2018-09-28 Serious Friday Feels

Everything I was worried about yesterday went great. Every thing that got done made me feel lighter and lighter.

I made a space for my morning cardio which I did not think I was going to have time for. ✅

I got my lawn mowed. ✅

I had a difficult conversation with my boss. ✅

I hit up my OBGYN and had another minor procedure to boost my testosterone levels. ✅

I successfully ran another call with an important customer. ✅

I had a visit from the heating company I hired to investigate why my furnace is not coming on. It turns out that’s going to be a very expensive repair, but at least now I know. ✅

Jim and I had dinner together and more great conversation about my job situation and the future. ✅

I was able to log into my school website and access the mid-term form and though I haven’t tried to submit yet, I’m ready to pull the trigger. ✅

It’s all good stuff. I slept great last night and am feeling energized and ready to take on today… FRIDAY!

After I pull the trigger on the mid-term I’ll have the whole rest of the day to get hours into work. I’ve put in a serious minimum of hours this week so far and even if I put in 7 or 8 today, I probably won’t even break 20. 😱 However, it has been a more balanced week and what I originally signed up for. I’ve learned through the experience of the last few months that 30-35 hours is too many to not start sacrificing my family and school. How I ever worked 45+ is a serious mystery to me. But we all know how that turned out eventually so maybe it’s not THAT much of a mystery.

I told my boss yesterday (one of 3 bosses I have) that if I take this next contract the rest of my hours have to be reduced. I let him know that I was getting married and that I’m wanting to focus more of my time on family and school. The truth is, even with that reduction, I’m still considering taking a semester off just to focus on my personal life. I’ve only got this next year to get Z on track for college and we will also be moving which is a significant life change for us. My time in school is slipping away and I realized in the past month or so that I’m not getting out of it what I am paying into it. I want to change that. I don’t think that’s an excuse to put a pause on it but it might be. I’m not sure actually.

All I know is that I want to study more and write more and even take advantage of the alternate track for the program where you can take an actual on-campus class to satisfy some requirements. That appeals to me quite a bit. I dig the idea of having an actual class with assignments and a curriculum of topics to learn about. The MFA program that I’m in is fantastic in the way that it is structured, but the classroom experience feels like an element that is missing. I don’t think I would have time this spring to take advantage of additional classes but next fall I might. Lots to think about.

In any case, I’ll still be navigating my way through this time puzzle for a while. My thoughts still shift daily and I haven’t quite figured out how to make all the pieces fit. It might be an eternal work in progress. 🤷‍♀️ Who knows. All I know is that I feel great and am ready for whatever happens next.

Whose got two thumbs and is ready for Friday?! THIS GIRL!! 😊

Rolling in the Happy,

~Miss SugarCookie


2018-09-25 Failure is Not an Option

Today would be the perfect day to write something new about something that someone, anyone, would find valuable. Anything different and interesting would do, a cheeseburger revue, or an artistic opinion on some local issue. But I’m coming up empty. My mind is completely trained on a different objective…. poetry.

Well not poetry exactly, because the actual goal is a school assignment that has to do with writing some essay on some topic. Whoa.. that’s pretty broad. It’s like writing this blog every day. When I’m staring at that blank screen, it can be anything I want and go anywhere I want. I get to decide. So much power!! However writing official essays for school are never that simple. You know, there is a definite set of parameters which I’m required to remain inside the bounds of.

For example, if I turned in a revue of some local restaurant and their very average cheeseburger, that would not be acceptable. It’s got to be something related to what I’ve been learning and include references to poems or poets that I’ve been studying. This sesh is all about imagery and line and metaphor. I need to keep my eye on the prize but struggling with focus and connecting the dots.

The dictionary of poetic terms has a definition of metaphor that’s like 6 pages long. There’s enough there to think about and write about at length but then I need to pull in examples. Every time I dive into a set of poems my mind starts to wander off to other things and I’m not making good connections. They say that second semester is a good time to fail. They should never say that. It sets a person up with the notion that it’s ok to fail.

It’s like giving someone a new medication and telling them one of the side effects is sleeplessness. They might lie awake nights thinking about that, not sleeping, wondering if it’s the medication causing their sleep to fail. In actuality, it’s a total placebo effect. I’ve also heard people say that failing causes a person to learn and grow. All I can say about my history with failure is that I don’t like the way it makes me feel.

I’ve had failed relationships.. that sucks big time and it always causes lots of grief that lingers way too long. I’ve failed at work only a few times and that’s also rotten. The last time was at my last job when I was forced into a corner with the pile up of expectations and eventually had to throw my hands up in the air admitting I couldn’t do it. That left a nasty scar that I still get twitchy and itchy when I think about it. It really says something when 2 years passes and you still have enough anger about something that you want to punch someone (you know who) in the face (cough – lord Vader – cough).

Anyway, failing is definitely not my cup of tea. I’m going to have to bounce back this semester and really get above that high bar I have set for myself. If I’m going to do that I need to dedicate more time to the effort. That means less time for other things. Yeah, it always comes down to time. If this blog wasn’t so absolutely essential to my well being, I might sacrifice some of the time I spend in it. But I need something constant for my sanity and writing out my thoughts every day always, always makes me feel better. It always opens my mind to new thoughts. It always helps ground me while at the same time lifting me up. In 2014 I blogged every day as a part of my NYR and it often felt like a chore. Now here I am 4 years later and I’m not sure what I would do without it.

I could probably go on and on for hours and hours, but that’s not good either. I need to make positive progress today on these essays. It’s time to jam.

Thanks for Playing Along,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-07-25 Look Who’s Back, Back Again

I’m at the gym on my elliptical machine. It’s the first time I’m about two weeks and just getting started all I can think about is the start of that Eminem song “Without Me”. Now there’s a master poet! That guy is brilliant. Perhaps troubled, but I think a lot of genius artists are. I was never a huge “fan” but enough of one to have made some music purchases and have that deliciousness in the shuffle rotation of my master playlist.

Hell, I even made Eminem the target subject of one of my critical essays last semester. A perfect example of an artist who made a name (and persona) literally, with his work. At this point, as I get rolling with this term and my first deadline less than a month away, I’m wondering how the heck I’m going to top those essays. The good news is that it’s not a requirement and having a different mentor who doesn’t have access to those essays. She might have the final, not sure, but that’s it. I have a feeling she’s also going to be a very different as a mentor than the person I had last semester and that will be good. Because diversity is good. At any rate, I’m looking forward to it despite the deadlines and all that.

I think that’s why my transition back to “normal” life has been such a challenge. I want to dive right in and get started but I missed 10 days of work which equates to about 50 hours and I have to, need to, do work to cover my bills. Monday was tough and yesterday was even tougher. All of a sudden I’m now on 4 projects instead of 1 and at least one of those I’ve been tasked with doing something I’m going to have to completely learn before I can do it. There are deadlines and my work mentor is busier than I am. Getting half an hour of time is a serious challenge. That’s a problem. Yesterday I was freaking out about it. Today I have to get my shit together and just focus.

Talking to Jim last night was a huge help. I unloaded and he listened and then offered good advice. It was advice I would give myself if I had my head screwed on straight. He’s the best.

Right now I’m 37 minutes into my cardio set and Jason MRAZ just came up in the shuffle with one of my favorites, “No Doubling Back”. If I was in my car, I would be singing out loud.. loud! I don’t think my fellow gym goers would appreciate my singing, so I’ll just keep on typing.

When I got home from Residency, I made a to-do list for personal things which need to be taken care of and looking at that yesterday and seeing all I have done so far this week also made me feel better. I keep adding things to it, so it has grown more than it has shrunk, but seeing checks in the boxes is satisfying.

Tonight, after what I’m sure will be a super successful day “at the office”, I’m going to feed the creative side a little more by going to a reading downtown. Two People I know will be there so that’s a plus going in. Perhaps I will even get inspiration for my first critical essay. That would be amazing.

And just now my morning meeting was cancelled so I can just keep rolling. I’ve really missed my morning cardio and I can’t ever really catch up on steps but I can take this opportunity to hit it harder today. I’m going to be upping the resistance and letting the tunes in my ear carry me away.

What would I do Without This?

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-07-24 An Unorganized Mash of Spinning Priorities

This could very well turn out to be the most disjointed, unclear, off in all directions post I have ever written. It’s a mirror to my thoughts and feelings and I’m not even sure where to start (other than that disclaimer).

For 8 or 9 days during MFA residency, my whole world of parenting and work and exercise and routine just melts away and is replaced by this beast of a thing that comes charging in. It’s demanding and emotionally, physically, and mentally challenging, and there are parts I really love and parts I really hate. There’s not a lot in the middle that’s just “so-so”. By the end, I seem to have completely forgot about everything else in my life because my writing and goals have taken center stage and nothing else matters. Then I come home and it’s like waking from some crazy dream and I realize, so many things matter.

I wanted to do Sunday stats, but never found the time. My sleep and exercise were shit while I was away and so that’s probably for the best. I did sort of want to see just how shitty, you know, measure the shit, but I never sat down and took a minute to do any accounting of that (I still could, but not now). I can tell you that in the grand scheme, it isn’t just inputs and outputs. Despite my lack of sleep and steps and all the food, I lost 5+ lbs at residency. That was, I am positive, of my bodies direct reaction to stress and anxiety. Even on Sunday, after I was gone from the Lodge and back in the comfort of my usual spaces, the thinking didn’t stop and there to, neither did the anxiety. It’s a real problem.

Sunday evening I went to a dinner gathering my sister’s fiancé threw at their apartment, outside near their community garden. It was nice, but I was so over being social, the thought of making conversation, small talk, whatever with people was not appealing. Jim helped me by carrying most of the conversations. He was by my side the whole time and I’m so grateful for that. Sure it was a family gathering, but my family dynamic is somewhat awkward and my relationships with my parents is, I think, atypical. We’re not that close. When it was over, I drove us home, back to Jim’s place, and we took advantage of the time we had left in the day to watch a show and just snuggle on the couch together.

Monday morning was overcast. I had been so deprived of sleep, my body didn’t want to wake up. I woke at 6AM just before his alarm went off. Then I went back to sleep. He kissed me and urged me to keep sleeping at 6:45 when he went out to make breakfast and again at 7:15 when he left for work. I took his advice and kept sleeping. I felt somewhat like I had taken a sedative or something as my body was so heavy and my mind was so out of it. I think I fell back into deep sleep (I know I did because FitBit recorded the whole thing). When I woke at 9 from uneasy dreams, I knew I had to get up for the day. It was Monday and I had to try and figure out how to get myself back into the right headspace for work.

I came back home, unloaded more of my stuff from my trip and tried to get online to start working. It was tough. I was still tired and despite getting 8+ hours of sleep I still didn’t feel well rested or rejuvenated or ready for anything. I was also still heavy in thinking about residency and Jim and the past and the future. I found it tough to focus on the present moment and do what I should have been doing. I went through the motions on several regular work tasks anyhow and tried to catch up. I’m probably spending more time on each thing than I should be and then I feel like I’m not being productive enough and then I start to worry about that which then contributes to my not being able to focus. It feels like a vicious cycle.

All day I worked on familiar things just to try to do something and I avoided the thing my boss told me was a priority for the week – a new project for which I’m supposed to be doing the architecture for in AWS. Not only that, but my boss is on vacation this week and wants me to take point on meetings while he is gone. The last thing I want to do right now is facilitate meetings and talk AND try to know, somehow clairvoyantly, what is going on in the project after I’ve been out of it for 10 days. I think it’s an unrealistic expectation. Circle back to the AWS thing. Not only have I never been a system architect before, I have barely scratched the surface of understanding AWS, and how in the hell am I supposed to design AND build a system with my limited knowledge and skills. That’s just crazy talk. I mean, I think I could do it if I had enough time and resources to rely on, but looking at the timeline and other people involved, I just don’t.

On top of that, I’m flipping exhausted all the time. Hell, it’s only 10:31 AM and I feel like I could go back to bed and back to sleep right now. I’m so tired and I don’t know why. I look out my window at my back garden and it needs so much work and I want to flipping quit my job right now and just go pull weeds. But I can’t afford to do that. I think I need to have a conversation with my bosses about something, but I don’t know what. I’m feeling overwhelmed at work and it’s only been 1 day back on the job. I wonder if there is something wrong with me or if I should just kind of wait and see if I feel better in a few days. I certainly don’t want to prolong any feelings like this because I’ve been down that road before and that isn’t pretty either.

Then I think, well, I now have deadlines for school and want to get started on my studies for this semester and that all factors into the time balance and then my kids wake up at noon and want my attention and they want and need things and I feel bad putting them off. And the laundry needs done and school starts in a couple weeks and the days of summer are draining away and I don’t want to spend the time unwisely. I want to be outside and I want to hang out with my kids while I can and I want to spend time with Jim and with reading and writing. I don’t want to work anymore but I have to. I’ve got this amazing job, with some really great people, but now all of a sudden in the last month it feels too overwhelming. I can feel the balance is off, I just don’t know what to do about it.

I have a feeling August is going to be a very telling month. Something will give. Something has got to give. As for today, I guess I’ll just press on and see if I can make something out of it. Hope for the best I guess.

Giving it all I’ve got,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-07-21 MFA Day 7 and 8 – My Cup Runneth Over

Day 7 was yesterday and day 8 is today. That’s me, trying to catch up with myself and not feel too much like I am still stuck thinking about what happened the day before. I know they build a lot of flexibility into the schedule for folks to go off and think and write, because we are only technically required to attend 11 lectures, 3 special topic workshops, and 6 student centered workshops during our time here (plus a few other mandatory orientation sorts of things). But hey, here’s the deal – I’m paying a lot for this time, and sacrificing a lot too, so I really want to get my money’s worth. I also know that everything that I go to could be the inspiration for my next big idea.

I attended the 3 special topic workshops, 6 student centered workshops and 11 lectures plus.. 8 additional lectures, 4 faculty readings, 2 student readings, 1 alumni reading, a nature field-trip/workshop, and, by the way, countless meals in that stupid dining hall. Now, on the last day of activities, I am completely and utterly spent. I’ve been thinking about the difference between being full and being empty and I’d like to think of myself as a cup not half-full, but completely full and running over instead of a cup that is empty with nothing left to give, which is more how I feel. I want to write about the differences between thinking and feeling but I won’t. At least not right now.

The graduation ceremony for students who have completed the program last term starts in about a half an hour. I’m relieved that I don’t have to play any part in that except show up and sit somewhere and listen. Truthfully, I don’t have to show up at all, it’s not required, but I do find this part motivating. It reminds me what is in my future and gives me fuel to keep going. I like to have goals I guess and seeing this unfold before my eyes is a good way to solidify that in my mind – my thinking mind, which is over-full of thinking and thought at this point. A girl can hope there is room for just a little more.

My feelings about having to get ready now and go are not well represented in the previous sentiment. I can’t escape feeling empty and just having no desire to change (clothes), prepare mentally, and go spend another two hours with anyone. Most are quite great, don’t get me wrong, and I feel in the last 7 or 8 days I have gotten to know a few of them better and have even come to rely on them for safe harbor. I just want to go off alone somewhere and write. I really, really want to write. Well, probably sleep some and THEN write. I think being alone and getting some rest will help me regain the energy that has been zapped.

A few days ago I made a list of things I wanted to catch up to and write about at some point. Perhaps in the weeks to come I will be hitting a few of those topics. I hope when I get there, I can remember enough acute detail to recapture those thoughts and feelings. Though I know it will never be quite the same as it would have been, had I wrote about those events on that exact day. That’s the fluid nature of the energy in writing.

Today I have a new list of things:
– Alumni Readings
– Some plot resolution to conflicts developed in the first act that hasn’t been written yet
– More about Hashimoto and connections back home.
– What happens to a persons body and mind after having no sleep (twice in one week).
– A little piece that was inspired by one of my lectures about objects, and how that can aid in character development. (We had a similar lecture about setting or place which I would also like to explore).
– What I thought and felt about my poems being workshopped (that was today). How that was very different than last time and perhaps why.

I’m sure there is more. That’s it for now though as it is all I have time for.

Exhausted but Hopeful,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-07-19 MFA Day 4 and 5 – Blurred Lines

I only just now having a minute to reflect on day 4 and 5 because things have been extremely busy and time is flying by so quickly. I only know it’s IS day 4 and 5 I’m thinking about because I looked at the schedule and counted the days ), 1, 2, 3 and that is where I left off last. There has been a lot. The lines between one story and the next, one day and the next are starting to blur and now I’m running short on time for the past.

I always try to pick a title to my posts which best describes what I am talking about. Like RH, sometimes it starts there and wanders somewhere else and sometimes it stays right were it is. The title to this blog could have been any of the following:

– Bad Decisions
– The Nature Walk and Hashimoto
– On Empty Tanks
– Why I Write Poetry
– Defending My Boringness
– The Proposition
– The Second Proposition
– Being on the Cusp
– MFA Sometimes Stands for Mother Fucking Artists (or Assholes)
– Good Decisions
– On Being First (and Last)
– The Good and Bad About Being Invisible
– I Still Don’t Like Scotch

I should write a little blurb about each one, so that I can maybe remember what it was I was thinking about, capture the essence of it, so I can write more about it later. But sadly, as usual “Aint nobody got time for that”. (I’m really not trying to compare my list to a fire or having bronchitis here.. I’m really not).

How about this – I’ll write a little bit now about.. something, and then if I get any comments about one of the titles above, I will write about that? This is presuming someone reads this and feels inclined to comment. Hell, my 16 year old posted a similar thing to her, now six week old you-tube channel and had like a hundred comments. So I’m going with it.

Last night instead of eating dinner at the lodge, there was a quaint group of us that went for Mexican food because one of the gals had finished her both her graduation lecture and reading (her non-fiction story was pretty amazing). There were just four of us. I had one margarita (on special for 1.99), and two ala-cart items from the menu. It was very average, but I was in great company. I’m not sure if the trips to the bathroom this morning are from the food, or what I drank afterwords out on the back deck, which also wasn’t much – a glass or three of wine, but I’ve been back and forth to the bathroom a few times this morning with some unpleasantness. I’m hoping that all ends before mandatory workshop this morning.

Today I have a lunch meeting with my mentor. The title I left out above was “The Big Reveal”, so consider that an option too. We also have student readings and I’m feeling great about that because I did mine two days ago. Quite pleased with how it went actually.

I had a late night last night and didn’t really get any sleep. This is not an exaggeration, it’s my truth. My FitBit tells me I had 4 hours and 14 minutes and I feel like that’s a lie. It says I went to bed at 1:12 and woke up at 6:38. The 6:38 part is true but I saw the clock at 1:15, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3, 3:30, and 4 (approximations) – so I know I wasn’t sleeping. Between my stomach and the sleep deprivation, today is going to be rough. I’m not ready for it.

Ready or not, it’s happening,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-07-17 MFA Day 3 – Best Day Yet

Yesterday was the best day yet. It actually started the night before when I gave myself permission to have some wine, and some more wine, and eventually ended up on the back patio of the lodge with the other drinkers talking until the night grew thin and the bugs grew thick. I shouldn’t say “talking”, because as it is, I was mostly listening. I’m the quiet one people are always eyeing sideways curious about but don’t ask because someone else more boisterous is telling a story.

I love to hear the stories. All at once around midnight, the outside became too much and people made their exit (the small number of us who were left). I went to my room and decided not to think too much for my head already hurt from the wine and I knew trouble sleeping would be ahead of me if I didn’t take my Xanax. So I did. Then I slept that uneasy sleep you get from mixing meds and wine and when 5:30AM arrived and I awoke, I was glad for getting up.

That doesn’t sound like the start to a good day, but it really was. It meant I had enough time to do the things I wanted to do, plus I miraculously didn’t have a headache and that was a welcome change from the day before. I braved breakfast for the first time since I’ve been here and sat next to Margret and we caught up and it was good… enjoyable even.

That was followed by workshop, which of course was great, and a full day of lectures and readings. All of it was top-notch. I even had a decent time at lunch, sitting with the play writes and asking questions about things other than writing and their careers. I figured that as long as I keep asking questions, nobody would be asking me questions and then I wouldn’t have to answer. A good trick yes??

The afternoon was more of the same with events but as it happens, there were no evening events planned so the last lecture ending at about 4:30 or 5 meant that, aside from dinner, I had no-where else to be. That was my queto make my escape. It’s great here.. but overwhelming. And I have the luxury of living close enough that I can just go home (provided there is enough of a gap in time). So I did that.

And OMG the Universe was on a roll for my drive home. Every song was better than the last and so appropriate for the moment and building in intensity until there was a grand crescendo just as I pulled into my neighborhood. Was it just my emotions, or did it really happen like that. I want to rewind all the way back to the beginning and write down every song to create some sort of a playlist. Damn you know it’s good when you are driving on the highway by yourself both laughing and crying and singing out loud to no one. Yeah, it was like that.

When I arrived home, I had chores to do. Water the plants, gather some things I forgot, eat dinner, print my reading for today. And in the quiet solitude of my house, I was able to speed through these tasks with enough quickness that I had time at the end of it all to go visit Jim. Now theres the real crescendo. We had about an hour and a half together, which didn’t feel like quite enough, but I knew I couldn’t stay the night so I had to leave at about 9.

Returning to the Lodge, I really needed to get back into the right frame of mind. I had disconnected and needed to re-connect with my purpose here. I went over workshop materials for today, practiced my reading, decided NOT to seek out the late night drinking crowd, and of course wrote some more poetry. Feeling super satisfied with my day, I went to sleep. It truly was the best day yet.

Ready for the Repeat!
~Miss SugarCookie