All posts by Laura K

Spirit, heart and rhythm....

Thinking Bigger – Aug 2018

My nutrition coach, Josh Citron, gave me some sage advice that I took to heart.  He told me that when he is looking for encouragement, he turns to others accomplishments and sent me links to two videos, which have totally inspired me to think bigger.  Both were about people who did things that totally blew me away.  I had no idea there were 100 mile races, or the Iron Cowboy that did 50 ironmans in 50 days in 50 states (the thought of one ironman to me is such an awesome accomplishment), or several marathon type races over several days in rugged terrain (Barkley Marathon)…..

I added these links below along with a recent podcast from Ben Bergeron where he emphasizes doing what you are afraid of and not following feelings – waiting to “feel like” going to the gym, etc.  Facing fear – the title of this blog.

So because of that, I’ve found an athletic coach and athlete extraordinare, Gary Lombardo – to help me improve (plenty of opportunity there) and to be the best physically I’ve ever been at the age of 52.

I love being at the bottom – being the worst at something and getting better so it should be a good year.  I intend to blog through this process – writing has been another personal goal of mine.  Can I still do it?  I have only done hundreds of powerpoint presentations the last 30 years…. I wonder if I have anything to say.  Reading and writing will be a part of this journey as well and I will share books and my thoughts about them in future posts.

A few weeks ago I was given permission by my surgeon and physical therapist to run and I immediately did a 5K at Mine Falls in Nashua.  Fell and face planted in gravel (feature pic of this post)

– luckily on my good side else I’d be having my shoulder surgery again.  I was scared doing that race – not because I hadn’t run that far recently but I just hadn’t done anything like that in a long while.  Doing things I am afraid of gives me a sense of accomplishment as well as proving that most fears are unfounded and that without putting yourself out there to be vulnerable, you won’t discover things about yourself or meet others that truly inspire you.



Finally appreciating the journey – Jan 2018

I had enough.  Saw my friend, Steve Lebel, on facebook looking fantastic and was first in admiration, then thought my current state is bullshit – how did he do it.  I used to be the person people admired at the gym and now found myself 30+ pounds overweight and not active.  Ever since the slow decline starting back in 2004 (and stint in sales…), I’ve had very brief periods of trying to manage nutrition as I once did but never with enthusiasm and had found it difficult to work by myself at the gym.

Falling in place in pieces:

Back in 2004 timeframe, I had bad rotator cuff issues which made it difficult to raise my arms parallel to the ground, needed stretching and found yoga at an awesome studio that opened up on my block in Boston, Sadhana under the mastery of Glen Cunningham, and started to repair that.  Through those years I realized I need to start building community where I live and once I had some silent thoughtful time, realized I needed more of that – craved it.

Then as my neck/back issues continued making it impossible to move my head to the side, I hung out with the chiropractor, who one day knowing I used to be a lifter, recommended Crossfit.

When I moved to Hollis, NH in 2011, I visited the Crossfit gym and joined and have participated in spurts ever since – sometimes long spurts like 10 months in 2016 – frustrated that I could go regularly, eat “well” and still not lose weight or make the gains I wanted in the gym.  Recovery was hard and my aerobic capacity still lacked and I dealt (still do) with breathing issues like wheezing during hard activity – started taking Fluticasone and Flonase to help as at one point, I couldn’t even take a deep breath.

I had reached out for help to the Crossfit coaches, other crossfit gyms, etc and did not get good response.  Steve Lebel was using a nutritional guidance program called StrongerU so I signed up and it has a philosophy I believe in.  Watch and manage what you eat – weight it, know how many grams of fat, protein, carbs you are ingesting.  Gave guidance for what is healthier to eat (which I already knew) but had flexibility in that you just had to make your macros, report in weekly, take pictures, get a scale and work with data.  Iphone and apps like “Myfitnesspal” make this infinitely easier than when I tracked this by hand in excel back in 1998!  Just as back then, when given instructions (weekly), I have absolutely no issues following the rules.  I joined Nov. 1 and am in week 12:

  • Have felt infinitely better since I cleaned up my diet.  My motto is “Clean eating, honest reporting, and working on Badass.  NOT drinking and snacking and sitting on the couch.”
  • My recovery after crossfit is 100x easier
  • I started going back to crossfit the 2nd week of Nov and have been going 3-4 times ever since making gains and feeling better with less weight on me
  • Took a month until the scale started showing improvement – persistance!
  • Bought a fitbit at first to monitor my daily activity, then realized the value in measuring sleep, and can track runs, pacing, etc.  My family focus has improved as I have weekly contests with my sisters!
  • I’ve lost 12-15 lbs in 12 weeks and feel great physically and mentally.
  • I started a book group with like minded women from crossfit to talk about mental toughness, what makes people successful, etc – first meeting next week.

Finally, I am patient with myself, happy to believe in this process and to enjoy improving and learning and being able to say that now is my best self, no more “I used to….”


Beware: Marion Dale Curren, ~Age 74

Do not let Marion Dale Curren Have Access to Your financial Holdings!

Alias:  Mike Curren, Pete Curren, Randy Curren 

DOB: Jan 5, 1943. Born in Bessemer, Alabama. Some records may have a birthdate a year earlier.

Description: about 5’9″ and 160 lbs.

Relatives: Might have a relative named Randy 

Locations: Presently in New Mexico near the border to Mexico. Past locations: Reynoldsburg, OH, Columbus, OH, Brice, OH, Worthington, OH, Logan, OH, Las Vegas, Oregon, Oklahoma

Marion Curren met my mother as she was retiring. She had a house paid in full with money in the bank and no debt.  He conned her into thinking he loved her and even spoke to us children to assure us how much he loved her and that he would never hurt her. She is now left with $100k of debt and a huge mortgage against the house.  A large collection of antique lionel trains that my father collected prior to his death 30 years ago is also missing…valued at ~$40k.

Once he got all he could from her, he took any remaining items of value from the house and left, leaving no forwarding address, abandoning any responsibility for the debt he incurred.

He will buy things on credit, sell them for cash, pocket the cash and abandon any responsibility for the debt he incurred. He has a manic-depressive disorder also which combined with no conscience and enormous financial irresponsibility, makes him a very dangerous person.

I believe that he has done this before and will do it again!

We have found documents showing that he has several safe deposit boxes at Century and US Bank and I suspect elsewhere. He is wanted by several credit agencies. Before meeting my mother, he declared bankruptcy, yet showed a huge roll of money he kept in his bedroom.

Please ensure that other kind, compassionate, vulnerable women are not taken advantage of by this man!

If you have any information about this man or need more information,

8 Steps to Get People in a Continuous Improvement Mindset

One of the most challenging jobs I’ve had is converting a company culture from a R&D to production mindset.  This means everyone has to stop thinking of each project as a unique event and start thinking about how to standardize the work and eliminate waste to reduce costs and lead time as quickly as possible.  This can be done not just on a repeatable manufactured product, but also on processes or projects, as with construction, that have a lot of commonality between jobs although the duration/scope may be slightly different.

Kickstart this process by doing a short training on the 8 types of waste – over producing, wasting time, transport, processing time/duplication, inventory, excess motion, scrap and rework and under utilization of people.  What I’ve found works best is to get a cross functional group together and brainstorm examples by type of waste on the product, process or job you want to address.

I would recommend writing up everyones’ ideas on a whiteboard or using post-its on a wall under each waste header.  Once issues are identified, the team can quickly prioritize which ones should be addressed first.  Prioritization should be highest on issues that are easiest to resolve and have the highest payback.  Payback can ultimately be in valued in dollars in many ways including reduced inventory, faster cycle time (increased productivity), improved quality (less time spent managing quality issues), and reduced transportation costs.  I typically give everyone a marker and have them mark their top 5 right on the board.  The ones with the most votes win.

This exercise serves two purposes, making folks aware of what waste is so they can more easily identify and eliminate it going forwards as well as leaving the team with a prioritized list of opportunities.  An additional benefit is that everyone has a chance to vent on the issues they’ve worked through and feel included on the path going forwards!

5S is More than a “Morale Booster”

I have been implementing Lean for 20 years across the supply chain and ran the Lean Six Sigma organization for a major GE business.  Benefits can be quantified to show the value of using Lean to achieve critical business goals.  5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain) does “help morale” and is intuitively a “good thing”  but can also be quantified using two metrics:

  1. Lead time of a product through the shop or time to complete a job – It is fundamental in program management or basic shop floor control to know the start and end time.  If this type of data isn’t yet being recorded, it needs to be.  More output (or increased capacity) with the same people and equipment is a productivity improvement and can lead to increased revenues. Putting process in place to gather this data is the first step to making issues visible, knowing how you are performing and quantifying benefits.
  2. Quality – Depending on the situation, this might be defect per unit or “job” if on a construction site, scrap, returns for poor quality, etc.  It is important to realize that as an organization moves from being reactionary to being proactive (continuous improvement mindset), it will appear that things get worse before they get better  because the problems start becoming visible.

Implementing 5S at a minimum should improve these two areas.  Shorter lead times and improved quality mean increased capacity and productivity, less scrap, reduced inventory, and either more output with the same people or space to add some additional service (ie. prefabrication in construction environment).

I would make sure before you start a 5S event, that you work with leadership to find out what data is available or setup a process to capture the data in order to quantify the benefits.  And improved morale while you work is pretty awesome too!