Your Time Is Limited…

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
―Steve Jobs

Odd Marriage Trends & Idiocy Via Social Media

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Author’s Note: I wrote this out of extreme concern for a person’s safety. That’s the place it comes from, so please don’t try and twist it into something it is not. I digress a bit at times, but I feel like I’ve made some very valid points.

Odd Marriage Trends & Idiocy Via Social Media

I’ve noticed an extremely disturbing marriage trend that just plain feels unkosher to me. I can’t describe it any other way than that. Creepy is another word I have to use, because deep within my soul, it just doesn’t feel right. When something doesn’t feel right to me, and it concerns another human being, or more than one human being, especially someone I know, and it involves their safety, I simply MUST speak out and use my voice. I’m generally a pretty quiet person (shocking, I know!), but when something feels so wrong that my brain screams at me to open my mouth, I have to do something, even if “something” is posing the question to my readers.

If a friend told you she’d gotten married to someone after only meeting this person a few times, having spent very little time with him, and that he lived in another country, what would you think? By “another country” I do not mean that he’s in the military or has a job that takes him away for lengthy periods of time, but 100% does.not.live.with.his.wife. Is that bizarre to you, ‘cause it just plain feels unkosher to me.

I’ve often joked in the past with my close friends about not needing my boyfriend/husband/partner with me 24/7, but in actuality, if I didn’t see him for a year or years, I certainly wouldn’t feel like I was in a relationship or marriage AT ALL. If he simply traveled for work at times and we had kids, which required me to stay home for some reason, like their schooling, then I do think it would get on my nerves eventually. A few trips for work a month is no big deal, but years?! Am I crazy thinking there is something not right here?

If a friend told you “I got married and I won’t see my husband for two years…” would you automatically think “Military” or would you be thinking “Mail Order Bride”? I have to be honest, when a man marries someone he barely knows, someone who lives in a country known for its extreme poverty, and he lives in a country on the opposite side of the world, it doesn’t scream “marriage” to me, it screams “Something isn’t right here.” There aren’t just red flags, there are thousands of blinking red lights.

Unfortunately, way too many women automatically believe that you are jealous of them if you pose a question of this nature, as opposed to seeing things from your perspective and realizing that you care enough about them to ask them about this “arrangement” because, in a world where women disappear into the sex trade and there’s rampant human trafficking occurring, you’d be a truly terrible friend if you didn’t speak up and say something BEFORE you find out that this person just went missing “on her way to visit her husband”. There’s not a whole lot you can do once that happens, but in the time leading up to it, yes, you can speak out and make them aware.

I am extremely disturbed by this arrangement a “friend” of mine has and I’m deeply concerned. Not just because she’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but because she desperately seeks love and acceptance from others and the way she goes about it, to me, is extremely unhealthy. She believes everyone in this world, at their core, is good. Maybe it’s the detective in me, maybe it’s just intelligence and intuition screaming at me, but I don’t see everyone in this world as predominantly good. I’ve seen way too much evil to believe that every single person walking this planet is supremely good and that each person has nothing, but good intentions. I’m way too smart for that fairytale nonsense. She should be old enough to have some common sense, but she lacks in this department, as many people do. She’s all over the fairytale. She truly believes she’s found her “Prince Charming”. It’s scary, because she is suffering through a lot of health issues and this man is not physically present for her whatsoever. To me, that’s not a marriage.

Normally I would keep my mouth shut & mind my own business, but this time everything was screaming at me to check this guy out. I researched this man she constantly refers to as her “hubby” (God as my witness, a man is only your “hubby” when he lives with you and sees you every single day. If you don’t wake up next to a person every day, it’s not an ideal marriage. Especially during the first year of marriage. God help me if I EVER refer to a man as my “hubby”. Try calling me “wifey”, you’ll be picking up your teeth for the next month. I do NOT do cutesy nicknames or pathetic references to married life and the person I share that life with. If you’ve been married longer than a year and you call your husband “your hubby”, that is your prerogative. We all use different references and names. However, every time I hear it, I throw up a little, ‘cause it’s nauseating. My friends all say “my husband”, or they use their partner’s actual name, they do not use obnoxious references or ridiculous nicknames. Maybe that’s why it is so much more sickening to me, I don’t know.), because I, by no means, think any of this is genuine.

It might be genuine on her end of things, she’s a person with a good heart who has been seeking the right person for quite some time, but again, not the sharpest tool in the shed. I’ve never met a man that loves a woman and is willing to live somewhere else for years once they are married, not unless it’s a financial thing and they have a plan to re-locate within a certain time frame, and the time frames are usually short enough that it doesn’t ever raise a red flag. Generally, this occurs in the military or when people work in different countries for a period of time based on their profession. None of this has been mentioned outside of “I’m going to visit him next year and he’s going to visit me the year after that.”, so I think that, as a friend, I should be concerned. I have to go with my intuition here and it has never, not once, lied to me.

Many years ago a friend of mine met a guy on-line. After a few years, they got married. He lived in England, and she lived in the U.S. He had visa problems because he constantly had to go back home due to illnesses within his family. She missed him terribly and when they were unable to get his visa cleared, she finally had enough, got her own, and moved to England permanently to establish citizenship. They’d hoped to be able to do that here, but with his family in one country and not well, and only some of her family here, it was the logical thing to do. We’d been friends for years and remained in touch after her marriage and subsequent move, but eventually we just lost touch. The difference between that relationship and the one I write about today is that they didn’t jump in to anything, they took time to get to know one another. I didn’t have a single red flag when she’d call me about him. In fact, I tried to help her in terms of information at times because she was slightly unsure if she should move or not. Initially during her first three months there, she absolutely HATED it and wanted to come home, but she stayed because she loved her husband, he loved her, and she didn’t want to be apart from him. That’s commitment, and I’m sure most of the married people reading this will agree with me.

One of my best friends has been married since she was about 19. Several years ago her husband’s company asked him to help open a new office for them…in Australia. It was only supposed to be six month, a year TOPS. Her work takes her all over the world, but this time she didn’t want to make the trip. She sent him ahead of her, but after a few months, I told her to just go for a few weeks and see if she liked it. She came back after the initial trip, and when she returned, she ended up staying right up until the last minute of still being able to fly pregnant, which is when they both returned, and months later their daughter was born with dual citizenship in the U.S. and Canada. Again, that’s a committed relationship. Even while he worked, she still traveled for her own job, but mostly, she wanted to be a supportive wife, which is why she went in the first place. She said she was ok with him being in Australia by himself, but in reality, she didn’t like it. She thought that by staying home, she was being supportive. I am glad I encouraged her to make the trip. They are stronger for it.

I’ve slightly gotten into the red flag thing, but let me expand: If I told any of my best friends that this was an arrangement I had just entered into, or that I was romancing the idea of doing such a thing, each of them would tell me outright that something wasn’t right. They would also advise me to wait until we are both living in the same country before agreeing to marriage. After all, what the hell do you know about this person when you’ve only spent short periods of time with them? Not for nothing, they wouldn’t actually need to tell me any of this because I’m not impulsive and I don’t rush into anything. I believe in the sanctity of marriage, and if I’m going to stand up before God, my family, and my friends and take vows, then I’m truly committed to that person, and he damn well had better be committed to me because I’m not afraid to break out the shotgun, and neither is anyone else I know.

Red flags are a big thing for me in relationships. This one that’s bothering me has gigantic Red John sized red flags all over it. I was willing to let it go since she’s happy, until I sent her a response to a message that I found more than a little obnoxious via e-mail, where I basically asked her NOT to discuss anything private with me on my Facebook wall, or via Facebook at all. She responded, via Facebook (Like I said, not the sharpest tool in the shed.), with several different excuses as to why she cannot access her e-mail account from her computer, her iPhone (I’m sorry, but if I cannot access a Google Mail account via my incredibly overpriced “Smartphone”, then I do what any person with a functioning brain does: I get a NEW e-mail address with another company, Yahoo for example, where I CAN access my e-mail, and I let everyone know that I have had to make a change in e-mail addresses for the time being. Simple enough, right? We’ve all done it at one time or another. I myself was gifted with a new Android phone sometime last Spring/early Summer. I activated it on my birthday after Verizon terminated my previous cell after I’d already paid them. The bank got my money back, and despite truly loving my Verizon service and my 4 year old phone, as well as the phone number, I sunk to a new low with this new phone and activated it with Virgin Mobile, a company I’ve never done business with before. In order to use this particular brand, you’re required to attach it to a Google Mail account, so when I was initially gifted with said phone, I created a Google Mail account, despite the fact that I rarely use it. No big deal, it took less than five minutes. It’s not rocket science. I can access my mail from anywhere in the world, Google account or not. Maybe this is an iPhone issue, I don’t know, but I still think what I said is completely valid.), etc., and then told me the big whopper that was something I simply cannot abide by: She informed me that her husband dictates her e-mail to her via FaceTime conversations, so the only way she can talk to me “privately” is via Facebook. Are you fucking kidding me?! Get out the Revenge Red Sharpie everyone, because this one seriously creeps me the fuck out. In what world do they live in?!

Do you let your husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/partner read your private e-mail discussions between you & friends that they don’t know and have never met? I ask this in a completely “I’m not cheating” way, because I don’t, nor will I ever. I can understand if you’re just checking their phone to make sure your partner isn’t sending inappropriate text messages to someone else (if you’re the kind of person that does that. I do not.), but outside of that, I think it’s a bit much. I don’t let anyone read my e-mail. I might read something to a person when I am trying to handle a situation that bothers me, or when I want advice about something, but I keep the private sections to myself as any truly good friend should. As much as I give in the relationships in which I am in, and as much as I love, my friendships do not pertain to my boyfriend/husband/partner, so I do not feel he needs to know what I say to my friends or what they say in return. Unless something is said in front of him or directly to him, I believe in some semblance of a private social life. I expect him to have a private social life in many regards as well, and I don’t find that odd, I find it healthy.

I believe in each of us having our own friends, and in having friends as a couple. That does not mean I am cheating or keeping secrets, it simply means there are boundaries in relationships and I don’t cross them. Reading my e-mail to me like you’re some kind of overbearing father figure is not something I would EVER accept or allow, unless I was dead, in which case, have a fucking ball. He’d have to spend the next 40 years of his life deciphering the codes in which my friends and I speak any way, so not only would he be clueless beyond words, he’d get really bored, really fast.

This man, that I do not know and have never met or spoken to, had the audacity to send me a rude message on Facebook (interestingly enough she clearly doesn’t have any privacy considering the message was from her, with his name attached to it. How are our discussions “private” if he has her password to speak on her behalf?) because I was honest with his wife about something so minor, that no person on this planet with an I.Q. above their shoe size would take offense to. She is someone I’ve known for a very long time, and here he is telling me she’s been told not to get in contact with me ever again, and not only can’t he speak English, he can’t spell or write properly either. Considering he’s supposedly from a country where English is the predominant language spoken, do you find that remotely odd? I certainly do. Again, RED FUCKING FLAGS!

Thanks to the idiocy that is social media, people no longer feel the need to send out engagement announcements, wedding announcements, birth announcements, or invitations to anything. They truly think it is safe and completely normal to post their entire lives on social media, but then they wonder why their identities get stolen. and how people they don’t know suddenly know every single thing about them. They wonder why they get stalked. Lets be honest: It’s not because you’re a fascinating creature that people want to be “friends” with, it’s because you’ve lost the ability to keep your private life PRIVATE. Privacy is not a setting, it’s basic common sense. Every single aspect of their lives, from where they eat, shop, live, etc., and a plethora of photos that should be kept private, are there for anyone in the world to come across. Go to my Facebook page, apart from photos of my deceased cats and my new baby, you will not find any personal photos there whatsoever. My best friends (those that have known me for less than 20 years) didn’t even know what I looked like until they landed at the airport when I picked them up the first time they came to see me, and they were all fine with that. If you want to know what I look like, you’ll have to wait for the back cover of my novel, and that’s providing I go the picture route at all. When I say I’m a private person, I actually mean it. It’s not because I am hiding anything, it’s because I have learned to protect my safety and to keep personal things to myself. Do I want an absolute stranger approaching me in public simply because they’ve wandered onto my blog? The answer is an emphatic NO.

Several years ago I found one of my cousins on Facebook. I was utterly appalled to see that he had hundreds of family photos posted where anyone could come across them. I could have been a stranger, as opposed to a family member, and it would have been all too easy to do God only knows what because not only were his wife and children prominent in a great many of the photos, but so were photos of his home, his siblings, their children, spouses, and my Aunt & Uncle. Not for nothing, these people abandoned my brother & I completely after my parents died. They are my first cousins, the only first cousins I have. All four of them are married or in a committed relationship, and not a single one knows how to return a fucking phone call or be a decent human being. I did not get so much as a phone call or a condolence card upon losing both of my parents, but when their father passed away, I made sure we were all there before he died, as well as at the funeral, and at the house right afterwards. I spent months calling several of them after he passed away to try to make sure we established relationships, and they treated me like I didn’t exist. You can only ignore me for so long before I lose all interest in you from start to finish. I am embarrassed to share bloodlines and Grandparents with them, but I adore their children to pieces and would give them bodily organs if ever they needed it. That’s the difference between them and me, but I digress.

I generalize a lot of what I write on this blog, and I do it for a reason. Only a handful of you know me as a living, breathing person, have my phone number, or have friended me on different social media sites where I maintain a presence as a writer, and those that do have higher levels of information about me as a person are people I trust not to disrespect that, nor would I ever disrespect them and the friendship they have extended to me. If I’ve exchanged e-mails with you, and you can contact me like a normal person, then that means something. It means you are welcome in my life. Not just my on-line life, but my real, every day life. That is something I honor very few people with because I learned very early on in my professional career that far too many people wanted to be a part of my life for the wrong reasons. In turn, I let very few people into my life, heart, or home. I am a writer and I publicly post some incredibly personal, honest things here, but I also have boundaries to protect my privacy, as should we all.

This entire ordeal with my “friend” feels wrong to me for a lot of reasons, but the main reasons are: I have no respect for anyone that is trying to control another person, and somehow manages to do so from a completely different country. They don’t even live under the same roof! Moreover, I know that when something feels this wrong to me, the outcome is not going to be pretty.

When I have an intense sense of something, I am almost always right. I take no pleasure in being right about things of this nature, but I truly feel she is in danger and I have no idea how to approach her with it. She’s being civil with me, moving towards childishly friendly, but this guy is in her ear and she’s preaching The Bible at me, among other things. Before she met this guy, she was practicing Wicca. That’s a drastic switch in such a short period of time, so I take offense to her responding to the things I write about Wicca because I never abandoned it. Maybe that seems ridiculous or childish, but if you know me, you will understand what I’m saying and that it’s not coming from a judgmental place, merely a place of extreme awareness, as well as extreme concern.

I’m concerned for her safety in going to visit this guy. I do not trust him as far as I can throw him, and I’m pretty sure I could take him. I have no respect for a man that has the audacity to come into my domain and tell me what to say, how to say it, and whom to say it to. No one tells me what to do, I am not anyone’s property. I am not something that needs to be controlled.

For the record, my boyfriend was APPALLED that a man that does not know me would do such a thing. He, himself, would defend me if someone was physically harming me, he’s never let anyone disrespect me, but he knows full well that in pretty much every situation, I can handle myself. He does not have to speak for me. He’s smart enough to stay out of things that do not pertain to him. I do the same. It’s about respect, it’s not about a lack of emotion towards the other person.

He has been a part of my life for far longer than he has been a boyfriend, and much like me, manners are important to him. Facebook nonsense irritates him just as much as it irritates me, and he is not a part of it because he feels it would be detrimental to his professional career. When he sees me dealing with these things, he asks me why I don’t just tell all of these people to go to hell. He doesn’t understand why I navigate it gently. In fact, he thinks this piece is “too soft”. His advice was to be a lot more “in your face”. Alas, there’s a reason I’m the writer and he is not.

Being in a relationship of any kind, especially marriage, requires a foundation of friendship and respect. It doesn’t mean you hand over every single aspect of your life to the other person, or that you allow them to control you in any way. That’s just plain sick behavior to me, not to mention antiquated thinking.

Exactly how many people are omitting “Obey” from their wedding vows? If you want something or someone to obey you, get a fucking dog. Train it. Throw him/her a bone every now and then, and it’ll “Obey” you. If you expect your 21st century wife to “Obey” you, you definitely won’t be marrying a modern woman. Maybe that attitude will swing in other cultures, but if that way of thinking is working anywhere in this country, get yourself to therapy IMMEDIATELY. Don’t walk. RUN. Subservience and passiveness in women is a huge issue for me. I know for some it is simply in their nature, but I lack the ability to be a “People Pleaser”, and I also completely and utterly lack the ability to be a poor friend.

Far too many women are marrying people they do not know and end up in human trafficking, sex trades, become drug addicts overnight, or they end up dead. Many lose every single dime they spent their lives working for, all in the name of “love”. How can I not be concerned?! Meeting someone on the Internet does not guarantee that he is being honest with you about anything, especially if you’ve only ever been around him, or with him, for short periods of time. For all the Match.com and eHarmony “success stories”, note that you’re not being told all of the horror stories that run rampant through dating sites of all kinds. I’m a very open person, and a lot of the stories I hear are enough to keep me far, FAR away from any forum where I could potentially be meeting someone that has done nothing to earn my trust. It gives you an illusion of safety, nothing more. In reality, it’s about as safe as most bars, except that more and more bars have cameras around as a precautionary measure.

I strongly encourage women to run background checks on guys they’re dating, if for nothing else than pure peace of mind. At the very least, Google him first to make sure he’s not wanted for a crime, and make sure he’s never been to jail for anything questionable. If you live in California, do both a Google search and an IMDB search. Trust me on this one.

Call me old-fashioned, but no matter how I meet a guy, I want to be looking him in the eye when he tells me certain things. I want to be able to see his body language. Once you’ve spent enough time with a person, you know whether or not you feel comfortable enough to pursue a relationship. This does not happen right away, not if you’re smart. I would rather spend time talking to a person and getting to know him as an individual before jumping his bones. Call me crazy, but I like knowing a guy’s middle name, where he was born, what his parents and siblings names are, and what his tells are. Hell, I’m even happy to hear about his Grandparents if they’re still alive. I don’t want a resume, but I do want to know he’s not a piece of shit. If you’re friends with someone, you will find things out so much easier as opposed to jumping into a relationship with them. And at the core of the best relationships are two people who genuinely like spending time together, even if they’re simply reading different things in the same room, you’ll see them glance up at one another and smile. The silence is comfortable, and each person feels safe with the other.

I am a little concerned in posting this because I know I wasn’t Ms. Sweetness & Light here, but anyone that knows me shouldn’t expect me to dump 50 pounds of confectioner’s sugar on something that could potentially be a very serious matter. In turn, this will be available to be read for a short period of time and after that it will be made Private to protect the guilty, as well as the innocent. In the meantime, please tell me what you think.

How would you handle this sort of situation with a friend? And yes, I am perfectly willing to let the friendship end if it means she gets a brain and is kept safe. I would rather she see him for what he really is, than end up a statistic. I have said nothing to her about my concerns because she is not open to hearing anything beyond her own self-involved “bliss”. She thinks he is the greatest thing in the world. Love is blind, sometimes too much so, but love should never be suicidally stupid.

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The Day The World Changed & How I Changed With It…

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The Day The World Changed & How I Changed With It…
Thanks to Shaun for asking me this question in July. He blogged about it, not knowing I was preparing to do the same today.

The world was irrevocably changed on September 11th,2001. Lives were affected globally. People cried and mourned, and unfortunately in certain countries, some people celebrated what they felt would be the demise of America. There’s a special place in hell for people like that, and I don’t even believe in a heaven/hell concept.

There’s really no one that can’t say that the events of 9/11 have had no effect on them whatsoever. You’d have to be completely heartless and brainless (I have a list of people that make the cut, as I am sure we all do.) to not react to what occurred and what continues to occur in this great big world of ours.

I will start by saying where I was that morning and how I look back on it.

As a native New Yorker, I watched a piece of my city be destroyed by pure evil, by unwarranted hatred. My mother had narrowly escaped the first bombing of the World Trade Center years before, so I already knew the towers were a target, but could I ever have expected to wake up one morning and watch the world change before my eyes in such a dramatic way? No. It still feels like it happened yesterday, except I know how much the world has changed and how much my own life has changed in the past 12 years since the attacks.

On that fateful morning, I woke up to take my Mom to work. She was returning to her job after a little over two months of being home recovering from failed back surgery. I was her primary care-giver/care-taker, so I was present for everything, including that morning’s events.

I am vividly reminded of that day because it started out like most people’s inevitably begin. I woke up and hit the shower. The key to my shower was that the radio was dead silence. Back then I normally listened to CD’s to drown out my own “mind noise”, but since I was in a bit of a rush after my CD fogged up on me, I switched on the radio mid-shower. The station I listen to is always rife with early morning talk and music. It freaked me out after a few minutes, because every single station I switched to was pure static, and the only brief thing I could make out through said static was that the World Trade Center had been hit by a “small plane”. I guarantee you that it was the fastest shower I’ve ever taken in my entire life, because I had to know what was going on, and if my family was safe. It was a total “What the FUCK?!” moment. Hearing those words repeated a second time on another radio station amidst all that static silence, I knew something was very wrong.

I remember throwing on clothes, going into the living room, turning on the TV, and watching the footage. Initially, I thought I was watching a trailer for a new Bruce Willis film, because that’s what it felt like. It was incredibly surreal and disturbing. This could not be happening on American soil! I was in disbelief.

Every channel was showing the footage, but they were claiming that a “small aircraft” had hit the World Trade Center. Surveying the damage, I knew that it hadn’t been a small anything, and that this was an act of terrorism, as opposed to an “accident”. Knowing the area well, I knew that a plane didn’t just swerve in that direction of its own volition.

I immediately called my father, who was working that morning in a government building in the city that had once been a target after the Oklahoma City bombings. He was asking me what happened because my view was different from his, despite his physical view being clearer and closer, and as we spoke, we both watched in horror as the 2nd plane hit the other tower.

We were both vehement in our belief that this was an act of terrorism on American soil, that it was Arab extremists, and we were both upset as all get out. We got off the phone briefly so I could take my mother to work. The devastation we were all feeling was so strong, you couldn’t have come at it with a sword. Anger, silence, worry, it was all in the air.

The news that the Pentagon has been hit, and that a plane had gone down in Pennsylvania were minor shocks at the time, yet all of it was terrifying. Planes entering U.S. airspace were now being re-routed to Canada to avoid further attacks via aircraft.

I returned home to make sure my Dad was still ok, and we talked for a while before an announcement was made that his building was being evacuated as a precautionary measure. The city was in chaos, and it took my Dad a while to get home, but once he was safe I was breathing a huge sigh of relief. My Mom called me throughout the day for updates on what was going on, did my Dad make it home safely, what else were we being told, etc. My brother and I were angry, and Americans were being warned that the attacks on our soil might continue, even after they closed all of the airports. Basically we were being told to watch our own skies. Living near major airports my entire life, the sheer silence of not hearing a plane go overhead for weeks on end was, and still is, freaky. Of course now, after all these years, I still watch planes very carefully.

Despite the phone lines being jammed in the tri-state area, I was lucky to spend part of the day mostly on the phone with my parents. My Mom was completely and utterly horrified after we’d watched everything that morning. When I picked her up from work later that day, as I did every single day until she left her company, that day had changed so much, and shifted the world and our view of it completely.

I was very lucky. I did not lose any friends or family members/loved ones. People I knew very distantly were affected, and for that I will always be sorry, even though I know full well that none of it was or is my fault. That level of tragedy is not something you can put into words, not really.

A week or so after the attacks, you could still see and smell the smoke heavy in the air. I cried seeing the wreckage, my city skyline destroyed, as I went over the Verrazano Bridge from Staten Island into Brooklyn. Watching trucks in a single file going over the bridge all the way out to Arthur Kill to bring in the debris was awful. Cars, physical pieces of the towers, you could physically feel the spirits of people in the air, and it sickened me to my core.

I will never forget the friends from all over the world that went out of their way to contact me to make sure that I was safe, that my parents were safe, to ask if I needed anything. I remember exactly who contacted me as if it just happened, because almost all of them were overseas. A friend who had visited me the year before and gotten the “Lisa Grand Tour” of New York City was mortified. Eerily enough, one of the charms she had purchased for her charm bracelet had broken the day before. She immediately thought of us buying them together during her visit, and the following morning she took the broken charm as a sign alerting her to my being in danger, and she sent me an e-mail to make sure everyone was ok.

One of the biggest things conveyed to me since 9/11 is people’s fears of flying, be it domestically or Internationally. I’ve been flying my entire life. I have never been afraid to get on a plane and go somewhere, or get on a return flight home. I’ve been lucky to mostly have very smooth travels, and only one or two flights during really bad weather where I was grateful the pilot knew what he was doing.

Do I worry about clearing security at the airport? No. I’ve been hassled once, at Dallas-Fort Worth International where I was screened four times while people who were actually visibly questionable walked right through with no problems. This was at a time when the TSA was being warned to “thoroughly search single white women traveling alone”. I watched as they tore apart my carefully packed carry-on bag, rifled through my books page-by-page (I kid you not!), questioned a pouch chock full of nickels, dime, and quarters acquired during my two week vacation, and asked where I was going, where I was coming from, what my travel intentions were, etc. Texas is one of my favorite places to visit, and the experience with TSA did not sour me in the least, but once they finally cleared me after an hour of unnecessary hassle, a man in a cowboy hat and cowboy boots who’d been watching the entire thing go down told me how disgusted he was to have witnessed that, and that he came very close to intervening on my behalf. That was really sweet, but by that time I was exhausted, and honestly lucky to arrive at my gate to a two hour flight delay, as opposed to 30 minutes of time left before boarding.

Things have changed drastically since then, but my experiences at various airports have been fine clearing security. I’ve been subjected to one “hair search” due to a clip in my hair that had a metal core and one “pocket pat” to verify that what I was wearing clipped to my pants was indeed a pedometer and not a bomb. <rolls eyes> I don’t blame them for being thorough, but I definitely think they need to change a lot of their rules and make things less stressful for travelers who are already frazzled enough as it is.

In the days following 9/11, I remember a much greater sense of patriotism than I had probably ever felt in my life and I will openly admit to being proud of my President in times where I am positive his decisions were not easy ones to make. Standing side-by-side with FDNY firefighters, he made me proud of my city, of its people and resilience, and of basic human kindness and compassion. In general I don’t witness a great deal of human kindness or experience an awful lot of compassion, so it was a highly emotional time.

One thing I am keenly aware of is that I might very well have lost my life that day had I taken a job one year prior with a company whose offices were terribly affected. I like to think my intuition would have kicked into high gear and kept me home that day for a plethora of different reasons, but one never truly knows. When I heard about all of the people lost from that company, people who stayed behind and did not immediately evacuate, or those that went back in to help others, I am extremely grateful for my own life. It’s a humbling thing. Sometimes the choices we make save our lives and we may not always be aware of it, but that night, I was definitely more aware than I ever cared to be.

As a nation, I feel we are both stronger and weaker. So much has changed, but as I look deep within myself, I am glad that 9/11 didn’t harden me any more than anything else I have experienced in life. Certainly it raised people’s awareness to a whole different level and for a very long time fear was a motivating factor for way too many people. I refuse to live in any country and be fearful of my life or my safety.

Every single day we are given is a blessing. We all have our “list of shit” in our lives. Nothing and no one is perfect, but each day is an opportunity to make sure we never forget, to make sure we tell the next generation what happened, and how we all lived through a major moment in history.

In memory of those that lost their lives: You may be gone, but you are not forgotten.

On this day, please click on the FDNY link and donate whatever you can to the Official FDNY Widow’s & Orphan’s Fund. This charity was close to my father’s heart.

Doing Things MY WAY…..

Doing Things MY WAY…..


While doing research for the first four novels in my Locke & Keye’ series, I was informed that publishers would not be even remotely interested in so much as looking at my final product (we’re talking the first completed novel) unless I had a blog. Not just “a blog”, but one that I manage entirely on my own, update regularly (which means more than once a month), where I connect with my readers, and that they want to see that people are interested in the every day things I have to say, not just what I write for them in printed format.

There were some other “musts”. One of which included Facebook. I have an author’s page. You won’t see me say a whole lot on there, but you can certainly friend me if you want to., just be sure I know who you are because I am not the type to just accept every single friend request sent my way. It is not a popularity contest for me in ANY way.

Twitter was another “must”, and there were a few other things I rolled my eyes at.

It is somehow the belief that you gain readers via social media, and ONLY via social media. I call BULLSHIT on that, and I’ll tell you why.

#1- Unless you have absolutely no life, you don’t care what I say or don’t say on Facebook. Why would you? There’s nothing special going on there. Anything you want to learn about me you can learn via my work, via sending me an e-mail, or via responding to the things I post. I will always answer a person, so long as they’re being respectful. If you’re going to be a jackass, I respectfully decline to communicate with you. Period.

#2- I am a reader and a writer. I read what my favorite writers’ have to say on their own blogs and web-sites, but when I’m busy and haven’t had the time to read their blogs, I stick to their books as they are released. I don’t care what they say on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else. I don’t care about their political views (In truth I think it’s important for publiuc figures to keep their political and religious views to themselves. That’s just me though.), what they had for lunch, that they just found a pair of cute shoes, or whether or not they got to the gym today. That doesn’t sell me a damn thing, the stories they write are the selling point. However, it does let me know at times that some people have way too much time on their hands and really need to quit discussing their sex life via Facebook. Why does anyone feel the need to share every single detail of their lives like that? When did we all become the Kardashians?! (And I say this despite the fact that I follow Khloe’ on Facebook and adore her.)

#3- If you have time to “tweet” all damn day, I really don’t care. It doesn’t prove anything to me, other than the fact that a lot of people can knowingly embarrass themselves in 140 characters, or less. I refuse to join Twitter. Do not expect me to be tweeting EVER. It’s not going to happen, not even on a bet.

About seven months ago I met an amazing guy who has the same thought process I do regarding Twitter. His exact words were “One day I’ll get drunk, post something completely inappropriate or rude on Twitter, embarrass myself and my family, and do I REALLY want to explain that to my mother when she sees it, even at my age? No. So I will take a pass on that whole thing. I think it’s a great promotional tool, but it’s not for me.” Agreed. Did I mention he’s amazing? 

#4- I did start this blog because of a publishing mandate, but I have grown to LOVE my blog. Unless I am really sick, or obscenely engaged in something I’m doing, I post at least one thing a day on here. I try not to miss too many days in a row without posting something. I probably lost 10 “followers” in May because I was unable to post every single day as I normally do, which sucks, but not for me, because I see it as defining the true from the fake.

I have met some really wonderful, kind, caring, hilarious, genuine, generous people because of this blog, many of whom I now have friendships with off the blogosphere. You all know who you are. For a person who values friendship to the extent that I do, for me to call you a friend is a big deal. I don’t call every single person I talk to in this world a friend. I do not use the word lightly, not ever, so if you’re my friend, be loyal and don’t discuss me behind my back. If you want to know something, ask me directly. I am an extremely private person, but I’m also incredibly direct and blunt. I will give you honest, kind, caring advice. I treat everyone the way I want to be treated in kind. If I see someone is hurting, I try to be supportive. I don’t say things to be cruel to people. That’s abuse to me, and I would rather keep my mouth shut than come off like some kind of crazed, cruel bitch. I can save that side of myself for those deserving of it.

#5- Deciding to commit to this blog and keep it going has sparked something in me and given me a fantastic sharing and sounding board. It is something I love doing and look forward to continuing. I do not expect every single person that “follows me” to buy my books. It’s an unrealistic expectation, so do not feel obligated. Buy only what you want to. I am not going to push myself on you. Everyone has the right to use their entertainment dollar as they see fit. If it’s your deal and your genre, or you simply want to check it out, then you will. You’ll give me honest feedback, maybe even come to events and introduce yourself to me in person. I will never treat you like I don’t know who you are. In fact, I will be happy for the support. I will appreciate your effort in showing up and I will listen to what you have to say. I’m invested in this, so please feel free to communicate with me whenever and however you choose.

#6- My books are important to me, but so are the people that will eventually read them. I will always do my best to communicate with readers and respond to their comments, just as I do here.

A lot has happened to me in my life. A lot has happened to me since I started this blog, and those I have linked to it. I have grown, I have changed, I have become a better, stronger person. I like and respect the woman that I look at in the mirror, even if I occasionally cringe and say “Where the !@#$ did that line come from? It wasn’t there yesterday!” I am by no means perfect. I suffer from Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain every single day of my life, but being a writer has saved me more times than I can count. I do it because it’s what I want to do and I will always do things MY WAY. Any of you with a strong personality knows what I’m talking about and why. If I don’t do it myself, it will never be done right, and I feel like I’ve got a great handle on “doing it right” here.

Thank you to everyone I can call a friend, to those that have supported me here on WordPress from day one, to the small group that supports me in my creative endeavors, to those who send me e-mails and leave me comments, and to the new people that have started following me in the last few months. I appreciate it and hope that I will continue to keep you interested, intrigued, laughing, smiling, and nodding your heads. And of course, to those who have been in my life for so long, you know what you mean to me.

Respectfully,

Lisa