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

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

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

Peaceful Moments & Planning to Run

Early AM runs

Somehow I’ve completed the past 3 weeks’ assignments significantly early and been able to focus on upcoming papers, assignments, discussions, etc. Either a course on human resource management is easier than expected or I’m doing something wrong. The grades are good so I’ll just keep riding this wave. When there’s time to sit outside in the evenings and watch the hummingbirds – if the word balance truly exists, this is what I imagine it looks like.

In the spirit of healthy competition, I started a 10k training plan with no clear race or run in sight. Granted, it will conclude mid-June so there’s nooooooo way I’m racing anything then, but it’s fun having a scheduled training run to look forward to. If only the weather would cooperate. I’ve also been using the Garmin workout/training builder. Wow. Those workouts are no joke. Even the 15 min ones will have you questioning your life decisions. Perhaps I should have been using this tool much longer.

Even though I have textbooks a plenty, I went a little overboard with reading/desiring to read just-for-fun books. So now I have 3 sitting nearby that I can’t wait to complete and I might have ordered another. Whoopsies! Non-fiction has really drawn me in lately. Typically, (previously) I only read fiction but something about true or historically-based real life stories just hits me. And who can overlook an incredible woman’s journey to the Boston starting line.

Finally, I probably say this each year, I don’t know how my baby is celebrating another birthday. I swear she was a newborn yesterday. She’s bright, talented, loving, hilarious, and well-spoken. She outsmarts people so skillfully I don’t believe its normal. She argues like an accomplished law team. And, occasionally, she still calls me mommy instead of mom. Time flies.


I ask you –

What books(s) are you reading right now?

Are you training for anything? Just survival.

Tell me if your birthday has passed yet or if it’s upcoming!

(The post Peaceful Moments & Planning to Run 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

Busy is not a Badge

Backstory: the position above me has been vacant since I accepted my current job. Not a big deal. Sure, the workload has been maximized because those job tasks fell on me and another manager. Really – the entire workload fell to everyone. Nonetheless, hiring for that position has been much needed. Typical of the federal workforce, I could churn butter faster than expecting a decision to be made.

Of course I applied for that job, even though I’d only been in my position for 4 months. Because, why not. So when I found out I didn’t get the job, I was a little disappointed for a moment. Now, writing and reflecting on it in the days after, I’m actually very thankful. Prioritizing my own health, fitness, to-do list, school, and a million other tasks has been challenging. Don’t get me wrong: I have an incredible wingwoman and staff that make it all worth it. I enjoy responsibility. However, it sure will be nice when I can unload a few things off my plate.

Minus the week away from school and the return to 124 emails, I was feeling stressed about not “jumping back in” to everything. I found myself leisurely writing the first assignment, forgetting to prioritize my workouts, and generally not trying very hard. Then, I read an article about how society places being busy as a value everyone should strive to obtain. News flash. Even I was guilty of portraying this value to others, specifically my staff. How many times have I said just look busy? Perhaps it’s not the same as to look busy vs be busy but I said it nonetheless.

That week away refreshed me, gave me renewed purpose, and reconnected me to someone I love beyond words. I needed it. Needed. My soul needed it. However, as a type A, it can be so difficult to embrace not being busy.

Often, I must remind myself: the badge of being busy does not equate to value, to actually accomplishing anything, and it certainly shouldn’t define a life with purpose. If busy is indeed a badge, then it’s time to rethink how often I wear it. Maybe just special occasions.


I ask you –

Is being busy also your badge of honor?

Are you a type A? B? Is there a C?

Share with me how you prioritize yourself!

(The post Busy is not a Badge first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

An Ode to Angel Bites

There once lived a lovely woman named Kathy and she made angel bites. She owned an amazing deli; her additional role was wedding catering. She probably catered other events but you could always find her at bridal expos. Whatever cakes didn’t sell or perhaps she had extra pieces of cake – she’d use those to form cake bites. I believe it probably started with vanilla cake (angel bites) and chocolate cake (devil bites). Eventually she made lemon bites, red velvet bites, carrot cake bites, etc. That lemon was superb!

love note from mini

After many years, she closed her storefront. People were devastated. Me. I’m people. Then I moved away expecting to never have another angel bite in my life. Fast forward to last week. I’d heard rumors that Kathy’s relatives had resurrected her recipe and occasionally sold the elusive bites in some downtown local businesses. But every time I went to those businesses – no angel bites. Luck would have it, I stopped by The Shops whilst attempting to kill time. Ta-da! Angel bites! 4 boxes later (and a truly inspiring conversation with a woman my age who had a recent hip replacement), I was on my way, angel bites in hand. Pretty sure mini ate 2 for breakfast. Maybe I did, too.

To celebrate our birthday and lucky number, Spare Parts and I went shopping, spa’d, ate cake, sushi, and did all kinds of other things. Because why not? 37 isn’t a landmark birthday but we made the most of it! Just like the family of Kathy who continue creating glorious bites of cake that only the strongest sugar molecules can withstand.


I ask you –

Have you ever eaten anything like an angel/devil bite?

How did you celebrate your most recent birthday?

Write a love note to someone and surprise them with it!

(The post An Ode to Angel Bites first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes