Category Archives: work


Our Microsoft Outlook went wonky last week, and wouldn’t send any emails, telling me that all our messages were rejected because of abusive behavior on our part.  This happened once before, and the tech guy who fixes our computer had to push some unknown button to correct the issue so that Outlook communicated with our internet provider.  When it happened again last week, I took a chance and just restarted the computer. It did a few upgrades and, voila, our emails were delivered.

I needed a reboot after a stressful late winter and early spring at work and with my regulatory board. Our travels kept me from rebooting in the way that is the best for me, which is pulling weeds and planting new plants and seeds. I finally got to do it last weekend, and, despite developing that weird eye virus, it greatly helped my spirit and made me very happy. It is hard for me to focus on work problems when I am weeding and laying down soaker hoses. It is good for me to worry about cut worms instead of paperwork deadlines. This year we only planted 21 perennials, a record low for us, but our garden beds are really shaping up. I can breathe deep and relax just looking out the windows.

How do you recharge and reboot? Any wonky computer issues vexing you?

Mashing It Up

When I am over my head at work, making lunch in the morning is not something I want to spend a lot of time on.  That’s why I try to cook on the weekends, so that there are leftovers that can be quickly scooped into containers for lunch.  Yesterday morning there wasn’t much to choose from but there were four different take-out containers from last week, each with a bit left: Vegetable Fried Rice, Sticky White Rice, Broccoli in Garlic Sauce, Egg Foo Yung.  I dumped all of them into one container, mostly thinking it was the best I could do and resigning myself to a lunch that would be mediocre at best.

But it was great.  I stirred it all together, warmed it up in the microwave and it was a big comfort at lunchtime.  Not quite macaroni & cheese, or pizza, but close!

Do you have a surprising mash-up in your life?

Time to Slow Down

Last Wednesday I  began to feel somewhat tired with a sore throat. I hadn’t been sick all winter, and  knew that I was due for something. I see a lot of children, all who lately seemed to be dripping, sneezing, or coughing over me and my office.  My work schedule had been grueling and there had been multiple special meetings of my regulatory board due to vexing issues.  I went home early on Wednesday, tried to pace myself at work on Thursday and Friday, and then got hit with the full effects of a nasty respiratory virus on Saturday. I was home all day from work on Monday.  I made it to work on Tuesday, but just barely.  Every day I woke up and thought “Well, it should be getting better now”, and it seemed to be worse instead of letting up. I have been doing nothing except playing solitaire and napping since Saturday.

I so very rarely get sick that I view episodes like the one I am dealing with now to be a sign from the universe that I need to take better care of myself.  To that end I decided that I am not taking my laptop with me to Los Angeles this week. I usually travel with it just in case I have to do some work for my regulatory board. I figure the world of regulation will do just fine without me for four days. I will not check my work email while I am gone, either.  My coworkers will do just fine without me until I get back. It is time to slow down,

What are signs to you that you need to slow down? How do you “do” self care?


I baked 11 dozen sweet rolls for an Easter fundraiser at church to raise money to send our bell choir to New York in November.  The rolls were either cinnamon, raspberry, or blueberry filled, and were lavishly iced. I had 3 dozen left at the end of the day, and brought them home and made them into rusks. That involved cutting them in half, brushing them with melted butter, and baking them at 275 until they were crispy/chewy. They store really well.

I brought a bag of rusks to work on Tuesday. My coworkers  thought they were delicious,  but only one  had ever eaten anything like them before and knew what rusks were.

This puzzled me greatly, since I assumed that everyone would know rusks. I grew up with Zwieback and Dutch rusks.  Dutch rusks came in round packages with windmills on the paper covers, and my grandparents would pour broth on them to soften them up.  My coworkers are of German Russian and Czech heritage, and many of them grew up on farms, and I thought they would be familiar with a fine way to extend to life of stale bread.  The only one who knew rusks was a coworker of Danish heritage.  She said her grandmother used to butter stale bread and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar and bake it. She didn’t know they were called rusks.

You would have thought I had brought in the most exotic pastry imaginable. I looked up rusks on the internet, and found that there are examples of twice-baked bread from the Philippines to Greece. I think that it was used extensively to extend the shelf life of bread on sea voyages. There are loads of rusk recipes in the Nordic Baking Book my son and dil gave me for Christmas. Perhaps rusks are more common the closer you live to the Baltic or North Seas. In any event, they demand more rusks at work.

What family or ethnic foods do you have a hard time explaining to other people? 

Happy Birthday!

Daughter’s birthday was last week, and she reports that it was the best birthday ever. She finished her last graduate school class and  she was given an award at her agency for her good work. Both our children become unusually disorganized around the times of their birthdays. Too much anticipation, I guess, although we never made their birthdays into productions. I was glad daughter kept it together and had a great day.

Today is William Shakespeare’s  purported birthday.  April 23rd is also the same day he died 52 years later. It is certainly not the way I should choose to spend my birthday.

What is your favorite Shakespeare play or scene. Which is your least favorite? What was your best birthday? What was your worst?


Saying “No”

I have a hard time saying “no, I can’t do that”.  I tell the intake people at my work that my schedule is too full to take on new clients, and then I get a phone call from our county social services that they have five children who need therapy, and I am the only one in the area who sees children as young as the ones they are referring, and guess what? I have five new appointments for next week. People at work just laugh at me when I tell them I am going to put my foot down and not take any new clients. I have no one to blame but myself.

Is it hard for you say “no”?  How do you manage to do it if you are able?  What is hard for you to communicate to others?  What is your favorite scene or song from Rogers and Hammerstein?


Seymour’s Desk

Anyone who looks at my desk at work or at home would be correct in thinking that I don’t like to file and organize my papers.   I only do so under duress, or when I want to make a good impression on a new client or house guest. I am proud to say that no matter how messy my desks look, I know where everything is.  I lose things when I tidy up. Husband tries to keep his things filed and organized, and invariably can’t find things when he looks for them.

The other day I  looked at the pile of papers on my home office desk and realized that it resembled the piles of papers I saw on the desk of one of my favorite graduate school professors.  Seymour was a prodigious pack rat, and threw piles of papers on his desk until he couldn’t see over them.  (He was an incredibly short man, so the pile didn’t have to be too high to obscure his vision.)  I was always amazed when I went to his office and asked for a paper I had written for one of his classes the previous semester, and how he knew exactly what layer the paper was at, and that he could retrieve it from the pile without knocking all the other papers over.

Seymour was a wonderful psychologist and a very funny man.  He spoke in a thick Bronx accent and a slight lisp.   Once he got flustered in court and referred to a Canadian judge of Queen’s Bench  as “Your Majesty” when giving expert testimony.   I believe he is still alive, in his late 80’s or 90’s.  I wonder how high the paper pile  on his is desk now?

What is your organizational style?