Category Archives: work

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

The only South Dakota news I noticed Saturday in the Fargo Forum was an article about a woman cracking open an egg that had four yolks.  Well, it is  1 in 11,000,000,000 occurrence, but I still imagine there is a lot more going on South Dakota than that. Plus, it is such a stereotypically Midwestern, rural story.

I have become a real news junkie over the past four years, mainly out of anxiety.  I do so look forward to the future when news might become more dull.

What sort of beat would you want to cover if you were a reporter?  What print media do you like to read?

Temper, Temper

I am rather chagined to admit I had two tantrums at work this week. They involved cussing and slamming doors.  I am considered a pretty calm person at work, so the times when Dr. B,  as I am known  there,  loses her temper,  are alarming to my coworkers. I need to apologize.

There have been continuous changes at my work over the past two years in all aspects of what we do to  provide mental health services.  Covid has accelerated technological changes that were on the State back burner.  This has resulted in less than smooth rollouts of new technology.  This week, our telephones were decommissioned and replaced with a system tied to Microsoft Teams, so that we can only receive and make phone calls through our computers via head phones . The State IT department is pretty poor about communicating exactly how to set these things up.  “Just read the email and follow the instructions.”  Sometimes, that just doesn’t work! Don’t get me started on how absurd and vague were the instructions on how to set up e911  on my computer! Well, this leads to frustration, hence my tantrum. They are lucky I didn’t throw my phone through my office window.

I have had to engage in new technology to an extent I could never had imagined a year ago. I can’t wait for this all to be over.

What new technology have you used this year?  How has the pandemic changed your interface with technology? What have you done via technology or in other respects in the past ten months that you could never had dreamed of?


I received a very funny email from Talbots, the clothing company earlier this week.  I don’t buy new clothes very often.  I need to look somewhat professional (this is western ND, after all, so nothing too fancy)  but I need to be comfortable.  Working with small children makes heels and power suits impractical.  I have settled on sweaters and corduroy pants.  I also really don’t like clothes shopping, and the nearest  fairly nice stores are 300 miles away in Fargo, This means I catalogue shop.

Talbots  has always been a favorite of mine, and their clothes fit me. They also last, so I only have to get new clothes every couple of years.  I bought a few things from Talbots  this fall, and the email this week asked  if I would be on an advisory board to help them stay current with the needs of their customers.  I declined.  I don’t think I am the most suitable person for this, since I have no interest in fashion, and I  don’t  have time, but I was enormously amused.

I imagine there are very few people in my State west of the Missouri River who buy clothes from Talbots. I can imagine  a marketing person desperate to increase sales looking at the data and saying “What’s up with her? Let’s see why she buys our product line. Maybe we have a new market to focus on.”

When have you been unsuitable for a task or out of your league? What is your sense of fashion?

Proceeding Hopefully

In about three weeks,  we will be in a new month and new year.  I have never gone through such an extended period of change at work, societal upheaval,  and perpetual anxiety.  I am beginning to see some glimmers of a more  positive existence,  and have allowed myself to have some hope.

It has been a few weeks since the governor of ND issued his mask mandate, and while there are still people who go maskless, the number of people wearing masks has increased very noticeably.  It is also very interesting that the number of new, positive cases has dropped precipitously since the mask mandate was issued.  Oh, I know it will go up due to Thanksgiving  gatherings, but the trend of increased mask wearing is encouraging.

Our Tortie was near death a month ago.  Now she is thriving on a maintenance dose of steroids.

My workplace is finally settling down after our move, numerous technology changes, staff turnover, and treatment paradigm shift,  with  good administrators in charge and people getting necessary things done that were neglected for a couple of years.

I try not to wallow in political news since it keeps me awake at night, but that is starting to look more positive,  too, in terms of the changes in administrations.  I also am hopeful now that the seed catalogue are arriving in the mail.

What glimmers of hope are you seeing? What are you hopeful for in the new year?

Having a Tantrum

Well,  yesterday I had a tantrum. My agency is on provisional licensure status due to deficiencies that have already been corrected,  and now it only remains for us all to do some really annoying online  training to get the licensure people to go away.

Our regional  director sent out email  instructions for how we were to access the training, but I couldn’t access it, and it was nowhere to be found in my inbox until a very patient and helpful coworker helped me retrieve it from my spam folder. I cussed and yelled and fussed, and she just laughed at me and  patiently walked me through the process for accessing the training.  I don’t often get angry, since I tend to joke it off.  Most people are intimidated by my anger, which surprises me, since I  feel  I am rather harmless, even when I am angry.

How do people know when you are angry?  When was the last time you had a tantrum?

Doin’ the dishes

Dirty dishes have always been a contentious issue between YA and me.   She has a much higher tolerance for dishes in the sink than I do; particularly I don’t like coming down in the morning to dirty dishes.  For several years, if YA leaves dishes in the sink overnight, then when I come down in the morning, I yell up the stairs and she has to come down and do them.  This is no fun for anybody but it does work pretty well as a dish pile-up deterrent.  Of course it doesn’t do anything about dishes that accumulate during the day.

When I started working from home back in March, I was assuming (like many others) that covid would have run its course by the fall.  I decided that as my gift to household peace, I would just do all the dishes during shelter-in-place.  Fretting about dishes just didn’t seem like a good vibe to add to an already bad scenario.  I’ve had a couple of times said to YA that I didn’t want to feel taken advantage of and every now and then she does belly up to the sink on her own, but for the most part, I’ve washed every single dish that has been dirtied here since March 15. 

Now that covid hasn’t gone away and we are all still sheltering-in-place, I’m thinking maybe I need to re-negotiate my dish-pan hands situation.

Any suggestions??


We took our tortie cat to the vet clinic on Friday, and the young vet who examined her had trouble drawing blood because poor Millie was so dehydrated.  After trying both jugular veins unsuccessfully,  he took her to the senior vet to try because “she can get blood out of anything”.  I  don’t know if I would like someone to say that about me, but I suppose in the veterinary world it is a nice skill to have.  Who am I to talk, though, since I am thought to be the regional expert in curing elimination  disorders (behavioral peeing and pooping problems) in children. It is a strange specialty to have, and even stranger to talk about. Husband is an expert in doing parental capacity evaluations and sex offender evaluations.  He no longer does that kind of work. He is much happier now that he is striving to be an expert Scandinavian rye bread and cracker baker.

What would you like to have expertise in?  Who are some experts you admire? What experts have disappointed you?



civic sacrament

About twenty years ago I signed up to be an election judge. I had switched from a full time schedule to working just three days a week, so I regularly had Tuesdays off. It seemed like a good time to step forward and help my community make its voice heard.

You meet all kinds of people in the polling place. I think the most memorable voter I ever met was a woman who called me over to discuss her voting dilemma, I think in 2004.  She said she was having trouble deciding who to cast her presidential vote for, because she didn’t really like any of the candidates. They all fell short of the standards she felt candidates should meet. “The people I would really like to see on the ballot are Paul Wellstone, Jesus, and Princess Diana,” she explained. I gently advised her that while those were not going to be realistic possibilities, since all three of them were dead, and only one of them had even been a U.S. citizen, she was quite free to write in any name she chose.

The other memorable thing about the woman was that she had large plastic bags on both hands, secured at the wrists by rubber bands. She was ahead of her time.

I will be staying home this election day, trying to keep myself safe, after voting early. I’ll miss watching this exercise of political power by ordinary citizens. Of all the unsettling changes that COVID-19 has brought, this may be the most unsettling for me. So far.

Any disruptions, major or minor, that have arisen for you lately due to COVID-19? (Or for any other reason, for that matter?)

Raison D’etre

Our tortie cat loves anything related to eggs or chicken. She was a hobby farm kitten before we got her, and we suspect she was exposed to eggs and poultry.  Any time she hears eggs being cracked in the kitchen or finds out that we are preparing a chicken dish, she is a constant pest. She steals eggshells out of the sink and bats them all over the house.  She fishes eggs out of bowls on the counter and rolls them on the floor.. Her favorite prank is to steal chunks of chicken off our plates or serving dishes. She rolls around provocatively on the counter in front of us whenever we have chicken out, in what we imagine to be an attempt to charm us into giving her some. We call it her chicken dance. Stealing chicken and being charming are her current reasons for existence.

Other of our animals have had definite life goals. Our terriers lived to have fun and investigate anything new. Our current grey cat lives to chase paper balls. I think my raison d’etre is still tied up in my work, but I am beginning to think about other things to live for.

What have your pets lived for?  What is your raison d’etre? How has it changed over the years?

Hats Off

Husband owns and wears what I consider to be a large number of caps. He usually stores them in a plastic tub in the entry way. He displayed them on the dining room table for me so I could take the photo.

The ones in the back row have team, club, or university affiliations. The middle ones are work caps, since they are older and soiled around the sweat bands. The ones in the front row are his special collection of blue caps. He said he started wearing caps after he got a Pioneer Seed Corn hat from my father when we were in graduate school.

Every time he leaves the house, he has to have just the right cap. It has to coordinate with what shirt he is wearing and what activity he is going to engage in. He rarely leaves the house without one.

I don’t understand the purpose of these caps. I think they would be hot to wear in the summer and insufficiently warm in the winter. He is about to take the cap tub into the basement for the winter and get up his stocking caps. (Oh, he also has a blue wool one with ear flaps that he sometimes wears in the winter.)

They are oddly important to him. He says wearing a cap helps him pass in the world of men who work outdoors.  He also likes them as they protect him from the wind.  I don’t think he needs to justify wearing a cap. I just would be irritated with something like that on my head all the time.

 What fashion trend would you like to see return? What fashion trend did or do you abhor?