It Keeps Happening!

Can I just tell you I’ve never been more worried – and that’s saying a lot – than when I was researching leadership styles and an article I was considering using popped up in Russian. My brain: well, this is how it ends for you, Kel.

Buzzwords are the bane of my existence. Using key words to research and filter through the amassed collection of literally thousands of journal articles, I’ve discovered it’s easier to find articles relating to resilience (current buzzword) than self-confidence (no longer a buzzword, I guess). Although I deeply love anything related to resilience – I instruct resiliency methods nearly weekly to military and civilians – the art of the buzzword is not lost on me. Indeed, it makes perusing journal articles either very productive or very frustrating.

“One of the most precious gifts you can give your family is being emotionally secure and healthy.” I received quite a few responses and some incredible feedback regarding last week’s post about family drama. Nearly every time I’ve encountered others with conflict in their personal lives or in the process of healing relationships with loved ones my question has been…Do you have a therapist, a counselor, a mental health person you can confide in? Trust me – the work they do can be life changing and, sometimes, life saving.

On the note of personal lives, the baby niece I slept on a couch for over 12 hrs waiting to be born – she graduated. I am unwell. She looked gorgeous and relieved. Her mom cried a lot. And the ceremony was short . Alas, time is a thief.


I ask you –

Have you looked up anything crazy lately?

What are your current buzzwords?

Tell me if you know anyone graduating soon!

(The post Go Fast Shoes! first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

Dollars & Sense

I’ve determined unless you’re an absolutely complete moron, then money can literally buy anything you want, including a doctoral degree. Maybe not a doctoral degree for an actual medical doctor but definitely one like I’m getting. Really. Because if the way some of my classmates write is any indication of their ability to form coherent sentences and be decent human beings, then money must be the reason they’ve made it this far. Sorry not sorry. Here I am stressing a dissertation I don’t even have to begin for another year and they’re writing like a sixth grader. Spoiler: we’ll probably all walk the stage at the same time which proves my suspicion that money can buy a degree.

You know what else money can buy? Pizza! And it makes me happy, too.

Money can also buy replacement body parts, especially when Spare Parts still hasn’t come through on the slightly used knees. Mine are starting to look and feel like I either make a living in the red light district or this volleyball hobby is getting the best of me. They’re so bruised I’ve been afraid to wear shorts to work lest someone question my evening habits or tell me I’m too old to play sports. Cue the daughter jokes again.

our most recent photo together

Lastly, speaking of jokes, it’s impolite to stare at someone in a public setting, then loudly proclaim, “Oh good, I found the other one!” as if twins are an unheard of phenomenon. We are not a scavenger hunt. I really don’t understand the fascination. Parts and I don’t even look that much alike! And, I know of at least one other set of twins (identical) who also work on the installation. Maybe they have better luck than Parts and I.

And by luck I mean people don’t stare like they’re a circus act. Or at least say hello first!


I ask you –

Do you think money can buy anything?

On a scale of 1 to you’re insane if you don’t love it, how much do you like pizza?

Please share your advice or comeback phrases for the shock & awe twin encounters!

(The post Go Fast Shoes! first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

Never Seen Before

It’s fascinating to me how often I hear the words, or some variation of, “We’ve never seen this before.” As it’s almost always said with shock, eliciting fear and a call to action, I’ve realized we don’t often say the complete opposite, “Oh I’ve seen this before.” Guaranteed many, many, many situations, events, or challenges have been seen before. Maybe it’s the generalization that bothers me most. I’m opposed to words like always or never because it’s rarely true. No one always does something, there will be times when they don’t. No one never says the right thing, surely this is a lie. The human behavior side of me rests on believing people do the right things. A cynic I am not.

As a generational statement, the phrase is incredibly subjective. Just because you haven’t seen it doesn’t mean someone else hasn’t. The start of WWI was thousands of people going “We’ve never seen this before”. Do you think by WWII people were suddenly saying “Oh, it’s fine, we’ve seen this before “. Eye roll.

On a slightly different note, family drama – at least in mine – is the result of unsupported mental health, trauma, and lack of adequate coping/communication skills. Basically everything. To protect the innocent and guilty, I won’t be slandering anyone on here – even if the truth does need to be told. Perhaps it’s not my story to tell, yet I will say one thing: when someone speaks up for themselves and emphatically stands behind their decision, I believe that’s the epitome of strength and healing. And it’s something we don’t often see or congratulate in the way it deserves. So despite the snarky last word and the passive aggressiveness of future interactions, I’m here for it. And I’ve seen all that before.

I know I’m super geeky about human behavior stuff, but this is interesting to me! The innate versus learned, nature vs. nature – whatever you want to call it. We’re all products of multiple pieces of our lives we have zero control over. It’s what we do with the pieces defined as choices that make us human.


I ask you –

How often do you state “I’ve never seen this before!”?

Do you have family drama, too?

Tell me about a time when a choice impacted your life in an unexpected way!

(The post Never Seen Before first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

Always Making Plans

Results of the volleyball game(s) I elicited my staff to play with me. Game 1: win. Game 2: default win/by. Game 3: loss. Not sure about anyone else, but I had a fantastic time!

So much fun, in fact, by the time you’re reading this, we’re just a few hours short of another volleyball game I scheduled because…I can. My plan this summer is to write papers in early morning hours, then play volleyball in the afternoons! Can’t forget all those books I want to read, too.

Additionally, at the time of this posting, I’ll have started another class: Organizational Leadership and Behavior and something else and so forth. I swear I take this seriously. I need some volleyball shorts. Random.

Coming off an incredibly busy weekend + Mother’s Day has me exhausted. It seems like everyone was sick last week, there wasn’t a day without at least one call-in, and my wingwoman was voiceless. Pity I had to do all the talking for her. And I really can’t believe my niece is old enough for prom, much less about to graduate in a few weeks. I held her in my arms what feels like yesterday – how did we get here?

What’s that saying about babies don’t keep? They don’t. And I don’t like it much.


I ask you –

Are you a fan of volleyball?

Want to join my team?

Tell me if you have an upcoming graduation to attend!

(The post Always Making Plans first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

This is My Face

It’s official. No matter what I do, I give off mom vibes. To my coworkers, Spare Parts, and everyone else I’m around.

For example, Parts tells everyone I’m her mom and they believe her. She’s the oldest twin! Even prior to this – which is how the whole story got started – a coworker I knew had met Parts and asked if she knew me, then proceeded to ask Parts if I was her mother. FFS.

we’re not related at all

Example #2: my coworker/best friend/wingwoman McK and I went to a presentation. Someone whom I knew asked me if McK was my daughter. At first, I thought they had heard the stories of Parts. Oh no, they were serious.

CMSgt Bass and McK, my other daughter (apparently)

Example #3: the same wingwoman and I went to an appointment for her. Unfortunately, McK had a bout of laryngitis so I did the speaking for her since she could only whisper. As they took her to the back, the nurses asked did she want her mother to come? McK kindly declined but I HEARD IT ALL!

Soon I’ll be accepting suggestions for plastic surgery and a Botox provider. But maybe it’s not my face. Maybe it’s my attitude, the way I take charge and speak first. If that’s the case, then I’m doomed to forever be everyone’s mom.

Seriously, though, these expensive facial products are clearly not helping. Lies!


I ask you –

Have you ever been mistaken for someone’s parent?

Do you think some people just give off a certain aura?

Now taking suggestions for plastic surgery. I need your input, please!

(The post This is My Face first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

Reminds Me of an Analogy –

I spent 2 weeks working on my final paper related to public service motivation theory in the human resource management field, to include the surrounding legalities. That’s really a lot of words. Determined to satisfy a hunch that it didn’t really matter if I had a beautiful outline, abstract, and annotated bibliography, I thought maybe I had put a lot of work in vain into the preparation phase.

Dammit, she was right. It was kind of nice to see this paper come together based on what I had already accomplished. Truly, a good outline makes a difference. And I knew what to expect from the literature because I’d already found everything I needed. Also – way to go, Kel! – I had the foresight to notate source and page number on the outline so I could return to my thought process when I wrote it. Such a genius.

Sometimes my heart starts beating uncontrollably and I get that sick feeling in my stomach when I think about writing a dissertation. Hello, anxiety, my good friend. It feels like a mountain I must climb and I dread it. But then something small like this comes together – and there’s a glimmer of hope. One bite at a time. Interestingly, I can definitely see how higher education can make someone cynical and put off by this field.

the many faces of paper writing

However, just like life to kick you a little to remind you who is actually in charge, what I thought was a 10 day break turned into a 3 day break. Although I can’t complain because 3 days is better than 0 days, clearly I’m struggling reading a monthly calendar hence the break is probably much needed. May is quite the wild ride of social and personal engagements. Who needs a break anyway.


I ask you –

Are you an emotional facial expressionist?

What does an ideal break look like?

Tell me what brings you joy!

(The post Reminds Me of an Analogy – first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

Prison Sounds Like a Vacation

Disclaimer: I am not making fun of anyone who is/has been/knows someone who is/has been incarcerated. I recognize my humor is not everyone’s cup of tea. If it comes across as offensive, I truly mean no harm.

It can be fun when you find out new things about yourself. Or terrifying. Nonetheless, I found out I run faster when I have an idea. Some psychoanalytic might think this is because the brain cells are firing so the legs turn over faster. Or a dream interpreter could say it’s because I’m running towards something. Or none of the above. But, I did realize that when I’m thinking of something while running and a great idea strikes me, then suddenly I start running much faster. Maybe it’s so I can get to my phone to write it down before the thought disappears. If I was in prison, then I’d always have easy access to pen and paper.

On the rare occasion, I do stupid things with very clear consequences. Like go off the rails with sugar intake. My cycle is pretty consistent so I know when the mood shifts and my body needs extra food to make it through the week. However, sometimes the sugar cravings are out of control and I indulge. Payback is a sweet, kind, caring old lady. Then, I spend several days lamenting my very existence with horrible GI issues, headaches, and a general disregard for living. It’s really quite exciting. If I was in prison, I would be forced to eat whatever is provided to me.

And along the lines of vacations, I’m very ready for another 10 days of no typing. Don’t get me wrong – this past course has been a breeze compared to the previous double undertaking. I think I’ve actually managed to maintain my sanity, routines, and streak of completing assignments early. But, if I was in prison, I would have nothing but time. No pun intended.


I ask you –

Do you run faster when an idea pops into your head?

Does sugar pose problems for you?

Tell me if you have an upcoming vacation!

(The post Prison Sounds Like a Vacation first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

It Reminds Me of Childhood

I love sights or posts that tell a great story! Like this one about cookie jars. Speaking of chocolate (because we are), the photo below is of my newest addiction. These are literally the best sugar free chocolate snacks I’ve ever had. 1 carb per two pieces. Amazing! I was hesitant to use the word Bombs in my post because…well, you know.

Or this other article about my childhood favorite author, Judy Blume. And now I’ve exceeded the number of free articles available so I have to wait some unknown amount of time.

tastes exactly like fruity pebbles

Further, I believe I’ve truly reached the pinnacle of adulthood. Introducing…car snacks! Running again makes me so hungry!

Definitely unrelated to adulthood – mini’s “friends”, as she calls them. The collection continues to amass more victims as birthdays and other holidays contribute to her stuffy hoarding. As she sneaks into my bed each night, she attempts to bring her friends with her but quickly realizes there is nary enough space to accommodate. As seen above.

Alas, I once had the same issues. A line of stuffed animals I couldn’t sleep without. My “best friends”. In the essence of preserving her innocence as long as possible, I guess we’ll keep all the stuffies for a while longer. Until I can’t roll over.


I ask you –

What’s your favorite snack?

At what age did you stop sleeping with stuffed animals? Or do you still?

Tell me if I should insist on reducing the amount of “friends”.

(The post It Reminds Me of Childhood first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

I’m Not That Mom

…that creates elaborate birthday parties

…that can do more than two basic hairstyles

…that allows sleepovers outside of immediate family

…that has much patience with simple directions

…who is more focused on grades than kindness

…that believes in yelling or spanking

But I am that mom who –

…wakes up worrying

…over plans a weekend then accomplishes one thing

…enjoys watching my baby sleep beside me because I have no boundaries

…insists on the application of sunscreen

…prefers clothes to match

…can be overcome with laughter and forget to be mad

…asks for kisses and hugs

A polarizing topic, at best, is the way I was raised and the relationship, or lack thereof, I have with my own mother. As a parent, I know she was probably doing the best she could. But it has impacted our ability to relate and connect. As much as I love mini, I don’t believe we were ever designed to be best friends, as some parents refer to their children. I think the idea of being friends with your children is dangerous and potentially damaging due to expectations that will never be met. I’m her mom and that’s a big enough task, in my opinion. Friendships should be what she cultivates on her own, according to her own terms, and in different seasons in life. I want her to always be able to come to me with anything, yet not as a friend but as a woman who gives advice, hugs, and proper discipline.

The mom life is tough. I’m certainly not discounting dad life, grandparent life, parenting in general. Mini is never far from my mind – it’s hard raising a decent human being while attempting to set a good example because that attempt is often thwarted.

Especially when it comes to sleeping in her own bed.


I ask you –

Are you a gentle parent or a structured one?

What type of childhood did you have?

Take a guess: what are the odds she’ll sleep in her own bed now that she’s seven? 1 in 7.

(The post I’m Not That Mom first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

Stumper and Stumpee

As soon as I saw the email solicitation to attend a visit by a two-star General, admittedly I got a little excited. Not only is she a wonderful speaker but she has made waves as a pioneering female with a knack for telling it how it is. The day finally arrived, amidst lots of venue changes and confusion on the attendee list. I had my ticket and I was ready.

Let me preface the remainder of this post: upholding my unofficial call sign was not my intention. However, this was designed to be a dialogue-forum type of event. With at least 150 people. Right. The facilitator had a list of questions she asked, then the floor opened for other questions. My hand instinctively shot up.

My original question had already been asked by the facilitator. I switched on the fly. Then something unexpected happened. Maj Gen Edmondson turned on me! Instead of answering, she posed the question to me. Again, I was forced to think on the fly. That’s not my forte. I’m a planner. Fortunately, the rephrased question was met with a heartfelt and genuine response about how such a successful and ambitious woman is able to stay connected with her children while navigating a fast-paced, highly visible, demanding job. She spoke of being present at home and carving out time to connect with her teenage daughter. She mentioned being a “gymnastics mom” which she stated is unlike anything she is comfortable with. For me, it was important to be reminded that all moms, no matter where or what they do, struggle with the same issues…missing events, getting home late, having to choose between what is attainable and what is not.

As the audience was heavily military, maybe civilians didn’t feel she was relatable. However, having once worn a uniform, she and I are alike. I suspect many others in the audience are, as well, even if no question was asked. I feel I represented my squadron well, but, more importantly, her answer united many people in what we are capable of, as mothers, as people, as part of the military.

Perhaps I did not showcase “Stumper” this time. But, I did take an opportunity to be seen by a woman whom I admire from afar. And she said the word balance is total BS. I couldn’t agree more.


I ask you –

Do you attend work functions deemed “forum-type”?

Are you the first to ask a question?

Planner vs. Spontaneous: tell me about you!

(The post Stumper and Stumpee first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes