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

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2018-04-04 I Got Your Back

It’s taken a couple months but I feel like I have more than a foot in the door of my team. Of course my agenda has three primary goals..

#1 To have enough work to make a living. ✅

#2 To be productive and impress those I’m working with. (Half ✅ cuz this one is still a work i progress and kind of subjective).

#3 To Learn new stuff. ✅ Hopefully this will continue. It’s one of the things that will help keep me from being bored.

Yesterday I was looking forward to working on AWS Cloudwatch and dashboards and metrics. It’s super cool. I also had a meeting with my teammate responsible for building the AWS infrastructure and his goal (or so he’s been told) is to teach me enough to be his backup. To that I say.. “bring it!”.

He actually told me he thought I was full time and that my only role in the team was the AWS stuff. In my head I was like “uhhhh, that is not what they told me. And I was there when my contract was negotiated.” Still, job security.

Job security is the bomb. So I’ll have his back and that’s me stepping further into that space. At the same time I, apparently, have other people’s backs too. I’m sort of the tertiary backup as a planner/communicator (PM). I’ll also be responsible for assisting in testing and QA now too. This is all in addition to my original title of “Technical Writer”.

As I get into a good groove staying on top of all of that.. weekly status, release notes, production metrics, spec and run book updates.. I’ll be positioned perfectly to support operations in a technical capacity. At that point, I’ll be so deep in that I’ll have everyone’s back. Well.. everyone but the developers because that’s one job I’m not qualified to do. Not without some training anyway.

The only fine line I have to walk is balancing work and school and parenting (and my heath and other relationships). Talking with a friend yesterday, RH, who also happens to be a former co-worker from my last job I was kind of reminded how crazy it can be when you are so deep in it and responsible for multiple jobs and initiatives.

I’m the only one who is going to be able to balance things out; to push back when things become too much or unreasonable. Kinda like when I was asked what my availability for testing was over Easter weekend. Um.. no.

After the minimal work hours I put in last week, I definitely need to kick it up a notch today. And, thankfully I have a full set list to pull from.

Sadly, I am going to have to miss several really cool events going on this month (April is National Poetry Month). Today there is a reading at a university near by with 14 local poets and I’m not going to be able to go. It’s in the middle of the day and it just won’t be possible with Work. Who schedules that stuff in the middle of a Wednesday??!

Anyway, White Stripes probably said it best in their song ‘Little Cream Soda’, “Oh well, oh well, oh well, oh well”.

So Profound. 😉

Back to Work,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-22 Easier Said Than Done

I’m completely stuck and and have to start here. It’s 2 in the afternoon and I’m so frazzled and unfocussed I can’t tell you which way is north. Of course I know north is at the back of my house, but I’m talking about “true north”. Yesterday, all my good intentions starting schoolwork were derailed by being online for one work thing and then having one thing leading directly to another until before I knew it, the kids were arriving home and demanding my attention.

One of the benefits of working from home, is being here when they get here and I can thoughtfully remember, by now, that as soon as that happens, my attention will be pulled away from whatever it is I am doing. This is why I am looking at the clock on the laptop in front of me and literally freaking out that I’ve accomplished nothing today.

Yesterday I was still of the mindset that I could balance all things and it will all work out. “Shift things a little to the left, and ‘Waa-laa’, everything gets done”. I was going to block out some hours in the mornings to work on school and then back off of work a bit to ease my burden. But I guess that’s not what real life had in mind for me. No.

So yesterday ended being a fail for my new “approach” and the reality of my new job is that when something needs doing, it’s generally “right now”. That’s kinda like my old job. It would be a fly-by and all of a sudden the priorities have shifted and the new shiny thing would be #1. It’s slightly different now, in that I don’t have a dozen other priorities, but what I do have that I did not before is the obligation of school.

I’ve committed myself to that. The semester is half over, and I’m not about to sacrifice my standards for my writing, critical essays, or anything I might need to produce to feel like I’m successfully well above par on all of it. I’m committed, but pretty soon I’m going to need to be committed if I keep procrastinating to the last minute and then have to scramble to get it all done. I’m literally driving myself mad with this. It’s partially because I know better and I should have learned my lesson by now that “slow and steady wins the race”.

I’m sure pulling off some successful assignments in the past with minutes to spare has not helped. I’ve tricked my brain into thinking its not a big deal. Like childbirth, you know it hurts like hell, but you don’t really remember until the labor pains start and you go “oh shit, now what have I done”. For real.

Anyway, the thing that is different today is that I happened to look at the student schedule for assignments due. For the love of all the gluten-free crackers in the universe, it’s March 28. That’s six fucking days away. So instead of being “easy breezy beautiful cover girl” today, I’m being a lunatic running around, stress eating, and freaking out about not being able to focus on anything.

Even before I looked at the schedule, I decided that since my plan for yesterday didn’t work at all, I was going to completely change things up today. I skipped the gym and instead hit the dunkin donuts for a macchiato. After that, I came home and finished taping off my dining room to paint (as if THAT is a priority). Then I wanted to get through an hour of training videos before we had our morning call. That’s about the time I looked at the semester schedule. Then I had my “oh shit” moment.

I immediately tried to organize the dates and what I need to get done each day between now and the 28th to hit that deadline. I did that last time, but I’m not sure I ever stuck to it, but it helped write it all down to release it from my brain anyway. I then tried to focus on the training videos, but only got about half way through the first one before it was time for the morning meeting. After that, no surprise I had actual work that needed to get done today so I worked for an hour.

The next thing after that was a trip to the bookstore. I needed to find a few new things to add to my list and hopefully something that I will 1) Be able to read through in the next week and 2) That will inspire me to write something new, which I have done very little of this month. I acquired four new (old) books and returned home for lunch.

Hey did I mention the stress eating. Since I started my little freak out, I have pretty much been eating non-stop. Every time I sit down to try and focus on something, I think I have to have a snack with me…. Aaaannnnd, most of them are not super healthy.

Just a little bit ago I tried to sit down and read from one of my assigned texts, but felt very sleepy. That’s when I looked at the clock and realized there was just a short time before the kids come home and then all bets are off and I have to go MOM for a while.

I don’t really have a conclusion, you know, this one is completely unfiltered SugarCookie not knowing what to do next. I feel slightly better having ranted a little bit and now if I accomplish NOTHING else today, at least I will have blogged. Two-birds-one-stone stuff. Don’t even get me started on my step count for the day. All that is totally going on the back-burner while I figure out this situation.

It’s now like half an hour before the kids get home and I’m going to see if I can shut down and re-boot my brain. I gotta get in gear. I’ve got to figure out how to get everything done. I’ve got to find my “true north” and let that be the way. There is no other way.

The Only Direction is Forward,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-21 Time to Shift the Balance

I’m quite sick of overcast days, waking up to freezing temps and snow/sleet. My spring bulbs are coming up and probably happy to have that moisture, but pretty soon they are going to want to see the sun too. I good balance of both rain and sun would be perfect. The same goes for school and work.

It’s the middle of the week now and I’m faced with things I’ve been procrastinating again and really have to get myself in the right frame of mind to kick ass and get shit done. I’m good with work, and quite happy that I have enough to fill my week now because that eases my financial concerns quite a bit. I have to be careful though because it will be too easy for me to slip back into familiar patterns of taking on too much. The consequence of that would be not spending enough time on school. I’m behind this month and haven’t looked at the schedule lately, but feeling like I’ve done less reading and writing than both prior months thus far. Not good.

I think tonight I may take the kids downtown to the bookstore so I can pick up a few things and they can look for some new/old stuff too. I have several new authors to check out and I’ve been inspired by those I’ve read already and perhaps doing this will help jump start me this month too.

I’m also toiling over some of my revisions and it’s more challenging than I anticipated. I don’t have any issues with cutting/changing things, but I’ve solicited feedback from several sources and there are conflicting opinions and I’m not sure what to do with that.

Poetry is, after all, subject very much to the individual perspective. It may seem obvious that I fall in the side of my mentor who has made it his life’s work to study, write, teach, and mentor. However, if I’m appealing to a larger audience, I have to thoughtfully consider the other readers and their ideas.

Some of those people are a part of a group I was introduced to locally by a fellow student. They are all, in their own ways, deep in the poety circle and each has projects and ideas they are working on and it’s inspiring just being around them.

I may have aspirations for being published and they have all been traveling that road already and there is much I can learn. At this point I’m just sort of sitting quiet (or trying to) and soaking all of this in.

I hosted a workshop at my house last weekend and just listening to people discuss what they have going on is eye opening. It’s just as valuable as the feedback on my poems. It’s also really great to meet new people. They have welcomed me to the group with open arms and that’s a pretty strong measure of their characters.

Wow.. it’s quite amazing how just writing and thinking about this has shifted my focus and now I want to go work on school stuff instead of work. That’s pretty powerful. As soon as I’m down in it I’m sure I will have the same problem pulling myself out the same way I do with work. These are truly great problems to have.

Life is really amazing right now. If my biggest concern is loving everything so much, I don’t have enough time and picking what I want to spend it in is a challenge, then we’ll, that’s pretty fantastic!! 😃

Since I’m a creature of habit who likes routine, I feel like I would be best served by putting some more structure around my day and instead leaving school to the end of the day when the kids are home and I’m potentially tired and winding down (like last night), I take one or two days a week and block out a longer time earlier in the day. Perhaps I should start today by making today a “school” day and put work on the back burner for a day.

We’ll see once I’m back home and in front of my computer. It all starts with those first choices. Aaaaannnd…. now I’ve hit my morning step goal and the Man in Black has arrived at the gym so it’s time to go put those choices to the test.

Happy Hump Day!

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-02-13 Tuesday’s are Pretty Bomb Too

Yesterday I bounced back from the low step counts from last week but still haven’t balanced things out with the coursework. I’ve gotta find the Mojo today to do some reading.

I’m meeting Simon for coffee at 2 to “catch up” and return the things he left at my house we used to patch the hole in my wall. I’m really not looking forward to it. Mostly because it’s gonna cut 2 valuable hours out of my afternoon but also because I’ve got nothing to say. 🤷‍♀️ Somebody’s mom somewhere sometime said “if you don’t have anything nice to day, keep yo damn mouth shut”. That’s pretty much me with all that right now.

It’s probably ok anyhow cuz he’s just going to want to talk about himself the whole time anyway.

I should ask the barista if they have a bottle of Baily’s behind the counter I could borrow. 😜 But I’m looking on the bright side.. my reward for being such a sport will be the second date I’m going on later tonight. Yeah that!!

I told this guy on Saturday you don’t start seeing someone right before Valentine’s Day. That’s against the rules in the handbook. It’s actually in BOLD print. It looks like I’ve got a rule breaker on my hands. I dig it!

In between these polar opposite meet ups I’ve got work which I’m feeling even better about after last week than I have previously. People are recognizing my value and I even got the nod yesterday to update the dashboard stats in prod. In a matter of like four weeks they’ve gone from being paranoid to provide me a user log on to allowing me to fiddle with stuff. It’s pretty inconsequential stuff and I can’t really screw anything up but the simple fact that they are starting to trust me is great!

I’m actually really looking forward to working more on these stats and the dashboard today. I’ll probably also try to squeeze an hour of AWS learning before I really dive back in. But first .. I gotta get my steps in. It’s 9am and the gym is pretty dead. Have I mentioned I really dig working on West Coast time? It’s pretty much the Bomb.

Time to give Fall Out Boy my full attention.

Until Tomorrow,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-02-07 Mid Week Musings

When there’s so much.. where does one start?

How about with the fact that my car was inches away from being the 3rd vehicle in a parking lot collision at the HS this morning. It was Kia vs. some boat of a chevey. That boat came busting across the end of an isle like her ass was on fire and getting into a parking spot was the only way to put it out.

When I saw her coming, I started to brake, but I knew I was going to hit her because my tires are shit and the parking lot is two or three inches of packed snow. That Kia saved me from a LOT of grief by hitting her first. My front bumper was ‘that’ close! Stupid teenagers.

Z was still in the car and I said “learn from other mistakes. Both mine and hers”. I think she gets it. This month is drivers ed and we are exactly 1 month away from her getting her license. I’m not ready for that.

(My lesson is to not go through that back parking lot anymore – stupid.)

The last few days of work have been busy but good. Im trying to add as much value as I can. I’m learning lots too. My team is superb and they don’t really need me but this is an opportunity to prove I’m capable and dependable.

I’m pulling data and counts from AWS logs and managing the issues spreadsheet and answering anything directed specifically at me. I’m really trying hard to keep my mouth shut (or rather my fingers from typing my opinion on things). I’ve got lots. Haha.

This week’s true test is to see if ‘shiny object syndrome’ exists in the veins of the team and how strong it it.

My steps are taking a huge hit from this work thing these past two days. It’s really cramping my style. 😂 But it will slow down today and balance out. I’m confident in that. I’m 3rd tier support so after this test, I only have to jump on when things get routed to me. It’s gonna be great.

Even though time has been tight so far this week, I sliced out some yesterday to finally open the response to my first big assignment for my MFA. The email had the words “great first packet” so that was positive from the start.

Inside was lots of feedback ranging from instructional to praise. There really wasn’t one comment that said “you got that wrong”. Perhaps it’s because the instructional comments were written suggestively without saying “you missed the point”. That was mostly on my critical essays. The sparkly comments were on the creative samples I submitted.

Lots of sparkles! I’m loving it!! I submitted mostly new things which means 1st or 2nd drafts. There were lots of suggestions too but the fact that there were comments like “loved this” and “really liked what you did here” gave me warm fuzzies inside. It motivates me to dig right in again and get started on revisions.

This is what I’m talking about when I talk about management recognizing positive outcomes. It leaves people naturally wanting to work hard. Not that tough to figure out or do, but somehow seems like an elusive concept at some places… or they just forget. I dunno.

AND GUESS WHAT??!!.. As of right now, I’m Whole 30 free!! Woot woot. I still haven’t decided what to reintriduce to my system and what to keep out. I wanna take it slow because I’ve heard people have stomach reactions from having too much too soon.

I’m going to do a whole recap post dedicated to the topic, but in short I’m glad I did it, despite what folks might think from my complaining and ranting. I’m also very glad it’s over! Very!!

I’ll probably still have eggs with guacamole and salsa and breakfast potatoes for breakfast. ❤️🍳🥑🍅

Might be time for that soon actually.

Happy Hump Day,

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. Happy Birthday to my Ex Husband. Thanks for giving me two beautiful babies!!

2018-02-06 Two Things To Start Tuesday

It’s 6AM on a Tuesday and I’m awake. That’s OK, I have to get my kids up in just a little bit.

First – I’ve got a headache which is rare lately and at this point it seems to only happen about once a month, at the start of my cycle… so it’s not completely unexpected today which is cycle day 3. I’m no longer taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen (if I can help it) for these things. I switched to more natural remedies several moons ago now and I haven’t really looked back. Now, instead of taking a daily dose of Excedrin, which I was doing almost daily for a very long time, I take a curcumin (pronounced kir-que-men) and a caffeine.

Curcumin is an extract of turmeric which is a plant in the ginger family. I got turned on to this from a book I tried to read last year called “A Mind of Your Own”, which talked about the brain/body connection and centered on issues around women’s health and nutrition. The extract is supposed to have anti-anflamitory properties. I don’t really have a way to measure that in my system, but I think the reduction in the number of headaches I have is fairly solid proof that it is having a positive effect.

I take the caffeine to regulate the amount of caffeine in my body. Taking that morning dose is like drinking a few cups of coffee except that I don’t have to drink anything. It’s been especially essential this past month since I haven’t been drinking coffee because of my Whole 30. (btw, today is the last day – so celebrations will soon be in order.)

I think staying well hydrated is also a key factor in the improvement in my headache situation. I try to drink a fair amount of water. I almost always have my water bottle with me and when I see it, I’m reminded to drink. It seems like an easy thing to do, but most people don’t.

There have been a few occasions this past couple months when I’ve had a, now, out-of-the-ordinary, ailment and I can kind of gauge the severity and treat accordingly. I’m not opposed to OTC meds for that reason, but am super happy about eliminating them from my daily regimen.

Second – In other news, yesterday I worked more in one day than I have in the past 6 months. I think I put in 8 hours!! For those of you keeping score at home, that’s freaking amazing. Since I started my new gig, I have been kind of nervous about getting enough hours to make a decent paycheck and I think things are finally starting to ramp up to that sweet spot. Of course it’s all dependent on what is going on with the actual project that I am on, and this week is a big week, but based on what I’m hearing, the future looks bright and full of work. Woo hoo.

I may have also mentioned that I really like my new job, which is the bonus plan. Yesterday amidst the excitement around the first live production data stream being validated and team collaboration about support, I was given a solid virtual “good job” nod from several people. The person I am taking direct assignments from thanked me several times and told me that thing “x” I did was excellent. He introduced me to our client (via email) and laid out some of my credentials and then literally called me a “rockstar”. It felt great reading that.

The other kudos came from the guy that is the head of the company we are subcontracting for to do the project (it’s sort of complicated). We chatted directly on Slack and he also thanked me and expressed how glad he was I was on the team. He went on to say he was looking forward to ‘building amazing things” with me. Wow. Not only that, but he requested that I send some small ‘gift’ ideas so he can file them away for celebratory purposes in the future. Double wow.

Being appreciated never goes out of style. More companies and managers should be taking this to heart. I think that most employees are underappreciated. What people seem to fail to realize or remember is that people who feel like their contributions are valued and that they are making a difference, will work even harder and the productivity will be off-the-hook. It’s so easy to do, but often just gets overlooked in the grand scheme of things. So far, my new company and their business partners are doing it right!! How refreshing!

Well, it’s now 7AM and time to get the kids up.

It’s all Cool,
~Miss SugarCookie