Saturday, March 31, 2012

freedom kicking in

Confession –still celebrating my recent success.   It’s happy hour(s).

I was reading back through my blog and happened to scroll up a photo of young Emily alongside a photo of Emily about 10 years later.  Wow!!  Look how she changed as she grew up!  She’s still growing up.  All my girls are still growing up.  Perhaps I’m growing up too.

One committee member sent me a congratulatory email this morning.  I really appreciate her recognition.  My academic advisor called to make sure I’d received the notification email.  She congratulated me too.  All this attention was humbling.  Reading back through the comments on the scoring matrix, I found comments on Chapter 2 and updated  my prior post.  I think I could rewrite Chapter 2 forever, and I just touched the tip of the iceberg in those 48 pages. 

This is the earliest spring I can ever remember.  We hardly had winter, and lilacs in full bloom before end of March?  Ever before?????   Tonight, I stood on the back porch in the dark taking in the wonder of nature.  Bright moon and stars overhead, a violent thunderstorm far off to the northwest, and frogs in the creek.  Night symphony.
splendid redbud

Thursday, March 29, 2012

sweet success - updated

I’m celebrating successes tonight.  The minor success – I passed the test for my risk management class.  I hadn’t taken a test like that in years (where I had to rely on my feeble memory).  I passed so I got credit for the class.  Next month, I return to Findlay for another class in project communication.  BLAH! No doubt I should learn something though.  Communication is not something I’m good at. 
Now for the really, REALLY exciting BIG proposal passed the quality review and NOW is in the hands of the IRB for evaluation.  Am I really that good?  The review matrix had 37 of 38 items marked with the highest rating of Very Well, and one item marked Well.  It looks like I should have been more specific about how EXACTLY this study can contribute to what we don’t know about leading safety in organizations.  The qualitative comments were all positive.  It was Approved with Changes...the only change marked was that I need to remove the word statistically from the third null hypothesis.     
Chapter  1 comments:

"This section of the paper provides very good detail and support for a research study of this type.  All pertinent areas to include the problem statement, rationale, research questions, and hypotheses were addressed.  In Null hypotheses #3 the word statistically should be removed and the words significant differences should remain.  Everything else is presented very well."
Chapter 2 comments:
                              "The literature review provides an excellent supporting array of
                                resources and information that adds leverage to the rationale
                               of the study."
Chapter 3 comments:
"This section of the paper provides a well worded commentary of all pertinent procedures and methods that will be utilized in this study.  This research has the necessary structure and design to move forward.  APPROVED WITH CHANGES." 
WOW!!  I didn’t expect to get such a good report. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

invisible woman

I’m up north in Findlay, Ohio for a 3-day training class in project risk management.  It’s way better than what I usually do 7:30 to 5:30 every day.  There’s no phone ringing (my cell is silenced and put away until breaks), nobody is IMing me, no e-mails or meeting notices popping up, nobody stopping in.  I checked into the motel rather late last night and they had given my room away.  Darn the luck!  They had to give me the gigantic suite for $7 more per night.  Now I have to make due with a room 3 sizes larger than normal, two big screen TVs, a king-size bed, a recliner and couch, and a full kitchen.  I've lived in apartments smaller than this!    
There is something unusual about this class. 
There are 15 students taking the class.  Guess what, I’m the only female student.  To make matters much, MUCH worse, not only am I the only female, I’m the only person who isn’t an engineer.  How did that happen?  These classes are usually mostly information technology people.  Even the instructor used to be an engineer in the Air Force before he started teaching.  Toward the end of the day, we split out into groups to work on a case study involving a PC manufacturer who intended to bid on a contract to make PCs for a gigantic bank going global in 23 countries.  We were to come up with a risk matrix for the project and the engineering boys were unable to go beyond the quantitative analysis of the few items of historical production data provided in the case to look at the real threats and opportunities of a global technology project.  I believe they were totally incapable of doing any qualitative analysis of the contextual information provided to us.  They were polite (politically correct) but they sure as hell didn't want to listen to anything a woman had to say. 
I'm familiar with being the only girl

Oh well, no matter.  I have to study some tonight because I’m required to pass a test when the class is over to get credit.  I doubt I’ll stay with this company long enough to become a certified professional project manager, but it would make me look bad to fail.   

Still no word on my proposal.  I’m not complaining.  They want to take 15 business days.  The thing is 130+ pages long; 15 days is not unreasonable.  Anyway, I’m certain they will reject it.    
Time to work!   

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Now what?

Things are not right. Finally, after 3.5 years of constant slaving away, I now have some free time. How many times over these past years have I said, “Oh if only I could have a little bit of time to catch things up or have some time to do something I want to do.” Well, here it is. NOW I have time. And guess what? It appears that there’s nothing I want to do anymore. I don’t want to clean house, or cook, or bake cookies, or go anywhere, or do anything at all. I hate my job, there’s nothing good to watch on TV, I’m not in the mood to sew or paint. Maybe I should try working in the yard and see if that sparks anything. I sat down at my piano the other night and just sat there…completely uninspired to try and play anything. I’ve had no desire to take my guitar out of its dusty case now that I have time to play around with it.

Maybe I’ve just become a very boring person. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I’ve heard it a million times and maybe it’s true. This is completely unexpected. It’s not that I’m bored, but more that I feel lost without something to be working on.

I wanted to start running again. I used to go to bed early, get up at 4:45, and go for a nice long run before work. I like running in the early morning when it’s dark and few people or dogs are out. I’ve been going to bed by 11 (ok, not as early as I used to go to bed) and when my alarm clock goes off at 5:15, it’s like no way in hell am I rolling out of bed this early.
For some reason, I just expected things to return to normal once I had some free time. This is nothing like normal. The whole point of getting this degree was to get a job where I have more free time. What happens if I have more free time and there’s nothing I want to do with it? I never gave that any consideration at all.

I do have good news.  I got notification that my proposal passed the forms review and has entered the next phase - quality review.  I was told to expect feedback sometime within the next 15 days.  After the quality review (after passing the quality review), the IRB gets a chance to pick it apart.  For now, I'm pleased with the status of things.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

birthday visit

I resubmitted my proposal and was all happy that it has been three business days and still no rejection notice.  But then, I read that resubmissions take 15 days to hear back.  OH, really?  I've come up with a bunch of questions since I resubmitted - I was willing to let the reviewers tell me my mistakes if it was only going to take 2 days.  Now that I learned it's going to take 15 days, I want to be more proactive.

So, we visited Sarah and her menagerie on Sunday afternoon.  Someone never wants to go with us so it’s a girls’ day sort of event when we visit.  Erin and Emily went  with me.  Sarah has ducks, chickens, an underappreciated dog, two cats, a herd of horses, and a new beta fish. 

Glorious day in the country, Fleming County, KY

We had a great visit.  We did the whole happy birthday thing with cake and candles.  And of course, the surprise I especially picked out for her.  She said she liked my gift....I hope so but if not, she can return it and pick out something she likes.  I have not spent much time with her for the past 7 years so it’s harder to guess her likes and dislikes.  These girls look mighty glum lighting the candles on that cake...must be intense concentration.

So, I have to travel north to corporate headquarters next week for some training.  Likely, there’ll be no proposal work for me to do in the evenings.  I thought today that maybe I could call my dad and see if he wants to meet me for dinner one night.  I will be two hours from the town where he lives.  We could meet in a small town between; that’s only an hour drive for each of us.  He might be away on vacation or have plans, or maybe he just won’t want to drive that far.  Maybe I’ll think about it some more and decide after I get up there.    

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Awesome Saturday

It’s been an awesome day!  I slept in, and went to Emily’s concert at the mall.  She played for 40 minutes.  What a treat for  me that was!  Emily in Cannonsburg and Sarah in Lexington, both performing today.  It would be my greatest dream to see my daughters perform together one day.  All of them together.  They do sing and play music together in our home at Christmas.  It's great fun.
So after Emily’s gig, our family went to dinner.  We rarely do that anymore – this was the first time we’ve sat down together to eat since Christmas.  Then home, and me and the girls drove to the mall.  I was looking for a birthday gift for someone special, and found one.  Sarah recently had her 25th birthday.  Tomorrow we celebrate.  I have special gifts for her...this one is a surprise!

After shopping, me and Someone went to the driving range and split a party bucket.  I take about 2/5 of the bucket and work on one side of the range.  He takes the rest and goes to the far side.  I don’t like to talk while I hit balls – he does.  He always talks.  Maybe it’s why I like golf and tennis.  They’re social games but not too social.  In tennis, you are on opposite sides of the court – you fairly shout to each other when you have to talk.  In golf – well, we both prefer to walk over taking a cart.  He tends to slice and I tend to draw - we are both right-handed.  Needless to say, we are rarely within ear shot unless we are on the tee or green. 

Anyway, Someone always finishes way before me.  If I don’t take time to focus each shot, I spray the ball.  He practices like he’s playing 36 holes in 30 minutes.  Then later this evening, me and Someone watched Kentucky beat Iowa in the NCAA tournament on our hi-def TV.  Very exciting game, and pretty nice picture too.  Hi-def is good.  I was never good at basketball, but Someone can play well.

So, it’s getting late.  Tomorrow, I’m getting up early to get some stuff together and head off to Sarah’s.  It’s a birthday celebration and a two-hour drive to get there, across some of the most beautiful countryside you'll ever lay eyes on. 

Still no word on the status of my proposal.  Ignorance is bliss for the moment.        

Friday, March 16, 2012

Game Plan

What’s the game plan?  That’s a phrase I use a lot.  It could be that I learned it from my first husband; he was always asking me about the game plan.  Perhaps it’s because I’m usually always working one, and always have been.  It’s a very bad thing not to have a contingency plan.  The worst times for me have been not when I didn’t know what to do, but more that I didn’t know what I wanted to do. 
I submitted my proposal all glitter and shiny new.  Two days later – it was rejected in the forms review.  There were implied date rules not explicated; they said to “attach” when they really meant “append”;  they now want form X in place of form Y.  And... to my own fault, I left a leading zero off a date month.  It’s just as well, I did some repairs to Chapter 3 that would have been caught for sure later on, and I made some improvements to the front matter.
So it’s re-submitted and I’m trying not to think about any of my research until I hear back.  It could be as early as Monday or as late as April.  So what’s my game plan?  I’m going to try to make the most of the time off I have right now!  Tonight, I went to a karate class (I haven’t practiced once since October)!  I cleaned floors.  I’m screwing around on the computer.  Soon as I’m off this thing, I’m playing my guitar.  So there, world.  F all things related to work.  I’m having fun tonight!     

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I’m going to regret tonight, tomorrow...which it will be in three minutes from now.  ***Celebrating the submission of my proposal properly tonight***   Please excuse sloppy grammar and spurious punctuation – past caring at the moment.  It feels like I’ve come back from a near-death experience.  How would I know what that feels like?  It’s a sudden disorientation.  With one click of the Submit button, instant change happened.

Thank God I took today off work.  I’d have been a zombie-queen.  It was a 5-day weekend with four days being...I can’t even remember.  It’ all a blur now.  I wonder how bad my proposal will be rejected?  My committee lady commented “I’m sure you will get some helpful feedback.”  Yeah – I’m sure too.  I’m expecting the rating that means What is this shit?   I hope it’s not shit.

Gotta tell you what inspired tonight’s celebration.  Someone drove us to Lexington today.  On the way back, I saw two flocks of wild turkeys in fields.  It’s sort of a thrill to see big wild turkeys grazing...or trying to find food...I doubt they are eating grass.  So in honor of the turkeys – Wild Turkey.

So I’m very proud of Erin.  She wrote final action plan and some challenges for her high school future problem solving team yesterday in the State Governor’s Cup competition.  Someone and I went to the awards ceremony today, in Lexington.  Her team took 4th place and will advance to the international competition in Indianapolis this summer.  Erin hopes the Austrailian and New Zealand boys return this year.
She loves the way they talk.
When she got home, she explained the final action plan her team decided on and explained the theory that supported their solution.  I was in awe and thrilled to see her so enthused.  She was talking and grabbed a sheet of paper, flipped it over (a page of my table of contents), and drew this as she explained it to me.  J    
Expected impact of a free trade agreement among war-torn countries

Monday, March 12, 2012


It’s late but too much excitement in my head at the moment – and I’ve just got to finish a ceremonious drink of Wild Turkey before calling it quits.
I submitted my proposal 30 minutes ago.  It’s done!!!  Hallelujah!!!  I was worried the day would never come and honestly, I feel like there’s not the slightest glimmer of hope it’ll be accepted.   Still, it’s done!  It's supposed to take minimum 15 days to hear back about it.


Running on fumes now ....I gave “all-nighter”  a new definition this weekend.  Literally!  We switched to Dayight Savings Time Sunday morning.  I’d worked all day Saturday through the night.  I noticed the time on my computer and thought something was screwy.  “It can’t be 7:30 AM!”  I looked out the window and saw dawn.  I looked at my watch and it still said 6:30.  “Oh shit, it’s really late,” I said.   Late?  I was the first one up. 
I’m off work tomorrow (  Someone and I are going to Lexington to see Erin “win” the Governor’s Cup State competition.  Even if our school doesn’t win, perhaps the FPS team will place high enough to advance to internationals.  We will go watch the awards ceremony and cheer for our daughter.   The team competed last night and there’s nothing to see when they compete.   The 4-person team goes into a closed room and gets two hours to solve a problem scenario. 

OK, getting tired now so I’ll post this and crash.