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The more concerned we become over the things we can’t control, the less we will do with the things we can control.
– John Wooden  
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 3 March 2018  

None Black Forest News   None Book Review   None Business Briefs   None Community Calendar  
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Janice Tollini

  Perspectives — a column
  Being uniquely you
  By Janice Tollini

   Janice Tollini has worked in the health care industry as a clinical psychologist for 15 years. She is now a Talent Management Consultant, and is completing additional graduate training in industrial/organizational psychology. In 2017, she will become certified as an executive coach through the World Coaching Institute. Check out Janice’s website at
When I was younger, probably in third or fourth grade, everyone was wearing Dingo boots. (I know some of you are saying, “I remember those!”) I wanted a pair very badly. Perhaps not so much because I liked them, but because everyone –- and I do mean everyone –- had a pair. They were basically cheap, fake cowboy boots. I don’t know how much they cost, but I do know that I desperately needed a pair.
   My mother gently denied my request, which became more of a frantic plea; she explained that buying boots just because everyone else was wearing them was just silliness. That was followed by a life lesson about the value of being different from everyone else and that it was important to be uniquely me. A lesson sadly wasted on an 8-year old — or not.
   Many years later, I have come to realize that my mother was correct. There is value to being uniquely me.
   All children struggle with fitting in and finding their place. It is part of growing up, deciding which sports to play, which classes to take, which music to listen to, and the most critical decision of all: forming a group of friends. Over time, we all form cliques — membership in a defined social group, a group with whom we have many things in common, such as how we dress, how we style our hair, our activities. As adults, we have similar groups, be it professional associations or membership at the country club. As adults, we pay a membership fee. As children, the fee is not monetary but rather the price of not straying too far from that clique — the price of conformity.
   Somehow, my mother’s message had sunk in. In high school, I was part of many different groups; I rode horses, was in band and orchestra, and my boyfriend did nothing other than party. I wasn’t limited to any one group. (I briefly attempted the punk style, precursor to the modern goth, which was all about defiance and non-conformity, but ironically we were rebelling against conformity in the same way.)
   In 2018, I am reading a book on emergenetics — “New Science of Success: Emergenetics” by Geil Browning, which is essentially the notion that our thinking and behavioral styles are the combination of environmental experience and our genetic tendencies. A key message is to identify and use your unique strengths rather than try to adopt a different style.
   The point of this article is not about the specifics of thinking styles or really any style in particular. The message is that we are all different and that’s OK. We are different in how we think, how we perceive things and what we seek in others. We are different in how we dress, the foods we eat and the cars we drive. We each value and strive for different things. Our happiness comes in many different wrappers.
   Somewhere in time we have been given the message that there is just one right way to live our lives, and we should all try to fit that mold. We have been told that we should try to change ourselves to be more like everyone else.
   I would argue against that message. I would argue that there is tremendous value in our individual differences, and we should strive to embrace these differences. In doing this, we honor our true selves. We should appreciate rather than shun all our quirks and eccentricities. We ought to recognize them as strengths rather than weaknesses. To do that, we have to pay attention to what we value, acknowledge what is important to us and pursue what makes us happy. We owe it to ourselves to be uniquely ourselves and to know that is the best we can be.
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  Skunk in Falcon tests positive for rabies
  El Paso County Public Health news release

   A skunk has tested positive for rabies in Falcon, Colorado. El Paso County Public Health is urging residents to protect themselves by never touching or feeding wild or stray animals, and keeping pets up to date on rabies vaccination. Rabies is almost always fatal in humans if exposed by a bite or scratch from a rabid animal.
   On Jan. 9, a skunk tested positive for rabies at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Laboratory. There are no known human exposures. The skunk was found near a feral cat colony. Residents in the area should not touch feral or unknown animals, and remind children not to play with unknown or stray animals. Residents should also contact EPCPH if they notice an animal with symptoms of rabies including, but not limited to, aggression, lethargy, increased vocalization, loss of appetite, paralysis, seizures or death.
   “Rabies is endemic on the front range of Colorado in bats and skunks, that is why we always encourage pet owners to vaccinate all domestic animals, including dogs, cats, horses and livestock that may come in contact with wild animals,” said Dr. Chris Nevin-Woods, El Paso County Public Health medical director.
   Rabies is fatal once symptoms appear. Never feed or touch stray or wild animals, and keep pets and livestock rabies vaccinations up to date through a licensed veterinarian. Feeding wild animals makes them less afraid of people and brings large numbers of animals into small areas. This increases the risk of transmission of disease to humans and pets. Unvaccinated pets or livestock and feral cat colonies are at risk of infection, which also puts owners or family members at risk.
   Preventive vaccination is available for people known or suspected to have been bitten by a rabid animal. It is important for people bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal to contact their doctor immediately.
   Take these precautions to prevent rabies:
  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies by using a licensed veterinarian. Rabies shots need to be boosted, so check your pet’s records or talk to your veterinarian.
  • When walking or hiking with your dog, protect them and wildlife by keeping your dog on a leash.
  • Keep cats and other pets inside at night to reduce the risk of exposure to other domestic animals and wildlife. Keep dogs within your sight (in a fenced yard or on leash) during the day while outside.
  • Contact your veterinarian promptly if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.
  • Do not touch or feed wild animals. Wild animals like skunks and foxes adapt to residential environments if food is available –- please don’t leave pet food outdoors.
  • If you or a family member is bitten or scratched by a wild or unknown animal, call your doctor and El Paso County Public Health at 719-578-3220.
  • If you encounter a lost or stray dog or cat, contact the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region for options 719-473-1741.
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  Valentine’s Easy Cherry Delight

   1 8 oz. package cream cheese (low calorie works fine)
   1 cup confectioners' sugar
   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
   1 8 ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed
   1 9 inch prepared graham cracker crust
   1 16 oz. can cherry pie filling
   In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and the powdered sugar until combined. Add vanilla and beat 2 minutes. Gently fold in whipped topping.
   Transfer mixture into the pie crust. Top the filling with the cherries. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
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