2018-01-19 On Balancing Budgets and Traveling

Well.. I did it. I asked for more work. So now if I get too much, I only have myself to blame. I’d like to target 25 hours a week. I’ve seriously been number crunching daily and looking at all my bills and accounts. I’m spending less than I have for years and for the first time ever, I’m on a budget.

I actually opened a second account that I have a debit card for and that’s what I’m carrying instead of my credit card. My visa still has $$$ On it from Hawaii and Christmas and I’m now only using it for emergencies. My target is to have that paid off by April and then I’ll be in a better spot.

I’m not yet making enough to cover my monthly expenses, but IF I put in 25 hours a week, I should be able to do that. That, of course, does not include medicine for my travel itch.

That’s the one variable that’s tough to factor in. Vacations and road trips are an expense that typically is a larger bundle all at once. It’s plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, and more on food all in a short timeframe. I have not gone through the trouble of adding all that up and averaging it out over 12 months.

That would be a waste of time anyhow, as last year was so atypical. I travelled more than any other year of my life which included two “Dream” destinations.. Hawaii AND touring the Pacific North West. I won’t be doing that again, at least for a while.

Even with that being said, I’m already itching to plan something for this year. I just need to keep it small and do more road trips and visits to friends where it’s free for me to stay.

I’ve already told Princess KK I would come visit her this winter, but once I got my job I decided to try and wrap that into my first company trip. If they are going to pay for me to go to San Fran, San Diego is a short hop from there and a beautiful costal drive. I just hope they decide to do that sooner rather than later. I’d love to get the F out of the Midwest when the weather is still gross and not when things start to get better.

I’m also jones-ing for an Austin trip and currently holding my breath waiting to hear if the typical crew is all converging there at the end of March or not. Of course I’ve got Summer Residency in July, but I’m not exactly counting that in my list of travels.

For one, it’s Nebraska City and 40 minutes from my house. And secondly, the last one didn’t exactly feel like a vacation. It was lots of work and not a lot of play. The good news on that is the cost is added onto what I owe for tuition for the semester, so the expense is not draining my bank account.

In any case, I’m a planner and I always have the future in mind and I need that “something” to look forward to. I think that’s part of the reason I can’t help but evaluate every relationship early on and continuously question whether or not it has a viable future. That whole “Futuristic” thing is one of my top five “strengths” according to the Gallup Strengths-finder quiz. When I first got my results (in 2012 when I took the test), I wondered what the heck that meant and how it could possibly be a strength, but as time passes, I’m more and more aware that someone who is mindful of the future, typically has a pretty good definition of a path to get there. It goes hand in hand with one of my other top five strengths, “Strategic”.

Wow. Somehow I got from asking for more work to finances to traveling and now personality profiling. That’s quite a meandering. In truth, I could really go on and see where else that leads, but that’s not gonna pay my bills or for that next big trip I want to take. 😜 I should probably get to work.

One more digression sparked by observation before I call it quits… the Man in Black is wearing white today. How bizarre.

Happy FriYay!
~Miss SugarCookie

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2018-01-16 The Need for More

It’s cloudy an 0 degrees outside right now. Yet here I am at the gym again. It’s a random Tuesday morning in January and I’m trying to find motivation to do anything. I swear that medicine I took for my migraine two nights ago is still lingering in my system. I had a tough time getting out of bed today.

9+ hours of sleep though. I’ll take that fo sho.

It might be the cold, but the population at the gym is looking quite thin this morning. Si far no sign of the man in black. And I haven’t seen bird-girl since that one day last week. Maybe I was wrong about her and she was a one and done.

I, once again, don’t have a lot of work to do. In fact, I’ve got none. I had a meeting with the team lead late Friday and was so anxious to get to those assignments to get some hours in the books that it was all done by the time I went to bed that night. I only had enough for one hour yesterday. That’s got to change cuz I need to get paid!

I remember 6 years ago that same thing happened with the start of my last job. One month in and I was literally falling asleep at my desk. The person responsible for training me had given me a few random things here and there but had a tight rein on all the projects and really did not want to relinquish control. One day, after literally dozing off, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I probably should have talked to my boss first, but that’s not what I did. I walked around the offices and cubicles to the other side of the office where the CEOs office was and requested a quick chat.

I’d always had great working relationships with my executive management teams, and wanted that trend to continue. I told him I had a few small things but was hungry for more. I let him know that I wanted to be responsible for some project or implementation. Then I made a big leap and suggested I could take over Miami. Miami was a huge deal.

Apparently that made a huge impression. After that, the dynamic at work started to shift. I was given one third of that project to ‘own’, and as I knew the weight of each third (not equal), I selected the largest of the three.

Several months later, the senior person on the team moved to a different team and I stepped up. Another person, R, was hired to fill the gap and he was a fantastic addition to the team (“Hi”). We totally kicked ass on that project together and he’s without a doubt the best teammate I’ve ever had.

Anyway, That peoject turned out to be a ton of work over that next year and provided the perfect opportunity for me to show what I was capable of. I need that sort of thing now, but not sure what to ask for.

I’ve already hinted at being QA and help in testing. I’ve asked for more AWS permissions and suggested taking over the “operations” support tasks. This is something that is soon to be transitioned to the client and t I’m supposed to be 3rd tier support only. It’s a Work in progress so there’s nothing there yet to do.

I should be careful what I wish for. I do t want to get too much and then not have enough of a balance with everything else in my life, but at this point I can’t see that happening.

I guess while I wait for things to pick up some, I’ll just continue fine tuning my plan to take over the world. It’s too bad THAT gig won’t pay my bills… yet. 😉

Well, the man in black is here now and running on ‘his’ machine. Thinigs are right with the world again (except that it’s still only 1 degree out). Yikes!

Time to wrap up and get to work.

Gimmie MORE!

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-01-09 Closing the Book On Day 1

The first day of the rest of my life was a complete success. I only had enough work for a couple hours but that left more time for another Cloud Guru course and this time it was my first lab. So now, yours truly, has an account on AWS and can create users, groups, and assign policies with permissions. I’m on my way!!

I also wrote a new poem with a topic that I was inspired by the day before and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t suck. I tried to edit the poem I wrote the day before too but got stuck on some detail in the middle. Damnit all if MY brain always wants things to rhyme. It just sounds better, but I’ve been challenged to stray away from that for a while so I’m trying.

My “textbooks” have not arrived yet and I’m using that as an excuse to not start working on my critical essays. I did research Emily Dickinson though (as far as what was on the wiki anyway). I’m fascinated by her life and can now point to that and say “hey look, she did that and so just take off your judgie pants”.

I’m referring of course to her reclusive life style and the fact that she didn’t aspire to be a published writer (or did she? 🤔). I’ve got more research to do and lots of her poems to read and I think there will be some clues in there.

I successfully survived day 1 of the whole 30 without giving in to temptation. My kids’ reactions to my declaration about the next 30 days…

Z “God damnit”.

C /shrug

Both of these reactions made me smile. I don’t encourage swearing in my house, but recognize that sometimes it’s appropriate. In this case, it was completely appropriate. Z knows it means dinners will all be cooked by yours truly and that I’m not going to feed her need for fast food or junk.

I smiled at my sons reaction too. It means he’s smart enough to know, for him, it won’t mean sacrificing anything. He doesn’t have the same dietary desires as his sister and I’d go so far as to say he even likes my cooking.

Today is Day 2. It’s not lost on me that if I’m going to make this work, I’m going to have to find a good balance. Not just the food, but exercise, reading, writing, parenting, sleep, and Work too. I might have to give in a little in the exercise department.

I need to work more than 3 hours a day and I need to spend about 4 a day on school work. I used to work an 8 hour day so that should be cake, but I’m still adjusting. I have more work assignments today that came out of our team meeting last night (our weekly team meeting is 8PM on Mondays) so I’m looking forward to getting started on that.

Tonight my sister is having me over for dinner. She’s the one doing the Whole 30 with me.. and she’s a good cook so I’m looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to chatting and being able to talk about Simon. I’ve made light of the “end” of our relationship, but it’s not nothing. It’s something and I’ve got more to say about it.

Anyway.. Day 2 is well underway now and I’ve got to practice what i preach and cut this elliptical session short.

One day at a time,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-20 The Time Management Struggle…

… It’s real!

I had just over six hours of sleep and woke up feeling tired and not well rested. I’ve got swarms Of thoughts across lots of topics and things have just changed so fast I’ve had very little time to adjust.

The new gig is top priority (or should be) and despite feeling like I’ve spent an incredible amount of time trying to decipher what I’m reading and hearing, I’ve only logged a handful of hours. Did I mention I have a lot to learn? Probably.

Not to be dismissed is the transition from not working to working again. It took me a good month plus to get used to being off work back in the summer and now I feel as though I’m being expected to just jump right back in with no time to adjust. It’s a sruggle.

As excited as I am about the whole thing, the time management aspect of this is, at the present moment, challenging. I’m very used to having an entire day to exercise, write, run errands, and so forth, so fitting in time to work which requires significant brain power and focus is not easy. And it’s only day 3. Ha!

Also not to be forgotten is the fact the Christmas is this week. I never expected that I would start working before the first of the year, let alone have deadlines at the same time that I’m trying to get cards out the door AND prep for a family gathering at my house on the 24th.

For crying out loud, I haven’t even gone shopping yet. /gulp 😳

Plus.. I’m now one short week away from heading off to my MFA residency which will require me to shift gears completely. How much effort will it be to disengage my left brain and let the right brain take over?

The good news is that everyone is completely aware I’m going to be going off the grid for 10 days. I’m very much looking forward to that dedicated time, howiever it brings with it the start of a whole other weekly time commitment. That’s two big changes and commitments in a short time and I’m just hoping I can manage it all and not end up back where I was this time last year (coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs 🤪).

No matter what happens, time marches on and I trust things will all just work out. What’s the alternative? There isn’t one.

One thing at a time,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-19 It’s Go Time

When I arrived home from the gym yesterday I had my first assignment from my new boss sitting in my in-box. By my first real meeting at 3pm,I was deep into trying to understand that and the other documentation I was into. By the end of my second meeting at 5:30pm, I had my second assignment with a competing deadline as the first. By the end of my third meeting at 10pm (yes 10pm), I had a great handle on the second assignment and a firm grasp on the realization that I just got dropped into a situation where people have been working for months toward a 12/22 deadline. Yowza.

Everyone on the team was extremely pleased about my arrival. They made what could have been a stressful, nerve wracking situation really pretty great. It helps I’ve worked with two other members of the team before. One as a co-worker for five years and the other was a customer of mine.

At the end of the day I felt satisfied with my first official day and despite feeling out of my element on some of the more technical items I was digging into. It’s very clear to me now that I’m going to learn a shit-ton at this job. That’s such a huge bonus. And i got the verbal “ok” to spend time on an intro course on AWS which they will pay for. Double bonus plan!!

When I woke up today my head was spinning with thoughts about my current assignments. I’m super excited about digging in. I previously stated I was going to have my eyes and ears open and absorb and learn as much as I can and keep my big mouth shut. Yeah.. ok.

Day 1 and I was already making suggestions for changes. Doh! I don’t want to overstep my bounds, but they hired me for a reason and it’s really clear what gap I’m going to fill… look for a whole dedicated blog post about this coming to a WordPress reader near you soon!

The difference between starting this job versus my last one is that back then I was coming in as a subject matter expert and this time around I’m coming into something almost completely new. This is why I need to keep my mouth shut and not make assumptions and just soak it all in. We’ll see how well I do at that.

Ok.. time to start day 2.

Let’s Roll!

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-18 On Routine and Some Things that Never Change

I’m now pretty set in my morning routine. I’m a serious creature of habit. One of the things I’ve gotten really used to at this point is going to the gym right after dropping the kids off at school. I was previously not looking forward to starting a new job and having to give that up. And now.. I don’t have to! Huzzah!!

The team I joined operates on west coast time. So it’s quite likely that at 8AM when I’m at the gym most of those folks are still in dreamland or just waking up. By the time I’m home and ready to roll, they are just getting online too.

The other side of that, of course, is potential commitments on the flip side.

For example, I’m already on a weekly project call every Monday at 8PM. Yowza!

I’ve actually got three meetings today and am feeling a bit nervous about everything. My brain knows it’s just because it’s all new and unfamiliar, but logic and reason are sometimes no match for feelings. It comes from a place deep inside that is irrational and can’t be explained.

It’s the same thing every time I’m doing something new with People I don’t really know. That mild social anxiety is just a part of who I am. I had it yesterday with the Hogwarts show and I’ll have it when I show up for my MFA residency on the 28th. It’s unavoidable.

The good news is that I’ve learned to conceal my feelings and most people probably don’t even realize that there’s this tight ball of turmoil in my gut. The other good news is that most of the time , once I’m finally in the moment, the feeling fades away. Most of the time.. not always.

I’m hoping that’s the case today. My first meeting is not until 3pm so I’ll just have to endure until then. For now, I’m just going to try and enjoy my QT at the gym and be grateful that that’s one thing that doesn’t have to change.

Ready or Not,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-17 Stellar Sunday Stats

I can hardly believe that two weeks have gone by again already. The closer we get to the end of the year, the faster time flies.

This is the second to last status update for the year and I’m quite pleased that I’m holding steady on most things.

Sleep..

I’m still getting just shy of 7 hours per night. The goal is 7.5 and I think I will be able to get there real soon now.

Exercise..

19.4K steps on average the last 7 days. I did 6 Jazzercise classes this week and am zeroing in on my yearly goal there. If I hit 175 classes, I get a free t-shirt. All that sweat and all I get is a t-shirt. 😜

In truth, I hit 175 quite a ways back but I go to more than one location and their systems are not linked, so that 175 is at one location only.

Work.. I’m employed (woo-hoo) but not actually working or making money yet.

Relationship Status.. Becoming less complicated all the time. I’ll likely be single again soon. (Was I Ever not single?)

Healthy Eating…

I did better on this in the past week and only caved once for one of my favorite meals (you guess what that was). I’m very much gearing up to start the whole 30 in January. After I get home and am settled from my school retreat, probably January 8 since that’s a Monday.

In fact, as I often do, I’m already looking to the future and setting new goals on all fronts. I’m going to ride the rest of this year out without modifications but because I was so successful this year I want to keep that momentum and push forward.

All will be revealed in two weeks!

Happy Sunday,

~Miss SugarCookie