And don't get me wrong, there are plenty of them out there, but when the genuine pain victim comes in needing the necessary pain relievers, they may get shot down due to lack of trust. Most people in the ER have the thousand yard stare. They've seen it all and they don't trust anyone as far as they can throw them. A few months back I had to go in for appendicitis. As the triage nurse was escorting me to my room, she said to the security guard on the side, "Can you just keep an eye out for whoever comes in for a 'fake heart attack'?"  If you're in this profession, you know that there are tons of people coming in hyped up over a pectoral muscle that's been strained, perhaps a good ol' anxiety attack or maybe just a bit of acid reflux --- but when someone hears you downgrade their complaint into a "fake heart attack" --- as if they're intentionally wasting your time, then maybe the job isn't for you.

As I was about to write my next post, I looked out my window to see two rescue trucks and one ambulance take one of my neighbors away. A few of my friends were in the ER, another admitted for chest pain and another one in there for nerve damage due to back pain. This time of the year is insane. It may not "seem" like it, but we all seem to be busting at the seams and popping our corks. It doesn't make it any easier knowing how uncaring the ER can be, but it's the only place where you can get help for what's needed at whatever particular odd time you go. What else are you going to do while an elephant seems to be sitting on top of your chest? You literally have minutes to get this resolved. So if you're feeling the stress just like me, please put some earbuds in and listen to this entire video till it ends. Go into a dark room, light a candle and close your eyes and begin to feel yourself calm down. It took my heart rate of 155 down to 70.

If you cannot view this video below, then please click here.
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Rest. Breathe. Focus.

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, December 26, 2013

Christmas Isn't Complicated, Adults Are

So this is what I've heard: Christmas (Jesus' birthday) was not on December 25th. In fact, it's been said it was some time in November, but the facts are still unknown. On December 21rst marks the shortest day of the year. (Stay with me here.) With the increasing darkness and the lack of vitamin D from the sun, people from way back when were depressed and miserable. Sound familiar? It was harder to find food due to the brutal weather and many people suffered physically as well as emotionally. There were more illnesses, more deaths, more sadness and hopelessness. It's been said that December 25th was given as the biggest celebration of the year so that people all over the world can have something to look forward to on the shortest days on the calendar.  It was a glimmer of hope, a light that shined through the darkness and a day to celebrate, to give gifts and receive love. It was designed to take away depression and hopelessness. Of course, it's a celebration of Jesus' birthday for Christians despite the unknown actual date of His birth.

Why so sad then? 

Because we set our expectations super high for Christmas. For many of us, Christmas joy is remembered when we were young children. Christmas Eve was my favorite. I could NOT wait!!! I called the '976' numbers to check and see where Santa was. "Ho! Ho! Ho! I'm in Maryland and will be at your house later this evening. Go to sleep my kiddies so I can come bring you your presents!" I was super anxious to get to bed, and so were my parents while they were having their annual Christmas Eve party. Christmas morning I'd wake up 7am while every non-believer of Santa slept in. I waited until 8am to pounce on my sisters upstairs while they were sleeping. "Come on! Wake up! Let's get our stuff!!!" I'm sure they were temped to backhand me, but they were good troops and got up just for this brat. Even in my teens, it was still fun. As I got older, it became a weird holiday full of mixed emotions. People passed away around this time of year, breakups would trigger sadness, and the worst of all, losing a parent who once was a huge part of Christmas was a real doozy. I've seen friends come down with terminal illnesses, people getting divorced, families separating and more people laid off from their jobs. Stress makes people emotionally and physically sick. Just visit an emergency room on Christmas. I spoke to a nurse who works in the ER. She said, "We are PACKED on Christmas. We have suicide attempts, domestic violence injuries, heart attacks, pseudo heart attacks brought on by anxiety or GERD and psychotic episodes." (Thank God I didn't get admitted for the last one.) 

Any family conflict, tensions, an 'in-law' issue or just any complication of relationships who have to be in the same room together can become a holiday nightmare. Christmas isn't complicated -- adults are. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Oh I wish Christmas was just over with already!"  And here we are, with this awesome day that's celebrated more than any other holiday, and yet we still dread it. This year I was very grumpy and hard to be around. I didn't realize the emotional roller coaster I was on and tried my best to contain it. I celebrated Christmas with my annual martini before dinner and by eating everything my dad used to make for The Feast of the Seven Fishes -- an Italian tradition my father worked so hard to keep. I even ate things that I was known to be allergic for, and nothing happened, thank God. But instead of mourning that my father wasn't with us for the second year now, I chose to just celebrate him in my own way. I do admit, I'm finding this holiday to become a strange experience and in some ways, anxious to have it all end and fall into something so insignificant, like St. Patty's Day. It'll at least give me an excuse to have another drink. 

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! 

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, December 21, 2013

Freedom of Speech: Respect My Beliefs & I'll Respect Yours

In my previous post which I put up on my Facebook page got a lot of hits regarding this topic. One lady by the name of Christina Mercer Acors decided to leave a comment. She first stated, "As you expect to be respected…respect our beliefs also." Then she went on to say, "Why should someone be surprised at a Christian's opinions? It's just a matter of the government and the media cowering to a select group."

Here's my thoughts on that…

Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing. We can say what we feel, we can say what we believe and not be penalized for it to some degree. But when does it come to the point where our beliefs and opinions, and yes, our "freedom of speech" causes violent behavior towards a certain group or have rights taken away from people who just want to have equality? Your beliefs are your own, but once you throw your cherry picked scriptures and cast them out with your vile opinions, making others feel horrible about themselves and worse off, having their legal rights taken away, then yes, it does become an issue. If your beliefs are stated on a public platform, say celebrity status regarding gay marriage and how it shouldn't be legal for us to marry the one we love --- that can have a ripple effect causing much harm to our community. This is why this entire Phil Robertson thing is out of control. But then again, who is really gonna listen to some hillbilly who spews out why men shouldn't be gay. "Women have vaginas." Nice. I doubt anyone would really take his commentary seriously, and if they do, it's more or less a downgraded version of Deliverance giving you inspiration to hate those who are different than you. As he said, he didn't prefer anuses. Many heterosexuals do prefer anal sex and that seems to be perfectly fine. Bigots focus on the sexual aspect of gays and lesbians, not the relationship or loving marriage and family units of them. Tells you where their minds are at.

Thousands were in a long line at every chain of Chick-fil-A waiting to buy a chicken sandwich just because they wanted to show their support for the antigay owners since they had such a huge backlash from gays and lesbians as well as supporters when they publicly announced that they were against gay marriage. As I watched lines of cars flowing out of their parking lots and into others just to demonstrate their distaste for homosexuals, that kind of made me sad and made me realize how many people out there are incredibly prejudice. If gay marriage is such an issue to you, then don't marry a gay person. All those supposed "Christians" also seem to forget that 50 years ago, interracial marriage was illegal. They based their comment on their religious beliefs. I'm sure gluttony was one of their sins. Doesn't it say somewhere in the bible that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit? This next list is meant to be read in a sarcastic tone. Enjoy.

Here are 12 reasons why gays shouldn't be allowed to get married, taken from "Another Part of Me":
  1. Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester and air conditioning. 
  2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall. 
  3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets, because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract. 
  4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all like many of the principles on which this great country was founded; women are still property, blacks can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal. 
  5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. The sanctity of unions like Britney Spears 55-hour just for fun marriage would be destroyed. 
  6. The only valid marriages are those which produce children. Gay couples infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet and the world needs more children. 
  7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children. 
  8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America. 
  9. Children can never succeed without a male and female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children. 
  10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. We could never adapt to new social norms, just like we haven't adapted to things like cars or longer life spans. 
  11. Civil unions (providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name) are better, because a "separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages for gays and lesbians will. 
  12. Gay marriage should be decided by people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of minorities. 

Kind of makes sense, eh?

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

Friday, December 20, 2013

Quackpot Alert: Phil Robertson Speaks About Blacks & Gays

Mmhmm…
Who is Duck Dynasty? What is Duck Dynasty? I never heard of this reality show until recently, when one of the stars, Phil Robertson made a few comments regarding homosexuals and black people. Everyone was offended. Apparently, this is a show based on some hillbilly in the south who made millions from their family-operated business, Duck Commander, operated in West Monroe, Louisiana, which makes products for duck hunters. Not bad. I guess anyone can get a reality show these days. I never watched it so I really can't be the judge whether it's good or not. But seriously, who gives a flapping rat's ass over what this old hillbilly has to say about anyone or anything? He's almost 70 years old and lives in the south. EXPECT IT! We're all so offended! Phil even got fired from his freedom of speech. The funny thing is, I was more shocked over his comment made about black people because it's completely untrue.

First, my initial "offense": black people being "happy":
He said, "I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I'm with the blacks, because we're white trash. We're going across the field. They're singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, 'I tell you what: These doggone white people' -- not a word! Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues."

"Y'all look so incredibly happy!"
There was no mistreatment of black people in the past? Are you kidding me? Maybe his eyes were too hazy from all the moonshine, but isn't that why some black people are still pissed off till this day over their ancestors being "mistreated" --- and that word is such an understatement. He says he hasn't heard a black person complain about white people? I still hear it today and most of it is legit from what they go through. Some like any minority pull out the race card or even the 'gay card', but think about why they do that. Because they were mistreated. They expect it again. And I'll be damned if I saw a black person (or white person) before or on welfare NOT complain, unless of course they're racking up more kids to get more money. That's another story for another article though.

What a tricky slope when it comes to the blacks and gays. Maybe this was a publicity stunt. You never know By him getting "fired" doesn't mean anything. The producers most likely said they fired him and most likely, you will see Phil Robertson back on the tube with his overalls and duck whistles.

Redundant homosexuality blabber from a bible thumpin' hillbilly Christian:

Don't let the duck ruin your journey.
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Then he went on to say in his own colorful words, "It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."

(Now that's kind of funny!) 

Asked what, in his mind, is sinful, Robertson replied: "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."

"I do!" 
There is so many things wrong with what he says on so many levels, but in my mind, I find this comical. It's the rhetoric, yet colorful version of a supposedly "God fearing good Christian", but what do you expect from this ducking dimwit? I have heard quite a few times from ignorant people regarding gay marriage, "Oh what next, they gonna marry their cats?"

Romans 1:26-27: “Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved.”

Even before that verse, there’s another verse that clearly states what’s been happening in this book.

Romans 1:24 “So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshipped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen.”

These people they speak of in Romans were having sex with many people. The entire sexual practices were based on orgies and reckless sex. Promiscuity has been confused with loving relationships. People will interpret these scriptures and claim that homosexuality is a sin. Homosexuality in the terms of loving relationships is not a sin. In fact, Jesus never said one word about homosexuality. He did say this though: “Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye." ~Matthew 7:1-5

So all in all, I'm not offended in the least about his version of the Bible and his opinion about other men's a-holes. It's funny when you hear a bigot talk about homosexuality. They always reference to sex and never think about the loving relationship. If they talk about a straight couple, they think about marriage and kids --- "a family unit". Their ignorance is beyond their control because their exposure to anyone different is limited. So why be offended? I admit, I was a bit taken aback with the comment about black people because he was way off, as he was with homosexuality, however each person interprets homosexuality in the bible differently. It's all about how you understand the written word, what you believe and how tolerant you are with others who are different than you. Even if homosexuality was a sin, didn't Jesus hang around with the sinners? Didn't Jesus die on the cross for our sins? Doesn't God love all of us? We didn't even make it in the Ten Commandments.

Are you gay and concerned about what the Bible says? Please grab my book at Amazon.com and let me explain the scriptures to you. It's a down to earth book that makes you wonder about all of those translations, interpretations and misunderstandings of the scriptures that some people love to cherry pick in order to bash those who are different. Click here to grab a copy! 

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, December 19, 2013

Happiness Shouldn't Come in Green

Don't get too happy, because…
Personally, I don't think I would want to win a huge lottery jackpot, (yeah right) maybe a few millionbut nothing that would stir the world around you to knock on your door and beg for some cold cash. Here's the problem: if you ever won, say the Mega Million jackpot, you would literally have to go into some sort of strange witness protection program. People from all over would be knocking on your door. This includes: family members, long lost family members, people with the same name claiming to be family members, friends, friends of friends, Facebook friends, brand spanking new friends and of course, your local churches would take a steamroller just to get through your door. Think about it --- would you knock on your friend's door if he or she won the Mega Millions? Think hard. What about a family member? Would you dare to ask them for even a penny? I find it repulsive ---re-pul-sive --- that some people would beg others for money. Yes, spread the wealth if that's what the person wants to do, but how can anyone ask anyone for money? I can't wrap my head around it. So you really have to think while you're sitting there in your cubicle daydreaming about the Mega Millions of how many people will be stalking you and how you immediately have to go into hiding after the big win. In New York, you cannot anonymously win. I'm not sure why they choose to do this knowing the consequences of the annoyances, but your name is out there letting the world know who the new millionaire is. Good luck with that.

Then the greed goes on. This morning I was watching the news and it was reported that someone hacked into Target's accounts leaving over 40 million people's debit and credit cards compromised. So I took a look to see if I was a victim and sure enough, I had two charges on there. One mine and the other…? I only shopped there once this entire year. I guess you can say that's one of the smart hacker-like type of way of stealing. But what about those dumbasses who go around neighborhoods stealing UPS and Fedex packages right from people's doorsteps? How stupid! Don't they realize that 90% of people have home surveillance cameras now? One girl walked up to a door that clearly had a camera smack dab in the middle, turned down her baseball cap and proceeded to grab the package as if it was hers. How do people do these things? Fact is, there are cameras every single place you go. They're on the streets, they're in every store and they're even in places you would never think a camera would be, like a hallway going into the bathroom section or the tables over at the food court in a mall. Everywhere. Some call it "big brother", but I absolutely welcome cameras when I'm out and about. But stupid people are not scared off by them.

Which brings me to my last little rant… Mad asked me what I wanted for Christmas this morning. I could have been like, "What? You didn't get my gift already?" (ha) The only thing I want from her is more valuable than any iPad or new updated gadget. I want time. So we're going out to dinner together Christmas Eve and then spending the rest of the evening with family. Realistically, I would love a week long trip somewhere warm and just sit on a beach and drink some margaritas. So instead, we're doing the final touches on our home, installing floating shelves and getting our kitchen hooked up with some beautiful lighting by the electrician. I need ambience even if I'm just grabbing a cup of joe. My home has to be cozy, inviting and scream, "Come sit by the fire and have a drink or five!" We're both pitching in for the work to be done, so all in all, that's our "romantic gift" --- and it IS romantic because it'll make our home much more conducive for relaxation. I don't know what I'd do if I was a parent and I had kids begging me for iPhones, iPads and other devices that they SHOULDN'T have. Yeah I said it. It's the best tool that predators use to bait children now. If you're shaking your head in disagreement, thinking, "Well there's nothing wrong with Instagram," -- then you're wrong. Instagram now has a messenger service where anyone can contact anybody based on their photos. And how many young children are on Instagram taking duck face selfies? 'Nuff said. Glad I don't have kids. I'd be in the nuthouse.  Happy shopping, Happy Festivus, Merry Christmas and please check your credit/debit cards for extra charges that may have been from this Target scam, because, umm, you need to get me some gifts this Christmas since my wife isn'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!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What's Keeping You Up at Night?

Ever go to bed feeling completely exhausted expecting to fall into a deep slumber, but instead, you watch the clock hour after hour? 11pm…1am…3am…5am… Your eyes won't shut, your mind refuses to quiet down and you're flip-flopping like a fish outa' water. I sometimes just go on my phone and see who's up on Facebook. I write, "Insomnia again," to see if anyone is out there. I get a whole bunch of suggestions like, "Take melatonin," "Take NyQuil," "Take Benadryl & wash it down with some wine."  I search Google only to find the same 'holistic' advice like deep breathing and meditation, but sometimes I'm just too fired up to even calm down. I did take the suggestion of making chamomile tea before bedtime. It seemed to work for a while until it 'found me out' and said, "Ah ha!" Well, a couple of weeks ago I found something else that seems to work…if you could even do this. I was on Twitter, and there is this user who puts up a bunch of random factoids that are really interesting. One of them stated that if you find a comfortable spot and lay there for 15 minutes  *completely still* and motionless, your body will automatically shut down. This means not even moving a finger, a toe, a nostril --you get my drift. I tried it. I don't remember after the 10th minute, in fact, I slept all the way through the night. My mom is the same way. Every time I ask how she slept, she always gives me the same answer, "Ya know, on and off…"  She wakes up at around 4 am, sometimes earlier just to make coffee and have a smoke. She can't sleep past that. So she took my advice. The next morning I called her, "How'd you sleep?" And she said, "Ohhh Deb, I slept soooo good! I didn't wake up once!" But like I said, it always seems to 'find you out' --- as if your body is trying to figure all these little self-help techniques and squashes em'.

The stomach.

Insomnia or interrupted sleep can happen for many reasons though, and sometimes medical reasons. Last night, I was exhausted. But I couldn't sleep due to my constant itch in the back of my throat. (Post nasal drip. I know, TMI.) So, I had a huge cup of hot broth and within minutes, I was asleep. The thing is figuring out why you can't sleep. At times, when I fall off the Paleo wagon, I go through what's called the "low carb flu", to which my stomach is still adjusting. There are many suggestions such as eating carbs before bedtime or having a banana which has some tryptophan to help induce sleep. None of those ever worked well for me. Stomach issues is one of the main reasons why people are up till all hours of the night. Pop a Prilosec (H2 blocker) or better yet, a probiotic. Even the ol' standard yellow mustard due to its turmeric and vinegar helps a great deal. Better yet, take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar straight up or diluted in a small cup of water. Your stomach can be the biggest contributor to insomnia. So check what's ailing you and see if your home remedy works. Trial and error.

The mind.

Are you an over thinker? Over-analyzer? Many believe that if your mind is running on overtime, so will your body. Here's the strange thing about the mind: if you're over thinking something nonsensical or something that can definitely be managed in the morning, you'll be up all. night. long. If something is too overwhelming for your mind to even handle, you'll fall asleep due to overload. I say this because all I did was sleep while my dad was still here suffering. My mind couldn't handle the visions of the past 12 hours of sitting in the hospital watching him scream in agony. All the thoughts of, 'what if I lose my dad' and 'is he sleeping now' and 'did the nurses give him his pain meds on time', came flooding into my mind. My mind couldn't process it all, so it shut down. If your mind is going through a traumatic event, your body self-preserves itself. The other thing is, you're also more likely to get nightmares that wake you up. So it's a tricky thing. If it's something like, "Oh I gotta make sure I call my client at 9am or he'll drop the deal," then you'll definitely have those peepers still open till the wee wee hours of the night.

Booze.

I don't even know why I dabble in it from time to time knowing that the most sleep I will get is 3 hours, if I'm lucky. I'm talking about overindulgence though. More than 2 glasses of wine or whatever the cocktail of the day is, I will have the worst sleep ever. Alcohol strips you of your natural serotonin levels which is a huge necessity for sleep. I know that without a doubt, if I go out with my girls, I'm gonna have a shitty night's sleep, so I make sure it's on a Saturday night so that I can sleep in on Sunday morning. So I have to work around my booze time. I do disagree with some of the medical websites out there that say do not drink a glass of wine before bed to sleep. I think 1 or 2 glasses is perfectly fine. It's when it stretches it's limits and leaves you waking up restless.


Hormones, menopause & PMS, oh my! 

You men have it easy. I suffer from what's called "sleep jerks". These sudden jerks leave me waking up gasping for air. They're also called "sleep starts". This has nothing to do with sleep apnea, however it is a sleep disorder that many people suffer from. Right when you're about to fall asleep, your body jolts you up, leaving you almost half paralyzed without any breath inside your lungs. It's like someone took the breath right out of you. And many believe that this is "the supernatural" doing this, but I can't even wrap my mind around that one. This usually happens to me right when I'm PMSing. My hormones are way out of control, my wife is sleeping on the edge of her side to stay away from me and my dog is very concerned. You get my drift. In a nutshell, your brain is trying to save your body from ----DYING! And it will save it every time, but it's just scary when you go through it. It's also known to be respiratory depression, which is alarming, but it's due to hormones and adrenal fatigue. Ever hear someone suggest taking a large dose of vitamin C to go to sleep? Well, vitamin C & E as well as aspirin (which I can't take due to my stomach) will help restore adrenal strength, which will then make you sleep better.

There are so many personalized reasons why we can't sleep so I am only speaking from my own experience and what I found out about it. I've even heard that lighting in your bedroom will leave you awake, tricking your mind into thinking it's daylight out. Strange, cause I have no problem sleeping with the TV light on in the background and now, I have a small Christmas tree that illuminates my entire bedroom which makes me sleep better. You have to find out what works for you. But all these things I stated above have helped me a great deal. I still suffer at least a couple of times per week. Many also believe that leaving your WIFI on and keeping your cell phone on your nightstand can interrupt your sleep. I'm not sure about that, but it's interesting to read up on. Madelene sleeps with her iPhone right on top of her chest listening to some calming music or some religious sermon. I keep telling her to never place the cell phone on your body. We even believe the reason why she developed fibroid tumors on her right ovary was because she placed her cell phone in her right pocket during the day at work. But people will still do this. There are so many factors. I mean, why is it that sometimes I'll drink espresso after 8pm and I fall asleep like a baby afterwards? What explains why I have a calm and relaxing evening and I'm up all hours of the night? It's just a matter of our personalized and complicated bodies screaming for assistance. Assess it. Figure it out. And if you can't, watch a good movie and don't try to force yourself asleep. Do something instead of just lying there. Wear yourself out. And…sleep well.

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, December 16, 2013

The Sad Truth About Facebook

There are times when I'm okay. Most times I'm okay I prove it with a smile. Most times when I'm not okay, I also wear a smile. Facebook tells people I'm happy. "You seem so happy lately," because I plopped up a funny post or a photo that seemed jovial. I'm not going to bog down someone's feed with nonsensical depressive quotes or statuses. I try to be upbeat, but I am much more than my Facebook status or tweet. I think it's sad when friends and family only check social media to see if their loved ones are "okay". What about a phone call or text or even a visit? Our way of life is social media, but I'm not going to write a status message saying, "Well, today I felt depressed, but I'm okay now." And I have those days believe me. They pass quickly as they come, and sometimes, they linger a little too long for my liking. I'm like anyone else. I have my limits and sometimes, I get angry or frustrated at certain things, but I refuse to start rambling off my problems on social media, unless it has a funny curve to it. The fact is: nobody cares what you post up. Why drum up the drama? Maybe I hide behind my humor, but that's the way I deal with things. If I didn't, I'd be dead. My life is messy, and sometimes it's a lot of fun. I'm a bit of a recluse from time to time. It has no reflection on how I feel about anyone. I can pop an entire bottle of vitamin D and it still sometimes leaves me in a funkity-funk. I love hearing how others perceive me based on social media. It baffles my mind to think that so many people out there rely on the well-being of someone's update. I was tempted to write, "I'm not okay." And that's it. Of course that's one of those good ol' attention whore status messages and it will get some buzz ---- but why even do it? You wanna know the worst of it? Nobody cares that you're not okay --- they care about the entertainment of it. That's the sad truth. They want to see the next status message - the next chapter on this saga of your Facebook life. They eat it up like a soap opera and I've seen so many people fall for this pseudo compassion.

If you really want to show that you care, call that person up. Make a surprise visit. Make plans with that person. Show that their worth your time and effort. Even send a private message to their account if you see an 'alarming status' --- ask if they're alright. Don't just leave some lame cliché -- "Things can be worse," or "Time heals." and "My thoughts are with you." Bullshit. Your thoughts are, "Wow I can't believe she wrote that on his/her Facebook account." Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe your thoughts are legit. But this whole social media crap has become a way for some people to actually believe they can check up on someone's well-being. It takes a whole lot more. People not only hide behind smiles, but they hide behind their status messages and monitors.

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!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Last of the Genuine People

Why does it feel good when someone says, "You're not alone," while you're having some sort of conflict in your life? And it's not like, "Oh good, that sonnovabitch is going through the same crap too," but it's more about understanding and relating to their problem. Misery definitely loves company because it makes us feel less crazy. (And not in that malicious 'karma's biting them in the ass' kind of way.)  Some people get on their high and mighty horse and rattle off, "Oh if they only knew how tough I have it, they'd stop complaining." Whether circumstantial, emotional, physical or other, we all suffer in some way or another. We all have a cross to bear. "I'll be here for you," doesn't mean shit anymore. It's a text or two, maybe even a phone call and then that's where it ends. People can't do more than that because they have their own issues to deal with. The one thing I've learned is to never compare your situation to someone who is incredibly less fortunate. Just listen. Someone's complaining about their marriage or that their house just foreclosed, and you try "relating" by saying that you just missed a Louis Vuitton sale that marked their $20,000 handbag down to $10,000 and that your world is crumbling down. Then to throw salt in the wound, tell em', "See? Everyone has their own problems."

I guess you can say I'm just tired of fake people and their pseudo excuses. They can 'talk the talk' like most, but can they walk the walk? Actions speak louder than words and my God I am using a lot of platitudes with this paragraph. My apologies. It's like those "humble braggers" who plop on a status message saying, "Wow, my feet are swollen from standing up all day volunteering over at the soup kitchen." That status message screams and begs for, "Aww, good for you! What a great person you are!" Notoriety's a beautiful thing, isn't it? To be known for doing something good - for going out there and making a difference. There are times when bragging about what you do for the 'good' of people is great -- because it encourages other people. It's all about your motives and I totally believe that God knows every single motive and intention behind each action. I wonder, does he also know the motive behind this post? Of course he does. Now slip into a pair of someone else's shoes, stay for a while and just see how things really are. Do you still wish to keep those shoes on?

The rant goes on…

This is the mountain we live on. Beautiful, but the private roads are a mess. 
Today, as Madelene and I are digging out, we were just talking about how unfortunate that none of the other neighbors (except our our friend next door) want to pitch in and help keep our entire private road plowed and sanded. Nobody plows. Not. one. person. The sad thing is, all of them have these huge pick ups and backhoes with plows on every one of them. They screwed up our once safe private road by digging a trench 3 feet deep so that they could build more houses on this road, but their money ran out and they never fixed these dangerous trenches. I can't even tell you how many cars fell into these pits. Even the asshats that built the trenches fell into it themselves. They want everyone else on the road to pay for their mistake. So now, Madelene and I pick up the bags of salt and sand, and our next door neighbor does his best with his little ATV and plow and sands the road. But this road needs much more than an ATV to handle it all. Anyway, as we're shoveling through, we see this huge pickup truck come and plow us out entirely. It was my Dad's friend. We offered him money and he said, "I would never take money from you girls! You're practically family." Then he asked, "Why aren't the other neighbors helping with this?" He said, "We're the last of the good guys around. Your dad did everything without asking for money." It's so true. Nobody wants to do anything for anyone anymore and they all place the blame on 'the other guy'. It must be nice for the guy who has the means to help out. Our neighbor called him to ask if we all pitched in, would he be of any help. "No." End of story. He's in his house probably warm by a fire while 3 girls are doing all the work for him. You're welcome, douche bag.

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, December 12, 2013

Bringing Back the Passion

Not many people know I'm a songwriter or that I've been playing guitar since I was 10 years old. I started playing electric guitar first because it was easier on the fingers, and well, it was "cooler" back then. I learned how to play by ear once someone showed me the chords. A few years later, I chose to only play acoustic. I then started hopping from one band to the next and then I simmered down to open mic nights with a good friend of mine when I was around 23 years old. I have to say it was a lot of fun. My buddy Jen and I would practice for hours and hours not realizing that 10+ hours had gone by and the fact that my fingers were bleeding. (And no, it wasn't the summer of '69.) She's an amazing singer and we just collaborated so beautifully. We were so passionate about music that most of our time was practicing --- more like enjoying every single second of it. After time, we both eventually had responsibilities piling up and our paths went separate ways. I no longer had the time nor energy to put into my music because my hours at work were long, so it was a challenge even to pick up the guitar at all. I dabble here and there just as a hobby and to relax. The cutest thing is, my dog loves when I play. As soon as I stop playing for her, she puts her paw on my guitar and taps it. She sometimes even strums the strings, amazed over the sounds she's creating. If I want to get her to go to sleep, I pick up my guitar. She falls for it every time.
Ugh I love this little dog! She gets lullabied every day.
About 4 years ago, I was getting back into it. I started making Youtube videos (more for learning the chords for a particular song) and I was so amazed over how many people logged on. One video got over 108,000 views. I was so scared I would get criticized in the comment section, but to my surprised, people actually liked my stuff. I only did easy covers for people to learn. I thought it would help others as I trek onto Youtube to look for guidance as well. Here's one I did of Tracy Chapman's "Baby Can I Hold You". It's very basic and easy to play. I don't have any of my originals up as of yet.



Shortly after this video, I had sliced the tip of my ring finger off and it had to be glued on and bandaged for weeks and weeks. Even after the bandage was removed, I couldn't play for over a year and a half. That finger is the most important one (not because of marriage ha) but because it's the one that I use more than the others while playing. But fast forward a few years, current time, I'm itchy to get back to playing again and have been writing much more music than I ever did. With more technology and ways to publish your music, I'll be posting some of that up here on my blog occasionally. I mostly write folk music with a bit of rock/blues fusion. Depends. As soon as I'm up and running on SoundCloud and iTunes, I'll have my music available. For now, I'm just enjoying it as a hobby and trying to keep my passion alive. Music is the one thing that keeps me focused and (somewhat) sane. I never want to lose my love for creating music as well. I always wonder about other people --- if they did something they had a real passion for but just let it go unintentionally due to 'busyness'. What about you? What's your passion (hobby) in life?

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, December 10, 2013

The Consequences of an Oversized Ego

It takes time to heal a wound once it's been freshly cut open. You tried to use bandaids and anything that'll hold it together so it doesn't bleed again. The other day, I sliced my pointer finger on a can of dog food while trying to feed Lola. It's hard to do a lot of things - even typing is challenging. I'm using different fingers. Last night while making a drink, I grabbed an ice cube that had a jagged edge, and it ripped open my cut once again. But isn't that how life is with being hurt? You try using bandaids (i.e.: alcohol, rebound loves, ignoring the offender or doing something to spite them -- whatever the relationship was). Forgiveness isn't forgiveness until the offense has been forgotten about. I remember I once wrote a post asking if I could forgive yet still remember the offense. "Remember" doesn't have to be like total amnesia -- you can reminisce about it all you want --- I'm talking about the type of mindset where you're like, "Oh wait, what was that fight about again," or "Why was I so hurt over that incident," -- and yes, you can definitely conjure it up, but realistically, you have forgotten about it. That's when you know in your heart, that your bitterness from the fresh wound has healed. You can say you forgive all you want, but can you say you can forget? I just recently came to that conclusion: an offense has left my memory to where I had to sit there and think, "What happened again?" And yes, I did remember it after time, but the point is --- it's been washed away from my heart. It's a scar - a distant memory perhaps, but the healing has taken place and I feel 'wellness' instead of pain, sadness, bitterness and resentment. Those feelings are so challenging to live with because you replay scenarios in your mind over and over again. I also believe that it has to be in your timing --- you can't make it happen just like that. Forgiveness comes with forgetting, and forgetting takes a lot of time. A lot…

Ego: self-esteem or self-image; feelings. We have too many "feelings". Our feelings get hurt. Our egos get crushed and bruised and our bitterness starts to kick in. Bitterness is a result of a large ego. "Well I won't let them hurt me like that again," -- and no, you shouldn't. But when you're confident in a humble way, it's not about getting hurt again, it's about accepting that people are human beings; they're flawed just like anyone with a pulse. When your expectations of people are high, your disappointments will increase. That's just a law. It seems like we all have these inflated egos that make us cringe with every offense. I remember not too long ago, I used to get offended so damn easily. I didn't understand why I let certain people get to me, and sometimes, it was an unintentional offense, something I took way out of context. My ego heard it in the worst way. My ego would translate an innocent comment and turn it into the worst insult I ever heard. That in itself made me an instant 'friend repeller' -- so I kept my distance as well. Why? Because they kept their distance from me. Self-defense mechanism is another form of an inflated ego. There's a huge difference of the fear of getting hurt again and avoiding people due to a large ego. And sometimes, it's hard to decipher which is which. So I decided for myself, I'm leaving my ego at the door and letting people in, whether they have been a result of my wounds or not, because well, that's all forgotten about. No more bandaids. I'm just as vulnerable as the next guy. As a result, I find myself happier because I'm surrounded by such amazing people that didn't get repelled by my oversized ego.

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, December 05, 2013

Do You Think Children Should Be Allowed to Transition Before Puberty?

Keat 
The other day, I read an article in the LGBTQ Nation about this adorable little 9 year old girl named, Keat from central Ohio. She was physically born as a boy as, "Keith Rows" and her mother, Emily was more than accepting -- which should be a good thing. As she let Keat transition from boy to girl, she also let her attend the same school. The mother announced on Facebook that Keith transitioned to "Keat" and his gender is now female. Keat transitioned in front of her classmates' eyes, leaving her to be bullied and even ridiculed by the other parents via social media.  Keat's mom, Emily was tormented and even accused of "child abuse" from some of the other parents. Here's the thing: I think Keat is such a beautiful little 'girl' with so much going for her. She has a mom who is so supportive, which says a lot about how much love is there. My two cents on this is just that I feel Keat is way too young for this huge transition. When I was her age, I also wanted to be the opposite gender. I even begged people to call me "David". (Don't ask.) I dressed like a boy, acted like a boy and liked all the little girls. But that has nothing to do with gender identity. I rode motorcycles and only liked boy type of activities. I didn't want to live a life as a girl. I wanted to be a boy/man who eventually married a woman. I wanted all the parts that went with this big 'pipe' dream. It was then I reached the age of thirteen. I started liking girl clothes and even doing my hair much more feminine, growing it out and keeping up with the styles. I started wearing makeup. I loved it. I was growing up and realizing what I truly wanted. I don't think Keat had a chance to grow up, mature, or even go through puberty to understand what she really wants to be. I'm not saying it's a choice, I'm just saying for me, I personally changed my mind after puberty. Here are some pictures of myself as young as Keat, and the very last one is when I was thirteen - the time I chose to be a girl. I'm only adding my personal story and photos because I can relate 100% to this. I just hope Keat's mom reads this and sees that sometimes children make bad decisions. I would have regretted transitioning.
6 years old
8 years old
10 years old

This was me at the age of 13 years old.
Gripe #2: Emily LeVan should have let her 'daughter' transition in private or in another school, not where her peers already knew 'her'. I also think it was a brazen step to 'out' her daughter via Facebook. The bullying is going to be inevitable. I can even see why the other parents are having their share at the attacks --- but it's more about the mother's choice of letting her 'daughter' transition. It's just way too early! I have a friend whose son was transitioning. He let his son do this in between high school and college. It was really not enough time for "major" results, but enough time to walk into college as a woman. He was very feminine as a boy to begin with. That I can understand. Even Keat, as young as she is, the mother should have done this during the summer and transferred her to another school to avoid the obvious. Is it "child abuse" as some of the other parents claim it is? Indirectly it can be seen as that because if Keat decides to change her mind and be a boy again, that's going to be a much more difficult journey in my opinion. I just hope that this is really what Keat wants and that the bullying stops. The situation is sad, unfortunate and very controversial due to her age. I'm hoping Keat is much more comfortable being who she is, being who she always dreamed to be. It's sad that there are so many judgmental people out in this world, and the mother should have taken that into consideration and perhaps waited. But then again, this is only my opinion straight from the peanut gallery.


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!