It’s all in who you know…..

Here’s a quick note to the people that I tell things to…..Today was the Christmas party at the institution where I’ve been working with the head football coach.  Apparently there are numerous football coaches so you have to define which coach you are talking to and/or about.  He came up to me and I was standing with the folks on my team.  The folks on my team happen to be the people in the business office (you know, the people with the money).  The conversation was fairly normal.  I said “Hi” in my animated way and he hugged me.  Then he said he was sorry for not coming to a meeting and I said it was okay, I figured out what he needed and then…….he said Thank you for all my help.

If you remember, we were dealing with a non-compliant temporary structure in his practice field that they were using to tape (am I dating myself?)/record the practices.  I needed to shut the structure down…..he eventually agreed (after a little arm twisting from my end).

Anyway, when he left, I turned around and saw all my business office buddies standing there in amazement – how did I know the head football coach???  Hmmmm.  I’m not just a science nerd, you know.

Now I’m getting to know the hockey folks – I guess there’s a coach there too, have not met him yet, but sat on the committee to build their new rink for them!  More importantly, I know the Zamboni machine driver!  You guessed it, there’s training for that Zamboni machine and the Zamboni machine has a house and it poops ice shavings into a well which is technically a confined space and that’s the kind of stuff that I deal with for my job.  I’m going to my very first, ever, hockey game in January!  Sad to say, I know more about football than hockey and that’s not saying much.

Published in: on December 13, 2018 at 1:40 PM  Comments Off on It’s all in who you know…..  

I still hate technology

Nothing much has changed in my life to make me love technology.  Yesterday I had my last BIG training event for 2018 (yippie!!).  I had a good run with my training events…..until yesterday and believe me, if it could go wrong, it went wrong.  However, I have reports from the audience that they didn’t really notice that there were so many problems – we rolled with it!

Have to say that growing up in the years prior to power point (do we all remember over head transparencies?) helped.

I guess it all started a few weeks ago when my employer-issued laptop crashed each time I tried to open a power point presentation.  I brought the laptop to the help desk and it was there for a morning while the IT geeks uninstalled and reinstalled Office.  That didn’t help.  We decided that everyone sending me their power point presentations would send them to me as PDF documents.  This is proving to be a pain in the butt because I’m part of a number of presentations throughout December.  But, then again, they all know me and they figure it’s something I did to my computer and everyone is just going with the flow.

We figured for all EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) training events in December we would use my training coordinator’s laptop.  Well, then he became very, very ill and couldn’t make it to work.  This happened about 24 hours before yesterday’s training event.  I started scrambling…..needed to get a loaner laptop from ITS.  They delivered it to my office (how nice).  I turned it on and tried to work with it…..and quickly realized that it didn’t have Office installed on it.  WHAT?!?!?!?  I walked it back to the Help Desk at ITS and requested Office to be installed AND the program I need to run the clickers for the quiz.

At this point in the day, there are students manning the Help Desk.  There was no “adult”.  The students try to tell ME how to install Office.  I remind them that I am personally, their job security.  Don’t even try to tell me how to install something – please, can you just do it for me?????  Obviously, they had not yet met me…..

While they are attempting to install Office one of the senior managers for ITS walks by and asks “What are you doing?”.  Turns out that every loaner laptop should have Office installed and that this one is just not right…….he hands me another loaner laptop.  I ask for the clicker software to be installed.  I confirm that Office is installed and I can open up Powerpoint and Excel.  I leave ITS and head over to the room where we are doing the training at 7AM the next morning and test out the clickers with the software.  (This is all the stuff that my training coordinator would be doing).  I’ve done this in the past, before I hired a training coordinator, but it’s been a couple of years and I’m down to the wire on this.

The next morning, I get to the room at 6:30 AM (training actually starts at 8).  I’m trying to log onto the loaner laptop and get at my Dropbox files and project onto the screen and nothing is really working.  I hate computers.  Other staff members start wandering in at 7 to help with set up.  Another person tries to help me a the podium or is it a lectern?  No luck.  I hate computers even more.  Finally, at 7:30 AM I call down to our presentation support group (called PEPS) and ask for someone to come up to the room (their office is in the same building and I was thrilled that someone actually answered the phone at 7:30AM).  She tries for some time to get the dang computer to work with the technology and project onto the screen.

(I swear that this has never been an issue for me… used to be really easy, even I could figure it out).

One PEPS support staff tries to help us (the lady in purple)

She can’t figure it out, so she calls another colleague from PEPS.

Two PEPS media folks try to figure this out (Dann is in the suit jacket)

Okay, you guessed it, he can’t figure it out so he calls another PEPS person.  Michael comes up:

Michael tries to figure this out

Steve, the Director of Facilities is getting anxious (he’s in the Carleton blue zipped fleece).  Training was supposed to start at 8 and it’s now past 8 and we have 100 of his staff members sitting watching and talking amongst themselves.  The kicker is that the PEPS people look at me and tell me my laptop is broken!  Ha!  NOT my laptop – it’s an ITS laptop (in other words, it’s one of yours).  They decide we need to switch laptops…..

Another laptop arrives, we get Steve’s Power point on the screen.  Phew.  This laptop does not have the clicker program installed so we make arrangements for someone from PEPS to come back during one of our breaks to install that.  Everyone from PEPS leaves.  Within a half hour we had more technical difficulties….it ended up that a PEPS techie stayed in the room with us to help us out.  Power point presentations froze or just started advancing by themselves (without being programmed to auto advance).

The kicker was when we were doing the quiz at the end of the day and all the clickers, all 100 of them, all shut down after the second question.  Done, off, dead, nothing.  PEPS tried to tell us it was our 2-way radios but that can’t be it because we’ve been doing this for 5 years, twice a year this way with the radios in the room.  And, most of the radios were off anyway.

I got a call last night from the assistant director of IT who tried to apologize to me.  He’s never had this many problems with one event before.  I assured him that I’m his job security.  As long as he’s willing to work with me and support me, I’ll be around to justify his entire team!  Heck, you have to roll with the punches and sometimes you just have laugh.  It definitely was a glass of wine with popcorn dinner last night!


Published in: on December 6, 2018 at 2:42 PM  Comments Off on I still hate technology  

November 2018 Safety Committee Treats

I am so excited to share these adorable treats with you this month!  So darn cute!


If you want to make them yourself, it’s a Reese mini cup, Ferrero Roche ball (that paper is stuck to the gold foil) and a pipe cleaner that I cut into six pieces.  I rolled the pipe cleaner to make the head and hot glued the Ferrero Roche ball to the Reese cup and then the pipe cleaner to the Ferrero Roche ball.  Wicked easy – takes 15 minutes or so to make a dozen!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Published in: on November 19, 2018 at 4:19 PM  Comments Off on November 2018 Safety Committee Treats  

October Safety Committee Treats

Well, it’s October and I’ve had both of the safety committee meetings.  This month’s treats were made using a die that I have and stuffing it with the monster Hershey Kisses that are available at Target.

I used both Halloween paper and I also stamped images on white cardstock for the pillow boxes.  Some of the boxes were wrapped with Halloween ribbons.

First I made the pillow boxes with Halloween themed papers

These were kind of boring so I added a few pillow boxes that I had stamped images on.

I used the Eyes on You stamp set from Fun Stamper’s Journey

I’ve been working on collecting data on noise levels in the practice rooms for the music department.  Hearing conservation programs are on my mind these days and not sure if you know, but some companies market their earplugs in pillow boxes like these.  The pillow boxes I have are larger than the ear plug boxes.  I’m happy to say that both committees commented that they thought they were getting ear plugs as treats!  They were delighted to find candy inside the boxes. Ha!  Some days are more rewarding than others…..

Published in: on October 30, 2018 at 12:19 PM  Comments Off on October Safety Committee Treats  

Bloodborne Pathogens Training 2018

Home-made blood

We just finished our fall series of training sessions this past week (phew!).  Now we are gearing up for the December training sessions.

This last session was fun because I found a bunch of centerpieces that had been used for a function the night before and I decided to use them.  It’s not every day that you have a floral centerpiece on a table during a training event.  And, the centerpieces were red, white and blue – my favorite color combination.

One of my table set ups, complete with a floral centerpiece

In this past series of training sessions we mixed it up so that the trainees needed to move from location to location and the trainer stayed in one spot.  This gave the trainees a break from sitting all morning. They seemed to like moving around.  In my Bloodborne Pathogens set up there were 6 stations; each station had a different theme (you can see that the above station tested their ability to clean up vomit (the right chemicals, etc.)).  I had a “PPE pantry” set up (Personal Protective Equipment) like a pantry in those cooking and baking competitions that I love to watch.  In the PPE ‘pantry’ they had to chose all sorts of things like the type of glove, safety glasses vs. safety goggles, red bag vs black trash bag, and a whole host of chemical possibilities.  I didn’t take a photo of my PPE pantry, sorry.  But, it was a big hit!

The trainees went to other locations in the building where they reviewed (this was annual refresher training) ladder safety, using a fire extinguisher, and hazard communication.

Way cool pens!

Yup, and I used the turkey drumstick pen at the vomit clean-up station!  That did not go un-noticed.  I was also complemented on my ‘broken glass’ which was actually cardboard covered in aluminum foil.  I can’t really expose folks to real broken glass during a training session!

Simulated broken glass

What would a session like this be without a blood spill clean up requirement?  The room actually smelled pretty good with that Dawn dishwashing liquid that we tinted with food coloring to make the red blood.

And, finally, a blood clean up station where we used our fake blood

This format for training is going over real well with all the attendees (trainees).  However, I have to admit that it’s an organizational nighmare and a time-hog on the EHS staffers.  We’ve all voted to go back to the old-fashioned power point lectures in December for that round of training events.

Published in: on October 19, 2018 at 11:11 AM  Comments Off on Bloodborne Pathogens Training 2018  

My first Tornado

The first item on my ‘con’ list for moving to Minnesota was the chance of TORNADOES.  Growing up in New England, all I ever heard on the news was that there were tornadoes reported during the evening/night before.  Those poor people!  I thought that tornadoes just ‘happened’.

Once I moved out here (the ‘pro’ list outnumbered the ‘con’ list) I found out that generally in the morning the meteorologists can ‘predict’ that tornadoes could occur later that day.  It’s like anything else that the meteorologist predicts.  Could happen, might not happen.  You learn to live with it.  Some friends advised that on the stormy nights, I should just sleep in the lower level (basement) rather than sleeping on the first floor where my bedroom is. This way, I get a good night’s sleep and I’m not tossing and turning hoping that I wake up to hear the tornado sirens just to get up and go downstairs.  Instead, I just go to bed in the guest bedroom below grade.

Ironically, my crafts are all in the lower level.  That’s the safest place in the house!  We all now know where my priorities are!

Watch: Conditions are right for a tornado; continue with normal activities but continue to monitor the situation

Last Thursday we were in a Tornado Watch for a long time…..then it turned into a Warning and then it hit!

Tornado damage map from the National Weather Service. My neighborhood is in the pink area.

I had been working with and discussing a few safety concerns with the football coach (remember that blog post about a month or so ago?).  I was on the football field until about 6:15 that evening.  It started raining, again.  We had lots of rain that morning.  I didn’t have my umbrella or my jacket so I left.  I went to the little grocery store on the way home for something stupid like a banana and a yogurt for the next day or something.  On the way home from the grocery, I heard the sirens.  Typical New Englander…..didn’t ‘see’ anything so I kept on driving home.  I was already in Northfield.  By the time I got home, the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up.  But, it wasn’t any different than other times that the wind picked up.   There’s some fierce winds out here!

I got the car in the garage and went into the house with my bags – my lunch bag and that grocery bag.  Started emptying the Tuppers out of the lunch bag and put them in the sink.  Put the yogurt in the refrigerator and turned around and saw wind like I have never seen it outside the kitchen window.  The sirens are still blaring.  I turned on the TV to hear that meteorologist say “if you are in Northfield, seek cover IMMEDIATELY”.  The house started creeking like I have never heard it creek before.  I ran into the basement (but first I closed the windows in the bedroom, I have no idea why, but I did it).

I never lost power so once I was down there I turned on the TV and thankfully had the meteorologist talk me through it.  I could see the radar, could see the storm pass over.  At one point, I felt the storm pull the air out of the house – it seriously sucked the air out.  The house creeked.  It was scary as shit!

I never heard the freight train that people say you hear from an approaching tornado and the sky never turned green, again, people say that the sky turns green before a tornado hits.

Turns out that the National Weather service is calling it an EF 1 tornado – it was only a 1!!!!  I can’t even imagine winds being worse!

There was tons of damage.  Not to my house though.  The storm hit just about a half hour after I left the football field.  Just after that the sun set so I couldn’t assess anything until the next morning.  But, I knew that my garage was still attached to the house and all the windows on the first floor were still where they were supposed to be. That’s all I knew.

The next morning I woke up to see siding on the front lawn.  My heart sunk…..not AGAIN with the siding on the house.  I also had roof shingles on the lawn.  I walked around the entire house and I didn’t have any missing siding (it came from another house) and all of my shingles are still on my roof.  Two of my neighbors were away and I walked around their houses to check on them.

My elm tree is leaning

This is my elm tree that now has had a few lives.  Remember I had to transplant it after if had been planted for two years because we re-platted our plots and the house next door was built almost on top of it?  That’s why it has that funny shape.  One side is kinda sorta flat because it was up against the house for a while before we transplanted it.  I spent two summers dragging 5 gallon buckets of water to that tree and babying it.  It even has a watering bag of its own.  Now this.  That poor tree.  The landscape architect that I use (I can’t design a plant bed at all, so I have help) says that the tree with ‘right’ itself over time.


This little decorative tree (I think it’s a hydrangea) just needed to be righted up.  My landscape architect is coming back before the winter to help stake it so that it can re-root itself.  It might make it.

This is my street sign

This is a typical photo of a neighborhood with mature trees.

I had an interesting conversation with some friends over the weekend.  Being from New England, I’m used to having days before the storm hits (hurricane, blizzard, regular snow storm). This tornado thing is totally different.  My friends are from the midwest and they were saying that they would rather have a tornado – it hits, it’s gone, you clean up.  Meanwhile, with a hurricane, you spend a week worrying and shoring up your house and then you have the floods and then you clean up.  Their perspective was interesting.  I guess I can see their point of view – there was no preparing for the tornado winds….it was scary, but in a matter of minutes, it was over.

Interestingly enough, this storm (most of the tornadoes were EF1, a few EF0 and maybe one was an EF2) although powerful never took any lives.  The National Weather Service is saying that we had ten tornadoes and some straight line winds in our general area of southern Minnesota that evening.  Lots and lots of trees down, power out in many neighborhoods (I had power the entire time).  Not as much damage to homes as I would have thought.  A few farms were destroyed and I have seen corn fields that just look like they were already harvested (and they were not).  A turkey farm lost two of its barns, but the turkeys were there – go figure. A popular pizza place (Red Barn Pizza) lost their entire barn.  They were having an event at the time and there was a basement to the barn (that is rare).  Everyone survived by going into the basement.  The barn is gone.  At work, we had a lot of trees down on one campus and a residence hall suffered lots of broken windows from trees falling into the building.

Don’t really want to go through that again.  But, I live here and there’s always that chance.  I am adding power bars to my emergency kit that I keep in the basement for tornadoes.  I was so hungry I came upstairs to eat before the tornado warning had expired!  Lesson learned. There’s already a box of bars in that emergency bag.


Published in: on September 25, 2018 at 3:43 PM  Comments Off on My first Tornado  

Returning to 5K races

So, it’s been a few years since I did an official road race with the numbers and the start and finish lines.  First it was my hip and then it was the knee.  But, both are feeling awesome (after a few rounds of PT).  I registered for the Defeat of Jesse James 5K road race this past weekend.

A friend of mine was nervous about doing the race, thinking that she wouldn’t be able to do the entire distance.  Now, I KNEW she could do it, so we decided to do a dry-run the weekend before the race.   We did the exact route of the race.  It was fun!

This is a few of us at the beginning of the race. Jackie (#127) and I walked the race route last weekend to be sure we could do it!

I was humbled because I met another friend at the race who I have known for a few years, Leslie, who uses a cane and she finished the race!  Leslie is an inspiration.  I only hope to be as active as she is when I retire!


I met another friend who was telling me that she wanted to do the race because she could technically handle the distance, but she was slow.  I started walking with her and realized that she was not kidding…..she was slow, but she was strong.  There was no wabbling and there was a determination that she was going to finish – no matter how long it took!  I stayed with her.

Some of the things you see on the Defeat of Jesse James 5K road race. These are members of the Jesse James Gang getting ready for another bank raid. The rider in the back, on the phone, is actually one of my physical therapists!

We were definitely in last place for the entire race.  There was one woman ahead of us (just ahead of us).  She had an inhaler and stopped to use it five or six times.  But, she kept a good pace.  I made my friend walk on the sidewalks for the race because they were not stopping traffic.  Safety first.

There was also a 15K road race that morning.  We had different start lines but the same finish line. As my friend and I were walking towards the finish line a person that had been in the 5K road race came up to us and asked how we did.  We responded…”still walking”.  Funniest response was….”Oh, well I think the clock is still running and the finish line is still set up!”

Yup, the clock was still running and I can now officially say that I was last but I had a great time chatting with my friend and supporting someone that has struggled with some injuries.  I think we will both be registering for the Turkey Trot and will do it (Virtually) and time it.  My friend would like to see her time improve.  I figure it’s the same number of steps…and this way, I have a walking buddy to talk to.  (And no one has to hear me sing with my ipod).

One of the signs along the way.





Published in: on September 11, 2018 at 4:53 PM  Comments Off on Returning to 5K races  

Football Season

Who would believe that I titled a blog post “Football Season”?  Lucky that I know that the Vikings are the professional team for the state of Minnesota and that the color the Patriot’s (I’m originally from New England) uniforms are red, white and blue (or at least, in my opinion, they are red, white and blue) and I know the shape of the ball.  I also know that high school games are on Friday, College games are on Saturday and Professional games are on Sunday (generally).  That’s it.  Oh, and I like the snacks.

So, when I got a phone call from the St. Olaf head football coach (I’ve learned that there are multiple coaches) I was curious.  What could he need from an Environmental Health and Safety person, who doesn’t really know the game?  Certainly it wasn’t game-day advice (unless, of course, it had to do with the snacks)!

We talked.  It was informative.  A few issues that I’m dealing with – believe me, I do get funny looks from people when I schedule a meeting for the shower area of the home team locker room with the plumbers….and I schedule a meeting with the media folks by the media scaffolding on the practice field.

I love my job.  I find out all sorts of weird little tidbits of information.  For instance, we have all new helmets for the players and they are really neat!  Heavy too!  The helmet is wired and electronic so that when a player gets hit in the head a little too hard (or bumps his head off of the field) an alert goes out the athletic trainers and they can call the player off the field!  Isn’t that cool?

Football practice


Published in: on August 16, 2018 at 11:52 AM  Comments Off on Football Season  

Tutti Fruitti

Opening Ceremonies for my 2018 Birthday season went fabulously well!  I spent the weekend in West Des Moines, Iowa with a bunch of my beading buddies (Linda, Cinda, Cheryl, Linda and more!).  Not only did we bead…..we also went to *two* scrapbook stores and the Container Store!  And, and, and we went water walking in a lazy river at a water park that closes down each day from 4:30 to 6:30 and allows only adults to walk in the lazy river.  So much fun!  I’m looking into that here in Minnesota.  If anyone has a water park in their area, look into it.  It’s a great workout and fun!

I was somewhat productive.  The bracelet that I wanted to finish took a little longer than I expected.  I had started this Tutti Fruitti bracelet about a year ago and left it because I found something else that interested me (squirrel!!!!).  I picked up the bracelet again and first started with setting up that row that has the fruit beads.  Who doesn’t love fruit beads?  I bought some of these fruit beads in Maine when I was with Andrea and we went to Caravan Beads.

Setting up one row in the Tutti Fruitti. The row that has the fruit beads

And, here is the final bracelet:

Tutti Fruitti. Doesn’t everyone need a bracelet that’s this colorful and has fruit in it?

And another view.  There are banana beads and lemons and limes and grapes in this bracelet.  It’s totally fun!  I have a lady bug in there and a dragonfly charm and one apple charm that I had in inventory.  If you look at the above photo, you can actually see the ladybug at 6 o’clock.

Of course I packed a few more projects that I didn’t get to.  I did start another bracelet that is a series of flowers.  One or two of the flowers are made.  You’ll have to wait to see that one.  I didn’t take a photo of any of the flowers. They are made with crescent beads and are really kind of cute (I was on the fence with that project).

Unfortunately, the bead store in West Des Moines is going out of business.  I shopped too – gathering beads for projects that I have.  Part of the fun of any craft is the ‘hunting and gathering’ phase when you are collecting all the parts and pieces to make the project.  After shopping, I came home and organized the beads.  The left-over fruit beads went into their very own little labeled container.  Doesn’t every beader have a container of fruit beads?

Fruit beads

And, my bead board now has a new lobstah stickah!

My bead board

The initials were made using a cricut (my friend Sandy made them) and then my friend Shona had stickers made of her doodled animals.  Family and friends that have the pub glasses that I sent one year might recognize the cow.  And, while in West Des Moines, I found this lobstah stickah!  How fun is that?  You know, if the bead store weren’t closing and if my job were not in Minnesota, I could totally live in Des Moines.

The Birthday season fun continues!  I’m going to a craft night on my Birthday!  And, I have plans for the closing ceremonies with another trip, this time to Wisconsin with my friend Janice.

Published in: on August 7, 2018 at 4:04 PM  Comments Off on Tutti Fruitti  

Opening Ceremonies and 2018 Birthday Wish List

I’m turning 55! My friend Diane ‘trained’ me a few years ago on the art of having an opening ceremony and a closing ceremony for my Birthday Season.  So, this week, I’m having the opening ceremonies at the bead store (one of my happy places) with a few of my beading buddies – Linda, Cinda, Cheryl and Linda.

Would you like to add something awesome to MY 55th birthday (8/27)? If so, complete one of the following challenges and let me know that you got it done with a photo (send it to my e-mail) or add a ‘like’ to this status. Each challenge is meant to add joy to your life or someone else’s life through service and/or genuine connection.  If I remember, I’ll blog about what happened!

  1. Write a snail mail letter to a friend or family member then mail it to them.  You all know how much I love snail mailing my cards and care packages. This is truly an “Elisabeth” thing to do.
  2. Send an anonymous letter to someone on this list:
  3. Write inspirational quotes on 10 or more post-its, and put them in places where people can find them (bathrooms, inside library books, around school, around work etc.)
  4. Sign up for a volunteer shift at a local nonprofit or school:
  5. Write a letter to yourself and include one or more of the following: things you like about yourself, things you do well, things you want for yourself, and things you’ve accomplished in the past year.

For those of you traditional folks that love to give gifts (who doesn’t like receiving gifts?), here is a more conventional wish list:

Water bottle reminder (if you know me, you know I never drink enough water).

I have found that I drink more water during the day if I use a straw.  But straws, just like helium balloons, are so bad for the environment.  I try to use plastic reusable straws and would like  my own set!  I like the ones with the bend in them.

Mandala Rock Painting Kit

For my beading friends, I’d love to have a bead zapper (you have me convinced)!


Published in: on July 24, 2018 at 1:09 PM  Comments Off on Opening Ceremonies and 2018 Birthday Wish List