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

People. Not Programs.

Sometimes we need a reminder that many (most) of us are surrounded by people and the importance of being a leader is one not to be taken lightly. As it is appraisal season in the fairytale land of federal government employment, it’s time for me to administer them. While my own was a pleasant experience and nearly always has been, predecessors have royally convoluted the process and make it seem like a dirty word. It can be disheartening to build trust and camaraderie when employees are fearful, distrustful, and generally blah (which is definitely a scientific word). Often I find myself correcting others when I’m referred to as a manager. That’s not me. I strive to be a leader of people and a manager of programs. People are our mission; programs are our resource.

All this being said – work has posed some challenges lately. Seems this course on human resources and the legalities surrounding it have taken a toll on my decision-making skills. Not necessarily in a bad way; just that I’ve repeatedly questioned whether or not I’m doing the right thing. Turns out I think I have. But still.

So far, these are my (and by “my” I mean I didn’t do much…the team did) shining moments: hosted a staff meeting that included a rousing game of volleyball of which I am (ongoing) healing from; established 24/7 access to a gym that did not previously have this amenity, and completed a 3 week streak of consistent call-ins yet managed to recover. I can’t understand why my award-writing skills aren’t cutting it. Just another example of how supervising people and managing programs can be rewarding in itself.

this photo really helps the abused look

As for the volleyball part of this post, we’ve decided to develop a team complete with custom shirts, wildly inappropriate shorts, and substantially-lacking coach mentorship. At this point in the proverbial game, we have about 11 months to start practicing. Nothing can stand in our way!

I’m leaning toward these shorts

Until I receive the phone call asking if someone can bring in their inflatable gymnastics mat. Do what?


I ask you –

Do you supervise anyone in your workplace?

Have you ever played volleyball?

Tell me your thoughts on leadership versus management.

(The post People. Not Programs. first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

A Few Proclamations

  • Going from 2 classes to 1 has been an eye-opener. I’m not stressing completing papers or posts; I have more time to research and find what I’m searching for. This is the life.
  • I’ve known it was time to increase the weight on my strength training program. No excuse; I’m lazy. So when I did…everything hurts so good. Except when my back itched. I needed help.
  • Anyone else still struggling with time change? This sucks. My routine has not changed but my sleep quality surely has.
  • Nothing like some friendly competition to get me back into a running routine. It doesn’t matter if they know/don’t know we’re in a competition. We absolutely are.
  • I saw a hummingbird!!! All the beautiful flowers make me happy. It’s time to plant them. And watch them die in 2 months when Texas mimics the fires of hell.
  • At the time of posting, we may have had at least one 90° day. My body is in no way ready for this.


I ask you –

How much do you enjoy research?

Have you seen any hummingbirds yet?

Tell me who you are in competition with! Self definitely counts.

(The post A Few Proclamations first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

A Quote –

From @clearairturbulence: “A good writer is a good listener. What you need to listen to is your subconscious. You allow what comes forward to dicate the terms. You’re not suppose to write with your head. Writing – good truthful writing – must come from the heart. It must comes from the gut. To do that you need to let go, listen and then type.

The quote above was pasted on this post with no specific expectation of how I would incorporate it. I just liked it. But, as I returned to my morning date with an office chair – we have a solid relationship – and began researching for a paper, I realized how relevant the quote was. Some get their information from television news sources. Others enjoy the video perspective of YouTube and the varied opinions or commentary it offers. Me? I read thousands of scholarly articles on such a huge range of topics that I could probably never accurately retain them. As I’m most certainly not a numbers person, spreadsheets don’t interest me. But you give me a database full of words and I’m like a child with their favorite candy. I could sit here (and I do!) for hours whilst researching the next paper. People are so weird.

I expected a coffee-scented candle. Nope. Plain vanilla.

Interestingly, each semester I have been able to incorporate what I learned into my daily tasks. The next 7 weeks is all about human resource management. Welcome to my day! Unsolicited and unmanipulated conversations have already begun. It’s truly fascinating to incorporate what I’m exposed to into the research I find. Again, these are organic conversations I’m having with the people I supervise and/or work with. Remember the budgeting semester? I feel nauseous recalling it. For whatever reason, that was also the time period I was creating, updating, or attempting to correct several work-related budgets. Applicability? Check!

So, to tie this post back to the quote at the beginning, listening to others tell their story or perspective – I have no idea where I’m going with this. It’s just fascinating to me, ok?!


I ask you –

When was the last time a quote hit you and made you reconsider?

What medium(s) do you use for events or dialogue?

Tell me how often you get distracted!

(The post A Quote – first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

Tunnel Vision

What is it called when you go down the path of not feeling good enough, strong enough, just enough?

light at the end of the tunnel

a. Slippery slope of self-doubt

b. Tidal wave of turmoil

It doesn’t happen often but sometimes those intrusive thoughts take over the mind. Not one to wallow in self pity, I’m just curious about how others handle this. Where do they come from? Where do they go?

As the longest long long semester is now over, I believe I’ve grown through it. Not only as a writer but also where my writing is going. I try to spend some time reflecting on what went well and what didn’t – and attempt not to overinflate my role in the process. For awhile, I doubted that I could meet the requirements of writing lengthy, topic-specific papers. Sometimes I still doubt it. But with every page, it seems more possible. One, in particular, I thought was actual garbage. I told anyone that would listen how awful it was. No flow, too wordy without saying anything, it was a mess. I stepped away from it on several occasions to try to figure out my mind – still, nothing. Eventually I gave up and submitted it. Grade: A. Now, this isn’t saying I’m a good writer. Fairly certain he got tired of grading papers and gave up. Nonetheless, it was done but it’s still on my mind. Overthinking much?

mid-day knee PT

There was a month – ok, 6 weeks at least – of no office phone. I put my personal number on the out of office message and continued about my business. Many times, I was either asked why would I give out my personal number or questioned if I was being bothered outside of work hours. Of course I’m bothered! Welcome to the supervisor world. But that’s not really true. If I’m busy, I don’t answer. We all do our best to separate work from our personal lives. Occasionally it’s actually successful! Example: using my time wisely to engage in the physical therapy exercises I paid a lot of money for.

That’s how self-doubt works, too. Sometimes it builds us up because of our ability to overcome, but, other times, it’s just a nagging feeling sheltered inside insecurity and lack of confidence. Pry apart the layers and you’ll easily find the nutshell: there’s no really no space for self-doubt in life. Play and pray.


I ask you –

Do you have any catchy phrases for intrusive thoughts?

How leery of handing out your personal number are you?

Lucky Number 13!!!!

(The post Tunnel Vision first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

Hello, fun? Where are you?

“Your expectations lead to your disappointment.” At least, that’s what I heard right before my phone started ringing one early morning with work issues.

Shortly afterwards, I was ruing every small step toward agreeing to be a supervisor. It will be fun, they said. You have so much experience, they also said. It’s not that hard. Right. Where is this fun I was promised? Excuse me, I’m ready for the fun part. Maybe fun isn’t the most accurate depiction of what I’m looking for. But I don’t really know.

flower time!

Unrelated: Is “foot stomp” a redundancy? Because stomping implies using the feet. During a training session last week, I guess to reiterate the material, the speaker said “foot stomp” at least 3 times. Now I can’t help but to wonder if it’s another one of those buzzwords the military and society in general likes to use. Excessively.

This is the final week of classes. A glorious 10 days of no school work awaits me. My hope is by the time this post is published I will have submitted the final discussion post replies and put away all my textbooks. Except for the one I have to return. Note to self: figure that part out pronto. I’m escaping reality for a few short days and then I shall return refreshed for another 8 weeks of papers.

Barring how many telephone calls I receive for advice and complaints. Join the club. Somebody has to do it.


I ask you –

Do your expectations actually lead to your disappointments?

Foot stomp: redundancy or no?

Tell me what you do to escape!

(The post Hello, fun? Where are you? first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

I Take My Chances

Anything shorter than 10 pages is a break. I’m just counting down the days until spring break. For me, that’s 10 whole days of no due dates. For mini, it’s a vacation from school and a trip to Tennessee.

First, we have to navigate parent-teacher conferences, class parties, and probably something else I’m forgetting. Book fair. That’s what it was. I wrote a post last year on the quality of book fairs and how they are definitely not what I remember. It was sad. But like any good parent with a short memory and dumbfounded hope, I will attend the book fair again and most likely be talked into $50 worth of easily lost erasers and a book that interests neither of us. Remind me of this conversation later.

I often forget to take care of myself but lately – just the last week, really – I’ve attempted to fill my bucket, so to speak. First, a coffee date with an amazing mentor who reminds me we’re fighting the good fight and we have each other. Then, a phone call with the one and only Aunt Mary Catherine who I can hear smile through the speakers. We’re visiting soon and just the thought of seeing her gives me renewed joy and hope.

Seems I have a problem haha

Finally, a mad dash to course completion in the hopes that I can read a book other than required readings. Possibility? I might have a better chance at running more than once per week. And that’s saying something because I haven’t managed this successfully in weeks. Right now, I’m just living for the tiny zing I get when I realize I’ve written another page in a long line of pages.

Details, you know.


I ask you –

Any upcoming vacation plans?

How much will I spend at the book fair?

Tell me some chances you’ve taken lately!

(The post I Take My Chances first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

Life’s LIMFACs

LIMFAC = limiting factors. So many acronyms.

Blooms in January

For the longest, and still today, I’m guilty of limiting myself via negative self talk. I think I thought it was humbling, but now I’m not sure. Saying things like “that’s not me” when exploring the possibility of doing something crazy or very self-serving. Not selfish, there’s a difference. For example, going back to school. Or, stating my name in a professional capacity.

Backstory. Recently I attended an awards ceremony where one of the nominees was introduced as Dr. (insert his name). I know him personally and credit him with encouraging me to get my doctorate. He’s always available for questions; in fact, when I asked him how crazy it was to take 2 courses simultaneously, he stated – paraphrasing – I didn’t do that but it can be done and you can do it, here’s how …

The empowerment and advice he provided was invaluable. So why don’t we empower ourselves in the same manner?

Back to the awards ceremony. I thought if that was my name up there, it would probably be read with my personal title, i.e., Ms. (insert my name). My thought was this: “The addition of Dr. My Name is just not me.”

WHAT? WHY NOT? Because that is me! Well, it will be. I earned every letter of that title and I should be proud of it. Humility or not be damned. The sacrifice, the tears, the brain power and dedication it takes to write until my eyes bleed – those things don’t just count for something, they count for ME! They are ME! How dare I limit myself by saying what is and isn’t me. I was created to do good things. I am empowered to do big things. I am and the highest I AM says so.

So when you think you’re humbling yourself by not speaking up for yourself or taking credit where credit is due, just remember the only LIMFACs are the ones you place on yourself. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.


I ask you –

Do you succumb to negative self talk?

What do you think isn’t you?

Forewarning: this will probably become a series as I have many LIMFACs to further discuss.

(The post Life’s LIMFACs first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

Deja Vu

It hasn’t happened yet, but I know it’s only a matter of time. I’ll probably be investigated again for my search history related to writing all these papers. Apparently information systems research is a hot topic. Haha who knew? As I plug in key words, even in well known journal publications, the message regarding tracking appears instantly. And these are university sources!

Snow #1

I keep writing all the words my manic brain throws at me and it seems to be working. As I approach week 3 of 8, occasionally I feel like I’ve got the hang of time management but then a potential snow day turns into a bust and I scramble for more hours in the day. Work is jam packed so there is absolutely no way I can even brainstorm words to lengthen the page count. Any takers? At first, I took great offense to the B I received on my initial assignment. Overachiever. I spent some time trying to prove the professor wrong, that his feedback was not correct. Spoiler: I made some mistakes. So a perspective shift was in order – I came to the grand conclusion he was right and just trying to make me a better writer. As he’s the program director, perhaps it’s a valuable lesson. Better to learn it now than later. Perspective. It’s everything.

Aside from that hellish course about advanced budgeting, this school stuff isn’t too difficult. Really, it just requires a nervous breakdown or ten, an insane drive to accomplish things, and where was I going with this? Oh right. Other ridiculous traits that indicate a real whackadoo. Me. I’m the whackadoo.

Did I mention I’m doomed to be investigated? Seriously. It’s coming. I was exploring nefarious terms for where the internet can take you and it hit me like a ton of subpoenas. All I could think was … If I end up on the cannot fly list, then this better get me another A!


I ask you –

Have you searched anything suspicious lately?

How often do you try to prove someone else wrong? Be honest!

On a scale of 1 to Biden’s desk, how likely am I to survive this program unscathed? I realize how political I could take this, but it wasn’t my intention.

(The post Deja Vu first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

Thinking Out Loud

or on paper.

This time last year – I wasn’t sure if I’d ever run again. The question many people have asked is “Was it worth it?” Even though I should probably say no because my health is more important than any race, the all-heart reply is absolutely yes. It was. It was worth the pain, worth the uncertainty, worth the PR I had arrived day in and out for. It was worth it, to me.

Now, the mind, the logical, reasoning part of my brain (albeit small) thinks I’m insane. How could something that jeopardized my literal ability to walk pain free be worth one stupid race? I should have stopped when the pain never did, I should have stopped when advised by medical personnel that I was running (no pun intended) the risk of seriously damaging my body, I should have stopped at the first pop of my knee. But I don’t listen well.

(from a previous post)

I probably won’t ever race again. I love training, I love running, and I don’t wish to give it up even though my seasons of running look much different now than they did a year ago. And that’s ok. It’s hard to believe by May I’ll have completed 5 courses towards my doctorate. Time really does fly. To think in Jan 2022 I documented on a visionary board I wanted to go back to school. Then, in June, I heard from someone else who had recently completed their own program. I made a call – one call – a few days later and by the next month I was enrolled. It all happened so fast.

Yay! More books!

Sometimes the things that are meant to be happen quickly. Sometimes we miss the signs of impending disaster – or choose to turn a blind eye to it. And sometimes good things come when least expected.

Final thought – I read this line somewhere and it really rang true – the feeling of magic will disappear. You are responsible for your own enjoyment.


I ask you –

Have you ever blatantly disregarded advice? Who hasn’t?!

Do you agree you are responsible for your own enjoyment?

Tell me your thoughts on a vision board!

(The post Thinking Out Loud first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2022 Running on Fumes