Category Archives: work

On A Roll

Three vignettes from yesterday.

Since I’m still working from home, I had on my “uniform” yesterday of jersey shorts and a tank top.  I threw on a nicer top for a client call and never took it off.  At noon, YA and I drove down to Walgreens to get our drive-thru covid tests (since we’d been to the fair so many times).  When I got into the car, YA looked me over and said “you’re not wearing THAT, are you?”  I replied that since I wasn’t getting out of the car and the Walgreens technician would only see the top 1/3 of me, yes.  YA rolled her eyes.

On the way home (both tests negative, by the way), as I was waiting at an intersection to turn right, a man with his two white/cream golden retrievers was standing on the corner until the “walk” light came on.  The dogs were gorgeous, so I rolled down the window and called to him that his dog were beautiful.  He said thanks; I turned right and drove on.  “MOOOOOMMM” said YA. 

I purchased a thing-a-ma-gig at the fair that makes it easy to put my hair in a bun.  I’ve been playing with it and when I got home I put my hair up, making the bun pretty high on my head.  Then I had a client call.  A bit later YA came into my studio.  “Did you have your hair like that during your call?”  I replied yes and she responded “It was already bad enough that you’re wearing that shirt” and then she proceeded to show me a picture of an anime character (see above) and although she didn’t say it directly, the implication was that I look like Zeniba.

So I’m three for three in embarrassing my child in one day.  Not sure I can best that record without seriously trying.

Tell me what cartoon character you look like?  Or would LIKE to look like?

Out Of The Doldrums

Ever since April, 2020, Husband has stayed at home, seeing only a few psychotherapy clients a week and filling his time with volunteer work and gardening. He was relieved to be done working on the Reservation. He had his pension and Social Security.

I noticed over the last year, though, that he just didn’t seem to be getting much done at home, and his typically solemn demeanor became even more lugubrious.

Since he was hired at his new, part-time job last week, everything has changed, the world is full of new and exciting possibilities, and I can hardly keep up with him. It is really good to see. He really was deep in the doldrums, and I didn’t realize just how deep. He feels he has a purpose again. A ten hours a week job made a huge difference! His new found exuberance has partly taken the form of cooking, however, and I worry we may need to get a new freezer.

What helps you to feel really happy? What helps to get you out of a funk? What gives you purpose?

College, Ducks, and Corn

Today’s post comes from Ben

Typically, there isn’t a lot going on in August once the oats and straw is done. One year it rained a lot and oats was late and straw kept getting delayed and I was still doing straw in September and that just made me grumpy. But usually, August is a pretty quiet month.

College classes started so I’ve got homework again. ‘MN Rocks and Waters’. This first week is plate tectonics and continental drift. It’s interesting but there sure are a lot of terms and I hope I don’t have to memorize all of them.

I’ve been picking some corn ears, looking at plant health, and monitoring progress. The plant looks pretty good; not seeing any fungal diseases (which wouldn’t be expected in a dry year like this) Some ears look better than other ears.

Most have above average girth counting 16 or 18 around (it will always an even number) and length varies. Good ones count 42 kernels long. Shorter ones count 30. There are ways to estimate final yield by doing the math. We’ll see. I won’t bore you with the details. It doesn’t take into account how many deer are out there anyway.

Soybeans are looking OK too. Starting to turn yellow (meaning maturing) and it’s interesting you don’t hear so much about estimating soybean yield. Not a perfect science perhaps.

The ducks have learned to spend the day outside and go back in at night. It’s still wet inside their pen no matter how often I clean it. It’s the end of the pen where the water is, they’re just sloppy drinkers.  Kelly and I were talking that we don’t remember if they’re always this skittish. There is a breed called ‘Indian Runners’ and they’re always totally crazy. But I just don’t remember if these breeds are usually so nervous. Maybe it’s the mallards? Maybe in another month they’ll mellow out a bit. After all, they’re just barely a month old. It’s impressive how fast they grow.

I gathered up all the round bales of straw and put them in a line. Just so they’re not scattered all over the fields and to make it easier for the guys to pick up later.

If there was alfalfa hay growing under the oats it would be important to move them as soon as possible so as not to kill the alfalfa. But in this case, I’ll be digging up the field in another week or two simply to control weeds. And since I don’t know when they’ll pick them up, this may be a snow fence too.

I got parts for the grain drill that I want to get put back on this fall. And some new parts for the corn planter I could be working on.

My mom is adjusting to her room in the Long Term Care area. One day she said the bad was outweighing the good. But she says good things about the staff, and she gets ice cream every day, and yesterday she said she’s almost ready to call it home.

With rain predicted for the next few days I cleaned gutters out this morning. One was more involved than expected; it wasn’t just cleaning the leaves out from the top; it was pulling off an extension under the deck and snaking a hose up in there to flush it out.

Do you wear any rings? What is/was your wedding ring like?

Stylistic Differences

I was looking through a magazine the other day, and I ran across an ad for a Swedish Women’s clothing company. The styles were fanciful, with skirts, tunics, dresses, pants, and sweaters in wild prints and vivid colors that are worn in layers with leggings. The clothes looked really comfortable. I like wearing layers. Wearing such clothes, though, would be a real stylistic change for me.

In the winter I dress pretty low key, in pull over sweaters and cardigans with corduroy pants and sensible shoes. Nothing fancy. I want to be warm and comfortable. In the summer, I just switch to Capri pants and shirts. The only time I dress up is when I have to testify in court. My coworkers always notice and comment “You must be going to court today!”

Changing my clothing style so drastically would excite rather a lot of comment at my work. No one who I know of in town wears anything like the Swedish clothing I saw in the magazine. People might think I was having a crisis in identity. I haven’t made up my mind yet, but I think I could possibly venture out with maybe one new, wild, Swedish ensemble. We will see.

How would you describe your style? What is the most outrageous outfit you have ever worn? If you could, how would you change the style of clothing you wear?

Play Ball!

The high school football season has started here. Both the high schools in our town play their games in the local college stadium. As I drove past the college football grounds this week, I saw two high school teams getting ready to play, and four striped shirt referees walking onto the field. I thought immediately of my father.

My dad officiated high school baseball, basketball, football, and volleyball for 68 years. He absolutely loved it. He umpired his last high school baseball game at the age of 88 in the Metrodome. Once, he started having chest pains during a baseball game in Iowa between Cherokee and Sheldon. Since it was the last game of the season, he didn’t want to call the game, so he downed eight nitroglycerin tablets and hoped for the best. The next day he had cardiac bypass surgery.

The rules for sports are fairly clear cut. The rules for human relationships off the field are not. I despise mediating. I refuse to provide marital counseling. I just can’t be that kind of referee.

When have you had to referee or mediate? Ever had any beefs with a sports official? Ever been thrown out of a game?

School Jitters

One part of my current job is that of a clinician on our Youth and Family Team. School starts here on Thursday, and it seems like many of our young clients are falling apart at the prospect of a new school year.

I remember being unable to sleep in the days before school started, anxious about the excitement and uncertainty. I never had to worry about getting a potentially deadly disease or wearing masks, or worrying if I would be sent home on quarantine. Things are sure different.

The members of my team can’t wait until school starts and thing presumably settle down for our clients. At least we hope they settle down.

What about school starting gave you the jitters when you were a child? What were your most favorite and least favorite years in elementary and middle school?

A Change Of Pace

The other day, Fenton commented in the post about retirement that we other Baboons sounded as though we were “highly motivated ” in regard to our activity levels. My first thought about that was “of course we are, we are maniacs here in the US!” My subsequent thoughts were about the culture shock I experienced when I moved to Canada for graduate school in 1980.

It was very disconcerting for me to realize that in Winnipeg, no businesses opened until 10:00 AM. There was no mail service on Saturday, and no Sunday newspaper delivery. The collective good was emphasized over personal ambition. Speed limits were lower. People were very polite. People took lots of coffee breaks. Lots of tea was consumed. Hardly anyone had a firearm. In the summer, it was more important for people to spend time out of doors than to work. There were no drive through coffee shops, only drive through beer stores. No one worried about paying their medical bills. In order to drink in a pub, you had to sit at a table and there was no standing at the bar. There were very few fast food restaurants.

I often found myself frustrated with the slower pace. It seemed nothing got done expediently. Looking back, I sure would welcome that slower pace again. I know workers in the US are far more productive than in Canada, but at what cost to health and sanity?

What trends and customs from other countries would you like to take hold where you live?

Early retirement

Working for the State of ND can be a pretty good deal if you stay long enough. They have good benefits and the option of participating in a 357 plan (the government version of a 401K plan). There is also a pension plan, and as it currently works, you can retire with a full pension when your age and years of service add up to 85. That means, depending on when you start, that you could retire well before the Federal retirement age for your cohort.

I reached the Rule of 85 on June 1st of this year. I have decided to not retire now and work three more years until I also can receive full Social Security benefits.

Husband reached the Rule of 85 in 2014, and promptly retired and started working on the Reservation. Just last week, he filled out another application with the State to work 10 hours a week at the Human Service Center in Bismarck. He is the only applicant. We presume he will get the job. That means he will be a “Double Dipper”, someone with a pension who also works part time for the State. He is excited.

I was tickled to read that Tony Bennett, age 95, has finally decided to stop touring and retire. I also understand that he has Dementia. How wonderful that he could work so long and like what he was doing. Husband feels he needs a real paycheck, not just Social Security and his pension. When I am done in three years, I want to be done. No extra work, nothing. Husband had better realize that I am not putting up with his working until he is 95!

How long did you imagine you would work? Is retirement a positive concept for you? What are your favorite memories of Tony Bennett?

Their Just Desserts

When I was growing up, families in my town who had a lot of money were often looked upon with distain if they demonstrated any public flaws or hoity-toityness.

In the current town in which I live, there are many quite well to do families who face similar scrutiny, none more than the following head of a local family who was recently discussed the media:

I know there is a certain satisfaction to see such folks as the Fishers show themselves for fools. I know that one of my personal struggles is to not rejoice when this happens, but gosh, it is hard not to do so. Pride and greed are sure downfalls for many.

Who were the folks in your communities when you were growing up who were judged for their wealth? What are your favorite desserts?

Annoying Coworkers

I have been fortunate in my work career to have mostly affable and supportive coworkers. True, there have been a couple of real negative doozeys, but I outlasted them. I am currently contending with an annoying coworker who really means well, and that is much of my problem with her.

The person in question doesn’t even work in my building, and works 100 miles away, only sometimes coming to my workplace every other month or so. Her job is to make my job easier, but that isn’t how it always turns out. She is to help make sure my testing computers are working appropriately, that the psychological test scoring programs are up to date, and that my testing forms and supplies are ordered as needed. She usually does a great job. She works really fast. She is friendly, competent, and energetic. We communicate most frequently via email and instant messaging.

I guess my main issue with this coworker is the manner she goes about doing things. Every time I encounter her, I have to bite my tongue and not ask her if she took her Ritalin (an ADHD medication) that day. I don’t even know if she has ADHD, but she is very impulsive, doesn’t listen, and can’t read the room, so to speak, on how she is coming across.

Last week she was very involved replacing our three aging testing computers with new computers, and transferring our scoring programs to the new computers. In the process, she managed to erase forever the testing results of hundreds of people we had tested over the years. There are hard copies of the results in client files, but at least we had them stored in the computer in case something happened to our paper files. She didn’t get the new computers hooked up to the correct printers appropriately , and I couldn’t print any interpretive reports, only dozens of pages of gobbledygook. She had already left to go back to Bismarck, so our tech guy had to fix it the next day. He told me he had warned her that what she did with the printer drivers wouldn’t work, but, as usual, she didn’t listen.

One day, after a particularly frustrating back and forth messaging fest over her insistence that a scoring program was installed on one of the computers when it wasn’t, she asked if I would go in to the testing room and take photos of the serial numbers of the computers so that she cold access them remotely to see the situation for herself. I was somewhat appalled that she would even ask me to do that, given how our messaging conversation was going. I guess she couldn’t tell that I was becoming increasingly agitated in my texting, spelling out words in all capitals and ending sentences with multiple exclamation points. I had enough by that time, and curtly refused. She came out the next day and got it all fixed. She apologized for not believing me and offered to buy me some flowers or chocolates. I told her it wasn’t necessary, and that it was enough that she had come out and fixed everything.

Tell about some of your more interesting coworkers. Have you ever felt like murdering someone at work?