Saturday, August 31, 2013

Enjoy the Holiday Weekend!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Weekend Wishes!

Thursday, August 29, 2013



Dr. Jeanne Schur, Ph.D., L.P.

Another deadly heat wave – 90+ degrees - was about to descend upon us Minnesotans, not a good sign for allergy sufferers and people attending the state fair.  I was out on my deck early, drinking coffee, before the humidity hit.

A dragonfly gently landed on my out-stretched legs, attaching itself to my crossed-over ankle.  I was amazed at how securely attached it was – not budging when I shook out my leg.  It must be trying to tell me something.  It is one of my seven totems and stands for Breaking through illusions to find the truth. The timing couldn’t be more perfect.

I have been in a stalemate in my career and personal life.  I am very good at what I do but the hassles with the insurance companies, dealing with politics and with the fear of Medicaid fraud growing even more intense, those of us who have devoted our lives to working with urban populations are easy targets for audits.  Even with nothing to hide and records intact, the hassle of repeating the same thing over and over and dealing with auditors that are not psychologists is so frustrating, as they don’t understand the nature of the evaluations and the need for crisis intervention, although they purport to comprehend it.  Everyone wants to feel appreciated, especially when one devotes their life to helping people in need. But, when the administrative rules take over the need for quality services (as one auditor told me, we are not here to evaluate the quality of your work) and even though all documentation is intact and according to CMS guidelines, who wants to spend their time defending their paper work?  It is part of doing business, but in my opinion, the majority of potential fraud is not with the actual providers, it is with people who never see the clients and bill for it anyway!  I would make a great fraud consultant, but there doesn’t seem to be a need for one. Smile. I recognize the auditors are efficiently doing their job, but my job is to defend my billing practices and explain the codes and how they are utilized.  It is just so time-consuming and non-reimbursable.  I was contemplating how I could use my skills in another capacity when the dragonfly landed on my ankle.
One of my favorite movies from 2002 starred Kevin Costner and was titled, Dragonfly.  I read a long time ago that he agreed to do the movie because he was fascinated by the supernatural aspects of it.  It was allegedly based on a true story, with embellishments to the movie script.  His character, Dr.Joe, an atheist, kept seeing dragonflies everywhere after his wife died in an accident overseas, but he doesn’t understand the symbolism. He is guided by the signs until he finally discovers their meaning. Ever since watching the movie, a dragonfly has appeared when I am in self-doubt or stuck as to what is my next move in a problem-solving process.

Why is it that we are so slow to trust our judgment and our abilities?  I am a baby boomer and honoring our parent’s opinion and guidance was paramount to my family’s way of life.  I lucked out and had wonderful parents but being encouraged to trust ourselves was not primary to their parenting style.  Following the rules, being kind to others, following the tenets of our faith (Catholicism) and always sticking up for the underdog was paramount in their values.  They have served me well in many aspects of my life, but I wish sometimes that I had more confidence in trekking out new paths.  I do very well when I understand what is expected of me and I am a rule-bound person (which is why the audits frustrate me).  I have the ability to see beyond what is obvious but where I falter is in explaining and expressing my perceptions and intuition to others.  It is breaking through appearances and seeing beyond what is obvious.  I have had this ability since I was a little girl and it frequently made me a target for bullying.  I was outspoken and thought everybody had the same ability, until I was teased, starting at around age 4 for being weird, lying and making things up.  You learn to keep your opinions to yourself, but as my mother used to constantly say to me, “You sure have a good imagination.”

I can only be myself, in a world where there is pressure to conform to other’s ways of thinking, whether professionally or personally.  There certainly is a need for conformity in society, especially when following rules for safety and belonging. It doesn’t seem to work for seeking significance, the need to be recognized for creativity and uniqueness.  Social psychologist Dr. Alfred Adler’s trifecta of what all people are seeking - significance, belonging and safety - doesn’t come with guidelines on how to achieve it.  One thing I do know, is that when you are in a quagmire, pushing against the rules or forces that be, doesn’t work.  It is like quicksand, you just sink deeper.  It is best to do your best to comply, sticking to the facts without acquiescing your values or compromising your integrity, and then look at alternatives, if this is a sign of things to come.  The best way to get out of quicksand is not to struggle against it, but to be still and be lifted out by someone or something bigger than you.  I am willing to see this differently  is a great affirmation when in a stalemate. It takes you from a place of anxiety to one of peace, and then you can choose differently.  It is said the answer always lies next to the problem; we just need help from our higher power to recognize it.
The dragonfly is a reminder for me to trust, to have faith, and believe that all is well…because like the movie says, It’s belief that gets you there!  Do not judge by appearances – all is well!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday Wishes

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Oh, Happy Day!

It’s a miracle!  The “pray for spray”  has been answered!  The dust bowl days are over (well, not really, but a girl can dream)!

Today, east 120th Street received calcium chloride dust control treatment from stem to stern.  I was able to walk out and get the mail without my gas mask!  Imagine!

Seriously, the entire neighborhood sends out our sincerest “thanks” to Stillwater Township Chair David Johnson and May Township Chair Bill Voedisch for their joint efforts to get us this blessed relief from what was turning into a genuine respiratory health hazard. 

This wonderful product actually has  a myriad of benefits to cow paths across the country.  Read on . . . 

Dust Control with Calcium Chloride
Billowing clouds of dust are recognized by the general public as a nuisance and sometimes even as a hazard. Yet every highway superintendent knows that the tiny particles, or “fines,” serve a vital function in the roadway surface if they can be held there.

So long as they remain in the surface, the fine particles stabilize the unpaved roadway by acting as a binding agent for the coarser aggregates. But when those fines are lost in the air, the road surface begins to loosen, and traffic starts scattering the expensive roadway aggregate into ditches and culverts. If unchecked, this continuous deterioration of the roadway surface will result in the need for extensive road rebuilding and attendant high costs.

A proper application of calcium chloride helps stop the deterioration before it begins. When applied as a dust control agent, calcium chloride consolidates and stabilizes the roadway to provide a clean, smooth-riding surface.

Benefits of Calcium Chloride
Calcium chloride has a long history of use as a dust control agent for unpaved roadways, parking lots and other unpaved surfaces, and its use in this application is continually growing. The consistent increase in acceptance of calcium chloride can be attributed to the combination of the following benefits:

1.    Retention of Fines:
The loss of fines in the formation of dust is one of the basic reasons for the deterioration of a riding surface. Calcium chloride helps stop this surface deterioration by enhancing the binding the loss of fines in the formation of dust is one of the basic reasons for the deterioration of a riding surface. Calcium chloride helps stop this surface deterioration by enhancing the binding together of fines and aggregates and thus forming a stabilized surface.
2.    Reduced Material Replacement Costs:
The replacement cost of lost materials represents an actual loss of road dollars for many highway departments. Often an even more serious factor is the depletion of local deposits of gravel and other surfacing materials. When calcium chloride is applied to an unpaved surface, it coats the fines and aggregates, binding them together to help keep the original surface material in place and thus also to help reduce the need for replacement materials.
3.    Less Blading:
The amount of blading required to patch and reshape a road is directly related to the extent of the deterioration of the road’s surface. A badly deteriorated road surface will require extensive, heavy blading; a stable, consolidated roadway surface will require a minimal light blading. As calcium chloride binds the fines and aggregates together, the treated road materials form a stable, compacted surface that remains intact and requires less blading.
4.    Elimination of Dust Complaints (What?  Moi?):
There is no other phase of highway maintenance that is more appreciated by the driving public and by taxpayers who live and work along unpaved roads than the elimination of dust. Soon after an application of calcium chloride for dust control, the telephone calls and letters expressing concern over dust are replaced by thanks for the smooth-riding, dust-free road surface.
5.    Adaptability to Surfaces:
Almost no two geographical areas have exactly the same composition of material in their road surfaces. However, with proper gradation, calcium chloride can be used on almost all unpaved surfaces (both large and small), including earth, cinders, gravel, sand, bluestone, shale, limestone, clay, graded crushed stone, shell, and other similar local materials.
6.    Increased Safety:
Dust is not only a nuisance but can also be the cause of accidents on unpaved roads. As billowing clouds of dust reduce visibility, the temporarily “blinded” motorist must confront the dangers of unseen potholes, washboard, and other road hazards. Because of its ability to penetrate the road surface and bind fines and aggregates together, calcium chloride greatly reduces the formation of both dust and potholes. The end result is a cleaner, safer, smoother-riding surface.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Thoughts for the Work Week Ahead

Contributed by Nina

Sunday, August 25, 2013

We're Having a Heat Wave

Oh, no!  Here we go, back into the soup, again.  The brutal, miserable and dangerous heat has returned, and with a vengeance.  Ten day forecasts are predicting an extended spell of “Hell-on-Earth” type temperatures.  

If the heat wave is affecting where you live, please take precautions with your pets and remember to look out for the wildlife.  Even in tough economic times, EVERYONE can help out our animal friends by providing fresh water. 

I HATE the heat. I’d had high hopes for this summer.  For a while it seemed like the decade-long drought that has so damaged once lush Minnesota was breaking.  The spring and early summer were wet and cool, but now we have been without rain for about three weeks and the plant life is suffering.  It’s time for a rain dance.

Sunday Greetings

These photos were taken earlier this summer, during the annual molt when the geese were flightless while growing new feathers. 

Never fear, a long walk wasn’t enough to dissuade these smart birds from coming to visit  Chandel, a.k.a.  "the corn lady," their kindhearted human BFF.