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The Week in Review: Reckless Abandon

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Reckless Abandon:

1. It's idiomatic English, means roughly "without care or regard for consequences".
2. Title of a Blink 182 song.

-from urbandictionary.com



I went to my saxophone lesson on Tuesday feeling mildly confident. I had practiced quite a bit and felt I had improved some, especially on some of the technical exercises. I don't put much "feeling" into the technical exercises, and I try to play them with precision and perfection. When I started to play, and I saw my teacher shaking his head. I stopped playing. "What?" I asked sheepishly.

"Let's see. I want you play with more--how should I put it--reckless abandon." He then proceeded to play the exercises playfully and song-like. He then had me play along with him, and then he stopped playing while I continued on. I admitted to him that "reckless abandon" is not something that comes naturally to me. "Well, we'll work on it," he assured me.

The thought of doing anything with "reckless abandon" makes me feel a little queasy. I always have a plan, I follow the plan, and I don't attempt something unless I know I can do it right. If I know I will probably do well, I go balls to the wall. If I know I may not do it very well, then I approach with extreme caution. This approach, of course, causes me to hold back from pushing the boundaries and going further with some things. ALISHAB3 left a comment on my "Emptying the Hollowness" blog this week about internal all-or-nothing thinking. She's right, I do struggle with black-and-white thinking a lot. Therefore, everything I do must be done to a T--losing weight, exercising, eating right, playing the saxophone, kickboxing--or it is not worth my while. But I have come to realize that I need to approach some things with reckless abandon in order to move forward.




Image from http://www.dailyfreefonts.com/fonts/info/2
591-Balls-to-the-Wall.html.



After thinking about it, I realize that I have already thrown caution to the wind and just gone for it at times. Returning to kickboxing was very risky with my knee problem--it could have become acutely injured after starting up again and gotten a lot worse. I was at the point where I figured, "What do I have to lose?" Well, other than my ability to walk, I suppose. I never would have known if I was able to kick again if I hadn't picked up my leg and taken a swing at the heavy bag. I'll never know how playfully I can play my saxophone if I never play without worrying how I sound, rather than how I feel. Sometimes I need to let whatever happens happen.




Image from http://www.printfection.com/funketees



As ALISHAB3 pointed out, we often fall into the rigid all-or-nothing thinking when it comes to weight loss, too. I have gotten significantly better about this, although the thinking still frequently sneaks in. I used to either do a binge right--eating until I was physically incapable of eating anymore--or I was following my food plan correctly. There was no in between. I've lightened up a bit on this thinking, and although I may overeat sometimes, I am not nearly as reckless as I used to be about binging. I talked myself out of a binge this week not by steely willpower, but by genuinely picturing feeling bloated and gross after eating the food, and the day-long food hangover that would have ensued. I didn't do anything to distract myself, I just imagined how gross it would feel to binge and how I would feel ill the next day. I then proceeded to follow my food plan for the rest of the night and forgot about wanting to binge. However, my little brain cells were lying in wait waiting for an excuse to binge. A few days later, after a stressful day at work, I went to Taco Bell and overate. Granted, the binge wasn't as damaging as I thought it would be after tracking it (yes, I did track it) and I didn't go as overboard as I may have in the past, it was still a reckless act. I fall into the thinking mistake that this type of overeating is okay because it is my way of "living freely," but reckless abandonment need not lead to wrecking my goals.

The type of reckless abandon my saxophone teacher was talking about is the type that lets us discover our potential. It is letting go enough and not worrying about the result as much as just going with the process. The process can be fun, challenging, frustrating, hilarious, and freeing all at once. Unfortunately, this type of reckless abandon is not ingrained in my brain. I don't have fun until I am doing something really well. The process of getting good is taxing. Over time, I believe I can uncover how to lead a life of reckless abandon.

Maybe I need to get tricked more into reckless abandonment. As I did my first weight workout of the week, I loaded the barbell to 30 pounds for my shoulder work. I reached failure with that amount on the barbell--I could not have done another rep if I had wanted to. Then, during my second workout doing the same exercises, I noticed that the weight felt more challenging. I figured my arms were worn out from lifting weights and kickboxing. I was still able to complete all of the reps, though. I looked at my barbell and realized that it was loaded with almost 45 pounds, not 30. I was able to work with that weight because I didn't realize how heavy it was, therefore, I wasn't able to talk myself out of it. Even I was surprised at the fact that a significantly lighter weight had actually brought my muscles (and nerves) to failure. I guess my limits will be discovered if I just say, "Screw it," and go with it.




Image from http://www.smbtraining.com/blog/the-elusiv
e-easy-trade



Perhaps I would benefit from a little more reckless abandonment in my life. I just need to keep in mind the difference between reckless abandon and just plain reckless. I now know that they are not the same thing.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMILINGTREE 9/5/2011 10:10PM

    I have run farther than I thought I could by miscounting laps or covering up the face of the treadmill before. I have often wished I could be more reckless, but it's really tough. How does one train to tolerate more risk?

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 9/5/2011 6:21PM

    Thank you for the wonderful blog entry. "Reckless abandon" is something I've been missing in my life since about the time LBJ was in office! Reckless abandon used to be so much fun. I'll go for it soon and think of and thank you!

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SABRINALONDON21 9/5/2011 4:13PM

    Very nice blog!!!! I can relate to the rigidity with planning, I am the same way!!!!

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PAWSINAZ 9/5/2011 3:39PM

    emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 9/5/2011 3:18PM

    Great blog!

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1LATTE4ME 9/4/2011 10:52PM

    So right, you are.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 9/4/2011 10:30PM

    Sometimes we can be so bent on doing a good job and doing everything perfect and by the book what we can lose out on the fact that innovation and great ideas come out of people doing something different than the status quo. Sometimes we have to do things for the sake of joy and having fun. I would like to think that even Mozart sometimes liked to play chopsticks.

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TOTHEFUTURE1 9/4/2011 10:02PM

    Thanks
Another thought from the movie "Auntie Mame" "life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death"
Enjoy the momnent

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APIRLRAIN888 9/4/2011 8:46PM

    I love it! thanks for the reminder

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CHAOSTHEORY635 9/4/2011 5:04PM

    heh--that's how it goes sometimes. you start working out, forget how to count, and hit a PR because you failed to add up the plates correctly :)

living with reckless abandon is amazing. i can think of a lot of things i'd still suck at if i hadn't thrown myself into them completely with no reservations...

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TENACIOUSTRISH 9/4/2011 4:14PM

    emoticonfor posting.

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SparkPeep opinions--baby shower etiquette?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

So the other day I had blogged about a woman who I was deciding whether or not I really want to be friends with anymore ("Emptying the Hollowness" blog post). The woman who had called me a "baby squirrel killer" is pregnant. She is not a super-close friend, but I was excited for her. I had told her a few months ago that I wanted to throw her a baby shower in October, and host it at my house. She was excited about the idea.

A couple of weeks ago she came to me and told me she didn't really want a "traditional" shower, and that she would rather have a "regular" party at her house on the same night instead. She asked if I would still help plan the party, but it felt more obligatory on her part so I wouldn't feel completely shot down. My feelings were a little hurt, but I said okay. Since she has poked fun at my small house before, I get the impression that she doesn't think my house is good enough. The party was actually going to be held outside in my huge garden, including a bonfire in my fire pit. She has not mentioned the party again since. I kind of took her change of plans as a "Thanks, but no thanks," and that she was declining to have me throw her a shower. I was talking to a co-worker friend tonight, and she pointed out that most people would be honored to have someone offer to throw a baby shower. So, I am wondering where to go from here.

I've never thrown a shower for anyone before, so I'm not quite sure what the etiquette here would be. Even if I did still consider her to be a friend, I feel like she turned down my offering to host a baby shower, and therefore I'm not responsible for this party. If she does end up asking me to help plan this party at her house, I am inclined to say, "Since you declined me offering to throw you a shower, you can go ahead and do whatever you want for your party," and not be involved. Is that rude? Am I obligated to help with this party that she is throwing because I offered to host a shower? I feel that she was being a bit ungrateful, and I don't feel inclined to be involved in planning this party.

Opinions? What would my SparkPeeps do?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

UTMIZ_2000 9/6/2011 4:14PM

    I'm sorry you're going through this.

You are clearly uncomfortable with the situation. I would suggest you just tell her that. If she has hurt your feelings, it is okay to tell her that as well. She is not the only person with feelings. I've been pregnant six times and can tell you with confidence, she can take the truth. Sounds like she was trying to give you a way out of the party, anyway and might just be relieved at the news.

You need to feel good about yourself when this is all over, so all advice aside, you need to decide how to proceed. I wish you the best. emoticon

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 9/5/2011 6:32PM

    I was impressed by your valiant efforts with the baby squirrel and dismayed at the way your "friend" treated you at the time.

Because you "sort of" have asked for advice, I would say this: consider the value of this friendship. You've written down two examples of ways in which she has cavalierly dissed and dismissed you. It might be a good case of "reckless abandon" to get rid of or distance yourself from a friend who is not supportive. Only you can weigh and measure the value the friendship has for you, but you can always back out and help her by giving her a small gift or taking a "wait and see" attitude.

Please take care of yourself! I really like you a lot from the blogs I have read and think you have been a hero in many ways.

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LEONALIONESS 9/5/2011 2:33PM

    I'd be bailing like I was in a canoe with a big hole on each end. Of course, I find baby showers to be darn near the pinnacle of "Places I Do Not Want To Be". As a childfree/sterilized lady, nothing makes me feel more like an outcast that being surrounded by ladies going baby crazy. I feel really confused (why are they so excited? I'm bored. And a bit horrified since I'm tokophobic) and horribly out of place.

I also despise passive aggressive people and she sounds like a prime example of that.
Do not want. Have fun doing your own party, lady.

Also, the folks giving her a pass for being preggo? Not flying. Excusing bad behavior due to pregnancy is so irritating. I get really hangry when my blood sugar is low and I've been known to be a real jerk. As soon as I snap, I own up and APOLOGIZE for my behavior. To imply that it's just pregnancy hormones makes it seem like she's so so crazy from being womby that she can't possible acknowledge being a jerk. Which is insulting to pregnant ladies and chicks in general. I've had some AWFUL PMS bouts where I can tell I'm being just irrational and flying way off the handle. I can't seem to *stop* but I can tell I'm out of line. Being pregnant doesn't shut off one's logic center or self awareness, right?

Hormones and outside stuff CAN make us wacky but we're adult and smart enough to realize that when we snap at someone or otherwise are cruel, we apologize. "Sorry, my blood sugar was low/I was having a rash of killer PG hormones and I get mean/irrational in that state. I'm so sorry I snapped at you/was rude/hurt your feelings, I didn't mean to be nasty." Goes a long way! Having a baby doesn't mean you can be an @ss with no consequences. You're pregnant, not mentally incompetent/lacking in all social skills.

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ARCHIMEDESII 9/2/2011 9:33AM

    I'd say that co-worker has given you the easy out of the situation. Since you had been having some issues, now you aren't obligated to throw her a baby shower. She seems to have decided she can do a better job. Which is fine. Let her. It's less stress for you ! You made the initial offer which she accepted and now she's changed her mind. Don't be offended. That's her choice.

Although, with this new information, her change in behavior towards you could be a result of fluctuating hormones. I'm not saying that her previous behavior was right. it wasn't. It was downright rude. However, knowing that she's pregnant and may be going through an emotional hurricane of her own, I could see cutting her some slack.

What would I do ? I'd be magnanimous and continue the offer to help. Helping doesn't mean you have to do everything. You could offer to help with cards or invitations. You could offer to help cooking food or set up. It doesn't have to be anything substantial. Just a small gesture of goodwill.

And a small gift would be fine. You don't have to get her the baby stroller. A cute outfit for the new addition would be perfect. Unless of course all the co-workers are going to chip in for one "big" gift from the team.

I'd take the high ground with the co-worker even if she's had occasion to be crass.




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GEMINIAN1 9/2/2011 8:20AM

    The last time she talked to you about it was a couple of weeks ago?
I'd just wait for her to approach you about it and she what she wants you to do.

You're not obligated to do anything.

Do you still plan on going by her house or ... bailing on the whole entire event?
I'm confused about that piece?
I mean, she might just ask you to bring some paper plates.
If you were willing to throw the whole shebang at your house before, then you can't even pick up a package of plates ... I think she'll get the hint about your relationship; or lack there of.
I hope it works out my friend.

Comment edited on: 9/2/2011 8:21:34 AM

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HIPPICHICK1 9/2/2011 8:01AM

    You are never obligated to do any thing you do not wish to do.
If I were you I would be very clear about this party and your role in it with your "frenemy."
Don't ask...just tell her that you have accidentally double booked yourself that night and you can not attend her party after all, but you wish her well and hope she has a great celebration.

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ABB698 9/2/2011 2:31AM

    If she declined your offer, than its her loss, you are under no obligation to do things her way or be any part of her planning.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 9/1/2011 3:12PM

    I think your party idea sounds great and she should have gone along with it. If it's like you said and she is making excuses to get out of it you could just not do anything and see if she says anything later on. It sounds kind of weird to me - a regular party as opposed to a shower?????? I wouldn't have a clue on how to proceed.

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LITTLETEALOVER 9/1/2011 1:32PM

    "She asked if I would still help plan the party...I said okay."

I think by your own words, you have set yourself up with the obligation to help. That being said, I wouldn't go to too much trouble. Perhaps you could say something to her like, "I know I agreed to help you with this party, but something recently came up. I can still (insert small task here), but that's all I can manage at the moment. I didn't think you'd mind since you decided against me hosting a baby shower in favor of a casual party at your house."

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CHAOSTHEORY635 9/1/2011 1:13PM

    You're under no obligation...if she wants your help, she'll ask for it. Sounds like a terrible, ungrateful person.

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KKINNEA 9/1/2011 12:28PM

    I would probably try to avoid being involved - I think someone else mentioned not being available that evening. That makes sense to me - gets you out of the situation as gracefully as possible.

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EMRANA 9/1/2011 12:23PM

  I don't think you are obligated to help in any way. The friendship became strained because of actions on her part, and it was recent, not months ago. You actually went above and beyond and talked about doing the shower at your home anyway. She has not been responsive. If she wants to have it at her place, and under her own direction, because she doesn't think your offering was "good enough" then that releases you from worrying about it in my book. Why would you have to go to her place and do all the work when she is the one making all the decisions now? That's not your original offering.

Take that with a grain of salt, as I have never been involved in a baby shower. I've attended a grand total of one, when I was 17, and I'm now 40. That's just my own feeling of how I'd handle it if it was me.

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APIRLRAIN888 9/1/2011 11:49AM

    Well, coming for having a preggo sister... they (me included) are irrational when we are pregnant ;p

and I dont think you are obligated ;p

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AMARILYNH 9/1/2011 11:39AM

    I just took the time to read your earlier blog "squirrel killer" and agree with what CANNIE50 said there - paraphrased if this 'friend' isn't making you feel good about yourself she is no friend. I cannot IMAGINE calling someone by that terrible name not just once but several times. It was a mean, callous thing to do.

If she brings up your helping her again (hopefully she WON'T!) I'd do what MKWMKW suggested - not be available that night.

As was said by others in that blog, she is someone you do not need as a friend. You are too valuable to allow friends who treat you this way in your life.

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SUNSCREENISGOOD 9/1/2011 11:05AM

    Ok, I guess I don't have kids or ever ran a shower, so maybe my advice isn't best.

If this was me, I'd say I'd be happy to bring some food. Have a small list of ideas in your purse, so you can say what you were thinking of bringing. I would not want to get roped into baking 100 cupcakes or something that sounds like torture to me. Now, she can have her say. There is nothing wrong with saying you need to look into a recipe to see if you feel comfortable making it before agreeing. (This is awesome too because you can bring things like a veggie tray with hummus and other spark recipe type foods. You will be able to enjoy party food and still stay on track- wooohoo!)
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Here is the big question for me.... have you ever been to her house before? If no, I would feel a little strange about going through someone's belongings to get trash bags, ect without getting direction. Have you ever been to someone's house where they said.... "just grab it, it's in the right hand drawer". In reality there are 6 different drawers that could be considered that one. Frustrating. I'd want to jump out of a window in this situation as a co-host.

If you know the layout of her house; and are friends enough to grab a glass of water without even asking and it's totally normal... YES, you need to do clean up type stuff at the end and all the other stuff that goes along with it. Unfortunately, if you were that "close" with her... you need to follow through on this one. Then, gracefully bow out of the friendship.

I say, bring a few food items, do a little cleaning, offer little things, and call it a day. Don't go crazy. I'm sure you were thinking of all of the little things you can do to make her day special. Honestly, it is out of your hands now.

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Comment edited on: 9/1/2011 11:07:05 AM

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FANGFACEKITTY 9/1/2011 10:15AM

    I think you are obligated to help since you already told her you would. The key word is help, not to do everything yourself. I would throw the ball back into her court - ask her when she wants to get together to make plans. If she never sets a time to do so then you are off the hook. you will have lived up to your agreement to help, she just chose not to take advantage of your help. Her loss.

Comment edited on: 9/1/2011 10:21:50 AM

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JET150 9/1/2011 9:28AM

    I don't think you're obligated to help her either. If she does come to you and asks for help, I think that if what she asks works for you, you should go ahead and do it. The emphasis, I think, should be on doing what works best for you. Since she hasn't said anything, she sure shouldn't be thinking you will take major responsibility. If other plans come up for you, you should go ahead with them.
Good luck. She's certainly put you in an awkward situation.

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MKWMKW 9/1/2011 7:57AM

    Why don't you just act kind of flustered and say, "Wow, it really is great that you decided to do your own party! I've had something come up for that night that I just can't get out of, so I won't even be able to be there." Then just hand her a baby present, so you don't look mean, and you're totaly off the hook.

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EZJAMES 9/1/2011 6:19AM

    Okay, well there's the off chance that she legitimately wants to just do something casual at hers (or perhaps she doesn't want to be obligated). So try not to overthink it too much- though I always do. She's turned down the opportunity to have an awesome shower, but hey, why not just throw a party yourself - if you want to that is as it sounds like you had some nice plans, and now there's none of the baby stuff to deal with.

As for the quandry; if she asks for your imput, just smile be nice and say that you're relieved she changed her plans as you're now a bit caught up with other things, but if she really needs you it's possible to pop around earlier to help with any preparations she's made.

Tch! Bad form on her part though, I'd love someone to throw me a bash!

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JSALERNO 9/1/2011 6:16AM

    YOU ARE ONLY OBLIGATED TO HELP HER SINCE YOU ALREADY SAID YOU WOULD. TO ME THAT MEANS SHOW UP. PUT A FEW THINGS OUT. GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE AS SOON AS YOU CAN AND LEAVE HER TO CLEAN UP THE MESS.

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DIANE7786 9/1/2011 4:48AM

    Some people donít know etiquette and some donít care about it. Itís too bad you agreed to help with a regular party at her home. Does she expect bridal shower gifts at this regular party? Since she hasnít said anything since she turned down your offer of a bridal shower, she may have other plans she doesnít want to tell you about. Thatís okay. Sheís not your friend. If she wants your help and money (you were going to host a shower), smile, be gracious and do as she asks without complaint to anyone but Sparkpeople. You will look good to your co-workers and avoid being the topic of gossip. After the party, avoid that woman as much as possible!

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JBINAUSTIN 9/1/2011 3:31AM

    No, you're not obligated to help her throw a party at her house.

I wonder if she's figured out yet that if it's not a shower, she doesn't get shower gifts?
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Giving her the benefit of the doubt, maybe she doesn't want gifts or is embarrassed to open gifts in public at a shower. Maybe she's not comfortable with being the center of attention or playing baby shower games. That might explain why she'd want a regular party instead of a shower. You could ask if she has concerns like that. From your previous blog, she doesn't seem graced with the best social skills and she might not know how to say those things. Some people are really uncomfortable receiving gifts in public. I, for example, didn't have a bridal shower for that reason.

You could say that you're not comfortable hosting a party in someone else's house. That's probably true.

If it turns out that a shower makes her nervous for some reason that makes you feel better, you might decide to help her out without being an official hostess. I've never been pregnant, but my pregnant friends never seemed eager to throw a party once they swelled up like blimps, so help would probably be appreciated.

You could offer to bringing some food or drinks. There's probably no need to decorate since it's not a shower but you might offer to help set up and break down. You could also offer to run a "shower game" if she wants to experience that particular social nightmare.

To be helpful during the party itself, you could keep track of who brings gifts and make sure all the gifts have a tag on them or a card TAPED to them--some people will bring gifts even when asked not to, and keeping track (and taping) would be a great service to a very pregnant woman so she can enjoy the party. You don't have to tell her about it in advance, just come prepared to do it (bring your own tape and a notebook) and offer when you get there. It's a little awkward when you're not the hostess, but it can be done.

Good luck with your dilemma.

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SparkVersary Resolutions

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My 1 Year SparkVersary was on August 21st, and I meant to post some resolutions at that time. My SparkVersary was kind of like New Year--a time to reflect and decide what I can do to make the next year even better.

I've talked before about how I had lost 95 pounds on WeightWatchers a few years ago, in 2006. I had lost the weight in less than a year. Yes, I was happy about the weight loss, and I started doing triathlons, which was a major accomplishment, but I had no other concrete proof of my progress. I had my little weight tracker book from WeightWatchers, which would have a smiley face drawn in by the weigher when I had a loss, and nothing when I didn't lose. I had no progress pictures, no blogs, no journals, no reflection of my life beyond the scale. I was probably starting to make some other changes without realizing it, but I didn't have the resources to truly evaluate my life and make changes at that time. I truly thought that losing weight would just solve a lot of my problems by itself...and we all know how well that thought process goes...

I wasn't surprised that I stuck with SparkPeople for a year, but rather, I was shocked by the major life changes that I had made because of SparkPeople. The changes I have made in my mind have paved the way to make changes in my body. I have learned a lot about myself, especially with the wisdom and input from my awesome SparkFriends. Blogging has been especially helpful with processing my thoughts, so prepare to be continuously inundated with posts.
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My primary goal by my 2 Year SparkVersary is to reach ONEderland. That means losing about 60 pounds in 1 year. I believe this is a very reasonable goal. I've been thinking over the past week or what else I would like to accomplish by my 2 Year SparkVersary, so I've set some SparkVersary Resolutions:


emoticonLose at least 60 pounds (by August 21st, 2012).
emoticonGet my personal trainer certification.
emoticonParticipate in at least 2 race events (triathlon, duathlon, 5K, 10K...)--I'm already committed to doing the swim leg of a triathlon next summer.
emoticonMake any remaining toxic people in my life disappear so I can nurture the real friendships that I have.
emoticonJoin a saxophone ensemble and start performing.


I have a feeling this is going to be an awesome SparkYear!


Here is my 1 Year SparkVersary blog post--and thank you to all my SparkPeeps who celebrated with me!

www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4440007



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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 9/1/2011 3:19PM

    Happy sparkiversary! Good luck with your goals!

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CHAOSTHEORY635 9/1/2011 1:00AM

    you got this :)

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MUSICALLYMINDED 8/31/2011 9:59PM

    I have the exact same goal in mind. Let's go for it!

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APIRLRAIN888 8/31/2011 9:47PM

    woohoo you can do it

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GEMINIAN1 8/31/2011 6:27PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
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Cheers ... To Your Next Spark Year!

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HIKINGSD 8/31/2011 6:05PM

    Congrats!

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LHLADY517 8/31/2011 5:48PM

    You can do it from one sax player to another.

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APED7969 8/31/2011 5:21PM

    Congrats on coming so far! Great resolutions, I'm sure you'll succeed at all of them :-)

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WHIRLEDTRAVELER 8/31/2011 4:41PM

    emoticon on reaching your one-year anniversary!

emoticon on all your accomplishments so far. It's great to look back and realize you have moved mountains in the past year. (I have a few mountains I am looking to move -- I call them my hips.)

emoticon on your goals for the coming year!

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KKINNEA 8/31/2011 2:52PM

    Great resolutions!! You can do it!

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JSALERNO 8/31/2011 2:23PM

    YOU CAN DO IT. I LOVE THE BLOGGING AND MESSAGE BOARDS. THINGS THAT KEEP YOU ACTIVE WITH OTHERS. I HAVE MADE GREAT FRIENDS AT SP.

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NKECHI711 8/31/2011 2:04PM

    You can do this...push hard for your goals! emoticon emoticon

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"Follow your bliss."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

VALERIEMAMA posted an excerpt from the writings of mythologist Joseph Campbell, and the words were very moving. The excerpt is about what makes us truly happy. Here is a snippet:


"What is it that makes you happy?
Stay with it, no matter what people tell you.
This is what is called following your bliss."


You can check out VALERIEMAHA's blog post here:
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4456436#c
omments

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TENACIOUSTRISH 9/4/2011 4:15PM

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  I just came from there ~ and I'm happy that you shared the link! It made my heart happy too.

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Emptying the Hollowness

Monday, August 29, 2011

I found a baby squirrel on Thursday, about an hour before I had to go to work. His eyes weren't open yet, and he was 4-5 weeks old. I looked up in the tree he was under and saw the nest, about 30 feet up. He had fallen to the sidewalk below. He looked to be in good shape, expect that he was covered with fly eggs, hundreds of them. This is a condition called fly strike. Once the eggs start hatching, they start eating the animal they have hatched on. I bathed him immediately and picked off as many of the eggs as possible. I didn't have time to take him to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center before I went to work, but with years of wildlife medicine and emergency veterinary skills under my belt from having worked at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, I knew how to care for him in the meantime. I put him in a cardboard box with a T-shirt and took him to work, so I could feed him every 4 hours.

I knew that something had to be done about the remaining fly eggs and that even a couple hatching could be fatal. I had 2 choices: do nothing to prevent the maggots from living and risk him dying by getting eaten by them, or use an off-label drug that I had on hand at home to prevent the maggots from living. One of my veterinary toxicologist colleagues and I researched the drug, and found that it has been used on squirrels before without incident. So, we figured out a dose, and I gave him the medication when I got home from work that night. When I woke up to feed him, I noticed he had a head tilt and was circling to the left. I have seen this thousands of times before, because this is how animals behave when they have head trauma. Head trauma is very common in baby squirrels that have fallen from the nest. He still ate fine, and I took him to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. I told the tech that I had used the drug on him, but he was acting a bit neurological.

I felt so guilty that I may have harmed this baby squirrel that I had been fighting tears ever since I woke up and saw him with the head tilt. A head tilt is not a sign of toxicity from the drug he was given, nor was he having any other signs of drug toxicity, but I still felt really bad. I told one of my co-workers (who is supposed to be a friend) about the scenario and she told me that she would have done the same thing and used the drug. I felt slightly better knowing that another experienced veterinary professional would have done the same thing. Then, when the overnight tech came in, I was updating her about the squirrel and telling her about the head tilt. From across the room, my supposed friend yelled, "Yeah, nice job, baby squirrel killer!" Of course, she followed this by the reversing agent, "Oh, just kidding," when she saw the look on my face. And then, she proceeded to call me a "squirrel killer" a few more times throughout the night.

Later, I started to ponder what I get out of this friendship. This is a person who I think is a lot of fun and she has the same crass sense of humor that I have. She is very dedicated to animal rescue, a trait that I greatly admire. However, she admits herself that she can't keep a secret, therefore, I never tell her anything that I don't want to be repeated to another person (which would be almost any personal detail). Secondly, she talks about people behind their backs, and then acts like a friend to their face. This is a bold-faced untrustworthy person. Therefore, she doesn't really know me and I don't really know her, because all of our conversations end up being superficial and hollow. Still, I don't actually dislike her, but I need to decide at what capacity I want to allow people like her into my life.

As someone who abhors hollow interactions, I was always very open with everyone who I considered a friend. However, a lot of people will throw something back in your face the moment they get a chance. Sometimes this is done to manipulate, and sometimes it's done just to get a reaction. Sometimes I'm not even sure why people do something like calling someone who is obviously over-sensitive a "squirrel killer." It's not so much that she called me that, but more that I would have expected her to be honest with me in the first place if she really thought that. I will be 33 in a couple of weeks, and I think it's time that I don't have people around me who will say things to try to purposely hurt my feelings. I feel fortunate that I have come to recognize this issue at all, as most of my peer relationships had been shaped by bullying in the past. I had a warped sense of what a "normal" friendship was, and it has only been over the past 2 years or so that I have totally cut people off who are not good for me (then again, who hasn't had these people in their lives?). There are those people who are obviously forced and fake, and those people are fairly easy to avoid. Then are those who seem so genuine, until you start to pay attention to how they talk about and treat other people. Some people are outright malicious, and then there are the people who just may not know any better. In any case, I have become pretty keen on picking up who is genuine and who is not, even before they start talking badly about others or sharing things about others that they shouldn't be sharing.

I know I can be very sensitive, whether it is a crowd, noise, lights, or teasing comments. I have learned that all of my true friends find my over-analyzing over-sensitivity to be a good thing, and they tend to share their problems with me because they know they will get an honest answer. They also know that I will never repeat anything to anyone else. The people who may superficially seem like friends use my sensitivity to get a rise out of me, or perhaps to manipulate. It isn't that I have some sort of expectation of what a friend should be giving to me or what I can gain from a friendship. I just want mutual sharing. I have come to realize that the people I define as friends are those with whom I can share anything, and they can share with me, and we both know that it will stay between us. My friendships have not come to be defined by the amount of time that I spend with the person, but rather by how much we each know our true selves. Not the selves that are put on for public display, but who we really are deep down.

I have learned that I am really not capable (as in physically incapable) of hollow social interactions, so I would rather not talk at all than to force myself to be fake with them. I have now gone to the other extreme--if someone is not a close friend, I really don't speak with them at all. Of course, at work, I may end up having to do some superficial conversations, but I am extremely closed off during these interactions. This is probably why some co-workers think that I have no social life or hobbies (most don't even know about my main hobbies, playing the saxophone and kickboxing). I feel like if I share anything about myself, I have to share everything. This may or may not make any sense, but it is the way I interact with people, so I avoid shallow interactions as much as possible because it drains me to try to think of what not to say. Shallow conversations feel dishonest to me, in a way, because I have to put on such a fake face to interact. It's one thing to have a brief conversation with a co-worker in this manner, but it's another to try to mold a friendship this way.

I thought I had done a pretty clean sweep of the people who I don't want to be close to me, but it seems I may need to empty out some more. I would prefer to find some kind of balance to have some of these people in my life in some capacity, but I'm not really sure how to do it. I am already upfront with people if I think they're being sh**ty, so I can't really become much more honest. It makes me feel a bit cynical to look around my circle of friends and decide who needs to go, and I would say that I don't hate any of these people, either. They can have good traits, and even still be good people overall, but that doesn't always mean they will be a good fit as a friend for me.



"A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same."
-Elbert Hubbard

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNSCREENISGOOD 9/1/2011 10:35AM

    I hope the squirrel is ok. You did all you could.

Some people are insensitive. As for people at work, be freindly- not friends (friends if you actually get together after the work day).

I try to never "burn a bridge" with people. I dislike the uncomfortable feeling I get around folks when we might be at a social event or something togther when there is tension. Now, if someone is hurting you, stand up for yourself. (That is different to me.)

You are allowed to be sensitive. That is not a negative quality. Everyone has something that makes them different.

I'm sorry someone made you feel like this. Hang in there.
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ANGELWENDYMAMA 8/31/2011 5:16PM

    I read your whole post. :) Sweet of you to save the squirrel.. Did he make it? Did you hear any follow up?

I hope you told that 'friend' how much she offended you. She needs to hear it. She may not realize her behavior is so hurtful.. If she doesn't know enough to say it, she may not be able to read body language well enough to GET it and know she's really screwed up, too.

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DOGSRFIT 8/31/2011 11:14AM

    Very fortunate squirrel to have an advocate like you, toxic friend, regardless of whether she intends to strike or is totally unaware of the hurt she brings on others. emoticon

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UTMIZ_2000 8/31/2011 6:43AM

    I think you just wrote quite a bit that describes me. It sucks when you are a person who trusts easily because as you have discovered, not everyone deserves your trust. And I am not good at all at small talk. It terrifies me because I generally fall into the range of TMI very quickly.

Having said that, I want to also say I have had to learn that there are layers of friends. People I work with are really my associates unless I see them outside of work, which I don't. I do know, however, that they do care about. Until I have made up my mind about something I don't talk about it, unless I am seeking some input. Otherwise there are a couple of people who always want to give me solutions.

Most people in my life fall more into the acquaintance area. I don't have a lot of friends, so I sit home alone most weekends. That's my choice. I don't mind solitude. When I need some social interaction I seek it out.

What you did was a good thing. Not all squirrels that fall out of the nest can be saved. You did what could be done and the rest is up to God. Be proud of yourself. I'm sorry your coworker thought it was something to tease you about. You can tell her I said it was in very poor taste. YOU DID NOT KILL THE SQUIRREL. If the squirrel dies it is because it fell out of the tree. That is how nature thins the herd. No blame or shame on you.

Feel good about what you did. Bravo!!

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 8/31/2011 3:35AM

    I am an animal lover and have rescued many a critter, some I even brought home because I knew they probably wouldn't make it and I did not want them to be alone and at the mercy of the world! I think you did all you could for this dear squirrel and I feel he was injured by that fall. You cared for him and he was made comfortable, which was better than being left alone at the mercy of the maggots or something worse. Say a blessing for him and release him with love. The "friend" who was so mean has a problem and you are right to question her friendship, as well as anyone else that you feel doesn't belong in your life. You deserve to be surrounded by people who value you, that you can trust and that you know will be there for you. If you offer this in friendship, you do not have to settle for less from others. It took a long time for me to realize that, and sometimes I still have to question people in my life and what is going on. I think for so long I didn't value myself enough. You are going through change in your life and often that means the things around you (things and people) will often change, too! Take care of yourself and know there are other people out there who do/will value the good person you are! Good luck!
Mary
P.S. I just thought of something Maya Angelou said, "When someone tells you about themselves, listen". When the coworker said she can't keep a secret, she told you something that was true. A reason to keep her as a coworker, not a friend!

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CANNIE50 8/31/2011 1:10AM

    Oh, I was thinking what a fortunate little creature that baby squirrel was to be rescued by YOU. Your co-worker is a blurter - a blurter with a bit of a tic, it seems. It is not enough that she blurts some dumb-a$$ thing, she then repeats it at random intervals.....lovely. I have probably told you this before, but I will repeat it anyway. I apply a test to friendships: Do I feel better about myself, my life, and the world in general after spending time with this person, or am I weary from walking on eggshells or warding off verbal digs? I, too, find that I have become a bit more reticent when meeting new people (which has certainly not been the case for me since I was very young). You are a complex person with many gifts and it seems as if the true friends you have really appreciate you, as they should. I find you to be a lovely person and I know many Sparklers agree with me. emoticon

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46SHADOW 8/30/2011 8:25PM

    Lucky squirrel. idiot friend.

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MUSICALLYMINDED 8/30/2011 8:17PM

    I can't believe I read this today. I ran over and killed a squirrel on the way to work this morning. I cried about it. I felt so bad. Hey - think about it...if you hadn't done what you did then the squirrel would have definitely died. Maybe you saved the life of one at the same time I ended one.

I say go ahead and cut that person out of your life. It sounds like someone who gets joy from putting other people down. The kind who just tries to get under your skin. And why? Did anyone laugh at the "squirrel killer" comment? Just a useless, idiotic comment from a completely self-conscious human being who is making fun of you to get a laugh so they can feel like they're worth something. People can be such douchebags.

Comment edited on: 8/30/2011 8:17:55 PM

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1LATTE4ME 8/30/2011 1:47PM

    It sounds like you did the wise and compassionate thing for a fellow creature that was hurting, and if your friend didn't meet you where you were at that moment, she clearly wasn't paying attention to your welfare. Being friends with someone means that we're both better after being together.

Also, I enjoy reading your comments on introversion - I'm married to an introvert and have come to discover all of the wonderful things that are unique about them!

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GABENSEBSMOM 8/30/2011 12:35PM

    So sorry you're dealing with an obnoxious A-hole. I agree that you're so much better off ridding yourself of negative individuals. I spent 10 years with the most obnoxious friend you can imagine. Needy, clingy, whiny, self-centered, and resistant to changing the things she constantly bitched about. This is the same individual who had a affair with my husband. We all need to shed the negative people and focus on those who really love us for who we are. emoticon

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SCHWINNER! 8/30/2011 6:34AM

    Awww, I'm sorry to hear about the squirrell! You did all you could - don't blame yourself if something went wrong; you said yourself about the head tilt and head trauma. You already helped him just by scooping him up and giving him love. Okay...if I keep talking about that I'll cry, so let me move on to the other part...

What the hell is up with your "friend"?! That is a horrible thing to say to you, made worse by the "oh, just kidding!" I've found that that is a quick cop out to recognize and downplay the terrible/offensive thing you said (see recently: Michelle Bachmann's "joke" about the earthquake).

Hang in there. Hope you're feeling better today!

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CHAOSTHEORY635 8/29/2011 11:41PM

    She sounds horrible. Avoid whenever possible!

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ALISHAB3 8/29/2011 10:26PM

    It sounds like you are fighting some internal all or nothing thinking. This is a very common thing amongst those of us with a weight issue. That all or nothing thinking is a left over from when we were kids, its left over 'kid think'. Its logic that we used to believe and now that you are an adult you have the opportunity to challenge your own thinking. Remember, just because you have a thought, a habit of responding in a certain way, or are aware of an urge does not mean that you need to identify with it. A thought is often just a left over, but well used, neurological pathway in your brain. Look up neuroplasticity and then relate it to your own experience. The cool thing is that you are flexible and you have the ability to decide how much or how little you want to share. Sharing about your hobbies is probably a relatively harmless place to start.

That said, I don't know that I would be 'friends' with someone who uses meanness that is barely masked with 'kidding'. Kidding???

Btw, you are not a squirrel killer. You did your best for the little guy. At the least, he wasn't alone.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 8/29/2011 9:07PM

    I think it's wonderful that you tried to save the baby squirrel. I found a dead one that had fallen out of a tree after a storm and it was really cute and so sad. You are a good person. Of that you can be proud.

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EMRANA 8/29/2011 9:06PM

  That was really cruel, especially to keep repeating the mean thing.

I'm sorry you had to experience that, from one very sensitive person to another.

HUGE emoticon

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DESERTFLOWER8 8/29/2011 8:17PM

    It boggles my mind that so many "grown-ups" act like middle schoolers; the lack of empathy is startling. Your heightened sensitivity is a trait seen largely in highly intelligent individuals, and is a gift to be treasured by you, and by those who are lucky enough to be near & dear you. It does take some sniffing around to find people who "get it", and lots of hurt feelings in the process. You have a most beautiful heart.........

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ABB698 8/29/2011 7:10PM

    You did the best you could, and she even confirmed that she would have done the same, so walk away from her and her hollowness and hold your head high, for you are the better person. Getting rid of negativity is like releasing toxins. Let it go and go on knowing you're the very best you, you can be. She can go be 2 faced to someone else.

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JENNYLENNON 8/29/2011 6:50PM

    Sometimes people can be so insensitive. Maybe you should try talking with your coworker if what she said is bothering you. If she doesn't listen to you or care that she hurt you then maybe you should re-evaluate your friendship.

I try very hard separate my personal life from my work life. I realized that just because I work woth someone that does not mean I have to be best friends with them. I have a few close friends that are also coworkers. I have many coworkers that I am friendly with but I do not discuss personal issues with. We have a purely professional relationship. I think that it is good to have a balance between work life and your real life.

How is the little baby doing? Did you get him to the wildlife canter?

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LEONALIONESS 8/29/2011 6:40PM

    :c

Ugh. I felt sick just reading that comment she made. It's like when people say horrible, insensitive things when I've got a sick ratkid at home. Snake comments and the like. Just... awful.

You did the best you could for that little guy.
If he makes it, worst case scenario might be that he can't be rehabbed enough to be a wild squirrel and he stays in captivity.

I wonder if they tried giving him some pred? Maybe he's got some brain swelling from the trauma of the fall and the steroid would bring it down fast. I know when rats have brain tumors (PT) or inner ear infections that cause tiltiness, pred and a strong course of antibiotics works wonders.

The rehab center will do their best and at least the little fellow was spares a death by fly strike. I can't imagine many things more terrible. :c

*BIG HUGS* to you, my compassionate and caring friend.
Animals (and humans) are lucky to have you around.

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MILLISMA 8/29/2011 6:16PM

    So glad you saved the little guy and did what you could. As for your friend, she was very cruel and down right mean. You don't need a friend like that. I always told me kids to be careful what you say....you can't take it back and words can hurt as much as a slap.

I also love the quote. That's what friendship is all about. emoticon

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BECKY3774 8/29/2011 4:34PM

    You did everything that you could possibly do for that baby squirrel. Without your help and love, the poor thing surely would have died. Sometimes, even if our efforts aren't rewarded to our liking, they're still rewarded by knowing that you did what you could. I found a baby bunny on the side of the road about a year ago. It wasn't hurt, but it was lethargic. I drove it to my mom's house, got a box and some stuff to put in it, as well as some water. I called every wildlife rehab place that I could find. I finally called my friend, who works at a pet store and sometimes helps with different animal rescues with me. She had me bring the bunny to her house, and her roommate was going to take care of it. As soon as I got there, the roommate found a tick on it, and got it off. It seemed to be the only one...she bathed it, and cared for it, but it died within forty-eight hours. I'm happy with knowing that I didn't leave it on the side of the road. I'm happy with knowing that I even saw it in the first place! The same goes for a squirrel that someone hit once. I saw it in the road, and long story short, ended up at the vet with it because I realized it was still alive. The vet had to put it to sleep because it had a broken back, but with my intervention, he/she was able to be put to rest and out of pain. Who knows how long it would have laid there by the tree just hurting.....Thank you for saving that baby squirrel, even if he/she doesn't make it, you did a very good thing! emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/29/2011 4:36:26 PM

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FANGFACEKITTY 8/29/2011 4:24PM

    Good for you for trying to help the baby squirrel. Many people would just have left it there on the ground to die a horrible death. Your coworker's comments prove that she id not a friend of any sort, by any definition. She therefore is not worthy of your time or energy.

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ANDREA409 8/29/2011 4:00PM

    Good for you with the little squirrel. When I was a vet tech, we had a litter of stray kittens brought in, and they had just been mauled by maggots. I definitely shed a few tears during that treatment. We had to put 2 of them down but were successful with the rest.

I know it's the "law of nature" and so forth, but seeing something like that, especially on tiny baby animals, is devastating.

I've had acquaintances like the woman you described above - we have had much in common and got along well but they gossip, cause drama, and talk about others' behind their backs. Years ago, I realized if they're able to do that about people they call friends, there's no doubt they were also doing it about me. That was the end of it. I've since cut out all that toxic crap from my life. Admittedly, the number of people I can trust I can probably count on 2 hands and my 'social circle' has decreased in size, but I'm just fine with that. I'd much rather be around positive people whom I can trust.

I'm also incredibly intuitive about seeing who someone really is, often within just a few minutes of meeting them. I try to not judge on first impressions, but I do listen to my gut if it tells me someone is "off." It comes from 1) being extraordinarily sensitive and perceptive (painfully so) and 2) years of experience and having to deal with these toxic people. Often, I've found that I'll see someone for who they are right away, but other friends will disagree with me. Then months later, they finally realize I was right. That must be my talent in life. lol.

In work situations, I used to just ignore someone if I saw she was a mean-spirited or negative person. But that just caused them to come after me and cause me trouble. So, now I be polite without letting on that I see their true colors. So far, that seems to be the best approach. It's pathetic that at 31 I'm still dealing with this bullsh*t. I know you agree.

Comment edited on: 8/29/2011 4:08:17 PM

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SYZYGY922 8/29/2011 3:41PM

    There are few things I hate more than "[insult]. Just kidding!" It's dismissive and it puts it all on the person who was just insulted. "Oh, I insulted you, but it was a JOKE! You can't take a JOKE!"

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VALERIEMAHA 8/29/2011 3:34PM

    Hey Erin! Good job on the baby squirrel.

Here's my take on the "friend" --

All the great spiritual teachers speak of the critical importance of carefully choosing the company we keep, in order to contribute to our wellbeing and personal/spiritual growth. The sangha (keeping company with like-minded beings) is one of the Three Jewels in Buddhism -- (the Buddha, Sangha, Dharma). II Cor 5:17 says, "come out...and be separate," which to mean refers to being with kindred spirits. And there's the English proverb, "A man is known by the company he keeps."

I think you're on to something in examining the hollowness that you feel in this relationship. I say listen to you intuition and follow your heart.
emoticon
Maha
P.S. I hadn't noticed that your orientation is atheist (not to mention liberal! hahaha)...well lots of Buddhists are non-theists, and I hope the Bible reference doesn't irritate you...All to make a point about how wide the concurrence about the importance of the company we keep!

Comment edited on: 8/29/2011 3:44:20 PM

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BECKYSRN 8/29/2011 3:11PM

    What a you know what! With friends like that, who needs enemies? I hope baby quillie (what my kids called squirrels when they were little!) is doing ok.

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KKINNEA 8/29/2011 3:07PM

    What you say makes sense - sometimes people aren't a good fit for one another. I think it's smarter to figure that out and save yourself and the person any anguish.

I hope the squirrel is ok too!

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ARCHIMEDESII 8/29/2011 3:06PM

    Hmm... personally, I think you did a very kind thing to take a chance to try to save the squirrel. I'd say that squirrel was pretty lucky to have you walk by and give him the care he needed. Even if he didn't make it, whatever care you gave would have kept the poor thing from being eaten alive by the maggots.

So, how is the little guy ? If he gets stronger, will you take him over to the Wildlife Center ?

As for the crass co-worker, she does seem to know how to push your buttons. I hope you just told her to shut up. Some people really don't have any tact. That's just the way they are. It doesn't make them a bad person, it just means you do have to be careful what you say to them.

I have a cousin whom I love dearly. but, like your co-worker, she can't keep a secret. In fact, I've knick named her the family town cryer. If there is information that needs to be told, she'll let everyone know. She knows all the family gossip. Which is the problem. People tell her something in confidence and then she goes off and tells another family member. She told me that she does this because it's all in the family, isn't it ? NOPE... that's why I don't tell her anything anymore. There are some things family doesn't need to know !

Anyway, what to do with the co-worker ? You can keep her as a casual friend if you like her, but I can't see her as a close friend especially if you can't trust her. A friend should be someone you trust. While she may be fun some times, I think after a while, I could see why she gets on your nerves.

I would enjoy her companionship at work, but I wouldn't consider her a friend per se.

Let us know how the little squirrel is doing.


Comment edited on: 8/29/2011 3:07:33 PM

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BAZOOKABOBCAT 8/29/2011 2:56PM

    Ugh, what a terrible thing to say, especially when you were already feeling fragile and worried about that baby.

Hollow friendships are the worst. I have a few of them myself. I'm glad you're able to have good solid friendships and leave behind the ones that aren't.



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