Let’s Catch Up

Running update: I haven’t been.

School update: it’s all I’ve been doing.

The end.

As what’s his name once (or all the time) said…And now the rest of the story. Paul Harvey!

I had female-centric surgery a few weeks ago and only now am officially cleared to return to full duty status. Honestly, I paused my training plan then and just haven’t turned it back on yet though the good doctor said it was possible to return to running as quickly as I felt comfortable. The problem is I wasn’t really comfortable. I still feel a little misled but I’m getting over it.

By the time I was ready to restart, I was neck-deep in two classes and not sleeping or eating well. At all. Stress is funny like that. It has a way of keeping you humble. Then there were the hormones. My God, I don’t remember crying so much. Ugh. I’m not sure if I have it together yet but I’m trying. Unfortunately, what I really don’t have is extra time to get my head back in the game and run. The desire is there; the time, not so much. I’m lying. The desire isn’t there much either. I consider going for a run then the writing bug bites me again and I start typing instead. Which is probably a good thing at this point.

But, Kel, you said people make time for what’s important to them. And I truly believe it! But that’s literally the problem – I don’t have time right now! My priority list basically includes sleep and not much else. I have a brand new book (or 2) I haven’t yet found time to read.

Maybe at Christmas. Maybe not. At this moment, I can’t remember if I have a week off at Christmas. Don’t ask about the Spring semester. We’ll be lucky to see the light of day.

We. Me and my other personality.


I ask you –

When everything flies out the window, what do you prioritize?

Do you remember Paul Harvey?

Tell me a good book to read!

(The post Let’s Catch Up first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2022 Running on Fumes

Anatomy of Paper Writing

As this week has been the most stressful thus far, I’m offering some insight into the reasons why I don’t answer my phone, text back in a timely manner, attend social events, or do anything else really. Besides the fact I’m lazy. Here’s a typical day in the life of a doctoral student. Or maybe it’s just me.

4:02am – Coffee

4:06am – Open approximately 23 tabs of research articles and 1 word doc

4:10am – Try to figure out what I’m doing with my life

4:13am – Start typing

4:45am – Panic because I’ve forgotten where I was going with the million words crossing my mind

4:46am – Re-read everything previously written the past 32 mins

5:01am – Silence the alarm for the time I used to wake up before I decided to go back to school

5:02am – Panic again because the realization has set in I only have 58 more mins to type before I have to wake up mini

5:18am – Close one word doc and open another because I’m an idiot with overlapping classes

5:31am – Silence the alarm for the time I used to get up, back when mini didn’t go to school and I had a conscious thought process

5:42am – Check the due dates and put my head on the desk

5:43am – Sigh loudly, drink the coffee that’s now gone cold, and rethink my life choices

5:45am – Frantically type 250 more words in order to feel good about the perception I’ve done absolutely nothing the past 2 hours

6:00am – Contemplate requesting leave for the next 3 years until school is done

P.S. something terrible happened this past weekend and a file I had been working on went corrupt…kaput…a big middle finger to hours of work. No recovery software could save it. Alas, I cried. A lot. No one warned me I would be so emotional.


I ask you –

Sorry. I have no questions. I’m typing this at an indecent hour because I totally forgot I hadn’t edited anything for the blog this week and I would feel bad for letting my readers down if I didn’t at least try to post something. So here it is. Something. You’re welcome.

(The post Anatomy of Paper Writing first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2022 Running on Fumes

My Face When…

this is my face when…

When you’ve been writing for 4 hours and only have 2 pages. I need 6 pgs minimum.

When a doctoral candidate writes (paraphrased) “people who are emotionally weaker have a tendency to be depressed”. Wow. This statement is fantastically false and hurtful. Idiot.

When one of the assigned readings is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (not really, one of the authors is named Hyde so that’s what I call this book) and it mentions the U.S.S.R. – which I should be careful in even typing because we know how that turned out for me last time. It struck me as weird because it’s a very outdated title. Turns out it was written in 1959. Now it all makes sense.

When I drop off mini at school and can’t find my ID to access work. My sweet coworker (Ms. P, remember) happily informs me it’s at my computer. At work. Which I can’t get to without said ID. In nearly 10 years, I have never left my ID in any place other than intended. Thankfully I had other methods to get to work. But still. Now I have to start over on my record.

When mini wants to discuss the merits and nuances of “running sticks”. Tampons. That’s what we’re talking about here. She’s 6 so I give her an age appropriate explanation. Just as I thought we were done – aka I had sufficiently navigated these uncharted waters – she asks…so where do they go? My answer: inside your body. As a look of horror and disgust cross her little face, she loudly says “YOU EAT THEM?!” And this is where I said we’re going to be late for school, let’s go.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be over questioning every life choice ever made and frantically searching for that damn parenting manual. Again. As I always do.


I ask you –

Do you have a winning streak on never forgetting your ID or some other form of work access card, etc?

What conversation was the hardest with your child(ren)?

Send help. I don’t know what I’m doing over here.

(The post My Face When… first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2022 Running on Fumes

Weekend Recap

This past weekend brought about low overnight temperatures (upper 40’s and low 50’s). Best running weather ever! Unfortunately my body couldn’t seem to get it together. Old age sucks. My back began hurting midweek so by Friday night it was unbearable. The suspected culprit: my home desk chair. You know, where I spend several hours a day diligently writing and researching. Still don’t have week one grades. Hmmpphh. I’ve made the switch to a proper ergonomic, blah blah blah chair. Hopefully that fixes it.

Dr. Google informed me walking (and running, actually) can be beneficial for those who suffer from back spasms. As I essentially have the same degree as Dr. Google, I took the advice with a grain of salt (otherwise known in pill form as ibuprofen) and went for a walk. It didn’t kill me and I only had to stop twice when the spasms nearly knocked me off my feet. Successful walk.

September concluded with nearly 33 total miles for the month! Overall that sounds paltry to what fall training began with last year. But it also wasn’t 95+ degrees then so I’m ok with it.

But I did have a solid reason to lay around all weekend and shirk my running duties. Finally! The long awaited premier of Hocus Pocus 2! Not as good as the original but not bad either. We made Hocus Pocus buns – basically disappearing marshmallow buns. Very tasty!

Update: late Saturday I received grades for my first assignment. 75 out of 75 points and a “well done”. *bowing graciously*


I ask you –

How much faith do you have in Google?

Have you watched Hocus Pocus 2 yet? No spoilers, please!

Tell me about your weekend!

(The post Weekend Recap first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2022 Running on Fumes

Excuse Me, Have You Heard of Grammerly?

There’s a pattern to the amount of commercial vehicles attempting to gain access to a military base using the main gate. It’s written very plainly miles before and upon entrance to this gate “No commercial vehicles authorized. Please use xxxx gate.” As I eventually drove up to have my ID checked after once again waiting in line behind a semi-truck at the main gate, I made a joke about the sign. These are the responses I received –

1. English is a hard language. – no doubt

2. Readin’ is cheatin’ – please see #1

3. Reading is for the rich. I have no words.

In other news, at the time of this post, I’ll be in week two of my doctorate program. Week one was interesting.

original setup

I’m seriously amazed at the writing skills, ahem lack thereof, of my post-graduate classmates. Appalled would be a better description. Perhaps I should fear one of them reading this and being offended, but I’m not. As I’ve been out of school for 10 years there was concern I wouldn’t be able to do it. All the what ifs. What if I was so out of touch with technology I couldn’t navigate the sites? What if ideas don’t flow and I can’t write? Geez, if this class is the bar then I’m in space.

I wish this didn’t sound so selfish and self-absorbed. Probably should be ashamed now. But there are posts with bad grammar, misspellings, and an obvious lack of citations. Ramen Catholic Church anyone? Proofreading goes a long way in writing. Maybe they expected their word document to autocorrect like text. If I was the professor I’d cry.

You’re welcome, friends. These are the people who might, one day, spell checker-willing, be called doctor. Ugh. Help me.


I ask you –

Have you heard any of the phrases mentioned at the beginning of my post?

Did I go too far in pointing out my classmate’s misgivings? If so, I am sorry.

Ramen Catholic Church – I bet they have an abundance of seasoning packets.

(The post Excuse Me, Have You Heard of Grammerly? first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2022 Running on Fumes

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

Tell Me How You Really Feel

I’m just so happy student loan forgiveness is well on its way to becoming a social program. I’m even happier I worked two jobs in order to pay off my student loan, a loan I willingly accepted with the complete understanding I was solely responsible for. Not the government. Not my parents. Me. Because I signed for it.

I don’t want to get into an argument with anyone because you may be someone who is the recipient of receiving 10k to pay some (or all) of your student loan. Perhaps I should stop saying I don’t want to discuss political issues – I seem to be doing exactly that right now. Good for you. I hope it genuinely makes a difference in your livelihood. I hope you realize and share how blessed and fortunate you are. Better yet, I hope you don’t say a word; just quietly accept it and move on. You and I can both read and learn about interest payments so I encourage you to do so before choosing to take on debt.

I overheard a person equating this to the multiple stimulus payments received during the height of the pandemic. In other words, we all received those so how we (I) dare begrudge another for their loan forgiveness. Let me explain. Nearly every American received a stimulus check, not a population of people who signed on the dotted line agreeing they would pay back a certain amount of money. And if you think we’re not paying for the “free money” received, you are very wrong. We’ll be paying for it for the rest of our lives, trust me. Nothing is free.

the weird divots are where I kept eating it

Moving on. I found an awesome cookie recipe! Melted butter makes it super easy to put together; with all the time I saved, I managed to refrigerate the dough for a few hours before baking them. Perfection! Mini sprinkled the tiniest bit of kosher salt on top pre-bake. I ate most of them. No shame.

Hatch chilies are my favorite! I might have a problem because they’re only available a limited time – usually late summer – so I buy all I can and freeze them. The photo below reflects the chilies roasted because the skin peels off easily and makes the most delicious dish covered in pepper jack cheese and baked. Clearly I love these. Fortunately, my local grocery store will roast them for you because, holy crap, the smell of cooking peppers can make your eyes and throat burn. But they taste sooooo good!

Now I’m off to highlight some more textbooks with my “free” education solely attributed to military service. Ta Ta!


I ask you –

What is your favorite type of cookie?

Are you a Hatch chili fan?

Tell me how you really feel about an issue. No judgment, no condemnation. I may not agree, but I can be an adult about it. All hateful comments will be deleted.

(The post Tell Me How you Really Feel first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© Running on Fumes 2022

Degree Prep

And it begins.

Dissertation ideas:

  1. Do mosquito bites correlate to high blood volume from intense exercise, like running? Or is it because I’m extra hydrated because I run?
  2. (Nothing else. Just #1)

210 emails awaited my one week hiatus. 210. I like to think I’m popular but really it’s most likely people are desperate. I know nothing! Ctrl + A, Delete. My job has certainly prepared me to tackle many moving parts at once.

Contrary to my common sense – which seems to be in short supply lately – I signed up for Civilian Mentoring Connection (CMC) 102. If you recall, I just completed CMC 101. We’ll be touring my building. Sounds like fun. I plan to ask obnoxious questions like I don’t work there. I also requested a mentor, but no word yet on if I get to keep my previous mentor or if I get a new one. (Update: I got a new one. She’s blunt. I like her.) After reading my blog posts, I bet it was a short end of the straw type of deal on who got me.

In all seriousness, I’m ready to get this doctorate party started. Books are ordered and delivery scheduled, fees paid, pens and highlighters at the ready; all I’m waiting on is the syllabus. Then I’ll panic.

So how’s the running going, Kel? Well, it’s going. I’m on a 5k training plan which culminates the weekend after I start school. Turns out I do much better when I have a plan, but indoor running is for the birds. I’m sick of it. Last week I did get an opportunity to run outside – it was glorious! At the time of this posting we “should” be done with triple digit temps. Just in time for Hotter’N Hell. Maybe I’ll join them again for a quick run while they peddle furiously towards the nearest rest stop. Always makes for a lively event when they comment how two wheels are better than whatever I’m doing. (Update: we received a few inches of rain and temps dropped to the high 60s. I ran outside in the rain!)

In this heat, the cyclists may be right. Two wheels are better.


I ask you –

Your thoughts on my dissertation topic?

What were my original chances of getting the same mentor?

Mini wanted to write the last word: catherine

Tell the Truth

Once upon a time…I would take my breakfast to work to eat there. But with the medication I take, I discovered how awful I felt before I even arrived because I had not eaten. Turns out I’m a much happier human when I’m fed.


Which brings me to this nugget of truth:


  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

By evaluating the words we say, actions we take, and decisions we make keeping the acronym HALT in mind, I bet you can pinpoint where many conversations or big decision making situations in your life went wrong. What if you evaluated your own internal cues prior to reacting to stressors at work, home, or life in general? Taking care of our basic needs is paramount to successful interactions. Hanger is very real, as is allowing lack of sleep to encourage poor decisions. So, next time, before you react or make a snap judgment, try the HALT method. If you need a snack, go for it. If you need to sleep on a decision, do that. If you’re falling back into destructive behaviors, perhaps it’s time to call a friend who will listen.

Unrelated – as I draw closer to the start date (I have one of those now – September!) of my doctorate program, I recognize this will finally unlock the door to teaching higher education. Some may think it’s not even possible, but I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher since I was 5 yrs old. Really. Don’t ask me how. I just knew then and still know now in my heart and soul I was called to teach. In every career I’ve had I always find myself gravitating toward teaching positions, opportunities to teach others, or advancing my formal schooling with the intent to teach. Now, knowing what I know now, Higher Ed is very political. I get it. And even though my degree(s) are in Public Admin which cater to elected officials and city/state government jobs, it’s never been my intent to become an elected official. Way too empathic. However, I would take my chances at teaching at the university level.

I ran into a college friend a few weeks ago whom I hadn’t seen in person since 2007ish. She’s now a local principal and an adjunct professor at our alma mater. She had some interesting advice for anyone willing to tackle university-level students; it boiled down to the older they get, the more resistant they get. Let’s land this plane, shall we? Instantly I thought of the HALT method. What kind of service are we providing our youth (and ourselves) when getting older is synonymous with resistant? Absolutely rhetorical! I firmly believe we all have more to learn – there’s no end in sight. Honing your craft, sharing your skills, providing a sympathetic ear are just three simple steps. Imagine what could be done if you tried, if you made a conscious effort.

Perhaps this is where we get it very wrong. When the going gets tough, do the tough actually get going or do they get gone? Think about it.


I ask you –

Know about good metaphors for deescalating stressful situations?

Do you consider yourself a resistant person? You can lie to me, but don’t lie to yourself.

Tell me something you are very good at (skill, hobby, whatever it is)! Baking cookies!

Yes, I’m Still Thinking

As I continue to traverse the stages of shock within utter humility, my mind is blown that I’m attempting to get a doctorate. You know the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin”? Yeah, that’s me. Perhaps a doctorate isn’t the wildest idea in my history – I did join the military at age 28 which is still almost incomprehensible. But the smokescreen of doubt lingers. Do I have what it takes? Funny thing is I don’t worry about failure. Once I get started, I know I’ve got this. It’s the getting started part that worries me. When I look back on the moment I received the phone call stating I had passed my master’s capstone (essentially the final mountain), I was speechless. I looked around my big empty gym and took in the silence. Then I smiled the biggest smile I’d ever had until that point. I’d done it.

Shortly after I shared the good news with anyone who would listen, someone asked what’s next? I recall answering something to the affect of this is it for me. When the thought of a higher degree crossed my mind, I told myself ‘that’s not me’. Why not? Because it can be me. In time that passes so quickly, it will be me. In the meantime, much work remains.

I haven’t shared the news with mini yet. Perhaps the scope of it will be lost on her; that’s ok, too. But I did speak with her on the phone a few nights ago. Typically we video chat but she was with other relatives and it was late, etc. I had a tough time grasping how old she sounds on the phone. Not “age old” but “mature old”. She’s very matter of fact and wise in all her 6 years. She was also exhausted so anything she could do to stay awake was fair game. She had been struggling that night with a headache – when I asked questions related to how it came about, her answers were child-like, then I remembered she’s still my baby.


Me: Have you been drinking enough water?

Her: No, I haven’t drank any.

Me: Well, that may be part of the problem, honey. Did you hit your head on something while playing?

Her: Maybe!

Nothing like a conversation like that to bring life into perspective. I can hear the conversation in my head right now. “Mom, why is (this, this, and this) happening?” Me: I don’t know. “Well, you’re a doctor!” Leave it to a child (my child) to make you question your education.


I ask you –

What song resonates with a journey (no pun intended) in your life?

Have you ever limited yourself with the phrase or mindset of ‘that’s not me’?

Share a moment where a child put you in your place. If you dare.