2020-02-28 Goals and Accountability

I kinda want to get my goals down on paper, as if that has some psychological influence of accountability. It feels like everyday is a struggle to get going and I think that comes from not having hard and fast responsibilities and deadlines.

I wonder what will happen when my kids grow up and move out. I mean, I’m still getting up every m-f to make breakfasts and facilitate the morning routine for them and for Jim too. And he can do that for himself if he wants, but I’m up anyway and I like being a provider.

Sometimes, though, when everyone is out the door and I’m left alone with the cats and I haven’t gotten good sleep, the bed calls to me “come back please.”

I have to fight it. A week ago I wondered if going back to bed at 7:30am would be considered “wasting time.” I kinda still wonder that right now.

Today I made it to the treadmill and plan to have a short session and then get my ass out the door to a Jazzercise class. I’ve been keeping track mentally of the way I feel. I would say 9.5 out of 10 times I totally feel better as my body gets moving and feel really great when I’m done. I just have to remember that when the bed tries to talk to me.

Beds don’t talk. It’s in my head.

Goals are only in my head too. I have to try and make them official. Given that, here’s what I’ve decided:

For the physical: 3 classes a week and an average of 12k steps over time. Some days that’s just not possible, but I need to put more focus on the physical. Hopefully that will help with sleep too though I’ve elected to not set a specific sleep goal for now.

For the writing career: Submit at least once a week to a publication. I started this week by submitting to a lit mag hosted by the University of Minnesota.

right now i have a queue of possibilities in my in-box from my MFA program coordinator, but I could also gravitate toward submittable for other options.

I also have a goal that has to do with launching a new online publication, which is slower going than interested parties would like it to be. /shrug— It is what it is. Having lots of balls in the air means that each only gets a little attention at a time and I’m treating this one kinda like the safety/oxygen mask on the airplane— securing my own first.

I should have goals for reading and writing new work, but I’m not pulling the trigger on that until I feel like my thesis manuscript is in a solid place. I’m a little behind schedule due to all the life events recently and have to get back on track. Therefore my short term goal is to finish my second round of edits by next Friday.

The current plan is to send the edits in thirds (which is about 25 pages each). Today that second third is due. The edits are done (as far as I’m concerned). I just need to put it in a document and write my comments/questions and that will be good to go. However, I recognize some of the newer and less refined (and also tougher) poems live in that last third so the next week I really need a kick in the butt to do it.

What else? I need to try and be more social. This week I went to a reading and it was super great to see so many familiar faces. I just need to follow through with scheduling meetups. There’s no defined goal behind that one. There shouldn’t need to be but my default MO is definitely sticking close to my sanctuary.

I think that’s the current brain dump. I really want to commit to first draft Friday but that might be too many balls in the air. I still also have to get my daughter graduated and on track for college and that’s a big deal too. Gah!!

Happy Friday Ya’ll

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. Today’s featured image is from a spot in Koloa on our hike to see the Makauahi Cave.

2020-02-26 Chickens and Squirrels and Pies, Oh My 🐓🐿 🥧

I might start by mentioning that I did land on a few goals for the year but that news is so two days ago.

I could go on a long tangent about the rabbit hole that I found myself in with domain management, web hosting, and WordPress theme customization. But that’s just yesterday’s news.

Then there’s the fact that the US Passport system requires you to actually send the physical certified copy of your marriage license to get a new book with your new legal name. So it’s a good thing We originally paid for two copies. Again, I’m so over yesterday’s news.

What is it today then? The answer is.. it depends.

If you ask the MFA student that has revisions of about 25 poems due in two days, she would tell you that’s what’s on the agenda.

If you ask the wife who wants very much to do enough that she feels she adds value to the team, she would tell you she’s going grocery shopping again. This time to stock up on extra supplies in case the Corona Virus really does start to cause disruption to daily life in America.

If you ask the mom. She’d say, “same story, different day”.

And the woman who didn’t sleep well last night because her mind refused to rest would say that she’s surprised the doxylamine succinate didn’t work and is irritated to still have morning after medicine head (but she took caffeine and made it to the treadmill anyway).

I’m supposed to meet with Josh today to get coffee or go for a walk but that’s just so unappealing. I’ve got so many other things to attend to. For real!

I really would like to section off my day and spend 1 to 2 hours with heads down focus on different tasks, but part of me wonders if it isn’t better to let myself get lost in one thing (like revisions or website development or housework) for as long as it takes?

I think my not being able to shut my brain off has something to do with all the pies my fingers are in right now. And also my need for instant gratification. So my name changed and I just want that to proliferate everywhere but that’s not how that works. It takes a lot of calls, time on the internet, and visits to certain offices in person.

How can I focus on my thesis manuscript when there are so many squirrels, chickens, and shiny objects to look at and chase.

If I was being disingenuous, I would hide the fact that I’m also fixing to get my fix of the Bachelor soon. Yes, it’s high on my priority list and really— what is a girl to do??!!

The answer for that one, at least, is to multitask. I can have the show on while I fold laundry and perhaps even work on the new website. It will be an interesting experiment anyway. In the end, I should be able to tell what my real priorities are.

With that, I’m going to cut this session short and dive into the day. If I do meet up with Josh I will probably get more walking anyway. See.. that’s me trying to think positively about it. 😊

Hiding from Squirrels, 🐿

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. Today’s featured image was brought to you by the girl who went on the most amazing honeymoon and didn’t even get to write about it.

(This one is a view of the Taro Fields from Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge)

2020-02-24 On Being Cinderella

Do you suppose that once Cinderella married the prince her life changed at all? Do you think that she was released from those chores of hers, scrubbing floors and doing dishes and also the thing that was too unmentionable even Disney didn’t even go there (toilets 😱)? I suppose the general assumption is that once married, dear Cinderella and her ball gowns hire someone else to do all the dirty work. But imagine if you will, that it wasn’t how the story went.

Four and a half hours into my day and I’m just now sitting down to do something for myself. I’ve been on my feet that long, tending to all the needs of Monday. The cats don’t rest much either when this is going on because they are too curious about what all the fuss is (or anxiously waiting for me to get to their litter boxes). They are clearly relieved that I’ve now plopped myself down on the couch with my laptop and have both found a nice cozy spot for their mid-morning nap.

Yesterday I was all lit up with motivation to make some commitment or resolution—something that was going to bring me a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. And now? Now I just want a nap. Something inside of me with about 38% authority wants me to at the very least go down to the gym with my tennis shoes and walk while I type this. But 38% is far from the majority and so here I sit. At the very least I should find another place to sit, to get a different perspective. But I really like being with the cats. It’s just the way it is. Plus finding a different spot would mean I have to get up and move again and I just don’t want to do that.

Briefly when I had that thought about Cinderella (which is not the first time I have gravitated toward that analogy), I thought about the Bachelor. The TV show I get sucked into from time to time and happen to be thoroughly enjoying this season. During that process all these beautiful girls jockey for position as they simultaneously date the same guy. It’s truly absurd but for some reason, I find it highly entertaining.

Anyway, they start the show off in this grand house where they all live and converse and have cocktail parties and pool parties and then gather in a dramatic ceremony where some girls get to stay and continue dating the guy while others are sent home, heartbroken. I probably don’t need to explain all that since the show is in like its 25th season or something outrageous like that.

At some point, they all travel to exotic places and get filmed doing fun activities that would make any globe-traveller jealous. All these cool dates and romantic dinners, concerts, etc, etc. They always interview these women and on the show, info about them pops up at the bottom of the screen to remind us who they are. Here is “Victoria F., from Virginia Beach, 26, Medical Rep. That’s all we know. Their name, age, hometown, and reported occupation. Hmmmm… kinda like how Bumble is, come to think of it.

Rarely do we see the couple de jour discussing what life will be like when they are off the show, if they end up together or engaged or whatever. You never see him saying “Well I have a house in Florida and that’s where I want to stay so if you don’t want to move away from Kansas City or Des Moines Iowa or wherever, then that’s a deal breaker”.

You also rarely hear her say “I really want my partner to be home helping me raise the children more than 50% of the time, so you would have to find some career besides being a pilot to earn a living”. Nope. Either they don’t talk about that stuff, or they have found that it is too boring to include in the drama of the show. I personally would love to see those conversations, especially over all the inebriated crying. Good Grief!

I can tell you that from where I sit (on the couch in my castle), those conversations are extremely important. But who I am I to say? Yes, the connection between two people is really important. Romantically, intellectually, sexually, spiritually, etc… But I think part of the secret to success is understanding where your partner is at in their life and what their goals are so you can support them, and also having that be a two way street. That includes logistics about career, how many kids you want (if any), and where you are going to live and what your lifestyle is. Obvi you can’t spend the rest of your life jet-setting off to exotic places.

I just don’t see how this Bachelor thing ever works because it seems everyone involved is just so concerned with the “connection” and also “winning” Heh! Plus, it’s so ridiculous that all these girls have to live together and witness the guy they are dating going out and making out with other women. If I had to endure that, I would be all like— no thanks. I want my man to have eyes for only me. It’s just so cray-cray. But I love it anyway. Perhaps some part of me craves that kind of drama and is better off getting a fix from some stupid reality television show than looking for it in my own life. For sure.

The stats for the final “couple” in most seasons is not great. Only a handful have stayed together and an even smaller number have actually gotten married. Yes, I did spend a little time just now researching the stats cuz I’m a big nerd like that, but it doesn’t matter really.

I think I’ve not exhausted my couch break now and really, really want to figure out what those new goals are going to be now that my own season of the bachelorette has now ended. So happy to have met my match AND gotten that final rose so that my Cinderella story can return to it’s regularly scheduled programming.

Happy Cat Napping,

~Miss SugarCookie

 

2020-02-23 Today is a Good Day to Start

That’s one of my oldest mottos. And indeed still one my favorites. It’s good right? A nice reminder not to put off starting something until tomorrow and also good for the case where making the most of everyday. Well, it’s slightly contrary to my previous post which was all about wasting time. Unless, of course, the thing you intend to start has to do with carving out time to waste time doing nothing but letting your mind wander in whatever direction it pleases.

Hey, I kinda do that already but it always feels so goal oriented. I’m walking and getting some exercise and producing some words and making little micro-contributions to the vastness of what is now the collective consciousness of humanity. Set that aside though.

I typically don’t make New Years resolutions, but I have in the past. The end of last year moved so fast into 2020 and literally has not paused for breath. Until today. Today is the first day I’ve felt an inkling of time slowing down. The other significant thing that occurred was that I finally broke down and threw out the last of the cake we had in our refrigerator from the wedding.

Last night I got out the last remaining Tupperware and had a few bites of each flavor. That’s it folks. The official end of the big event. It’s a shame nobody in this house eats cake (and I’m really the only one who likes leftovers). So the wedding is over and I’m not trying to be punny but the honeymoon is over top. So what now?

Well, how about some resolutions. I guess you could say my official resolutions for this year were to get hitched, to get my darling daughter graduated and successfully off to college, and to also finish my masters degree. I also want to get my son his learners permit and start teaching him to drive, and support Jim as he opens a new location for his business. That’s all very textbook, and will probably happen naturally with the things I’m doing already. So what can I resolve to do to challenge myself? To elevate my life to the next level? To kick-start my writing or other interests?

The elusive, goal-oriented list would probably be this:

1. submit to publications at some regular interval, perhaps once a week.

2. Write a new poem every week.

3. Read a book a week (fat chance).

4. Do some work on a new website.

5. Participate in more community programs. Which would require some quantifiable definition.

6. Up my step count/exercise regimen.

7. Up my sleep goal (to help with my chronic exhaustion and evening brain fog).

But I can’t stop thinking about the value in wasting time.

I had lunch with my friend Margret and told her about that discussion I went to and I asked her if she did anything like that. She went ahead and told me a little something about her daily prayer practice. She makes a list of people to pray for and then does that. Her list changes every day. I’m not sure that qualifies for wasting time as she has a goal in mind, to help those in need. But it’s very subjective. I don’t believe in what she believes in and some people might see that practice as a waste of time. See how hard it is to define??!!

Anyway, so daily meditation or sending good vibes out in the universe directed at your loved ones feels like a very worthy resolution.

Perhaps I should pick some underutilized space around my house and yard everyday and just sit, and appreciate it for what it is. And perhaps try to gain a different perspective. I always am in the same spaces, kitchen, living room, bedroom, office, workout room. I should try just being somewhere different. The same probably goes to places around town. Now, now— I don’t want to get too crazy.

For real though, I think there is value in just exploring different angles. I need to do that and incorporate that in whatever resolutions I come up with.

Fun fact: Twice before in this blog I have used that motto as my title. The first was right after the inception of the blog on January 14, 2017. The second was about a year later on January 8th, 2018. Since then, the phrase has made numerous appearances in posts but non save those as the title—until today.

I’m gonna wrap now. I’ll see if I can waste some time this evening and come up with a good strategy for whatever resolutions materialize as something tangible. Beyond that… it’s just relaxing and enjoying what is left of the weekend.

Cheers to Starting Something,

~Miss SugarCookie

 

2020-02-22 It’s a Great Day to Waste Some Time

A few nights ago I went to a program downtown which had a central focus on the topic of Wasting Time. You might be surprised to learn that it was “In Praise of Wasting Time” which is the title of the book by Professor and Author, Alan Lightman. He was the key speaker in the discussion and shared the stage with a facilitator and a panel of four other people. It was a great program to attend and though I agree whole heartedly with most of what was said (which might even be considered obvious), I still struggle with it (the concept of wasting time) on a daily basis.

Since then, I have been wanting to write my thoughts down on the discussion and the topic itself, but sadly and quite ironically, I have either not had the time or been too distracted by my other goings-on. That’s what is at the heart of the matter.

Dr. Lightman explained that in society today, we basically schedule activities for almost 100 percent of our day. From the minute we wake up till the minute we go to bed we have blocked in something to do down to the 10 to 14 minute interval. I think about this in regards to my own life and I know that it’s true.

I don’t intend to bore anyone with that schedule, but it seems that even as my work hours decreased, the trade off was more chores and responsibilities that replaced those 8-10 work hours. I think the exception to this was right after I quit my job and was immediately hit with a huge block of time where I could truly do anything I wanted and didn’t feel bad about spending a few hours just sitting about or going for a walk or a bike ride.

Now that I have completely made the transition to my new life, I still have that big block of time to work with, but somehow the mentality has shifted. If I’m not cleaning or cooking or running errands for the fam, I fee unproductive. I feel as though I am not doing enough with my day. To make matters worse, when Jim comes home from a long day at the office, I immediately feel guilty because of all the work he has done and feel like my contribution isn’t enough.

How then do I shift that mentality back and give myself permission to “waste time”? Which for me, is more about how I feel about it when it does happen. Because, to be fair, I can be pretty good at wasting time. I just feel like shit afterwards.

In addition to that, I’ve been wondering what the definition of “wasting time” is. I think for me that is key. During the program Dr. Lightman defined it as anything that you do which is not attached to a goal. That is still too broad for me because it only opens other questions. What is considered a goal? Some things are obvious and some are not.

One example could be if you set aside 30 minutes to read a book for pleasure. Is that goal oriented? You are structuring time and accomplishing something. You are getting value out of it. So is that wasting time? Perhaps in the eyes of some yes and some no. So it’s subjective.

Once a week I allow myself to plop down on the couch and watch 50-120 minutes of a TV show (the Bachelor). It’s mindless and I really don’t get anything out of it except entertainment. Is THAT wasting time?

If the definition were more refined to include a statement like, “time where you mind is not actively engaged/distracted in a specific task and can wander to anywhere”, then that is completely different. Now you eliminate TV and Movies and Books and even meetups with friends, which I would contend are never a waste of time.

Anyway, yesterday (the date I started this blog post), it was beautiful outside—Sunny and 55 degrees—and I could not justify walking on the treadmill and writing. I had to get outside and walk. When I got to my destination and got out of my car, I did have a brief thought that I would type on my phone while I walked as I do often on the treadmill at home, but it just felt wrong.

People were walking their dogs and kids and conversing. The scenery was lovely and it would have been a shame to have my head down on the phone. So I just walked. Of course I also did that thing I do and stop like every 10 seconds to take a picture. Or think I’ve got some cool, creative shot of the sun descending on the horizon— light filtering through the trees, and walk a ways off the path into the mushy grass to get just the perfect angle. Needless to say, I did not end up walking very far and the whole time I was wondering, “Is THIS a waste of time?”

Perhaps. I did have some interesting thoughts and spots of inspiration throughout the day, most of which went nowhere. I suppose that is OK. I think that’s kind of the point?? I dunno. I should probably read that book.

That’s it for today folks. As I said, I started writing this yesterday and so now it’s Sunday which is also, in fact, another great day to waste some time.

Time to get out there and do nothing! 😜

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-02-19 Back to Basics with an Unexpected Twist

Dear Diary… How I have missed you so! It’s been several moons since we had any quality time together and I’m starting to feel anxious and nervous about our relationship. My biggest fear is that in my absence, you have started reading other people. Please say it isn’t so!.. /gasp /swoon

But seriously, since I started this blog 3 years ago, I don’t think I’ve ever been as absent from posting as I have been these past few weeks. It isn’t that I haven’t had a lot to write about. In fact, it is the exact opposite. So much so, that when I do put fingers to keyboard, I don’t even know where to begin. Kinda like right now.

First of all, my right ovary feels like it’s gonna burst at its seams. If ovaries had seams that is. In the wide world of everything SugarCookie, that is not where I expected my mind to be, but, alas, there it is. I’ve had many, many years to get to know my body well and don’t need an app to tell me I’m ovulating (though the Fitbit app does that now!). It’s true.

Last night I was so uncomfortable, I could not wait to change out of street clothes and into my pajamas. For a hot minute I thought I might be on the verge of some flair-up of my PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Little cysts that form on the edges of the ovaries caused by hormonal issues. It’s a condition that I’ve lived with my entire adult life, starting with a fun little trip to the ER when I was about 18 when one of the cysts became so enlarged that it did burst. As far as I can remember anyway.

It could be I was just a wuss and couldn’t deal with the pain. I dunno, it was a long time ago. All I know is they prescribe birth control pills to squash the problem, which doesn’t really fix anything, it only masks whatever is causing the hormone imbalance by introducing more hormones at different times in the monthly cycle.

I don’t learn this until like 8 or 9 years later after I’ve been pumping estrogen and progesterone into my body for too long. This is one of the things that bothers me about medical treatment in the United States. The default is to prescribe a pill without really getting to the heart of whatever is the matter.

As an IT person who worked at a hospital for a long time, I’ve seen the registration and scheduling systems showing all those 5 / 10 minute time slots where the pcp is supposed to sweep into the room, learn what they need to learn, and provide answers and a solution. And people are generally conditioned to be ok with that. They just want to get that script and get on with their day.

Can’t sleep? We’ll give you ambien or Xanax.

Have aches and pains? Here’s a Muscle relaxer or prescription pain killer (though they are getting better about this one),

Have a hormonal imbalance? Here’s a birth control pill.

If I wasn’t just a kid and knew enough to do my own research I would certainly have refused that garbage. To be fair, at that time google had not been invented yet and it might even be that what I would learn years later was still in medical speculation and not widely accepted. It does take 20+ years for new information and treatments to filter down to standard practice.

The answer, for me, was working to take steps to rebalance my hormones. Believe it or not, it starts with eating healthy and getting more exercise. Everything is connected, you know and learning that part of my problem stemmed from my family history of diabetes was eye opening. It was through testing for fertility issues that certain facts were brought to light.

Once I had a diagnosis all I had to do was dive into research on that. I became obsessed with scrolling through chat boards and blog posts and medical articles. I found other people who were trying things and being offered alternative solutions with positive results.

One of the doctors I went to was an IVF specialist and that was the norm. I’m the one who suggested trying Metformin (glucophage) first. It’s a medication they give to diabetics. My dad takes it. He actually laughed when I told him I was taking it for infertility. He asked if he was at risk for getting pregnant. Ha!

Laugh all you want, but it worked. Of course I also started watching what I ate too. My diet had been crap up to that point and getting the fat and sugar and fast food in check, I am sure was also key. Between the Met and diet changes, my hormones started behaving properly again and I began ovulating again. Within about 6 months, I became pregnant. And I would never take birth control again!

As for this current discomfort, it’s probably just my bodies way of getting my attention, reminding me to get back on track with diet and exercise. I’ve recently been distracted with other priorities and strayed quite a ways away from my normal routine. That’s a good case for getting back on the daily treadmill/blog sessions. It’s a win-win-win.

Wow. That’s a huge tangent from where I thought this would go today. I guess that’s just where my mind wanted to go. 🤷‍♀️

Lots going on today. I’ve got my first official sesh with my MFA mentor this semester and I’m expecting a serious conversation that’s not very positive. I just have a lot of revision work to do and need to focus on details that I’ve been glossing over for too long.

In a way, this attention to detail and tightening my poems is exactly what I need (plus probably a kick in the butt to actually do the work), but it’s tough not to have high expectations for encouragement and support. Especially after my experience last semester which was so positive and productive and left me feeling fantastic about the direction of my writing.

I wonder how anyone can deliver a tough message and at the same time keep it from being discouraging. We’ll see.

Well, my friends, my hour here is more than over and I feel so much better than when I started. Like I said, it’s a win-win-win.

Cheers to Happy Hormones and Taking Control of your Health!

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-02-16 Cake V Cake, the post Honeymoon Tasting 🍰

Right now, this very minute I am taste testing two slices of two week old wedding cake, cold, right out of the refrigerator.

In this corner we have Hy-Vee Red Velvet, the apparent Fan Favorite after the groundhog didn’t see his shadow on Sunday February 2nd this year.

And in this corner we have Wheatfields unnamed and unrated Chocolate Cake, the last minute contender when Lindas Fudge Cake from the Cheesecake Factory was a no-show for the event.

Let’s dive in and see how they do…

“It’s tough to hold up under this pressure, Bob.. I mean, it has been a whole two weeks and these to have been locked up in air tight container since the first round.

“That’s right, Jim.. but the temperature and conditions have elongated their staying power.

“You’re right Bob.. Should we take a closer look and see how they did”

“Sure thing Jim.. Let’s go”…

…The chocolate has dried out a lot and you have to get a good bit of frosting in each bite or it’s just dry and hard. That being said, it is chocolate and I think even the most stale chocolate cake can get by just fine, cuz, chocolate!!

The red velvet, however, still retains some of its fluffy qualities and the cheesecake frosting is just the perfect compliment to it. It has lost a little of it’s flavor flair since the unveiling two weeks ago.

Who’s gonna take away today’s prize? Tune in tomorrow and I’ll fill you in on all the sticky crumby details then.

Mahalo,

~Miss SugarCookie