Category Archives: work

Blessed Relief

My typical work day consists of seeing clients in therapy, doing formal psychological testing, consulting with other staff, going to meetings, doing paperwork, writing reports, answering and sending work-related emails, and taking care of whatever else my work place might throw at me.

In the midst of all this, I keep tabs on what is happening on my phone and my private laptop that I also have at work.  (I also check the  Blog for activity). My children and Husband are frequent texters. The main job for my private laptop is to provide Bluetooth connections to my sound bar so that I can listen to Classical MPR whenever I have a free moment while I do paperwork.

Throughout the day I also keep track of all the emails I get from the Regulatory Board of which I am the chair.  I can’t deal with the emails that arise when I am working, since that would be frowned upon, even though what I do on the Board is officially State business, and I am a State employee.  I understand the reasoning for this.

I typically get 10-20 emails from the Regulatory Board office each day.  I take care of them in the evening when I get home from work. There was a flurry of activity this morning, and then, blessed quiet this afternoon. I figured out that our Board secretary is taking a four day weekend to go camping.  What a relief!

I wish I were not so tied to my technology. As I read what I just wrote, I can’t believe I do all the things I just described. This just can’t be healthy!

How tied are you to technology? How do you set limits on it and on yourself?

Being In The Right Place

I had a really interesting evaluation question to answer some time ago. It involved helping a psychiatrist with a diagnosis that she just wasn’t certain about.  The possible diagnostic alternatives were serious, one more so than the other.

I took an extensive history from the accompanying family member,  gave the client in question a series of tests, and came up with an alternative diagnosis that the psychiatrist hadn’t considered.  I am still waiting for testing to come back from family members and will then let the psychiatrist know what I am thinking in terms of diagnoses, and  what further steps the she needs to take with this client.

It was during the process of doing this evaluation that I got an exhilarating  sense that I absolutely loved what I was doing and was absolutely in the right place to be doing it. I don’t often get that feeling, but it is was nice when it happens.

What have been the times you got the feeling that you were absolutely in the right place, job, or relationship?

What About Cousins?

I live pretty equidistant from about three Indian reservations in three different states.  I sometimes see tribal members  at my community mental health agency.  Part of doing my work is getting a good family history.  I have noticed, over 30 years of practice,  distinct differences in how tribal members and everyone who is not a tribal member describes family relationships.  For my tribal clients, there are any number of aunties, uncles,  sisters, and brothers who are important in their lives. They  just don’t match how I, in my eurocentric  orientation, define family.

A good friend of our, a person who is an Arikara Indian,  one of the Three Affiliated Tribes from the Fort Berthold Reservation where Husband works,  posted on Facebook recently a way to navigate these family relationships.

This apparently comes from some sort of Mandan, Arikara, and Hidatsa tribal handbook. Here is how you navigate relationships. for boys. Girls are pretty much the same.

Who is my mother?

  1. My birth mother.
  2. .My mother’s sister
  3. My father’s brother’s wife
  4. My clan father’s wives (My father’s clan brothers)

Who is my father? 

  1. My birth father
  2. My father’s brothers
  3. My sister’s husband
  4. My father’s mother’s brother
  5. My clan fathers (My father’s clan brothers)
  6. My father’s sister’s son

Who is my sister?

  1. My blood sister
  2. My father’s brother’s daughter
  3. My sister’s daughters
  4. My female clan members (My mother’s clan)
  5. Female children of my father’s clan
  6. My mother’s sister’s daughter

Who is my brother?

  1. My blood brothers
  2. My father’s brother’s sons
  3. My sister’s son’s
  4. My mother’s sisters’ sons
  5. My clan male mothers
  6. Male children of my fathers’ clan
  7. My mother’s brother
  8. My mother’s mother’s brother

Who is my auntie?

  1. My father’s sisters
  2.  My father’s sister’s daughter-each generation
  3. My clan aunts (My father’s clan sisters)

Who is my grandmother?

  1. My mother’s mother
  2. My mother’s mother’s sister (Grandmother’s sister)
  3. My father’s mother
  4. My father’s mother’s sister
  5. My mother’s father’s sister-each generation

I notice that great uncles, great aunts, and cousins are defined differently here.  I also find that if I use this to define my family relationships, I have a lot more siblings, parents, and aunts and uncles. That is kind of comforting.

How do you define family? How would your definition change given the above information? 


Dog Days

I’m not getting much done at work today. During the summer, every Friday is “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” and I am in dog heaven.  I keep dog treats in my cube and on Fridays, I actually have a stash in my pocket throughout the day.

Today in addition to Charlie and Bernie Mac and Vegas (GoldenDoodle, Puggle, Doberman) who are here most Fridays, we have a brand new puppy. 8-week old Dave Grohl (name of somebody in some band that I don’t know about), a golden retriever.  He has the wonderful puppy smell and that squishy soft puppy skin.

Rufus, Mochi, Brandon and Ash are off today but I’ve petted (and fed) a couple of others, whose names I don’t know, as they travel through the building. I’m on a main aisle and I think the dogs can smell the treats in my pocket as they’re going by so they stop by!

What perk would make your Fridays better?

My Little Rock Star

My company does a fun summer program that includes concerts out on the big lawn between two of our buildings. On Thursday it was Chris Kroeze.  As I was tapping my toe I noticed a toddler towards the front of the crowd, not more than four.  His folks and younger sibling were sitting on the grass behind him but there was no sitting for him.  He had a small electric guitar (probably not real) and he was wailing on it.  Non-stop.  And he had moves; he looked like he would have been right at home up on the stage.  I stayed out on the lawn for about 30 minutes and this kid was playing his heart out the entire time.   I thought about going over and introducing myself and asking his name, because I’m sure in 15-20 years, he’s going to be famous and I would be able to say I knew him when.

Have you ever met a famous person? Was it what you expected?

Got Out Of That One

Husband and I used to erect three, 10 foot long, steel hog panels in the garden for the peas to grow up. We secured the panels  to thin, plastic coated metal poles using  wire. The panels worked great,  but they got too heavy to move and too bulky to store, so, the for past couple of years we have used plastic poultry netting stapled to wooden poles for the peas to grow up.

This year the wooden poles are tall, thin, and not very straight or stable. I put the fence up, and it looks very crooked and  has lots of  droopy gaps. The finicky, Dutch part of me cringes when I look at it.  It will do for the peas,  though, and I have every confidence that no rancher in his right mind will ever ask me to help him with fencing.  It is nice to think that is one responsibility I will never have.

What skill do you lack that you either wish you had or you are glad you don’t possess?

I Forgot

Our leisurely, stay-at-home Sunday turned into a 180 mile round trip drive to the Reservation where Husband works. He was so tired when he drove home on Thursday that he forgot his laptop computer in his office. He usually isn’t so forgetful. He hauls many things back and forth from the Reservation to home and I know he is eager to get on the road at the end of the week.  He needed the laptop  to complete case notes for his private practice. All his note templates are on the laptop. He really wanted to get the notes done this weekend, so we jumped in the van and drove to New Town and back. It took about 4 hours.

The road to the Reservation is a two-lane State highway with lots of twists and turns and steep grades.  Husband  was upset and angry with himself, so I drove. There wasn’t as much oilfield traffic on a Sunday afternoon.    At least we got to see lots of red tail hawks and a bunch of calves getting branded.  It was sunny and the Badlands terrain was green from recent rains.  I also got to see the two raised- bed gardens  that Husband set up for the boys’ addiction group to tend.  I suggested that he put copies of the templates on our home computer in case he forgets his laptop again.  He agreed.

What do you find hard to remember?