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?