Thursday, September 29, 2011

dove and hawk

Last night, I was trying to dig down into work for my class, but the girls asked me to proof their English essays.   They both have the same course and same teacher but for different class periods, thus the same assignments.  The assignment required them to take a stand for or against war and argue the position.  Emily took a pro-war position, arguing that war helps the economy, unites people with a sense of patriotism, makes a nation stronger (in that resources go for building weapons and soldiers are getting experience), and results in advances in technology.  Erin took the against-war position for obvious reasons – all the suffering and destruction they cause, and money spent to wage war could be spent on health care, improving infrastructure, etc.  One of these girls does not take constructive criticism well, but I won’t name names.  I have to be very careful with both or they get all defensive and pissy.  It’s shaky ground.        

Anyway, helping with essays was like almost two hours of my evening, and then it was getting late. I downloaded some articles to read that hopefully will be useful for one of three sections I have to write for my team. LAST PAPER!!! Crawling to the finish line.

Time for a haircut again - I’ve been putting it off, along with lots of other things. It’s what procrastinators do, and it sucks being one. We just put shit off because why waste time doing what we don’t want to do when we might just die tonight anyway or maybe the world will end. That sounds rather pessimistic, or optimistic…depending on your point of view. My point of view changes often.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Exceeding thermal limits

Things are getting crazy again. It’s all going to explode, melt down, or hit the fan…or whatever.  Funny how that works – just keep piling on and piling on until finally it all crashes like a house of cards.  Or in my situation, it’s time for some serious spontaneous combustion.  Maybe that’s what happened to the poor Irish man.  He just got wound so tight he had an internal holocaust. 
I used to tell the kids their toys would spontaneously combust if they didn’t pick them up off the floor.   Maybe the real truth was that their mommy was at the meltdown threshold – maybe she was ready to catch fire.  Up in smoke.  Maybe it’s time to visit the liquor store again – get some coolant for the reactor core.    

Monday, September 26, 2011


Today was what?

Episodic…that’s what it was!


Into the Trench,



Drain out.


POWER – breath it in…….


So, yeah, that was today. And I can’t believe I just had a conversation with Gracie. Gracie has been giving me some defiant-dog tactics lately. She knows what no means, but by no means is she obedient. Well some of the time she is. She minded fairly well until the girls got home….and therein probably lies the problem. When I’m home with her, there’s not much action….just me sitting and working, very low noise. When the girls are here, there’s constant motion and noise. Probably keeps her wired up.

Gracie, asleep at the bone

The ecstacy today was getting feedback on last week’s paper. It’s pleasing to be praised.

I was proofing the one due tonight. For the first time (and hopefully this doesn’t jynx me) I feel confident it will pass muster. That was my last individual paper for the last course.

H-A-L-L-E-L-U-J-A-H    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Victoria's Secret

It was not a productive day today. Beautiful outside though – one of those clear air, early fall days. I’ve written five reply posts today, and did some collaboration with my team on the leadership dimensions for our model. I wanted to write all six posts today…didn’t happen.

So now, I’m celebrating Saturday night and failure. Ok, not failure, we’ll call it performing at about 13.5 sigma (on a Six Sigma scale). That pretty much equals failure but I don’t have to use the F word. We’ll euphemistically call it significant improvement opportunity.

I found this flyer from Victoria’s Secret that came in the mail. Erin added a bit of her insightful art work to it. I love it! It’s so female! (Click photo to enlarge it)

The girls had a blast at the Paranormal Convention today, Someone was miserable all day long and came home in the most vile of moods. Part of the problem is that he got lost coming and going. Partly because they deviated from planned schedule (because of spatial deficiencies and partly because of web site misinformation). Someone ran on the treadmill for at least two full hours after he took a nap this evening. It seems excessive to me (all that running), but I let him go at it without interfering. Someone is getting too short-tempered with me these days.

The end is near. Thank you God and Jesus and Mother Mary and all The Saints that be. Tomorrow I write one post and start (perhaps finish) the final individual paper I’ll ever have to write for this program. It’s going to be a long paper, but I’ve already layed it out in my head. Most of the research is done. Maybe this one will fall together by itself. I better hope so. Tomorrow might be a rough day. Today was…disappointing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

under the knife and paranormal activity

I dropped poor Gracie off at the vet’s this morning.  I feel so guilty!  It’s the right thing to do though – she will be spayed and never have puppies.  Maybe that means somebody who wants a puppy will go rescue one from the pound, or keep a stray that gets dumped on them rather than take a puppy we have to find a home for.  The girls are hoping it makes her less volatile.  The surgery might do that for a few days, but she is an energetic dog by nature.  No doubt she is smart and she has traits of German shepherd and lab in her, but I think she is some sort of terrier mix.  She’s not going to be a big dog and she definitely doesn’t have the disposition of either of those breeds.  The only thing big about her is her ears – I love them.  They remind me of rabbit ears.  When she runs, they lay flat and flop.    

Someone promised to take the girls to the Paranormal Convention tomorrow in Lexington, Kentucky (a little less than two hours from here). It’s a long story. He promised to take them for the whole weekend and then when they tried to hold him to the promise, he backed off and said they could do the entire 12 hour day Saturday. He tried to convince me to go – we could get a motel and I could stay there and work on my paper and he could watch TV. It was looking like I was going to have to go, but hey – we have a dog now and she’s having surgery today. I can’t go!! Someone agreed I should stay home and babysit our poor dog. I offered to pay for the motel room but he says two days is too much. The girls are excited to get autographs from the ghost adventurers who will be there.

The Paranormal Convention might be fun, at least for a few hours. Someone is not one who likes adventure or new things. This is one major difference between us. If we are still together in the future, I will probably be taking some vacations without him. I want to see Europe, and Canada, and travel all over the United States. Someone only desires to visit Disney World and Myrtle Beach (and perhaps Hawaii…again). I’m planning to take us to Phoenix next summer for my graduation. I can’t wait to visit the Grand Canyon, and maybe go rafting on the Salt River. Someone looks at me with angst when I say anything about the trip. He thinks we should get the graduation over with and jump a plane for Myrtle Beach. Our girls are almost 16 and they have seen Myrtle Beach every year of their lives. They’ve been to Disney World once, and one time (at my insistence) we went to Niagara Falls. Someone almost didn’t go with us, but changed his mind at the last minute. He even said he was surprised that it wasn’t nearly as bad as he thought it would be, but he would have had more fun in Myrtle Beach. Someone has a very closed mind.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

visitor from hell

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.' --- Edgar Allan Poe

Regretfully, I opened the door and invited that visitor in last night.




Until next time….


I just learned my friend has completed her study; she’s written the last two chapters and submitted them to her editor. Ugh! I feel like such a failure!!! I haven’t failed yet, but hell, I want to be where she is. I’m slow. It’s true. Her topic is polypharmacology – she’s going to be a health care admin doctor. I’m going to be a doctor of management doctor. Near miss incidents interest me….and safety systems. Safety systems are all about perceptions of risk. People do what they do based on their perceptions of risk. Maybe that’s my assumption…perhaps it’s not true. Hmmmmmmm.

This was my reflection statement this week. It has a direct relationship to my dissertation.

The discussions this week reflected the importance of planning for strategic project success. Cho and Wright (2010) broadly defined a strategic project as one that plays a direct role in supporting a company’s strategy or has a profound effect on a company’s success or destiny. Regarding safety management systems, safety professionals rely on vendors’ promises and statistics to determine if implementing a safety system will improve safety in the workplace. In workplaces where the incident rate is very low, implementing a new safety system makes no measureable difference on traditional lagging metrics (number of injuries, designated environmental incidents, first aid cases, fatalities).

Safety systems are implemented similarly to security systems in that they are intended to provide layers of protection. New safety systems are added, but older systems are rarely decommissioned. Safety managers are afraid to remove anything for fear a resulting gap might have negative consequences. Is it possible for a successfully implemented strategic system to have a profound effect on a company’s failure?


Cho, V., & Wright, R. (2010). Exploring the evaluation framework of strategic information systems using repertory grid technique: a cognitive perspective from chief information officers. Behaviour & Information Technology, 29(5), 447-457. doi:10.1080/01449290802121206

I have a good feeling about my girls getting tutored for their pre-calculus class. It’s a long story – the twin who needed tutoring the most resisted help. They are both brilliant (of course, all my kids are brilliant :)  and talented, and so is my step-daughter!) Their strengths are diverse but I think this is expected since people are diverse.

The twins are sophomores in high school this year, turning 16 in December. Where does the time go? It seems like only a few short years ago I was ragged from changing diapers and holding babies.  (The twins are about 3 or 4 in this picture, the olders are about 13 and 15...I think).    

Sunday, September 18, 2011

time for a cool change

It was time for a change! I let go of the redbuds and brought out a start-of-fall picture at the top of my blog here. The picture was taken with my crappy little cell phone. This past Friday, I took a quick walk around the lake behind the office building. It’s a wonderful place to walk and get away for a few minutes. The little lake is down over the hill on the right side.

Before you get to this point on the path, there’s a beautiful persimmon tree. I love persimmon trees. My great grandfather’s farm had a huge persimmon tree and giant black walnut across from the churchyard next door. I’ve eaten a few of them – they’re OK, not something I would seek out only if starving to death, literally. There was also a persimmon tree in the backyard of my house on Brentwood. And this one here on the grounds of my office building. I snapped this photo on Friday too. If you look closely (click to enlarge) you can see dark orange persimmons hanging from the branches.

Persimmon Tree

I need to get back to work.  Today, I researched and wrote about task and human integration in international acquisitions, and the meaning and purpose of a vision statement.  My team has already begun collaboration and deliberation to develop a 3D leadership model for planning and implementing successful strategic information system projects.  Tomorrow, there’s another giant paper to crank out. 
Speaking of change...I have new strings for my guitar.  That sounds like more fun than work :)))

Friday, September 16, 2011

ain't no hollaback girl

“Oh hot damn, this is my jam
Keep me partyin to the A.M.
You all don't understand
Make me throw my hands in the
ayer, ay, ayer, ayer, ay, ayer”  ---- Flo Rida

It’s only about a 10 minute ride between our home and school in the morning – the girls have to get those last few minutes of music into their heads before I drop them off. They played this Oh hot damn number twice this morning and now it’s stuck in my head. Somehow, Hollaback Girl is more like what I feel when walking into my office and seeing a mountain on my desk….

“Uh huh, this my shit
All the girls stomp your feet like this
A few times I've been around that track
So it's not just gonna happen like that
Cause I ain't no hollaback girl
I ain't no hollaback girl”  ------ Gwen Stefani

Not sure if all this work is my jam or my shit…but it’s piling up lately. But oh hot damn, at least it’s Friday and I only have to look at my shit one more day.  Time to dive in!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

weird phenomena

There’s a katydid loose in the house tonight. A LARGE lovely green one. Katydid green is devine. My sweet Emily is terrified of any small thing with wings. Her phobia includes butterflies, moths (especially moths), grasshoppers, even lady bugs and lightning bugs (for heaven’s sakes)…and katydids. We seem to have a lot of them this fall….not sure why.  Should be interesting in the morning if the katydid survives a dog and two cats. 

Another weird phenomenon happened today. I was coming home from work tonight and sat across from this church at the red light. Take a look – a fairy ring (of toadstools). I didn’t see them in the morning, but they popped out that big at least overnight (if not just in the afternoon). We have a bunch of small ones growing in our back yard.

Another unfortunate thing happened tonight.  About 20 miles north of here, a bad lightning storm hit.  Three structures were struck and started fires.  A fireman was also struck.  The report sounds like it was a prime area for a tornado.  We saw the sky lighting up from here, and heard the very low, distant rumble of thunder.
When I think about somebody getting struck by lightning, my nerves cringe all over. I was shocked when I was 17. Working as “kitchen help” in a small Italian pizza place, the kitchen help did everything – well, everything except make deliveries, carry heavy stuff, clean the freezers, or mop floors. It was late on a very busy night, we were short-handed with only four of us working the kitchen. I was in the front making pizzas, but I smelled something burning in the back oven. I hurried to the back and grabbed a potholder off the counter because the oven doors were always hot. The pot holder was very wet and when I took hold of the oven door with it, I felt a hard jolt – like it knocked all the air out of me. I don’t know what happened really, but the ladies said I took hold of the door and froze for like 5 seconds. I let go, took two or three steps back, and fell back. I remember being on the floor, everything inside feeling like jello, and then I started to cry uncontrollably. I just sat there and cried and people were standing around me looking at me – it was so humiliating! Anyway, the owner/manager took me to the back room and gave me some vodka…yeah, really. That settled my jagged nerves for sure. I sat there and watched TV for the rest of the night until my shift was up. He gave me the next day off too.

Before I left the restaurant that night, the electrician came in and talked to me. He said he wanted to see what kind of shoes I had on. They were running shows with whatever kind of composite soles they put on those shoes back then. He told me they were lucky shoes.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

diggin' in the dirt

I stepped outside this morning – the sun was shining, birds were singing, not a cloud in the sky, 80 degrees today…..and here I sat in front of this damn laptop all day. October 3rd is a lifetime away. I have to throw away four more weekends and then finally, I’ll have more freedom. This has been such a drudge, and at the same time, it hardly seems more than a few blinks of an eye.

I’m only kidding myself. When this class ends, I must dive and bury into getting a proposal finished. At least it’ll be something far more interesting than this crap I’m writing day after day. No…too harsh…I wrote some good crap today – stuff I really care about.  It's a good place.

Everything inside this pea-brain of mine is all squirreled up lately. It does no good to complain or write about it. Maybe old age makes it impossible to keep everything sorted all neat and orderly, so our brains change from a nice grid of organized and categorized information into a haystack of raw data. We transform from lasagna to spaghetti – everything we know, all neatly layered and confined to a pan, changes to squiggly chaos on an open platter. That seems to be what is happening to me…anyway. Maybe it’s the start of Alzheimer’s. There’s plenty of that on my dad’s side…don’t know if there’s any on my mother’s side. It seems better to think this happens to everyone as a consequence of age rather than this happens to me because my brain is becoming jello.

Dick & me, St. Paul, KY

I found a small album of photos a few weeks ago. Here’s another one developed in 1960. It’s my older brother and me. We are playing in the dirt in front of my great grandparents’ house in St. Paul, KY. The picket fence in the photo is a compass arrow in my memory system. The fence is a significant boundary line in my life.

At work, I’m in a very favorable position of indirect power recently. It’s kind of been fun the past few days. Can work be fun? Is that possible?

That picture of me and Dick in the dirt reminds me of how much I miss working in my garden.  Gardens also have very special meaning for me.  Maybe that would make an interesting future blog post.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I found this photo of me and my brothers. If the picture was developed shortly after it was taken (assuming the date stamp is the date it was developed), I am not quite three, Mike is not quite two, and Dick is not yet five. Hmmm. I suppose that makes us 1, 2, and 4, but we look older than that. I’m not sure where the photo was taken, perhaps in the front yard of my great grandparents house. They had a swing like that in their front yard, but the grass was not as lush as it appears to be in this photo. The yard had many giant maple trees that made the grass thin because of so much shade. Picking up sticks all year was a regular chore for us kids, and raking leaves in the fall was a major project.
I found this photo and it makes me wonder about a lot of things….not suitable blog material. They say acorns don’t fall far from the trees. I am thankful that they can and do in some cases.

Tomorrow, I have to stir up some trouble at work. It will be an interesting day, if nothing else!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Balanced Scorecard

Holiday is over and I’m still standing (well…sitting really). The paper for tonight was a bear to write. I submitted it with 120 or so words over the minimum. This paper built onto last week’s paper. I looked ahead at what next weekend has in store…immediate disappointment. MORE of this case study. This week, I had to ID and discuss immediate issues for “the company” that’s hell-bent on lightening-speed global expansion. The prompt said to do all the most critical issues…I came up with infrastructure, project management, relationship management, security, change management, and performance measurement. There were so many more I wanted to include…but how much can one global manager handle (assuming I’m the manager). EEEEEK….did I really relegate our customers to second priority?? It’s my bias to ignore external customers…I’ve never interfaced with them in any of my positions in this field.

So Gracie was pretty much a bad dog today. I’ve been writing about balanced scorecards recently…they not only facilitate assessment, but they provide a platform for improvement (in case you were wondering). If I were to create one for Gracie, it would look like this.

Our puppy is nearly 6 months old now and becoming less fearful of new things.  She barks much more than she did at first.  She will make a fine watchdog; she barks when she hears cars and people coming in.  We're also working on teaching her not to nip us when she plays.  She has sharp teeth! 
So..I best hit the hay.  My alarm goes off in 5 hours....and then it starts all over again. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011


So, I told myself no whiskey and no fun stuff until the proposal is submitted. Well, things fell apart last night. SOMEONE is on strike as far as dealing with the kids (life) so I stepped up and said, OK, I’ll do my fair share this weekend (yeah, I’m just that kind of mother). So, the girls had a “hot date” to meet boys at the movies last night. I dropped them off at the cinema and LIQUOR STORE became a driving force in my brain. I went on auto pilot – I stopped, walked in, and bought Makers Mark. They had no 80 proof Wild Turkey in stock…my second favorite. I usually buy turkey because it’s $10 less per bottle (there abouts). So I bought the expensive MM last night but had second thoughts and didn’t open it….

I’m a little bit ahead with my school work this week. I have a giant paper due Monday night, but Monday is a holiday and I have all day to throw it together. Tomorrow I’ll start on it, and I only have two more posts, and the dreaded reflection statement to write by Monday night. The posts are easy this week. Students had to post last week’s big paper in a public forum. We were encouraged to critique each others’ assessments for participation credit this week. Since we all wrote basically most of the same ideas, mainly we’re just exchanging BS source summaries. Today I wrote about such lovely things as balanced scorecard systems, logistics as it should be considered as a vital part of a fully-integrated supply chain system, and some blib-blab about OLAP versus qualitative research.

So, tonight I’m making up for some lost time this summer. My ugly mug is still recovering from Fluorouracil, and I’m still supposed to avoid sun until all the red is gone. It’s probably now 60% gone, and I hadn’t played any tennis since early July. The sky was completely overcast this evening, never mind the 96 degree heat and nearly 100% humidity. I woke SOMEONE up and said, “Let’s go play some tennis.” He jumped up like a 2-year-old….OK, maybe like a 5-year-old.

I am WAY out of practice. All my serves were going long. I was hitting sky balls and hitting the net top. Skill leaves quick, but it was fun. October 3rd is the last day of the last class. My golf clubs miss me. They need new grips. I should get that done NOW.

Right now, my piano misses me….and I miss Sarah. How lucky that technology allows me to hear her and see her whenever I desire….

(Karly Dawn and Sarah)

Friday, September 2, 2011

looking for adventure, or whatever comes my way

I’ve been searching and looking at property again.  That beautiful property on Kinniconnick is still available.  It would be ideal if only it were about 30 minutes closer to home and the entire creek bottom didn’t flood.  It’s beautiful there, but a flood plain is not the place for starting my dream orchard.  I found 167 acres in Lawrence County, Kentucky priced at less than $800 per acre.  It comes with no mineral rights which I think means a coal company could probably come in and destroy it if they wish.  It is advertised as a hunter’s paradise because it hasn’t been hunted in over 3 years and it has bear, elk, wolves, bobcats, and beaver.  Yes, it’s my dream to have a place to go get lost in the woods, but I don’t want to have to be looking over my shoulder to see if something is stalking me.   

My first husband’s father has some beautiful property in Mason County, Kentucky. Woody (first husband) loved to hunt out there…he loved to hunt anywhere. I like to hike so I’d go with him for a chance to be in the great outdoors and to watch the dog(s) work. He and I had some real adventures in the woods. Once in Rowan County we got attacked by bats..I’m not really sure their intent was to attack us, but it was a group of bats and they kept swooping down on us - close enough to feel the wind from their wings and they chased us when we ran. Woody shot at them until he ran out of shells. Another time, we had been wandering lost for over an hour, it was dusk, and we were tired, hungry, and fretting about having to spend the night in the woods. Finally, we decided to climb the tallest hill and see if we could see a road or house before it got too dark. The hill was nearly vertical so it was a stuggle to climb it. We used the trees and scrub bushes to pull ourselves up, stopping frequently to rest by leaning our backs against the trees for support. Finally at the top and with just light enough to still see, we found the road and our car right on the other side of this crazy hill. If we had just kept following the creek on around it we would have been there. Climbing down was tedious too, but at least we knew we weren’t lost.

Now it’s the start of September, the locust trees are dropping yellowish leaves reminding me fall is just around the corner. Thanks to Labor Day, we have a three-day weekend. I appreciate the extra day off since I have to write a giant dreary paper for my class. I’m tired of this stuff…burnout is back. I’ve been telling myself no drinking or fun stuff until my proposal is submitted. It’s tough love….or something like that….probably love has anything at all to do with it. There’ll be no time to work on my proposal until this damn class is over. It really sucks being me sometimes. Will 100 acres be enough space to get away from myself? Maybe 100 acres, a bottle of whiskey, and whatever other fun stuff I can find. I need a long vacation away from me.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Arrogant JERK...maybe

I was thinking all day about what an arrogant jerk the prof of my LAST CLASS is. Our class is small – 11 people and none have dropped out yet. People ask him questions and he never gives a straight answer, and he kind of puts a dig in to his responses. Anyway, I asked a question at the very beginning regarding something administrative and confusing on the syllabus. He gave me a smart-ass nonanswer, so I decided he won’t be getting any more questions from me.

One of the discussion questions due this week asked us about pitfalls IT managers should avoid. We were supposed to base the response on our own experience. One of the pitfalls I wrote about is something I’m dealing with at work right now. Of course, we can never just answer the question based on our own experience. I had to research and find a theoretical foundation for my response. Anyway, the issue is that my boss gives priority to the squeaky wheels and ignores the department managers who don’t ask for anything. Who can operate their business without IT in this world? NOBODY! This particular business manager has no strategy other than to let his local managers manage their IT. As a result, there’s chaos….it’s expensive, inefficient, no standards, and it’s putting the company at risk…seriously. Anyway, I talked to my boss and he says the man doesn’t want to hear it so it’s up to me to persuade him to adopt a more strategic approach. How persuaded would you be if management sent somebody 6 levels below you to tell you what you’re doing is wrong? Anyway, arrogant prof replied to my post and asked if I thought servant leadership could work as a solution. Well, first of all, that allows me to write up a quick answer because I’ve been researching servant leadership extensively for my dissertation. I’m required to write 6 reply posts per week to meet class participation requirements. Second of all….it’s made me think of a new approach to working with the guy. The real problem is the guy is overworked and always in the field. We are 5 hours apart in location so face-to-face meetings more than once or twice a year are impossible. The other issue is that I really don’t have time for him.

Other news….my face is getting better. It’s still red and I’ve got 4 big scabs left, but it’s better. Also, Gracie is getting good at playing fetch and Jack almost went outside today. He is a scaredy-cat. Something spooked him over a year ago and he rarely goes more than a few yards from an open door since then.

 If you click on the picture, you see my animals up close!  Blogger has made some worthy enhancements.

Our menagerie (Molly, Gracie, Jack)