Category Archives: work

Bah…..

This is hard to write, but I’m thinking my troop of baboon friends can help me out.

I am not a Christian, but I love Christmas. I can massage almost every Christmas tradition into something meaningful for my Yuletide/Solstice beliefs.  I love the feeling of hope and redemption that comes with the season.  I love having a tree filled with lights and ornaments, I love making gifts for my friends and loved ones.  I love baking holiday cookies, I love cookie exchanges.  I love getting cards and reading people’s newsletters.  I love holiday movies (although I will admit I like older stuff better than current films) and I love holiday music.

For decades I have listened to my holiday CDs at the office during December. For many years I played them using my computer but these days I have a little teeny radio/CD player.  I tend to the more traditional music; Mommy Kissing Santa Clause and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer aren’t in my collection.

This past week I began to bring in my CDs and (as always) I said to all the folks who sit around me that if the music bothered them to let me know. In fact, just this morning, two of the folks who sit on either side of me chimed in on what to play next.  So it was shocking to me when my boss emailed me in the early afternoon that someone had come to her and complained about the music.

I’m broken hearted. Not because I have to use headphones or ear buds to listen to my music.  I’m broken hearted because someone who sits nears me, someone who has worked besides me for YEARS (we haven’t changed seating arrangements in about 4 years) thought it was better to complain to our boss than to stop by my cube and say “Hey, I’m having a bunch of calls today, can you turn your Christmas stuff down?” or “I’m having a really stressful day and your music is distracting – do you have ear buds?”  It’s completely disheartening to think that anybody who knows me even remotely would be able to imagine me getting pissed off about something like that.

I feel like a balloon that’s been stuck with a sharp pin – deflated and completely spiritless. I know it’s just one person, but I’m having trouble shaking my doldrums.  Nonny is coming next week and I have a serious list but right now I don’t feel like doing anything but sitting here feeling sorry for myself. I’m not even in the mood to go downstairs and make hot chocolate.

How would you cheer up an unwilling Scrooge?

Phishing

The deadline for renewing our State psychology licenses looms large this week. Husband and I sent in all our papers and fees for renewal a couple of weeks ago.  Imagine Husband’s surprise yesterday when he received two  notifications from “Google ” telling him that he had better renew his license immediately, along with a link to do so.

I am happy to report that Husband didn’t fall for this apparent phishing attempt.  He had already received confirmation from  our Psychology Board office that everything was in order, and that any communication from the Board was directly from the Board, not from Google.  I contacted the Board office to report this scam attempt.

It amazes me how clever scammers are. It also surprises me how easy it is to fool people. Our State Government IT office sends State employees fake emails at work to try to teach us to spot suspicious communications, and a special button to click to report an email as either fake or suspicious.  It is pretty easy to spot them, I think.  Our agency IT guy told me, though, that 50% of the fake emails are actually opened by staff who don’t suspect a thing or are too trusting.  That is a big concern given how devastating it would be to have our system, with all our clients’ confidential information hacked or compromised.

I hope none of my fellow psychologists are duped by these phishers.  It is an anxious time around the renewal period, and anxiety makes it hard to be wise sometimes.

What are your experiences with scammers or hackers?  How do you keep yourself safe?

Confusion

I have mentioned before that I serve on a regulatory board that ensures that the members of a certain profession practice ethically and are appropriately licensed.   My job on the board is to approve continuing education requests. The licensees need a certain number of continuing education hours every two years to  keep their licenses to practice. Trainings have to meet certain requirements for  content and presenter qualification. I am the one who has to make recommendations to the entire board whether such requests are approved.

We have reached the month of license renewal , and I am amazed how slapdash some of the licensees are in submitting their continuing education requests for approval.  Some wait until the last minute before submitting the requests, blissfully unaware that they have missed the deadline for final Board approval.  Others send in approval requests with insufficient detail of their trainings,  and then don’t respond to my entreaties for more information.

It amazes me that the quite well-educated people who we license don’t pay attention to important details that, if ignored, could mean the loss of their licence to practice, or a else hefty fine for all the bother they have caused the Board.  Who acts like this?  Perhaps I am naive, but really, this make no sense!

When have you been flabbergasted?

 

 

Day Brightener

I have been hit pretty hard at work with all manner of things to deal with since I returned from a week off.  It makes me think I should never take time off, since the pay back is heavy when I return.

Today I received a delightful and refreshing phone call from out of the blue, one that brightened my day.  It was from a friend I don’t get to see much.  She is a lovely person, although a little addled at times.  She  is often out of town teaching music at some small outpost of the North Dakota plains.  Between teaching jobs she lives with her extremely difficult mother, an elderly woman in her 80’s who still substitute teaches at the high school and is probably the meanest, toughest, teacher around.  Her mother is  the leader of the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union, although she must be slowing down since I haven’t seen many letters to the editor from her lately regarding the evils of alcohol. She has a very interesting perspective on life.

My friend phoned me to ask if  I would come over to advise them on how to prepare their raspberry patch for Winter. I said I could tell her over the phone, but she said her mother wouldn’t believe anything she relayed to her unless she heard it right from me in person.  We made a date for tomorrow. I can hardly wait.  It will be an amusing end to a very long week.

What or who helps make your day?

Good Teaching

Husband and I have returned home from the Association for Play Therapy International Conference in Minneapolis, heavy laden with books,  therapeutic activities and games, puppets, sand tray miniatures, and Mindfulness card decks for ourselves and our daughter.  I got a great devil puppet, and Husband insisted that I needed a  pelican puppet, even though he couldn’t articulate why he thought that. I also got a wonderful toy farm, since I was unhappy with my current playroom farm.

Although the first presenter we heard was somewhat disappointing,  the presenters on the following days were quite wonderful.  They really great teachers, which means, to me, that they did more than just present the material.  They incorporated personal experience, humor, and theory, and communicated it in a manner that was forthright and understandable.

Good teachers are as rare as hens’ teeth  and as precious as rubies. I have been blessed with really good teachers in my life.

What do you think makes for a good teacher? Who have been your best teachers? What are you good at teaching?

 

Juggling

Today’s post is from Barbara in Rivertown

I just made a list of activities for the next several days, and made a copy in case I lose track of it. We are preparing our friend – I’ll call him Will – to move from a 3-bedroom house (with full basement and 2-story studio out back) to a 1-bedroom apartment in downtown Winona. He has Parkinson’s disease which has progressed over the past year, so there is a core group of six friends who are helping with this project, and a son arriving on Saturday.

Having just moved ourselves over a year ago, we’ve at least had practice, and remember (most of) what needs to be done. Of course there are differences, and a few wrinkles, like a bed delivery, in addition to the usual phone connection transfers and truck rental. Since Will is pretty slow moving, there is still a lot of sorting to do before stuff can be packed. And once he’s in, we need to seriously get going on house selling. It feels like we are juggling a lot of balls in the air, and I just hope I don’t drop one.  I used to be able to juggle three balls, wonder if I can still do that.

When have you had a lot to juggle, either figuratively or literally?

Promises, Promises

Husband and I are in Minneapolis attending the Association for Play Therapy annual conference.  It is a very well attended conference with typically wonderful workshops. This week we will attend 25 hours of lectures related to all aspects of play therapy, and browse the terrific vendors of  therapeutic toys and supplies.

Today we sat through 6 hours of a lecture that was quite disappointing, and not at all what was represented in the conference prospectus.  The presenter had a very ambitious agenda, and was very knowledgeable,  but wasn’t feeling well, and got off track and was distracted by questions from the audience. There were five objectives listed, and only the first two were addressed by the end of the day.  Husband and I were drawing funny cartoons for each other  by the end of the presentation.

I have higher hopes for tomorrow.  My workshops go from  8:00 am until 6:30pm. Husband gets off easier,  and only goes from Noon until 6:30pm.  I hope we won’t be misled like we were today.

When have you been disappointed by false advertising?