Dan Knoepfler, MC, LMHC
Individual, group, and family therapy
Thoughts for the Day
Links to the archives of previous months are at the bottom of the page.

Washington's primary is coming up soon.   Are you registered to vote?   Do you care who the Democrats will have at the top of the ticket this fall?  If so, make sure you send in or drop off your ballot before the 10th of March.

While driving between Portland and Olympia over the weekend it seemed like we were at the end of a rainbow and it seemed to stay with us for several miles.  Finally the angle of the sun and the rain shifted enough that it was over.  The colors were quite vivid when we were at the end of the rainbow.  There wasn't a pot of gold, but it was a special moment.

Tim Eyman is a polarizing figure in Washington State.  He does things that irritate the establishment.  There have been allegations that some of the things he has done are illegal.  And while this may be true, what is being ignored is that he is tapping into the dissatisfaction of residents in the state.  And enough people are dissatisfied that some of his ballot measures are passing.  Many of these voter approved initiatives have been undone by the court which has ruled that parts or all of these measures are illegal.  But what our elected officials are ignoring is the dissatisfaction of a percentage of the electorate. While Washington is generally a "blue state", some politicians should be careful about taking this for granted.  I believe in part that Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 for doing this in places like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin which had been solidly for the Democrats for many years.  You may not like Tim Eyman or his methods, but he is tapping into the frustration of a group of people that could turn some safe "blue" seats into "red" ones if the people and their concerns go unaddressed.

It never ceases to amaze me how weird Portland can be.  I was at several shows this weekend, and a man about my age appeared to be doing interpretive dance (this is the best way I can describe what he was doing) to the music.  He seemed to be irritating people close to him in the process..   It definitely was an odd sight.  They had him move to the back of the venue so he would be less distracting to others.  He was clearly unhappy about this saying he had to dance to the music to really enjoy it and why should he be punished by losing his good seat over this.   I am pretty sure he was also the man dancing with the fake potted tree last year at another Portland music festival.  To me the venue's decision seemed like a reasonable compromise - allowing him to continue moving to the music, while minimizing the impact on others.  

Prince wrote this song called "Wow".   At least that's what it is called when he performs it.   He gave the song to Liv Warfield who recorded it as well.  When she performs it, it's called  "The Unexpected."   The funny part of the lyrics is that one line says "You can call it the unexpected, or you can call it wow."  Apparently this is true (as long as you are mindful of who is singing it.)

I went to a performance by one of my favorite musicians last night - Stanley Jordan.   He is a person who has sounds that resonate with him.   I like that about him.  The fact that he can play guitar with one hand and piano with the other and sometimes use his voice as well, is truly impressive.   One time I saw him and he was talking about including a special guest in his live performance.   He built it up and when that moment came to introduce the special guest, it was his piano.   Kinda goofy.   He went on to say that the piano has been his best friend for most of his life.   Given that he is a musician it makes sense.  But it was unexpected.

The singer Liv Warfield has a new song out called "Mantra".  I like it, especially performed live.  Do you have a mantra that you repeat or say to yourself?   A word, phrase or sound that resonates with you?  I challenged a current client to create a mantra.   I don't think anyone else can choose your mantra for you.  It's more powerful if you come up with it on your own.  So what's your mantra?

It's sunny and feeling like spring.   It's the yearly renaissance as things come back to life after winter.   I really like spring.  The days are longer.  And it's generally nicer weather without it being too hot.

My state tax return bounced back because I forgot to sign the check.  That is so weird.   I never forget to sign checks.  It really doesn't matter since it isn't due for awhile anyway.  I wonder how I was so distracted that I didn't sign the check.

I went to a show tonight by an artist I really like - Liv Warfield.    She has a connection to the northwest, as well as with Prince.  She normally has a horn section with her band, and tonight it is going to be stripped down.  We'll see how the new configuration works out.

I met a client in the new youth detention facility.  Compared to the old facility this is a nice upgrade.  The kid told me that everyone seems calmer now that the move has occurred.   I wonder if that is really the case or if it's simply because the place is new.   The true test will occur after the novelty has worn off.

One thing I like about going to Oregon is that there is no sales tax.  The price is literally the price.  Washingtonians get the benefit of not paying their state income tax and not paying sales tax either.  It's not like you can buy a car down here and avoid all the taxes. But on a smaller level there isn't tax.

I'm going to Portland next week to see some shows at their Jazz Festival.   I really like Portland's festival.  They get some interesting musicians to play.  Going to see a variety of shows.  It's a non-profit I like a lot and actually donate money to support them.  I donate to Seattle's Earshot Jazz as well.

Valentine's Day - I am not a fan.   I believe that there doesn't need to be a special day to show your love for people.   If you love someone (whether it is romantic or Platonic) let them know.   You don't need a special day to do that.  It costs nothing to tell someone they are important to you.  And not only will you make that person feel good, you will reap some benefits from it as well.  The downside to Valentine's Day is that many people feel sad and left out when they don't have a special someone in their life.  

I was reading an article recently about the impact of the corona virus in North Korea.   First, it's hard to know exactly what is happening since their government isn't known for its transparency.  However, it appears that North Korea has closed its land borders with Russia and China to minimize the risk of the virus making its way into the country.  However, people monitoring the situation believe that they are already dealing with corona virus cases there.   Many leading doctors and scientists are worried because the health care system is so poor in North Korea.  Beyond that, a large percentage of people live in poverty and are in poor health, making them more susceptible to the serious consequences of a viral infection, if they contract it.  

I woke up yesterday feeling freezing cold.  I had left the window open last night and paid the price for it.   After closing the window and wrapping myself up in a blanket I got to thinking about homeless people and how for them it wouldn't be so simple to get warm.  There was recently a poll in the area and people ranked homelessness as the top issue on their mind.  I would have to agree.   Having a warm safe place to sleep is super important.  It ties in with having affordable health care as well.   It's sad that in a country with so much wealth, there are so many people without stable housing or health care.

Every two years I have to take 40 hours of continuing education to keep my professional licenses.   Normally I do about double that, so it's never an issue.  For someone reason, this cycle I only have 5 hours completed, with 11 months to go until they come due.   I need to find some trainings to attend.   I am not sure why I am being so picky about what I go to this cycle.   I need to be practical and get them done.

Today I was notified that I should expect to be served a subpoena regarding a former client.  Court is never fun, and generally stressful.   I have a couple weeks before the hearing.  Hopefully my involvement in this situation will be limited.  But one never knows until showing up.

I saw the Violent Femmes tonight at the Moore Theater.   After all this time, they still do great shows.   They tend to do most of the songs on their first album.   Most people know all those songs and sing a long to them which is fun.  One of their new songs is a cover of God Bless America.   I am not particularly fond of the most popular version by Kate Smith.  But theirs is so good.  It's a  painful version of it.  There is a sense of conflict regarding one's feelings of love of country with disappointment.   

I switched to doing the New York Times crossword puzzle on-line instead of in the paper.  At first I didn't like it.  Now it's hard to imagine going back to the paper version.  I didn't think I would care about the clock ticking, but I have become focused on not only completing the puzzle but the time it takes.   You certainly can see how tough they are by one's times.   Funny thing is that I seem to do better on Friday puzzles than I do on the Thursday puzzle.   I wonder whether the Friday puzzle gets more attention because I am less distracted by work.   Not really sure what to make of it.

After getting that new flannel shirt, I decided I loved it so much I bought three more.  Flannel is the perfect material for shirts this time of year. Warm and soft.   

It's funny that when I was sick I was eating a lot of chicken soup as well as oranges.   It's now a habit that's stuck with me again.   I crave both.  As a kid I ate at least an orange a day.   They are a comfort food for me.  And chicken soup, well it is like the definition of medicinal comfort food.

The feds. are coming to the office next week for an audit.   Apparently we now are going to have audits twice yearly instead of just once a year.    Even though I have always passed audits without any issues, they still create anxiety.  Chalk it up as another cost in doing business with the government.

Today is the presale for Guns N Roses tickets for this summer at T-Mobile park.    I don't know whether I want to spend the money to see that show.  I mean I would like to see the show, but to get decent tickets it will probably cost an arm and a leg.     I saw them a couple times in the late 1980s.  Is it worth seeing them again 30 years later?   I don't know.

The band War was just at Jazz Alley this weekend.  They always put on a great show.   I tend to go see them every time they are in town because they are so entertaining.     Last night's show was no exception.  They have a great positive energy.  Probably my favorite show of theirs was when they co-headlined a show with Cheech and Chong at Marymoor Park a few years ago.    Everyone may have partaken of some marijuana before the show because they seemed a little "looser",

There is an area of my specialty that has made great leaps and bounds regarding the assessment and treatment of certain people who have committed sexual offenses.   I have referred several clients to a specialist who employs this approach with positive results.  The difficult part of this is that it is expensive and many people cannot afford it.  It's tough to continue treating people with what are acceptable but not preferred methods.   The alternative is that they will not get any treatment at all.  What a moral quandary - provide an OK intervention, or nothing at all because of money.  One question I ask myself is whether I should be trained to do this technique.  Even if I do, I wouldn't be able to provide these services for much less than the specialists who are already treating people with this method because of the associated costs.

I recently watched Dan Rather interview Annie Lennox of The Eurythmics.    She talked about her history as a musician.  One song she is popular for is "Sisters are Doing It for Themselves."  She explained that she loves men, but also feels that it is important for women to be self sufficient as well.     After talking about her music, she then went on to talk about how at some point she had a different calling, and chose to focus on raising awareness and getting help for people dealing with HIV/AIDS.  And specifically for people in Africa.   What a beautiful human being.