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


2018-06-03 A Sunday with Significance

But first.. weekly stats! The top areas of focus this week were sleep and work so I’ll start there.

Sleep.. 7 hours and 12 mites average sleep per night. Score! That’s 12 minutes above goal and I only missed hitting that two of 7 nights. Next stop – 7 and a half. It’s all about baby steps though, and not being too unrealistic. This week I’ll be with My sweetheart and that means I’m liable to get less sleep. I should set an overall long term goal to be to average out to 7 hours a night. My Fitbit supports calculating averages for a week, month, three months, and for the year. Interesting that I’m already really close to the 7 hour mark for this year (6 hours and 57 minutes) so maybe I should shoot for 7.5 instead. 🤔

Work.. The last two weeks have been great. This past week I clocked my new minimum of 30 hours. It’s my new minimum because now I have to foot the bill for the kids’ health insurance which got dropped when my ex quit his job in April. It’s an extra 600 bucks a month. Gross! Interesting side note, he’s just this week quit yet another job. Supposedly he has another lined up AND is saying he’s putting the kids on the new company plan. I’ll believe it when I see it cuz i just can’t trust anything really unless there’s proof. I. Short.. I’ve got to maintain at least 30 hours to stay qualified for my company plan. And those extra hours will not yield a higher paycheck because the cost of the insurance will be more than the extra I’m making. 🙄

Now for the best of the rest..

Exercise. Average 11k steps and zero Jazzercise classes. That’s right, a big fat goose egg for the exercise classes. I also happened to do my monthly pulse check on finances yesterday and those classes cost me 60 bucks a month. As a consequence, and figuring the low class participation is a trend that’s going to continue all summer, I went ahead and cancelled my membership. WHAT??! 😮 Words I never dreamed I would write, but I’m realistic and if I’m not getting out of it what I put in 💲💲💲, it’s not worth it. The dollar rules a lot of life decisions, this is no exception. 🤑

I’m going to take a break for at least as long as I need to in order to take advantage of the bonus plan. Which are deals they offer former customers to return like 1 whole year for 399. That would basically cut my cost in half. That’s a sweet deal. In the mean time, I’ll be doing more outside and can pick up some classes at the gym to compensate, when I have time.

In other news, my diet/eating still needs to be reined in. I weigh more now than I have for like 10 years. I know exercise is not my problem… I know it’s food and potentials changes in my metabolism. Getting old sucks. The most ducked up part of all of it is this trend started when I did that insane Whole 30 diet with my sister in January. I didn’t loose any weight those 30 days and have been steady climbing ever since. I’ve gained about 10 lbs, which doesn’t sound like a lot but for me it is.

It’s bothered me so much I’ve considered going back on the Whole Foods diet just to see if it has any affect doing a second round. I’ve also considered going gluten free again. If I do either of these two things, it will be a good test of how JS handles me having food restrictions. Matt never took that well and was not supportive. It always bugged me the way he would roll his eyes about that stuff. Whatever.

Actually part of my weight gain could be a result of being in a new relationship and happy and just enjoying indulging in all the wonderful things in life together. Yeah, we work out together but we also eat together and having someone else cooking and serving me means I haven’t been choosing my own portion size. That’s gonna change this week.

Which brings me to why today is significant. Today is our 3 month Anniversary AND later today we are having a Meetup at his house where our kids will meet for the first time. Yowza! I’m trying not to think about it too much. I mean, they are all teenagers and I’m sure it will be fine. But I can’t help but have some anxiety thinking about it.

It’s going to be a fantastic Sunday! It’s beautiful out, the birds are singing, and everything is going my way. I’m so fortunate and I know it. This June is going to be busy and just balls-out amazing with the trips planned. Cheers to a great start to it all.

Rolling Into Sunday Sumner Fun,

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. If you tuned in to see how last nights cliffhanger turned out, all I have to say about it is that Sleep took over and after I posted I never even got back out of bed. (So lame! 😜)

2018-06-01 June Flipping First

Holy Rollovers Batman.. it’s June First!! April showers bring May flowers and May was so Hot, let’s hope June is so Not!!

One of my unwritten goals this week was to get 7+ hours of sleep a night. I had no excuses for not hitting that target. Kids are home, I can get to bed by 10, it’s summer now so I can sleep past 7, should have been cake. I was stars across the board right up until yesterday.

Two nights ago I was up late communicating with my Work peeps and then up at 6 to watch first shift for a go-live. All that = 6 hours or less. Funny though when I checked my Fitbit it still had a star and said I slept over 8 hours. 🤨

Looking closer, it thought I was sleeping yesterday when I took the kids to see “Solo”. Uhh really?! I wonder how it determines someone is asleep. I must have been really still during the show. I know it looks at heart rate too and I wonder if it thought I was in REM sleep or something. If I thought about that for a second when I saw it I would have looked at the analysis page that shows a breakdown of types of sleep… awake, REM, Light, and Deep. And I know it uses heart rate because some nights it says it can’t calculate the complex because of a lack of HR input data.

I acted too fast though and deleted the erroneous row from the dataset to get a true picture of my night/day’s sleep. As I suspected 5 hours and 51 minutes. So I lost my star rating for yesterday. Today I’m back up to 8 hours so I may still hit my goal for the week (in average sleep per night). Right now I’m at 7 hours and 21 minutes average, so I should only need to get 7 to stay on target.

So this week the focus is work and sleep. I’ve come to the conclusion that I always try to do too much. Too many goals and targets and expectations. I have to pick and choose just a couple areas of focus, well and not let the other long term goals suffer so much.

So no reading or poetry this week. No worrying about food or steps. Minimal social meet ups (besides the Solo event yesterday). And Solo wasn’t a social Meetup, it was classified as a basic need, like food or sleep. 😜 I was able to take the kids, which is why I’ve held out so long. I needed to know if their dad was going to take them last weekend. Since that didn’t happen I got the honor.

If I was into critiquing movies instead of cheeseburgers, I would have given it 7 out of 10. But since that’s not my jam, I’ll just say it was above average with decent acting and an ok story. Definitely not as good as Rogue One. Definitely better than episode 1 and 2 (but that’s not saying much). The action sequences didn’t really get my heart pumping much.. after all, my Fitbit thought I was sleeping. Ha!!

Today it’s going to be another hot one. I’m gonna Work some and then hit the pool with the kids. I may be focusing on sleep, but I’m still all about that balance.

Sing It!

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-05-20 Long Lost Sunday Status Update

Let’s see.. its been a few weeks since I did a proper Sunday Status. It’s kind of a broken record thing anyway but here goes…

Exercise: Average 17k steps for the week. I’m hovering right around 14.5 k for the past month and 15k for the past 3 months and 16k so far this year. The count of Jazzercise classes continues to be low.. Only 2 this past week.

Food: Nothing ever changes. I’m still unhappy with things right now but apparently not unhappy enough to stick to any mods in the diet. The story is always the same. Ugh. I’m super pumped every day to make great choices and by the end of the day I’m on a slippery slide down a slope crashing into a pile of junk food at the bottom. My weight has also been a stupid number messing with my head even though my weight is fine, but the truer measure is how I feel when I look in the mirror. Right now I’m an unhappy camper. Clothes that don’t fit the same as they did last year and there’s me asking myself “does my butt look big”. It’s a trick question with no good answer. Damn. It’s time for setting concrete goals until I’m satisfied. As of today I’m about 7 lbs over my target 🎯 and so I’d like to loose 1 pound a week to get to that goal by July. Maybe I’ll try that Keto thing for a week and see how that goes. I dunno.

Sleep: Average of 7 hours and 5 minutes a night in the last week. Better than the previous weeks but I’d really like to hit 7.5 hours. See.. broken record.

Work: Still employed and trying to get those hours in so I can pay for that castle I live in and all my shiny red cars and trips to tropical destinations. 😜

School: Taking a break yo! No more to do until July.

And last but never least.. Relationship Status: Dating and happy and hopeful for the future. This week we both met each other’s kids and all that went perfectly. It’s a wonderful feeling being so doted over and treated like the most important thing in someone’s like. He’s so thoughtful and caring and everything a girl could ask for. At this point we are making plans for the Summer and going on our first vacation together. He wants to travel just as much as I do so that’s the bomb. I could go on and on, but I gotta cut and run.

Today I’m trying to get a good workout in because it’s “release” weekend at work so I’m on the hook for testing and documentation for that. Like I said.. gotta get those hours in when I can to pay for my life of luxury!

Happy Sushi Sunday,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-04-12 Being Human

It doesn’t matter who you are or how healthy you are… everyone gets sick. I don’t know where I might have picked up a cold (especially this time of year), but did and yesterday I was down for a count.

I determined pretty quickly that my body needed to rest and recover and I was so tired. I alternated sleeping and working all morning and most of the afternoon. My Fitbit doesn’t seem to record naps that are less than 30 minutes but I’m pretty sure I had over 2 hours of naps between 9am and 4:30.

If I was at a regular job I probably would have had to take the whole day off. But in my current job, I was still able to log about 4 hours. That’s pretty great. And I’m grateful.

When I woke up at 4:30, still feeling like total dog doodoo, I decided what I was doing wasn’t making me feel better. In fact, I felt like the sleep was keeping me in a fog and making me feel worse. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my life is if something isn’t working, change it.

It was 70+ degrees and I decided activity and fresh air might do the trick. I also decided some boost of vitamin C wouldn’t hurt either so I got dressed and jumped in the car to head to the grocery.

Sunglasses on, windows down, I rolled to the store and picked up some green juice heavy with iron and vitamin c. While there I texted with my sis, who I had dinner plans with. She picked Panera and I suggested the one close to my house, which is within walking distance. On my way home from the store I decided to walk.

As time ticked by (with my randomly doing this and that) my window for walking began to close. Of course, not wanting to give up on the idea, my thoughts turned from walking to jogging. Yeah, that.

With less than 15 minutes to be on time I stepped out of my front door, phone in the back pocket and earbuds in hand. Yeah, that was me jogging in jeans on the trail that runs along the major street eastbound toward the shopping plaza. I had one hand holding the sweatshirt tied around my waist, the other hand swinging with the rhythm of my pace.

It reminded me of “bird-girl”, who I haven’t seen at the gym for weeks, running on the treadmill in her jeans, spaghetti strap tank, and bling. I imagine people staring at me wondering why I would choose to jog in that outfit. I channeled the spirit of bird-girl and said “Fuck it, I don’t give a shit”. It felt great.

I’m not a runner or a jogger. I typically hate it, but this felt different. I had a destination, goal, and there was a clear end in sight. Also, it was only 15 minutes so that’s not a huge commitment. I arrived sweaty and out of breath right at 6:pm and even beat her there. I washed up in the bathroom and was fresh and ready when she arrived.

I was actually feeling much better. The congestion persisted and my throat was still scratchy, but as a whole, I felt better.

Her and I ate and talked for a couple of hours. It was nice to catch up, one on one. I can relate to everything she is going through and very much enjoyed telling all the details of my new relationship. It was awesome. When we were done, she drove me home.

I don’t feel like I quite had the do-over I was hoping for yesterday morning, but I certainly made the most of my evening. I even had some extra energy and motivation at the end of the day, when I would normally be choosing to go to bed, and dove into my MFA packet feedback.

I worked my way through almost every comment and revised ten poems. There are a few I need to think on and revisit again, but it’s certainly a first step into getting my thoughts together on both the upcoming assignment and what I might submit to the school spring “contest”. More on that to come.

It’s already Thursday and feels like a Tuesday. Losing a half a day sucks, but it’s part of being human. I woke up early today despite going to sleep close to midnight. I woke refreshed and ready to jump into this day. I hit the gym early and might even jump back into school Work before starting Work Work when I get home. Wonder of wonders.

Like the weather here.. wait a day and things will change. Sometimes, change comes from within. Unlike the weather it’s a choice. I choose to make the most of my Thursday!

Doing ALL the stuff,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-20 The Sleep Equation

My mind is swarming with thoughts I want to explore further. My to-do list is busting at the seems. I’m trying to get back to a balance with my elements of harmony but I’m struggling because my internal instincts seem to be overriding the choices I should be making. Last night I met with success on several fronts and so before trying to tackle that to-do list, I want to acknowledge that success… .

I went to sleep at 10:30 and slept all through the night to 6:30 when my alarm started singing “Say” in my ear. I used to think that sleep was the first step in getting back a healthy life. It is, but it is just part of the bigger equation.

I know for certain poor sleep night after night has contributed greatly to my health issues in the past. I’m fairly certain I’ve written at length about trending short nights and the correlation with my inability in the waking hours to finding success in all other things. A few three and four hour nights is something a person can bounce back from relatively easily, but string those out for weeks or months and everything starts to crumble. Again, I used to think if I was able to course correct that, everything else would start to fall back into place. I have found, however, that it’s not that simple.

The underlying reason is that a good night sleep is itself a moderately complex equation. There are several variables in play ranging from straightforward to seemingly elusive. On one end of the spectrum is routine and choice. That’s very direct and mostly subject to other factors that are controllable. I know if I want to get 8 hours of sleep, and I have to wake up at 6:30 to get the kids up and moving, I have to plan to go to sleep at 10:30.

I know that if I elect to read or write later than that, I’m sacrificing sleep. I also know that another factor is a person’s ability to fall asleep, so if I choose to be on my laptop or whatever, right before bed, I may lay awake with my “thinking” brain not able to be lulled into the state required for sleep. Some buffer time to “wind down” is ideal.

I’m pretty fortunate because I’ve not really had issues falling asleep. It seems as though no matter what I’m doing, and despite my mind potentially spinning on something, I’m tired enough I can fall asleep fairly quick. It’s always been this way and I’ve never really struggled with it. I think just being so active during the day, physically and mentally, helps.

My issues in the past centered more on waking up at 2 or 3 or 4am  and not being able to go back to sleep. This is where things get more complicated. Try as I might to fall back asleep, often I was just unable. And lying awake thinking about another short night and how tired I was going to be the next day only made things worse. It becomes a thing out of direct control.

It’s because of this that I no longer think that the first step back to a happy, healthy life is to restore sleep. And believe me, I’m wanted it to be that easy. I turned to OTC and prescribed meds to get that good night sleep, but being a person who is averse to that as “fix”, I wasn’t willing to stick to any sort of regimen for long.

I tried melatonin, Benadryl, doxylamine, and Xanax and different combinations of these at time. I experimented a lot late in 2016 and early 2017, trying to find what would work. Some things might work a few times, and then they wouldn’t. Xanax works reliably, but again, I don’t want to take it every night. Ideally it would be reserved for some one-off night when I just could not go back to sleep.

The key for me is being able to quiet my mind. I’ve tried meditation, and that’s worth delving into more I think, but I just could not seem to get over the hurdle of the mid-night insomnia regardless of what I tried. The answer, for me, lies in the waking hours and other factors, like eating habits, exercise, and satisfaction.

Again, diet and activity is largely within my control. I can limit caffeine or alcohol and get a fair account of exercise each day. These are choices, but satisfaction is somewhat intangible. You can’t just choose it. It’s a bar you have to raise, and that might be a very slow process.

In fact, if you think of a beam or board with holes in the ends that are “threaded” into two poles, one being sleep and one being how you feel in general, you can’t raise that beam without pushing up on both ends. In essence, no matter how hard you push up on the sleep side, it won’t go very far. You have to inch your way up on both.

It is because of this that I no longer think sleep as the first step. It’s still part of the first step but it has to be multiple changes over time that lead to success. It’s not a quick fix; it takes time and it can be slow and frustrating. It took me a year and lots of tough life changes but little by little, I have elevated both sides of my existence and my insomnia is now under control.

Now, I’m sleeping through the night almost every night and if I have an issue, I can use some med if need be. I’m tracking my sleep, so I can see the progress which is also helpful. I know that if I had a week where my average sleep dips too low, I need to make some adjustment and put a priority on making better choices.

Last night I got just over 8 hours according to my Fitbit. It’s great. Even more telling is that even though I have a lot going on my brain doesn’t immediately kick into analysts mode until after I’ve been awake for a bit. That’s the real magic!

I’m totally deep in the thinking weeds now though, and have to go work on pushing up on the other side of that equation.

Happy Tuesday Math Brain,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-01-28 Sunday Status Update – Totally Phoning This One In

Happy Sunday People! Let’s make this quick so we can get back to the good life…

Sleep.. Average 7 hours 36 minutes a night.

Exercise.. Average 22,372 per day.

Healthy eating.. Day 21 of 30 of the Whole 30. See yesterday’s post for the details.

Employment status.. Full time gig, working part time hours.

Student status.. Full time and starting to panic!

Relationship status.. Actively looking despite my current student status. 😜

That’s it.. I’m Out.
~Miss SugarCookie