5 Things You Didn’t Know About Microchips

http://blog.adoptandshop.org/5-things-you-didnt-know-microchips/

I did opt for the one with Found Animals. It is easy to use and it helps to update it periodically with photos, medical info, etc. It’s a good precautionary measure, but the few lost animals I have found either had tags or didn’t, so I do think it’s especially important for an ID tag if you have a dog and obviously, if you’re going to let your cat(s) come and go as they please, a good tag is inexpensive when you factor in your own peace of mind.

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Why Vets Are Getting Away With Murder

Why Vets Are Getting Away With Murder

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/why-vets-are-getting-away-with-murder/

*I think I’ve been lucky to find a vet that isn’t pushing vaccinations. If I skip a year, she tells me it’s ok. In fact, we’ve spoken about it and only a few are mandatory if your pet needs a license. Beyond that, it’s your choice. Obviously dogs exposed to other dogs probably need more vaccinations, just to be on the safe side. I do not own a dog, so I cannot speak for dog owners or their thoughts. I can only speak as a pet owner. I don’t believer in obsessing and over-vaccinating. In fact, I think it’s a lot healthier not to.*

How This Jewish American Wiccan “Celebrates Christmas”…

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How This Jewish American Wiccan “Celebrates Christmas”

In the very near future, I will be spending a huge chunk of my time in Israel. It will be nice not having to explain holidays to anyone or explaining why Christmas is just another day to me. For now, in the suburbs of a predominantly Irish and Italian neighborhood with a good 20 churches in pretty much every direction I turn (I wish I was exaggerating), I am still explaining myself. I have no idea why people still think their religion is the only one that exists on this planet. I’ll never understand it!

I am completely respectful of other people’s religious beliefs and their holidays, so long as I am not subjected to them in a means to try and convert me, but my spiritual beliefs and holidays are often met with some extremely disturbing questions, as opposed to the few I have received recently that were honest, curious, and filled with excitement for knowledge. They were by no means offensive. When a person is open and honest, and interested, it makes it so much easier for me to be me, as opposed to feeling like I have to repress my thoughts.

A few weeks ago someone wished me a “Merry Christmas” and received my usual response, which is that I do not celebrate Christmas. This is someone whose establishment I frequent once or twice a month, and not only did she look like I’d just kicked her, but she came over to make sure she hadn’t offended me. I had to explain that I celebrate Chanukah and Yule, and that I am not Catholic or Christian. She was incredibly confused, but she came over to make sure she hadn’t offended me with a wish for a good holiday. Me, I simply like to be clear with people. I am not trying to offend anyone, but if you’re going to wish me well, wish me properly. Don’t make assumptions and please, don’t tell me I “don’t look Jewish”. I don’t even know how to answer that one without telling you off, and because I come from a rich ancestral well of knowledge and an incredibly deep DNA pool, I can assure you that we come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. We are all distinctly unique, some more than others.

Growing up, Christmas was not a word used much in our home. Not for any other reason than the simple fact that we’re Jewish. We had many Christian and Catholic friends, some who understood and some who did not, that we ourselves did not celebrate the same holiday, nor did we share the same spiritual or religious beliefs that they did. It is extremely disturbing to me that in 2013, any Jew still has to explain themselves.

People like to quote the Bible at me, and they are generally New Testament folk. They’re the kinds of people that don’t realize exactly how “new” the New Testament really is. I, myself, do not adhere to anything outside of the Old Testament. Even that kind of loses me at times. Prayer is an amazing thing, but I like to stick to my own path when it pertains to anything of a spiritual nature. I am not trying to change or convert anyone.

Today is simply December 25th to me. It’s not a holiday, but it IS my Great-Uncle’s birthday. He passed away 15 years ago, but I still remember him very clearly. I remember the last things he ever said to me, and I remember how silent this time of year became after he passed away. For several years prior to his passing, myself and two other family members would try to spend the day with him. Even though he had long since stopped acknowledging his own birthday, he still loved going out to a nice restaurant and enjoying good food, good company, and he told stories like nobodies business. They’re the kinds of stories you want to hear from someone over the age of 80, because you know that no matter how much time passes, you will never hear such stories again.

After he passed away, the tradition maintained in my home on Christmas Day was movies and good food. Either we went to the movies and came home to a really great meal, or we stayed home with a pile of movies and made a meal together. Almost always, it was homemade Italian food from scratch, or Chinese food from the best place in the area.

To know me is to know that I make killer Italian food. It’s something I love doing, but I am just as comfortable making Asian cuisine, Mexican cuisine, and pretty much anything else that I have mastered in all my years of cooking. Nothing is impossible, but I am an epic lasagna failure. It’s the only thing I make that falls apart, so I’ve stopped doing it. It is never inedible, it just never does what it’s supposed to do. Despite a family recipe for veggie lasagna that has been passed down for four generations, I completely and utterly suck at it. It’ll probably be another ten years before I attempt it again. It takes time and patience, and we all know I have no patience.

Over time I have found that people really seem to be offended whenever I clarify that I do not celebrate Christmas. They look at me like I kick puppies, torture kittens, steal winning lottery tickets, and am just, on a whole, not a good person. I look at them with the knowledge that, for over 5000 years, my people have not celebrated Christmas. It’s not on our calender and it’s not in our religious texts. It’s perfectly ok to not share the same religious beliefs. If we did, we’d be living in some kind of bizarre utopia. That’s not a world I can imagine functioning in. Differences make the world go ‘round. We can either choose to come together and learn from one another or we can continue fighting in the name of religion. The choice, however, is generally not ours to make because those that govern our respective countries are a huge part of why organized religion is failing. I could go on, but I won’t, or I assure you, I will offend you.

One year a family friend (one of my brother’s best friends at the time), on leave from the Army, wanted me to convince my brother to come to midnight mass with him. I, personally, do not spend time in churches. It has never been my thing. My brother politely declined, but as his friend became more insistent he finally said “Look, there’s a Jew hanging from a cross in no less than 7 places in there. With that track record, I don’t care to be the sacrifice sometime between midnight and 2 a.m.” We ALL laughed, and no one was offended.

This very same friend asked us about Christmas trees, genuinely wanting to know “If we put up Christmas trees, what do Jewish people do?” Never one to miss an opportunity, I turned around and said “We put up a Chanukah Bush, John.” He nodded and said “Oh, ok.” I said absolutely nothing for a few minutes, everyone was in on it because they’d heard me do this little bit before. Finally, after suppressing serious laughter to the point where I almost hurt myself, I admitted to him that I was just fucking around with him, that there was no such thing as a Chanukah Bush (though I admit, I know some people that put one up because they love Christmas trees, but don’t celebrate Christmas). Again, laughter ensued. You have to really know me to know that I will joke like that with the people that know me best, and that, while inappropriate to some, I am careful what I say in mixed company because I don’t go out of my way to be hurtful to others. I do like to be very clear though, that’s just my way. Humor and clarity.

Approximately 11 ½ years ago, Wicca was introduced to me. It is the perfect blend of a nature based religion steeped in Kabbalistic teachings. Kabbalah is Jewish Mysticism. If you don’t know what that is, use a search engine. That will explain it more clearly for you.

For me, Wicca was like coming home. It was pretty much everything I had been raised around, especially a love for animals and nature, and the elements. Part of the Wiccan Rede is “An it harm none, do as ye will”. There is no governing body, you govern yourself, and the Wiccan Rede tells you “So long as you are not harming anyone, do as you will. Live your life.” It is laid back and calm, and it brings an extra level of peace to my life. Even my Rabbi is comfortable with my spiritual beliefs. He’s one of the most open people I have ever met, so I feel supremely comfortable being myself and speaking my mind around him. Until I met him, I had NEVER been in the presence of a man of God and not felt judged. However, my Rabbi is unique. He too, is from a foundation of “You’re not harming anyone by being you. Live your life.” In this, I always feel incredibly blessed.

Almost all of my friends are religiously different than I am, and that is beyond ok. I am not sitting in judgement of them or their beliefs. I want them to be their authentic selves, and I can only hope they want the same for me. I have friends that are Jewish and friends that are Wiccan, so I don’t feel spiritually deprived in any sense of the word. We should all celebrate what we believe in and do so with those we love. We should wish the people in our lives well EVERY DAY, not just during the month of December.

So Lisa, exactly how does a Jewish American Wiccan “celebrate Christmas”? Simply put, I don’t. I ignore the insanity of my neighbors, all of whom DO celebrate Christmas, and I go about my day. I will bake Cranberry Orange scones for breakfast, I will do laundry and maybe enjoy a movie. I will play with my fuzzy little Princess. Later on, I will be making a nice meal for the family I am spending my day with. I might even get some writing finished, if I’m feeling up to it. Basically, anything goes. It’s just another quiet day for me. After years and years spent taking care of others, quiet days are something I really treasure.

Wishing you & yours a beautiful holiday season.

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Missing In Action…Of Cats And Men

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I’ve definitely been ‘Missing In Action’ for a bit, and for that I apologize. This is a particularly difficult time of year for me to start with, made harder by the fact that I’m going through some unhappy things in my daily life, and to add insult to injury, I am coming down with something. The severe temperature drop after the second round of snow hit me like a ton of bricks, and we’re about to get more snow. I was so completely out of it for a while, and I’m slowly trying to get myself back to a place of not wanting to sleep 18 hours a day. Top that off with the fact that I am showing signs of severe allergy to my kitten (Shh,. don’t tell her, she’d be heartbroken.)! The allergic reaction is slowly starting to heal, and I am praying that’s ALL it was, though I strongly suspect she was not fully treated for something at the shelter and I caught it. Lucky me! Who knew how many weird things could be passed from cat to human?! Normally I’m the one calling my vet to make sure I can’t accidentally give the cat whatever I happen to have. Setting aside the fact that I suffer from migraines and Fibromyalgia, I am actually pretty healthy, but every once in a while something weird rears its ugly head and knocks me out for a while. I have wanted to do nothing, but sleep and rest my pained body this week.

On an entertaining note, I get a phone call at 4:30 this morning from an, as yet, unidentified male in my life. I want to sell him on Ebay at this point, especially after this morning’s antics.

I have been utterly hounded by this person for the past three and a half days over what they should or should not wear to a job interview. How many times can one try on a suit for me with different shirts after I have repeatedly said “Solid white or cream colored shirt. Solid colored tie.” That’s the most simple, direct instruction in the world, right? With a black pinstripe suit, too many additional lines is overkill, yes?

At exactly 10:45 this morning, while I was sleeping no less, a striped white shirt and striped tie were unceremoniously shoved in my face with the question “These are good, right?” Why the fuck did you ask me AT ALL if you were just going to do what you usually do, which is NOT LISTEN?! I responded by saying, not in my most polite of tones, “I said to get a plain shirt and a solid colored tie. I said it repeatedly. What part of that did you not understand? By the way, I am SLEEPING. I will deal with you later.” I might have even said “Get the fuck out of my face right now.”, which is about as kind as I can be when you’re disrupting my sleep with nonsense that could have waited until I was my normal, functioning self. I admit, my “normal, functioning self” isn’t the textbook version of “normal”, but hey, he knows me well enough to know NOT to pull these stunts.

Men, I am going to give you severely important advice right now, so listen closely. Do not EVER ask a woman if she’s “on her period” simply because she doesn’t give you a sweet, loving response on no sleep. I’m not your mother. I do not have to pick out your clothes for you, wipe your ass, change your diaper, or anything else a mother would do for you. I am also NOT a bitch simply because you chose the wrong time to approach me with what is somehow SO unbelievably important that you feel the need to call me at 4:30 in the morning, later agreeing that I should go with you in a day or two to pick out the shirt and tie so that you will look nice, and then getting a hair up your ass and doing the wrong thing, only to wake me with said items about four inches from my face. The lines were so distracting, I’ve never seen a cat take off so fast in my life! She was laying here so innocently getting her beauty rest when, she too, is barraged by fashion. I haven’t seen the poor thing since!

In all honesty, I think she’s still scarred from the hour or so she spent in the laundry room this morning after my 4:30 phone call. I warned her not to follow me, I even shooed her out of the room several times as I was putting my stuff into the dryer. I went back to what I was doing after that, but about 40 minutes later, I couldn’t find her. I walked around calling for her, because she comes trotting in my direction from wherever she may have been or goes flying after me when she hears my voice. She doesn’t respond so much to her name, as she does to the fact that she hears me and knows she is being summoned to follow when she hears me say “Where’s Mommy’s baby? I can’t find you.” Or she just hears my voice and comes running for the sake of getting to run around like a hell hound, who knows.

Now normally, I don’t go back into the laundry room once the dryer is finished because I know my stuff is dry and these particular items did not need to be folded or require any immediate after care. I only went in because I’d washed one of my football jackets and wanted to be 100% sure that sucker was dry. I didn’t want to have to re-wash it because I walked away too quickly. Mind you, this little baby is still very small and does not have a real voice yet. She has a barely audible squeak, and you only hear it if she does it right at you or you are really quiet and happen to hear her voicing her issues, whatever those issues may be at any given moment. I opened the door and she came flying out, running into my arms for warmth and safety. The laundry room is the only unheated room in the house. My guess is that is the case because it was added on to the house, and is not a part of the original structure. This is precisely why I didn’t want her in there to begin with. There’s always something dangerous that someone so tiny can get into, and by the way she has been following me around since “the ordeal”, I’m praying she learned her lesson and will never do that again. I spent the entire time calling for her and honestly thought she was under the bed or in another room ignoring me, as she is wont to do at times. As loving, needy, sweet, playful, and affectionate as she is, she is also an independent seeker of trouble. I say “No!” roughly 100 times a day, or more. Now that I think about it, it’s similar to how I talk to unidentified male. Coincidence? I think NOT. On the plus side, at least she’s civilized.

The Kitten Formerly Known As Precious…

My little baby has officially received her name. 🙂

I was hoping to post it with a really good photo, but the little skunk keeps fussing with me every time I take a picture of her. She’ll take off the second she sees the camera, or she’ll get nose to nose with the lens and I’ll have to delete the photo. She’s always in action. I’ve got a bunch of photos of her sleeping, and a few with her eyes rolled back while awake, so it looks like there’s something wrong with her. There isn’t, unless you count the fact that she was climbing around my head this morning and damn near gave me a nose piercing! I immediately grabbed my face and, because she aimed for cartilage, she hit pay dirt on a blood source as she moved the nail from my nose towards my cheekbone. So, not only did she wake me, but she made sure I wasn’t going back to bed because I had a face to salvage. She’s lucky she’s little…

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However, the littlest one also has a very cool name. VERITY FIREBOLT. I know what you’re thinking,,, “That’s weird. Why does she have two names?”

For starters, I had several names for kittens picked out. I’ve had them picked out for three years. Verity means “Truth” in Latin and it means “Truth” or “True” in a few other languages as well. As it is spelled, the name is from the movie “Die Another Day”, which has scorpions, diamonds, and James Bond in it (three of my favorite things. I am definitely a Sean Connery & Daniel Craig sort of James Bond fan though, as opposed to others that have played the role. I have seen every single one of those movies more times than I care to count.).

Firebolt, if you aren’t a fan, is from Harry Potter. I always said that if I got a black cat, or a predominantly black cat (at the time I was thinking black dog, but I’m sticking with kittens and cats for the duration after realizing certain things about myself.), I would name it Firebolt. Initially her name was just going to be Verity (I’m calling her V, along with Teacup, as nicknames.), but her personality is definitely that of a little lightning bolt. She’s fiery and fierce, just like her Mommy, and she deserves a strong name. That’s how she got hers. 🙂

This name is so fitting of her. She’s very honest with her emotions and affections, she’s got a lot of attitude, she loves who she loves, she runs around like a cheetah searching for prey, and I chose her name based on all of those qualities. She’s definitely living up to it!

I will post more photos as she continues to settle in and grow. Right now, she’s avoiding the modeling contract. LOL.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is days away and I’m going to do my shopping tomorrow (I have been in far too much pain today to actually psych myself into it. I was also far too drained to focus on anything other than staying in my PJ’s and not going out in 22 degree temperatures. I’ve wanted a nap since a little after 9:00 this morning. I’m seriously eating dinner and going to bed as soon as humanly possible.), which is unusually late for me, but I have a list and I’m sticking to it, even though it’ll be crazy in the store no matter what.

I honestly don’t think I’ve made a Thanksgiving meal in about 6 or 7 years. It’s been long enough that I simply don’t remember the last time I did it (though I do know that my father was in the hospital at the time), but this year I decided that, despite only cooking for a few people, I’m not making ten plus pounds of turkey for anyone. It’s a lot of food, food that will absolutely go to waste because no one around here eats dark meat (Based on personal preference, nothing more. ), so I am going to re-vamp the menu slightly, but I’m still going to make stuffing because I’m craving it and it’s one of the most awesome things about Thanksgiving in terms of food.

Everyone makes stuffing differently, providing they make it at all, as everyone likes different side dishes this time of year. I don’t know anyone that makes stuffing the way I do, but I inherited the recipe from my mother and it’s good enough that I will pass it down the generational line because there is no way in the world this chick is genetically producing children that can’t cook.

I’m keeping things healthy by including a salad, even if I’m the only person that eats it. Truth be told, I like to tear up my turkey or chicken and throw it right into a salad, even on Thanksgiving. I do not feel guilty about food EVER, but I especially don’t like bringing food issues of any kind to the table during the holidays.

So, I’ve got a nice meal planned, there will be plenty of leftovers, but I’m completely sidelined and baffled by dessert. For the last couple of years I’ve ordered pies and cheesecake for the holidays from a local Italian bakery. I’m not a pie maker, I know my baking strengths and I don’t have the patience for pies, so when it comes to things of that nature, I turn to those who do it for a living. I made the mistake last year of ordering a Pumpkin Pie that was so bad, I refused to eat it. From the crust to the filling, it was one of the worst things you could ever possibly taste.

Pumpkin Pie is hard to screw up, it’s a pie I know how to make without a lot of effort, but I was exhausted last year and there would not have been pie at all if it were left up to me. I think I ordered four or five different pies between Thanksgiving and the end of last year, and the only ones worth eating were Caramel Apple Walnut & an amazing Chocolate Cream that was downright sinful (it took me two weeks to finish it, it must have weighed ten pounds!). All the others stunk, but the Caramel Apple Walnut is consistently good.

I eat fruit year round like it’s a sport, and I have an immense sweet tooth, so even though I had not previously thought about it, I am going to try to snag a Caramel Apple Walnut to cap off this year’s meal. Personally though, at least for myself, I’m thinking of making my awesome brownies. It will take me the next month and a half to eat them because they’re truly divine, and full of dark chocolately goodness and other healthy things that help reduce any issues one might have at eating a small chunk or two, but a lot will depend on how long it takes me to get the main course and the stuffing in the oven.

Fibromyalgia makes it virtually impossible for me to prepare a huge meal in a few hours like I used to, so I’m thinking I will prep the stuffing Wednesday since it’s not a long amount of prep work, and then do the main course and the salad on Thursday. Each takes less than 20 minutes, the oven does all the real work. If I have energy after that, brownies will be made. If not, I’ll settle for a tiny wedge of pie. However, I guarantee that pie will not see the light of day. It’ll come into the house tomorrow afternoon and by Thursday evening, the box will be in the trash. I have serious pie eaters here, they don’t mess around.

My only other real “plan” for Thanksgiving is to watch movies and read. I just want a nice meal and a relatively quiet day. Black Friday will be spent chasing newly acquired black kitten who is SO at home right now, it’s not even funny. Every day she learns something new and shows me a new trick. Yesterday it was the fact that, small as she is, she can open closed doors. I have to admit, I was impressed. Today she ran up and down the stairs like a mad woman, and every time I’d go to check on her, she’d go flying back up the stairs like she’d just committed a crime. If you saw the behavior on video, you’d crack up. It’s entertaining as hell. She doesn’t make a lot of noise, so when she meows, which she finally did Saturday, it is the cutest thing ever. She’s pretty possessive of me, but I don’t mind, except when she speeds after me, nearly knocking me down. She’s a little beast when it comes to following me when she wants to. She’s sound asleep, the next minute she’s right under my feet or bumping her head into my legs. She is the gift that keeps on giving, and I’m thankful that I decided to come from a place of yes and bring her home. She’s already helping me feel a lot better about certain things. I’ve had less headaches/migraines since she’s come home, which cannot be a coincidence. I’m calmer and more centered, and I am not yelling nearly as much as I normally do.

I am not gifting anyone anything this year, other than my love, loyalty, and friendship, and for some people, all three. I might treat myself to something small, but I really just want to survive the remainder of this year with my head above water, and move into a New Year where I can prosper.

I feel bad that I won’t technically be doing anything for Chanukah this year, which begins Thanksgiving night, and is my favorite of all the Jewish holidays. I have such great memories of the happiness of Chanukah that it makes me sad, but it’s also not about gifts. Right now, for me, it’s about remaining focused. I’m doing my best.

This year has taken huge chunks of my soul, but others things have been given back to me, like unconditional love, loyalty, confidence, respect, new friendships that I treasure, old friendships that are the untarnished Platinum in my life, and the knowledge that the more I grow, the more content I am with who I am and where I’m going. Nothing is set in stone, and I’m learning that every time someone tries to break me, I come back stronger from the trial.

I hope everyone has a wonderful, peaceful, happy, healthy, and safe holiday.