Thursday, December 30, 2010

More ideas

The evening flew by and too many interruptions to be productive tonight.  I left the office relatively early (worked only 9 hours today) so I could cook supper for the family.  I did that, started a load of laundry, chatted with Sarah on the phone several times, and then my brother and his girlfriend stopped by to glean info about buying a laptop.

Most recent vocabulary words:

amenable - willing to cooperate; accountable
distal - situated away from the point of attachment

One possilble new topic - from a study published in 2007 - explore risks associated with worker turnover.  I don't think I can relate this to information systems or technology

From a study published in 2007 - In comparison to safety performance of peer companies, how do different levels of management and employees perceive the safety performance of their company?  This is important from a safety culture standpoint.  Also, from a financial standpoint.  The researchers noted that upper management makes budgetary decisions and in this particular study, they perceive their company is doing as well or better than peers.  They base their perceptions/opinions on traditional lagging metrics that have nothing to do with risk level.  I'm not sure how to put together a valid population for a study like this, but I can relate to information systems.  It relates directly to purchasing decisions for EHS information systems.

From a 2008 study, the researcher calls for increasing our understanding of near misses in relation to regulatory enforcement and workplace risk.  This is intriguing since I am supposed to develop a near miss data collection and reporting system next year.  How can I relate this to information systems or technology?

I;m considering the topic about auditing.  It was recommended by researchers in a study pubished 2010.  I did a quick scan and the researchers are correct - very few studies published on the topic.  Auditing??  I put that right up there with accounting in boring topics.  If this is the one, I'll have to find some semi-interesting facet to focus on.  Is their an interesting facet?? 

Enough blogging for tonight!  To bed with me so I can get up and go to work in 5 hours.  UGH!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tweak the topic...or not

It’s been a day of reading and re-rereading studies, and paying close attention to the suggestions for future research.  These are gold nuggets to me right now or maybe like Jack’s magic beans.  I’m hoping an idea for a new dissertation topic grows before Friday.  

So, I will list some vocab words for me today.  Some of these I knew but they were used unusually, so I looked them up again to see if there were other meanings.

presage - omen; sense of something to come
propensity - tendency, proclivity
proximal - near
salient - noticeable; striking
conjunctive - connective
iatrogenic - caused by a doctor or medical treatment
devolution - delegating power or responsibility

One topic area that was interesting is in the area of auditing safety.  Safety auditing is important to perceptions of safety (safety culture creation and sustainance).  The big question in my mind is how to link auditing to information systems and technology.  Technology includes "know how".  The results of the audit will somehow be codified and hopefully used to improve the safety system.  Is all auditing part of some sort of management system?  Do we only audit what we plan to manage?  So, regarding safety audits - researchers think we need more research understanding how perceptions of audit procedures and practices influence safety climate.

Currently at work, I'm developing concepts for a near miss reporting system through research and discovery.  One group of researchers detailed a study about risk perceptions and their relationship with reporting injuries, first aids, and near misses.  They recommended for future researchers to repeat the study in a different geographic area, or focus on specific industries or occupations.  This is tempting, but again, how do I relate this to information systems and technology?  Does safety management count as technology?

One other idea - it does relate to information systems.  One researcher mentioned difficulty of near miss and safety systems because people under-report or do not report injuries and near misses because they don't want to be blamed, they fear they will lose their jobs, or they think management doesn't care.  In the case of near miss reporting, the researchers do not believe near misses should be reported anonymously.  It's important the reporter knows how and when the issue is addressed.  The researchers advocated using confidential reporting.  As an employee, how many of us trust our employer to keep things that are supposed to be confidential, confidential?  Is anything electronic truely anonymous?  Are comments submitted via handwritten paper or card going to result in more reports?  What about reports phoned in?  Maybe not so much - are pay phones too much of a thing of the past yet?  Surely somebody has done a study on this already!  This would apply to not only safety, but also ethics integrity.  The whistleblower law is ineffective because the whistleblower is forever marked and oftentimes can't find another job. 

Well, it's getting late.  I could be on this dang computer all night.  One more day off work tomorrow - last vacation day for the year.  Tomorrow, I will learn more.  MUCH MORE.  

Sunday, December 26, 2010

revision ad infinitum

I reread my previous post. Everytime I do that, I want to pull it up and edit it. Why is it I can never say what I mean the first iteration?? Perhaps people who are better writers than I, or eloquent speakers, can just do that.  People like me must muddle through.

So, the bit about nailing coffins…Sarah pointed out a central nail would go through the body. What I was trying to build with that metaphor, was the concept that one decisive act can define the future for many people . Amen. But I must say the thought of nailing a spike through the center of a coffin sounds rather vampirish.

My profile pic looks a bit creepy in thumbnail size. The image was made by daughter, Sarah. It is a collage of photos of rocks. My face, neck, and mouth are polished slices of agate. The background is (I believe) repeated images of fluorite. The rose is sandstone. I love rocks (and my daughter(s)).

We have a skiff of snow on top of the other snow. The roads are clear, so that is mainly what matters this time of year. All hope of spring is gone until March arrives.  The night is cold and lit up with Christmas lights!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Music of the Night

Merry Christmas to all.  It's 9PM and time to start thinking about tactical plans for tomorrow.  Busy day ahead!

Christmas Eve and today have been lovely.  On Christmas Eve, my daughters collected around the piano and sang Christmas carols.  Over Thanksgiving, they played strings and piano.  Sarah played fiddle (she will not let me call it a violin), Erin played viola, and Emily played cello or piano.  It was so much fun!

Today the kids got us up early to open gifts.  We opened presents and then all the kids and the hubbie (aka Someone) went back to bed.  I stayed up and made a vat of mashed potatoes and a vege casserole to take with us to a big family dinner - Someone's family has Christmas dinner together every year.

This weekend, we played a family game of Monopoly and I learned to play Apples to Apples.  Monopoly is such a dreary game - but it does goes quicker when there are 4 players.  Sarah captured Park Place and Boardwalk early in the game - that was the central spike in the coffin for the rest of us.  She ended up taking the whole row (except for the railroad) - she had the dark blue and green properties, and consequently won. 

Then a much more fun game - Apples to Apples.  The kids taught us how.  It's fast moving and easy to learn.  Someone and I had fun playing.  Today after dinner, 9 of us sat around the table and played.  The youngest player was 10 and she enjoyed it - it's really a good game for a wide range of ages.  Erin won that one by a huge margin....she is quite creative (like her sisters).

Tomorrow will be a day of working on my dissertation.  I'm at the crossroads...or perhaps it's like laying on a railroad track.  If I don't get up and get moving in the right direction, I should just jump off the track, or be crushed.  Such an easy, EASY thing to do - jump off the track.  I've been lingering too long in one spot...time to move.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Deliberate procrastination

It's what happened today - NOTHING that I was supposed to do.  I am taking 2 vacation days with the holiday to do some intensive research.  Tonight's work did not happen. Instead,  I played piano, wrapped a couple of Christmas gifts, and practiced some cool karate moves. Honestly, I planned to get some files organized and backed up - preliminary stuff.  Tomorrow...FORWARD!  Take no prisoners. 

Sarah visited us and brought her pals, Thomas and Jack.  Jack was a special treat because his face is similar to Chewy's, and we all miss Chewy so much.  I suppose we'll be getting another dog this year.  Chewy died November, 2009.    

     What will I do with six days off from work?  It's tempting to finish writing Chapter 2...but probably it would be wiser to find a new topic instead..or at least figure out how to adapt the existing topic to fit something else.  All these lovely plans make me sleepy...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, December 20, 2010

Special Needs Laundry

Tonight is a brief night of celebration - my work is submitted on time and no more school work tonight!  Winter Break officially starts tomorrow.  Now I have two weeks to rework my dissertation topic - find a new one, or twist the current one to fit something else. 

Tonight I am catching up laundry...if that is possible.  It seems like at least 50% of the girls' stuff is what I call Special Needs Laundry.  It has to be washed in cold, line dry, or air dry, or lay flat, or....whatever!  It's not washer-2-dryer friendly.  I need to invest in a drying rack company, I'd bet they're all in China. 

The world is getting smaller.  My piece of it had better be waiting for me when I finish this crazy program...11 months from now if all goes well (so far...not so well).  My ideal place will have a stream running through it with lots of wooded hills and some open pastures.  A good-sized pond would be exceptionally nice.  No noise, blue skies, butterflies, Queen Anne's Lace, blackberries, bluebirds, and hawks overhead.  My bit of heaven.   

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A little help, please?

I sent e-mails to my committee members explaining my dire situation.  I solicited advice and inspiration from both of them.  I'm now throwing myself at the mercy of anyone who might be able to help.  Obviously my mentor is not going to be involved - he is content to sit by while I flounder.  The basic conversation with him was like me saying "I'm drowning" and him saying "then get out of the water".  Like, if it were that easy, I would have a new topic and the damn thing written by now! 

Geez, I'm blogging instead of working, and instead of Christmas shopping.  I promised myself I would go online and do all the shopping tonight.  It's hard to be in the spirit of Christmas with so much brain clutter.  The girls have birthdays Friday and I need to prepare for their party.  How does one prepare for a "sleepover" with 9 girls?  Lots of serious junk food, food, and more food.  They will eat and text all night long.  My girls looked like this about 12 years ago.

And last week, they looked like this.

They rarely, if ever, dress alike.  They are both wearing red in this photo because they were dressed for their Christmas orchestra recital.  All  members wore black skirts or pants and red, green, or white tops.  Anyway, my little girls will soon be 15 years old.  They will be wanting their driving permits in a year.  Two teenage drivers on our car insurance. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$  Scary thought!

I'd better commence shopping.  Perhaps a bit of fine Kentucky bourbon will put me in the mood.  Tis the season to run up some major credit card debt.  The girls gave me lists of things they'd like to have for their birthday or Christmas.  Erin's list has 15 items.  Emily's list has 72 items.  I guess some people are more needy (or greedy) than others. 

What do I want for Christmas?  A dissertation topic that will work.  That's all I want. 


Kicking back a little bit tonight.  I turned in my paper, wrote and submitted my reflection statement.  Caught up now...until tomorrow.  It does give me a sense of accomplishment to be "caught up" on something.

Erin built a snowman today.  What a pleasure to drive up to the house and be greeted by this little guy.  I apologize for the dimness of the photo - it was nearly night when I got home and my phone camera sucks. 

 Still no dissertation topic has come to mind.  I have a hard time thinking outside the confines of corporate walls.  I need to step away from bricks and morter and think in terms of Internet.  What can be done with the Internet.  ListServs are powerful, social networking is powerful.

So it's nearly Christmas, and nearly birthday time for my daughters.  They will be 15!  Where does 15 years go?  Where did the last three years go?  University of Phoenix took it.  More realistically - I gave it.  I paid them to take it!!! 

 On this day fifteen years ago, I was hugely pregnant; the babies were not due for at least two months,  We had two cribs set up and ready, and the bedroom painted...but I was not ready when the time came.  Total disbelief, and then denial - THIS can't possibly be happening today.  But it did.   

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Transition Mission

Contrary to what I stated in the prior post, I most defintely do NOT what a do-over.  Enough said about that!

So today was not a treat at all, but perhaps I have improved my disposition toward IT governance.  The principles are good, but the implementation is stifling.  Before researching it more today, I was mostly familiar with the negative aspects of surveillance and controls.  Now I understand how governance can serve as a tool to drive communication and even collaboration in some cases.  Peter Drucker's quote comes to mind, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." 

I've spent all day on this laptop and here I am blogging??  I must be crazy.  Time to light a candle, turn off the lights, and practice karate.  My black belt (studio belt) test is coming up next month.  I know the stuff, but the question is whether or not I can remember it all on the same day.  It's a lot to remember: kata, basic techniques, 3 levels of one steps, single and double counters, combinations, phase kicks, 30 movements, pad drills, defensives, elbow drills, code of ethics, counting, and terms. 

Looking for a new dissertation topic...that too.  HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Things are never what they seem to be.  I want a do-over.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Starting over

The day has come.  My grand plan has failed and now it's time to admit defeat and start over.  Time is up and I failed to get approval for my dissertation study.  Nobody said no...the problem is nobody said yes.  The failure is the same.  Now it's time to look for something else - something that I can do without approval from a company.  Something I can do bureaucracy involved.  The only thing I can think of is a qualitative study where I can solicit people for interviews.  Data is data is data.  I can do the analysis and statistics.  I just need the data.

A year of work...hopefully it's not all for nothing.  I learned a lot....not sure it matters at this point.  Perhaps the most valuable lesson is that I should never depend on anyone else for anything..including my mentor.  I get a two-week winter break from this dreary class I'm in.  If I can take a day or two off work during winter break, that's a big chunk of time to research another topic.  Perhaps something will come to me in a dream tonight. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Waiting for trouble

I am expecting a trouble call from work tonight.  UGH...hopefully it won't happen but more than likely it will.  About 12:15 phone will be ringing and it's so hard to be coherent when woke up from dead sleep. I'd rather just be awake and sleepy.  Perhaps I should go ahead and fire up my work laptop so I can be all ready to get to work.

Tomorrow is a very big day...a make or break day perhaps.  A person of interest is supposed to review my proposal and I PRAY he will call me and promise to make something happen.  Will prayer matter?  I'd like to believe it can't hurt, but I also know God has no reason to be on my side.  If I get nothing from him this week, I will abandon my proposal and beg my mentor for other ideas.  Dr Chairman hinted he had another idea if mine collapsed.  Hopefully he can come up with something that's interesting enough and that will enable me to use at least some of the literature review I've already written.  If not...there's nothing to do but deal with it.  Is anything in this life easy?


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bird Clock

While traveling somewhere this spring, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel to eat dinner.  They had a couple of bird clocks at a very reduced price.  I have seen clocks like these in other stores, not nearly as inexpensive as this, and decided to get one.  An image of a different bird marks each hour and on that hour, you hear a recording of the bird's call.  I know what a few common birds sound like, but I didn't know what any of the twelve on the clock sounded like.  Cool!  I thought I would learn them after hearing them a few times. 

As it turns out, the clock's sound mechanism is right up against the wall - the sound is kind of muffled.  When it goes off, it's startling...everyone says so.  For me, no matter which bird it is, it sounds like mice in the wall.  I can honestly say I haven't learned a single bird call, and it's been months!  Maybe I'm just not home long enough.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Braces Off

Emily got her braces off last week!  I don't have a great picture of her new smile because my phone camera sucks, but here's what I have.  This is the last of our four children to get braces off.  She is happy to be done with the metal in her mouth, and I am happy to be done with the monthly payments :) 

I got a new ray of hope in getting approval to do my dissertation study.  Only by coincidence, I learned my company belongs to a consortium that funds research.  Not only do we fund it, we turned over our most sensative data to the consortium to study, and we pay expenses for employees to participate in studies.  WTF!  I offered to sign a nondisclosure, keep the company completely anonymous, do the study entirely out of my own pocket, and give them a copy of the results when I'm done.  Long story, but I talked to a man who reports directly to the man responsible for getting us involved in the consortium and sent him my prospectus.  He is going to talk to the main man next week.  Keeping my fingers crossed, and praying for cooperation.  I will extend my deadline to the end of next week.  If I hear nothing positive by the end of next week, I will pursue something else (i.e. throw away a year of work).  If I can get this man interested in my study, he can get the approval I need.

Having a hard time getting into the reading for the current class.  Also, having a hard time writing the literature review for my dissertation.  Maybe I'm just a bit burnt out on all this work.  Working all day, come home, and sit down and work until bedtime.  Day after day.  Until 2012???   I must keep thinking about the reward at the end or I will never finish!     

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving - the day we give thanks and eat obscene amounts of food.  We were going to eat at the inlaws' house, meaning I needed to only fix a dish of something to share.  This morning I learned my mother-in-law is ill and unable to cook.  This means I will be doing the whole spread for my family.  Fortunately, they are so used to me rarely cooking that anything I fix will be a treat. Also fortunately, my hubbie is off today and volunteered to go to the store.  Dear God, I am SO thankful to have a husband who loves to go to the grocery store.  It must be true that opposites attract.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I noticed the jack-o-lanterns the girls carved are looking a bit saggy.  I kind of like them this way.  This is Erin's creation (I really like his pointed teeth):

 This one is Emily's masterpiece.  I believe there is a monster on the left and a cat on the right..or perhaps it's a little goblin of some sort.

I just noticed the Halloween stuff and soon it will be Thanksgiving - people are already shopping and decorating for Christmas.  Where is the time going?  I don't have time to pay attention to these seasons.  Work is overwhelming.  Work.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Magical Convergence

Sometimes without any formal plan, things come together in a good way.  The topic of my dissertation is supposed to be about the affect of a safety management system on measured performance and perceptions of safety (or perhaps risk) in the workplace.  That is still a big question - whether to focus on safety or risk.  The only real difference (as best I can tell) is how it impacts the literature review....but it may also impact the instrument used to measure it.  I need to read much more before I make a decision. 

So, I have been researching safety management systems and wanted to make vPSI the system of focus in my study.  vPSI works by changing the way people solve problems; the metric measures effectiveness in solving problems with idea that better solutions will prevent problems from recurring.  A huge cultural change that results from implementation and use of this system is that workers are more likely to report near misses.  The system rewards near miss reporting.  Near misses happen because of problems (generally), so by addressing these problems with solutions that work to lessen probability of recurrence, risk is reduced.  When risk is reduced, we assume people perceive increase in safety. 

I may not get approval to do my study, but I was given a project last week - develop a near miss reporting system that all the refineries will implement.  This fits perfectly with my dissertation.  In fact, I could use this instead of vPSI...if I could get any sort of approval at all.  The great part is I could control timing since it's my project.  Near miss reporting is an interesting topic, or I should say reluctance to report is an interesting topic.  So on my agenda for this week, I must learn how it makes sense to report near misses and how to measure them.  I think it makes sense to use a weighted measurement of some sort; some issues are more important than others.  The other factor is that I am cleared to do a Six Sigma project.  Six Sigma implies I will have to measure's a huge part of my dissertation.  These mesh perfectly.  I'm doing all the work for the all I need is an OK to use it.

I am running out of time on getting approval.  Two weeks and if I have no approval, I will have to change topics.  I will do what needs to be done to finish this thing on time.  Why does everything have to be so damn difficult?            

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Friday

It has been hell being back to work this week after 7 days off for the Atlanta residency.  Over 1050 emails in my inbox, took on two new projects,  deadlines this week, staff changes that affect me and my projects, and other junk.  I walked in this morning, not quite feeling Friday because it's been so hectic...BUT...I had a nice surprise.  Take a look at this!  My plant sent me a message via the sun shining through the window.  The message is that it loves me!!!

So my sweet vine sent me this message and the day was a bit better.  I do believe plants communicate (although really...not by their shadows).  Perhaps it's some sort of chemical communication. 

Busy weekend ahead.  I must make MAJOR PROGRESS on my literature review.  Sunday, we are going to visit Sarah and take a good look at a house she wants to buy.  I still think she would be better off renting because selling property is no easy task and I predict she will want to move withing two years.  We will see.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shaking it up and closing in on the wire

I made the blog post (at work) earlier this week and was surprised that the approvers approved it immediately and bothered to thank me.  Even my boss and boss's boss complimented me for writing it.  Best of all, the opening paragraph introduced that I am a student and that got the most attention.  People are talking about me and this study I want to do, and I also heard people are watching to see what our leadership will do about it  (ie. will they allow it).  I am ready to fight for it and no longer care how stupid I have to look or who I have to suck up to.  We're getting down to the wire. 

I must get back to work on chapter 2 and secure a perception survey.  Hopefully I can find a generous person who will not charge me to use his/her survey.  Afterall, I am but a poor student and about to get poorer.  Another class starts next week so that means more tuition and resource fees.  It's worth every penny...keep telling myself!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Grim Situation

I learned today that the project charter my colleague and I drafted a few weeks ago has been shot down.  Not only was the idea squelched, my colleague was removed from supporting the user group.  This makes me very sad.  He has great expertise in this area and has built up good relations with the people.  Not only that, he had a true passion for this area of the business.  I believed the scope of the charter was too broad and cautioned him to rein it in.  He did, but then last week (while I was out) he changed the charter to be a comprehensive overhaul of three organizational groups.  Kiss of death....and I'm rather embarrassed my name was on the charter.  These groups are so politically far apart they would never be able to agree to a common solution.

Now I am left solo AGAIN to support this huge and important part of the business.  The manager over this area is a "don't rock the boat" guy who says what he thinks you want to hear, and doesn't back up his words with actions.  It feels like guaranteed failure....but it's my responsibility to help these people step into the 21st century.

Upset with pushback for my dissertation study and add to that defeat of this project by the wrong people, I wrote a blog post that will articulate this managerial issue.  I do potentially have the CIO's ear (eyes?) with the diversity team blog.  I wrote it and edited it a million times today.  Tomorrow morning I will post it and if my two colleagues will approve it, it will be public.  This will set the stage for future discourse...I hope.  If nothing else, I will go down fighting.    

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ontological Arrogance

Yesterday, I got home from my 3rd year residency in Atlanta, and what a trip that was! Eight days of non-stop, day and night work!  I am into my third year in this program and those of us who are still standing have so much to talk about (and so much admiration and respect for each other)! My class was 13 people in various programs – we had two people in my program (DM in information systems and technology), one in the general DM program, one in the DBA program, two in DHA (healthcare admin), and everyone else in an Ded program of one flavor or another. Where we sat when we walked into the classroom on Day 1 sealed our fates for the rest of the residency. I have been thanking God profusely for my good fortune. We had the best team in the room…meaning we were able to collaborate better and so we had the least trouble compared to the other teams.

We had three teams – one team had 5 people. Only by luck, my team was the least diverse in the room. We had representatives from three disciplines, but my team was all women (we were the only team with no men). In my field, it’s not that unusual to be the token woman on a team, but in regard to my residency team, I was the token white woman. I thoroughly enjoyed working with these ladies, and we were able talk, agree, and get to work while we heard people at other tables still arguing about what they were going to do or how they would split up work. We had 5 presentations in 5 days, and every day we had to have a different team leader. We had a different leader, but during our presentations, people remarked they couldn’t tell who our leader was. That tells me our collaboration was excellent.

The prompts were very generalized and all about very complex problems (economic collapse, species extinction, climate change) - being able to collaborate when there were so many strategic issues to consider enabled us to make decisions faster and better.  Once we got into the research, our decisions needed very little tweaking. On a tactical level, it was very stressful to have so much going on with deadlines, but we delivered consistently because we were able to collaborate and help each other without even needing to ask for help in some cases.  We were so in tune with what each other was doing, we were able to anticipate problems. 

What does this have to do with ontological arrogance? Everything. We interpret problems and make meaning of things based on experiences that are significantly influenced by our disciplines. If we aren’t open to the viewpoints of others, we rely on our assumptions to provide a framework for making meaning of things. If we can’t question our assumptions, it’s difficult to collaborate or incorporate other perspectives into our own thinking. Whatever we are doing, it very well could be that we are doing it the right way. But how do we know if we are doing the right things? More importantly, how do we know what is the right thing to do? This all goes back to single, double, and triple loop learning and this was the focus of my residency.

The residency is done and now I have a week before launching into another class. I’m using this breathing space to process what I’ve learned. More importantly, these new ideas are tools for getting approval to do my dissertation study. I’m going to work tomorrow with a new goal – to stir up trouble (in politically correct ways, of course).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Old age and death camp

Take a look at my African violet now - it's the most perfect plant I've ever had the honor of calling my own!

I posted this photo out on FaceBook and just about all my friends remarked their grandmothers grew beautiful African violets like this one.  It must be true - all my assorted grandmother-in-laws and my own grandmothers were\are able to grow lovely African violets.  Does this skill somehow increase with age?  What is the skill - being more intuitive with what plants need to thrive or being less neglectful?  For some reason, when I look at my lovely plant now, it reminds me I'm getting old.  Thanks FB friends.  

I'm driving to my third-year residency tomorrow; estimated 7 hours 47 minutes to Atlanta.  Last night, I completed my Leadership Statement due Friday morning along with a presentation of it for the class.  The more thought I put into this concise statement, the more I'm sure being a leader something I hate doing.  I found enough references and declared myself to be a situational leader per Hersey and Blanchard's leadership model.  The way I try to persuade people to work depends on the characteristics of the people and the tasks they have to do for me.  The fact of the matter is that I have a hard enough time being responsible for myself; I hate being responsible for others.  

The residency is like combat (I think of it as death camp).  It will be an incredible amount of work - nonstop - if it's anything like the previous two residencies.  Classes all day, team projects in the evening, people in my face all day long, and individual assignments every night until I can't function.  Last year's residency was 5 days - this one is 8 days.  No sleep, high stress, and little time for socializing, eating, or anything else.  Tonight I have another presentation to prepare, laundry to do (for the whole family), and packing.  I decided to drive this year so I can take all the stuff I want to take (two laptops, a printer, books, enough clothes so I won't have to do laundry, and my guitar).  Even if I don't find time to touch it, having it there will be comforting.  Wish me luck - I need all I can get! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Diamondback, Leapard eels and FearFest

I've been stressing out over not getting this dissertation study off the ground, not having my literature review written, not having my presentation ready for Atlanta on Friday, the 8-day marathon death camp in Atlanta starting Friday, not having my leadership profile written for Atlanta, not having time to work on my grandfather's estate stuff, not having time to prepare the house and family for my departure, and 9,999 other things that want my attention.  So Saturday, the family and I went to Kings Island for a one-day getaway.  It was supposed to be a getaway, but getting away is nearly impossible with so much brain-clutter going on.  I had the beginnings of a migraine when we left the house and about an hour before we got to the park, I decided to take a migraine pill...just knock it out so it wouldn't get worse.  It worked, but on our first ride of the day, the Diamondback roller coaster...that in combination with the medicine did some weird stuff in my head.  Hard to explain so I won't try to...look at this crazy roller coaster!  The first drop is the biggest - you can see it in this photo in the far back beside the Eiffel Tower replica.  The first drop is as near straight-down as I've ever experienced.  Definitely a thrill ride....can't say it was really all that fun, although the lesser drops and the coils were fun..or perhaps they just seem like fun because I was grateful the worst was over and it was supposed to be fun.

So what does this have to do with leapard eels?  I woke up in the night from a terrible dream.  Me and some unknown man were trapped on an island that was surrounded by a fence that somehow we knew was anchored at the bottom of the ocean and was too high to climb over.  We put on scuba diving gear and were going to escape under the fence.  I've never scuba dived in my life but I did it in my dream.  We swam to the bottom of the ocean and found a place where the fence gapped enough from the ocean bottom that we could get through.  I was afraid to go but he went on through and no more than got to the other side when a  leapard eel came and ferociously zapped him.  He was dead instantly and then a bunch of what I thought were leapard eels came into sight to eat the man.  When they got closer I realized they were snakes, not eels, but marked like leapards. 

So where did this dream come from?  Just before I went to sleep, Someone was watching a show on TV about polar bears, and I watched a polar bear attack and kill a 2-ton walrus.  The blood on his white fur, and on the ice he was standing on, was vivid.  The snakes had to come from the diamondback logos all over the roller coaster.  I can't see a snake without dreaming about them in some fashion.  The leapard eel?  That's an unknown.  I did google them because I thought it was something my imagination invented...but they really do exist.  We went to Kings Island primarily for FearFest - Erin loves that sort of thing.  Kings Island has haunted attractions to extend the year (i.e. make more money) and celebrate Halloween.  Someone and I went through a couple of the haunted attractions and when you've seen one, you've seen them all.  It must be that I took all the scary things from the weekend and merged them into my own fear attraction in the form of a dream.  And that reminds me of another fear - I tend to be claustrophic.  Some of the attractions bugged me because they were constructed like mazes with narrow walls and the scuba diving was definitely own FearFest created by me in my sleep.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The sky is falling OR was it a good omen?

I got up and ran this morning quite early, before light.  The sky was as clear as it gets in the valley of the beautiful Ohio River, and the moon was full.  Playing shadow games is a great way to pass time in the moonlight.  I noticed the big dipper was oriented a bit differently than when I usually see it (I often step outside to wake up when working late nights), and just as I took a second glance at it, a shooting star came streaking out of the bowl of it.  WOW!  I have never seen one last so long or be so brilliant.  My first thought was that the sky is falling....but then thought, no - it's better to believe something good is happening or is about to happen.  If we're going to be superstitious, it might as well be postitive.

Time is late and I must's what they pay me to do here.  Blogging about my life is not one of those things that adds value to the bottom line.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Get the matches!

NO MORE working tonight.  I was messing around on FaceBook and thought THIS is the place to be!  I did quite a bit of reading tonight.  It seems to be how the flow of this whole dissertation thing is going to work for me.  Ride the tide.  Read....Think....Write...Repeat.  I'm in the "THINK" stage.  What I read today had less to do with my study, and more to do with JUSTIFICATION for the study and tactical STRATEGY...perhaps better known as Plan of Attack.  My Plan of Attack says that if I want this, I'm going to have to really fight for it.  That makes me want to evoke FIRE!!!  (and let's insert some :D

  Fire is energy - I need to muster it all, circle the wagons, get it together, or...what other sayings mean that?

I read a speach Jordan Barab (OSHA) gave at a conference in San Antonio on 5/19.  He makes excellent points.  "I'm not telling you anything you don't already know: Numbers don't tell the whole story.  Focusing on low DART rates alone won't protect you from disaster. New metrics are needed."

What if we could have a European organizational culture in the US?  I would go to work for them :)

I must start thinking seriously about getting my literature review out of outline form and into some prose.  We should keep the tone solemn and scholarly.  Do you know what I like most about this field of occupational safety??  When I read their writing, I rarely have to look up words and rarely do I need to re-read phrases...but I'm always having to look up acronyms.  These people LOVE their acronyms.  Education people and philosophy people like to write in complex phrases and really unusual words.   

Other stuff on my mind....still trying to settle my grandfather's estate.  The end is finally near.  I've still some stock to deal with and some undocumented cemetary plots.  Last year's taxes may show he paid tax on them.  I will have to contact some unknown cemetary propieter or perhaps inquire at the court house.

Yesterday everything was grim, but today I am hopeful again.  Where's my grade for this course??.  No grade-related feedback whatsoever during the entire 8 weeks!!  I hope for an A but of course I fear for the worst.  I am going to Atlanta so my grade must have been passing, at least.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stop the World!

Sometimes it's just too much!  What is the limit?  Is there a limit?  Yes, I found it and what does that mean?  Not a damn thing! 

Panic is setting in, and I'm not a person who panics.  I'm going to Atlanta next week and I have to do a presentation TOTALLY UNPREPARED for that.  Everything is falling apart, including me.  Writing about it does no good, in fact, makes it worse to see the truth in print.  Refuse to believe this is how failure happens.  Refuse to consider failure.  Bumps in the road, temporary setback - those are acceptable.  Maybe it'll all seem better tomorrow - goodnight world. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Summer Triangle

One of my favorite constellations is the Summer Triangle.  I had an intro astronomy class and one night a week (cloud cover permitting), we got to walk out on the roof of Lappin Hall and look at the sky.  I thoroughly enjoyed that class.  The professor...Dr. WhatsHisName...was SO handsome.  Like Adonis, he was!  He could have taught me anything!  I really can't remember his name though...hmmmm.

The summer triangle is up tonight...which is what made me think to write about it.  The points of the triangle are Vega, Deneb, and Altaire.  They're easy to spot because Vega in particular is so bright (even in this valley).  Vega is in Lyra, the lyre.  Deneb is in Cygnus, the swan, and also known as the Northern Cross. Altaire is in Aquila, the eagle. The photo shows Saggitta.  I didn't know that was in must be Sagitarius's arrow.  That reminds me that Erin reminded me recently that she, Emily, and I are all Sagitarii. 

My dissertation work is coming along.  Been trying to get some thoughts together about how to measure safety performance and risk.  There are all sorts of metrics but I think the ones that should be used will depend on the study site.  Right now, the study site is unknown.  Today, I've been reading a lot about Heinrich's 1-29-300 pyriamid.  Oh...I will quit thinking about this's my break time. Tomorrow is going to be BUSY!!! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Things are Looking Up

Well  now, tonight is a special night indeed!  A kind word from my dissertation mentor has righted my world, at least for the short term.  He tells me not to worry, nothing is derailed yet, keep it generic, and keep working.  Solid advice!  My chapter 1 is coming along, but I am struggling to keep the vPSI philosophy out of the literature mini-overview section.  All my research has been geared one way, and now I must step WAY back for a look at the BIG PICTURE. And this is good!  If forces me to think about what it could all mean for the BIG PICTURE.

Let's practice karate and let that mull around awhile.  I have stopped work and time is short.  A computer has had my attention for almost 14 hours today.  I gotta find a new line  of work!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dare I Be Hopeful?

Somebody threw me a lifeline today.  It scares the hell out of me, but I will grab on and give it all I have; it may be the only chance I get.  If success happens, it will be my greatest accomplishment.  If failure...let's not even go there. This is an opportunity to either look really good, or look really bad.  I best not put specifics here yet.  In time, I can reveal what happened today.

I went for a walk at lunch today.  The goldenrod is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so they say.  I love goldenrod because it reminds me of Kentucky.  It is our state flower, except it's really more like a weed.  This is an up-close shot of our native beauty.

I also took a picture of the little lake behind the office where I work.  The water level is down a bit since we haven't had rain lately.  I love this place, and not too many people make the walk.  It's a nice quiet place to go and get away from the chaos of cubicle-world.

So, enough procrastinating.  My dissertation mentor told me that I should stay focused on the the things I can control and quit fretting over the fact that failure is more likely than success.  He listed the obstacles for me, I already knew what they were, but I guess it's his way of acknowledging the obvious road blocks.  The lifeline I got today gives me something to focus on.  I will press on and keep my eyes on the to speak.  Now, I work! 

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Things are not going well at all with getting approval for the study I want to do for my dissertation.  Why in the world did I think it was going to work out?  I knew pessimism was the correct attitude, but obviously more pessimism was needed.  Honestly, I had enough hope at the beginning to think it would work out.  Is anything in this world easy?  Anything at all?  No. 

On a happier note, my African violet is amazing right now. 

So tomorrow, I am hoping to get a promising e-mail.  Some glimmer of  hope.  It's hard to stay on this literature review if the study is going down the drain..  If no evidence of hope by the end of the workday tomorrow, I will abandon all hope and pursue another this point, what will that be?  It's going to be another night of bad dreams, no doubt.  I hate failure.  Funny how my dreams seem to be directly tied to the mess going on in my life.   

It's getting late, and I have nothing positive to write about.   Not a good thing....

Friday, September 17, 2010

More So Soon?

I took a picture with my obnoxious, poor excuse for a phone today.  It does not do it justice but I will post it anyway.  My office would be a very sad place without plants.  My corn plant is taller than me now. 

It's Friday night and I must work on the literature review for my dissertation tonight.  I have a terrible feeling about all this.  I'm pretty sure my company will not let me do this study.  I don't think they will say no...I just think they will never say yes.  Why do I always make everything so complicated?  Is there anything at all in this world that is easy?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bouncing off Walls

I am bouncing off walls tonight.  I knocked off work early because...just because.  It was a very frustrating day today.  In fact, Sarah's picture reminds me of me today!  Well, it would  be me if I wore dresses to work and had long hair. 

Some day, I will retire from "that place" and get a job I want to do.  OR, maybe, I will find a job in "that place" I want to do.  For now, the good news is that my boss has given me the project I wanted, BUT (and there's alway a catch) I have to take on some other crappy work at the same time.  So, I get a project that's going to require a lot of analysis and travel, but then he saddles me with more busy work.  The busy work is already killing me.  I hate bureaucracy!   

Should I write about my dissertation?  I think the bureaucracy will not permit me to do the study.  My own company would rather not allow something like this because they've never done it before and there's no published procedure for it.  God forbid they give OK without meetings, procedure writing, and approvals.  Of course, that's not the excuse I will hear.  Some change agent I am!  Plan B and C are already swirling in my head.  On the bright side, my mentor said my prelim outline is good enough, my topic is worthy, and I get to read studies that interest me.  I think my selected topic is a good enough choice for  me.  Someday, if I survive all this, I will get a teaching job and research whatever I want!   

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Higher Education

Where to begin? Cheryl gave me an African violet which is one of the things I like most about my office. It has gone crazy recently and is loaded with blooms...I have to give you a visual!

My office plants are the only things that make that job tolerable in many respects. I have an older photo of a spider plant that has really gotten bottom heavy lately. I will have to harvest some babies and start new plants soon. Also, my corn plant (I don't have a photo unfortunately) is now taller than me. It is magnificent!
So, today, I have been reading studies in preparation of writing an outline for my literature review. The reading has been interesting so I'm thankful that I have not selected a boring topic Still, it's so overwhelming to think that I must somehow find a way to organize the info provided from hundreds of studies. I'm also starting to wonder if my topic is even worthy of studying....I will write aboout that in my reflection statement this week.
A number of words came up today that I had to look up again. Listing them here (seeing them again) may help me eventually commit them to my unreliable memory.
  • salience - prominence, or importance (why can't I remember this one)???!!!
  • amenable - willing to comply
  • ceteris paribus - all other things being equal - (I should have remembered this one)
  • veridical - coinciding with reality
  • egalitarian - belief in the equality of all people
  • Bayesian learning - evidence or observations are used to update what is known about underlying hyptheses. Huh? That was the most concise definition I could find, but I'm not sure it makes that much sense to me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

zzzzzzz and Sand

I'm searching for committee members tonight. What a chore! I'm not having much success with the search criteria selectors. I select quantitative and case study, management and technology for experience, and it returns too many. The metadata is ill-defined. I've come to find there are many, MANY more teaching faculty than business or technology faculty. I told myself I will not go to bed until I've officially selected four candidates.

I recently heard someone talk about drawing a line in the sand. He spoke as if the line is a barrier that separates before and after - like a impenetrable fortress that can never be breached. But sand is not very firm and is not permanent. A good hard rain and the line is gone. What is that phrase really supposed to mean?

Back to work now. Get the task done so I can go to's been a very long day (and week).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I can't help but be happy this evening. Dr. Chairman (my dissertation mentor) promised to not let me stray too far off the path to success. Also, he cleared up the confusion with my study design. I will still be doing a correlational study, but now I will be using a predictive design rather than the explanatory design. I changed my independent and dependent variables to predictors and criterions. So now, I am a bit more confident that this thing could be doable.

The next order of business, start getting written approvals to do the study. I will work on this tomorrow...and remind myself to keep after it...along with everything else I must keep after. Too many irons in the fire right now!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

No excuses

It's been so long since adding to this blog. Why? It is authored by a very busy woman! I just finished another class and am LOVING a week of break right now. In the next class, I am the only student. What in the world will that be like??? The class is conducted by my dissertation mentor, and together we will start on my proposal...I think that's what's supposed to happen.

Sarah came down a week ago and I snapped this shot while we were out. My girls are awesome!

I have nothing more to say, but I promise to think of something more interesting than this next time!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Time Flies

EEEEK! Has it been this many months since I last blogged? There is too much going on in my life right now. I have let me dissertation progress slip but today, I read in the paper about a fire in a refinery during a start-up. Tesoro's refinery in Washington - 4 killed and 3 reported hurt. My dissertation will hopefully deal with a safety management system. Seems like we should be better able to protect workers from these kinds of accidents.

I have to put up some pictures. Emily performed in a couple of competitions this winter. Dance Masters and LADF - the girls did real well. Emily did real well too. She is awesome to watch!! This photo (taken by Heather, I think) shows Emily is mid jump in her tap number. All these girls are beautiful young ladies.

Now one from Roslyn (I think this is a lyrical dance - the girls look so pretty! Personally, I don't really like lyrical dancing that much - but this dance was entertaining to watch. Roslyn is the kind of dance that makes you think....."why?" Emily is the girl in white, on the right.
Let's see, Erin has been busy. She has been doing Academic Team all winter, and just now HEAVY into karate and tennis. She is playing on the tennis team at school recently. ALSO, she just passed her 3rd degree black belt pre-test. We will take her back to Beckley, WV in two weekends so she can take the real test. She is ready.

This photo is Erin at an academic meet - she won first place in composition! Isn't this a pretty picture of a pretty girl!

Here is another picture of her - with her trophy. We are so proud of her!!!
Let's see. Sarah is doing very well for herself...other than her obsession with animal acquisition. She now has more horses than I can remember and two more on the way. She has two dogs, two cats, and now, two ducks (unless Peanut got hungry again). Oh no! I just realized I have no recent pictures of Sarah. Shame on me! I just got a new camera phone and the camera is BETTER than my camera (which barely works at all, lately). I need a new camera. Anyway, I will take photos next time I see her (with my new phone).

Everything is beautifully in bloom right now. The redbuds are even starting to show their orchid buds..or is that color magenta? I think they are closer to Crayola's orchid. I love the magnolias this year. They are glorious. I have to hire somebody to grind out two tree stumps. I very much miss our beautiful wild cherry tree. I was struck by lightening late last summer and died in two weeks. We also had a maple taken out in our back yard. It was damaged by water. It was hollow all the way through, rotted out from the inside. It wasn't totally dead but very near (perhaps 10 percent was still alive). Our backyard is a swamp again. We had drain lines installed several years ago...they are no longer working.

The hour is late. I still have school work to do. I start the 8th week of this class (Knowledge Woker Collaborative Information Systems) the day after tomorrow. I have a huge project due a week from tomorrow. The longest paper I have had to write in the program. It will be on a topic I am very familiar with already - enterprise knowledge sharing systems. Life is good. I will be a little more than 50% complete with this program when my class is done. I can't believe I have survived this long and done as well as I have. It's been very hard work. But it has been so worthwhile. I don't regret a penny of it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year

It is a new year - always a lot of hope for the new year and good things to come. Dum spiro, spero. Before we know it, it'll be spring. Bring it on!

I have had a wonderful 2-week break from school, and now I must start writing again. The class is about statistics used in research. It has been tough for me because I only had one statistics class in college - maybe in 1978?? For the paper due next week, I have two problems to uses a 2-sample T test; the other is a correlation using Pearson R. Got to love it! Working the problems is the easy part - the hard part is reporting my results in a way that pleases the professor. I must get maximum points on this paper. I failed the first and third papers. Currently, I am passing the class but I need to build up a safety margin - 5 more weeks to get to the end.

I found this picture of Jack. He is such a tomcat!

Now I must get to work. I will try to post more often this year.