Saturday, May 31, 2014

Punching Bag

I'd like to think that I give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to human nature type of b.s. in life, but sometimes it's frustrating when you get hit with a brick again and again and again. I 'get' human psychology and the way most minds work: when frustrated about yourself, you may try and drag someone else's self-esteem down with you. Usually, if someone is very insecure about themselves, whether all the time, or even just once in a while, this kinda of crap happens. I'm guilty of it too, where I'm a moody bitch just because I don't feel good about myself. It happens. But when does it come to the point where your self-esteem is so low, that you actually feel better by insulting another person for whatever reason? And the passive aggressive ones are the worst because they can always backtrack their blows by saying, "Oh, you just took it the wrong way…"

Did I?

The worst is when someone tries to "insinuate" something about yourself that's negative. They'll talk about their "friend" or their "relative" who did "this" (something you have done), and start saying all sorts of derogatory things about the person and then end their rant with a …"Right?" Two things that piss me off about this: 1. It insults whatever intelligence I have, and 2. It makes me wonder how much of a goddamn coward that person is for not coming to me with whatever issue they have.

Sure, I can be overly-sensitive, take things personally and perhaps even interpret things that aren't so, but I always wonder why some people are so incredibly insensitive to others. They realize that 'this' may hurt them, or that they'll get insulted, yet they need to get it out there. I recently had a drunk relative tell me that writing and editing promo videos were not "real work". He went on and insulted my entire life actually, even asking how I could ever be a lesbian, because he can't see it "working" - meaning, "the puzzle doesn't fit". It was then I inquired about his wife's "satisfaction" with his impotency…and of course, "How does that work?" 

But see, I don't want to go there. I don't want to insult someone back just because I was cornered by some asshole who thought it was okay just to sit there and mock my entire life. Do you see how that works? If someone who is so insecure with their own lives, their own "bedroom woes" or just their general lot in life - they'll see someone else who is seemingly happy and content with what they have and tear them apart limb by limb. Nonetheless, it still hurts. I'm not sure if there's a full moon brewing, but these type of things are being thrown my way so much lately. To be honest, and I was never like this before - it's actually making me want to stay away from people altogether and just live somewhere miles away with my little dog. She's the only one that doesn't judge me and loves me for 'me'.

And then I think, well maybe it's me - maybe I'm the one hard to get along with. But then I look back at what had transpired and I can honestly say that I did nothing to provoke these strange occurrences. I blamed it on my PMS, I blamed it on a "bad day", but the sad truth is, I'm so fed up and disappointed by people that I just want to hide. I don't want to have to keep defending myself. My backbone is a little weak these days and I'm feeling the blows even more so. I'd like to 'let go and let God', but sometimes I think He's being super silent just testing me and waiting to see if I'll fail the pop quiz He threw at me.

I was even mocked for having mild seizures at night, which keep me fearing my own bedroom. I went to a grueling sleep study that lasted two days, and I'm still waiting for the results. I was called a "hypochondriac" for this - (which I am at times) but it hurt because it is a very real and very scary condition. I have seen this same person make fun of his relative for having anxiety and depression, much like myself. You know, with just enough hurtful words, you can actually put someone who does suffer from anxiety and depression in a very dangerous situation. I'm not going to say that it's anyone's fault if someone decides to 'off' themselves, but you can definitely contribute, or be the "last straw" to which you'll probably never recover from mentally. I'm just glad that I'm strong enough to know that there are a lot of ignorant, uncaring and insensitive people roaming this earth.

It reminds me of an interview I did with Ryan Nickulas. He said something pretty significant.
"Funny enough, the only harassment I get is from other gay men who don't approve of me living my life in front of the public eye and saying that I'm stereotypical and shallow. I'm happy to take anyone's anger through keyboard and email, because there's obviously a lot of misplaced anger. You know, life sucks sometimes, and if someone wants to take it out on a keyboard directed at me? Go right ahead, I can take it. And if that helps you out, and it helps you feel better about yourself and if it keeps you from hurting another person today? Then cool. I'll be your punching bag. I don't care."

That's one tough cookie. I wish I was more like him - able to take the blows just to defuse someone else's rage. That has to take some sort of mental toll on you, especially if you live in the public eye. I sometimes imagine other celebrities and what they may go through. Can you imagine complete strangers insulting you without knowing you personally? That has to be the worst feeling in the world. I have seen so many celebrities have that moment of madness and start a Twitter war, only to delete the tweets and/or delete their entire accounts. So, I give Ryan a lot of credit for being so incredibly brave and strong.

So bear with me lately. This whole month has really gotten me down. I know I shouldn't care about what other people think of me, but when it comes down to people who you actually know berating you on a daily basis - it sort of gets to you after a while. I'm a huge believer in forgiveness and getting past the drama of it all, but at the same time, I'm also a believer in that you don't have to let people hurt you any longer, either by avoiding them at all costs, or cutting them completely out of your lives to the best of your abilities. And sadly, that makes me very sad, because I cared about a few of them. I guess things change, people change, opinions change, but I will never change for anyone.
Ever.

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, May 29, 2014

Leave Nothing Unsaid

We're so complicated, aren't we? We're complex in ways that make us so unique - the way we handle life's curveballs and the way we respond to people who have possibly hurt us. And maybe there are people out there who aren't so complicated. I have met people who were over-the-top forgiving and I have also met those who were very unforgiving, bitter and resentful for whatever they've endured. I have seen people with huge egos, to where they couldn't possibly apologize, and I have seen those with humble and sincere hearts, who were too eager to say, "Hey, I"m sorry. Please forgive me." I'm not sure if it's in our genetics or if it's just our ever-developing characters (because we're always growing and learning at any age), but it makes me wonder why some people are so angry at the world. Don't get me wrong - I have had my bad days where I just wanted to give up and say, 'eff you' to the world, but I quickly come back to reality and realize how stupid I was being.

Two things I'm not afraid of doing:
Saying, "I'm sorry."
Saying, "I forgive you."

I think it's so important to express these two sentiments, especially if it's sincere. We live day by day not knowing when our last day will approach us. I remember a very significant time in my past (and I know I told this story before), but it was one of the biggest fights I ever had with my father. We rarely fought or argued. But this day was much different. Dad was so paranoid over locking our doors before we went out, that it literally made him insane. I remember once, he said, "Whaddya' want the FBI to come bustin' troo' d' doors again?" And yes, we were all pretty much traumatized over the event, but we were moving forward now. He never moved forward, fear-wise. He wasn't doing anything bad, but he was just paranoid to the point of being a little cray-cray. Dad used to tell this next story in such a funny way, but years ago, before Madelene and I moved out, we had walked through the front door after having such a nice day out and about. As we got into the living room area, Dad looked at me, red-faced, lower lip tucked into his teeth as if he was fuming, and yelled, "Whassamadda' withchoo? You didn't lock d' fuckin' door when you went out!"

I stopped in my tracks, looked at him, remembering who came home right before me. It wasn't me.

For the first time in my life, I spoke back to him…actually yelled back.

"I locked the fuckin' door when I left! You're just paranoid, Dad!"

And although it wasn't a 'vicious' attack on him, it was just the fact that I stood my ground, and yes, I cursed right back at him. Well, he got up from his chair as though he was going to run after me, like he used to when I was a kid just to scare the crap out of me (and wow it still worked) --- so I ran out from the back door. Meanwhile, Madelene made a human barge between the doorway and my Dad so I could get the hell out of there.

Long story short, I came back home a few days later, finding him in the kitchen with a dishrag hanging from his shoulder like grandma used to do, making something in a huge pot.

He turned around and said, "I made-ja' favorite dinner -- pot roast."

I hate pot roast.

However, I was just so incredibly happy that he said "sorry" without saying "sorry". His actions spoke louder than his words. I gave him a huge hug and a kiss and said, "I'm sorry, Dad. I love you." Even though I thought he was completely over-the-top insane for what he did - it didn't matter who said "I'm sorry" - it more about acknowledging how stupid the whole thing was and connecting again.

I ate that pot roast like it was my last meal. And just for the record, it was damn good.

It occurred to me in a dream I had of him after he passed away. He said to me in the dream, "I had sucha' huge ego, Deb - I wasn't able to say d' things I wanted without having dat' tough exterior. The ego's a terrible thing! Fear made me develop that huge ego cause' I wanted to keep you all safe. But it keeps you from saying the most important words to the ones you love. When my ego finally lowered when I got sick, I got to say em' to all of youz."

Fear. Fear of being vulnerable. Fear of lowering the "tough guy" status. Fear of looking weak. My dad was the strongest and toughest man I ever met. Now I know it was all a facade and that he was just this little boy trying to puff out his feathers just to show he was gonna protect his family if and when need be. He did a great job, but we wouldn't have loved him any less if he showed his true colors that he stifled for all those years.

So my point of this long post about my father is, I don't want to ever hold back from apologizing for my wrongs, or forgiving someone when I should. I never want to miss the chance of telling someone, "I love you" when it's bursting out of my heart. I never want to fear expressing myself, even if people judge me up and down, this is who I am. I'm not tough, but I'm strong enough to know that keeping all those wonderful sentiments inside will make me regret it one day.

Yesterday, I spent some time with one of my closest friends. She's one tough cookie, but I know for a fact she's a softie inside. After our meeting, I said to her, "I'm so glad we're friends. You do so much for me and I'm so grateful to have you in my life." For the first time, I actually saw her eyes well up with tears - but of course, none fell onto her cheek. I saw her emotion, as if she needed to hear it. But the big difference is - I didn't say it for sake of having the warm-fuzzies, I said it because I meant it with every fiber of my being. I needed to say it more than she needed to hear it.

If you can't say it with words, say it with your heart by your actions. Show someone you love and appreciate them. Be sincere. And if you can't 'talk the talk', then walk the walk and make sure that you let every single person in your life know that they're a treasure, because one day, they may not be there for you to show them. Even if you don't have a close, warm connection with whomever it is in you life, say a best friend or family member, try chipping some of that ego away and let them see how your truly feel about them. It can only enhance your relationship and make you that much closer. Even though I learned this late in life, I'm glad I left nothing unsaid.

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, May 28, 2014

How Are You…?

You could have everything in the world you can possibly want: a nice car, good looks, wealth, education and anything else you would desire. The one thing it doesn't guarantee is happiness, contentment, a healthy mind…peace. Sometimes I wonder about some people I come across who seemingly "have it all" - but then think, just by their attitude toward life and people in general, they're not at peace at all. When I look at the videos of Elliot Rodger, here you see this handsome young man, going to college, has a gorgeous BMW and somehow, somewhere, something's lacking. You can hear it - you can feel it - you can sense that something is a bit 'off'. When I first saw his face, I said, "He killed all those kids?" He's gorgeous and probably comes from a well-to-do family. But why would this guy have any problems with girls? Why would girls reject this gorgeous kid? Didn't he have it all?

And then I listened. I observed. He's 'off'. He's sadly outcasted because he has issues. He's "weird" and "creepy" to everyone. He calls himself "magnificent" and "awesome". Listen to some of his videos. He sits in his brand new BMW near a beautiful ocean and/or sunset and watches young kids kiss and rants on about how life is so unfair. All he wants is "a gorgeous blonde girl" to love. His words are shallow and really only wants the experience of love, sex and companionship. His last video was all about revenge on those people who never gave him a chance to date, for those who never gave him a chance to lose his virginity or have friends for that matter.

I'm just making Elliot Rodger as an example to what I'm trying to say. There are so many people who "have it all" and yet, they lack the ability to really care about other people. When someone isn't happy about other people's happiness, what does it turn into? Envy. They think the world is entitled to them and that you should bow down and respect anything that they have to say or want. Sadly, I have seen many in my life who only care about what I do with my life, yet they never ask how I am. Sincere people who meddle into your life with good intentions will always inquire about your wellbeing - they won't judge, but they may suggest better avenues. That's okay and that's always welcomed. We all have room for improvement. People who are insincere actually want to see you fall, so they blabber on and on about how you should live your life, and if they see you falling, they will certainly let you fall until you can't get back up again. Don't expect a hand to extend out to you, because this was "deserved" in their minds. And it has nothing to do with materialistic things. It has nothing to do with what you have and what they don't. It has everything to do with their inability to achieve their own personal happiness, without spending thousands of dollars for quick gratification fixes. After their purchases, they'll look at you and let you know how shitty of a life you have, or they'll suggest that you shouldn't be living "like this" or "like that". Purchase "highs" only last for so long. After the big crash, because the novelty soon wore out, they'll be seeking out for that constant joy that others have - things as 'free' as a kiss on the beach, or holding hands with someone you love, or just people who have that inner joy that is unobtainable to many.

I wrote something the other day about it on Instagram and Twitter. I said, "Jealousy will only point out your shortcomings, because it can't compete with your ability to live as you want to live. Those are the people who are truly happy - the ones who have contentment and peace in their lives. Material things can never compete with peace."

Going back to Elliot Rodger, did he even notice the beautiful sunset while he was sitting in his expensive BMW? Did he notice that gorgeous face in the flip-cam of his iPhone? Did he realize what he was saying and how he was conveying his desires to other people who were viewing him? All that kid needed was a little social etiquette if he wanted all those "simple things" like kissing a girl and companionship. Life can get lonely up in a big mansion or in a high end car. Life can be lonely being with someone who isn't meant for you as well. I wonder, if he would have changed his attitude towards life, towards people he resented and acted more humble - would he have went to this extreme? Maybe he would have found a girl to love and a girl to love him in return. Maybe he would have still been here today enjoying life as he should have been. It just makes you revaluate everything and everyone. I have seen people like this, and I have even seen kids who had the same mindset like this too. That scares me.

Mental illness today isn't covered by most insurance companies and the medications that are prescribed are more likely to harm people than help them. I know from experience because I have taken a slew of antidepressants when I was younger, only to end up in the hospital with seizure-like convulsions. The average psychiatrist will charge up to $200.00 a pop. And realistically speaking, who can afford that? A one hour session every week will have you in the poorhouse. And even if people's insurance companies list mental health as a priority in their coverage, they still do not cover enough for the doctor to meet their goals. It's unfair to both, the patient and the doctor. So now, we have kids as well as adults walking around with little to no therapy, carrying a lot of strain on their fragile hearts. To me, those are ingredients for a possible disaster - a possible disaster to others, as well as a possible disaster upon themselves.

And yes, this world is unfair. It's supposed to be unfair. The teacher (GOD) is always silent while His students are being tested. Sadly, he failed miserably. But maybe, this is more of a lesson for us, about how to treat people right, about how to include people who are outcasted and help others the best we can and offer help to those who are struggling with whatever it is they have issues with. You can be a miracle to someone who didn't even expect it. You can be that person who makes all the difference just by asking, "How are you?"

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, May 22, 2014

Abandoned, Yet Occupied

Throughout the years, people come in and out of our lives - like the saying,  for a reason, a season or for a lifetime.  There are people that come into our lives who teach us something valuable that we'll need for our future. There are people who just stumble across our path when we're going through a hard time, and without them, we wouldn't have probably made it out of that storm. But then there are those types of people who are with us every step of the way. Even those people sometimes leave us unexpectedly, sadly as that sounds. It's no wonder that the majority of us, and I'm using that term loosely, feels abandoned. There's this sense of looming abandonment that we all have because let's face it - we've all lost someone we have loved through a breakup or even through death. Both are very similar, except when someone leaves you and is still alive, then that's a conscious choice for whatever reason. I'm not sure which one is more hurtful to tell you the truth. Many people look at their "perfect" surroundings filled with people with seemingly perfect health and think, "They'll always be in my life forever." And just like a photograph with you and all of these loved ones surrounding you, through years to come, you'll find that one by one they start disappearing from the picture.

The sad truth is, it can happen to you. It will happen to you, if you're not the one to leave first.

It's crazy how some of us, including myself, have a fear of this crazy ebb and flow of this life. How one day can be perfect, and the next, so drastically different and perhaps devastating. Have you ever loved someone with all your heart, with all your mind and energy and will to live and then suddenly, they're gone, whether through choice or by passing? All that extra energy can really tear down your faith in life, in God or just humanity itself. You start to build walls and chant within yourself, "That'll never happen to me again. I'm not ever letting anybody else in." So, you remain abandoned, yet occupied in your mind and heart. You fill up those abandoned spaces filled with resentment and grief. It lingers, because the walls you built around your heart and mind are just too high for them to escape this abandoned building. It's empty, filled with only things you've tried to replace it with. It's like trying to furnish a beautiful empty mansion with the shambles and rubble of a torn down building. It's messy. It's gritty. It. needs. help.

So instead of replacing what's missing, start tearing down the walls of your heart and mind. Let some people come in - even if you have to interview them and see if they're genuine enough. Be open. By letting the walls down, you're also letting resentment, bitterness and some of the grief escape. It takes time. I hate the saying, "Trust no one!" -- NO. I disagree. Trust, until you have a reason not to. People are imperfect, they have flaws and quirks that we have to take into consideration. We all have imperfections. Don't blame a newcomer for what someone in your past has done to you. People are different - even if you tend to gravitate toward the 'same' type of people. When you genuinely let people in, instead of "replacing" them, you'll see that one day, you can love again, you can have that best friend back again, you can be YOU again.

All of this I say with experience. When you try to replace something or someone that's not meant to be, it'll never work. It's like trying to fit a triangle into a box. Never force a relationship, whether friendship or an intimate relationship. Forced unions suffer the struggles of 'trying to fit in', all because of the fear of being alone. There's a saying - and I'm not sure who quoted this, but it is better to be alone, than to be lonely while being with somebody. It's almost as bad as feeling abandoned, yet that person is still there available to talk to…kind of…sort of, like perhaps talking to a wall. Nobody wants walls. Tear them down. Be open. Be inviting. Don't fear abandonment, unless you plan to occupy that abandoned building.

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, May 21, 2014

Are Psychic Mediums Conniving the Vulnerable for Money

Sometimes life has its challenging twists and turns, even if it's just emotionally 'twisted'. There are so many unanswered questions floating in and out of my mind, and sometimes, I'm not even sure if I really want those questions answered in some cases. Nonetheless, it still looms over me like a dark cloud. During my entire lifetime, I may have lost a bit less than a handful of people, three who were very close to my heart, especially my father. I think it's safe to say that when you lose someone you love, it's totally okay to ask questions and wonder where they are, or if there is a place in the afterlife. Even when you have faith in whatever religion you believe in, it can really challenge your belief system and make you wonder, "Is there really an afterlife? Are they safe? Will they be okay?" You love the person so much that you wish you could know for sure that they're doing alright and perhaps, they're not suffering any longer. Life's big mystery will keep tugging at us, until we get some sort of answer or sign or dream that tells us that they're okay and that we're okay too, because it means there is an afterlife.

I have issues with psychic mediums and those who predict the unseen 'now' and future. I do believe some mean well and try to do their best to give us some sort of comfort in life, but honestly, it's so incredibly dangerous to me when I think about my faith in God and my lack of faith in humankind. If the medium is authentic (in rare cases), you don't know who you are actually communicating with. So let's say you go to the Long Island medium (or any medium for that matter). And we'd like to think that Theresa Caputo is this down-to-earth and loving person whose main goal is to make other people's longing to communicate with their loved ones happen.

Now hear me out… Being that I'm of Christian faith, talking to deceased loved ones or spirits goes against our beliefs. So does drinking and working on the sabbath, but we still do it. When you think of the spirit world vs. our third dimensional world, it's quite different as we would 'think' or 'assume'. Since we cannot see spirits (most of us at least) with our own eyes, they're still floating around us, but we just can't see or hear them. Now think about the internet and wifi signals. They're all floating around us too, which we can't hear or see. Don't you think if hackers can tap into our wifi and "secure" internet systems, that the spirit world can tap into the communication that's trying to be held with a "secure" and appointed spirit? What I mean is, you may not be getting communication from your loved one. You may be getting it from an undesired, desperate spirit that may cause you more harm than good.

"But she knew I had a locket inside a box in my nightstand. How could she have possibly known that?"

Any spirit would, especially the devil in most cases, if you believe there is one. This is why I feel that mediumship and tinkering with the other side is so incredibly dangerous. You don't know what you're dealing with. And God forbid the person who is the medium is out to do this for a good buck or two - pulling the heartstrings of those who are mourning just to cash in, I really feel bad for them. Remember Sylvia Browne? She was a well known psychic for police departments, finding a resolution for many unsolved cases. Was it luck? Was it real psychic abilities? Or was it misguided information from the other side? She lacked a lot of "super powers" in her late stages of being a medium when her answers were untrue. You can read about her life here. It was proven that her psychic abilities were false.

  • Browne made many public predictions which were subsequently proven false. Among the more notable incidents were the following: In 2002: Browne told the parents of 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck, who had disappeared earlier that year, that Hornbeck was dead and had been kidnapped by a dark-skinned man with dreadlocks. Hornbeck was found alive in 2007; his kidnapper was Caucasian and short-haired.
  • In June 2008, UK television network ITV2 was sanctioned by Ofcom for reairing the Montel Williams episode featuring Browne's original prediction. 
  • In November 2004, Browne told the mother of kidnapping victim Amanda Berry, who had disappeared 19 months earlier: "She's not alive, honey." Browne also claimed to have had a vision of Berry's jacket in the garbage with "DNA on it". Berry's mother died two years later believing her daughter had been killed. Berry was found alive in May 2013.
  • On Larry King Live in 2003, Browne predicted she would die at age 88. She died in 2013, at age 77. 

But, I have to admit, she wasn't only interesting, she had some really good core beliefs that coincided with my own. I liked her, just as I like Theresa Caputo. They're just very likable people who have this talent to tap into whatever. Whether it's authentic or out for money (as Sylvia made 3 million a year), it was mainly for entertainment purposes only.

The fact is, there is proof that many of these so called mediums gather up information online, from license plates and other info before a bereaved person goes in for a reading. If you listen to Theresa, she will usually ask, "How do you relate to the months, April and December?" And the person will start bawling, and through their tears and sniffles, they manage to mutter out, "April was her birthday and December is when she passed away." Those are public records. Most shows are scripted - most reality TV shows of any kind are partially scripted. Remember John Edwards the psychic that was on TV a while back? He was allegedly caught using video cameras and microphones in the greenroom to overhear his guests talking to one another. And guess what they were talking about? I can get into the "cold" and "hot" readings, but it's so redundant and predictable, (for a lack of better words) that you'll find most people are just too gullible due to their vulnerabilities.

Then again, there are the "spiritual hackers", as I like to call them.

People of Catholic faiths trickle in one by one going against their own beliefs just to make sure their loved ones are okay. We don't have enough faith to be reassured that God has taken them up to heaven. Even I slipped into a little psychic shack over in Provincetown, MA while I was on vacation trying to defuse and get my mind off my father's death that took place a few months prior. And yes, I was hoping to hear something of significance. I always wanted to bring my parents to Ptown because it was a fisherman's haven. My dad was a huge fisherman and owned part of the South Street Fish Market. Seafood was a staple at home. He said, "One day I'll come up with you guys," but I knew the trip was just too much for him. So, when I started talking to the psychic who didn't know me at all, his first words were, "I'm sorry for your loss."

Silence.

"You do know that your father took this trip up with you, right? He's here."

Silence.

To anyone sitting in my chair whether they believed or not - they would have totally ate this up. And I did. I think the medium was tapping into spirits, but not my dad's. Don't get me wrong, maybe it was him, but we as human carnal beings cannot know that for a fact, even if we are psychic. The truth is, you will get spiritual hackers that will tap into your most vulnerable desires to speak to that one person you're missing so badly. And then - you're hooked. You keep going and going and start playing with ghost detecting crap, like I did soon after my trip. I had real ghost hunters with all their high tech equipment come into every room that my dad frequented the most in his house. Nothing was really detected until we went into one particular room. The ghost hunter asked, "Hey Charlie, I hear you were a very outgoing kind of guy when you were here. Is that true?"  He had this device which gave off a weird staticky sound along with other random faded out voices - like a CB. We waited about 60 seconds and then heard, to which my ears picked up as my dad's voice, "Yes sir!" And Dad used to say that in the same tone that this voice did. It was totally my dad's voice.

But remember, spirits, especially demonic ones can mimic the voice of your loved one.

My point is, I truly believe some people mean well and they use their psychic abilities to try and help others. When you have this incredible talent, whether you're religious or not, who doesn't want to make a buck or two with this rarity of all gifts? The thing is, there is a fine line between helping people and conniving people out of money, by using their vulnerabilities and bereavement. I'm not saying they aren't authentic, but it can't be trusted. I can even feel spiritual presences, but I pray for a hedge of protection when this happens. I do believe that our loved ones visit us in our dreams, but they're not going to reveal anything that would open the doors to the knowledge of the 'meaning of life' for you. It doesn't work that way and the fact of the matter is - we don't know how any of that works. If you still need some sort of divine confirmation that your loved one is in heaven or that they're okay and happy on the other side, then pray. But please keep in mind that most psychic mediums are out to empty your pockets. Some may be real and most are frauds. Don't settle for vague answers. If you're Christian, don't settle by going to one at all. Have faith and save your money.

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, May 10, 2014

Thank You, Mom…

Straight from the agonizing breech birth that you endured with me, you and I are not supposed to be here right now. But here we are, best friends, still enjoying life together and always there for one another for anything. Thank you for choosing to have me. After 7 years of having 3 girls, you could have just "deleted" me. You didn't. You could have had your life back, without another kid latching onto your apron strings. You chose to keep me, even when I was a bit of an 'oops'. Thank you.

Between scrapes and bruises to slicing raw potato slices for my puffy-cried-out eyes, all because someone broke my heart, you always healed me and bandaged me up. Thank you.

Between teaching me how to ice-skate on the pond, and afterwards taking me out to that Polynesian restaurant chatting over a pu pu platter, I leaned in and told you, "Mom, this is the best day of my life!" -Thank you.

Between endless after school activities and religion classes, to trudging along and going to my stupid field trips because I was too scared to go somewhere else without you, thank you.

Between being so open-minded about how I loved dressing like a boy and allowing me to dress that way in school, to supporting me when I finally told you what you already knew:

"Mom, I'm gay."
"I know."

Thank you.

When I came home from school, I would open the door to my bedroom to find that it was cleaned, polished, vacuumed and the bed was just immaculate, as if I were in a five star hotel. Only thing missing were mints on my pillow. You worked so hard on that house and still do. Thank you.

Every. single. fricken. day, there was a different meal on the table for the family. You not only shopped, but you would come home, clean and cook your butt off for a family of six. Thank you.

Sunday dinners. My GOD -- thank you.

Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, Easter, 4th of July and Thanksgiving - you gave me memories that will last me till I'm 120 years old. You set up every single holiday so perfectly. Thank you.

You taught me about God, about Jesus, about my faith. I never lost it and it only gets stronger because you also still believe. Thank YOU for the biggest gift you could have ever given me.

Working together at the pizzeria was fun. We'd trek over to the workers' bungalows who were all from Mexico. Fresh homemade enchiladas over a fire pit, tequila and dancing. Boy, did we have fun. That was the first time you hung out like that with me. Thank you.

Removing a 400 lb ATV off of me when I fell off that small cliff into that marshy area couldn't have been easy and nearly impossible for you to have known because it was too far away. Half my face was sinking into the mud and my ankle was against the hot exhaust pipe. I almost died. Whether divine intervention or just mother's intuition, thank you.

Home remedies:
  • A meatball for my headaches (or any ailment)
  • Homemade chicken soup when we were sick
  • Blackberry brandy for my menstrual cramps
  • Dragging me into the steam room when I had croup cough or asthma attacks
  • Patting my back when I had chest pain (gas) or throwing me a cold beer to get rid of it (ha) 
  • Scotch for a toothache…or any ache

Thank you.

While waiting for me to get through my icy commute from work on my birthday you set up a cozy fire and a spectacular dinner on the table for me. You were so worried. I was a wreck. Drinks were also waiting. Thank you.

From all the vacations you brought me to, and all the ones that I was able to bring you on in return - we always had such a blast, even if it rained all week and even if you woke up 4am to make coffee. I wouldn't have had it any differently. Thank you.

You never judged me, always loved me. You stuck by me through everything I went through, because you went through it with me. You taught me about life through your own life. Not many people can 'talk the talk' and then 'walk the walk'. That's huge.

You taught me how to cook and entertain guests. You taught me about social etiquette, to say "please" and "thank you" and to be good to other people to the best of my ability.

You gave me my three other best friends: my sisters. I love them more than anything. Thank you.

And now, here we are still going through so many things together as a family. You make me laugh all the time. Remember what you said to me when I was younger about finding a soul mate? You said, "If they can make you laugh, they're a keeper."  Well, I think this applies to you too, because I've never laughed so hard with someone before. You're definitely a keeper!

I just want to say, I love you, Mom. I remember every single thing you've done for me and our family. Without you - I'm lost. You make my life worth living. I look forward to seeing you every single day. From the endless hunts for your toaster to shuffling through aisles of the dollar stores, I always have fun with you.

You're my best friend.

I love you.

Happy Mother's Day…

Did I say, thank you…?

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, May 07, 2014

Little Home Remedies & Tricks to Enhance Your Life

I always have these little things that I do that people are always like, "I never knew that!" And usually, it really works. So I decided to do a fun little post about my little habits and what works for me health-wise and spiritually as well. Hope this helps you too! You may have already heard of some of these, but I live by these religiously.

  • Sprinkle some cinnamon in your coffee. It's not only delicious, but it lowers your blood sugar.
  • When ordering a new drink at the bar, ask the bartender to put it in the same glass. Your ice is officially seasoned and will taste much better. (Bartending experience.) 
  • Render bacon fat and always use it when frying eggs. burger or steak in the pan. Trust me. 
  • Include avocados when eating eggs of any style -- it will fill you up until later afternoon or even dinner. 
  • For a hangover, especially for an upset stomach, take a probiotic with 2 billion active cultures. 
  • Add 2-3 drops of vodka in your ear if you have a wax buildup. It's an antiseptic. 
  • Don't speak bad about anyone for 1 week. Try 2 weeks. Try 1 month. See how you feel. 
  • When you're super stressed out, hop onto Pandora and add the "Today's Comedy" channel, or watch any favorite stand up comic - it'll make you feel so much better. Laughter's the BEST medicine. 
  • When making veggies of any kind, whether organic or frozen, use your regular seasonings and then add some parmesan cheese and mix it up. Not only does it disappear, but your guests will ask, "How did you make these???" It'll be gone in seconds. (Psst --- people do that for dog's food when they're stubborn and won't eat. Minutes later --- gone.) 
  • If you have a dog, make sure that dog sleeps with you. Get over your OCD manias. It'll give you peace. 
  • Freeze white and red grapes. Then, when serving wine, use the appropriate grapes for each glass. 
  • Burgers taste better in a pan. BBQ's just suck the juice right outa' them. 
  • Sleep apnea? Pop a Halls lemon & honey cough drop. It'll lube your tubes so they don't get stuck. 
  • Sore throat? Do a shot of vodka. It's an antiseptic and soothes it. 
  • Lime juice takes away the alcohol taste. This is very dangerous though, especially if you're drinking a fruity drink. 
  • You need to buy baby wipes…even if you don't have babies. 
  • If you never told a certain relative before that you love them, tell them, and watch how your relationship blooms even more so. 
  • When making a nice linguini/spaghetti dish, for the final touch, add fresh basil to the top -- not only is it a garnish but it's extra delicious. 
  • Use basil in your vodka & club to give it a little zest of a mojito-like taste. Basil and mint are in the same family.
  • Have a cold? Add fresh fruit to any vodka drink, especially citrus. It doubles the amount of vitamin C. Although alcohol will deplete you of vitamins, if you drink it with vitamins, it does the complete opposite. Got this sweet info from a doctor and it totally works! 
Good luck & enjoy! 

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, May 06, 2014

Raising the Minimum Wage: Is it a Good Idea?

Making minimum wage with my crazy family.
Back when I was in middle school, I remember my friend Beth telling me about this Chinese takeout joint that was hiring anyone off the books. I had no idea what "off the books" even meant, until she explained it was just straight up cash. I didn't even have working papers. I made $4 bucks an hour and only worked on the weekends. Back then, minimum wage was $3.75, so I was really happy about the offer. I'd come home with extra cash so I could spend it at the bowling alley or skating rink. I was a happy camper. After high school, I started working for a pizza joint as the delivery girl. I worked my ass off. I was there for 12 hours per day, from 10am to 10pm 7 days a week. I didn't mind it because it was like my home away from home. I was working for a friend of mine. I racked in well over $50 bucks in tips from one night and didn't even make over $2 bucks an hour. Then my father dragged me into his fish market and restaurant to work. I did everything from cleaning dishes to frying up calamari and frog legs. I have to admit, that was a fun time working with my family.

This was on Halloween. The theme was, "Futuristic Jobs". Mine was "work from home".
Yes, times have changed. I then mastered the computer and started working for a medical firm making $15 an hour. That was a huge start. I then got in with IBM Corporation through a temp/perm agency doing accounting for $18 an hour and benefits. (Which is actually low for that type of job.)  I was making more money than some of my friends who had been through college. My wages kept going up with the added experience I was getting from my temp jobs. I then ended up making over $20 an hour plus sales commission at a phone company.  I started from the bottom and worked my ass off to get to where I was. It wasn't easy. I worked all my life and never once thought, "Ugh this is shit pay." I did "shit jobs" so I could get to the good ones. I never expected a "shit job" to pay me the same salary as someone who had the knowledge and experience of working in a fast paced office. To me, that didn't seem fair. 

This minimum wage argument which begs for people who work in fast food restaurants to be given $15 an hour isn't fair to me. Why? Because employers and business owners would eventually shut down. They would have to raise the upper management pay a great deal just so they don't feel like they're making….minimum wage. Jobs would eventually be lost and so would that business. There's no doubt that people who work in fast food restaurants and other jobs alike work their asses off - just as I did at the Chinese takeout and pizza joint. It was hard work and I even want to say, harder in the physical aspect than say, sitting in some cushy office like I did at IBM doing accounting. That to me was much easier. For someone else who only has experience with manual labor - I doubt they would know what to do with a general ledger report. I had to step out of the box and learn how to work the computer and all the necessary programs and mainframes and gain experience. You don't have to be some Harvard Grad to get a good job. It's based more on experience than it is with a higher education. 

Think: if you raise the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour, then you have to raise anyone above them at least for the same amount. So say someone makes $8 an hour and the closing manager makes $12 an hour? Now raise both of their salaries $7 bucks. The owner would have to raise all pay because all jobs aren't created equal. It's about being fair. It's about being logical. Your "living wage" would make the cost of living even that much higher. Then what? 

"I want more!" 

If you don't want to expand your knowledge and experience and get a better paying job, then either be happy with the minimum wage or marry someone who can support your desired lifestyle. To me, the hardest job in the world is being a stay at home mom. They don't get paid to do it either, but most are fortunate enough to have a partner or spouse to take care of the other end. There is nothing wrong with being a stay at home or "domestic engineer", as long as you're happy and you can make ends meet. No job is better than the other, it's just one job pays more than the other. Is it fair? Maybe in the cosmic scheme of things, not so much, but it's how this world works. You do the best you can and if you want more, then get more. 

Am I way off with this? I can't be the only one who thinks that the economy would collapses if we start raising wages for everyone at an unreasonable rate. 

Thoughts?

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, May 03, 2014

Blabbermouth

For the most part, people just don't care. And what I mean by that is, that frivolous blabber people do that seems to be absolutely pointless and well, boring. There's two types of people: the blabbermouth that never stops talking about "nothing" - perhaps nervous chatter, and then you have the blabbermouth who talks about morbidly fascinating 'taboo' type of things, which can be kinda' interesting. But when you're super exhausted and just wanting the bare minimum, both can be frustrating to experience. A little secret about my wife: whenever she is entirely bored with a one way conversation, her eyebrows immediately rise to the ceiling. She hates when I reveal that little factoid about her.

Psychoanalyzing.

It can definitely be a fun event, especially when you're eavesdropping, and especially if it's in a bar. And remember, (from my own experience) - bartenders can hear a pin drop from a mile away. You think that you're 'far enough' - but you're not. Trust me. I was a bartender for a while and lemme' tell you how many times I have heard couples having 'whisper arguments' or even, the dreaded 'sexy talk'. Then you have the gossip hens chatting away about whomever. We. heard. it. all. Not even two months ago, my wife and I were at our local bar and grill having dinner. We had a little 'whisper spat through gritted teeth' while the bartender was all the way across the bar serving another customer. When she came back, I said, "It's okay, we're done fighting." She smiled and said, "Good, I wanted to give you some privacy." I can't tell you how important it is to shut your mouth at the bar - if it's a private matter.

Anyway, back to psychoanalyzing. There was a guy sitting at the bar at our favorite restaurant not too long ago. He was eating wings and talking to his friend who happened to be sharing his appetizer . You rarely see two men sharing an appetizer, but that's not the point. Anyway, the guy was, I dunno - maybe in his mid-forties, had dress pants and a button up shirt on. He looked like some computer programmer - a bit nerdy, and a bit socially awkward. But what I heard led me to believe he was not only single, but super undesirable to women. As he licked and slurped the buffalo sauce off from his fingers very loudly, he explained how he smokes three packs of cigarettes a day and drinks at least five drinks a day. He was going on and on, bragging about all of his vices, "I eat shit all day long - you name it - from greasy burgers, potato chips, donuts and pizza - I eat everything and look how healthy I am!" I shot a look over at him wanting to ask if he was married just so I can confirm, that there was no way a decent woman in their right mind would say "I do" to him. It was then he said, "My only problem is finding a good woman."

Only? 

Fillers.

You know, I do have a heart and feel bad for some people, like the ones who have anxiety and start in with that nervous chatter. It doesn't matter what it is - they're always talk about something dreadfully boring at great lengths. It's the kind of conversation where you find yourself standing in front of that person, screaming inside your mind trying to telepathically remind them that their medication wore off. If this happens to be you - remember one thing: if you're talking to someone and all you see is nodding and a plastered smile, they haven't heard one word you've said. Go 'head and ask them, "Oh geez, I forgot what I was saying - can you remind me?"  99% of the time, they won't be able to help you out. I always wonder why people need "fillers". God forbid if it's silent - oh - let's chat about the lightbulb that went out in my foyer and how hard it was to replace that bulb because you know, it was a special kinda' bulb with special kinda' wattage and all, so when I went to Home Depot to ask if they had any, they said…."

*Insert gun shot sound*

"X" Out

And let's face it - we all have unimportant things to say from time to time, which is why I have this blog to begin with. People can either read or they can simply "X" out and say, "Wow, that was an easy getaway." I sometimes see my wife's eyebrows reaching the ceiling as she tries so desperately to hide this well-known quality of hers - but she loves me thank God. I get into one of my 'manic-driven-I've had way too much coffee-high-espisodes' and Mad's just like, "Shut. up. now." And I do…sometimes.

Spoiler alert.

My mother and I would run if my dad wanted to watch a movie with us that he'd already seen. "Oh dis' is a true pitcha' - ya gotta see dis'!" He'd insist and insist until we finally gave in and sat down in the TV room to watch the "true pitcha'". Not even through the first ten minutes,  he's giving his commentary. "Ya see, he's doin' dat all wrong! First you gotta kill em' den' chop up the evidence: head, hands and feet." And if it was his favorite part coming up, he'd let us know. "Dis is gonna surprise you! Wait - watch dis' scene!" As if we weren't watching to begin with. But he kept on and on and on… "Shut up, Charl," mom would yell out, or he would get a big "SSSSHHHHHHHHH." Eventually, we would know the ending before the ending even arrived.



So which category do you fall into? Are you the Chatty Cathy or are you the one that raises their eyebrows and nods with a plastered smile hoping the person doesn't realize you have just drifted off into another land while they went on and on and 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!