The Ying and Yang of Relationships

As I consider my relationships and those of the people I am closest to (both romantic and friendships) a lot of the discord comes from someone, possibly with good intentions, pushing us to do things. Perhaps it’s to be better at something, or because they need support, or maybe some other reason. 

Some pushing is good. Often the nudging of someone who knows us well can help us realize things and get moving. I have a good friend who gets me so well that 99% of the time I take her advice, even when I disagree with her. And she’s usually right. I’d venture to say she trusts me as much.

There are other people, and I can be this way too, who want us to do things because it seems good to them. Not necessarily in a bad way, we have things in common and probably if they weren’t pushing so hard we’d want to do it. But because they are pushing, it makes us tense and not enjoy ourselves.

I feel like the people I get along best with are the ones where the relationship is balanced. There’s not too much of one person feeling like they are giving into the pushy person.  If we have to push someone so hard to be what we want we probably need to spread out and make some new friends that will share that interest. 

Have you experienced this before? How have you handled it? Have you told the other person they were being pushy and were they able to change?

Decoration

I’ve been wanting to redecorate my room for a few years now but I haven’t been able to come up with a theme. I found one finally. I want it to be luxurious like when you go to a spa to feel pampered and relaxed. 

I think I will start by visiting Michaels and getting some baskets or containers and like things will go in each basket: one for makeup, one for beauty aids, and another for mail. I’ve tried to stop collecting containers because they tend to gather junk, but maybe now that I have a vision I will be better.

I will get some candles and paint some paintings for the walls. I’ll have to think about what I would find ethereal and calming to paint.

This sounds really good to me at the moment. I was trying to set up my SQL database and I was having trouble. I will spare you the details.

If you have any thoughts to help me with my redecorating, I would love to hear them. My furniture is white and I have some sea green things already and I envision bronze going with it.

Confession– Part One

I went to confession on Saturday. I usually go once a month because by that time there is something I need to confess. For years I have been using an examination of conscience that pretty much broke down the commandments into a dry set of rules that gave the impression God is up there keeping a tally of our sins to see if we don’t surpass the limit to be excluded from heaven.

I found this examination of conscience that spoke to me. It gets you to focus on loving yourself, others, and God which us really want God wants us to do to help each other.

God is a loving Father. If you have kids, you’re not keeping track of how many wrong things they do to keep them from enjoying their lives. In fact it’s the opposite, you want to encourage them. If they do something wrong you hope they learn something to improve next time.

Confession is our chance to wipe the slate clean. And we don’t go to confession to help God, we go for ourselves and God grants us graces to help us improve although we don’t accept this gift enough.

Friendships

When there is a group of friends or family members together I usually have a moment where I stop and notice how beautiful it is that we all managed to be in the same place and share that time together. That’s the nice thing about pictures, especially a group picture, it captures that moment.

I have two pictures like that, that serve as bookends, or perhaps a better description would be a book cover because the first picture was a special moment that for me signifies my initiation into this group. Not too long after taking this picture everything fell apart and we reorganized into separate subgroups who occasionally interacted and went on like this for close to a year. The second picture marks the end of this episode, with all of us adjusting to the changes that occurred this year.

We were kept apart by individual cases within the group of not being treated the way we wanted and by our own insecurities. And then yesterday it all came together again. I am not sure exactly what invisible forces ironed out all of the wrinkles behind the scenes that brought us together but it made me very happy. 

I have experienced this before. It’s strange when something happens and you stop seeing your closest friends. Most of the times I knew the actual incident that caused the rift was not worth breaking up a friendship. I think what it is really happening is people have been slowly realizing they are changing and don’t have the same things in common. Perhaps we need space to deal with certain issues and we just don’t have the time or energy for anything else. 

I have been fortunate that all of the significant people I have lost have returned to my life. Sometimes years go by before it occurs, and sometimes it happens more than once, but those invisible forces are at work and bring us back together. 

Giving each other space allows us to make new friends and try new things. It gives us a chance to work on ouselves if we take the time to reflect on our part in the events. Maybe I’m not being treated the way I want, but where is the other person coming from? Did I treat them fairly? And if they didn’t treat me fairly, is it worth carrying the resentment still? Are my own insecurities keeping me from what I really want? Is there a way to just relax and appreciate whatever is happening now, even if it’s not part of my plan?

These are good questions to consider. Perhaps there is a way to correct things before everyone decides it’s best to walk away. And sometimes you try but eventually you can’t do anything else and you do have to walk away. Regardless, I truly believe the important people find their way back. I have the picture to prove it. 

 

Lenten Recap — The Home Stretch

I did not mention this before but I also chose a third sacrifice for Lent (in addition to keeping my space clean and blogging). I gave up buying alcohol during Lent and decided that I would put $8 in the Catholic Relief Services Lenten Rice Bowl each time I went out with my friends and would have bought a drink. I made an exclusion allowing myself to drink wine (my logic was you can purchase an entire bottle of wine for a home get together for a lot less than what you’d pay for a drink at a bar or restaurant).

For the first time in my life I have Jewish friends and I have to admit I didn’t tell them I gave up buying drinks until a week ago. Up until then I just politely declined ordering drinks when we went out. But a few days before, I found out another friend gave up sweets for Lent and even though she wasn’t there on the night of my revelation, knowing I had someone with similar beliefs gave me courage.

My friends all know I am Catholic. They know I’ve taught religious education at church which I think implies a certain level of faith. But I try not to impose religion on them. In that respect I probably err on the side of not sharing things I could instead of coming on too strong, but I also feel like a good example is the best evangelizing you can do. Like my friend’s comment that she gave up sweets for Lent giving me courage. She has no idea this had an impact on me.

My friends were actually very intrigued by this sacrifice and asked questions. One of them pointed out that I drank at the Matchbox 20 concert two weeks ago.

This was an interesting situation. We bought club seats for this concert before I decided on what I was doing for Lent. This package included dinner and an open bar. I was torn as to if it was ok for me to drink there or not. I consulted with some devout Catholic friends and we decided that it was probably ok to make an exception since the spirit of the sacrifice was to donate the money I would have spent. I was still a little unsure because I prefer not to partake in what I give up on Sundays and feast days and here I was considering it because it was inconvenient. I’m still not sure if it was right or wrong but I also feel like your sacrifice should cause you a little grief. If you give up something that doesn’t challenge you then you’re not really out in the desert with Jesus being tested.

I was in a situation last night where I had to choose again. It was a charity event with an open bar. I was very tempted to give in because my friends were all having drinks. I started out with a ginger ale. The next time I walked over with them, one of them who probably didn’t remember what I gave up asked if I was getting something because she had a five and felt better about using it for the tip if we were getting more drinks. With each step I weighed the options. I wasn’t going to be spending any money. It didn’t feel right, but I still wanted one. When we approached the bar, I noticed they had wine, which I chose. I still would have liked to have a cocktail, but in the end I felt like I passed the test. 

I haven’t counted how much there is in the rice bowl yet but I’m guessing there’ll be at least $40. This is my first time actually making a sacrifice for the Rice Bowl. Usually I just write a check for $20 dollars when it’s time to turn it in. It’s quite powerful knowing that a frivolous thing I gave up is going to impact people around the world who are very much in need.

Looking back I also appreciate the opportunity to discuss my dilemma with my Catholic friends. Lent is my favorite church season. I feel like we are all united with the project of sticking to our sacrifices and this was the perfect example. We are really all here to help each other earn our eternal reward in Heaven.

Pepcid For Your Dog

My eight year old dog got sick on Monday. I share this with you in case it is helpful one day. It began on Sunday night, he looked a little depressed and not like himself.

By Monday morning he was lethargic, not moving around and not caring much about anything. I looked for information online but he didn’t have any of the other symptoms they described such as not eating, bathroom issues, vomitting, etc. Occasionally he bowed and stretched, which is an indicator of abdominal issues, but he does this regularly, so it wasn’t a clue. Other than being lethargic, the only questionable behavior was him licking the air (imagine how your dog acts when eating peanut butter) and I suspected he didn’t sleep much Sunday night. 

He perked up Monday afternoon causing me to cancel the vet appointment I made. I was pleased that I just gave him time to recover and he was improving. But during the night he became somewhat lethargic again. Not as bad as before but enough that I hated myself for not taking him to the vet that day. 

Here he was suffering. When your dog is not being himself it is very scary, and since he’s getting older now, you start to worry about how long you will have him with you. My mom wanted to give him an aspirin. If you look online or ask your friends what to do there will be differing opinions about aspirin. Someone else suggested pumpkin in case he swallowed a bone, this could help him eliminate it. I resisted doing anything except rubbing his tummy. This seemed to relax him and he eventually fell asleep. 

I took him to the vet on Tuesday morning. the vet examined his abdomen and didn’t feel anything abnormal. The basic blood test didn’t reveal anything serious. She said maybe he ate something that made him sick. He was given a shot to stop his nausea for 24 hours and I was told to go to the drug store and to get Pepsid tablets and give him a 20 mg tablet twice a day for 5 days.

He’s not quite his normal self yet but he’s moving around and wagging his tail when spoken to and looking content.

Success!

I spent the past week trying to download Windows Server and SQL server for my database class. My inexperience with servers coupled with the fact that I was trying to do all this on a Mac that I am still getting familiar with made this a difficult task. 

Fortunately, I have a very good, patient friend who is quite knowledgable in the IT field and finds this stuff challenging in a good way. After spending hours Friday night and a more few hours today, we finally got the software loaded.

The following information is for a select audience who may stumble across this out of desperation.

We had to figure out which versions of the software to download, figure out if we could do it on the Mac or not, and figure out how to install it on a virtual machine.

Parallels software can be used  to create virtual machines to load a Windows operating system (like Windows 8) on your Mac. You can also create other virtual machines to run other operating systems. We created another virtual machine to run the Windows Server and load an SQL Server on it.

Then there were other issues that my friend, as she says, took the crumbs of information that I received in class and tied in with things she learned at work and then figured out what to do through trial and error. Thanks to her my software is loaded and I could see her genius at work to have a bit more understanding. In time as I become more familiar with terminology and different programs, I hope I will be able to build something with the crumbs. 

I did master patience for software downloading. I walked away from the computer whenever we were downloading or waiting for files to transfer. I think patience is lesson one.