Category Archives: Business

I Saved The Day

Saturday was blustery and rainy here, a good day to stay home and clean and cook. I made some Tuscan white bean and chard soup, and Husband made goat leg in the tagine.

We stream MPR classical when we are home. About 3:00 the music went silent. We had lost wifi and the Internet, and our land line phone went dead. I waited about 20 minutes for it to go back on, and then phoned the local phone company that provides our cable, land line, and Internet. First I talked with an Internet guy who transferred me to a phone woman. I guess phone service takes priority over Internet service and he thought I would get better results talking to the phone person. She had me unplug and then restart the modem that controls all the services, but that didn’t help. She then transferred me to a very nice man named Leonard, who said we probably needed a new modem, and that he would get in his truck and come right over to replace it.

All the support folks I spoke with said there were no reports of service interruptions in my neighborhood. We waited for Leonard for more than an hour when he finally phoned and said that something on top of a utility pole at the end of our street had melted, and that he and another guy were fixing it. All their custmers in our neighborhood had lost their service and I was the only one who phoned to report it. Husband took the dog for a walk and saw Leonard and his coworker up the pole fixing whatever it was that melted. By 6:30, everything was working again.

I am waiting for the neighbors to hold a parade in my honor for saving the day. I also am impressed with the local phone company for sending out service technicians on rainy Saturday afternoons.

What are some positive and/or interesting customer service experiences you have had? Have you ever saved the day?

House of the Rising Sun

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

I heard the song the House of the rising Sun on the radio the other day. Why is that song so cool, so iconic? I know it’s about avoiding a life gone wrong, but it’s so fun. I love that guitar opening, the organ, the rhythms, and the harmonies. And there are so many bad covers of it. (Dolly Parton? Really? Really. Her version is barely recognizable.)

A busy week again. I did finally get concrete in my shed. It’s going to be awesome. We thought it would be last Thursday. Thursday turned into Friday turned into Monday turned into Tuesday and finally Wednesday before concrete actually showed up, but I have cement! Thursday they checked it out, Friday they excavated all the dirt. Monday rock was delivered and they moved that inside and packed it and put rebar in place. Nothing on Tuesday and then concrete delivered on Wednesday. Two trucks, 18.5 yards. Thursday they came back and took the forms off and backfilled the dirt. And Friday, yesterday, they plan to cut the lines in it. I shouldn’t drive a tractor on it for at least two weeks while it fully cures. Concrete is a fascinating material. Magnesium trowels smooth it out, but steel trowels bring the paste to the top. I don’t understand why that is. They had to go rent a power trowel and they bought a soft cut saw. They have a lot of this equipment, it’s just down in Florida, where the boss is starting a second branch. Business is good in the Concrete world. 

Barn swallows came back on May 2. The sandhill cranes have been around again. The pheasant is still strutting his stuff. All of those things remind me of Steve.

And unfortunately, the coyotes are back too. Bailey had a good eye out early one morning, and Kelly got a shot at one of them. Surprising, the coyotes ran a half a mile away, and made a second attempt. I fired again just to scare them off, too far away to think I could actually hit one. The dogs spent quite a while following the scent. The next day, the dogs chased them away again before they got so close and they haven’t come back since then. Yet. Good dogs, good dogs. Extra treats for you.

Kelly got a sore throat last Tuesday which turned into Covid by Thursday. A few days later I got a sore throat, but I’m still testing negative and other than a runny nose and cough, I’m doing OK. Thankfully. I have things to do. And I’m starting to get a complex. Back in 2019 I got through commencement and then I got cellulitis on my leg and spent a week in the hospital and wasn’t allowed to get in the tractor for a month. And then, of course, last year and everything. I’m starting to think it is commencement that messes me up. I didn’t have any issues in 2020 or 2021 when we didn’t have commencement ceremonies or any of this spring business. 

I put the outdoor faucet back on the well house and hooked up the hoses so it’s a little easier watering the chickens. This week at the college was the concert, just the one on Thursday night. Because band rehearsal is Monday and Wednesday and choir rehearsal is Tuesday and Thursday, I never see a full rehearsal of both groups so I have to make up a lot of stuff as I’m going. It’s just the way it is. Educated guesses are helpful. This is nothing new…it’s been the norm for a few years. But at least I don’t go to my office after the show and pout anymore. Or come home and drink.

Next week Monday and Tuesday is set up for commencement. Wednesday morning is l nurse pinning ceremony on the commencement stage, and that evening is the regular college commencement. It all comes down Wednesday night and Thursday I’ll see what else I can find to do. Takes me a few days to get everything put away at the college theater.

Haven’t had any ducks now for a while, even the two males that I had flew away I think. Chickens seem to be doing OK but they have started hiding eggs in random places so my daily collection is down. I have to check all the corners and dark places to see if there are eggs hiding in random places.

Still have seven guineas. Baby chicks will arrive June 1.

The oats finally started to appear on Wednesday when the temps got up to 60°. Finally getting that green haze that makes me so excited. Whew. Sure is nice to see it growing and know I didn’t screw it up. 

Got the snow fence down one day. It was kinda fun; between my knee and shoulder, the snow fence has been a pain. Literally. 

Watching corn prices, it’s been over $6 / bushel since last fall, and usually drops in the spring as this year’s crop acres are predicted. I had 2000 bushels in storage from last fall. I sold that this week; missed the highest price, but it’s sure better than when corn was $3 / bushel. Predictions for this year’s crops are 91.99 million acres of corn and 87.51 million acres of and the “experts” say they’re not worried about the late spring in the northern states.

I see a few people cutting grass. That’s coming next. 

I’ve done some fieldwork with my tractor buddy Bailey, and I’ve got the planter ready to go.

The co-op spread corn fertilizer late Thursday so I can start planting corn if the weather cooperates on Friday. Between my three meetings and a show Friday night.



Reading for Relaxation

I’m having a very busy week with both my programs running (one today, one tomorrow); several trips to the office have been required, including most of today at the warehouse and all of tomorrow at the warehouse.  This is stressing me out. 

To keep myself somewhat balanced I’m trying to keep up with my reading; reading is my #1 de-stressor.  Currently I’m reading Boys in the Boat (actually listening on CD and hoping I actually finish by Blevins), a biography of Shirley Jackson, The Dark Queens about Brunhilde and Fredegund in the 6th century, finally got started on John Dyer’s Illusion of Gravity (John is an occasional baboon) and then Wolverine’s Daughter by Doranna Durgin that I picked up for $2.50 in a bookstore in Nashville last October.  A nice mix of genres so that at any given minute I can pick up something that seems the best of soothe me.

As you can see from the photo, Nimue likes to help me read, especially if I’m sitting on my bed when I read!

What are you reading this week?

Let’s have a Party

One of my coworkers, after leaving our agency as a secretary, decided to start selling Tupperware. I am a little concerned about her, as I see that Tupperware is probably going bankrupt.

I have had several coworkers who discovered things they liked at various parties specific to selling a certain product, and decided to become sellers themselves just to get the things at a discount. I have been to Longaberger Basket parties and Pampered Chef parties put on by coworkers. I bought a few things, but it wasn’t long before my friends stopped selling these things. I was really surprised to find out this week that a fellow psychologist at another State agency sells Pampered Chef products. She is very subtle about it.

I think there are still Avon representatives in our area. I see that Avon had worldwide sales of $9.1 billion in 2020. My father sold vitamins for a while after he wanted to get the large amounts of Vitamin E he took at wholesale prices. He was convinced Vitamin E kept him from needing cardiac bypass surgery when he was in his late 40’s. He eventually needed the surgery in his 70’s, but still kept selling vitamins.

Know anyone who sold Tupperware or Avon? What sales parties have you attended? Do you take vitamins or dietary supplements?


This is another tidbit of news from the Rock County Star Herald, the weekly newspaper from Luverne, MN.

After considerable discussion, angst, and protest, Luverne’s Board of Appeals and Adjustments approved the variance request for a 73-foot-tall nutcracker on South Highway 75.

The nutcracker motif is an attempt by a faction of some of the more forward thinkers at the Chamber of Commerce and supporters of the very elderly woman in charge of the Rock County Historical Society to capitalize on her donation to the museum of thousands of nutcrackers she used to keep in her home. She taught with my mother, so I am sure she is in her late 90’s.

The city wants a way to allure people to town to look at the nutcracker collection and spend money and move to Luverne. I suppose nutcrackers are interesting to some people. Hard to say how appealing this will be. It has been quite a city controversy.

What mascot or symbol would you like erect outside your town? What have been interesting controversies in your community?

Life Lesson Learned

Last year when I retired, I made an online calendar to count down the last 30 days.  I did it online because I didn’t want to hurt my boss’ feelings.

When she called me in January to ask if I would handle two special projects, I was hesitant but eventually figured it would be a nice favor to do her and that extra money never hurts.  I had several stipulations that I hoped would make the projects easier:  100% work from home, no set schedule, no meetings except the few needed for my specific projects, no training.

Since I only work when there is something to do, my hours have been variable.  Early on, I was just working 3-4 hours a week.  The last six weeks, it’s been around 20 hours a week.  The first week of May will likely be around 40. 

As you can see from the photo above, I’ve made another calendar to count the days.

My appreciate of corporate America has not increased since last summer.  Still too many buzz words (collaboration, pivot, synergy, core competency, subject matter expert).  Still too much inter-department conflict.  Still clients who completely ignore timelines and 30+ years of advice. 

The biggest issue although is my feeling that I just don’t want to be tied to work any longer.  Not that I have massive numbers of other things to do; I just want to be free to do what I want when I want… even if it’s reading all day while playing online solitaire.

Someone asked me over the weekend if I wouldn’t be susceptible to more requests from my boss in the future – if I would feel guilty if she was struggling to get everything assigned.   I’ve thought about it and realized that no, this has been a lesson learned.  I don’t want to do this anymore.  In addition, I worked for this woman for 32 years and she has never gotten anyone from outside the organization to come back to do special projects; she has 32 years of experience working this stuff out.  If I say “no” in the future, I’m sure she can work it out without me. 

So, I’m counting down.  I included the weekends because I will be working on Saturday, May 6.  It’s the final event of the two projects and except for a few hours of wrapping up the accounting, which will probably be in June, it will be the end of my work.  I can’t wait!

When was the last time you were counting the days?  Have you ever actually made a countdown calendar?

It’s a Sign!

When I was in my junior year of college, I lived on the fourth floor of one of the original buildings.  Only two rooms (both triples) and no elevator.  I shared with two other women who had, like I had, lived in a single room our sophomore years.  Knowing we would probably get low numbers in the room choice lottery after having singles, we banded together to get a better room than if we struck out alone.

The other room on our floor was also a triple with 3 seniors.  They weren’t around all that much and we didn’t really socialize with them.  So we were surprised when they lugged a full sized Mobil Gas Pegasus sign up the steps and installed it in the hallway between the two rooms.  We spent the rest of the year explaining it to anyone brave enough to come up to the fourth floor!  Personally I never understood the appeal.

I moved to my current house about 30 years ago – about three blocks from the old Boulevard Theatre.  As the years went by, it deteriorated until it just couldn’t afford to stay open.  People were outrated and actually picketed in front of the theatre with it’s huge iconic sign.  Eventually the owners agreed to keep the sign although the theatre was no more.  It is still there, looking rattier and tattier by the year.

And now more signage in my neighborhood is in the news.  The Aqua City Motel and Metro Inn, a little farther down on Lyndale have their iconic signage up for sale.  Both properties actually belong to Hennepin County these days, having been purchased during pandemic when the county was using both motels for temporary housing.  Right now both properties are empty and awaiting renovation into affordable housing. 

I wasn’t crazy about the pegasus sign, I think the Boulevard sign is ridiculous looking and I can’t even imagine why anyone would want a Metro Inn or Aqua City sign but I’m sure that there is someone out there who will think they are purchasing a piece of history and will shell out way too much cash for it.  Takes all kinds.

Any iconic signs you remember from your childhood?  Have you ever acquired a sign?

Saving Time?

I struggle to get in enough exercise – I almost always have – especially in winter.  Stationary biking at the gym and swimming laps is about what I’m up for during the cold months.  Thank goodness for snow shoveling.  At this time of year (the first couple of months after New Year’s resolutions), it’s normally a bit busier at the gym so I never expect to find a close parking spot.  It’s even worse right now because of the snow in the parking lot which has been haphazardly plowed recently.

This isn’t a big deal for me.  By the time I’ve revved myself up to get to the gym, I’m usually in a “it’s some extra steps” frame of mind.  But obviously on Saturday, not everybody was in the mood to get some additional exercise getting from the car to the front door.

What do you have to talk yourself into doing?


I’ve discovered a new bakery.  Well, technically PJ discovered it for me.  And you all know how I love a good bakery.

On Saturday I dropped off some Ben eggs for PJ (Ben to tim to me to PJ… roundabout) as well as an immersion blender from Bill.  I love how we built a little community on the trail – that’s a blog for another day.

Anyway, PJ and I talked about the great Mexican food that I had in Tucson and she mentioned that there is a great Mexican panaderia close to her.  As I was leaving, she gave me directions and I headed toward it; I found it easily – Don Panchos Bakery on Cesar Chavez.  The customer area wasn’t too big but had huge displays on each side filled with an amazing array of goodies.  Donuts, cookies, cakes, breads and lots and lots of pastries.  Even flan. 

I picked out a couple of conchas, which I adore and then when I turned around to the other case, I saw “besos”.  It’s two cakes held together by sweet custard and I’ve only encountered them a couple of times during my travels.  I quickly added a couple of those to my tub.  Pricing was much lower than I expected.  In fact, when she gave me the total, I asked her if she had gotten everything.  It was all I could do to get out of there without enough pastries to open up my own shop! 

It was also all I could do to not eat all the pastries on Saturday afternoon!

Which direction do you head if you want to find a bakery?


I made a mistake over the weekend.  I accidentally clicked on a YouTube of a couple building a tiny house from the ground up.  I didn’t watch the whole thing but it was enough for cyberspace to jump on it.  This morning my YouTube feed is filled with tiny house videos.  They have not completely supplanted my usual card-making, dogs, Harry/Meghan (proverbial train wreck) videos, but there are A LOT of tiny house stuff.  Sigh.  I know that if I don’t open any more, they will eventually fade away but it’s a little irritating that cyberspace is so completely curating my online experience. 

Then yesterday I opened up YouTube on my work laptop to look for a band for a client.  The feed was nothing like my home feed and had a preponderant amount of “relaxing music” videos.  This didn’t surprise me at first because my main use of YouTube at work has always been background soothing, relaxing music.  When I started to think about it, I wondered how YouTube knew this… after all, this laptop is not the laptop I had before I retired.  And I haven’t logged onto YouTube using a work address since August.  So how did YouTube know, without my even asking, that relaxing music is likely to be what I want?  This is just a hypothetical question – I’m sure I wouldn’t understand a real answer about the algorithms used by YT, FB, etc.  But it is a little eerie and does make me wonder what my feed would look like if I searched for other random items every few days?

Do you care enough about anything to follow it in cyberspace?