The Pallet

an artists pallet tells you quite a bit about his personality

the color choices and mixes and the way they are mixed on the pallet. the brush strokes on the pallet are as distinctive as they are on the canvas.

you can tell people by their shoes their hairdo their choices re telling . furniture, clothing choices, car, watch, you used to be able to tell a lot about a person by their hat, now its their baseball cap the writing on their shirt the shine or lack of it on their shoes. it is interesting how we all have our own way. i had a friend in the massage and body work business who knew patients by the way they moved. everyone moves differently and distinctly the way you like your eggs, your speech pattern. pick one. which one. how is it the same, how is it distinctive. how is it the same as everyone elses. is it different in minnesota than it is in austrailia or germany or north dakota?

what is your signature?

what was you moms?

Unpaved Trail

It’s official – the baboons are in control of the Trail. After years of writing and then maintaining the blog, our fearless leader has turned over the reins and switched us to our own domain!

It looks a little quiet right now as most of Dale’s followers haven’t found their way to us – my guess is that we’ll gain our own followers as we go on. If anybody is in contact with prior Trail members, give them a shout and invite them back.  In the meantime, we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing for almost a year – writing our pieces and asking our questions.

If you are listed in the Baboon Congress, then you have rights to go in and post a blog piece. If you are not listed, you can send it via email to Verily Sherrilee (shelikins at Hotmail).  Verily and Renee will be administering/publishing the posts: Renee on the even months (except February this year as we get up to speed) and Verily on odd months.  If you don’t have a picture, let us know.  if you have a picture but don’t know how to get it on the Trail, send it to us.  Jacque has volunteered to do back-up if needed and tim will remain our cheerleader and organizer!

Kitchen Congress and Blevins are still up and running – Verily is watching over those. Barbara in Rivertown has the Glossary’s back!

The one thing that we do need to do is come up with a new “About” page.  Right now it’s just a blank template.

What do we want to say about ourselves, our history, our raison d’etre?

Help Wanted

I really like my job. I have never regretted choosing to spend my career as a psychologist in a very rural area. I work at a regional mental health center, one of eight in my state.  Every center has psychologists and other mental health professionals. At the present time, there are 12 openings for psychologists at these centers, and it is extremely hard to fill positions.  I find this hard to understand, as I can’t think of a better situation in which to practice. One has the support of colleagues, professional autonomy, people who do all the billing, good benefits, and the opportunity to treat just about every mental health condition in the DSM-5.  Heck, at many agencies you can even get your student loans repaid through a federal program to entice professionals to under served areas. We have one opening for a psychologist at my agency. I am the only full-time psychologist there.

Due to historical factors too complicated to go into, the supervisor of psychologists at my agency serves two agencies, my agency  and the one in Bismarck, necessitating that person drive 200 miles round trip once a week to oversee things out here, and spending one night in our town. Several other administrators do the same thing. My supervisor recently quit to move to another center, so my agency and the one in Bismarck are currently without a supervising psychologist. I applied for the supervisor’s job and interviewed for it last week.

The supervisor’s position is mainly administrative.  There are hours worth of administrative meetings at each agency and I would have to go to all of them at both places  if I were in the supervisor’s position. I would have to spend one night and two days a week in Bismarck, driving 200 miles round trip, often in poor weather. I would also not be able to see many, if any, clients, and would have no time to do psychological evaluations. The pay isn’t that much higher. Since I am the only full-time psychologist at my agency, there would be virtually no psychology services there. Why on earth did I apply for the supervisor’s position?

I am at the point where I don’t want someone younger and less experienced than I am telling me what to do. I want to be able to exercise some power in decision-making and policy.  I interviewed in Bismarck for the position last week. Everyone was kind and congenial, all people I knew and had worked with before. It struck me that I was the oldest person in the room.  I was the only applicant for the job.  After a weekend of thinking and discussion with Husband, I withdrew my application.

I decided that power and control are pretty illusory, that I can tolerate a supervisor younger than I am, even if they turn out to be a knucklehead, and that I would go bats sitting through endless meetings. I want to see clients and do evaluations.  The folks who interviewed me were very understanding. It would be endless headaches for  them to make sure that the services I provide now were continued if I had accepted the new position. I noticed an instant reduction in stress and heaviness after I made my decision to stay as I am.  Now if we can only convince young professionals that a rural practice can be even more satisfying than city life with its amenities.

What factors are important to you in making your work satisfying, or at least tolerable?

Valentine Bingo

Things get a little frantic at a flower shop in mid-February. If you work in one, it’s wise to keep a sense of humor about it.

One of my co-workers drew up some Valentine Bingo scorecards to determine who gets all the most predictable and/or oddball questions and requests first.

Among the predictable ones:
“Roses cost how much?” (Yes, wholesale and retail prices go up this time of year.)
“And delivery is on top of that?” (Uh-huh. Wanna come pick them up?)
“Make it pretty…” (Well, we don’t typically try for ugly.)
“What time will that be delivered?” (It’s anybody’s guess. Wish I had a crystal ball.)
And that old favorite, “Are you busy?” (Ha ha ha ha! No! We’re not busy at all! You’re the very first person to ask me that! How very droll!)


And the less common, but still strangely inevitable ones:

“Do you have any peonies?” (Sorry, no. Too early for peonies.)
“Do you have blue roses?” (Only if you want a coat of paint on them.)
“I don’t know her last name…” (But she works at 3M and her first name is Jennifer.)
The wedding inquiry. (Um…your timing leaves something to be desired.)

When you feel as if you’re about to lose all control, you just remind yourself that it’ll all be over soon. And there’s pizza in the break room.

What’s on your bingo scorecard?

A Stranger At The Door

Today’s post comes from Joanne in Big Lake

Ours wasn’t the first door she knocked on during a frigid Minnesota evening.  Bedraggled, vulnerable but still pretty, 19-yr old Emily showed up on our doorstep, desperately looking for help.  How she ended up in Big Lake is a mystery and the last 3 days were a fuzzy high for her.  Kicked out of her parent’s house a year before, she was another sad story of a homeless teen with no job, no money, no place to live and an admitted meth amphetamine user.  Even her wallet and ID were left somewhere else.

All she had was a phone that had no service or number.  She needed a Wi-Fi in order to contact friends via Messenger to find a place to go.  My husband happened to be home because he was sick and left work early.  I was busy making supper, so Jim answered her knock on the door and brought her into our hearts.  I was suspicious, but Jim has a big heart and talked to her to figure out what she needed.

After a several minutes of talking to her, she did not want to see the police or go to the doctor to be checked out.  After giving her some snacks, Jim drove her to a nearby Coborns store where they have free public Wi-Fi, and she eventually contacted a trusted friend with a place to stay.  I called a youth homeless shelter to find out what else we could do or where she could go.  They had an emergency bed available for the night in Brooklyn Park, but we could not make her go.

So Jim drove Emily to her friend’s house in Blaine, listened to her story and showed great kindness with a non-judgmental attitude.  I prayed and cried for her and hope for the best for her.  Unfortunately, I fear she has a brutal and possibly short life ahead of her until she makes some serious changes.

When have you done a good deed for someone and wondered about the outcome?

Internet Friends

I’ve been thinking about friends lately. As a freelance writer and author, I’ve done a lot of networking online as well as meeting people at conferences, book signings, and out in public during daily life. Some of those people I now consider to be friends, even though often times we first met online and interact primarily online.

In the past ten years or so, the internet has become one of the primary sources, if not the primary source of communication/entertainment/socializing (social media!) for the majority of people. That got me to thinking about the difference between so-called internet friends vs. traditional friends–those we have met in person the first time and developed a relationship with over time based on face-to-face interaction.

At a recent Blevins book club meeting I attended (my first!), the nine other people there all started as internet friends because of our love for TLGMS. When the show ended, Dale started a blog to keep all his fans connected. We’ve taken turns posting blogs (some much more than others. I am a laggard in that category.) The discussions can get quite lengthy. Over the years, we’ve gotten to know each other well enough to feel like we’re friends, even though some of us have never met. (Of course, most of you know this, just putting it in for newcomers).

Until that book club session, I had only met two of the blog regulars in person. Those two, Verily Sherrilee and Tim, were kind enough to come to my book launch celebration last spring. But the others were new faces. Even so, I felt as if we were all comfortable together, as friends should be.

So my question is: What is the difference, if any, between your “physical friends” and your “cyber friends?” Or is a friend always a friend, no matter how you met and the means by which you communicate?

Gathering for Winter

Today’s post comes from littlejailbird.

Fifty years ago, an author/illustrator named Leo Lionni had a picture book published, titled Frederick. A field mouse,  Frederick is part of a family who is preparing for winter. Everyone gathers corn and nuts and wheat and straw – that is, everyone except Frederick. Frederick prepares for winter in a different way. He gathers three things for winter: sun rays, words, and colors.

I live on a city street that seems especially bleak in the winter. Most of the houses are shades of tan,beige, or gray. Snow is pretty, but a few days after it falls, it is an ugly gray, getting darker as the winter wears on, until it is charcoal-colored. Most of the boulevard trees are oak trees and the leaves that cling to the branches are a dull brown.

It is then that I wish for the third thing that Frederick gathered for winter: Color.

While the other mice are working at storing up food for the winter, Frederick stares at the meadow. When the other mice inquire what he is doing, he replies that he is gathering colors because winter is gray.

One day last November, I was already feeling the lack of color. It was a gray day after many gray days and I went in search of color and patterns outside. I found what I was looking for and I am trying to keep those colors stored up inside me for when I especially need them.

Do you do anything to make winter a happy season?

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