Still Writing and Reading

I totally thought by spending so much time writing case studies and research papers I would not have it in me to write blog posts. Wrong! Herein lies the random things my brain circles around –

I wonder who watched an egg fall out of a chicken’s behind and thought we should try to cook it?! By the way, if you haven’t read the book Gladys The Magic Chicken then you are missing out! Fairly certain no one thought it was nearly as funny as I did. Even mini wasn’t laughing like me. Sometimes people miss the mark on humor. But not me!

I wonder how many people picked berries and fruits in long forgotten lands, then ate them and died? Oh dang it, John; guess we can’t use that one.

My very own claim to fame: that one time I helped a virtual stranger get accepted into his master’s program. To this day, I am still soooo proud of this!

The first time I ate Five Guys. As my very best friend, Sam, is also in the throes of her own doctoral program, she’s been in my mind lately. Also because when I need help she’s my first call. If you recall, Sam and I met in boot camp, then went to training school together, then went to Norfolk together, as well. We basically lived together for almost 3 years. Anyway, now we’re commiserating papers together. Huge digression here. Five guys. Our classmates in Pensacola kept talking about this hamburger place. Eventually one night we succumbed to pressure to try it. Spoiler: I’m not a hamburger fan, neither is Sam so we enjoyed the fries most of all. And then we never returned. Anticlimactic.

___________________________

I ask you –

What random things do you think about?

Have you ever eaten at Five Guys?

Name your favorite place to eat! Home!

(The post Still Writing and Reading first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2022 Running on Fumes

From Issues to Tissues

Anybody else having issues scheduling posts on Word Press? It’s not really the scheduling that has become an issue – it’s Word Press not posting them at the scheduled time, specifically when I schedule them using the app on my phone. When I use my laptop, no issues. Phone = issues. It forces me to stop my day, manually publish the post, then return to business. No time for that. I pay for this platform so I expect it to work properly. Christina, I know you know how to fix this. Help me!

Finally – football is back! Accidentally skipped over preseason. Peacock is my friend. That funny little bird streaming service has everything I need. Random note: mini calls it a pea-hock. No se. If you’re looking for me the reminder of the season, I’ll be keeping my couch company and demanding popcorn. Just kidding. That’s my mini. I’ll be demanding silence, hiding in the bedroom whilst working on bibliographies and papers. Send headphones. I have a grand total of 2 weekends to watch football. Silence!

It’s still hot outside, but I’ve been making it out there to run. The 7am-ish hour is simply the best. There is the slight undertone of fall peaking around the bend… patience is not my friend. If only we could get some rain. Sigh. Mini has been pestering me about riding her bike “a long way”. We did complete two long rides though!

Speaking of long rides, I was fortunate to witness a piece of the World Trade Center arrive on Shepard AFB to be displayed at a later date. Firefighters and other emergency personnel from NYFD transported it. I was in awe. It was strange to think how many of the Airmen dutifully saluting while the truck and its precious cargo passed by were not even born when 9/11 took place. Seems unreal it’s been 21 years. May we never forget.

___________________________

I ask you –

What is your favorite part of WordPress?

What NFL team are you cheering for?

Tell me a time you witnessed an event honoring something historical.

(The post From Issues to Tissues first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2022 Running on Fumes

Double Trouble

For being a smart person, I really am quite dumb sometimes. Well, not like a dumdum. It just takes me longer than the average smart person to really come to grips with things. For example…

stock photo via photo library

An email arrived with the sentence “Thank you for your persistence.” which probably meant please stop bothering me. A co-worker told someone else in front of me: (paraphrased only mildly) “We love Kelly. She has a way of being mean but she does it with a smile and it makes it ok.” I’m not sure it was a compliment but it is true.

M’s – money, marriages, and messes. The radio show advised these are three things we should stay out of, as in other people’s. This radio show predominantly deals with other people’s messes so pot…kettle.

Not every email requires a reply. As I’m almost constantly (now) dealing with people from all walks of life, there are many different approaches: kind, understanding, firm, rude, hateful, dismissive, etc. You get the idea. This week I’m neck deep in an inspection that hasn’t happened since 2019. Read: before me. Somehow I tend to find myself in positions where once I’ve got my bearings, there’s a huge inspection or program audit and here I am with my hands in the air and a huge shrug. I shall prevail! Occasionally I have too much to do to reply. Other times it is best I don’t because angry Kel can only be quiet for so long. And I’m being pushed to the brink.

My sister accepted a job on the same installation where I’m employed. In fact, we’re in the same squadron. I should feel bad the base is now saturated with two people like us, but this could be fun. Someone asked if she is as wonderful as I am; her reply was “I’m better!” She’s got jokes.

Now we’re off to find the boss and explain in no uncertain terms why the grass is brown. Hello. Drought. Texas. Seriously?

______________________________

I ask you –

Thoughts on the three M’s? Do you agree?

Have you been inspected or audited at work lately?

On a scale of 1 to You’re Fired, how much trouble will my twin and I get into? 5. We have humor going for us.

Civilian Mentoring Connection

Picture this: a room full of people and you’re waiting on your name to be called to find out who your mentor will be. Spoiler: I was chosen last. But sometimes they save the best for last because I was paired with an incredible woman we’ll call Big Booty Judy (BBJ). Don’t laugh yet. I had spoken to her via phone many times previously and liked her. Turns out she chose me. The rest is history.

Civilian Mentoring Connection (CMC 101) was something I volunteered for knowing it did have a substantial time commitment. Myself and approximately 10 other people would be meeting twice a week for several months, including meeting with our mentor as often as possible outside of these formal gatherings. Luckily, BBJ understands my job and what I do so we had a mutual agreement to get things on the calendar as soon as possible.

…and then we blew stuff up! Small exaggeration. They did visit EOD which I heard was a lot of fun. It’s been rescheduled a few times since so I’m just waiting my turn for the next time. We’ve also discussed workplace communication, email etiquette, TSP (thrift savings plan), and other things I probably slept through. Kidding! I love this stuff.

Big Booty Judy – is actually the nickname for my mentor’s black Corvette. At our first informal get together, she shared her naming convention with me. Somehow I knew then we were meant to be. She has given me much insight into the world of civil service and helped me navigate some tricky setbacks. If you ever have an opportunity for a mentor – get one! Promise. 14 weeks later, my mentor, Stacey, is still one of the best parts of CMC.

The tenants of civilian mentoring connection are Connect, Grow, & Inspire. Indeed it impacted me in each way. Connect – as I’m inherently a people person anyway, connecting with others is kind of my thing. I love being able to connect with people I work with so this opened up many doors. Grow – I learned more about what other squadrons, groups, and work centers do (and how it accomplishes the overall mission). Growth is multifaceted. Inspire – after two personnel spoke on their journey to complete their doctorate programs, it re-solidified my desire to go back to school. As I’ve already shared many times before. It reminded me of my dream and the different avenues to achieve it.

As our graduation day ended and I reconvened with my partner in crime, Heidi, she asked if I intended to complete CMC 102. Then she gave me a knowing smile and stated “I thought you had school! I thought we were taking a break!”, followed by her words “I’ll do it if you are!”

__________________________

I ask you –

Does your workplace offer any mentoring opportunities?

Have you ever participated in a program like CMC?

Share with me a recent graduation accomplishment!

Someone Else’s Lens

(The photos below were taken by my friend, Dan, on his recent visit to New York. Photo credit is all his.)

There’s something about traveling that makes my soul happy. New places we visit are seen from a different perspective than those who call it home. When was the last time you walked around your city and saw it with unfamiliar eyes? Try it. I’ve only seen NYC on a large scale via my window when I drove past. The sheer amount of people doesn’t interest me, but maybe to see it at 3am when fewer people are out and the buildings are lit up – that sounds nice.

The view south down 7th Ave from 51st Street.

Considered a total loss after a fire in June, the Spirit of Norfolk was a Norfolk attraction. I kept up with the story of its demise because a) I remembered seeing it when I lived in that area and b) I thought for sure they would extinguish the fire much sooner. Certainly there are some very worried people now because the ship was used for weddings and other large events. Bet they’re not pleased.

Spirit of Norfolk

Lately the only traveling I’m embarking on is from the car to whatever air-conditioned location I must be at. The average daily temperature is 108° with a heat index of 112°. I fully expect roads to start behaving like mini volcanoes. It’s a thing.

Fall can’t come soon enough. Farewell mosquitoes! Time to find some antihistamine.

_______________________

I ask you –

Do you love traveling?

Weather check in – what is yours?

Name your favorite place to visit.

Pirouettes and Parking

Dentist appointment last week went well! Post-meal flossing albeit a dedicated task is worth it. As I’ve never had a cavity or filling, the nice dental hygienist told me I was 1 in 10,000. Nice as it sounds, I doubt I’m 1 in anything because…really.

I’ve been rewatching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It was several years back when I started the show – I had no idea there are now 7 seasons. Clearly I don’t watch much television.

Not sure if I should put this on my blog, but I’m doing it anyway. Some weird things are happening at a neighbor’s house. Not the naked neighbor’s home. Cars without license plates, other random vehicles early in the mornings. This also happens to be the house I always find spare change near. One week I collected 31 cents. What a bargain for me!

task 1 is complete

Mini’s dance performance debut is at the end of the week which means…she’ll be home for a few days!!!!! I’m so excited to see her and hug her and kiss her and call her George – I mean mine. Jokes. We just have to make it through rehearsal, nail polish, lip gloss, hair buns, and other diva-ish things I know little about. I need coffee just contemplating it. Unfortunately, her dad’s family is unable to come like originally planned but thanks to technological advances I feel confident she can wow them with her abilities.

Public service announcement: it costs nothing to be a decent human. All that’s required is don’t be an asshole. Believe it or not, there was a car parked to the truck’s right prior to this photo. If it had been my car, a photo might have not been my first choice. Decent humans can suffer from distress.

________________________

I ask you –

What shows are you currently watching or rewatching?

Is the weirdness at that house illicit substance related or am I being paranoid?

Tell me your kindest words for people who park like I’ve shown!

It Might Be That Time

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. A few weeks ago, I began the arduous task of searching online for colleges to make my doctorate degree dream a reality. Perhaps it was just an off day because the only thing it did was leave me frustrated and resigned to not fulfilling that dream. I kept finding programs with projected completion dates near the 8 year mark. And the cost? Guess again. Even with tuition assistance, etc., it was beyond me.

Chalkboard = Dinosaur

Fast forward to end of last week when I attended a brief on how to make civilian programs work for you. You, the commoner. 90 mins later, I returned to my office with motivation, a renewed purpose, and some homework. Operation phD! Using TA in conjunction with the GI Bill should result in a reasonably affordable degree in T-minus 3 years. Doable. I might even be able to maintain my sanity and a slight social life. As long as I can write papers while we talk. That’s normal, right?

I’ve chosen a school, a program, and am in the process of finagling funding. Making military service work for me. Honestly, when I joined the Navy, I didn’t think it would be useful for obtaining another degree. For some reason I was under the impression it wouldn’t pay for anything beyond a master’s and since I already had one it wouldn’t pay for a second either. During eval season it was difficult for me to show I was progressing professionally outside of the Navy because my points were already full. So I said I wanted to learn how to whistle. And it did not go over well. My goal is to finish in 3 years or less…I even timed it not to interfere with anyone else who may be graduating. No show-stealing. Even though I didn’t quite get going when I said I would (by the time mini is 5 – she’s now 6), this is a valid goal no matter her age. Or mine. She will still get to experience mommy’s rapidly increasing number of gray hairs. And long nights of writing. Welcome to adulthood, girlie!

school supplies

The last time I went to school was over 11 years ago. I’m one of those complete whackadoo’s who really miss school. I love it! My master’s program was fantastic. All we did was write so of course. The feeling of accomplishing a lengthy paper or assignment is like an adrenaline rush all over my body. It’s figuratively my drug of choice. Drugs are very expensive. So I’ve heard. Anyway. I remember switching careers a year into the master’s degree wondering why I thought that was a good idea. Not only did I have to learn a new job but I also had to find time to write double digit papers on a new schedule. No big moves on the horizon this time – in fact I’m hoping this is the final straw I need to progress in other places.

Alas, I still can’t whistle. But I’ll have “Dr.” before my name so who cares.

___________________

I ask you –

Who wants on my commencement guest list? Location: TBD.

Anyone interested in volunteering to teach me how to whistle?

Tell me your highest level of education! I want to share in your accomplishments.

Share No More + Adopt-a-Highway

I shared my body, my peace of mind, my time, my humor, my breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks, and my personal space with her. I’m not sharing my cookie! P.S. I sat in my car alone and ate the ENTIRE cookie.

Crumbl box sans cookie

Then I did something nice (read: made plans, changed other’s plans, rescheduled the changed plans, updated the newest plans) for a group of people and they thanked me with Girl Scout cookies.

The following emoji indicates the remainder of May’s weather: 🥵 I can’t run outside in this. I can’t even walk! All. Month. Long. My fear is if it’s this hot in May, what will July look like? Please send us rain.

wind = blow dryer

And, like any half-brained person in the midst of triple digit temperatures, I scheduled a Day of Service volunteer opportunity for 2 squadrons and 1 group. AF lingo. I’m supremely pleased with the turnout – 18 people – and the nearly 10 full bags of trash we removed from the sides of a 2-mile stretch of highway. I can’t speak for other states, but Texas has the Adopt-a-Highway program where organizations can “adopt” a stretch of public highway. The intent is for each organization to host quarterly cleanup days to maintain Texas roadways. Admittedly, I had no idea my squadron owned a piece of land until a few weeks ago so my tentative plan is to offer a volunteer opportunity twice a year. Read: when it’s cold outside and the threat of snakes is virtually nonexistent.

…but why…

Oh hell no! If you need me, I’ll be anxiously scanning every piece of dry land for slithering inhabitants. Texas, please stop being so difficult.

________________________

I ask you –

Do you hide from your children when eating snacks? You can lie to me but not to yourself!

Does your state have something similar to the Adopt-a-Highway program?

Snakes: “look, friends” or “run for your life”! Obviously – run for the hills screaming like a banshee.

Day in Photos, pt 9

Haven’t done one of these in awhile. Probably because I’ve had other things to share. Important things, like…I don’t remember exactly what, but I’m positive they were more important!

#leagueofgarmin @garminfitness

Garmin Fitness adopted me. Bless their hearts. I saw where a running friend (who doesn’t really know me at all but alas we’re friends) was also “adopted” so I took a gamble and submitted my own info. Then, they said ok, we guess you can be a part of our club. And here we are!

Pretzel Lightsaber

We have some truly creative people in our squadron. A spouse made these for everyone for May 4th. Get it, get it. Since we’re the force support squadron – you get it, right?

Team JENGA

I stayed up wayyyyyy too late one Saturday night to attend a dining in event with some truly amazing women! There was alcohol, food, shenanigans, and a skit. Video exists somewhere. Team JENGA ruled the night. Except for those 42 women with nerf guns; they had it out for everyone.

The next day – ahem, whole week – I was reminded why I don’t stay out late. Or take shots. Meh. But, the fun was priceless!

I ask you –

Cinco de Mayo – yay or nay? I adore chips and salsa.

When was the last time you stayed up late? And until what time was that?

Vote: Jenga or Nerf! Nerf. Of course.

Resiliency Revolution

Occasionally I accept as a compliment what people say when it fact it isn’t. That’s a you problem! For example, someone in my office stated “You’re always doing something.” I saw them smile as the words exited their mouth so, naturally, I thought it was a good statement. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. I have no idea. But it got me thinking – am I doing too much?

Credit: mytherapistsays via Instagram

My predominant belief is I should/like to give my time and effort to select things. In the Navy, we were encouraged to participate in everything. The problem here is you can’t give even 60% of yourself to 10 obligations. Hello, short stick. I chose (and often got dirty looks) for giving my time to 2-3 collateral duties. Those duties deserved my attention. Fast forward to the Air Force, the duties are called additional duties yet the volun-told status is still in effect. This is why… I take the initiative to cultivate and choose my own additional duties.

Introducing the Resilience Training Assistant (RTA). After a very involved two-day, interactive, emotional course, they felt I was qualified for certification. Yippee! I recognize resilience is a military buzzword; however, it is something I truly believe in because it can be used to reframe the culture of mental health stigma, as well as foster the conversations between military personnel both up and down the chain of command and within all branches. Yes, I know that’s a lot to ask. At the time of viewing the list of qualified personnel on base (nearly 40 people), I only recognized 2 of the names. TWO. Clearly there’s a problem because it means I didn’t know them from resiliency efforts, but from other duties.

Super incredible classmates!

The next hurdle is attending the Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) course at Maxwell AFB. Genuinely looking forward to a TDY. In the meantime, there’s a huge need to provide this curriculum to squadrons, groups, and all personnel. My vision is to ensure the word resiliency doesn’t go the way of other buzzwords, aka out of sight/out of mind. I want people to talk to each other when they’re hurting, when they’re struggling, when they need help. Billions of dollars a year are spent on (I’ll say it) completely useless things – why aren’t we spending money and time on changing culture instead? It costs nothing to empower others.

“If you’re self-aware enough to be self-deprecating, your IQ must be high!” – Will Lannon

We’re going to spark a revolution!

________________________

I ask you –

Have you ever heard of Resiliency Training?

What are some buzzwords in your profession?

Tell me about a time you participated in a culture-changing curriculum!