Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Danny Gokey Sighting

So here's how you know you need to get a life of your own instead of living vicariously through your coworkers:

Wednesday, Natalie came by my cubicle after lunch.

Natalie: I hear you're a secret American Idol fan.

Me: Honey, there is no secret about it!

Nat: Guess who I just had lunch with?

Me: Who?

Nat: Danny Gokey, from Season 8.

Me: You're kidding me! Where? How did you have lunch with him?

Nat: At KC Pita. Kristyn and I were eating there and saw Danny having lunch with someone--a radio DJ, I think.

Me: So you didn't actually eat with him, then?

Nat: Well, no. But we were in the same building and saw him.

Me: Did you at least go talk to him?

Nat: No.... But maybe I should have.

Me: Um, yeah! I would have said, "Hi, Danny. My whole family loved you last season. Enjoy your lunch."

Nat: Yeah. I should have said something.

She sighed and I nodded. Then Natalie went to the pop machine and I finished editing an environmental assessment.

I definitely need to get out for lunch more often.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Duck, duck, GOOSE!

Photo by Daveness_98.

So here's what I found out this week about growing duck feathers: it ain't so easy!

There I was, minding my own business and growing duck down. Happy as you please. When someone did something normally irritating to me, or if they were living on the cranky side of life, I would think of my duck feathers and just let it slide by. I would think, "Oh, they must be having a bad day," or "I must be interpreting that wrong. I should ask questions for clarification." (Read my article about crazy communication problems.)

But one evening this week, after practicing and getting pretty good at this duck feather business, one of my nearest and dearest said something that sent me over the edge in one flying leap. Instead of responding with a kind and gentle, "Lord, love a duck!" and moving on with my day, I responded with a heartfelt, "I'm going to cook your goose!" (Not out loud, of course.)

When all was said and done (about three seconds), there I stood in the middle of a pile of duck feathers. My own. Plucked and scattered in one fell swoop.

What did I do next? I cried my eyes out and went to bed. Then I started all over the next morning.

How's your duck experiment going?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Growing Duck Feathers

Photo by Niffty.

Yesterday I had two experiences with two different groups of people. In the first experience, I got my feelings hurt. In the second, it was like water off a duck's back--I wasn't affected at all. What was the difference? After talking with my hubby about it over coffee this morning, I decided that whether I'm hurt or not many times boils down to this one thing: my expectations.

  • 1st - I was new in a group of eight women for the third week in a row. Although they were friendly, no one went out of her way to talk to me. I realized I had an unconscious expectation that new people in a group should be welcomed and assimilated by those who have been there longer. The reality is, however, that as a new person, I was actually crashing their party.

  • 2nd - I visited a group of friends I'd known a couple of years. One started talking about an upcoming event that did not involve me and to which I had not been invited. I wasn't the least bit hurt or even miffed. I thought, "That's just the way that person is." Unconsciously, I had already worked through my expectations and had moved to acceptance of this person.

After thinking about my different responses to those two situations, I realized that I am sometimes hardnosed and inflexible (though I hate to admit that!) and I thinly veil my expectations of others as "hopes." The problem is that my lofty ideals cause me and others unnecessary pain.

I don't like living that way, though. I'd rather have the peace and joy that comes from acceptance in all my relationships. That's why this year I've decided to give my friends and family an unusual, but practical, gift--I'm going to grow a set of duck feathers. I'm going to take myself less seriously and love and accept my dear ones right where they are.

I "expect" I won't get it right straight away or very often at first, but I promise to try.

Care to join me? Come on in--the water is fine.