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One Mean Squirrel!!

Friday, April 01, 2011

I posted this story in a couple of teams I belong to. I must have re-read this several times over the years. I try to share it whenever I can find a captive audience.

This is long but a great story by Daniel Meyer

Neighborhood Hazard (or: Why the Cops Won’t Patrol Brice Street)

I never dreamed slowly cruising through a residential neighborhood could be so incredibly dangerous!
Studies have shown that motorcycling requires more decisions per second, and more sheer data processing than nearly any other common activity or sport. The reactions and accurate decision making abilities needed have been likened to the reactions of fighter pilots! The consequences of bad decisions or poor situational awareness are pretty much the same for both groups too.
Occasionally, as a rider I have caught myself starting to make bad or late decisions while riding. In flight training, my instructors called this being “behind the power curve”. It is a mark of experience that when this begins to happen, the rider recognizes the situation, and more importantly, does something about it. A short break, a meal, or even a gas stop can set things right again as it gives the brain a chance to catch up.
Good, accurate, and timely decisions are essential when riding a motorcycle…at least if you want to remain among the living. In short, the brain needs to keep up with the machine.
I had been banging around the roads of east Texas and as I headed back into Dallas, found myself in very heavy, high-speed traffic on the freeways. Normally, this is not a problem, I commute in these conditions daily, but suddenly I was nearly run down by a cage that decided it needed my lane more than I did. This is not normally a big deal either, as it happens around here often, but usually I can accurately predict which drivers are not paying attention and avoid them before we are even close. This one I missed seeing until it was nearly too late, and as I took evasive action I nearly broadsided another car that I was not even aware was there!

Two bad decisions and insufficient situational awareness…all within seconds. I was behind the power curve. Time to get off the freeway. I hit the next exit, and as I was in an area I knew pretty well, headed through a few big residential neighborhoods as a new route home. As I turned onto the nearly empty streets I opened the visor on my full-face helmet to help get some air. I figured some slow riding through the quiet surface streets would give me time to relax, think, and regain that “edge” so frequently required when riding.

Little did I suspect…

As I passed an oncoming car, a brown furry missile shot out from under it and tumbled to a stop immediately in front of me. It was a squirrel, and must have been trying to run across the road when it encountered the car. I really was not going very fast, but there was no time to brake or avoid it—it was that close.

I hate to run over animals…and I really hate it on a motorcycle, but a squirrel should pose no danger to me. I barely had time to brace for the impact. Animal lovers, never fear. Squirrels can take care of themselves!

Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped to his feet. He was standing on his hind legs and facing the oncoming Valkyrie (Honda motorcycle) with steadfast resolve in his little beady eyes. His mouth opened, and at the last possible second, he screamed and leapt! I am pretty sure the scream was squirrel for, “Banzai!” or maybe, “Die you gravy-sucking, heathen scum!” as the leap was spectacular and he flew over the windshield and impacted me squarely in the chest.

Instantly he set upon me. If I did not know better I would have sworn he brought twenty of his little buddies along for the attack. Snarling, hissing, and tearing at my clothes, he was a frenzy of activity. As I was dressed only in a light t-shirt, summer riding gloves, and jeans this was a bit of a cause for concern. This furry little tornado was doing some damage!

Picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and leather gloves puttering maybe 25mph down a quiet residential street…and in the fight of his life with a squirrel. And losing!
I grabbed for him with my left hand and managed to snag his tail. With all my strength I flung the evil rodent off the left of the bike, almost running into the right curb as I recoiled from the throw.
That should have done it. The matter should have ended right there. It really should have. The squirrel could have sailed into one of the pristinely kept yards and gone on about his business, and I could have headed home. No one would have been the wiser.
But this was no ordinary squirrel. This was not even an ordinary ticked-off squirrel. This was an evil attack squirrel of death!
Somehow he caught my gloved finger with one of his little hands, and with the force of the throw swung around and with a resounding thump and an amazing impact he landed square on my back and resumed his rather anti-social and extremely distracting activities. He also managed to take my left glove with him! The situation was not improved. Not improved at all. His attacks were continuing, and now I could not reach him.

I was startled to say the least. The combination of the force of the throw, only having one hand (the throttle hand) on the handlebars, and my jerking back unfortunately put a healthy twist through my right hand and into the throttle. A healthy twist on the throttle of a Valkyrie can only have one result. Torque! This is what the Valkyrie is made for, and she is very, very good at it. The engine roared as the front wheel left the pavement. The squirrel screamed in anger. The Valkyrie screamed in ecstasy. I screamed in…well…I just plain screamed.

Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a slightly squirrel torn t-shirt, and only one leather glove roaring at maybe 70mph and rapidly accelerating down a quiet residential street…on one wheel and with a demonic squirrel on his back. The man and the squirrel are both screaming bloody murder.
With the sudden acceleration I was forced to put my other hand back on the handlebars and try to get control of the bike. This was leaving the mutant squirrel to his own devices, but I really did not want to crash into somebody’s tree, house, or parked car. Also, I had not yet figured out how to release the throttle…my brain was just simply overloaded. I did manage to mash the back brake, but it had little affect against the massive power of the big cruiser.
About this time the squirrel decided that I was not paying sufficient attention to this very serious battle (maybe he is a Scottish attack squirrel of death), and he came around my neck and got IN my full-face helmet with me. As the faceplate closed partway and he began hissing in my face I am quite sure my screaming changed tone and intensity. It seemed to have little affect on the squirrel however.
The rpm’s on The Dragon maxed out (I was not concerned about shifting at the moment) and her front end started to drop.
Now picture the large man on the huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a very ragged torn t-shirt, and wearing one leather glove, roaring at probably 80mph, still on one wheel, with a large puffy squirrel’s tail sticking out his mostly closed full-face helmet. By now the screams are probably getting a little hoarse.
Finally I got the upper hand…I managed to grab his tail again, pulled him out of my helmet, and slung him to the left as hard as I could. This time it worked…sort-of. Spectacularly sort-of, so to speak.

Picture the scene. You are a cop. You and your partner have pulled off on a quiet residential street and parked with your windows down to do some paperwork.

Suddenly a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a torn t-shirt flapping in the breeze, and wearing one leather glove, moving at probably 80mph on one wheel, and screaming bloody murder roars by and with all his strength throws a live squirrel grenade directly into your police car.

I heard screams. They weren't mine...

I managed to get the big motorcycle under directional control and dropped the front wheel to the ground. I then used maximum braking and skidded to a stop in a cloud of tire smoke at the stop sign at a busy cross street.

I would have returned to fess up (and to get my glove back). I really would have. Really. But for two things. First, the cops did not seem interested or the slightest bit concerned about me at the moment. One of them was on his back in the front yard of the house they had been parked in front of and was rapidly crabbing backwards away from the patrol car. The other was standing in the street and was training a riot shotgun on the police cruiser.

So the cops were not interested in me. They often insist to “let the professionals handle it” anyway. That was one thing. The other? Well, I swear I could see the squirrel, standing in the back window of the patrol car among shredded and flying pieces of foam and upholstery, and shaking his little fist at me. I think he was shooting me the finger…

That is one dangerous squirrel. And now he has a patrol car…

I took a deep breath, turned on my turn-signal, made an easy right turn, and sedately left the neighborhood.
As for my easy and slow drive home? Screw it. Faced with a choice of 80mph cars and inattentive drivers, or the evil, demonic, attack squirrel of death...I’ll take my chances with the freeway. Every time. And I’ll buy myself a new pair of gloves.

Daniel Meyer

P.S.:The Valkyrie is a heavy motorcycle cruiser, but with around 100 free horsepower at the rear wheel, any competent rider can wheelie this bike in the right conditions. Of course the kicker is that most competent riders will choose NOT to.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1_OF_5 4/10/2011 12:54PM

    Hilarious, you've made my day. Thank you!

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RJFERRARO315 4/4/2011 12:08AM

    What a hoot! Thank you for sharing.

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GAYEMC 4/2/2011 1:31PM


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XME501 4/2/2011 12:15PM

    Just too, too funny!!

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    I had to read this twice! I laughed so hard I had tears. OMG!

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MUNCHIEMAGS 4/1/2011 2:50PM

    Good thing I don't work in an office environment because everyone would've been convinced I'm crazy for laughing out loud at my computer all by myself . . . . emoticon

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DAISYBELL6 4/1/2011 12:41PM


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ANNE1123 4/1/2011 12:38PM

    That's a great story, thanks for the April 1 post! Have a safe, dry for the most part, and squirrel free weekend! emoticon

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KAREN42BOYS 4/1/2011 12:31PM

    oh, thank you! this had me in tears from the laughter!

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Winter Needs to Take A Hike!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I find myself obsessing over summer. My obsessions include but are not limited to: Sunshine, warmth, morning (warm) walks, riding motorcycle, riding bicycle (soon to be purchased), gardening, wash & wax cars, relax in a lawn chair....You know summer stuff! Waking up in the mornings to bright sunlight shining through the window immediately sets a positive mood for my day. My batteries get charged up and give me the drive to get things done. Sunshine makes me want to do "stuff" even if I have no plan (generally the case). I don't mind making up things to do.
Now winter is a different story!! Waking up to a cold, rainy overcast day, makes for a dreary outlook for the day. My mood is already set into the negative. I have to conjure-up more inventive and work harder at bringing myself to see the positive things of the coming day. Since most all my "FUN" things are summer related my fun activity levels are downsized during the winter. I find myself in front of the computer 60% more often (actually doing good things on SparkPeople), planting myself in front of the TV, ....etc.

Coach Nichole wrote a Blog that says it best:
"Dear Old Man Winter,

Why do you keep hanging around? You go away for a few days, letting sunny skies and warm breezes fill your place, making us all very happy. And just when I think you're gone for good, you come back with a vengeance, bringing snow, cold rains, grey skies, and miserable temperatures. Not cool...

You can't keep doing this to us. I think you have outworn your welcome. Time to go away until next year so my friends spring and summer can run the show for a little while. OK? Thanks for your cooperation,


However inventing things to do for the winter has had some positive aspects. I find a lot of my time in inside the gym. Not only for health reasons but getting myself ready and fit for the summer. I have goals that require the gym for my weight and healthy health-style. I still wash the car (in the rain), I sit down and plan what I want to do for the summer (mostly motorcycle related), plans for Oregon Coast stays to watch winter storms with my wonderful wife (sexy stuff by the way), long walks on the beach...etc
Well....maybe Winter is not to bad after-all. But!! enough is enough!!

emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANDOK1260 3/26/2011 5:15PM

    yep, I am realdy for spring too now. Thanks for advice on my blog about my sis. I will take tall the advice I can get.

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    I am so ready for Spring...need better, warmer weather!

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CBAILEYC 3/17/2011 2:48PM

    You two are adorable!

I'm with you on being impatient for winter to move on and better days to become the norm. Heck, I'll ever take spring rains, as long as it's not so flippin' cold!

Here's to sunshine and flowers and warm breezes and big white fluffy clouds skudding by in the wide open blue sky.

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NINJA-NED 3/17/2011 2:27PM

    Nicole was much nicer that I would have been. I'd like to tell winter to get the h*** out and don't come back!

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MUNCHIEMAGS 3/17/2011 12:57PM

    I like the sunshine & spring flowers too, but I also like the beauty of gray skies and seeing the contrast of dark gray & light gray clouds . . . .I love the sound of rain falling, and I like warmth, but not above 85 degrees. Those are the differences between us, I guess.

Spring bulbs are my favorite flowers, and I'm ready to see them sprout up everywhere! I am ready for some sun breaks, but they usually come during work hours in the middle of the week, so I can't really enjoy them.

We may have some coastal storms this weekend - to me, I find that conducive to snuggling, etc. emoticon

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Portland Oregon Shamrock Run In the Rain & Cold!!.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Well I found out how to run in the rain and used some of the information suggested by my SparkFriends. My wife Maggi went with me, bless her heart, to hold onto my dry clothes and for moral support. We were up at 5:00 AM and took the train into Portland. This morning I ran my 5K in the Portland Shamrock Run, 32000+ entries, with over 11,000+ in the 5K alone! I wore breathable dry-fit pants with running shorts over them. I wore 2 sets of dry-fit shirts that included a Tech-Shirt provided by the event. The temperature was around 48 degrees and light rain. I became wet but was comfortable due to the heat I generated. The train ride home was colder!
Due to my knee injury I almost decided not to run...but I did! For some reason I felt I had to run because I have been training for several weeks. Slower pace than I am used to running but finished running with no walking. My knee will be paying the price for the next several weeks I am sure. Probably not the wisest decision I have made to run. But it is history now and I feel good at age 66+ doing my 2nd 5K. Don't know my results yet but it doesn't matter.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GAYEMC 3/17/2011 9:43PM

    I'm so late on catching up with posts.

emoticonChuck on your first 5K. I hope you didn't do any more damage to your knee. Sounds like you got the clothes right. Sorry you couldn't meet up with the PDX spark peeps. Next race we need to have a specific meeting point (away from the start) at a specific time. That's how I met Z. Can't wait to see you again and get a bear hug!

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BMRBUDDY 3/14/2011 7:16PM

    WOW! That is fantistic! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BUGSMOM211 3/14/2011 4:38PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NINJA-NED 3/14/2011 3:47PM

    you should feel good. way to go!!!

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SROBERTS82 3/14/2011 2:43PM

    Congrats on doing the run! I chickened out when I heard how many people would be there :) Sounds like you did great! I hope your knee doesn't hurt you, and you'll be doing more before the summer is out!

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CBAILEYC 3/14/2011 2:18PM

    Congrats on your run! I'm so sorry we didn't meet up, but hopefully we'll be much better organized next time - like swapping cell numbers and hoisting up a SparkPeople sign LOL

Rest your knee and work through active recovery, and you'll be back at 'em in no time!
emoticon emoticon

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MUNCHIEMAGS 3/14/2011 2:13AM

    You did great - no matter what the time clock says. No walking, even though your knee had been showing signs of "giving up the ghost" all week. You should be proud.
But it would've been nice if those raindrops hadn't been the size of nickels!!!

emoticon emoticon

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CJANNESS 3/13/2011 10:33PM

  That rain was freezing! And a new experience to run in for me as well! Great job!!!!! emoticon emoticon

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DUFFYDYER 3/13/2011 10:00PM

    I am VERY proud of you my Sparkfriend! Great job emoticon Sorry about the rain emoticon but clearly it didn't dampen your spirits! emoticon emoticon

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    Love the perseverance. 32000 entries... sounds more the population of a city. I'm sure you did great! Finishing in those conditions is something you should be proud of.

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TURTLETALK 3/13/2011 7:56PM

    Great dedication to run in the rain!

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All Consuming Lifestyle Thoughts.......

Saturday, March 05, 2011

I can sympathize with people about the obsession of weight loss and nutrition consuming ones life. I have been at this lifestyle change of "Nutrition & fitness" for over a year now. I am still learning, reviewing, researching and living everyday with "controlling" my calories consumption, eating habits, fitness, and life's situations around me. I believe this will be a lifelong task for me.
My foundation learning phase is in my past, but always reviewed. I need to keep applying what I have learned for the rest of my life, building and strengthening upon my foundation. I needed this lifestyle change. It is on my mind constantly and I do keep it fresh in my home-life everyday. I stay away from using the word "diet" and replace it with healthy "lifestyle". One day I hope some of the pressure I am putting on myself subsides. To much pressure has a negative aspect and I want it corrected. So that will be my continuing education process to find ways to disburse/diffuse the pressure "stress" somewhere else.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I know exactly what you are talking about. It is a life long process & not only are we always learning, so are the experts. New developments every day that are assisting us to be healthier. The idea is when you finally feel like you can have whatever you want, you will and you won't want the junk. I had the exact experience in Vegas. I am going to blog about the creme brulee that I always eat too much of. this last trip, I only ate 1 1/2 and that was ALL I WANTED! I think next time I may just skip it. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Glad you are on board the healthy train!

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BYOUNG56 3/8/2011 10:26AM

  Kinda like riding a motorcycle. When you first start you grab both handle grips and hold on for dear life. Checking and re - Checking everything. Speed, Traffic , road conditions (pot holes). Eventually you learn to relax, but still you stay alert, to the Speed, Traffic, Road Conditions (pot holes). But you trust your driving skill, cars still run stop signs, don't see you, a big pot hole you can't miss. But you trust your skill. It becomes natural and you become one with the highway.

Here is where I am right now. I am holding on to the handle bars with all my might. Checking and re-Checking everything, Calories, Fat grams, exercise, did I drink enough water? Can I pass up that donut or chinese buffet? Yes I can. However I am afraid that if I let my guard down I will become that lazy man again. I need to learn trust my new living skills just like my driving skills. In fact it helps me to reflect on my recent past. Look at my past success, realizing that while losing weight I have had about the best year of my life. So I trust my new life skills, they are becoming natural to me and I am becoming one with who I want to be.

Easier said than Done

Brad Young

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MUNCHIEMAGS 3/7/2011 9:14PM

    As usual, a very thought provoking blog.
I'm still in "square one" myself, as you know. I get down on myself when I can't do what you can, but then I have to remember that you've been at this for over a year now.

Once I can get my rear-end in gear we can help to keep each other inspired & on track. And I need some de-stressing too!! What can we do about that?? emoticon

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LORIBEL1 3/7/2011 12:21PM

    I think it's good that you keep learning and continue to make your "life style" changes. It's so easy to fall back in to the old routines.

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GAYEMC 3/6/2011 8:30PM

    I think Lifestyle is what Spark is all about. And I've found that when you continue to do something, be it exercise, healthy eating habits, healthy living habits, that after a while it becomes second nature and we can spend less time thinking about it.

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DAISYBELL6 3/6/2011 6:40PM

    I've had thoughts like this from time to time and have decided That this lifestyle is so much healthier than being obsessed with food and eating!

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    yep. just as the others said.

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CBAILEYC 3/5/2011 8:31PM

    My mom, who has for decades encouraged me to lose weight, stated "you're going a little overboard, aren't you?" when I explained that I was also working out and started running along with eating healthier. To her, it IS just a matter of diet. To me, and you, and so many like us, it IS a lifestyle. It has to be, because diets haven't worked in the past (for me, anyway) but this approach has made all the difference in the world.

Keep up the life-long learning, and living - you are truly living!

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CAROLINE1000 3/5/2011 2:43PM

    I do think that for some of us coming back and being a little more obsessed than the average joe is needed. As long as you keep it fun being smarter and more dedicated in your diet and fitness isn't a bad thing.


The only people who will say your being obsessive are generally feeling a little guilty themselves. Think to a time you may have said that to somebody...

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ALISHAB3 3/5/2011 1:25PM

    I hear you, I have been at this fitness thing since 2007 and I still have to remind myself to set my intent to lose weight every day and I still have to journal. Its just a part of life like brushing my teeth or taking a shower.

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I.M.MAGIC 3/5/2011 12:27PM

    One of the tools I found for myself when it comes to achieving balance between control and freedom?...


You make time for everything else, right? Make time for fun, too. My doctor once told me that laughter is internal jogging--both are good for what ails ya! LOL

Great attitude, great blog!
Kathy emoticon

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    I think it helps to take the pressure off..I find walking can sometimes help to de-stress.

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Pushing Myself!!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Pushing myself to exercise sometimes reminds me of an old-time comedy skit with the actors Don Ameche and Francis Langford who called themselves "The Bickersons". One of their skits Langford is trying to get Don Ameche to do something, so she says: "You say you'll do it, but you won't!, So do it now!" When it comes to exercise or doing something around the house I have to use their line to push me along. I am a procrastinator so I have to say to myself: I say I will do it but I won't! So I have to do it now! You would think after being with Spark over a year some things would just come natural. For exercising I need to get things in motion such as start packing my bag for the gym and just head out the door. Once I am at the gym I work my A@$ off and burn those calories.
Now I must follow through with my babbling and GET TO THE GYM NOW!! emoticon I got an extra boost after talking with an old Navy buddy I have not seen for 44 years. I just recently was re-connected with him. It was great talking over the old Navy days. We talked for 97 min. today. I feel energized and ready to take on the gym. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALLAHALLA 3/3/2011 12:29PM

    Good intentions pave the road to fat. You recognize your procrastination, so that is at least a start. I have that same little monkey hanging on my back. It is an effort everyday to grabbed him by the tail and chuck him off. I keep hopin' some day he won't come back. But until that day...I guess I'll be a perpetual monkey chucker.

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GAYEMC 2/4/2011 6:03PM

    Sounds like me. Good intentions at the start of the day. I am getting better, slowly.

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    I'm a procrastinator like you, but on the bright side once I get there I'm part of the "do work crew". Great to hear that you got to catch up with your buddy, too.

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BERRIMOUSE 2/2/2011 8:06PM

    Yes pep talks to yourself can help, I have to do that sometimes also, so keep it up and you will see the results.

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DUFFYDYER 2/2/2011 7:28PM

    Send some of that motivation my way Chuck!

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MADKAPKID 2/2/2011 7:17PM

    I seem to have to push myself to exercise every day. It still is not my favorite way to spend time...But, I am doing better with it. Enoy your time at the gym. Karen

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NURSEMATE49 2/2/2011 6:37PM

  I push myself, talk to myself and keep my mine focused on how I want to look and the positive attitude that I CAN DO this! I get up everyday with the CAN DO and WILL DO thought! Hang in there!!!!!

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