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Must-Read Blog from CANNIE50: Willpower vs. Willingness

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CANNIE50 wrote a must-read blog about the difference between willpower and willingness. Her wisdom has been invaluable throughout my journey, and this blog shows one of the many reasons why she is an awesome SparkPeep.

A couple of snippets:

"Willingness is not to be confused with willpower."

"Willingness is the ability to not have the first bite because, as I was taught when I became sober all those years ago, 'it ain't the caboose that'll kill you, it's the engine' - there is no 4th or 5th drink or cigarette or cookie or handful or bowlful, if there is no first one."

"Willingness is the antidote to inertia so when I allow it to propel me to do one task, to do one set of reps, to run one block or one mile, it tends to knock the inertia aside."

Here it is:

Read it, love it, and "like" it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HIKINGSD 9/30/2011 12:08AM

    Thank you so much for sharing!

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 9/29/2011 3:38AM

MARY emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CANNIE50 9/28/2011 7:43PM

    Oh my gosh - when someone for whom I have nothing but respect and admiration, is so generous with praise and support, it means a great deal to me. Really, I came here to read another of your wise and informative blogs and was quite surprised to see my name in the title. I am very humbled by your recommendation of my blog. My willingness definitely comes and goes and one of the absolute scariest things when I was at my heaviest was my seeming inability to find any willingness to make any sort of meaningful change. I prayed and searched and waited and waited and waited, and finally, had a spark of willingness which led me back to Sparkpeople, and people like you. I am forever grateful.

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TOTHEFUTURE1 9/28/2011 6:48PM


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KKINNEA 9/28/2011 3:41PM

    Great read!

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    Very interesting and insightful.

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FRAN0426 9/28/2011 3:27PM

    Thanks for sharing Cannie50, what an interesting and truthful blog, and very interesting.

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The Week in Review: Rambling Randomness

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I had all sorts of ideas for blogs this week, but I didn't finish them. I had all sorts of ideas for my weekly review, but I didn't feel like expanding on them. So, I bring you a generic blog post reminiscent of my week: aimless and apathetic. There is no theme, there is no rhyme or rhythm. I felt like I sucked at everything this week, starting off with not tracking my food on several days. Oddly enough, I wasn't binging or anything, I just didn't track. I only went to kickboxing once, on Tuesday. I didn't send as much time Sparking as I usually do. I half-assed my way through my strength training workouts. I felt like I sucked at playing my sax.

When I went to my sax lesson on Tuesday, I apologized to my teacher Jeff, telling him that I sucked at everything this week. He told me to play anyways. I blasted my way through a couple of exercises, and then looked at him and cringed. He told me that I actually sounded better than I had the week before. I gave him a genuinely baffled look.

"How can that be? I feel like I suck."

He told me that because I'm getting better, I am just more aware of mistakes. I suppose that concept is true when we are making progress with anything. I could have binged every day. I could have chosen not to log on to SparkPeople at all. I could have skipped my strength training workouts all together, or not have gone to kickboxing at all. I could have chosen not to play my sax at all, rather than hear myself fumble through the music. But I chose to try anyways, even though I was far from perfect. Even though I didn't feel great about most things this week, I chose to try my hardest anyways. I still just felt very "blah" throughout the whole week.

The kicker happened yesterday, though. I was supposed to meet my best friend at her place at 4:00 and we were going to walk up to a music/beer festival. I already had paid for a ticket. We had just confirmed these plans over e-mail 2 days prior. I got to her place just a little after 4:00, and she wasn't home. I don't have a cell phone, so I drove home and called her. She told me she had been waiting for me to call her. I admit I got very snippy, and I told her I wasn't going back to downtown Minneapolis, and that I guess I had just wasted money. Then I hung up. Then I saw she had left a message on my answering machine some time in the prior couple of hours, saying she was calling about our plans, but since I had been running errands, I didn't hear the message until after I got home from her place.

I don't get many Saturdays off, so if I have plans, I'd rather not waste a bunch of time. I'm still a little sore after being ditched on my birthday by another girlfriend, so I guess I'm at the end of my rope with "hoping" that people will keep their plans, or at least give me enough advanced notice if they change their minds that I can plan something else. Perhaps I was wrong to snap at my good friend of nearly 20 years, for the first time ever. I certainly felt guilty about it and spent most of the rest of yesterday night either crying or choked up. I left a message at her home phone, apologizing for snapping, but that I was just disappointed with how the day panned out.

Am I really that old-fashioned? If people have plans set to meet at X place at X time on X day, is it really necessary to reconfirm those plans within a couple of hours of those plans? I'm seriously asking, because maybe I am missing something. I feel like last-minute plan-changing has become very commonplace, and I'm wondering if it's just me who is irritated by this or if it is just par for the course nowadays, and that I'm the one being too inflexible. Although it would be nice to have a cell phone again for emergencies (I don't currently have one due to finances), I don't want to have one just to be glued to it or to have to chase people down when they aren't where they said they were going to be. Maybe my anti-cell phone, anti-Smartphone, anti-Twitter, anti-Facebook attitude is catching up with me, and perhaps my friends don't have a tolerance for me not being glued to a technological device, prepared for last-minute changes or an easy way for them to tell me they will be late.

I feel kind of like I do when I am about to be hit with a depressive episode, but I believe I am more in a general funk than truly depressed. Please don't advise me to "go see somebody"--antidepressants have always made me worse and talking to a counselor has not been useful. I plan to just keep plugging away...I will "just go through the motions" for now, and I'm sure I'll start feelin' it again soon. This blog post was basically a random stream of thoughts as they came to me, which is probably the most that I have accomplished all week as far as being introspective. I wanted to be excited, I wanted to be proud this week, but it wasn't there. Hopefully this week will be better. Thanks for reading this rambling randomness.

After a week like this, perhaps I need to follow this philosophy more closely (***WARNING! Vulgar, with profanity and hilarity):

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANNIE50 9/27/2011 11:16PM

    I have battled depression off and on since I was 11 years old and I am with you re: anti-depressants and counseling, they have not been helpful to me. I do take St.John's Wort 3x day and have found that to be helpful. I go through periods where I feel like I am putting more into all the relationships in my life, than others are. It makes me want to withdraw "into my cave" a bit. I think you are due for some fabulously wonderful blessings to rain down upon you. PS Love the point your teacher made about you being more aware of mistakes because your skill level has increased. PSS Feel better, sweetie-pie.

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    These days lots of people cancel at the last minute. Im sorry about the rough week and hope this one is better.

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1HAPPYWOMAN 9/27/2011 12:26AM

    You are SO RIGHT that changing plans has become commonplace! Cell phones have completely changed societal expectations about planning. I don't have a mobile phone either, and people even get irritated with me because they can't do the last-minute thing. It's as though everyone's forgotten what things were like when we only had land lines.

I'm sorry that you're having a rough time. It's tough to be on the outs with friends. I admire your stoicism! Just keep on plugging away, you warrior princess, you!

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HIPPICHICK1 9/26/2011 5:02PM

    I occasionally still get upset if friends ditch me too. It's natural to feel that way when it's a good friend because we are attached to our friendships, especially ones that are 20 years and still going.
Sorry you had to go through that.

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PAMELA6289 9/26/2011 12:32PM


I'm struck as I read this that maybe it's OK to not be 100% all the time. Maybe what you see as blah and just going through the motions is really just normal effort.

What I know of you is that you give your all to everything you are passionate about. I don't know if anyone can keep up that level of intensity all the time. Does that make sense?

I think this applies to your friendships, too. You give 100% and expect at least 90% in return. When someone gives less than that, it's tough to take because you would never do that to someone.

And I'm talking to myself here too, because I've had the same experience in the last few weeks: It took Kev to point out that I can't expect my friends to do what I'd do in the situation because they aren't me. And I can only expect people to be who they are. If it hurts my feelings, well, then I can decide what to do about it. I can only control my behavior, not theirs. I hate it when he's right like that! :)

Anyway, just a thought.

Bottom line: Sorry your feelings were hurt! And maybe you need to cut yourself some slack sometimes. Your 'blah' effort is more than my 100% effort on most days.

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DARKTHOR 9/26/2011 11:07AM

    The point of making plans is to have them made and done. Otherwise we could say I'll call you Saturday and at that time we'll see if we can fit in an activity or not. As long as a person isn't flaky, once a time is set, they should be there and ready to go.

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GEMINIAN1 9/26/2011 12:46AM

    I had a cell phone, for a couple of years, about a decade ago.
The only web site I belong to is Spark People. No Face Space, My Face, Space Book, or whatever they're called.
I'm not sure I even know what a Twitter is?
In conclusion, I'm the wrong person to answer or give advice on that whole glued to technology thing.

I'm sorry that your Saturday got messed up. I feel your pain with not having many of them off and then that goes down. Total bummer. Your being upset is understandable.

I hope this next week is a great one for you my friend ... :-)

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SYZYGY922 9/25/2011 11:38PM

    I usually reconfirm plans the day before or a few hours before, but if I don't hear from the person, I don't assume that the plans are off. I don't think your etiquette was off on this one -- the actual plans trump confirmation of said plans.

I got my first cell phone on my 16th birthday. We're the same age, so you know how long ago that was! I'm a nerd. I can't imagine someone not having one.

I have a neighbor who never sent an e-mail until last week and he keeps asking me questions about the Internet and it's so weird. I'm the dork who is on every site.

I actually get kind of annoyed when people aren't "connected" in certain ways because it does make things a little difficult. I haven't had a land line phone since 2005 and I haven't missed it one bit.

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 9/25/2011 11:23PM


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CHAOSTHEORY635 9/25/2011 10:39PM

    re: depression--it IS late september, and the days are getting shorter. does lack of sunlight affect you?

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EMRANA 9/25/2011 10:24PM

  I hear you ~ I'm old fashioned too. So I know how you feel when you talk about frustration with people glued to their technology.

I'm about to get a cell though when I move, just because there's really no point to pay for both a landline and cell service. I'm a free spirit, so I'll be very much like Maha said. I'm not going to be a slave to that thing and will prolly not even give the number to very many people!

Hope this week is better for you, my dear.


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KKINNEA 9/25/2011 9:45PM

    I'm a plugger too - I think it's a perfectly fine method for getting through things.

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    I'm more like your friend...if I don't get a confirmation within a few hours of going somewhere, I assume it's not going to happen. It's not that I'm's that I'm so used to people breaking plans that I just expect it now. I wouldn't be so hard on your friend. Maybe she's like you...she has gotten screwed over one too many times, and so now she always assumes if she doesn't hear from someone they won't show up.

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1LATTE4ME 9/25/2011 9:28PM

    Yeah, some weeks are like that! Whenever I have one, it brings to mind the children's book - Alexander And the Terrible, Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day. So I just try to remind myself that I'm having a T.H.N.G.V.B (insert time period here).

But seriously -(insert unsolicited advice here)- you may want to consider a cell phone. Not because it will tie you down, but possibly free you from the disappointments that other people can bring. Then YOU can make other plans and take back your control. Plus, our weather isn't exactly predictable, so that's a bonus consideration.

Have a non-T.H.N.G.V.B. week!

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APIRLRAIN888 9/25/2011 9:02PM

    I'm getting better, I am just more aware of mistakes

I love that sooo true, double edge sword! you can do it

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FANGFACEKITTY 9/25/2011 8:57PM

    I don't feel the need to reconfirm endlessly when plans are made, so I don't think your outlook is strange at all. If plans are specific enough to say we'll meet on X day, at Y location at Z time I don't see why someone would have doubts about what is happening.

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CDGOLDILOCKS 9/25/2011 8:55PM


I understand how you feel. I think nowadays, people are so plugged in that it makes it so "easy" to change plans at the drop of a hat. I also think that technology makes it easy to be rude. It is making life more impersonal. I understand why you are so protective of your few Saturdays off. Your friend will understand your reaction if she has known you all these years.

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VALERIEMAHA 9/25/2011 8:53PM

    Oh yeah...I can totally relate...instead of apathetic...I'm feeling PATHETIC lol. I won't go into will definitely depress you and you WILL need meds LOL.

Sorry about the misunderstanding with your best friend. But statistically, after 20 years, it was time (haha). My suggestion is to consider acquiring a cheap-o cell phone and the cheapest available plan (if your budget allows), just to have more freedom. No need to become a slave to it like 95% of the population!!! I simply don't have a land line any longer. But I turn my cell phone off at night, or when I'm with others, and I never use it at check-out stands, nor when driving. I totally understand where you're coming from, I think.

One thing we can depend on in this world of dualities...from funk to fun and then back from fun to funk the pendulum swings, back and forth, back and forth! So look forward to feeling better soon...'cause you will.
P.S. The NGAF video is raunchy and damned funny, though probably not a life-style you want to emulate LOL.
P.P.S. Are you anti-TV programming? It's clear you're not anti-computer, though you limit social networking (good!).

Comment edited on: 9/25/2011 8:55:41 PM

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JENNYLENNON 9/25/2011 8:49PM

    I think your teacher has a good way of looking at things. You noticed your mistakes because you are getting better. I do feel your pain....I had a very bad week as well. This week will be better. emoticon

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New evidence that the old "3,500 calorie rule" may not always work

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In studying exercise physiology, I have suspected that the old formula of 3,500 calorie deficit=1 pound weight loss formula may not always work. A study done recently shows evidence that there are so many factors, including current body weight, body composition, and physical activity level, that must be taken into account with weight loss and body composition change.

Here is the article:

Here is the abstract of the study:

I have been kind of working on a blog on "calories in-calories out," and this information helps debunk the old thinking about the 3,500 calorie deficit formula.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANNIE50 9/27/2011 10:56PM

    Such a good article - I love their point about taking weight off slowly to keep it off (although I know there are people who shed it fairly quickly and are quite successful at keeping it off - I am not one of these), and how few calories can add up over time to either increase or decrease weight. Thanks, as always, for the excellent info.

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    Maybe I'm a little slow, but the second link didn't seem to say much (or it could be using wayyy too many big words, lol) that I could understand. So technical for someone who doesn't understand much about energy expenditure, etc. So essentially what was it saying? The more you work out, the more you have to eat to keep losing weight at the same pace??? And I realize that "adiposity" is referring to the amount of fat on your body (I think I remember that adipose is fat) the more fat your have, then it takes longer to lose the same amount of weight as someone who has less fat on their body? Is that what it's saying? Is that why my so called "binges" every once in a while cause me to lose weight more rapidly?

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CAMOGIE3 9/23/2011 8:56PM

    Interesting! Thanks for the link!

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GIANTPANDA 9/23/2011 8:53PM

    Thank you for this. I have long thought there was more to the story than this!

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HIKINGSD 9/23/2011 5:55PM

    Thanks for sharing :)

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PAMELA6289 9/23/2011 12:15PM

  Very Interesting, thanks for posting, Hot Mama! emoticon

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DANLENO1949 9/23/2011 5:14AM

    Thanks for the info, I look forward to your blog. Dave emoticon

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 9/22/2011 11:42PM

MARY emoticon emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 9/22/2011 11:35PM

    Interesting stuff! Thanks for posting the links.

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EMRANA 9/22/2011 10:53PM

  I have always doubted that 'easy' formula. If it was that simple, a lot more of us would be already at goal!

There's so many factors that can affect weight loss ~ I can't wait to ready your next blog about this!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 9/22/2011 10:52PM

    Very interesting. I saved it to assimilate the info better.

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FRAN0426 9/22/2011 10:49PM

    I knew that there had to be more than watching everything you eat and the exercise you do. I too just don't lose weight, add on comes so much easier, I presume some of my problem stems from taking a lot of medication every day to help with all my medical problems. I do work out and watch and record what I eat and most of the time I'm in range---thanks for the info.

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LHLADY517 9/22/2011 9:11PM

    Thank you for sharing this. It describes me totally.

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APIRLRAIN888 9/22/2011 7:40PM

    wow as I read its what's happening to me! Thx!

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MERRYMARY42 9/22/2011 7:36PM

    I agree, I have not lost any weight in almost a year, and I did gain 5 pounds last October, November and December. I measure my food, keep track of it, and expend way more than 3500 calories per week, It was relatively easy to lose my original weight, then I thought I could eat more and maintain, Not so, I am 69 so I know my metabolism is way slower than it was and should be, but, I am about to give up and hope to maintain, about where I am, I will be reading both of these articles, I find it all very interesting, because I would never say I do not cheat ever, but for heavens sake, one year and I can not lose? and I get so very much exercise in, I walk daily, over 10,000 steps, and swim 2 times a week, aerobics class 2 times a week and work out on machines at the gym 2 times a week.

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MYBULLDOGS 9/22/2011 7:24PM


i agree. it all depends on your body chemistry.

find foods that work with your chemistry. i created this meal on my own. i can't seem to loose weight if i eat any grain products. so one day i experimented.

i make this mixture for breakfast , lunch and dinner. i have lost 31 pounds in 16 weeks. i cook

4 large portabella mushrooms sliced, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, 4 large onions sliced, 2 large green peppers, 3 cans green beans, 1 can rutabaga and 5 sliced chicken sausages.

it makes enough for at least 4 days, three meals a day. total cost is 12 dollars. i buy the mushrooms and chicken at sams club. sounds crazy but it taste good and most importantly it's working. i'm not hungry . if i feel the urge to cheat i go get a fork full of my mixture. i chew very slowly as to enjoy my meal.

i have added a small banana and grapes for my snacks and to be a fix for my sweet tooth.

you can add other foods into your menu. just know what works with your body chemistry.

I have gone from 198 to 167 pounds. i can now fit into a size 14 comfortably. i feel so much better. think of carrying a 2 year old around your waist every minute of every day. no i am not done. on the obese chart i have gone from being obese to just plain fat. my goal is to drop another 22 pounds. then i will be happy, healthy and never allow myself to get in this condition again.

one might say eating the same food every day would get boring. not true. when you look in the mirror and can see the difference it's totally worth it. once i reach my goal i will change my menu. not until then.

portion sizes are critical to your success. exercise has to become a way of life. good luck


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MKPRINCESS007 9/22/2011 7:23PM

    I can't wait to read the blog you are working on! Great articles, thanks for sharing! It is so interesting, because my husband is a postal worker, and he walked 12 miles a day. When he began his job, he lost a lot of weight. Now, it is actually functioning in reverse and he has gained, despite walking that much. Basically, his body now identifies that amount of calorie burn as "his level". The body is fascinating, and solutions really do depend on many factors.

I am subscribing to your blog to see the next one you write! Awesome!


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The Week In Review: Me Me Me Me Me!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit."
-Nol Coward

There are very few friends who we know we can truly depend on during the best and worst of times. I have a friend who I met at a job 7 years ago, and we have been good friends ever since. She could call me in the middle of the night with her relationship woes. I called her out of the blue when my cat was dying and she came right over to drive me to the emergency vet. I helped her move when she lost her house, and she helped me clean my house when it got out of control when I was in school and working full-time. We could tell each other anything without judgement. She was a true friend. I have been cleaning house with toxic people as of late, but I'm disappointed to find that some friends may not be who they once were.

My birthday, September 11th, has been overshadowed by 9/11/2001 for the past 10 years. I lost a family member, so it tends to be a sad time for my family. I don't mind being in the shadow of my cousin Bobby at all, but with my friends, I should be able to just have my birthday without any drama. I wanted a pretty low-key birthday. I had dinner with my mom and brother on Saturday the 10th, which was nice. That night, I had plans with friend to get together, which we had made the day before--she was going to come over, we were going to go for a walk, and then hang out and exchange massages. When I called her to see what time she wanted to get together, she said she had actually made other plans with someone else, but that I was welcome to join them. The friend she made plans with is a drug dealer and a shady person, and needless to say, not a person I wanted to associate with. My immediate reaction was to say I really didn't want to do that. She said, "Okay, well, you can come if you want." I told her I would call IF I decided to come. I called her a couple of hours later and told her I wasn't going to come. "Okay!", she responded cheerfully. After a pause, I said, "Well, have a good night," and she responded that I should have a good night, too.

At first I felt like a jerk for not going, but then I asked myself: Would I do this to someone on their birthday? Or really, ever? No, I would not. Even if I'm not thrilled about what a friend wants to do for their birthday, I would still go. Dammit, it's MY birthday and it was rude of her to change plans, leaving me with nothing to do. What did I do instead? I wrote a blog about my cousin Bobby, and ended up drinking wine and crying by myself. Yes, it was as pathetic as it sounds. At least I got in some good practice time on my saxophone--huh, I actually play pretty well when I'm pissed off!

Although I am trying to kick toxic non-friend people to the curb without a second thought, I am certainly not inclined to dump a long-time friend over a few indiscretions, at least not without a fight. I wrote her an e-mail telling her that it hurt my feelings that she ditched me on my birthday, and that I feel she has been changing plans or forgetting about plans a lot over the past 6 months or so. I told her that I really value our friendship, and that if I have done something, I would like to talk about it so it can be remedied. I asked her to write back or call me when she had a chance.

The reply? Nothing. It has been a week. I know she is on Facebook all the time and she must have seen the message. I am going to try to call her today (not to confront) and see what happens. If she is truly the type of person who would just stop talking to a friend of 7 years for no reason, well...she's probably not the type of person I need in my life. I don't do passive-aggressive well, and if she doesn't think enough of me as a human being to tell me what's going on with our friendship, then there may not be a friendship there at all.

"Being stubborn has helped, being selfish is not a bad thing."
-Herbie Mann

I was actually glad that my reaction was to immediately get pissed off when she changed plans on my birthday. I have been bowled over by a lot of people throughout my life without realizing it. I don't really feel anger at her as a whole person, but rather at her actions. I didn't used to get mad at the actions of others; I used to blame myself for not going out of my way enough to accommodate them. I finally know that it's okay for things to be about ME sometimes (let alone on my birthday). I am there for others whenever possible, and I deserve the same from my friends.

Sometimes I accommodate too much to the demands of my subconscious, too, allowing it to overrule what I actually want and need. I decided that I would make this week about ME, and allow my brain to naturally decide what it wanted. I would do the first thing that came to mind and just follow my gut. I was going to do whatever my brain asked for, but it had to be the first thing that popped into my head. I was pleased with the results.

I started by thinking, "What do I want to eat?" The first image in my brain was a big bowl of veggies, including the spaghetti squash, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers from my garden, all cooked and steaming in the bowl, ready to eat. My mouth watered. Then, tiny voice whispered, "Don't you want pizza?" I shut that voice up, because it wasn't the first thing that popped into my head. I cooked my veggies and ate them, and they were delicious.

When I was sitting around the next day, I asked myself, "What do I want to do right now?" I immediately pictured grunting while lifting a heavy weight, sweat dripping down my nose. A little voice countered, "Wouldn't you rather sit around and watch T.V.?" I popped in my STS DVD and started my workout. No, I did not want to just sit around.

Another night when I got home from work, I had planned on doing a kettlebell workout. I asked my body and brain what they REALLY wanted. I pictured myself in my recliner with a glass of red wine and a plate of chocolate chip pancakes. That's what I really wanted, so I did it (by the way, they were protein pancakes, and were very satisfying!). My mind and body needed the break, so I gave it to them.

So, this week was about ME, and I needed to stop and listen to my brain long enough to find out what I really wanted. I wanted to have a friend celebrate with me on my birthday, and I was upset when that friend backed out. I felt so selfish trying to demand what I wanted from another person, and felt a little bad standing up for myself, but I now know that I shouldn't. If she's my friend, she should have no problem doing what is right. I felt a bit self-absorbed asking myself all week, "What do I want, and what is best for me right now?" But I also know that I'm no good to others if I'm not taking care of myself. I don't want people to bend to my will, but I want give and take from my friends. I also need balance within myself to support that give and take in friendships. Balance is working out hard when my body wants to, and sitting in my pajamas under a blanket spacing out at other times.

My body and brain instinctively know what's best, so I need to listen up. Sometimes it needs to be about "Me me me me me!"

"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live."
-Oscar Wilde

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKYWATCHERRS 9/23/2011 3:57PM

    Erin, you're awesome. I'm so happy that you are learning to find balance for yourself and in your relationships. I relate to many of your blogs - it seems we are on somewhat similar paths. I find it comforting to know someone else is going through stuff like me. "What do I want and what's best for me" - good mantra to live by.

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JITZUROE 9/21/2011 9:18PM

    Thanks for writing this. I also can relate! A 'friend' emailed me and asked if I would meet her in the city for dinner (which she KNOWS I cannot do due to chronic pain). She then sent me a few (!!!) text messages telling me to hurry up and reply since she was making time for me and needed to know ASAP, and gee it was too bad I was not willing to go meet her, etc. HELLO?!?! I was mad. mad mad mad. BUT I decided to make her wait wait wait for a few hours, which I know she didn't like, but it was 3 days away, sheesh!
Where was I gonna be? Same place I always am, at home, and in bed by 8:00 p.m., NOT at a restaurant, eating food I am likely allergic to, etc. I told her in an email that she needed to back down and not come off as so manipulating, and if she could not carve out some time to come see me, then I would not drag her over the coals for it. I would see her perhaps another time. I have not heard from her since. It hurt, but it needed to be said. And it was a long time coming. Same thing for you. you NEEDED to probably stand your ground and get ANGRY a while ago.
I am sorry it hurts, and you deserved SO MUCH MORE on YOUR day.
And I am so thankful you didn't meet up with her and her 'friend'. You are too valuable to let anything happen to!

: )

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PAMELA6289 9/20/2011 12:58PM

  Oh Erin, I'm sorry your birthday was less than fulfilling, but I applaud you asking yourself what you wanted. And for listening! I say keep it up, girl, it shouldn't be just a birthday week kind of thing!

My birthday is very close to Christmas, and I've had a lifetime of getting used to people just being too caught up in the season to celebrate with me. I've learned to be okay with celebrating at another time or getting together for the 'holidays' on my birthday. At the end of the day, as long as I get to spend my birthday with people I love, I'm OK with never mentioning my birthday.

You are doing great, chickie! You are my SHERO!

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    Your "friend" was very inconsiderate. You deserve better.

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CANNIE50 9/19/2011 8:02PM

    I agree with JSalerno - if she is choosing to spend time with a drug dealer instead of honoring special plans with someone as wonderful as you, she has something wacky going on and it says WAY more about her, than you. You not only play sax beautifully when you are p.o.'d, you write just as beautifully when you are upset - that blog about your beloved uncle was INSPIRED. I am sorry this is happening and I hope your friend comes to her senses before she loses a lovely friendship (which she will come to regret, I promise you). You deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and appreciation. She may be a wee bit intimidated by you - you are strong and talented and your lifestyle and choices are healthy and require strength of mind and body and spirit. This can be scary to someone who is not feeling strong. I like that your approach is to do just that, approach and listen, not to fight. I hope it resolves and that she makes amends (because that is what you deserve, dear Erin).

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HIPPICHICK1 9/18/2011 11:15PM

    Thanks for this. It seems to be epidemic...these "frenemies" of ours!
On Saturday I went over to my friend's house because it was her birthday. I took over a bowl of homemade dark chocolate pudding because I know how much she loves it. I also took a beautiful birthday card telling her just how much our friendship means to me. Do you know what I found out from her husband? That she was at her birthday party hosted by another friend. I had not been invited.

It hurt to find out that I was not invited. Part of me let it slide. Another part of me hopes she feels super guilty about me being excluded from the guest list especially when she finds the chocolate pudding and the sentimental card. Another part of me wants to confront the hostess of the party and tell her that I was hurt by being excluded, and yet another part of me KNOWS that I would not have enjoyed myself at this party.

The things these women have in common are this: they smoke and I don't. They drink copious amounts of alcohol and I don't. Everyone takes an opportunity such as this to eat super fatty foods and white pastries or bread and I don't. I don't enjoy their humour and I don't like gossip, but I would have gone anyway and spent some time with people I don't really care for (all except the one friend whose birthday it was) to honour the birthday girl.

Perhaps the hostess knows this and that is why I wasn't invited, but I also get the feeling that she generally doesn't like me.

Regardless of the motivation behind leaving me in the dark, it hurt like a boot to the stomach. To be purposefully left out in this small community in which I live made me re-think my friendships all day today - who do trust? In whom can I confide? And I finally realized that I need some new friends with whom I share more in common and just as I thought this, another neighbour/acquaintance called me up and suggested that we go for a power walk on Wednesday followed by yoga practice. I was like, "Yeah! Now yer talking!"

When a door closes....

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HIPPICHICK1 9/18/2011 11:15PM

    Thanks for this. It seems to be epidemic...these "frenemies" of ours!
On Saturday I went over to my friend's house because it was her birthday. I took over a bowl of homemade dark chocolate pudding because I know how much she loves it. I also took a beautiful birthday card telling her just how much our friendship means to me. Do you know what I found out from her husband? That she was at her birthday party hosted by another friend. I had not been invited.

It hurt to find out that I was not invited. Part of me let it slide. Another part of me hopes she feels super guilty about me being excluded from the guest list especially when she finds the chocolate pudding and the sentimental card. Another part of me wants to confront the hostess of the party and tell her that I was hurt by being excluded, and yet another part of me KNOWS that I would not have enjoyed myself at this party.

The things these women have in common are this: they smoke and I don't. They drink copious amounts of alcohol and I don't. Everyone takes an opportunity such as this to eat super fatty foods and white pastries or bread and I don't. I don't enjoy their humour and I don't like gossip, but I would have gone anyway and spent some time with people I don't really care for (all except the one friend whose birthday it was) to honour the birthday girl.

Perhaps the hostess knows this and that is why I wasn't invited, but I also get the feeling that she generally doesn't like me.

Regardless of the motivation behind leaving me in the dark, it hurt like a boot to the stomach. To be purposefully left out in this small community in which I live made me re-think my friendships all day today - who do trust? In whom can I confide? And I finally realized that I need some new friends with whom I share more in common and just as I thought this, another neighbour/acquaintance called me up and suggested that we go for a power walk on Wednesday followed by yoga practice. I was like, "Yeah! Now yer talking!"

When a door closes....

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HEALTHYL1 9/18/2011 1:13PM

    Thanks for posting this blog as it is just what I needed to hear. I also feel like some of my friends change plans on me. I always just brush it off like it's ok but really need to start telling people that it's not really "ok". It is good that you sent her an email about it. I had a friend that I had made plans with to go out one night, but he told me he was sick so was probably not going. I ended up seeing a picture of him out that night. Unfortunately I never brought it up but I wish I would have found out what was going on. And for some reason I still talk to this person....I need to stop talking to people who obviously don't care as much about me as I do them. ANYWAYS, thanks for posting!

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FUSCHIA6 9/18/2011 12:53PM

    I remember complaining about a friend & someone said, "If that's what you call a friend......" I thought about it. She often put me down & insulted me. It was a case of feeling powerful by destroying someone else. I decided that was enough & I don't regret the decision to end it.

I have a friend who was born on Sept. 11. She has picked another day to celebrate her birthday. The thing is, no one forgets her birthday anymore.

I also want to wish you a belated Happy Birthday. May this be a fantastic & successful year for you; full of sweet surprises & personal growth.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SYZYGY922 9/18/2011 9:41AM

    I'm sorry about your friend. Friendship should come so much easier than it does. Good for you taking care of yourself.

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 9/18/2011 12:42AM

MARY emoticon emoticon

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UTMIZ_2000 9/17/2011 10:39PM

    I'm glad you decided not to join her. I can only think hanging out with a drug dealer would lead to problems. I worry for her. I am proud of you for your approach to everything. You are important and you should treat yourself with respect. So glad you are taking this time and learning more about yourself. Look at you and how your brain has made that shift to the light. Veggies!! A big Woo Hoo to you, my friend.

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1HAPPYWOMAN 9/17/2011 8:12PM

    Way to go, beautiful Erin! You're listening to yourself and honouring your own needs!
I once had one of my oldest friends cancel plans on New Year's, and I was heartbroken, thought I'd never get over it. We've resolved it and she is still a very important part of my life.... She had some things going on, and we each learned a little bit more about each other.

What your friend did completely BLOWS, and you deserve to have only the best people in your life. However, there may be a resolution in future, and it sounds like you care about her enough to wait a bit and leave the door open for her. Good friends are precious, and sometimes the people we love just need some time to sort through their issues before they get back to being themselves.....

Love, love, love,


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    You've got the right attitude. If you don't take care of you, who will?

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HIKINGSD 9/17/2011 5:43PM

    I am proud of you for fighting. Please know that you have done all that you can and if she doesn't come around, you might be better off without her.


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JSALERNO 9/17/2011 5:39PM


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ABB698 9/17/2011 5:17PM

    Sorry you have to deal with all the friend drama, and on your birthday to boot, but you know looking out for #1 is most important, so continue to do that. YOU are worth it! emoticon

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MISTYBLUE716 9/17/2011 4:48PM

    sometimes people change and aren't who we thought they were..I hope thats not the case with your friend....and GOOD for you for doing things for YOU! What YOU want...thats awesome!

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APIRLRAIN888 9/17/2011 4:47PM

    Hugs.....I have rid of toxic and sooooo much better!!!

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Bittersweet Birthday: A life celebrated, a hero remembered

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My second cousin Bobby, in his younger years.

My mother, brother, and I used to take frequent trips to New York City to visit our family there. Robert Mattson was my mother's cousin, but in our family, he was known as Uncle Bobby. He and my mother were very close. He worked for Fiduciary Trust, and his office was located on the 96th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. I had been to his office several times, peering down from the dizzying height of the floor-to-ceiling windows. Bobby lived in New Jersey, but was a typical New Yorker, having been born and raised on Staten Island: always on-the-go, to-the-point, and moreover, humorous. I looked forward to visiting him, especially when we got to go to his office. He would whisk us around Lower Manhattan, chattering away. I could barely keep up with the man, but we would tag along, smiling as we listened to his thick New York accent. My brother and I could barely get a word in edgewise as Bobby and my mother caught up with each other, laughing between sentences until they were almost on the ground. I admired Bobby, and my family shared the sentiment.

Bobby was recognized in our family for his heroism. He had been awarded a Bronze Star for his bravery in Vietnam when he was in the military. Then, in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, he chose to stay behind to help a pregnant co-worker get to the roof to be evacuated by helicopter. Bobby always chose the well-being of others over his own, whether it be a stranger or family member.

I woke up early on my 23rd birthday, Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, and started to get ready for school. My mother came over to drop off a birthday present. My brother called: "Did you see the World Trade Center? Bobby is missing, no one can get a hold of him." I was still groggy and had no idea what he was talking about. "Turn on your T.V." We turned the T.V on to see what everyone else was seeing--the towers of World Trade Center in flames. My mother and I were speechless. Then, a few minutes later, the South Tower tumbled to the ground.

The South Tower was the second to get hit by the plane, but the first to fall. We found out later that Bobby had been near the 90th floor near the time of the collapse. I had watched as the building crumbled, taking our family member with it. Bobby remained among the missing from the World Trade Center, but was presumed dead. We found out later that he had been, once again, doing his best to help people get out of the building, according to several of his office mates who made it out alive.

A memorial service was held in early October, 2001, but I was not able to get to New Jersey to attend. Several months later, some of Bobby's remains were found on Staten Island, just blocks from where he had grown up. Although there was finally some closure, it was still melancholy news.

My birthday has become a very bittersweet occasion for me and my family. Now that the sadness isn't quite as fresh, I feel I can now celebrate my life and Bobby's at the same time. Since Bobby has been gone, I haven't felt any occasion to go to New York City. I have not been to Ground Zero; it has been over 10 years since I've been to New York. As exciting as New York is, I realized the true reason we went there was for family. I didn't visit New York for the World Trade Center, but rather, for who was lost on September 11th, 2001.

I had been hoping to post some family pictures, but my mother couldn't find the disc with the digital copies. There were some news stories about Bobby and his heroism; here is one of them:

Robert "Bobby" Mattson, of Rockaway Township, New Jersey, died on September 11th, 2001, at the age of 54. Bobby, I will always miss your humor, kindness, and dedication to family.

Image from

In loving memory of Robert Mattson, and all others killed in and affected by the events on September 11th, 2001.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ABB698 9/16/2011 10:39PM

    What a true hero. So sorry for you loss. His lovely memory lives on in your heart! emoticon

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 9/14/2011 4:35AM

P.S. AND I WISH YOU A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY; MAY YOU HAVE A GREAT, HEALTHY AND HAPPY YEAR AHEAD! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CANNIE50 9/13/2011 7:17PM

    On the occasion of your birthday, let me just say, when you were born, the world gained a blessing. What a tremendous gift for you to have known and been related to such a handsome, brave, charismatic hero. I wish I could have known him, and after reading this gorgeously composed essay, I feel like I do know him a bit, and I am grateful. Your words gave me chills, and brought me tears, and a sense of inspiration and gratitude. What a tremendous loss but oh what a legacy he left. Bless you and your family.

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JITZUROE 9/13/2011 5:39PM

    I too am sorry for your loss. Your beautifully written blogs shows the outpouring of love you had and continue to have for him...

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FANGFACEKITTY 9/13/2011 1:19PM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. He was a true hero.

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    Such a loss!! At least the monster responsible for the crime has been punished.

I hope you were able to have a good birthday.

Comment edited on: 9/12/2011 2:20:44 PM

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SMILINGTREE 9/12/2011 12:00PM

    Writing a tribute is never easy. It feels as if the words aren't ever quite good enough to express the reality of the love you feel or the greatness of the person you loved. I'm sorry for your loss, not only of your Uncle Bobby, but also of the childlike joy you should feel on your birthday and for the loss of cohesiveness within your family.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your feelings, and happy belated birthday.

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ELPHYY 9/12/2011 8:47AM

This is heartbreaking. Im so sorry for your loss. Was the memorial held in Rockaway? I actually used to live there.

Thank you for sharing, I only wish that if I were in a situation like that, that I could be as brave and selfless as your Uncle. He obviously had a heros heart.

Happy Birthday! Im sure wherever he is now he's wishing you the same.

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CHAITEAKITTY40 9/11/2011 11:42PM


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KRAWRS 9/11/2011 5:10PM

    "Now that the sadness isn't quite as fresh, I feel I can now celebrate my life and Bobby's at the same time." I loved this. You SHOULD celebrate... your life and his. Happy birthday!

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 9/11/2011 4:47PM

    What a moving and heart-rending tribute to a wonderful man. You are lucky that you had him in your life and I hope that his legacy always keeps you strong, brave, and determined.

"What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death, In years that bring the philosophic mind."
William Wordsworth (Intimations of Inmortality)

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ASHLEYVRONEK 9/11/2011 4:44PM

    Happy Birthday!
Thank you for sharing this story. It sounds like he was an amazing man!

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DS9KIE 9/11/2011 3:58PM

    emoticon emoticon Here's to celebrating Your birthday and to your Uncle Bobby's memories.

So just eat some birthday cake and remember all the great things you did with Uncle Bobby.


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LOVE_IS_LOUDER 9/11/2011 2:10PM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. This day is a sad one for everyone in our country, but I can't imagine what it feels like for the family members of those who died. I am thinking of your Uncle Bobby and everyone lost ten years ago today.
Your birthday, however, is a reminder that life goes on; to live your life to the fullest, in honor of those who can't. Happy birthday. emoticon

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JULABELLE 9/11/2011 1:59PM

    Happy Birthday - and yes, must be so bittersweet for you and your family. You wrote a beautiful and moving tribute to your "Uncle Bobby". May you cherish your memories and have forgiveness in your heart.

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HIKINGSD 9/11/2011 1:55PM

    Happy Birthday.

Thank you for sharing Uncle Bobby with us. His bravery is amazing and I am sure that ones that he helped remember him and thank him often.


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HOT_MAMA_13 9/11/2011 1:05PM

    My heart weeps to hear of the loss you and your family suffered. But it also smiles at the beautiful memories you hold of your Uncle and to know how much you all loved each other. May that love and those cherished memories continue to carry you through day by day.

In Gratitude & Love,
Hot_Mama_13 emoticon

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STRONGMOMMA2014 9/11/2011 12:24PM

    Although you are not one of my "sparkfriends" another one of my fellow sparkers commented on your blog and I followed the link to read it. I am so touched and so sorry. How lucky you, your family, and friends were to have had him in your life. He sounds like an amazing man. A true hero.

I am sure he would want you to have a wonderful birthday. Happy Birthday to you.

My sincere condolences for your loss. It is these stories that make me so proud and so thankful to be an American. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.


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CHRISTINA791 9/11/2011 12:22PM

    Thank you for sharing Bobby with us. This was a beautiful tribute to someone who sounds like a wonderful man.

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ALLISON145 9/11/2011 11:40AM

    Happy Birthday, and my sincere condolences.

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MUSCLEADDICT32 9/11/2011 11:05AM

    That was extememly beautiful! emoticon emoticon My condolences to you and your family! emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 9/11/2011 9:50AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MISTYBLUE716 9/11/2011 9:27AM

    I'm so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man! emoticon

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JENJESS48 9/11/2011 9:26AM

    Sorry for your loss, honey. Stories like this are a big inspiration to me in my day-to-day work and why I do it: I work at the National Counterterrorism Center. Our goal, which I like to think I contribute to every day, is that nothing like this ever happens again. emoticon

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BECKY3774 9/11/2011 8:35AM

    What a beautifully written remembrance of someone who was obviously so special....Happy Birthday and thank you for sharing this with us. emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 9/11/2011 8:11AM

    Deep gratitude for sharing the beautifully expressed tribute to "an ordinary good guy," Erin. I believe that elebrating your own birthday in joy is the best remembrance you can offer your beloved cousin,

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APIRLRAIN888 9/11/2011 7:27AM

    Happy birthday and condolences

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INIT2LIVEIT 9/11/2011 4:47AM

    How much pain you and your family must have suffered and still are. Losing a loved one suddenly is never easy, even more so under such circumstances. This is a beautiful memorial, thank you so much for sharing your cousin's story.
Blessings for your Birthday emoticon

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GEMINIAN1 9/11/2011 3:05AM

    What a great man.
I'm sorry that he's gone.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHAOSTHEORY635 9/11/2011 2:35AM

    Happy birthday, and condolences for the loss of your cousin.

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SYZYGY922 9/11/2011 2:21AM

    Aww. That is sweet. Happy birthday.

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WOLFKITTY 9/11/2011 2:08AM


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DIVA-TO-BE 9/11/2011 2:02AM

    This is a beautiful and moving tribute. On this anniversary of your Uncle Bobby's heroism, please remember him with love, and make the good memories part of your birthday celebration. And mend those bridges-life is too short for rifts in family

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BENTONHEALTHY 9/11/2011 1:25AM

    Amen. The silent heros, we will never forget.

Happy Birthday to you.

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