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 

2017-10-04 Oh the Tragedy of Reality 

I woke up this morning feeling sadness. I’ve been riding on such a high the past week or so I guess it was bound to end eventually. I mean, emotions are situational and fleeting and the reality is that there’s not a whole lot of permanence in this life.

Relationships are temporary. Events that we enjoy come and go. Hurt fades like the jagged edges of a stone worn away by years of water passing over it. Sometimes the change of the tides is welcome and sometimes it leaves us questioning the purpose or meaning of it all. 
This morning I’m just filled with melancholy and an infinite sadness (que the Smashing Pumpkins). 
A week ago I was applying for a job at UNMC and dreading it. I’d come to the conclusion that I didn’t want to do the same thing I’ve always done. But then what?
I then had a major epiphany that I should pursue my writing. It check all the boxes but one. I enjoy it, I’m passionate about it, it’s fulfilling, and I’m certain would lead me to getting more satisfaction out of life. The box it doesn’t check? Poetry won’t pay the bills. 
I rode the emotional high I was on as I jumped through all the hoops required to get the application completed. Most of it was easy and actually quite enjoyable. I revisited my past to collect all my transcripts and it’s nice to look at ones accomplishments. I meet up and had conversations with friends and former colleagues to share my news and ask for their help. Again, wonderful to see and talk with these people I care about. I then had to compile a collection of my favorite poems and compose some words describing my journey thus far and why this program is right for me. It was delightful. I had everything submitted before the deadline of October 1st. Great success! 
Then October 2nd happened. I woke up and checked my email in-box, which is my normal practice. I was greeted with an email that my checking account was overdrawn. My house payment would not clear without more funds being deposited. It’s an easy enough thing to remedy by transferring funds from savings, but also a good reminder that I’m operating in a state that has definite limitations. There’s a finite amount in my savings and not more where that came from without work. 
In addition, I just happened to look up how much the writing MFA costs and found that it’s going to be 30K+. Yowza!! That’s just not an easy figure to reconcile with my current state of being. If money wasn’t a factor, I’d not be taking a serious pause about this decision. But as it is, I am. Not only does poetry not pay bills, it also doesn’t pay back student loans or take me on vacations. 
The hopeless romantic in me argues that it’s only money and does not matter because we should pursue our passions no matter the cost. 
The realist in me recognizes that we probably can’t have our cake and eat it too. I have to figure out what to do to earn money. If by some chance I can find something that will cover my monthly expenses while being flexible enough to allow me to continue pursuit of the MFA, not to mention parenting, household maintenance, relationships, and freetime activities that would be.. well.. a miracle. 
It’s a financial puzzle as well as one one of life balance. I’ve over extended myself before and though I’ve always made it work, it’s not easy and at times taken a toll on me. Am I in for that again or should I take an easier path? The way is unclear. 
I woke up this morning with trepidation about my predicament and worry that I’m going to choose wrong. I’m not fearless and I don’t have a ton of support. Whatever I do, I have to do it on my own and it’s scary.

My children depend on me and I’m leaning toward what my head is telling me and away from what my heart wants. Should I just wait five more years until they are gone to follow these dreams? I might not have a choice, 
Sinking in the Cupid De Locke, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-09-10 Sunday Status Update

I have not done actual stats in a while and since things are taking a turn for the better, it’s a good time for it.

How does this go again?

Exercise…
Step Count: 13K today
Highest Day This Week: 24,118
Lowest Day This Week: 1926 😛

Seven Day Average: 15,595
28 Day Average: 17,693 Maybe I am not doing as good as I thought this week but last Monday <2K probably killed it for me.

Jazzercise This Week: 5 Classes
I was also informed that at the location I frequent the most, I now have 125 classes on the year. 50 More to reach the 175 goal!!
I’m holding steady with 8 pound free weights during class.

I can do three chin-ups on my pull-up bar (touching the ground in between).

I’m also now doing a push-up challenge which is 100 pushups every day. This is a thing that started today and I got a late start on it so I am only up to 30. I can DO IT!

Sleep…
Average This Week: 7hrs 38min
I only hit my target of 8 hours twice, so still lots of room for improvement but worlds better than where I was months ago.
All of this is now also without any sleep aids.

Eating…
Making some modifications and slowly changing bad habits into good. Sugar remains my weakness but this week I cut out both coffee and alcohol to see if it would have a positive affect on my headaches and wonder of wonders, I have not had a headache all week. I’m going to keep rolling with this all this week and see what happens.

Aside from that, I’ve been making fresh juice from fruits and veggies two or three time a week with my new favorite kitten appliance. I August I splurged and got a medium quality masticating juicer (it chews through food and uses pressure to extract juice instead of a centrifugal high powered spinning mechanism). It hasn’t quite become a meal replacement yet, but I’m certain the added vitamins via the fruit and veg are doing me some good.

I’d like to gain a few more pounds of muscle and loose about 5 pounds of fat. The cardio and the diet I think are key in losing the fat, so now I have to figure out what more I can do for getting that muscle. If I hit my weight goal (as far as losing is concerned), I’ve decided to treat myself to a new FitBit.. the one that does the heart rate monitoring. Then I can take the info I got in that physiology testing at UNO and apply it to a training plan.

Dinner meals with the kids are always a challenge and this week was no exception. I can’t even count on one hand the number of times Z said “I’m not eating that”. She’s incredibly picky and not liking the fact that we can’t really afford to be spending money on meals out all the time. I have to cook at home as much as possible and there’s a very small number of things that are acceptable to her.

Relationship Status… Still single but seeing someone now and hopeful about the direction it is going. Pretty soon I’m going to start questioning the various statuses. Like what is the difference between seeing someone, and dating, and being in a relationship? It’s all blurry to me and I’ve tried to NOT think about and NOT focus on it, because it’s still too early.

What started out as stats has turned a little verbose and my attention is now required elsewhere. I’ve already made a list of the things I want to get a jump on this week. It will be a short week of productivity for me since I am going to Austin to visit my dear friend Rebecca. I need to be really organized to get a whole weeks worth of stuff done in just a few days AND fit in some quality time doing things that I love to do. It will be a challenge, but I will rise to it!

Until Tomorrow,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-25 Celebrating Successes

This one has been stewing for a while. I put it in the crock pot in February and I think it’s about ready. It’s about setting goals, but more specifically about meeting goals that have been set already.

My objective this year, very generically, was to have a happier, healthiier life. That’s too broad to measure all by itself I think and really not tough to achieve since I rolled into this year feeling like my life was just a mess. Truly.

As I start to break my goal into smaller, more tangible target objectives, the path to success becomes more clear.

– Get Better sleep
– Be more fit
– Eat healthier
– Have More satisfying experiences
– Practice Better parenting
– Have Deeper connections with friends
– Achieve Professional growth
– Achieve Personal growth

Even these are still a little to broad to pin down. Objectives need to be measurable. Something you can be accountable for and something that is attainable. Perhaps a grand objective is a long road and may never obtainable but the path to get there is lots of smaller milestones. And in my opinion one of the most important parts of getting there is celebrating success.

So if I take one of my objectives this year, to be more fit and break that down further into the goals I’ve attached to it, the path to success starts to look like something real.

– I wanted to increase my daily step count to 12K.
– I wanted to do Jazzercise 4 times a week.
– I wanted to increase my free weights during class to 7lbs. by the end of June.
– I wanted to improve my tennis skills.
– I wanted to diversify my activity.

(Some of this was verified by looking at the blog post from 2017-02-05).

It has been about 6 months since these goals started to take shape. As time passes it becomes important to stop and take a look at the progress. If we are always looking forward and don’t take time to look back and reflect and evaluate, we can’t see how far we have come. We also can’t see if adjustments need to be made or if our goal was valid in the first place.

Since I just did this baseline fitness testing last Friday, I am all gung-ho about the future, but I recognize that I also need to look at what I originally set out to do and how that is measuring up. From the items above it seems to be that I am doing pretty good…

– My daily step count is hovering right around 15K based on stats from the last month. That’s 3K over my goal.
– I’ve been to about 176 Jazzercise classes so far this year which is about 5 per week. This is also above my target goal.
– I switched in May or June to 6 pound weights, but since they don’t sell 7 pound weights anywhere around town, I had to jump to 8 pound free weights and I did that in July I think. So that’s another goal which was met with success.
– I have not improved my tennis skills, and I basically stopped taking lessons when I quit my job. Partially because of the cost and partially because of the timing of some other things. So that one probably needs some re-evaluation.
– I wanted to diversify my activity. As stated I kind of dropped Tennis, but I have been biking more. I don’t think I am there yet at this diversification thing, but I also should probably evaluate what I am doing now and what more I want to be doing. I’ve thought about climbing and there is a climbing gym near my house so I may look into that.

Needless to say, I am doing pretty good. However, are meeting these goals helping me toward obtaining my objective. That part is kind of unclear. Six months ago I did not have any “starter” measurements to go off of to use and defining what success looks like. Now, thanks to the testing last Friday, I have that. But hold on now.. I don’t want to just gloss over what I have done these past six months because I have no basis for comparison. For real!

I’ve made progress and I have done a lot of the things I said I wanted to do and that deserves some cheers. As I stated before, stopping to celebrate the achievements is key in continued success. If we have goals we should have rewards. The rewards are incentives to keep working hard and I may not have tangible rewards I defined for myself at the beginning of this year, but that does not mean I can’t treat myself a little bit and do a happy dance to celebrate.

Today is Friday and tomorrow is my birthday. I could not think of a better time to congratulate myself for all of my hard work. As down as I have been feeling this week, I could use a little something-something to get my spirits up anyway. Perhaps I should just dance my way through the weekend. That sounds like the bomb!

Party on Garth,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-07 What Works and What Doesn’t

Last week I decided to throw my trusty to-do list out the window and just live and do the things that struck my fancy when the moments were ripe. By Wednesday I felt very unproductive and unsatisfied and by Thursday I decided to make a list and start crossing things off and by Friday, I felt good again about my week. Why that makes such a difference, I will not pretend to try and understand but can accept the outcome none the less.

It’s Monday again and I’m awake after only 5 hours of sleep and my brain is not wasting any time on how I might change my approach and try something new, it’s ready to make a list and get started. I’ve checked the weather and it will be overcast again but clear which means I can start on my next big backyard project. I’ve checked the class schedules for both Jazzercise and my Genesis Health Club and there are two classes later this afternoon I would like to attend. I know Josh is coming over sometime this morning to borrow my ladder and at some point Alabama (who I wrote about yesterday) would like to meet up in person. I need to look into school registration for the kids and fill out some online forms and also figure out what to do since they will not be physically present for the “in-person” part of the process. So that’s the start of a list for today. That works.

Since winging it does not seem to work for me and making lists does, I may just make a list for my week and also for the rest of August. I’m really not reaching out to any old or new acquaintances or friends or family for meet ups this week so I can focus my meals on eating healthy and not spending money. In July I was really focussed on connections, but now I think I will turn my attention more to myself and just getting stuff I want done, done.

I’d like to get this edging project underway, sell my car, clean out my garage and potentially paint it. I’m going to take an assessment at Metro to see what kind of career I might be geared for. I’d like to take a self defense class and perhaps try the climbing gym and find some other classes (that are free) at Genesis that I might be interested in. I think all of that is enough to keep me busy for a month.

Yesterday I spent half a day working out. I literally did Jazzercise followed by Yoga/Pilates followed by cardio on the elliptical machine. I had brief breaks in between, but was feeling pretty awesome by like 2 in the afternoon. Then I switched gears and had Steph and Barb over to the house for wine, and got an upsetting text, and ended up eating at Qdoba with Josh. All of that was OK, but I ate too much and then vegetated while I got somewhat caught up on Game of Thrones. While all of that was just fine, by the end of the day I felt really terrible. I felt like the exercise I did early in the day was negated by my poor food choices later in the day. So the take away on that is that the exercise works and the focus on the food and sitting around watching a show doesn’t. Not for me anyway.

Now that I have put some thought into what’s on my list for today, this week, and this month, I can rest easy until it’s really time to start digging in. Right now, however, it’s not even 7AM and I’m not quite ready just yet.

Welcome to Monday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-01 Welcome to August

Yesterday I did that thing that I have been doing every Monday for several weeks. I made a list. I’ve made a list at the beginning of the week and each day take care of something so that progress is inevitable. Last week I crossed off all but two or three things on the list and that leaves me with a pretty good feeling. Those things that don’t get done end up on the subsequent list. Yesterday I followed suit and made a list, but by the end of the day, I’d thrown it in the recycle bin. This week I am trying something new.

This week, I am going to do whatever I feel like doing in the moment and try to completely let go of what “needs” to get done. I might go for a walk and I might sort and file paperwork and I might do some weeding in the garden. It’s an experiment to see if I 1). Still get enough done to feel good about my accomplishments and 2.) If I feel less pressure about all my “commitments”. In recognizing that sometimes I am my own worst enemy in both making too many promises and also feeling overwhelmed too easily, can this turn make a difference or will that list just remain in my head to irritate my brain and make the anxiety worse?

I ended up at Home Depot yesterday in the garden section. I wanted to see if there were any good perennials left since most other garden centers have a supply that has diminished considerably. I was shocked to see they still had a lot left, in pretty good condition, but also still full price. I find that Home Depot is one of the most expensive garden centers in the area and I rarely would buy anything there. Why pay more when you can get the same thing cheaper somewhere else? Anyway, now you can’t get the same thing somewhere else, so I guess the price is what it is. I still will not pay it though.

What I did find is several quart perennials on the clearance rack for 2 bucks each. I, of course, had to save these lovelies from their fate and spring them from the Home Depot discard bin. They will now be afforded a long and happy life in the midst of one of my many flower beds. What this means for me, of course, is that today I have to spend a little time figuring out where they will go and getting them in the ground. I bought 6 dwarf day lilies which will sport pink blooms and 4 larger day lilies which look like they will be more of a red hue. Probably the smaller ones will go on the east border of my house and then the larger ones will be on the west and perhaps one in the front southeast corner.

It’s only just 7AM now and still pretty cool outside and it might be a perfect time to get outside and figure it out, but something in me is not ready for the day yet. Something in me wants to just lay in bed a little longer and

It’s going to be beautiful out and looking ahead at the weeks forecast, there will not be a bad day in the bunch. Only time will tell if my new approach is going to have the desired affect on my week. In any case, it is August now and the second month of the “Summer of Shyla” has officially begun.

Huzzahhhhhh,
~Miss SugarCookie