Girl On Fire

Girl On Fire

There is a bit of a back-story as to why I posted this song. My 21 month old God-daughter is in love with this song. She heard it in the car with her Dad and immediately became obsessed. He immediately downloaded it for her and put it on his iPod, but to no avail. She wants this song All.The.Time. He burned it onto a CD for her and he & her mother play it on a loop whenever she asks for it. I’m talking to her Mom on Skype one day and, as always, the little beauty comes over to the computer to talk to me. She’s known for making slightly bossy demands of me and on that particular day she says “Aunt Li-Li…sing fire.” It comes out a little bit like “Oh Li-Li”, but the “sing fire” part was very clear. I sang the opening chorus and she’s little, so she’s super impressed by this. Whenever we tell her she’s becoming a “big girl”, she believes it’s because she’s a “Girl On Fire”, and then the vocal stylings of Aunt Lisa are even more impressive. It’s become her anthem now, and it’s so incredibly precious that she can connect to something so strongly at such a young age. It’s a fantastic song and every time I hear it, I smile when I think of how she demands I sing it every single time. I do sing, I’ve had vocal training, but I’m not delusional enough to think I sing like Alicia Keys. As long as I sing well enough for my Godchild’s ears, I’m good. She thinks I’m a rock star. It’s precious beyond words.

Enjoy & Have A Happy & Safe New Year!

Long Night’s Moon

Full Disclosure: I am a Moon Child. That means different things to different people. For me, it’s not just a Wiccan reference and it has nothing to do with werewolves or vampires. (Yes, I just rolled my eyes.) Anyone can be a Moon Child, regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs. I’m not a full time Wiccan, so the reference isn’t entirely in regard to that aspect of my life.

It starts with being a full blown night owl. I have been a night owl since I was in the womb. To this day I am more alive and energetic under the moon and stars than any other time during the course of a day. I come alive right about the same time the moon rises (or as soon as it gets dark), and by the time the moon sets, I’m completely uninterested in the coming sun. I have little use for it.

I know so many people who adore the sun, who thrive in sunlight, who get depressed without it, who believe they never look good without a tan. I’ve never been one of those people. Give me an indigo sky with the moon and stars any day.

Many people have heard me say “I hate the sun. It’s evil.” I do feel that way, and some of it has to do with the fact that I am extremely photo-sensitive. That and I just plain hate the sun. I am often picked on for my extremely pale complexion. I’ve always been very fair, but have maintained said complexion out of a fierce need to stay out of the sun, unless I have sunscreen on, and even then I’m also wearing polarized sunglasses. I am the most rigorous user of sunscreen that I know.

I have a family history of various types of cancer, so I have religiously used sun protection my entire life. I’ve had my share of sunburns and don’t want to make things any worse, so SPF is non-negotiable for me. I usually walk out the door with, at the very least, SPF 20 on. Bare Minerals Advanced Protection SPF 20 Moisturizer is a natural product, so you don’t have to worry about parabens or any other iffy ingredients. It comes in a couple of different options based on your skin type. On days when the sun is more intense, and especially during the summer, I use a different product as my base. Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 40. This is also a natural product, infused with Argan Oil, and chemical free. It smells amazing and works like a charm. Both products can be worn under make-up or by themselves. (Yes, I’m a bit of a product junkie. Be glad I didn’t start discussing make-up!)

I’m not going to preach my personal views, because we are all entitled to live our lives as we please, so long as we aren’t harming anyone. We all know how important sun and skin protection is. What does this have to do with my love affair with the moon? I have no idea, somehow I got off topic. That happens when you’re naturally long-winded. (That’s a joke. Stay with me!)

My love of the moon extends also to stars. I have always loved astronomy. I could spend hours with a telescope just staring out into the sky. I can always tell you where specific planets are and I love to point out my two most important constellations during the year, both of which shine directly over my house at different times. I can just look up and say “That’s Pisces.” or “That’s Scorpio.” I’m extremely adept at locating planets as well, especially Mars and Venus.

My hope for this final full moon of 2012 is that you will look into the sky tonight, weather permitting of course, and find something you love about the moon and the stars. For the moon will forever balance out the sun. No matter what happens in life…the moon sees all.

Over You

Over You

Performed by Cassadee Pope, Season 3 Winner of The Voice

A moving song for those who have experienced loss.

This song is available for download on Amazon and iTunes. It blows me away every single time I hear it.

Holiday Gift-Giving & Outrageous Decorating

Unlike 98% of the people I know, I don’t celebrate Christmas. To this day people still act shocked when I say I don’t celebrate Christmas and never have. During my first year working on my ParaPsi degree, I stumbled upon Wicca. It turns out I’d been utilizing a lot of the minor nuances for most of my life, and have since adopted additional bits and bobs as a bit of a back-drop for me spiritually. Thank you Mom and your Kabbalistic teachings.

I grew up the daughter of someone who became über observant during the High Holidays, and downright neurotic during Passover. If it had been presented to me differently I wouldn’t have such an aversion to it now. I haven’t really observed the holidays over the last few years. It begins with losing both of my parents, moving into my house, and then realizing I can’t find a simple menorah, or the candlesticks that my Great-Grandmother brought with her when she emigrated from Lithuania. Technically they’re all in the house, but since more than half of it is still packed, pinpointing one or two items is exhausting. So for Chanukah, it comes down to simple gift-giving.

It’s nauseating to me how commercial the holidays have become. It’s always been over the top, but this year was definitely the worst in history, with stores opening up hours before Black Friday even became Friday. Instead of people enjoying  time with family, they were waiting on line to get into stores, acting as if they’ve never seen such wonders in a store before. It’s all the exact same stuff that was there on Monday, and unless it’s a brand new item you’ve never seen before as many new things came out at exactly 12:01 a.m. that Friday, it’s the same crap they always have, but now they’ve tweaked the prices to make everything seem extra special. It’s not.

I can’t begin to say how many people have told me that they simply dread their credit card bills right now, because in a country with so much excess, people actually feel that they have to buy every single person they know, are friends with, like, etc., a gift of some sort. It’s no longer about family, laughter, sharing, it’s all about the gifts. I realize it’s been like this for quite some time, but it’s actually never been that way for me.

Growing up, Chanukah was never about who gave and/or received the most expensive gift. It was a time where my close immediate family got together for a nice meal, my Grandmother would make enough latkes for three professional hockey teams and their families, and discussions would range from current events to complete and utter wackiness. The sounds and smells of home. For me, that’s been gone for a long time and it’s a piece of me that has died because only two of those family members remain. It is a piece of me that will be reborn when I have children of my own and become the matriarch I was born to be. Until then, it’s about thoughtfulness. A gift does not have to be outrageous, but it does have to be thoughtful. I try to give things that people would not buy for themselves, things they love, things they’ve talked about wanting, but generally things they wouldn’t spend the money on because they’ve got so much else going on that the funds simply aren’t there. I love things I can make for others, but I like to start the DIY stuff in August. It’s not some insane competition when you’ve given yourself additional time to prepare. I have so few people on my list any way, but I still like to give myself that extra time just in case I’ve procrastinated at some point.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the insanity of holiday decorations. I’m from New York City where it’s a nice blend of menorahs and Christmas lights. I love driving through the city during this time of year because you simply do not see menorahs in the suburbs. I live on a street where approximately 30 homes are decked out for Christmas. It’s pretty quiet here, for all intents and purposes. On neighboring streets the displays are bigger, louder, and a few spots in particular are horrendous eye sores the second it gets dark, which is literally by 5:00 PM. I drove past one a week or so ago and thought I’d go blind from all the action. One spot in particular is decked out to the point where you almost expect Santa to land there via helicopter. There may have even been a heli-pad on the roof, I’m not 100% sure because I had to look away fast, lest I lose the vision in my right eye! I will try to get a photo to share with all of you. It’s that obnoxious.

Living outside major metropolitan areas, you don’t get the balance of the city. Here, you might find one or two items amidst all the Christmas decorations in a store. Specialty items for decorating aren’t hard to find on the Internet. I have absolutely no idea what I’d do with an 8 foot menorah on my front lawn, or a 12 foot dreidel, but I’d love to see my neighbor’s faces if I ever do decide to purchase one and put it out before Thanksgiving even starts!

Suburban life, you’ve got to love it!