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With An Extra Hour...

Monday, November 03, 2014

Hey hey, Spark Peeps; how's every little thing?

I've been drafting a blog in my brain for roughly three weeks and finally decided to let it out. There's some news to share and a few call-outs to make, so bear with me.

ETA: Let's open with a Shadow (aka Moose) shot!

My paper - comparing the logistics and supply chains for biomass - was well received by the reviewers (see previous blog); no changes requested! My co-author and I successfully presented our work at the ASEM conference last month. We were asked to reformat our papers and submit them to the Engineering Management Journal. It's not a big deal to me - really! - but my co-author would like to land a tenure track position someday; back to writing!

Here are two shots from the hotel:

My husband successfully found another teaching spot, so he's an adjunct professor at two schools now; Metropolitan State University and University of Minnesota-Crookston. Fortunately they are both online, as the commute to Crookston would be a bear! emoticon

I started working with a personal trainer in June? July? I made the decision to do this because what I was doing wasn't working. 'Trainer Joel' and I have met once a week since then (with some time off for his vacation and my conference) for strength training. The goal is to do ST 3x a week, though it's more like 5x over two weeks. I'm losing inches, even though the scale isn't budging, which is OK for now.

If I let go of the beer cans, I'm fairly certainly the pounds would fall off. I know my shortcomings. emoticon

My current work assignment is wrapping up this month, which is a good thing. I'm ready for something new.

The Hubster and I are [certifiably insane] considering a trip to see our parental units around year-end. I'm not terribly excited about this and will try not to stress too much about it. Let's just say that 700 miles between us is a luxury. emoticon
(I just like that frog, no relevance otherwise.)

As for the call-outs, in no particular order:
PCOH051610 - You really are a terrific gal. I hope that you are feeling your best very soon.

DOGLADY13 - I've missed you and it's so good to see you visiting SP again. I suspect that Lenny and 'Trainer Joel' are related, hee hee.

BOVEY63 - I truly hope that your worst days are behind you. You have amazing strength to have weathered so much!

JUNEPA - Your photos and stories are always so inspiring. Thank you for sharing them with us!

F8CONE8 - I am so happy that your fitness efforts are paying off. Everyone deserves to live a healthy life.

SHAKINGTHETREE, VALKYR8 and SOAPSANDROPES - You are bad@$$es on so many levels. When I grow up, I want to be fit and strong like you are!

Okies, folks, will be back later to share some photos!

ETA: I'm back - Go Lions (v. the Vikings at TCF Stadium)!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOVEY63 11/4/2014 1:01PM

    Gotta love Moose!
Congrats on the wonderful reception you received on your paper and presentation, and great job on the workouts!
Congrats to your hubster on the teaching spot. I have found the University of Minnesota a great place to work!

Thanks for the shout out too. The past two weeks have been much better, and I am feeling much more optimistic.

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AMBERNICHOLE3 11/4/2014 11:14AM

    GREAT PICS!! Thanks for letting ,e know so I could check them out, you always go to the coolest places!

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DOGLADY13 11/4/2014 6:29AM

    This is a fun blog. So glad you posted and got us all caught up on your amazing life.

Congratulations on getting your paper published. This is a Big Deal. Woo Hoo!

Good thing there's about 1400 miles between Lenny and Trainer Joe. Let's do our best to keep them apart. We're the ones who'll be hurt if they are able to plot and scheme.

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WISLNDR 11/4/2014 5:54AM

    It's always fun to get updates and things sounds good in your world! (Except for that year-end trip . . . . . . are you sure????) emoticon

Loved the photos and congrats on your accomplishments!

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JUNEPA 11/3/2014 11:10PM

    I am honoured to be one of your call-outs, thanks

I also love frogs

Thanks also for your ever present comments and encouragement on my friend feeds and spark page blogs.

I used a personal trainer over the last year, it was very helpful in solving some specific physical set-backs and in getting going again doing regular Strength Training.

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    It looks like you will be called upon to share your knowledge for some time to come. Congratulations to both you and your hubby.

I have always wondered about personal trainers. We don't have a lot here and I think I would be too old for them to do me much good but I wish my son would find one.

My dad is only 70 plus miles away and I seldom see him. We used to offer to come see him but he always refuses and says he will come here but he never comes. We seldom see our son either. It's just me and hubby now.

Loved the pictures. Especially the cat in charge at your place. LOL!

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AMBERNICHOLE3 11/3/2014 4:35PM

    I feel you on the weakness too!

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F8CONE8 11/3/2014 3:39PM

    I am so glad to get this update. I am so impressed even if you aren't. Thanks for the shout out you have given me so much encouragement through the last year! emoticon emoticon

Frogs emoticon are my fave people!

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What's Cookin'?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hey there Spark Friends -

Let's open with something cute. Rascal - aka "Boing" - sat still long enough for a photo.

The trip to China and Japan was amazing. I don't know when (or if) we'll go again, so we really did it up big. Now that the credit card bill has arrived, I just need to keep reminding myself that we had a ton of fun.

The Hubster will undoubtedly put some photos up on our website, but I wanted to give you a preview.

Right on the heels of that trip, I went into heavy training mode for the MS-150. Between traveling, jet lag and the extended winter, I was really behind in my goals. Fortunately I had been going to the YMCA, else I would have been in big trouble.

The event was a lot of fun; really! We got up to Duluth the day before, brought a friend along and made a day of bar-hopping and lake watching. It was a beautiful day. We woke up Saturday to pouring rain; ah, well. It rained the entire time that I was on my bike. That means 75 miles of wet, sandy/muddy, coldness for my trouble. But it was fun. Everyone was super friendly and courteous, likely because of the danger that wet cycling can pose. Sunday, by contrast, was sunny and became warm quickly. The event became much more crowded, which is not my idea of a good time. That said, I still managed to see my friends along the course, which is hard to believe in that sea of people.

Here's a shot from the end of the event. See? I'm still smiling!

And if THAT isn't enough fun for ya... The first draft of my conference paper was due two weeks after the ride. I went from spending the day on a bike seat to spending the day in a desk chair, reading and writing about corn stover. Trust me, it was more grueling than 150 miles on the bike! It's done and on its way to the review group.

Today I'm trying to figure out what to do. I suppose it's time to get back to my knitting... or clean the house. It seems a number of things have been on the back burner!

Make it a great day, Spark Friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIBBYFITZ 9/25/2014 9:14AM

    I am exhausted! Well done on the bike ride, sounds very gruelling, not sure if my butt would handle it.

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DOGMOMMA2THREE 6/29/2014 10:30AM

    150 miles on bike?! Are you crazy emoticon - my poor butt is sore from just thinking about that!

Where is the link to your blog with the trip photos? I like the idea of seeing the world while I sit here with a dog on my lap emoticon

Glad you have your paper done....or at least the first draft. And how in the world can you knit two projects at once? I haven't picked up a pair of needles in a few years but even when I was knitting on a semi-regular routine I couldn't even watch tv because I'd mess up emoticon

I really need to write the blog about icebergs because I know certain friends, like yourself, would enjoy seeing the pictures.

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BIGMAMAT 6/29/2014 6:32AM

    Sounds like a magical time!! I would love to be on my bike. going to dig it out soon! emoticon

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F8CONE8 6/22/2014 12:36PM

    Wow you have been one busy lady. Congrads and glad the paper is done. I'm sure you were right on!

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BELLACUDDLES 6/21/2014 12:14PM


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DOGLADY13 6/20/2014 10:10PM

    Busy girl! Two 75 mile days sounds rough on the tush. Yowie!

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WISLNDR 6/19/2014 4:55AM

    I now know more about corn stover than I ever intended!! emoticon
Knitting is way more interesting to me!!

It sounds like you had a great Spring (how can the first day of Summer be upon us already?) The photos are great (but no corn stover??) emoticon

Have a great day!


Comment edited on: 6/19/2014 4:55:51 AM

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    Boing is really cute!!!

I have not had a vacation since I was 38 and now I'm 62. Hubby is so cheap he would have a heart attack at the cost. LOL.

Wow!! 75 miles!! I have problem forcing myself to walk across the yard in the rain. LOL. emoticon

I need to get some things off the back burner too. I hate paper work and house cleaning find them easy to shove on the back burner.

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BOVEY63 6/18/2014 2:54PM

    Great job on the ride! I was in Duluth last week and had to make my stop to say "Hi" to the lake. It was chilly but still beautiful.

Best of luck with the paper review. I am sure you rocked it!

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It's All About Accountability

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Hi Sparklers!

Yes, it's been a while. I'd love to say that I've been busy - and it would be mostly true - but that's really not an excuse not to check in. To be honest, there's been a swirl of energy around me, both positive and negative, and sorting it out has been tricky. I'm not one to 'just be' so I've been tinkering. No, it doesn't really change the outcome, but at least I feel like I'm doing *something.*

Time to get to the point? OK, let's do this:

I ended my last assignment at the end of February. I haven't worked since then and it's beginning to get a bit pesky. I really tried to relax, but that's tough for me. I figured that this was THE time to find a new position that leverages my graduate degree. After all, I can always go back to what I've already done (IT Consulting / Software Quality Assurance). The Hubster is being very supportive and is a good shoulder for my occasional freak-outs. I've been interviewing and have a good chance that's in the works now... and the waiting is eating at me.


I've been using my flexible schedule as a reason to try other classes at the Y. Well, I'm trying the same classes with different instructors. I enjoy change, but I'm also a fan of routine. I thought that this was a good compromise.


The weather around here has not been conducive to cycling, but I am trying to get in some training for the MS-150. Rumor has it that it will be not raining too much this weekend, so I'm going to get Utopia out on the trails (goal is my standard 18 mile ride).

If you are curious and want more ride details:

The Hubster is looking forward to riding support in our VW Beetle. His job is to have the beer ready at the end of the trail and to make sure that I'm doing alright during the course. The last time I rode the event, he made the decision to pull me off the trail because it was too darn hot (and it was!). He's a pretty good 2nd Opinion and Voice of Reason.


We are returning to Asia this month. It's likely our last trip to China, given the costs and the fact that we're trying to focus on our careers. Being our 20th wedding anniversary this year, we justified doing this one more time. You know I'll share photos when we return!


While all of this is going on, I'm also working/avoiding a paper that I'm slated to present at the annual conference for the American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM). Remember that certification test that I took in December? The paper and presentation at the ASEM Conference is a step towards professional development units, which translates into "I won't have to take that test again to re-certify." I love the topic - A Comparison of Logistics and Supply Chains in Corn Stover versus Corn Cobs - but I'm just finding it hard to be focused.

Look, a prairie dog!!

And I'm not kidding about loving the topic. It's cool - for a city girl - to consider what's involved in taking post-harvest plant material out of the fields to use for energy. In today's reality, alternative fuel sources are critical to the planet's well-being.

In other news, I'm knitting 1) my first sweater and 2) two socks at the same time. That may not seem like a big deal, but it's been a fairly relaxing distraction for me (one of the few!).

While I've been active on Spark, I've been lax on updates. It's not by design, I assure you. It's just hard to think that any of my current efforts are all that blog-worthy. I mean, it's not all that motivating or inspiring. Being selfishly motivated, I'm simply hoping that this entry helps me to straighten it out. If not... well, I'll find another way to tinker!

Have a super rest of the week, Sparklers. Keep Moving!

Oh! And I walked my first 5K. Here's a photo for AMBERNICHOLE3:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOGMOMMA2THREE 5/27/2014 8:41AM

    Your life sounds far more interesting than mine does! Is it really your 20th wedding anniversary - you guys don't look old enough to be married that long! emoticon

I'm so sorry I've not been in touch! You make such lovely comments on my blogs but I sometimes feel that I'm not educated enough for people like yourself. Here I am a dinky library tech and you are out there presenting papers, working on extra projects....can you tell I have self-esteem problem? Ha!

Big hugs!


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    I'm certain that you will find the right job assignment soon. I hope this latest opportunity pans out.

I'm glad to see your hubby is looking out after you on the biking adventures. He sounds like an all around great guy.

The trip to Asia sounds like it is exactly what you need right now. It will take your mind off of the job hunt and you can come back refreshed and ready to get back in the grind.

I wish I could knit. I tend to think it would aggravate my R.A. but I love to see and use the final products.

I'm glad you dropped in to tell us how you are!

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BOVEY63 5/5/2014 5:12PM

    How exciting that your going back to Asia! have an awesome time! Can't wait to see the pictures!
Good luck with the job search. Any company would be lucky to have you on staff!

Enjoy the bike riding - and the beer!
emoticon emoticon

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DOGLADY13 5/5/2014 4:29PM

    So happy to hear from you. At least having some downtime gives you the opportunity to prepare for that presentation. Of course, having downtime also makes it easier to put things off.

Nonetheless, happy for the update. I am always interested in what you are up to.

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WISLNDR 5/2/2014 4:55AM

    I too have not been too motivated to post a blog (or update my page for that matter!!) The winter took me to a wonderful interior place and I just couldn't think of creative ways to say "it's cold" or "it's snowing." The weather is looking better here also and I am looking at the bike in the garage. This just may be the weekend!

Thanks for posting and getting me caught up on your activities. (I have a sweater on the needles also just begging for sleeves right now!!)

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LOGHOUSE 5/2/2014 1:27AM

    I gotta get my trike out too. My local MS150 isn't until August, but I need all the training mileage I can get.

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AJB121299 5/1/2014 7:03PM


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Blog Challenge - Day 21

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I made it! It's the last day of the challenge!

As you may recall, my SparkFriend DogLady13 posted a blog challenge that looks like a great way to express and examine my goals and accomplishments, so I. AM. IN!

Credit where credit is due (DogLady13's blog post):

21. This is a long one. You just spent three weeks reflecting on yourself and your journey to a healthy lifestyle. Write yourself a heartfelt, loving intention to help you reach your goal.

Actually, it was more like three months, but who's counting?


I have been doing a lot of planning and making progress. I passed my certification exam (*just* received the official word this week. Gee, that only took six weeks), and celebrated my accomplishment. I even ordered new business cards.

I was recruited for a job that would have been awesome - setting up a QA team and strategy for a company that currently has neither - but the client isn't settled on their goals. Sure, they can still come back, but I'm moving on.

After a chat with The Hubster, I decided to sign up and train for the MS-150, a two-day bike rife that raises funds and awareness for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. I've ridden the event 8-9 times, but it's been a few years since the last one.

What does all of this mean? I think they are good steps on the way to my goals. Sure, I didn't get enough knitting done. I can work on that. But my career and fitness plans are moving forward. What's next? Well, the ride... and I was approached to write an article for an online software magazine... and I plan to co-author and present two papers at the annual conference of the ASEM. It's going to be busy and challenging, exactly the way I tend to do things.


Enjoy the remainder of the weekend, SparkFriends; stay warm and keep moving!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 1/27/2014 10:46AM

    Your are really accomplishing a lot with professional growth and personal growth. Congratulations on the new credentials. Very proud of you!!

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WISLNDR 1/26/2014 7:00PM

    You have accomplished a lot and more! Things to strive toward too; great job!! emoticon emoticon

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DOGLADY13 1/26/2014 11:28AM

    Congratulations! Sounds like your career is taking off! WOo HoO! Is the world ready for you?


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BOVEY63 1/26/2014 11:01AM

    Congrats on passing the exam, and on the request for an article!
emoticon emoticon
Also great job on reaching your fitness goals!

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Blog Challenge - Day 20

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I'll bet you thought I ditched this...


20. What simple step can you take to make yourself happier today?

So. Very. Timely.

I've had a few interviews lately that *I* thought went well... until yesterday. What happens from here is anyone's guess, but I'm already over it.

So, what can I do to make myself happier? Focus on the things that I can control and make time for happier tasks.

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." ~ Albert Einstein

I hope to post a more involved blog soon. Today this is where I'm at and it will simply have to do. Happy Wednesday, SparkFriends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I'm not sure what is going on but I know your true worth and wanted to give you a huge hug because I like you - I totally like you, exactly the way you are. emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/16/2014 3:53:43 PM

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DOGLADY13 1/15/2014 9:59PM

    I'm glad to see you are still going on the blog challenge. I'm also glad you are "over" whatever it was that happened on the interview.

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WISLNDR 1/15/2014 6:03PM

    My mom always used to tell me, "Keep moving. They can't hit a moving target."

Enjoy your evening doing things that are pleasurable to you.


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INFINITELEIGH 1/15/2014 5:43PM

    emoticon emoticon

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