2017-03-25 Ironic

I’m looking out the window this morning and I have Alanis Morissette whispering in my ear “Isn’t it Ironic.. don’t you think?”. We haven’t had any real precipitation for weeks and weeks (and it was an extremely dry winter). Last weekend we put together our new trampoline out in the back yard and it’s pretty much been raining ever since.

Then I answer “Yeah, I really do think”.

Perhaps the rain will clear this afternoon and we will get an opportunity to bounce, but it certainly will not be 80 and sunny like it was last Sunday. It will be 50 degrees at best.

I was pleased this past winter with the lack of snow and the cold spells not lasting for very long and spoiled in February for it to have been so nice. We had unseasonably warm temps most of the month and it was good enough to have played tennis outside five times during the month. Most excellent.

March has not been as nice as all that thus far, and the extended forecast shows that it will not get much better before months end. Then we will probably really be in for it with the April Showers. Who really knows though? One can’t truly know until it happens.

The kids and I have a lunch date today with my Mom and sister, Jamie, to celebrate respective birthdays. It’s Jamie’s birthday in five days and Z’s birthday was two and a half weeks ago and we just keep partying. Other than that, and Jazzercise this morning, and potentially jumping in the back yard this afternoon, we don’t have a lot planned for today, or for the whole weekend for that matter.

Working outside in the yard and in my gardens is top 5 on my favorites list, but sometimes I enjoy it when it rains and I can just wrap up in blankets and not have to do anything. Now isn’t THAT ironic? 😉

Going Back to Bed,
Miss SugarCookie

2017-03-23 Magical

Sure I can get more done during the day on only 5 or 6 hours of sleep, but at what cost? The longer the day gets, the harder it is to concentrate or do things. The harder it is to do something, the longer it can take. The more you string those nights together in a row, the more it starts to affect your mind. Human beings need a certain amount. Just as the NIH, they will tell you…

According to them, an adult needs 7-8 hours a night. I went to the website and there’s more to the story, but that is all I really wanted to know.

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/howmuch

The weeks I have had recently where the AVERAGE night is about 5 hours include nights where I had 6 or 7 and therefore also include nights where I had 3 or 4. There was one night last week when I had 3 hours and 12 minutes (a Saturday night). I was up late and actually slept until 7:21AM, and then I was up for the rest of the day.

It’s amazing that I can function at all really. The human body is amazing. But it is not designed to sustain extreme conditions over an extended period, so that has to change. I set my goal at 8 hours a night, hoping I can get my average in that sweet spot between 7 and 8.

Last night was the first night I had over 8 hours of consecutive sleep in 28 days. It was, in a word,.. Magical. I felt really good today for most of the day too. I was very productive this morning and did not feel tired in the afternoon at all. In fact, I did not start feeling tired until around 7:30PM (I have been awake since 5AM).

I would love to go for round 2 tonight on that. I’m even putting it on a priority above getting my “steps” in at the gym. I can probably do even more tomorrow, including exercise, if I feel as good as I did today. And all I have to do to accomplish that, is fall asleep like right now…

Zzzzzzzzz,
Miss SugarCookie

2017-03-22 What to Say?

What do you say when you have nothing to say? Where do you start?

I could go round and round about the same things I’m always on about. Things being balanced, things being connected, thoughts and feelings, goals and stats. But none of that feels right tonight. None of it.

I did spend the better part of the day being angry and frustrated at work things. Every last one, outside of my control. I have to let the anger go or channel it into something productive. A workout perhaps. Yesterday and the bliss of productivity, and quality time with the kids, and a little Kenichi with Josh were distant memories by 9AM. I was stress eating by 10.

Tomorrow I go into the office and have my yearly performance eval. It’s typically a non-event. They tell me how I’m doing and I listen for key feedback. I’m not so concerned about my actual numeric eval as the comments from the peer reviews or customers. I dig hearing positive things about actual work I have done from real human beings (who doesn’t), and so you can tell me I got a 3.75 out of 4 but that’s all subjective when the scale and criteria changes year to year. Peoples opinions of me are what really matter.

We don’t get enough actual feedback at my job. It’s a shame. I think employee satisfaction and engagement goes up the more they feel vested in the outcomes and valued by the people around them. I think good managers recognize this, and provide input whenever possible.

I’ll probably also get a raise. Maybe. What I need is more vacation time. I would gladly take another week of vacation over a raise at this point. The time off is so important in my life right now. My sanity sometimes depends on it.

So I guess when I have nothing to say and I just start where my mind has focus, it ends up being work stuff. And not super positive work stuff. Maybe I’ll try to go balance things out by researching things for this year’s family vacation. Or perhaps since I am vetoing balance tonight, I’ll just skip it and go straight to sleep.

Started and Finished,
Miss SugarCookie

2017-03-20 It’s All Connected

I finished writing yesterday’s post at 5:15AM. Which means, I was up at 4 something. Luckily, after it was over, I went back to sleep but the sleep issue is real. The “over-thinking things” issue is real. The “repeating bad patterns of behavior” issue is real. It’s all connected.

A few months ago I was convinced that if I could solve just one problem, the sleep problem, that other things would follow suit. If I got a good night sleep and could do so continuously, then I would have a clearer head during the day. I would be more rested and be able to focus on my other goals. In January, it started working and I really felt the improvement.

I had more energy to devote to exercise. I became motivated to track my steps and food so I could decide where I should start making other improvements. I was finding a way to fit it all in and slowly but surely I was also feeling better about being single. I started thinking less and less about Matt and the past and more and more about the future. That change in my mental health, in turn, made it easier to sleep at night. And so the circle goes around.

A few weeks ago, I treated myself to a road trip and 3 days in Saint Louis and during that time I did not get enough sleep. I was still getting pretty good exercise, but also not eating healthy as we were eating all the good food the city had to offer. I stopped tracking my food because doing so on the road and on vacation and at random restaurants is too hard to keep up with.

When I returned, I got back on the tracking right away, but the sleep did not bounce back. I decided to cut caffeine, which for the most part, I am still not having, but have not seen any improvements from that.

Then last week when I got not one or two news flashes, but five… my mental state took a serious dive, I started eating too much and stopped tracking my food, and my sleep duration and quality got even worse.

I’m tracking my sleep with my FitBit so I have actual stats to trend the changes. For most of February, my Fitbit recorded an average of about 7 hours of sleep at night. Last week, my average was right around 5. And most of that sleep was very restless.

So when everything is connected like this, how do you deal with a change or another surprise without it just all collapsing like dominos? I wish I had the answer, but I don’t. The best I can do is hit the reset button.

Start over and take it from the top.

In other words… focus on the sleep. Maybe this time it will take less time for things to improve. One can hope. On that note, it is time for me to call it quits and try for those 7 hours now.

Start->Restart,
Miss SugarCookie

2017-03-19 I Can’t Escape Myself

Lot’s of drama and surprises this week and yesterday was another day I found myself trying really hard to hold back tears. It was Saturday and I did not have my kids so I had the whole day to myself to do whatever I wanted.

I woke up shortly after 7 and did some writing, which was really all about getting the thoughts out so they are not stuck in my head. Then I made a weekend to-do list so I could be super productive. I was thinking that if I kept my mind and body occupied on other things, there would be less of an opportunity for it to wander into the abyss.

I cleaned my kitchen and did dishes.
Then I made a cherry pie.
Then I vacuumed the entire house.
Then I picked up the sleepover stuff from the spare room.
Then I did laundry.
Then I watered all my houseplants.
Then I drove to get Taco Johns for lunch.
Then I took a nap.
Then I drove to help Josh with something.
Then I planted more spring bulbs.
Then I went shopping for new tennis shoes.
Then I went to a movie (Logan).
Then I went to walk and get my steps at the gym.
Then I went to sleep.

What did I discover? That I can get a ton of stuff done in one day when I put my mind to it and also that I can’t escape thinking about .. everything.

When I’m making a pie I’m reminded that Matt used to make pies and he was very much into doing that with as very little sugar as possible, sometimes just putting fruit only in the pie and that was it. Here I was using the store bought can of cherry pie filling which is loaded with high-fructose-corn syrup. And then I wondered why he had not responded to my reply to his email on Thursday.

When I’m vacuuming the house I can’t help but notice the things that are still here. Yes, I gave him back his clothes and books and random other things, but there were gifts he gave me. The chair that is my writing desk, my keyboard, a gaming chair in the basement, a keyboard in Coopers room, a CD we got at a concert he had signed by the band for me. So many reminders.

When I’m outside planting bulbs, I’m thinking that if this was our house, I would be doing this for us and he would value that and be impressed with my motivation to do it. He would also want to help, and I would not want that because I like to garden alone. It was always a point of friction.

When I’m shopping for shoes I’m questioning if I really need new tennis shoes. Don’t I have enough already? Am I only doing it because I’m trying to glean some satisfaction by buying things which can never fill the void of what I’ve lost? He would look down upon that. We were very much moving toward a minimalist lifestyle.

And when I was sitting all alone at the movie, as action packed as it was, my mind can’t help but connect the dots between Logan’s struggle to understand the purpose in life and that it’s about the people and experiences and letting go of hating it and being angry and shutting it all out to try and save yourself from pain. It was dark and there were emotional parts where I knew I would be safe from judgement and so I let the tears come.

Matt texted and emailed on Thursday and has not acknowledged my replies yet. He admitted to being sad, and I tried to send back a positive message, and 3 days and no reply. My mind wanders to a place where his is really not OK. Is he going through what I was going through last fall and the start of winter? I would not wish that on any other human being. I want to call to make sure he’s ok because I still love him and I still care, but I know it’s not my place anymore.

That’s tough and life is not fair. I’m struggling once again with not getting enough sleep. I have to try to take care of myself. For a while I think I am getting better and then I have a week like this week and I am reminded that there is no cut-and-dried end to a story. It does not matter if I got my ring back, I still have to face that after 5 years, what I thought was my future is no longer my future and both of us are suffering because of that. I can’t escape it, so I just have to figure out how to deal with it.

Sleep is a necessity and I have to fix that. I woke up at 4:22 AM and it is 5:14 now. I want to try and get a few more hours. I just hope I can shut my brain off.

Not Ready for Sunday Yet,
Miss SugarCookie

2017-03-18 Bombs Away, The Barrage Continues

Another long one here, because there is no other way.

Bomb #1 was a doozie. That’s the stuff that lingers and keeps me from getting a good night sleep. As far as I am concerned, that would have been enough for one week, but as I wrote in yesterday’s post, that was just the beginning. The fates had more in store for me…

Bomb #2:
Thursday comes around and things are very tense at work because there was some drama about a particular project that I am, at present, only peripherally involved with. Oh, my gosh, another puzzle piece and giant backstory on that one that is not really relevant here, but probably also worth a whole other dedicated post. In short though, I was supposed to be leading that project, but my boss is doing it instead. On Wednesday the team had a presentation on it so Thursday was the day to regroup and discuss.

Sometime in the AM I get a text from Matt. Holy crap. It is really the first time he has initiated communication with me in months and months. It’s almost always me reaching out to him. It always was, frankly (or at least that’s how I felt about it) and that’s one thing that was an issue for me. Anyway, he texts something about the weather. So very random and unexpected.

I was super busy because of the work stuff and could not respond for over an hour, maybe two. My response was a little verbose but upbeat. Then he replied. Then I replied, again very upbeat and with emojis. That was that.

Later in the afternoon I just happened to be walking down the hallway toward my boss’s office for a team meeting and checked my email. I often check my personal email at work, no big deal. This time.. it was a big deal.

I had an email from Matt that he sent around the same time as our text conversation which said in very few words that he was sorry. But it was not just the fact that he said he was sorry. He did it by siting references to all the poems and short stories that I have posted to my Shyspark blog over the past 6 months. This means that he’s read my blog. It was a huge shocker.

Now, I’ve written that I am an open book for those who ask me and that is 100% true. I’m also honest about my feelings. My creative writing is just an extension of that. So tough times equate to some deep writing with negative or sad themes. Poetry, of course, is very abstract and up to interpretation, so people read into what they want to read into it but it’s hard to miss an overarching mood of a piece.

He read my work? He’s taken the time to click some buttons and read and think about it? I don’t think he’s done that in years. I never posted a lot when we were together, but when I did, I would often ask – did you read that and his response would be no. Not always, but mostly. And if he did read it, it was probably because it came up in his twitter feed. We never had much conversation around any of it and he never asked me what something meant. That also always bothered me about us.

If the roles were reversed, I sure as hell would read every word and want to talk about it. Knowing how important my words are to me, it was disappointing. He did, however, always encourage me to write and to write more. He thought I should start a blog about reviewing restaurants and their cheeseburgers. He provided suggestion to me about writing a certain amount each day and potentially writing in the morning when my mind is the most fresh and not at night when I am beat-down tired by the day. In hind site, these are good suggestions and it was his way of trying to help me be a better writer, so that is supportive. Still, poetry is my main gig, and if you don’t ask about it (or at least “like” it), then it’s hard to feel good about it the whole damn situation.

Bomb #3 and #4:
These were dropped at almost the same exact time as #3. I’m reading that email as I’m walking down the hallway into my boss’s office. It was her and I and three other people from my team plus one other team member on speakerphone from home. She proceeds to tell us that come April first she will no longer be our boss and that the entire team is being moved under a different person, the director of operations (she is the VP of operations). Boom.

She then went on to say that our current major internal project is no longer going to be managed by her, but by the president of the company instead. Boom Boom!

There was some explanation of justification but the truth of the matter is that she has too many direct reports and not enough time to manage them plus do all of her other job responsibilities which in the last 6 months has included more and more travel. I agree with that being the reason. There were some other things that were sited, other reasons why. I think they felt they needed to put more justification behind it which was not necessary, so I’m going to just stick with the primary and say it’s probably for the best.

It is still tough to know your whole team is being moved down the “hierarchy”. Tough for me because I think at one point they considered elevating me to more than just a team lead and making me a manager and probably decided I was not ready for that. They probably decided that at the same time they were deciding who should lead the current initiative and I said I could not do it.

I have a great team and they are wonderful, hard-working, dedicated people and the team dynamic right now is still positive despite some more recent challenges. They would be easy to manage on a more HR level, but I still have zero interest in being in “management” that so I’m not really upset about that aspect of the shift. Its more about how it will affect the team.

As for the President taking ownership from my boss of a project that I was originally supposed to manage but couldn’t.. it’s kind of the same thing. A little bit has gotten better with the addition of a new person on the team but I am still in no position time or resource wise to take on that extra effort.

It also requires more of a software development/architecture background which is an area where I am lacking. I’m the subject matter expert and the product owner. I know what needs to be done, but now the best way how. My schooling was all programming and computer science, but I’ve always been on the ops side of the fence. Ask me about Agile and Waterfall and Scrum and the pros and cons of Java and dot net and classes and objects. I’ll be the first to tell you, I don’t know enough.

Again, very similar to her first bit of news. She can’t handle it either. She does not have enough time. And she has less technical background than I do. The blow on this one is more about how it will affect the team and the project and the unknowns about how it will change things. Right now, all we can do is wait and see.

All three of those happened within the same small window of time and so as I stepped into her office, my attention was split between words she was saying and thinking about the email I just got from Matt. It was like the building was on fire and in an instant I had to choose between saving a family heirloom from one end of the house or a keepsake from my own past. I could not do both so the lines became blurred when I was asked directly how I felt about the changes. I could not help but tear up.

I never want people at work to see me like that and historically they never have. I may be an open book to the rest of the world, but at work i’ve got a wall up where I’m mostly business (outside of my sense of humor) and don’t let my personal life be seen or heard. In the last few months it has been unavoidable. That’s how you know when life is too much. You do things out of character. Perhaps it is OK to let these people in too or perhaps it will further damage my credibility as a leader. I just don’t know because I can’t predict the future.

Bomb #5 (yes there’s one more):
Completely spent by the day, my mind weary from all the analysis I continue on with my normally scheduled routine which includes exercise, dinner with the kids, some post dinner activities, and eventually bed time. It was around bed time that bomb number 5 came in. It was more like bomb number 2 had not completely exploded and was imbedded in the yard, just sitting there with another detonation waiting to happen. I get another email from Matt.

Now I admit, I tinkered with the bomb and had responded to his first email with a very short, empathetic reply. I tried to make it positive, and I am not sure how much of that got through to him, but his reply to that made me extremely sad.

He said he was sad. He expressed a feeling and sited the fact that our pictures are still up at his mom’s house. He also went on to say, briefly, that he hopes Zoey and Cooper don’t hate him. That knocked me over. It’s like he’s thinking about things and struggling, which just makes so much sense, but the window into what that looks like has been closed for me for 6 months. I’ve been grieving, but from all appearances, he was doing ok and based on hearing he had started dating someone, was OK and moving on.

When you love someone for five years and it ends and you are no longer communicating or there for each other, the loss of that is devastating. It was devastating to me. When that door closes you can’t help but miss what is on the other side of it. You can’t see and you have so many questions and are left standing, staring, with no idea what to do next. He has a tiny window into my world, through my blog, and he’s looked through it. And now, he’s opened the door a crack and let me see what he is feeling. It’s just too much for me to wrap my head around, still.

I’m really hoping that this weekend with time to myself and nice weather and working in the garden I will be able to process all of this. I hope to gain clarity on what I can and should do. What things I should let go and what things I should hold on to. I’ve got Saturday, which is today, essentially all to myself so perhaps by the end of the day today I will have made the first steps toward knowing what to do.

On that note, it really is time to get out of bed and start my day. There’s a lot of shrapnel laying about. It’s not going to clean itself up.

Until Next Time,
Miss SugarCookie

2017-03-17 Bombs Away

Oh holy hell where do I begin? I’ve been on the verge of tears all week and had one thing after another pushing me right up to that edge. I don’t think I’ve cried this much since the first week in January. I guess when it rains it pours and some of these things were probably inevitable but does everything need to come piling on top of me in the same week?

Bomb #1:
Tuesday I went to dinner with a friend I have not really talked to in a long time. We ran into each other at a story telling event several weeks ago and after that he texted me and suggested that we meet up for dinner. A few more weeks went by and then the timing was much better. He recently (like this week) started a new job and happened to mention to me that at his old job he worked with a girl named Lindsey.

When the subject of Matt came up, he told me he heard from her that I broke up with Matt in an email. Now I can count on one hand the number of people I know who know that, so i was immediately curious as to how this person I’ve never met knows that. Then he says, “She dated Matt”. Say what?!!

I wanted more details which he just did not have. No idea of when it started, or clarification on what “dating” meant, or if they went out a couple of times or are still seeing each other. Just that one statement. Except, oh, he told her we (him and I) used to date. That’s a whole other Miss SugarCookie story, and it did happen after my divorce and before meeting Matt. In the moment though, it made me feel like it paints a picture of me just wandering around town dating different developers. I’ve legit dated like 3 people my entire life, if you can count what him and I were doing dating and I don’t know why it would bug me to have him say that to her, but it did. Probably  because I freaking care too much about what people think of me.

More to that.. if all Lindsey had to say about it was that “I broke up with Matt in an email”, then that means that’s what he told her about it. And again, I’m not that person..I’m an in-person sort of person. It was a really long year and it is true that the third time I called it quits was via email but not knowing the whole backstory and taking that one bit of information out of context makes me feel like dog doo-doo.

I get why he might have done that. Dating someone new, you want to keep the story simple and not divulge too much. If you really like the person, you don’t want to scare them away. If he is still seeing her and intends to keep seeing her, I would hope that at some point she would get more of the story. Or perhaps that’s selfish on my part and not entirely necessary. It’s just another thing I have to figure out how to deal with. Just lovely.

Even if I can somehow set aside wondering what people think of me it does not change the actual new news. I can’t help but wonder what the timing was of when he started seeing her. September is when I really tried to convince him to come back to me. October I was desperate and in denial. November I was just heartbroken and sad and by December, I was very much an angry person and wanted to put my palm up to the holidays and say “talk to the hand”. Through all of it though, I had slivers of hope I was clinging to. A text, an email, a 45 minute phone call that just felt so right. Yes, I had to go to Mexico alone and that sucked but he said he needed time and space and by December I was finally accepting that is what I had to do. But I never dreamed time and space meant start dating other people.

I knew it was always a possibility. In the fall, it was my biggest fear. He’s a good guy with a lot going for him and is more social and does more networking so it was only a matter of time before he would meet someone. The thought of it made me physically sick to my stomach. He was always My Matt. He’s not allowed to be someone else’s Matt – it just seemed so unfair. Later, I had dismissed that notion because either it was too painful and I was trying to protect myself or because I had been given breadcrumbs of hope along the way that led me to believe there was a possibility we could still find our way back to each other.

I also understand why he didn’t say anything to me about it, because he would never want to hurt my feelings. At the same time, if I had known he was just moving on, then it may have made my grieving process a lot different. Maybe more like “ripping the band aid off” and less of a cycle of denying the wound exists, and being angry about it, and regretting the injury ever happened sort of situation. I’ll never really know. It’s all just out of my control.

What is in my control, however, is to make sure I take the opportunity to set the record straight, even if it was only for one person. That is what I did with my friend at dinner when he came out with the info he had. I didn’t hesitate to tell him the backstory from my perspective. It’s not a secret after all. My life is an open book for anyone who might ask me. Just ask me. Like I said, I hate it when things are taken out of context. Maybe Matt did tell her more and that was all she was willing to say to other people. I can’t know that either. And it is really none of my business. I just have to figure out how to let it all go.

Anyway, this bomb was dropped on Tuesday, so when Wednesday arrived, it was on my mind constantly. I eluded to the fact that I had several meet ups that day with friends, so I had people to talk to about it, but that did not keep me from crying in my car driving to and fro and holding back tears sitting at my desk trying to do work. Just rotten.

And that is just the first bomb of the week. I’ve already gone on too long so the rest will have to wait another day. It’s already super late and not technically even the 17th anymore. I need to get to sleep.

For my Irish and Irish-ish friends out there.. Slainte!!
Miss SugarCookie