Tuesday, June 30, 2009


The mayor of Gary, Indiana says that Michael Jackson's memorial service in Gary will be "fit for the prince of peace."

News flash: That title is already taken.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Five: Talkin' 'Bout...Pop Music

Mary Beth says:
Happy Friday to you all!
The sad news of Michael Jackson's untimely death has me thinking about music and its effects on us - individually, as cultures, as generations. Let's think about the soundtracks of our lives... 1) What sort of music did you listen to as a child - this would likely have been determined or influenced by your parents? Or perhaps your family wasn't musical...was the news the background? the radio? Singing around the piano?
I wouldn't say it was determined or influenced by my parents! By the time I was seven or eight years old, my little transistor radio was usually under my pillow at night. I adored the Beatles, of course...the Rolling Stones were a little scary...for some reason the Dave Clark Five were never really on my radar. A few years later, I used to stay up late listening to a disc jockey named Kris Stevens on WLS in Chicago (a clear channel station--it could be heard all over the midsection of the country, I suppose). By then I had moved on to Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, and the Doors--and, oh yeah, the Monkees...

2) Going ahead to teenage years, is there a song that says "high school" (or whatever it might've been called where you lived) to you? Hmmm..."Stairway to Heaven", maybe (reminds me of a boy I was absolutely crazy about in 1972)? "Maggie May"? I think more in terms of singers and bands I loved than of specific songs, though. It was the heyday of Elton John, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Dan Fogelberg...such memories. I also discovered Dylan's 1960's music for the first time, and that was a huge part of my high school soundtrack.

3) What is your favorite music for a lift on a down day? (hint: go to www.pandora.com and type in a performer/composer...see what you come up with!)
See #2! All of the above! We do love the music we grew up with.

4) Who is your favorite performer of all time?
Answering this question is simply not possible. Dylan? The Beatles? I love so many. As far as favorite live performers, I remember awesome shows by Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Joni Mitchell...In Memphis in 1974 I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd steal an arena show right out from under Eric Clapton's nose. A great concert.

5) What is your favorite style of music for worship?
Traditional choral music. I love to sing Mozart, Bach, Handel, Tallis, Byrd.

Bonus if you include a video of any of the above!
This is what Elton and his band looked and sounded like the first time I saw them in concert, about a year after this 1970 BBC performance of "Burn Down the Mission" (Tumbleweed Connection forever!!). My best friend Joy and I had rushed the front of the stage along with everyone else, and I got to shake hands with Dee Murray, the bass player!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Beyond my powers

My coworkers and I are still puzzling over an unusual communique received today: a hastily scrawled note on a doctor's prescription pad, requesting,"Please evaluate ________ for speech and personality delay."

If I knew an effective treatment for "personality delay", I'd be a wealthy woman.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Unexpected guest

I opened the front door a few minutes ago and discovered this little visitor. About two seconds after I took this picture, I looked up in time to see an irate mama jay diving straight at my head! I got back inside in a hurry! According to our local wildlife rehab center, babies like this are fine right where they are; they are learning to fly, and their parents continue to feed and protect them. Cats beware!

There are lots of babies around now. I wish we'd been able to get some good pictures of the five little barn swallows that have been growing up right outside my supervisor's office window. Some days we don't get much done, because we're all in his office watching the birds! Four of the five have been making short forays to the nearby telephone wires, so I think they may all be gone by Monday.

At last

For several years I have hoped and planned to phase out my part-time private practice, and now I'm in the process of doing just that. After nearly ten years, next Friday will be my last day to see private clients, and at the end of the month I'm moving out of my office. I do so look forward to saying goodbye to managed care hassles and wondering if/when I'll be paid, goodbye to sitting and waiting for people who don't show, goodbye to the isolation and, yes, loneliness that can be part of a mental health private practice. The enjoyment I've received there--for example, the pleasure of conducting evaluations that are like solving a mystery or an intricate puzzle--is available at my "day job" too, along with a steady paycheck and supportive coworkers. I had supportive officemates at the practice, too, but spending all day behind closed doors with one's clients usually precludes more than a quick hello on the way to the waiting room.

Closing my practice has been a goal for several years, but every change involves mixed feelings. Ten years is more than long enough to spend on something I haven't really enjoyed. However, I'm not sorry I did it, and I won't say I'll never have a private practice again. But even if I should choose to get back into private practice in the future, in a few years most of my testing kits and materials will be obsolete. I decided to sell what I could, and placed an online classified ad where other local psychologists would see it. This morning a young psychologist from across town came to my office and got a great deal on some of my equipment. I know selling this stuff is the wisest thing to do, but when I handed over my WISC-IV kit, which I've probably used about 100 times, I felt like I was selling a puppy. I hope she gives it a good home!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Moving and Changing Friday Five

Sally has moving on her mind, and wants to know:

1. A big move is looming, name one thing you cannot possibly part with, it must be packed?
Since Amie is not a thing to be packed, I would have to say, family photos. Some of our oldest photos, from the 1920's and before, disappeared in one of my parents' last moves...since then I've carefully packed and moved photos myself, so that I always knew where they were.

2. Name one thing that you would gladly leave behind...
Useless, outdated paperwork and files. Last November I moved from my office of nearly ten years to a smaller office, which I will be closing at the end of June. I have not really enjoyed private practice and am not sorry to leave it behind. I did a thorough purge of my file cabinet last fall, so there won't be much to shred this time around.

3. How do you prepare for a move
a. practically?
Cleaning out junk and things we no longer want. My mother-in-law will be moving to a nearby retirement community in a few weeks, and the process of cleaning out, giving away, or selling all the stuff that neither she nor her children want, has been going on for months. Condensing a three-bedroom house into a one-bedroom apartment is never easy.

b. spiritually/emotionally?
Entrusting the people and places I love into God's hands, and looking forward to a new adventure. Praying and trusting God to continue leading me as I move forward along the path that appears to be the right one.

4. What is the first thing you look for in a new place?
The Scientist and I have not moved in seventeen years, so I had to reminisce a bit while considering this question. In a new community, initially I just try to get the lay of the land, locating the nearby supermarket, drug store, dry cleaners, etc. In a new home, I'm most interested in the size and convenience of the kitchen.

5. Do you settle in easily, or does it take time for you to find your feet in a new location?
It depends on whether I'm already a bit familiar with the location and whether I already know people there. Moving from Memphis to San Antonio right after college was difficult, and I needed more than a year to really feel at home there. That's the only time I've ever moved to a place where I knew no one, and it was probably the toughest move I've ever made. (Having my first apartment burglarized when I'd only been there a couple of months didn't help.) When I moved to Houston to take my first job, it was with the encouragement of two friends, native Houstonians who were returning home. And when the Scientist and I moved to California a few years later, we found a whole new world--but we had each other there, and the pleasure of exploring together.

The bonus for today: a new opportunity has come up for you to spend 5 years in a new area, where would you go and why?
Five years is a long time. If it were only for a year or two, I'd say Boston, San Francisco, or New Orleans, three cities I would love to get to know as more than a tourist. Or perhaps beautiful Portland, Oregon, or Seattle, where we already have many friends. Maybe Asheville, NC; it's beautiful country, it's in the South, there are lots of Presbyterians around, and I have some lifelong friends there. But five years...I probably wouldn't go any farther from here than Austin, or the adjacent hill country. Come to think of it, five years in Austin sounds great!