2017-10-09 Multitasking to the Tune of Change

It’s Monday morning. Fall is in the air and it feels like change is quickly approaching my life. I’m back at the gym this morning writing from the elliptical machine. I’m somehow really digging this dynamic… feeling productive in two areas at once AND writing makes an hour of cardio go by super fast. I’m also getting good at typing from my phone. I wonder how this might be different if I was trying it at home.

This weekend I created a new playlist for fall and so my workout this morning is all Silversun Pickups, Lincoln Park, Dorothy, Live, The Pretty Reckless, and RadioHead. A good mix of older stuff and new. I also threw David Ford partly because the album I have is all good but mostly for the one song that I absolutely get pumped about every time I hear it.. “Go To Hell”. 
In fact, I can’t just listen to it once. When it comes up I typically listen to it two or three times. It’s great like “I Will Survuve” in that it leaves me saying “Fuck Yeah” every time. 
I need more of that. I think this is why doing this morning gym routine is important to me. It gets me pumped for the day. Whatever I end up doing I’m hoping it works with this. If I could find something that’s like 4 hours a day starting at noon, that would be ideal. If I can get someone to pay my about 100 bucks an hour for those 20 hours, well I’d be set. It’s nice to think about but probably not realistic. 
I’m also not going to be able to pull that much coin unless I’m doing HL7 and I’m so over that. Really. If I was all out of options, I most certainly would, but it’s time to go forward with something new. 
No word yet on my MFA application. I’m going to call another connection today about a technical writing position, which might just be the right mix of applying my technical background and doing more of what I want to be doing. Even if it’s not creative writing, it gets me more practice (and a paycheck). 
Done with cardio now and time for a few weights…
When They Come For Me I’ll Be Gone.

~Miss Sugarcookie

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2017-10-05 Why Not Both?

This morning I met with one of my former managers and we had a good conversation about career, things I should look to be doing, and just generally catching up with our respective lives. There was a lot packed into that hour and while I didn’t necessarily come away with a concrete yes on potentially doing contract work for her, i did get lots of good advice.

She agreed I should be going forward and not looking back and that a job in the healthcare IT space would not be the best option. It remains a safety net if I need it, but to better myself and achieve more, I should be looking for something different.
My woes yesterday were fueled by fear and anxiety about money. I shared my thoughts with Simon and his words of wisdom were insightful and comforting. 
Comforting because they validated that I’m not wrong to pursue my passion and insightful in reminding me that I don’t have to completely do one thing or the other.. that I can choose to do a balance of both. It remains true I will not likely find the perfect gig to pay what I was making before with enough flexibility and free time for the MFA. However, I could choose to do something else rewarding and flexible for less pay. 
Instead of being at one end of a pendulum swing or the other, meet in the middle with compassion, dedication, and satisfaction. I need only look as far as the statement of purpose I wrote for the MFA application to remind myself what it is and what it means to me. 
My coffee date this AM was more focused on the career path but actually took my intent one step further to shine a light on the fact that I could be looking for something which actually combines the writing with my 20+ years of Tecnical and analysis experience. There is a great wild world of opportunities and I just need to start exploring. 
At this point I’m totally down with what I need to do next and it’s just a matter of execution. I’m needing a little nudge to do that. I’ve been enjoying my time off quite a bit lately and have established a very relaxed and happy routine. Part of me is not looking forward to giving that up. I keep writing things on my to-do list and managing to only get to the “fun” things and put off the research and resume work for another day. 
I should take a day and do nothing but that. If I make progress it might be just the motivator I need to keep the train rolling forward. 
As of right now.. I’m 48 minutes into writing from my beloved elliptical machine (again combing what I love with what I love). All this other stuff should have been obvious right?! 
I need to finish up at the gym and get home before the kids get home from school. Another round of parent-teacher conference tonight. 
Until tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, 
~Miss Sugarcookie 

2017-09-24 Sunday Status Update

Day 5 of being ill, slept like shit last night because of congestion and my throat and cough are worse now. What the hell.

As a result, my stats are taking a serious dive:

Fitbit Steps.. Today – 6K so far.
7 Day Average – Just over 12K (above my official daily goal but below what my new goal has been 15K). 28 day average, about the same. Time to step up my game. 😛

Jazzercise .. Only two classes this week, though I also did one yoga/pilates class and one “group strike” class.

Sleep.. Back down to 6 hours a night. Maybe the E2 is messing with that because it does not seem to record the naps. I’m still not really trying to do the E2 until I feel better (though I’m still only getting like 5 hours the last couple of nights and no naps).

Eating.. I’ve been eating better overall, but have not been able to stay off caffeine or the drink (party last night at my house). I think the small changes are good. I’ve minimized gluten and dairy and so perhaps not going off things completely, but just making better choices overall.

Work.. Still Unemployed. Living the dream one day at a time. 😃

Relationship Status.. Unofficially dating someone?! I hosted a party at my house last night for Jeff and Steph and told him about it and he showed up. He was actually the first one here and the last one gone. Sort of unexpected and I was pleasantly surprised, and also mildly anxious as my ex-husband was also in attendance (being friends with Jeff and Steph too). Yowza. Does this mean we are dating? I’m not one to like putting labels on things, but I’d kind of like to know what to say the status is.

At the present moment I am drinking a concoction consisting of hot water, apple cider vinegar, honey, lemon, ginger, and cinnamon. I googled natural sore throat remedies and then threw everything I had on hand in the kitchen into the same cup. It’s actually quite good. Not sure if it will help, but worth a shot and nice to try and do something.

Feels like it’s time for a nap again now, I’m just exhausted.
Looking for the Corner,
~Miss SugarCooking

2017-09-12 The “Big” Question

The crossroads. The decision. The thing that will change all other things to come.

That’s putting a lot of pressure on one question. That’s putting a lot of pressure on one’s self. That is what thinking about what my next “career” move feels like. I’ve adequately filled up this months to-do list with things that are mostly related to personal goals. A small part of me wonders if I didn’t do that somewhat deliberately so that I could push off the one big question, the one big goal, which is to figure out what I’m going to do next with my life.

So my focus has been on my yard, and my exercise, and just enjoying every day. I’ve gotten kind of used to enjoying every day. I’ve gotten used to having extra time to myself and to have more freedom to choose what gets done when. I’m still not ready to give that up and thinking about what I am going to do to earn a paycheck has become a thing I’m not looking forward to deciding. I don’t know if it is fear of commitment to the wrong thing or just simply that I don’t want to have to go back to that lifestyle. Not yet anyway.

Yesterday I met with Paul, a mentor of mine at my last company. I respect Paul very much and therefore value his insight, wisdom, conversation, and advice. That’s the thing about listening to other people.. If you have a high opinion of the person you are talking to, then their words cary more weight. If you don’t think much of them, then you are more likely to dismiss any advice or opinions.

It was a good conversation. It was a well balanced conversation and I believe I achieved all that I intended.

The first objective was to re-enforce a connection with a person I think would be straight with me and is open to helping me out if I need it. I wanted to catch up with him and see how things were with him and his family and the company. I was not necessarily looking for specific help, only conversation and advice.

As far as help, I know if it really came down to it, he would at least know the right people to connect me to as it relates to professional endeavors. Indeed he did end up assisting with two separate connections. One was with a person who is a “headhunter” and could help me out finding the right job if a full time gig is what I end up going for. The second was a new group that is being established in my area of town, a new chapter of “Toastmasters”. Something I have long thought would be good for me both personally and professionally.

My other want from this meet-up was to get his thoughts on how I should approach that “big” question. He described a fairly well thought out approach which made such great sense as I listened intently.

In my own words, it’s a matter of priority. The top tier question one must ask themselves is what is most important. Is it money? Is it flexibility of schedule? Is it advancement opportunity? Is it job fulfillment? I need to start by defining this top tier and then move on to the secondary question which is “what”.

I’ve got the entire world of things that I could choose to do in front of me. Some things are well past my reach at my age and ability at this point, but there are a lot that are left. Too many, I think. This second tier is where that VENN diagram for career choice comes into play. If I have not written about that before, it’s basically taking three main categories and listing out what is in each for you. The categories are:

– What are you good at?
– What do you like to do?
– What will the market pay for?

I started brainstorming on this a few weeks back but did not get very far. In the crossover of these three things are sub-categories. For instance, you might like something, but not have what you need to do that for a job. I would consider my liking writing in that category. I might like to do that, but have no credentials and not sure what I could do without more training or knowledge.

I think I got some things under each category, but not a lot and then had to move onto something else and ran out of time to list any more. I have not revisited that yet this week. But at least I’ve started trying to solve this piece of the puzzle. I believe Paul is right though, once you narrow this down, then you really have to decide what things fit your priorities in the first tier and then throw out those that don’t (or re-evaluate your priorities).

He and I also touch a little on life in general. We talked about how time goes by fast and the fact that sometimes we measure time by time gone by since event “X” has happened in history. It was 9.11 after all, so there was a few very solemn moments around that topic, but that’s the stuff that matters. It forges deeper connections. I’m not afraid of getting there with people and I appreciate it when they are willing to go there too.

I think after our conversation he recognizes that I am at a similar crossroads that he went through when he was my age. The deciding between continuing doing what you are doing and having that be what you focus on or going a different path and starting over. In my mind, one of these things is easy and one of them seems like it would be difficult. So my “big” decision evolves into a test of my character and what I really want from life. I can have “easy” and still lead a really fulfilling existence but then I will never know what else I am capable of. I can choose to go the other route and risk failure, but at least I know I tried.

I’m wondering how much of my “safety net” I will have to sacrifice to go down the difficult path? Is there a way I can wander down either road just a little bit and see what it is like? And how long can I put off deciding before it really becomes a worry?

No answers yet, only questions.
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-11 Who Am I?

Today I dug a trench in my back yard and it’s almost ready for me to start doing the brick work. I also went for a bike ride and discovered where/how the Patio trail connects with the Keystone trail, so that 4th of July mystery has been solved. After that I took a nap and then went to Jazzercise which was closely followed by a walk at the high school track. It was a very full day indeed. Most of it, I spent alone.

Spending the day alone means lots of music in my ears and lots of thinking. I came to two conclusions…

The first is that I am really sick of the music on my phone and need some sort of introduction to something new. I don’t know if that means using a new app or something or just hanging out with different people who have different tastes.

The second is that it is sometimes difficult to define ones self. Who am I? If you take away my children, my job, my friends and family, and any ties to some partner in life, what am I left with? What do I like? As a person who is historically both a people pleaser and the most easy going/amiable to any plan, I’ve always gone with the flow. I’ve always done what other people have wanted me to do. When I am left alone, as I am now,  completely alone, who am I?

Today I chose a bike ride and some other exercise. I chose to work in my yard and ignore cleaning my house. I chose to write instead of read and I chose to be outside instead of inside. So is that who I am? What else is there? If someone were to ask me if there was anything in the world I could do what would it be? I don’t think I know. Does anyone know the answer to this for themselves? Does anyone really know who they are as a person or are we defined by our jobs and relationships?

I intend to find out who I am without my job, but I don’t want to separate myself from relationships because that’s my lifeline. That’s my safety net. As much as I feel over-burdened by my responsibilities to maintain my relationships sometimes, I would simply not know what to do without them. I would be lost and at risk of falling through without a net and potentially suffering some dire consequences.

OK, true confession time. It’s 9PM on a Friday and I’m all alone and getting ready for bed. I had two glasses of wine with my dinner of leftovers and am a little bit buzzed from that (yes, two glasses and that’s it). I’m about ready to go to bed for the night and tomorrow I am going to wake up and have all the same choices I had today. Will I chose the same things or try something new? Will I connect with people or remain alone for the day? Will I hang my hat on waiting for something to happen to me or will I go out and MAKE something happen. I don’t know. I don’t think I will know until tomorrow gets here and I’m right in the middle of it.

I guess if you really want to know, you will have to click back tomorrow and find out. Oh, now how is that for suspense? Haha!

Until Tomorrow. Gnight,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-01 Welcome to the Second Half…

… of the year.

In January at my sisters wedding I was drunk texting my friend Rebecca in Austin and taking pictures of the reception. I remember thinking how beautiful my sister was in her dress and how happy everyone was and how much fun it was out on the dance floor. At that moment, there was a tight group of her and her friends just kind of clustered together in the middle of the floor and I don’t remember what song was playing but they were just singing and dancing. It made me happy. I sent that pic to Rebecca.

Even though I’d been drinking, I still remember her reply so well. She said she had a feeling this was going to be my year. She knows my ups and downs and how the last few years have been rough. 2015 was tough and 2016 was just miserable. At the time of that exchange I remember thinking “holy hell I hope you are right. I can’t take another year like that”. I also had this feeling that she was right. Some positivity nestled deep down inside of me that was just ready to bust out and explode all over the place. I wanted so badly for her to be right and for that feeling to be set free. I wanted it to happen and quick like a flip of a switch. But life isn’t like that.

No. Life is slow and methodical and often unpredictable. Through January and February and March and April, I continued to struggle. I’d make forward progress, but then find myself sitting alone thinking about all questions great and small and wondering why I still felt like I’d just made too many mistakes to course correct. I was stressed and always pressed for time and in the spare moments I did have, I would either make bad choices or not want to do anything at all. Maybe I was depressed, but was that also something inside of me or was it just situational?

Deciding to quit my job was obviously a big deal, and so far, I don’t regret it. I needed to break away from the stress that was causing me and have more time to focus on myself and the other aspects of my life. I was a little worried that after I was no longer employed, I would feel the same regret I felt after breaking up with Matt last year. I was worried that it would be another “big mistake” in my book of life. So far, I have not felt that at all. In fact, I still feel like it was the best thing I have done for myself in a very long time. I’m only one week into not working, but already, I feel so much better. Only time will tell if that will continue to ring true.

Yesterday I was at Home Depot looking at perennials and I ran into my friend Pedro. Well, he’s really Josh’s friend but we’ve hung out a few times and drank and played a board game so I think that qualifies for friend status. He, like Josh, does not have a traditional job. They do home construction work for people like roofing, concrete, basement finishing, etc. He’s pretty much redone this whole house he is working on from the inside out. I think it’s pretty awesome to have those type of skills. Anyway, he had his dog with him (which he takes everywhere) and so I was giving her some good scratches behind the ears while we chatted for a minute.

He said I looked great, or younger, or happy.. or something like that and that if I keep it up, I’m going to look like I’m in my 20s in no time. It made me feel good to get a compliment like that but it also made me think about how I was feeling in that moment. I was happy. I was picking out flowers and thinking about my garden and not worried about anything. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like that.

Now I’ve also got some guys interested in me on this dating app and it feels good to have people actively wanting to chat. A girl could really get used to it.

Anyway, I’m six months into the year and finally feeling like things are starting to turn around. I’m all about instant gratification so the fact that it can’t all just magically change like the flip of a switch is frustrating. I guess I have to have a little faith and trust in the fact that it’s going in the right direction and that this can still be my year. I just need to be patient and keep doing the things that make me happy.

It’s Saturday now, and time to go figure out what the weekend list looks like.

Ciao,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-06-28 Waking Up Unemployed

I woke up this morning at 6:22 after about 6.5 hours of sleep. It may take me a while to get used to sleeping in later than that, or I may never be able to sleep later than that which would be OK.

When I wake up at that time, I generally have some time to myself to think about what I want to think about and do what I want. During the school year it’s about an hour because I have to get the kids up and start everybody moving for the day, but in summer it’s a little longer since they sleep in.

This morning I’m thinking about waking up unemployed. Yesterday I made mention of it feeling like I was just on PTO for the day and though that is true, I also found myself really not thinking about work at all, which was just amazing.

I have one friend who recently quit his job and got a new one and he said it took him several weeks to sort of “let go” of the responsibility of everything he had going on at his previous employer. He said he would still wake up thinking about what might happen with customer “X” and feel like he needed to check in and make sure things were OK.

Perhaps it was because I was so busy entertaining the kids yesterday that I had very little thoughts of what was happening at the company, but it could also be that I was way past ready to let it go. I also had four weeks to try and wrap things up and make sure I left what I was currently working on in a good state, which I felt like I did OK with.

Of course there will always be issues and unexpected crisis to handle, but that is the nature of that job. My last week there I had a great conversation with the founder of the company and I admitted to feeling like the product had not made a lot of progress in the last couple years and he vehemently disagreed with me. He praised my effort and all that I had done for the company and the product in the past five years and that left me feeling a little better about how I was leaving things. That conversation may also have something to do with the fact that I’m resting easy, and not thinking about the past.

In any case, I felt like one last post about my previous employment was in order. I have no doubt things will continue to “carry on” just fine without me and that somehow everything will get done. I did dedicate the last five years of my life to that place which equates to over 10,000 hours.

The work I’ve worked hard at my entire professional career is the reason I have the ability right now, today, to wake up unemployed and not worried about the future. For the next “X” amount of time, I can just wake up and think about all the wonderful things I will be able to do each day. Today, that includes hanging out with my kids, cleaning and organizing my house, visiting my friend Amy, and going on a first date. Life is wonderful and I want to enjoy living it.

Cheers to Tuesday,
~Miss SugarCookie