Category Archives: work

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?

Making Predictions

I was happy to wake up on September 24 and find that the world hadn’t ended as David Meade, biblical numerologist, had predicted. I believe he recalculated after he found things were still the same on the 24th as they were on the 23rd, and predicted another date for our demise  on  October 15th.  The rogue planet Nibiru, violating all physics principles, is predicted to collide with earth and set in motion all sorts of rannygazoo.   We shall have to see what happens. I believe that is the date of  Blevin’s book club.  At least you will all be together.

It isn’t easy to make accurate predictions.  Our world is so random that people search for certainty and cling to the idea that we can make sense of the universe. Consider poor Harold Camping,  the evangelist and radio host who made multiple predictions of the Earth’s end in 2011,  and who finally admitted in 2012 that he was sinful for even trying to make such predictions, falling back on Matthew 24:36 “of that day and hour knoweth no man”.

I am often asked as part of my work to make predictions regarding human behavior.  Psychologists have a myriad of tests and ways of making such predictions, but it is never completely 100% accurate. I know that people who score certain ways on tests of cognition and memory probably have dementia.  I know that people who score in certain ways on tests of emotions and personality probably have certain  mental health diagnoses.  I feel pretty certain predicting that parents with drug and alcohol use disorders  who previously neglected and abused their children will probably do the same thing if they continue to abuse substances.   I can  predict, however, with almost 100%  certainty, that if people are allowed to purchase machine guns, those guns will fired off.  That is probably the easiest thing to predict, and you don’t need an advanced graduate degree to do so.

When have you been able to say “I told you so”?

Music To Cook By

VS’s story about making pesto reminded me of the pesto fests that Husband and I had this month as we harvested the too large basil crop  in the garden.  Husband took the leaves off the stems, which I find to be the most tedious of chores, and I whirred up the ingredients in the food processor.  We ended up with 54 jars.

Husband has gout in one of his feet, and  he needs to shift his weight from one foot to the next pretty regularly if he has to stand for any length of time.  I figure that he stripped about 110 cups of basil leaves off the stems this year over three pesto making extravaganzas.  That meant a lot of standing at the sink. He said it would be easier for him if he had some music to listen to and shift his weight to as he took care of the basil.  He thought that Celtic music would be good for the purpose.  One evening we tried something by Clannad, but that was too dreamy and new age.  We finally settled on a disc by Danu, a group we heard once at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. He shifted and danced his way through the basil stems, and it wasn’t too tedious for him at all.

I listen to music as I do paper work for my job. I typically choose classical music for work.  We have music on most of the time at our house, and choose music accordingly for what we need to get done.

What music helps you work?