2019-01-14 What Maintenance Mode Looks Like

A few days ago I wrapped up 2018 with a nice little post about my year. It was a great story… good characters, plot, and a nice amount of reflective detail to carry me into the next chapter of my life. It is not new information that writing is essential in my life. I write to process things I am experiencing. I write when things are rotten and it helps me through. I write to record and analyze my state of being. I write for enjoyment. My life is better on many levels because of it. That, of course, is not going to change. Just because things are good now, doesn’t mean the story is over. Nope.

What it does mean is that I can focus less on deep analysis into issues related to being a broken human being. Instead, I can focus more on living with intent and having a constant goal of maintaining a life that’s enriched by positive experiences. It’s continuing doing all the things I’ve already determined work for me while also exploring new avenues. It’s “Maintenance Mode” with a healthy dose of trying new things.

Like everything, I’m still thinking about exactly what that looks like and what I can do to set some goals and measure my progress along the way. In the last few years, the focus has been on my health and in a way, the “physical” aspects of this are fairly easy to quantify. As I slip into Maintenance Mode, that holds true.

For that reason, I’m going to start with the physical, measurable things. Sleep, BMI, Strength, and Heart Health. Notice I don’t say exercise. Exercise is an activity and though I can measure my steps each day, that’s just one factor of a larger picture. I can easily say my goal for 2019 is to average 12K steps a day, but just doing that doesn’t help define the objective. The objective now is maintaining a healthy BMI and both diet and exercise play into that.

Right now my BMI according to the calculator at livestrong.com is 20.94 which is well within the “normal” range. As long as I’m somewhere in that range (18.5 – 24.99), then things are good. I can set a goal for myself to get closer to 20 because I’d feel better being at the low end of normal and farther away from the cusp of the top of that range, and the main factor that plays into that is diet. I say this mostly because I’m already spending about as much time as I can per day on “exercise” and historically, my eating habits have had a greater impact on weight gain and loss than exercise.

If 20 even is the goal, then getting there means losing about 5 pounds. But in reality, I’m calling Maintenance Mode for a reason. If I lose that weight, then hooray, but if I don’t, that’s OK too. It’s just a measurement and objective to keep an eye on so that things don’t start going in the wrong direction.

Sleep is another easy one, which I have already come to a conclusion on. Though the amount of sleep necessary for body and mind recovery over the course of a day/night for an adult is about 7-9 hours, I always feel better when I am on the upper range of that scale. My average last year was 7 hours even and like BMI, I am OK with that too, but would like to see a slight improvement, say 7 hours and 15 or 30 minutes. The challenge here is time, and balancing sleep against a busy schedule. I have to be up by 7 (soon to be 6:15-6:30) so that means trying to get to be even earlier. I also struggle with being tired during the day and so that’s maybe an indicator that I need to get even more sleep. So while the conclusion and measuring this one is easy, follow through is not.

Of course sleep quality matters too and now that I have a FitBit that records my heart rate, I have statistics for the amount of deep, light, and REM sleep I am getting each night. It might be good to look beyond number of hours and start tracking deep sleep. Perhaps my goal should have more to do with the number of minutes in deep sleep. Actually, the stat in the app for one night is minutes, but the aggregate over time is an average. I’m currently at a 30 day average of 15% which is within the “benchmark” of 12-18%. Perhaps the goal is to get slightly higher than 15%? Worth considering.

Strength and endurance are heart health in general are also sort of all wrapped up together. I’ve done a little research in the last couple of days into what my FitBit records and calculates and they actually have a measurement called “Cardio Fitness” which is supposed to be akin to the VO2max, but not totally legit because to get a true VO2max you have to be on cardio eq with a breathing tube and push yourself to the point of exhaustion. I did that test in the athletic department on the UNO campus about a year and a half ago.

I have that paperwork somewhere, and it would be good to see how the FitBit calculation compares to that. In short though, FitBit is telling me my score is 42-46 which is “Excellent for women my age” (it says so right in the app). I guess since that is the case, I’ll just keep doing what I am doing, but would like to increase my free weights to 8lbs (where I left off last year when I quit Jazzercise). Like the other two categories, as long as I am doing about the same, I am doing pretty great.

I guess that is the point though right. I mean none of this is rocket science and it is exactly what I say it is. As I said in the beginning of this post, I sometimes just need to write it out so that there is more definition to it, so that it is solidified in my brain, and so there is some accountability for whatever it is – because it is written in a public forum which I can go back and reference. So that’s the physical side of the equation and I have started to think about the other factors, mental health and life satisfaction and enrichment but have not nailed down any concrete objectives yet. It’s certainly all connected though and a healthy body is essential for a healthy mind. More to come on that, I am sure.

For now I am out of time and need to get to work.
Ciao for now,
~Miss SugarCookie

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2019-01-12 A Year in Review – Farewell 2018

As predicted, I’m slow to take a good long, wide-net look at 2018. I’m just now starting to consider what is worth looking in the rear view for. Of course there are the easy and obvious things, like my measured stats.. steps, sleep, heart rate, weight, yadda-yadda, woof-woof. A big part of me is like Schmesh! Whatev.
I mean one doesn’t have to dig too deep to recognize this was one of the best years of my life, despite anything my stats might reveal. After all, I did fall in love and am now betrothed to the most wonderful, caring, thoughtful, loving person I’ve ever met. He just happens to also be crazy-mad in love with me, so that’s the bonus plan.
The only other thing I have to say about that is.. it’s about time the Universe came through for me in the relationship department. Not that life owes anybody anything and it is what you make of it. The best take away from this development in my life this year, is that we can’t really predict what will happen and we should cherish all that is good and not dwell on all that’s not.
That’s a pretty good lesson. As I carry my 45 years of life experience into the new year, I need to be mindful of it every day and grateful and generous when my cup runneth over.
Now would be a good time to execute the mic-drop and turn and walk off stage, but I haven’t even gotten to the part where I document and pontificate over everything else. For real though – This next bit is truly for posterity, and probably not worth anything to anyone but me. So selfish! 🤷‍♀️
Steps (and exercise)…
Average step count per day –
2016: 9294
2017: 14,992
2018: 13,717
My goal for 2019, believe it or not, is 12K per day. That’s because I want to focus more on strength and endurance. I don’t have great ways to measure that, but I want to start doing more free weights and Jazzercise again this year and so we’ll see what weights I can handle. I quit Jazzercise in June this year because of $$$ and time. I think I will be in a better position soon to start again soon. My FitBit does have an “exercise” view on the dashboard, and I’ve never really spent a lot of time looking at that. Perhaps there is something worth investigating, but who has time for that?! 😉
Sleep.. (average sleep per night)
2016: 6 hours and 49 minutes.
2017: 6 hours and 43 minutes.
2018: 7 hours and 0 minutes. 😎
My goal for 2019 is > 7 hours and 15 minutes. I’ve got this one totally figured out at this point. I have the formula for success, so it comes down to following that. Sleep is still the best litmus test for my overall mental health. If I’m not getting it, that’s a problem, and the effect of getting poor sleep bleeds into all the other aspects of my life. Yeah, so it’s important.
That’s pretty much where the “easy” data accounting stops. FitBit keeps track of other things, like my heart rate and monthly cycle and weight and daily exercise, but it does not look like there is much to report on for an entire “year”. I can report even without looking at the app anyway on a few of those things. For example, my weight went up over the course of the year by 5 to 10 pounds and I’d like to see that come back off in 2019 but that might not be the best thing for my mental health. My monthly cycle is pretty regular and I know even though I don’t record it that I don’t drink enough water each day.
What else is noteworthy? I’m still employed part-time (supposed to be 30 hours a week but even that seems to be a struggle). I finished my first year of a masters program and am now taking a break from that. As a consequence of both of these things, my bank account is suffering, but I’m not too worried about that since I am about to sell my house. I magically don’t have frequent headaches anymore (in truth I think this went away in 2017 when I quit my job AND started taking Curcumin instead of tylenol or ibuprofen).
In 2018 I went to Austin, Nashville, Key West, Nebraska City (twice), Boulder and Broomfield Colorado, and Cancun Mexico. I narrowly escaped having to go to Cali twice for work, which normally I would have been excited about, but now that I have a partner to travel with, traveling for work seems less appealing. Also thanks to Jim, I have several new shows (which I previously denounced TV completely), and I have forgotten how nice it is to just escape and relax that way every once and a while. I would highly recommend Colony, Maniac (Netflix), The Crown (we’re still in the 1st season), and the jury is still out on Pine Gap. We have only watched 1 episode so far, but it looks like a winner.
I can’t say I’ve ready any single book cover to cover (except for school stuff), but my hope is that in 2019 that will change too. I published my first poem, which is pretty exciting and has left me thinking I would like to do more of that. There might be a NYR (New Years Resolution NOT the New York Rangers) attached to that, which is a topic I will likely take on in the next week or so (just in time for the 2 year anniversary of this blog perhaps). Other goals will be addressed at that time as well.
I went to three music concerts – OAR, Fall Out Boy, and Twenty-one Pilots. I also had tix for Imagine Dragons and was seriously bummed that those conflicted with my Florida trip (because I was not paying enough attention to dates when the tickets were booked). I gave them to my darling daughter and she ended up taking her dad. How’s that for being the best ex-wife in the universe?
***
At the present moment, I am sitting with my laptop in front of a pretty good fire in my fireplace. I’ve literally been sorting and packing all damn day (except when I took a break to shovel the snow off of my driveway). After dinner I looked at my stacks of boxes and I feel pretty good about my progress but I also spied the giant bin of firewood in my family room. It would be silly to move such a thing, and I really could use that bin, so the fire made perfect sense. It’s been that kind of a day anyway, what with the snowfall and the quiet nature of the day.
It is kind of funny that in years past I have done a heavy amount of thinking and analysis about my year and what I should do more or less of. I’ve looked for clues to try and guide me in the future so I can be healthier, stronger, happier, and more satisfied with my life. This year, there is just not as much thinking to it. It feels like I have “arrived” in a number of ways and now I just need to do more of the same. Call it “maintenance mode”. Of course there will always be bumps, and just as my relationship status suddenly took a turn for the better this year, I’m very aware that something bad could happen. Sort of like what I was saying at the beginning of this post. The best we can do is enjoy each day as it comes, live in the present moment, and not take anything for granted. That seems to be echoing through my mind today, and should definitely play into whatever goals or resolutions I make for 2019.
I think that’s it for today (and for 2018). Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

 

2019-01-10 They Can’t All Be Winners Part 2 – Victory Dancing 💃💃💃

Another title .. another spoiler alert. Today’s post is the saucy conclusion to yesterday’s riveting tale about my broken water heater. As one might guess from the dancing, my problem has been resolved.

Since I’m leading with the conclusion, the only thing left to write for this story is the post-climax resolution where all unanswered questions are addressed and things are wrapped and tied with a pretty and satisfying bow. 🌸🎀

What and where and why?.. Well the broken water heater in my basement – yeah and because as a spoiled human I “need” hot water. See yesterday’s post for the details (but don’t bother cuz that’s all you really need to know).

Who fixed it?.. Me, silly. Who else would solve problems that only I care about? Of course in just a few short weeks I’ll be doubling down on that. If my hot water heater goes out in the new place, my new partner in crime will also care so we’ll be living the “two heads are better than one” dream. Yeah, a real, teamwork-makes-the-dream-work reality. 💃❤️🕺🏼

When was it fixed? Last night after dinner with the kids and before going on a 2 hour packing binge. Of course I had god-tier motivation having solved the problem myself with such ease so I got a shit-ton of packing done after that.

And without further ado (the moment you have all been waiting patiently for) – How?.. Gloriously option #1 worked and it took literally less than 5 minutes. Option #1 was the solution I found when I googled the problem for the second time yesterday morning when I was at the gym. I’m so glad I did that (now there’s a serious case for my procrastination working in my favor). The dreaded four blink “code of death” for the gas valve/sensor unit has a quick fix which involves merely following a set of steps with the dial and then “huzzah”, the thing fired right up. 💃💃💃 I had positive confirmation two hours later when my darling daughter inquired about taking a bath and I told her to “go for it”. Low and behold, hot hot water abounds.

The lessons learned, if I might be so bold as to actually pontificate about what one can learn from such an experience, is that…
1. The internet is awesome and you don’t have to be a genius to fix stuff that is broken, even if you are a single-girl such as myself. (This is not really a lesson I learned I guess, because I knew this already). What I DID learn is that the search engine result dates (or the age of the post) probably matters. Look for newer posts as time rolls on, old things become stale and outdated. Those first two options I mentioned yesterday – 2013 and 2016 respectively. The one that worked was from newer posts 2017 and 2018.

2. Honeywell sucks (at least this product anyway). The YouTube vid I found my solution at has 78K views and 1.3K likes. That means that there are at least that many people out there that have run into the same problem. Of course there are millions upon millions of houses in the US which all have water heaters so the number is relative I guess. 78K is still a lot of views for that very specific model and problem.

3. Fixing things yourself and saving money feels amazing!! Makes me feel like singing (lucky for you there is no audio with this blog), makes me feel like dancing. I’m going to hold onto that feeling as long as I can and channel it into more packing tonight.

That’s it for this story folks – all is well that ends well. Until next time.

One-Two, Cha-cha-cha!
~Miss SugarCookie

2019-01-09 They Can’t All Be Winners

That title is a serious Spoiler Alert…. this may not be the blog post you are looking for. I don’t have any Jedi mind powers to dissuade you from reading it, but if you were with me in 2017 when I dedicated several days worth of posts documenting my saga with the thermostats in my home and troubleshooting my hvac system, you know how exciting that was. A real nail biter. The kind of post with cliffhangers where you just can’t wait for the sun to set and rise again so you can read the conclusion. Yeah, this post is gonna be like that.

However, this time I’m delving into the wonderful world of water heaters and gas valve sensors. For the record, we live in an amazing time. I mean, the fact that you can encounter a problem and the solution to that problem is at your fingertips. A person doesn’t have to have years of schooling or spend hours working with an expert in a field to learn how to do something new or pay thousands of dollars to have expert help. You just have to have an electronic device with some computing power and a connection to the internet. Want to know how to do something or learn something?.. “Just Fucking Google it”!!

(So many times I’ve wanted to say that to people, when they ask questions. I don’t because I’m fairly polite, but my tolerance for those sorts of interactions is not as high as it used to be. Especially with my kids’ dad. 🙄). I digress.

Anyway, about a week ago I went to take a shower and the water never got hot. I’m like 3 weeks from moving out and selling my house so of course my water heater would break. That’s Murphy’s law. It actually happened the day I was headed to the other house for a week so I kinda just let my brain gloss over it and promptly forgot about it. I had other things to worry about that were more of a priority. Like my NYE plans. 😉

A week later I’m back home and getting ready to pick my kids up and I remembered. I warned them to take showers at their dads before my arrival as our water is not hot. It’s actually warm, however, as the house has two water heaters and that somehow also minimizes the priority in my mind. I can take a warm shower, which is not ideal, but it’s fine. I think about how spoiled we are to “need” hot showers. How many hundreds of years did human beings live without hot showers? A lot. Now, we’re all just a bunch of pansies moving about the world with thoughts in our heads about what we need. The fact that my house actually has 2 water heaters is evidence of that. At some point someone decided that 40 gallons of hot water was not enough. Whatever. (I’m guessing at the capacity, I don’t actually know).

It is good there are two as I can look at the one that is still working and gauge from that more easily what is wrong with the one that’s not. The troubleshooting for this most recent house dilemma was much easier than the fiasco with my thermostats.

The pilot light/temp control sensor unit has one light which blinks a certain number of times indicating the status. One blink means that everything is normal. That’s what my working water heater is doing. The one that is not working is blinking 4 times, which means the “too hot” sensor has been tripped. There are codes for 2 to 8 blinks and a status for no blinks at all. What did I do next?.. I just fucking googled it.

Have you heard about the windows “blue screen of death”? We might be past that point in history with Microsoft now and perhaps my kids will not get that reference, but most adults today probably still would and so I feel OK equating getting that 4 blink code on the Honeywell sensor to getting the blue screen of death (one post I found online referred to it as the “four blinks of death”). In short, it’s unrecoverable without extreme measures.

Apparently once that trips, the code is permanently flipped on the board and no sequence of steps will reset it. I know this because just about every post and YouTube vid I watched on the subject was put together by supremely disgruntled men using profanity and calling the unit junk. There was one guy who actually accused Honeywell of manufacturing it that way on purpose just so they could sell more replacement units. I don’t think that is too far fetched.

I read one blog/forum thread that walked through the details of exactly what one can do to fix the problem and watched another vid which did exactly those steps and that was confirmation enough for me to conclude that it was legit. That gave me about 3 options. But wait, there’s more….

I’m a busy girl and sometimes I just let things go too long before taking action. Some call it procrastination but I’m going to lovingly call it Living with thoughtfulness and intent. I’m slow and methodical and take a lot of care and consideration before acting. I don’t act on impulse usually. I didn’t this time either. I told myself I was going to sleep on it. (That’s a lie. I actually didn’t want to deal with it at the time and had plans to meet a co-worker on my team who is in town for dinner and drinks. I had a giant margarita and was too buzzed and sleepy to care when I got home.)

Good thing though. I googled the problem from my phone this morning at the gym and low and behold, a different set of results was prioritized for me in the search window. Wow. Instead of two or three similar angry posts about the fact that you have to basically replace or electrically “trick” the unit into a reset, there were two very brief videos on how to reset the error code without a lot of fuss. Winner winner, chicken dinner (maybe). So now my options are as follows and this is probably the order I will use as I try to fix the problem.

1. Use the 10 second sequence with setting the temp dial to different settings, waiting, and then repeating until the code is cleared. This is the new option discovered today and should take all of 60 seconds to try. Worth a shot anyway.
2. Take the faceplate off the unit and tap the electrical sensors with some Leeds connected to a 9V battery. This will require a little more research and is kind of sketch, but if it saves me 125 bucks, then it will be worth it.
3. Get a new sensor unit (yeah, that’s the 125 bucks). Replace the faceplate of the current one with the new one, because the error code/switch is hard wired into the board on the faceplate. I won’t have to replace the whole thing or touch the gas line, etc. etc. This option is called “Frankenvalve” on the post that has detailed description of the problem and this solution. Awesome!
4. Try and figure out how to bypass that water heater and just use the one that works. Shitty for the next homeowner so not a great option.
5. Do nothing and live with warm water until I move/sell, again, not great for several reasons.

So there you have it folks, the plot has been set. I’m pausing on the story here though and will hopefully have good news to report in part two tomorrow (it wouldn’t be right if there wasn’t a bit of suspense to bring swarms of crowds back tomorrow to read the exciting conclusion!😜).

Cheese and ham and toast and jam,
~Miss SugarCookie

2019-01-08 I’ll Get it Together, Just Not Today

This morning I’m back to my “home” routine, which I have not had for a week. No. For a week I’ve been in my alternate reality with a foot in a life I’m about to have. Not only did I not have my morning routine but it was also a “holiday” week which I took quite literally and used it as an excuse to NOT do work. All week my fear of being reprimanded for not getting my 20 hours in for my current contract was being overruled by my desire to attend lectures at the Residency my presence was not required at because I’m taking a semester off. Still that “work ethic” inspired worry lingers into this week and I make plans in my head to make it right this week by really beating down and get a ton accomplished on that front. Truth is, I probably just need to let it go.

Now that I’m here, back at my gym on my beloved elliptical machine, there’s no place I’d rather be. I’m thinking and writing and scheming about the future and that’s just what I need. In another month, I will be living in a different part of town and one might think this will put a serious damper on my morning gym time. It will and it won’t.

I’m still planning on driving the kids to school which is right across the street from the gym. So after I drop them I can still get my set in before getting back to the new house for whatever the rest of my days will hold. For a little while longer that will be work. After that, I’m going to spend a fair bit of time trying to “engineer definitions of love”, because that’s what poets do. Yeah, putting one foot in that reality and my soul aches to dive in. Total immersion like that time I went to the athletic department to get my true body fat measurement in a giant tank of water.

I got my vo2 max that day too and that’s pushing the heart and lungs, physically, to the point of total exhaustion. I’m planning to do that too, metaphoricaly with my words. It takes total dedication to the task and a focus and a drive that leaves no room for anything else. I could get on a soapbox about how multitasking kills productivity, but I won’t. I’ll just say that doing things well requires concentration and if your thoughts are split, then you are shortchanging something. Anyway, there are goals for 2019 in there somewhere, specifics and timing are pending.

As predicted I’m behind on evaluating 2018 and defining objectives for this year. I give myself slack in that regard in light of all my limbs being pulled in different directions. Feet over here and arms up in the air and head just smiling and nodding. I’ll get it together, just not today.

Speaking of New Years and goals I’m surprised to not see more people at the gym. I guess this time of day is still for regulars and the Surg of revolutionaries probably happens in the evening, after the typical work day is through. I’m glad I don’t come to the gym in the evenings anymore.

Doing a little “member” accounting from this time last year until now…

The man in black is still here on a regular basis though he’s not here today. He seems to have loosened a bit on his attachment to the treadmill at the end of the row and now runs on other machines (still in the back row though).

Bird-girl disappeared in March, or at least there have been no sightings of her in a long time. Perhaps she’s taking her fancy gym attire elsewhere it maybe she works out at a different time of day.

Two of three Steves are still here. One is my exes ex boss who is as reliable at the gym as a ticking clock. The other is UPS Steve who just today made a special trip across the gym just to say hi to me. That’s rare! BBQ Steve has been missing for several months now. He’s probably the most bold of the three in approaching me and starting a conversation. Of course none of that started until after I was dating Jim. Strange and amazing fact that I have been going to the gym for like 15 years and have rarely been approached by anyone, male or otherwise, and then this past year there have been several occurrences.

There are a handful of other people I recognize but don’t know their names. Yoga girl, three sets of couples of various ages – young, old, and older, and a father son duo that does side by side treadmill every day. Old is relative, by the way. I would consider myself between young and old so as I get older, the old people get older. That probably makes no sense.

About half the gym staff is static. The manager, Troy, now wearing glasses and most of the personal trainers never change. The front desk staff changes all the time. That’s what you get when you pay minimum wage for a job.

I’ve overstayed my welcome today, says the voice inside my head telling me I need to get to work. No rest for the wicked, or those who crave routine.

Later Gaterz, ❤️

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-01-04 Dream-State Writing

Twice yesterday, from different sources, I was given the advice of writing first thing in the day. The first instance was in a lecture where the person giving the talk was explaining that when a person first wakes up, and their mind is still transitioning from the subconscious state of dreaming to the conscious state of being awake, it is the perfect opportunity to write. She said that when you are in that transition, which she called the “Dream-state” (I think), the logical thinking brain has not yet taken over the thought processes. It is the perfect opportunity to write and capitalize on a heightened, potentially more creative and open position the mind is in.

The second instance was when I met with Teri, my mentor from last semester and she urged me to take time each morning, whether it be over my morning coffee or before getting to work on anything else, and just write. Of course her advice was more about just carving out time to do that than anything else I think, but both sources provide a solid argument toward the same end.

I’ve been writing in the mornings about 90 percent of the time. I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily taking advantage of the state of my consciousness though as the burden of my waking state is an almost immediate “on” switch for my logical brain. The moment I open my eyes the wheels start to turn. I’m not sure this is a thing I can control, but perhaps as my life and priorities change I can “learn” how to change it.

Interestingly enough, I started this blog post yesterday afternoon after spending the whole day lost in a bunch of small tasks I was doing to try and make myself feel more productive with .. something. My thoughts all morning we’re about how I was procrastinating doing “actual” work and also about the dream I was having when Jim’s alarm clock went off.

I have an alarm in my phone I set when I’m with the kids and it’s “just in case” I sleep all the way to 7am. I have to wake them at 7. I typically wake before that though, so I’m not used to being abruptly jarred from a sleeping state. Jim’s alarm goes off before my body and mind are ready and I don’t like it. Two mornings in a row I was dreaming when the alarm went off.

So connecting the dots with the idea of taking advantage of a semi-conscious dream state when first waking, I may try to turn the alarm frown upside down by grabbing a notebook when that alarm goes off and write for 20 minutes. The last two mornings, my musings would have been all about the dreams I was having.

In my other blog, I have a category called “from the maker of dreams” and when I have written a dream out into story form, that’s where those are filed. It might be more appropriate to transition those stories to this blog. I think too much about organization and categorization and collection and definition and labels. So what though I guess, that’s just me.

Yesterday my dream was a very clear and cohesive story which seemed to have a point and purpose and was really going somewhere. Sometimes dreams don’t make any sense, but this one made complete sense and I think worth exploring a little. It was so vivid I recounted it at the breakfast table to Jim and that solidified it in my mind. I don’t have enough time now to write it out (it was long and involved) but the theme was very dystopian (or perhaps just alternate reality) and the scene opened with me in a long line/group of women having a small amount of personal effects/essentials gathered in our arms evaluated and scrutinized before allowing us to proceed. As if that was all we were going to be allowed to take with us where we were being sent. Yeah, worth writing out for sure.

Today’s dream was less impactful, more random and more ordinary. I was going to a music concert and had two tickets though I was alone. There was a rush to get to the stage when they opened the doors despite the fact that the seats were numbered. I was in the front row, number 27 and of course the seat next to me was vacant. I offered the girl who ushered me to my seat the open seat and she smiled and thanked me and said she had to get back to doing her job. The most noteworthy thing in the dream would probably be the ride I had to take in the elevator to get down to the concert floor level. the fact that it was insignificant in the dream was significant because riding in elevators in my dreams never, never has ended well before. They typically turn into nightmares, actually, so the fact that I got on and off and didn’t even remember that was part of the dream (at first) was interesting.

Anyway, my thoughts are scattered now, a triangulation between dreams and writing and reality. Reality being work and responsibility and the fact that it’s almost 10 and just like yesterday, I haven’t started work yet. Last week I used the holiday as an excuse of why I only worked 4 hours all week and this week I’ve barely worked that much and it’s already Friday. I’m running out of excuses. If I start now and work until 2, that will be 4 more hours, but that feels horrible. Ugh! Lots more to say on EVERYTHING.. alas I must stop here.

Clash, the Titans Whisper in their Dreams,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-01-02 Finding the “Write” Space

Here we are again, second day of the year and I’m currently in the lecture hall/conference room biding my time until I meet with my mentor from last semester for lunch. I’m trying not to be nervous.

Hey, here is something interesting… I went to a great lecture this morning and the person giving the lecture talked about writing (of course) and about experience and inspiration and sublimation. The whole thing was really great and gave me a lot of good ideas to jump from for topics that I would like to explore, but one thing struck me as interesting. She told a bit of a story about a writer who had a job a far distance from where he lived. He had a three hour train ride each day to work, and then the same back home again. She said that he would use that time each day to write and that space, and the sounds and smells and the motion of the train became physically attached to the mental state of his writing. He began writing a novel in that space and that was what part of each day in that space was dedicated to.

Then he got a new job, closer to home and didn’t have to ride the train anymore. He found after a short time that he could no longer write in other spaces. The man had a novel to finish and could not write without the motion and sound of the train. He ended up taking another trip on that train and tape recording the ride.

He found a space in his house and bought a rocking chair and listened to that recording to get back into that space. He was able to finish his novel by doing that. That’s pretty interesting, right?!

I don’t have any way to verify that is true without going to the lecture reference/sources, but I feel that it is. I have experienced this strange phenomenon before. I used to try and write in the evenings and that was ok, but not ideal and I was often too tired to form thoughts that amounted to anything.

I would work and come home and take care of the kids and house and by the time I had a spare minute before bed, my tank was empty. Then Last year (well in 2016), when I quit my job, I suddenly had all kinds of time. I was able to exercise more and take care of the kids and house with lots of time to spare. That’s when I started to go to go to the gym right after dropping the kids off at school. That’s when I started typing in the Evernote app on my phone. That’s when my writing process became (at least partially) physically attached to the rhythm in my steps.

I get in that space now, and my mind transitions easily to the writing function. I attribute this phenomenon more to the rhythm of my movements than sights or smells or atmosphere, because I can get in that same headspace with such ease on the treadmill at my new house. I believe in the phenomenon because now, when I try to write in other spaces, I often struggle.

I sit down at my desk in front of my laptop and I think about work. My mind remains on my work there, and the transition away from project tasks and emails and documents and communication is a challenge. In that space, my mind wants to stay with work.

I’ve tried to take my laptop to other spaces in my house, like the bed where I’ve written quite a bit in the past. That doesn’t work for me anymore because of my ongoing struggle with fatigue and the moment I hit the bed, sleep starts to come over me. Frankly, I have he sake problem with reading in bed or working with hand writing or editing in paper notebooks.

I have also tried taking my laptop and notebooks to other spaces in my house and that’s better, but not quite as good/fast/easy as being on an elliptical machine or treadmill. The good news us, I’ve been so productive and healthy the last year and a half, it’s been great. The fact that I can multitask like that is a gift. Of course typing is much slower on a phone keyboard (especially the way I type) so I’m probably not as productive as I could be if I’d found my “happy place”, say, with my laptop in a coffee shop or another room in my house.

Mind you, I’ve never been able to do any editing that way, as that’s a whole different beast. I just find it fascinating the way I have experienced this “thing” that was discussed in lecture today first hand. It validated my experience in a way. That’s always good, you know, to not feel like you are the only one.

Obvi, I can still write other places, or this blog post would not exist. And on that note, it’s time to switch gears again and move on to the next thing.

Gimme Some Space,

~Miss SugarCookie