Final Caturday of 2021

Next Saturday will be a whole new year. It’ll probably take me ’til March to stop writing 2021. 😉 I don’t celebrate New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. They don’t feel like, “holidays” to me, not in the traditional sense of the word, and I realized yesterday that they never have. Do you feel especially celebratory at the end of a year?

Cat used to be like this for the first ten months I had her. I swear, she’d wait until I wasn’t expecting it and just tear me to shreds. She is feeling more playful these days (and she’s eight years old, so that helps.), so she’ll smack my feet or swat at my socks, or she’ll snap her teeth at me. She’s feisty. She will bite me, on occasion, but she’s mostly obsessed with how many hair ties she can thieve. Also, sometimes my socks go missing in the middle of the night. 😉 I guess they offend her or she thinks they’re for her. I’m pretty sure she has dibs on anything soft and fluffy the second I keel over.

As I reflect, very lightly, on this year, I have to factor in that I’ve written over close to one million words on three different manuscripts. That, in and of itself, is quite the achievement. Yet, it barely registers. I’ve been told I’m too humble. Perhaps that’s true. As someone told me nearly two weeks ago, “Anyone can write, but you’re a talented writer.” I’m also not good with compliments.

If the software I used didn’t have a word counter at the bottom of the screen, I’d keep writing until something felt done. It’s a good process. However, I’ve spent the past fifteen years, perhaps longer, obsessing over word count when I am writing something, however large or small. Here, I don’t count words, but WordPress is happy to tell me at the end of each year how many words I’ve written. There have been years I’ve done a quarter of a million words here alone, sometimes more. That’s pretty good considering this material is free. 😉

Today was a grey, rainy, foggy, icy, frigidly cold day. There was so much black ice that many people fell and injured themselves. 😦 My hands and feet are like mini ice sculptures; frozen solid. But it was a good day in the sense that it was predominantly quiet. I was able to get closer to my Goodreads challenge number, as well. I’m currently at one hundred and fifty-sex books read for the year. My goal was one hundred and fifty-three. I just started reading book one hundred and fifty-seven. I might read one hundred and sixty if I stay on point between now and the 31st. Wish me luck with this one. I have to say, the material is compelling or I’d have to force myself to read it, and forcing myself to read shitty material is never a positive experience. To think I did eighty books last year when we were basically under hardcore quarantine for so long. I actually picked up a book Friday afternoon, but I will put it towards for 2022 challenge. If you aren’t a Goodreads member, it is free to join, you can link your Amazon Kindle account, they have tons of giveaways for free books throughout the year, and it’s a nice community. I’ve been a member since 2008, when a friend highly recommended I join. I ended up loving it far more than she did. I have Librarian status, so if you want or need your work added to the database, please get in touch. It’s an excellent networking took for writers.

A big part of me is glad that today is over. I haven’t slept in over forty-eight hours, so I need a good night’s sleep and to go back to being caffeine free (Damn you, Earl Grey tea!!). Tomorrow I’m planning to cook a nice Sunday dinner (Tradition.), and possibly bake either a chocolate mint cake or two dozen peppermint chocolate chip cookies, I can’t decide which to do first, but plan on doing both between this weekend and next weekend. After mid-January, it’s time to go back to eating super healthy again 90% of the time. I ate a ridiculous amount of chocolate before, during, and after Chanukah. I regret about 35% of it. 😉

On this final Caturday of the year, I hope you will make friends with strange cats next year, adopt and not shop for any animal you are looking to bring into your family, and most importantly, I hope you’re granted good health. Many of you don’t know what it’s like to be flaring when you have medication in your system which is supposed to be eliminating all of your pain, whereas a great amount of you do know what this is like. Hell. I’ve been functioning at a very low setting this year, and I’m fighting for a new diagnosis next year. New symptoms have to be addressed, and the sad thing is, bad things could be happening within my system while I wait to be seen by a myriad of doctors. I don’t look forward to additional suffering. Healthcare in this country is shameful. I’ll probably say it more than I care to, but it’s true, and it’s WRONG.

Bright Blessings, lovelies.

copyright © 2021 by Lisa Marino & Poison In Lethal Doses, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Poison In Lethal Doses®™ is a registered trademark.

Eleven Years Ago


I buried my father eleven years ago today. It is the exact day; a cold Sunday that seemed to go on forever. When a funeral home employee pulled me aside that day and asked me to identify the body, I tried holding my brother back, in an attempt to shield him from what I’d just seen. It was not a peaceful image, and it still haunts me to some extent.  

So YES, the holidays are hard, even though Chanukah and Yule are over. Minimal celebration was had this year. It was as if I didn’t exist and YES, THAT HURT.

Eleven years ago, I eulogized my father in front of family and friends (Many of his coworkers attended, and we were quite surprised to discover how loved my father was. At the end of the service, one woman came up to me to tell me how much I meant to him; how he always lit up whenever I would call him. It was hard to compartmentalize the information at the time, and it’s hard now, too.), and his nieces, nephews, great niece, and great nephews didn’t even bother to show up. 😡 They didn’t call, didn’t send a card, and they didn’t acknowledge what my mother, brother, and I were going through. My mother’s extended family was not much better. When someone is more interested in their spin class instead of the death of a family member, I should be permitted to shoot them in the ass, thus making spin class unnecessary.

The family member who called the night of my father’s funeral and told me “G-d isn’t ready for your mother yet.” 😲😡 #InsensitiveAF I don’t think I’ll EVER be able to forgive her for putting that message out into the Universe, because five months later, I had to return and do the whole thing all over again. She offered to be there for me after the fact, but after a few months, I soon realized her guilt taught her nothing and my contact with her ended. 

We knew my father was dying. It was not a secret. He had terminal cancer. I began writing the eulogy in late September, and I finalized it around 2:00 a.m. the morning of the funeral service. With my Mom, it was so unexpected for me that I wrote everything at the last minute. I’m not really sure how I got through either eulogy, but I remember reading them and trying to emotionally detach.   

The holidays are hard for so many people, all for different reasons.

I’m SO PROUD of my amazing friends who baked for people who are suffering so they wouldn’t feel alone or be forgotten, those who passed over time with family in order to help feed the homeless, those who participated in charity fundraisers to help those in need, those who sponsored families to ensure there would be gifts, food, and necessities, and those who donated their birthdays this month to raise money for worthy charities.

Today, I’m trying not to revisit the pain. I’m trying to keep my emotions in check because I KNOW I’m still angry. I also know I have every right to be. My feelings are valid.

Check on your strong friends these next few weeks. Sometimes, the holidays shatter our lives. It may not be permanent, but right now, it certainly feels that way. 😦

I’m okay-ish, but I’m not good. I don’t think people who haven’t experienced loss quite like I have are able to fully understand what it takes each day to get out of bed and live. I know so many people who have never been to a funeral or lost anyone. They have Great-Great-Grandparents who are still alive (which is pretty amazing, when you think about it.)! Their naivete is unbelievable, but hopefully they will understand at some point. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, but I do worry about those who lack empathy and compassion. Where is their humanity?!

Today, I got to relive the horror of what my brother and I have been through. Our text messages to each other were short, simple, and impersonal, neither one bringing the subject up. I know we’re both thinking it, though. I know it is too hard for him to fully focus on, so I take up the responsibility. We’re as different as we are alike, but last year he told me “You are the best of both Mom and Dad. You inherited all their goodness.” I was so stunned by his comment, and now it just makes me wonder because I’d never use the word “good” to describe myself. Perhaps he sees something I don’t. In many respects, I am my own worst critic.

If it wasn’t for medication prescribed for Complex PTSD, I wouldn’t have been able to get through the holidays. I’m barely keeping it together, but my brother’s words… They kind of stick in the back of my mind. I have witnessed so much goodness in him, so I think he might be overestimating me in some capacity.

Regardless, this is rough day for me. The fact that I’ve had a migraine since last weekend hasn’t made things better, either. C’est la vie. Somehow, we survive specific life experiences and we move on, but I’m far from healed. That’s been part of my focus this year; learning how to heal.    

copyright 2018 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. All written work may not be re-posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. This authors’ work and personal photos are protected under United States and International copyright laws. Additional protection is covered under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  


Holiday Weeks


It’s no secret: I’m fucking exhausted. Fibromyalgia, migraines, and two hundred truckloads of stress are slowly trying to kill me. Every day, I wonder if a heart attack or a stroke will take me out. I wish I were being dramatic, but I’m not. I would really like to curl up on the floor like a content cat and be left to my own devices. In my next life, I am definitely coming back as one…

In other news; Passover begins later this week just in time for the full moon and today is Palm Sunday, with Easter Sunday being next weekend. The former meaning something to me, the latter meaning “It’s Sunday.” I’m Jewish, which I know is not something people expect, but I’ve never hidden the fact.

Holidays are stressful for me, and depressing. Apart from my brother, all of my family is far away. I don’t speak to 9/4’s of them, and with just cause. I do not get invited to anything except funerals (Who the hell e-mails someone else in the family and asks them to deliver the news to me, and expects me to trek out 3+ hours to be treated like shit?) , and Passover in particular is one of those holidays that I hated growing up and have a terrible aversion to as an adult. This is a holiday where I am grateful to be an intelligent, creative, free spirit, yet under the tyranny of my nation’s President, as opposed to Pharaoh, which for me, is the same fucking thing. What won’t Americans be allowed to do tomorrow? Your guess is as good as mine, and I’m sick of it.

Holidays are often isolating if you suffer from a chronic illness that others refuse to understand and/or take into consideration. If family alienates you and friends drift to the wayside, or make themselves unavailable, it can be quite lonely. Do I want a house full of people for every single holiday? No, but would it be nice to have a few people around to do something with? Yes. In the end, I will probably be working on the never-ending manuscript (It’s really not that long, I’m just that tired.) and listening to music, or something as relatively laid back as possible. If you have a good move recommendation, please, send it along!

It is hard to believe we move into another month this week. Tempus fugit. The knowledge makes me ill (I have my reasons.). The truth is, before we know it, it will be Fall or Winter again, thus the cycle will continue. It’s always something. No matter what you’re going though, the world keeps on moving in various directions. You will agree with some and disagree with others. Such in the pattern of life.

I have a lot to do this coming week, so I made a list. I think it’s a good time to let people know you’re thinking of them by sending out cards, especially if you haven’t done so in a while, and make phone calls to touch base. Texting doesn’t count with this one. Since I can’t bear to talk to certain people at the moment, cards will have to suffice. After all, it is the thought behind the action that counts. 🙂


Here’s hoping everyone had a lovely, relaxing, productive weekend.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


There Are Days


There are days, weeks, months even, when I have absolutely nothing to say. It doesn’t mean I’ve shut down or that the thoughts and ideas in my head have stopped, it simply means I’ve got nothing to say. Sometimes it’s very individualized. I have friends I speak with regularly that I do not tire of, and others where I feel like they’re so dramatic and heavy, that I often need a break from them. This goes for family as well. Sometimes, you just need to step away and step back, even if only to give yourself some breathing room. In some situations, you need more breathing room than you do with others.

It takes a special kind of person to know when I am joking, when I’m being serious, when I need space, comfort, etc. Too many people think they’re so incredibly funny when they aren’t, or they think they’re kidding when what they’ve just said is a truly unhealthy thing to say to someone like me.

This isn’t a sensitivity issue. I have my moments, we all do, but mostly I’m soft with who I choose to be soft with and I am harder with those who have proven they do not deserve a softer side. Some people get a blend because that’s truly me. I’m a multi-faceted individual, I suspect many people are. However, I try to read very little into others because most people are just trying to be nice or polite. Others… Others have ulterior motives and they’re ugly.

There’s something about the holiday season that can either bring out the beauty in people or the ugliness. Right now, I am seeing a whole lot of “Run and hide!” I have no idea how people contain their crazy for 11 months out of a year and then unleash it for a mere four weeks, somehow magically reining it back in on December 31st. That’s a level of crazy I can’t comprehend. I don’t do multiple personalities in the sense that a person suppresses all of their issues for so long that they unleash it towards the end of the year like a bomb just went off. Not my deal.

I do think that when large quantities of alcohol are involved, people often use that as an excuse to be free with their words. I don’t. Whatever I say to you when I am sober is the exact same thing I’d say if I was having a glass of wine. I’m not a big drinker, but alcohol doesn’t change my personality in any way, shape, or form. I’d rather just say what needs to be said than later say I was a bitch because I had too much to drink. No, that’s not an acceptable excuse or reason to bring out the bitch card. I don’t care what time of year it is. If you’re going to drink to excess, make sure you have a reliable, safe designated driver or cab fare with you.


So, what am I doing right now? I am rocking out with a good station on Pandora Radio and trying to come up with some ideas for this lousy weather. Heavy rain is much more preferable to several feet of snow, but amid all this unpleasantness, my crazy ass has to hit the grocery store. In pain, on no sleep, and on empty thoughts. On the plus side, I did make a list when I WAS able to think clearly, so all I have to do is find it and toss it into my purse otherwise it’s pointless. The rain is a good excuse to not wear anything too nice since I will come home having to throw everything right into the washing machine. Trust me, it could be worse. I’m counting my blessings and taking the time to get my brain focused. I hope this fogged brain clears up soon. I can deal with a lot of things, but this is just plain weird, even for me.

I hope everyone is having a good start to their week. I am sure many of you are finishing up (or just starting) your holiday shopping. I was notified a few days ago that I am “expected” to get my brother a gift. All of a sudden?! I honestly want to tell him to go fly a kite. I am being hounded several times a day about this “gift”. What do you get for the person who appreciates little to nothing? Do not for a single second think I have not received extensive e-mails about this, all of which included links and instructions, because, in his eyes, I’ve never purchased a gift before in my life. <rolls eyes> Normally I do all the gift-giving and he does NOTHING, so to say I am annoyed would be a vast understatement. I have been informed that I am not only expected to give him a gift, but I am also charged with preparing a meal for the holidays. “I’ll help.” are the famous last words of ANYONE I know. I don’t like anyone else in my kitchen and I can’t stand anyone standing over me while I am working. Moreover, I have no ideas on what to make.

Chanukah food, traditionally, is predominantly deep fried or lightly fried, and unless someone else is doing all that deep frying, I don’t want to be involved at all. The thought of all that oil makes me want to gag. There’s nothing appetizing about any of it, so I guess I’ll just have to wing it next week at the last minute. I pray I am able to figure it out and that it won’t drain the rest of my life force.

I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted beyond words. All I truly want is quality rest. I know I’m not the only one hoping & praying for this very simple request. Bad weather is poison to Fibromyalgia. So while I love the silence of a rainy day and what it provides me, I do not love the way it makes me feel.

And off I go… Maybe to read until the rain dies down a bit more.        

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.






Retailers Should Really Be Ashamed Of Themselves


Retailers Should Really Be Ashamed Of Themselves

October hadn’t even ended and the few stores I walked into were full of Christmas trees, decorations, candy, and “special, early shopper prices”. I hate this time of year.

I don’t do Christmas. You will not find green & red anywhere in my home and you most certainly will not see a tree, lights, tinsel, et al. I won’t even “celebrate” it at someone else’s home. I celebrate Chanukah (Kuddos to Target for the most awesome Chanukah decor. I could easily have bought all of it, it was truly beautiful stuff. The nicest I have seen in years.) & Yule. Chanukah is centered around family, treats, sweets, and the miracle of oil lasting for eight nights, instead of one. If you don’t know the story of the Maccabees, Google it. I can probably look forward to a box of much wanted books, but I do not expect anything else on the gift front.

Yule is the Winter Solstice. It’s also the day I buried my father, so it’s hard on me. The two holidays coincide this year, but because I’m having an especially rough year I am not doing gifts for anyone, including myself. This has been my commandment of the past two years: Don’t spend money on anything extra that is not truly necessary. I’ve done well.

Every retail outlet in America will have you believing you need new EVERYTHING, and that you need it all RIGHT THIS SECOND. Between TV’s, computers, cell phones, tablets, and a plethora of other gadgets, billions of dollars will inevitably be spent no matter what. I know way too many people who spend thousands of dollars they don’t have on gifts for everyone and their Great-Uncle, and they don’t even like 9/4’s of the people they’re giving gifts to, they simply feel obligated. When their credit card statements arrive in January, they are filled with shame, remorse, and the simple fact that they are now seriously in debt, and for what?!

I’m more of a gift card kind of gal. I like choosing my own gifts, unless you’re going to Sephora, in which case, you can’t go wrong on anything (I’m joking, sort of.), but when it comes to giving, I like to do something for a person that they probably wouldn’t do for themselves. I don’t ever put a price tag on my best friends, God-daughter, or my Aunt. With my brother, I do have to limit him into a reasonable category because he always asks me for insane things. I don’t remember what I got him last year, but I do know he got exactly what he wanted/asked for, and that I spent next to nothing because I found both items on eBay for a steal. It DOES pay to shop around for the best price.

I really enjoy the quality and uniqueness of gifts on Etsy. I have bought everything from hand-crafted jewelry, sugar scrubs, and laptop cases, all the way to homemade fudge & plants for my Aunt’s garden, and pretty much everything has been great. Several pieces of jewelry were for me, and I wear them religiously. I bought an amazing leather wallet one year, and I love it to pieces. It’s got a great rock ‘n’ roll edge to it that makes it so unique looking. I’m not the least bit embarrassed to pull it out of my purse. I highly recommend doing a very thorough search of that site if you want items that are unique and affordable. Most people are taking orders now in advance of the holidays to guarantee timely delivery, and I understand that because they’re one person businesses. That’s different.

Retailers are disgustingly greedy, and yes, people need their retail jobs, I respect that, but none of us need to go running to any of those stores on Thanksgiving Day and be taken away from our families/friends. The employees themselves should also be home with their families, not running to work the very same night to “prep the store” for a pre-Black Friday opening. It gets worse every year, and it makes me sick.

This year I’ve decided to buy of all my normal stuff in advance at Walmart. Basically, that means all of my paper products, garbage bags, and 8 bags of cat litter. This will help me avoid anything there, short of the pharmacy, during all the crazy madness.

If you’re giving gifts this year, give from your heart. I’d rather receive something a person has made (craft stores are AWESOME!) than an after-thought they grabbed while trying to trample over 20 other people. The only thing I asked for this year is a scarf. I do have a nice one that (sort of) matches my coat, but I’d like something in grey. I’m allergic to wool, so this should be a fun little search in an attempt to not get sick this Winter. Perhaps I will even find a matching hat. However, the only thing I truly WANT is my health (and prosperity).

Nothing on this planet is more important than one’s health. Without it, you cannot do any of the things you want to do, should do, or need to do. Without it, you forever feel like you’re living on borrowed time. There’s nothing inside any retail store that can restore it, so consider this closely.

I know a lot of people forgo their regular “diets” during the holidays because they want to enjoy everything offered to them. There’s a reason the word “die” is in “diet”. I’m a firm believer in balance. I’m also not subjected to countless gatherings and parties, so “holiday weight” is not an issue for me. January is not my “It’s time to get back to the gym.” resolution, which most people only manage to keep up with for a few weeks, or a month, tops. I do consider which vitamins I should be taking, if there’s anything new that might physically increase my health and resistance to illness, and I try to make small changes that can make meals healthier and tastier, but all in all, I don’t obsess much. The past two years have shown me that the simplest things can be the most delicious things, and that it’s perfectly okay to have the 2nd cupcake.

So, while retailers throw everything and the kitchen sink at you in order to get you into their stores right away, consider yourself, your families, your budgets, and make a stand in advance. If you started early, good for you. If you’re strictly doing Cyber Monday, you’re probably better off. If you’re hitting the stores to chase down bargains, do so carefully and safely, and make sure you keep all your receipts, just in case.

Personally, I’m going to be un-subscribing from every single retailer that sends me an early shopping e-mail starting today. I’m utterly sick of the bullshit, but hey, that’s me. We’re all entitled to how we feel in regards to all of this meshugas. (If you don’t know what that means, Google it. Yes, that’s one of the languages I speak.)

copyright © 2014 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED