Saturday, February 27, 2010

The View From My Office Window

Some of my favorite things: icicles and snowdrifts.

The ice on the left is an icicle that's been growing for weeks. There was an office pool on when it would reach the ground. Can't say for sure it's on the ground yet, but it's joined up with the snowdrift under the window.

It was a challenge getting to work. By 8:15 we'd fed the animals and cleared the long driveway, but the County plow hadn't yet touched the road. Seriously. Not touched. It was 18" of fresh snow marred only by the tracks of one vehicle that had managed to drive by without benefit of the plow. By the time I was dressed for the office, the plow had gone by and, of course, filled in the end of the driveway.

I had interviews scheduled all day with applicants for our job opening. I admire the committment of the person with the 9:00 appointment who politely declined an offer to reschedule for 1:00 saying she'd be fine getting in to Dryden. I warned her I'd be a little late.

Monday, February 22, 2010

New York

Last Monday in New York. Lots of interesting people and discussions at the Association of Towns of New York State conference. There are more than 900 townships in New York and 1,600 people representing townships came together to talk about strengthening local government and doing good things for our towns.

It was nice to hear from Senator Gillibrand. Embarrassing to hear the AOT President inroducing her consistently pronounce the Senator's name "Guilderbrand."

Tuesday Morning in New York. At the breakfast meeting Senator Schumer spoke about all his efforts to save and create jobs in every imaginable industry - except agriculture and education, Dryden's two largest industries.

Very nice dinners and lunches and chats with Maggy. I'm glad to be back in Dryden. But I miss Maggy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Have Confidence in Sunshine

Why doesn't the word "confidential" have anything to do with the concept of "confidence?"

In my department we have job titles for "Confidential Bookkeeper to the Supervisor" and "Confidential Secretary to the Supervisor." Confidential is all about secrecy. I have to say, in local government, there's really not much room for secrets.

I'm in the process of replacing the Confidential Bookkeeper. I don't know which of us lost confidence in the other first, but it was a rapid downward spiral. I'm glad I can trust my Confidential Secretary (secretary - get it?) not to blab too much about how we're laughing at some of the resumes I've gotten. But bookkeeper? I think I want to trust him/her to be completely open.

I definitely want to have confidence in both my bookkeeper and secretary. My secretary told me yesterday that she remembers that in her interview I asked, "Is it ever okay to tell a lie?" Like many people, she thought maybe it's okay when someone asks, "Do you like my outfit?" With practice, she'll find ways to answer even those questions honestly and constructively.

I want to have confidence in my entire staff to cover my back. And I know that to earn their loyalty, I have to be sure they never have to lie to defend me. Idealistic? Yeah. But still a good goal.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Kitty on the Keyboard?

I can't think too much about what the cats are doing when I'm at work. They outnumber me four to one. It's like leaving four teenagers home alone. The news at the end of the day is never good. This is what my monitor looked like when I got home. Maybe they were working on their tax returns. But I'm worried about the Windows Diagnostic message.

Further evidence? I may be careless in many areas of my life, but I'm in awe of the friend who takes care of my computer. I don't spill stuff on the keyboard.

White has a reputation for sleeping on my desk. But I haven't seen him do it in a long time. This picture is from 2007.

The current suspect in the keyboard caper is Magda, who's been pretty weird lately. I've spent a fair amount of time trying to create special places for the cats: cushions, boxes, blankets, old t-shirts - all in an effort to keep cat hair off the furniture and my clothes. No luck. Magda insists on grooming on my treadmill and sleeping on my charger station.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Metaphor for Life

This is what happens. As soon as one bit is out of place, it's only a matter of days- sometimes minutes - before the whole system collapses. This is Magda thinking, "What the hell happened here?"

Sometimes I see the metaphor as continually trying to stuff ten pounds of crap into a five pound bag. It only recently occurred to me that someone keeps adding more crap to the pile when my back is turned. Stop it!