Don’t Be Scared

dontbescared

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Common Courtesy

Dear Everyone,

I respect and appreciate the fact that you follow me. I would not say that if it weren’t true. However, the latest reblogging craze has been driving me INSANE. It is not any one person in particular, it’s just the nature of the beast, so to speak.

If you take the time to read my About page, there is a disclaimer asking you to check with me first if you’re not sure if I’d be cool with something being reblogged. I don’t mind if it’s a quote or something I have shared for everyone to enjoy, but if it’s a photo I took the time to locate, or one I took myself, then please ask first. If it’s my work, which is 100% copyrighted, ask, because I own the copyrights to my work and the photos I take, and I will not hesitate in asking that you remove it if I have not approved it.

I reblog very little here, but when I do, it’s to show respect to the amazingly gifted friends I have made here, or to share health related stories. If anyone ever took offense to that, I know they would come to me privately and ask me to remove it, and I would, because I respect them.

Please, lets all show one another the respect we’re deserving of.

Thank you,

Lisa

Dear Humans…

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Dear Humans…

Hello WordPress peeps. Thank you for welcoming me into my Mommy’s life. 🙂 She has told me all about many of you, and she also told me I have many fans requesting photos of me as I continue to grow, and that I need to own up to my modeling contract. I don’t know what that means because I am still a baby and I just want to eat, play, sleep, bite people’s toes, and play some more.

I was surrendered to an animal shelter in the late summer months when I was born. I do not know why. Mommy says it makes her angry, but that she is glad “the idiots” at least had the foresight to bring me someplace safe where I could get proper medical care and the chance of a good home. Mommy has no patience for morons. I’ve heard her tell people off on the phone. I like to be underfoot when she’s on the phone, you just never know what you’ll hear! Mommy has one voice for me, all soft and sweet, and another voice for everyone else. Unless you’re a kitten or a baby, I recommend playing dumb, but you should also know that Mommy will see right through that.

I was put into foster care with my siblings almost as soon as I opened my eyes, which means I was taken away from my biological Mommy way too soon. Kittens need to be weaned, not thrown into shelters!

I shared a foster home with three “big cats”, a huge pitbull, and there were always lots of kittens younger, my age, or older to play with. I did very well with everyone, as I am very well socialized. I was there the longest of all my foster mother’s foster kittens because she loved me best. 🙂 She also wanted to make sure I got the very best home possible. She was strongly considering keeping me, I think, until she got a phone call inquiring about my availability.

One day “new Mommy” called “foster Mommy”, and in less than a few days, I had a new home. Imagine a tiny kittens’ shock and surprise!

On the day in question, “new Mommy” walked into the house. I was walking on the kitchen counter at the time and immediately greeted her. I like to be perched in places above ground, so that I can look down upon my subjects. She lowered herself slightly to my level so I could smell her. I thought “What kind of cat is THIS? Where is her tail?! Oooh, she has pretty hair. I bet she’ll let me bite it.” She spoke to me and gave me a little head scratch. Her nails are nice and sharp, and took away my kitty cat itches, so I let foster Mommy know that it was ok if I went home with her. I liked her coat and her purse, and even though she told me I couldn’t play with expensive things, she was kind and gentle, and I felt safe.

After a short period of time where the humans conversed and laughed, foster Mommy gave me kisses and told me I was going to have a great life. I was put into a kitty carrier that my new Mommy had thought to put warm blankets in, and away we went.

About an hour and forty-five minutes later (I had to ask Mommy about the timing. It was dark and the GPS got us lost. I know this because the heat was on and Mommy kept saying “Why is such an expensive part of this county SO FUCKING DARK AT NIGHT?! Can’t they afford lights?!”), I was brought into my new home.

Mommy showed me where everything was, from my litter box to my fancy food and water bowls, and my new “cat space”. I ate, I drank, and then Mommy put me into “my bed”. It’s a lot bigger than me, but I quickly learned I am meant to share this bed with Mommy. Who made this decision? Exactly who said this little kitten wants to share? I did not agree to this arrangement, so I bites toes for entertainment value. I can get away with this because I am “just a baby”. I heard Mommy say so.

After a few hours, I decided to settle in for a nap and where better to nap than my new Mommy’s lap while she tap-tap-taps on her computer? Occasionally, even now, I reach up and smack her hands to remind her that I’m here, and that the computer isn’t so exciting or interesting. And that my little ears need to be scratched. She will stop singing, writing, and doing whatever it is she’s doing that makes her laugh, and tell me how great I am, what a good kitty, such a sweet little soul, such a good little friend. She tells me that as I get older, we will be besties, whatever that means. For now, she is my warm cuddle buddy and my best playmate. I secretly believe she is a cat and that I cannot find her tail. I know, because I’ve looked.

I am happy in my new home, though I have already made it clear that I need little playmates, siblings if you will, or I will continue to attack Mommy’s feet, ankles, knees, socks, and anything else I can get my little baby paws on. Mommy is not amused when I climb on top of the vacuum cleaner and just sit there. She actually suggested I do some house work. I smacked my new Uncle’s feet recently, just to keep him in his place. Mommy encouraged me to do this, telling me it would make him feel “loved and important”. Yes, she’s silly, but she’s also very interesting to watch.

What can I tell you about my Mommy that you don’t already know? She loves me, hugs me, cuddles me, gives me kisses, feeds me, plays with me, talks to me, gives me yummy treatsies, tells me what a good girl I am, grooms me, cleans my ears, cleans my face, wipes my eyes so I don’t develop “tear stains”, and tells me NO when I climb things. She tells me “I am responsible for you. I have to make sure you’re safe and healthy.” She cuts my nails when I am asleep, so I don’t get agitated. Isn’t that sweet? Sometimes, but not always, she will spritz me with water to get the NO to stick, especially if I’ve been doing something I already know I shouldn’t be doing, like attacking Mommy’s books. I heard her talking about this the other day and she said it was a “cat behavior” trick.

Mommy has no idea how well trained she is. All I have to do is glance in her general direction and she’ll go and check my food and water bowls. If I want wet food, all I have to do is bump her legs when she’s in the kitchen and she will ask if I am hungry. She tells me I have to meow, but if I chirp at her or squeak, she accepts that. If I want my toys, I sit on the stairs and stare at her and give her “disapproving cat face”, and she immediately knows that I want my feather ball, or one of my other new toys. I bring them back to her and she’ll throw them back and forth for me while I run up and down the stairs. Secretly, I think Mommy really likes this game.

My favorite game, other than my feather ball, is the feather wand. Mommy will try to exhaust me with it, but often has to say “No more today baby girl, Mommy is too sick to play with you right now.” I don’t know what that means, so some days I cuddle into Mommy to let her know I am listening. I cuddle in and I purr, and I am rewarded with love, kisses, chin scratches, belly rubs, and praise.

A little over a month ago I was a kitten without a forever home. Today I am a four month old “little monkey” with a loving Mommy that is very attentive, with menfolk that show me affection (especially Uncle), a warm place to be, always, and full reign of the house. All I want for the new year is friends to play with. I do like being the sole kitty of the house, but I also miss Mommy when she goes away and she says it’s not nice to knock everything off her dresser. Apparently she is very attached to that perfume she wears and doesn’t like seeing “My expensive bottles on the floor, Verity!!” Sometimes I nap, sometimes I climb. Ok, so I climb more than I nap. I’m just a little baby.

Please encourage Mommy to find me two friends. They have to be my size or smaller, they have to like to play a lot, they have to like laying in Mommy’s lap with me watching movies or TV (Just because I am named after a Bond Girl that was only in one scene, that doesn’t mean I want to watch Skyfall. I don’t care how attractive Mommy finds Daniel Craig. What happened to her “No watching married men.” rule?” Of course, I realize this means she’d never be able to watch TV or movies ever again, but I am willing to overlook this if she gets me friends.), and they have to do silly things so that Mommy will laugh her musical laugh, and play with us, instead of saying “Does EVERY MORNING have to start with blood shed?” Even though Mommy clipped my nails, I really think someone ought to clip hers. I am pretty sure her fangs are bigger than mine too.

These are my tiny kitten observations. I hope you’ve enjoyed my story. And please, for the love of all that is holy, DON’T SHOP, ADOPT.

SAM_0070

Yes, I am REALLY this cute.

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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.

Rethinking Mental Illness

Rethinking Mental Illness

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I came across this and I do agree that we need to talk about it. It needs to stop being treated like something we can only speak of in hushed tones. The increased rate of suicide in people being treated for various forms of depression has drastically increased over the last few years, and yet, when you tell a doctor or a therapist that you think of suicide often and that you have a plan, they don’t take you seriously unless they believe you need to be hospitalized. The truth is, if someone is going to follow through on suicide, they aren’t going to discuss it with anyone. It’s a very personal, private thing.

I lost someone very dear to me to suicide 20 years ago. One of my brother’s best friends committed suicide eight years ago, less than a year after being discharged from the Army Rangers. I have very close friends that have lost siblings and other family members to suicide, so I don’t find it a laughing matter in any capacity. I, myself, am extremely open about these topics and I discuss them at length in the most direct fashion possible. I detest the stigma placed upon people who suffer from depression, and the labels and whispers that follow in their wake. It enrages me.

Don’t be afraid to get help or to talk about what you feel. Be afraid if you don’t talk about it.

Lately…

Lately I have found myself on the receiving end of a lot of preaching. One of the first things anyone should know about me is that I am 100% unpreachable. I’m completely unreceptive to it, especially when the approach is so obnoxiously aggressive, and almost negative in some respects. I am not, nor have I ever been, a Bible Thumper. I respect difference of religion so long as one’s beliefs are not being shoved down my throat and recited to me as Gospel, but I will not respect, accept, or allow someone to be disrespectful to me or anyone that reads this blog.

I make my own decisions, my own choices. I live by a specific code, and nobody tells me what to do, think, say, feel, or how to be. There’s no one controlling me. I believe in freedom of speech (Though I can honestly say that some people need to have the right revoked, simply for taking it WAY TOO FAR! And I mean that in the sense that their idea of “freedom of speech” is sick, not helpful or thought-provoking.), in the right to bear arms, in the right to practice whatever religion you choose, so long as you aren’t harming anyone, in the right to love whoever you choose, and I’m a firm believer that when you are trying to seek help for yourself in ANY way, you should be treated with dignity, respect, kindness, compassion, and empathy. If a person cannot at least be polite & professional, then they need to find another line of work if their job means dealing with people or the public on a daily basis.

One of the most important things I learned as a writer, and in business, and this was literally day one, is that not everyone you encounter is going to like you, and that you have to accept that. I don’t like more than half of the people I encounter in this world, but I still believe in having manners and being respectful. I still believe in holding doors for people, in assisting one with directions if they are lost, and in general, not being an asshole. I’m completely intolerant when it comes to the many varieties of assholes in this world, and there are so many, it’s unreal.

Whenever I mention an aspect of religion on this blog, it is by no means coming from a “Live as I live” point of view. I am not telling anyone what to think or believe. It’s coming from a “This is my story, and I’m going to tell it the way I want to tell it.” perspective. We all have different beliefs, and that’s exactly how it should be. Differences make the word go ’round. We all have a unique point of view, and so many of us have amazing gifts and stories to share with the world. I have an immense amount of respect for that, and for the individuals I speak with on a regular basis.

If you visit my blog, please respect others that also visit. Some people think they have the right to comment on other people’s comments, but I don’t feel that way. If a comment is left for me, then I am going to answer it. If a comment is left for someone else, that’s a whole different ball game, but again, I encourage respect. I have deleted some things I felt were inappropriate and/or disrespectful for a number of reasons.

At the end of the day, this may be a public blog that anyone can stumble upon and read, but I will always get the final say in the material in which I allow my readers to be subjected to. If anyone is ever bothered by something, come to me directly and I will do whatever needs doing to correct it. If you find that you dislike me or my approach, there’s an Unfollow button. Use it if you choose, I know I do.

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