Category Archives: holidays

Keeping Them Happy

I used to be part of a psychology department  at my agency with four other psychologists. We had our own secretary who scheduled our appointments, administered the paper and pencil tests to our clients, scored our tests, and typed our reports.

I am now the only full time psychologist at our agency.   We lost our secretary position, and my departmental support staff duties have been divvied up between the remaining support staff.  I rely on one person to schedule my evaluations, one to type my letters, one to score my tests,  and two others who take turns typing my evaluations. I administer all my own tests now.  They all do a great job and I am grateful for each one.

It is Administrative Assistants Day on April 25.  That means that I need to do something special for all five of the people who take such good care of me. If there is one thing I have learned in the nineteen years I have worked at my agency, it is that it is really important to keep the support staff happy and let them know how much they are appreciated.  They work hard and keep things going.  I complained to our assistant regional director that it really isn’t fair that I have so many administrative assistants  to keep happy when some people only have one. She just laughed at me. I have decided to bake four kinds of shortbread for them.  Husband decided that he had people on the reservation to thank for the administrative work they do for him, so he decided it would be just the thing if I made a chocolate cheesecake that he could take up with him, along with any of the shortbread that I don’t bring to work.  It is a good thing I like to bake.  I know he appreciates it.

How do you show people you appreciate them? How have people let you know they appreciate you?  When haven’t you been appreciated?


Checking Things Out

We are in Savannah now. The weather is sunny and in the 70′ and 80’s. I am stuck in meetings all day, so husband spent our first day exploring the historic area of Savannah by himself. He took a trolley ride that took him all over the city with a tour guide who explained the sights and scenes. Then he explored a little on his own. I like guided tours. I know some people like to explore on their own. There is sure a lot to see here.

How do you like to get to know a place?  Any memorable guides who you have encountered 

Faux Sacrifice

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown.

A few weeks ago I was laughing out loud at the following exchange on The Trail:



March 10, 2018 at 10:49 am

Another funny moment in my “annals of kindness” I often leave a loaf of bread hanging on the door of our next door neighbor when she comes home from teaching music all day. I left a loaf Thursday. I just found a note telling me very tactfully that she has given up bread for Lent. 🙂


March 10, 2018 at 12:41 pm

Guess she doesn’t want your wonderful bread to go to waste.


March 10, 2018 at 2:28 pm

If I was your neighbor, I would never give up bread for Lent.

Of course, I’ve never given up anything for Lent, but if I did, I would give up something like liver or blue cheese.


March 10, 2018 at 2:46 pm

Tut, tut, ljb, it’s supposed to be a sacrifice.


March 10, 2018 at 4:25 pm

how did you guess that it wasn’t?


March 11, 2018 at 9:56 am

Just a hunch.


Although Lent has already come and gone, if you were going to give up something for Lent that was a true sacrifice, what would it be (knowing that it was just for a few weeks)?

What would be your faux sacrifice alternative, like ljb’s liver or blue cheese?

As Easy as Pie…

For many years my company was closed on Good Friday. Five years ago they made the decision to be open on Good Friday but they didn’t want us to feel like we were being gypped out of a holiday so they gave us each a “floating holiday”.  I use my floating holiday every year on Pi Day, March 14 (3.14….).  I refer to it as my geek holiday.

This year’s menu:

Dutch Apple Pie
Key Lime Pie
Amish Sawdust Pie
Chocolate Whoopie Pies
Crack Pie
Tangerine Raspberry Pie
Blueberry Pie
Carrot Cake Whoopie Pie
3 Musketeers Pie
Buttermilk Pie
Banofee Pie
Peaches & Cream Pie

It was a stretch to have all these pies on the menu but I couldn’t decide what to cut so I decided to go for it. I always start with the hardest, putzy-est recipes and this year it had me a little panicked at 10:30 when I had a HUGE mess and not much to show for it yet.

But I did get it together… phew!

When have you bitten off more than you could chew?

Blowing Things Up

I commented a few days ago that my cousins and I liked explosives when we were children, and  used homemade beer can cannons and fireworks to lob things at younger relatives.  (We were thoughtful, though, and  gave them helmets to wear.) July 4 was a big holiday in my family. Most of my cousins are boys, and they started to collect firecrackers and other fireworks as soon as they could, saving their money for the purpose for months. It was handy that we were so close to the South Dakota border and had easy access to firework stands.  I still really love fireworks, but I don’t shoot them at people any more.

I don’t  know what has got into me, but for the past few weeks one of the first things I do when I get home from work it to put a recording of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture on really loud, and wait with gleeful anticipation for the cannons at the end of the piece.  I love those cannons.  I wish I could be the person in the orchestra to set them off.  My recording is by the Kirov Orchestra conducted by  Valery Gergiev.  The liner notes say that members of the Royal Dutch Marine Band also performed, and I assume they shot off the cannons and artillery.  What a great job to have!

What music would best reflect the state of your life right now? What music helps you cope?



Today is Shrove Tuesday, when all our sins are forgiven, and when we need to eat pancakes and all the cream  before Lent. Husband and I celebrated early and had Norwegian waffles on Saturday.  Shrove  is the past tense of shrive, which means to confess one’s sins, repent, and be forgiven and absolved. Pancakes are powerful. Germans eat pastries called Fastnachts for the same effect.

We visited Montreal several summers and stayed in the Old Port. There we purchased carnival masks made in Venice in a lovely book store near the Notre Dame  cathedral.  We tried to find Renaissance Commedia dell’arte masks instead of the  fantastical masks you can find in more commercial venues.  We managed to get a zanni mask. A zanni is a servant who sometimes has a long  nose. The longer his nose, the more ignorant he is. The mask reminds me of a plague mask. His name is the derivation of our English word “zany”.

A couple of Harlequin (Arlechinno) masks. He is another zanni, but with a shorter nose. He is a somewhat clever servant character:


And two Columbine (Columbina) masks.  She is Harlequin’s love interest and a very perky, very clever servant.


Our local Catholic School district has  a major fund raiser they call Mardi Gras every year in February. It involves games, entertainment, and lots of good food. It is open to the community and region.  People are most unhappy since the new bishop in Bismarck decided a couple of years ago that all the money raised had to be sent to the diocese, and he would decide how much of the money should get sent back to the local Catholic schools and how much would be used for diocesan expenses.  Sounds like a perfect Commedia plot.  I am sure the clever servants would get all the money back, further any thwarted love interests, and show the bishop to be a fool.

What does the word carnival mean to you?  What is the appeal wearing a mask? What kind of mask would you like to wear?

Fond Memories

The Child I wrote about in “Child-Proofing” in December has come and gone (almost two weeks ago by now). Our schedule pretty much revolved around hers for 4 ½ days. We read stories, ate together, watched short videos my sister (her grandma) had brought, and she played with misc. items when sitting in the booster seat at the table, which was one of her favorite places – it was like her “office”. We got out the rhythm instruments and found she loved dancing to a good beat.

We tried to get things done while her daddy put her down for naps. She pretty much respected the boundaries I’d created (cloth hiding shelves, etc.), and we showed her which cupboards had the pans she could play with, and where “her” corner was, complete with a doll napping in a crate-bed – modeling behavior we hoped to see! She spent quite a lot of time at the kitchen sink “washing” dishes.

Unfortunately it was quite cold the entire time, so we didn’t do much outdoors. We bundled up for outings to visit Great-grandma Hope every day, and went out to eat once.

Although I am mostly relieved to have my life and my house back, I kind of miss the little tyke. But am glad we have some photos to show my mom, to jog her memory about who was here and why.

What’s your fondest memory of someone who has visited you?