2019-10-20 Sunday Lazy Sunday Status

Perhaps I’ve been avoiding accounting because I think I’m not going to like the results. I feel like my sleep has not gotten better despite the measures I’ve taken to try and improve the situation. I also think my exercise and steps have not been up to par. I know the healthy eating thing is a constant struggle which I often feel is a losing battle. I’m about to check my stats to see how far off I am from how I am feeling…

Sleep.. Average hours so far this month (keep in mind I’m finding this out as I type and research the results in the FitBit app) – 7 Hours so far in October versus 6 Hours and 48 Minutes in September versus 6 hours and 46 minutes in August versus 6 hours and 1 Minute in July. So I guess my sleep is improving with the changes I have made. I still don’t feel any improvement of my situation during the day, but then again, the difference is only minutes so maybe to get some real benefit during the day I need like 8 hours of sleep a night. Fat chance.

Steps.. Average steps a day so far in October – 9692. This is compared to 9747 in September and 10,549 in August. So pretty much on par with last month but a decrease compared to the rest of the months so far this year. Still, not as bad as I thought. So that is surprising. I thought I have been really slacking but I guess it’s not that bad. As far as other exercise, I have been doing Jazzercise a few times a week but would like that to increase to 3 or 4.

Healthy Eating.. Not much to say about this except that nothing much has changed. I suppose if I tracked my calories or micronutrients, I might have more to report. All I really have to go on though is how I *think* I am doing, which is, day to day, fairly poorly. But you see how I thought I was doing poorly on sleep and exercise. I keep saying I’m going to start abstaining from certain other things (besides caffeine) like alcohol and sweet treats, but it never happens.

Other health updates.. The tennis elbow feels like it is definitely on the mend and I think my arm mobility is back at about 90%. That’s huge good news. I still have pain extending my arm all the way straight or bending it as far as it will go, but most things in between are much better. I’m hoping I can get back to 100% good with this and I plan to be way more mindful of it in the future because I never want to go through that again. A whole year in pain!! Yikes.

The only other health update would be the fact that I ordered my first pair of glasses yesterday. Not only did I have to finally break down and get glasses, but the recommendation was for bifocals, for reading. I’m like – ugh really?? The optometrist was so leery of offending me and kept saying something about my age and it being common but that in itself is offending. I mean, I am only 26 after all so a person at my age should be years away from needing reading glasses right? 😜

I ended up getting no-line bifocals so it shouldn’t be too obvious but I’m still very much “ugh really??” about the whole thing. I probably should have considered just going with the first prescription first because I guess there’s an adjustment period, but if I gotta do it, I just wanted to get the pair that would be best right from the start and not have to get a second pair later.

Work Status.. Currently working 2-5 hours a week which should increase this last week of October into November to 5-10 a week. We’ll see. Sometimes waiting for healthcare contracts to come to full fruition it takes longer than expected.

Student Status.. Still taking the equivalent of 19 credit hours this term 😱, and that is keeping me pretty busy. I just turned in a huge packet of stuff AND it is fall break at UNO so I’m going to take the next week off and not worry about any of the reading or writing that I have to do to finish out the term. As it stands now, I think I am in pretty good shape, except for the fact that my writing has definitely decreased in the past 2 months and I have had issues coming up with new things. I guess the class assignments are what is carrying my along at this point, which is OK for now.

Relationship Status.. Still engaged. Still wedding planning. Still planning on getting married February 2nd next year. Still procrastinating a lot on all of that. 😉 Perhaps tomorrow will be the “all things wedding planning” update and if I do that enough, it might even keep me honest as far as accountability is concerned.

I think that’s it for this lazy Sunday. I was planning on doing some yard work, but now it’s raining out which gives me a good excuse as to why I might just put that off another day too. Maybe I will go read a book or watch a show or something, just for fun. Wonder what that’s like. Ha!

Keeping it Real,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-10-18 Friday One-Track-Mind, the Coffee Edition ☕️

I’m like inches from caving on the whole abstaining from caffeine thing. I’m sure I’m wasting so much mental energy trying to resist excuses my body keeps throwing at me why I should cave in. It’s pulling ALL kinds of reasons why

.. it’s a silly experiment, not helping my sleep situation, not harmful for me, not a big deal, needed for a quick boost to get something done, needed to aid digestion…. you name it and I’ve thought of it.

I really won’t be able to tell if it helps my sleep/exhaustion situation unless I really stick to it for multiple weeks AND have no other variables in the mix messing with my stats. Quite honestly, that’s probably impossible. Take last night for example.

I stayed up later than I should because it’s the only time I was going to get quality time with Jim. Then I was up at 4 am taking care of my daughter who got sick in the middle of the night. This resulted in a 5 hour sleep. No bueno!

Now it’s about 8:30am and I’m super tired. It won’t matter if I have caffeine or not if I can’t somehow fix the behavior patterns. To be fair, the 4am wake-up is rare now that my kids are older, but if it’s not the kids, it’s the cats or my bladder or my brain.

I can say that quitting drinking anything after 7pm has made a positive impact on my situation and so has kicking the cats out of the bedroom. Those changes are easy and also easy to keep doing. I even had a few nights when my Fitbit gave my sleep a “good” score.

The Fitbit app used to just report the length you were asleep and in different sleep stages. Now they have this algorithm that spits out a score. I have consistently fallen into the “fair” category, with a “good” score (anything above 80 I think) being quite elusive.

I haven’t had an 80+ night since I stopped the caffeine and my brain is even using THAT against me. It’s saying “see, it’s not helping”. And “caffeine in the morning won’t hurt your sleep at night”. And “you had a rough night and it would be a nice warm treat to help wake you up”.

Man, I could really go for a coffee right now. Ugh!!

My plan this morning is to try and distract myself with activities until it gets to lunchtime which is when the craving starts to go away.

Really… this caffeine thing is small potato’s. I mean, life is good. But the sleep and exhaustion are real problems I need to figure out. I feel like I’m living with a chronic problem that I’m going to have for the rest of my life. Then I think that it’s probably just my age. And then I think that fucking sucks. AND THEN I THINK (wait for it)….

Just have a coffee and you’ll feel better. 😂

There you have it folks. My Friday one-track-mind brain dump. Good grief!

Time to Jam.

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-10-15 A Serious Lack of Motivation

The week is rolling now and there’s no time to waste. I’ve got another big packet due on the 20th and I’ve been doing that classic SugarCookie thing and procrastinating the parts I don’t want to do. It’s this big craft essay thing. It’s mostly done but the final section and conclusion and a pretty bow to tie it all together. I’ve been putting all my energy into the creative portion and revisions, which is necessary too. Arguably more important. But that’s almost done and there’s no putting off the other any longer.

I’ve also got work things creeping in on my time. But at least I’m making some $$ for that. Everyday living expenses are one thing but when it comes to special road trips to KC or some new shiny laptop, it’s different. I need my own funds for that and every hour I work makes me feel better about that.

I’ve been struggling with new writing lately including this blog. Like my poetry, sometimes I think “so what”. I don’t have anything truly important or impactful to say and I’ve got lots of other stuff to focus on so why put the effort in. I think I need some convincing and and most of the time I’m pretty good at self-talk but lately I’ve been needy for external validation.

I’m now participating in several writing/workshop groups which is great. Sometimes I get so sick of reading and working on my own stuff and so switching gears to read other people’s stuff is a welcome treat. Still, that doesn’t fix my motivation issue. Especially when it comes to this blog.

I used to write everyday and now it’s like every 2 or 3 or sometimes 4 days. There’s a direct correlation to my time on the treadmill which used to be an hour every morning and that’s spotty now too. I just haven’t had the push to make myself do it. Everyday there’s just other stuff that needs doing. I use the word “need” loosely. Some things are and some are just an excuse.

Right now I feel like I’m coming down with a cold and my energy is zapped. I’m trying to reduce my caffeine intake and now instead of feeling dead by 11am, I’m dead by like 9am. That’s seriously serious! I could/should do a whole post about the caffeine and the sleep and the energy, but that a perfect example of a road that leads to the /shrug and question why?

I think I’m going to need to try changing things up and do something completely different. Not sure what that would be but I’m open for suggestions.

Perhaps I’m just having a down morning and need to wait a few days for it to change.

Time to cut and run. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Be kind to each other,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-10-08 Tennis Anyone? 🎾

I’ve got a list of health related updates that I’m wrinkling my nose at. Why the wrinkle?.. it just seems so snore, you know. But I used to do this weekly status check thing and I feel like there’s value in it. For one, it forces me to think about it and if I’m thinking, then I can’t avoid obvious problems. For two, if I’ve written about it I have that history to look back on. If I ever question what was going on 3 months ago, 6 months ago, a year.. I could read back and find out.

The weekly status thing fell off about 4 or 5 months ago and at that time I professed I was switching to monthly updates. I don’t think that’s happened though. All this to say.. stuff has been piling up and I’m feeling the need to spend a wee bit of time doing some written accounting.

The biggest update and the one that makes me so so happy is that my tennis elbow, that tendon I injured about a year ago is finally on the mend. It came on slowly last year as fall switched to winter and was so painful and affecting every activity, including sleep. By January I went to an orthopedic doctor and had a shot. That took away the pain for a nice long stretch. A couple of months actually.

It was a miracle that the pain was just completely gone and I had high hopes at that time my problem was solved. By March though, the pain started to return. I tried to hold out as long as I could and was so down and discouraged to have to go back to the doc. When you have an injury that takes a long time to heal, it feels like it’s just never going to get better.

This particular injury is funky. It’s the tendons around the elbow that are frazzled (like a frayed rope is how the doc explained it to me), yet the problems manifest from activities in the hand and wrist. It’s all connected. Bending and flexing the wrist would cause sparks of shooting pain in my arm and elbow. Even just at rest, my arm would throb. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and immediately be reminded that my arm hurt. Ugh!!

I begrudgingly had another shot in late June (I think). Funny now I can’t remember exactly unless I go back and read about it. See what I mean about writing things down! Anyway.. I of course had relief again. Again it felt like a miracle but this time it came with a skepticism that the pain would return again. That it was just a band-aid and I was convinced that I was in that 5-10 percent minority that would eventually have to have surgery to resolve.

Sure enough, around August the pain started to return again. My heart just sank. I steeled my resolve to once again go as long as I could without getting another shot. Around the first of September I made another appointment but the doc could not get me in for like 3 weeks. I was already at the tipping point and was immediately dreading those 3 weeks.

In those 3 weeks, though, something started to change. I felt there were little micro improvements in the pain. I was mentally noticing it less. There was a glimmer of hope. By the time the week of my appointment arrived, Jim and I discussed just cancelling and waiting to see what happens. That’s what I did.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been in that holding pattern. There’s still pain, but is definitely better and not worse. I no longer wake up at night and think about it. And when I do notice it.. it’s more minor than before. If I straighten my arm completely or hold something heavy or try to bend the elbow too much, the pain is there, but it’s not bothering me with regard to daily activities. I’m thinking it’s just such a slow recovery that it will keep getting better until it’s completely healed. Yay!!

Jim thinks the free weights I’ve been doing aa a part of Jazzercise consistently since about August has been the factor that is helping. It’s just enough weight for strength but not so much to do more harm than good. I’m not sure if that’s it or if the injury has just run its course. They say it typically takes 6 to 18 months to heal naturally.

My hope now is that it will be all better by the cold winter and the holidays. That it will not follow me to Thanksgiving and Christmas and if there is a little lingering that it’s for sure all through by February 2nd, when I’m marrying my man. Yeah, that’s still happening too.

I miss tennis a little but can live without it if it means I can avoid this injury again. Tennis was always a thing with Josh and I anyway and I barely speak to him anymore. Funny the way it is. Life.

Well – I have other updates but I’ve gone on too long already with just this one.

Perhaps this whole week should be dedicated to health and wellness. I know I sure could use a reset where a lot of things are concerned.

One, Two, Cha-cha-cha,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-10-04 Un-caffeinated Wanderings

Pick a title.. any title. Spin the wheel, where it stops nobody knows. Except when they do… 🤔

I’m like 2 weeks into operation “good good night” where we make some life changes to get better sleep. We kicked the cats out and I no longer drink water after 7pm to limit my trips to the bathroom at 4am. The next phase in the plan was to reduce the caffeine intake and let me tell you. Let me just tell you I’m coming to terms with the fact that my willpower to resist caving in on some resolve is apparently approaching non existent. Which is to say, it’s tough.

I used to get caffeine from no-doz pills in the name of saving myself from those unnecessary calories of sugar and cream I have when I have a cup of coffee. Then I would end up having a coffee anyway. Total face palm. And just so we’re clear, when I say “I used to”, what I mean is like everyday for a few years now up until two days ago.

Yesterday was the first day I did not have that morning shot of caffeine and it wasn’t that bad. By mid afternoon I was totally craving a coffee (not that that’s any different than any other day) and I caved and had that. I was truly surprised that I didn’t have any headache. I would have expected a slight withdrawal factor but maybe the afternoon coffee was enough.

That makes today day 2 and I’m on the treadmill now and obviously thinking about it because it’s the first thing I went for when I started to write. For a person that walks through days exhausted often, that little boost was so great. I sound like an addict. Wait… is that what an addict sounds like? I dunno.. I just really want that boost.

That’s enough about that mess. Seriously.. so many other things to focus on.

My daughter applied to UNO for her undergrad and already got an acceptance letter. That was yesterday and I’m all like woohoo!! She also applied at UNL and UNK and told me in the car that she would never go to UNL, that she hated that campus and the school was too large. I’m scratching my head about it. “Why did you apply?”.

Apparently the after school program she participates in had them apply at several in-state options. She’s also looking into a few schools in Missouri and Kansas and I need to help her work through the options. I also suggested Colorado and Iowa schools and she just sort of gives me this look. She said she won’t go to an Iowa school and I just can’t quite figure out why. She has no good reason. I’m good with whatever.. just happy she’s decided going somewhere far away is not for her. That’s not for me either. I need my Pudding Pie to stay close to home.

I’m super excited for her. This year is already going super fast. Too fast.

Speaking of things going too fast.. my wedding day is now less than 4 months away and I’m needing to kick planning into gear this month! I literally spent the whole month of September like a zombie and didn’t do shit. I mean about anything. I did the minimum requirements and crossed about 1 of 20 things off my monthly to to-do list. Now.. there’s not enough room left on my whiteboard for more and there’s about 20 new things that need to get done this month. I’m starting to feel like I’m approaching panic mode but still can’t find the motivation to do stuff.

I probably just need some caffeine or something. 🤣

I think I was able to do 1 thing on my list each day I would be in good shape by the end of the month. I want to be able to roll into the cold months not having anything I have to get out for.

Anyway, it’s Friday again and I’m excited for the weekend. I’m excited to get to spend some QT with Jim getting stuff done here at the house. I feel like I barely see him during the week. I’m hoping the weather outside is good for yard work. We have a ton of fall cleanup to do. It’s just one of those things about fall I do enjoy. That and sitting and sipping a hot cup of coffee or some latte. Oh my my.. my brain is a one track mind sometimes. ☕️

I’m sticking to my resolve today though. I need to prove to myself that my willpower still exists. That I can have the same kind of resolve that I did years ago when I’m put my mind to something. I kinda want to prove that age is not the cause of my problems. That I can still be like 32 any day of the week if I want to (though I used to say 24). Ha!

Nobody wants to be 24. Ick!! At 24 you’re so young and stupid and you still think you know everything about life. You haven’t been cut to your knees yet by life. And all that misery is still in your future. No thanks.

My misery is behind me now and I’m just gonna say “no thanks” when life offers me more (I know it will). Come to think of it, most of my worst adult misery was between the ages of 32 and 44 so perhaps I don’t want to be 32 either. 🤔

Today my goal is to submit a set of poems to a publication and do some revising of some new stuff and get back on my exercise game. Tonight there’s a poetry reading at Kaneko and I’m planning to go to that too. Plus.. at least 1 other thing on my October to-do list.

That’s it! Times up. Thanks for playing along.

Cheers to the Weekend,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-09-18 Words.. The Lost and Found Edition

When I was at residency I had a flood of words to work with. It’s always an interesting experiment in immersion and the impulse of spontaneous thought lingers for a while after I return home. This time around I was given an extra push and had some strong emotion to propel me forward and keep the words coming.

Now, miles away from that and approaching the halfway point in the term (yes already), the impulse is gone, the topic seems to have exhausted itself and though I know I have a few more in me, they just won’t come. It’s been blurred with all the assignments with the other class I’m taking which is moving way too fast for my taste.

Yesterday I did some reading and some critical writing, but it was all starts and stops and so slow going. I also tried to free write but got nada. One line. Ok, I got one damn line. (Btw I don’t think one line is a poem.. perhaps a title.)

I tried to build on that one line and it just never materialized. I mean, you have to have a message or what’s the point? What’s my message? What’s so urgent? Problem is, there’s not a lot that feels urgent right now. Urgent in the sense that I get sometimes when something in me wants out. The post on Monday was a giant shrug and that seems to be the theme for my week.

I guess I’ll just press on, with Mario at the wheel, reading and critical thinking and attempting these assignments. What else is a girl to do?

In other related news, we did an exercise in class where we were put in groups and told to behave like we were editors of a new literary publication. We had to choose our genre/theme and the title of our mag and then review poems anonymously submitted by our classmates. We had to choose the one that was a good fit for our genre, the one we would accept. It was an interesting exercise that consumed a lot of class time.

One of the groups came up with the name “Pumpkin Spice Confessions” which was advertised as “basic bitch” poetry appealing to the masses. They chose my poem. Ha!! I mean, an acceptance is still an acceptance no matter what the pub is right?! And believe me, I know my poetry is pretty basic.

I’ll never be like any of these great writers I’m reading. Just now I wrote “I don’t have a traumatic childhood”, then erased it because, well, yes I do. I would say I’ve never been in an abusive relationship, but I have. I might confess that I’m just a layer of motz cheese on top of a pizza with nothing underneath, but yo! I got spicy pepperoni and artichoke hearts and red onions and some savory tomato sauce. Yeah. That.

Or maybe I’m just hungry because I’m starving myself to fit into a heavy white dress. It’s not white though.. it’s ivory because you really only get one shot at white and that was wasted, because I was already wasted at 19.

I was already rehearsing lines of white pages, a script handed to me before I could read. I toddling tot with my baton in a purple sequin leotard, with matching skirt.

My mom pierced my ears before I could talk. It was a botched job by a family friend that left me with puss filled ears my entire childhood. And you know that line in the script, “if at first you don’t succeed”, when I was finally healed we tried again.

On my wedding day I wore pearl white earrings that belonged to my paternal great-grandmother. Something old.

I followed all the instructions in the brigade handbook, a recipe book with clear descriptions of ingredients and exact measurements. Recommended Process and procedure for best results.

36-24-36

I checked again this morning, my numbers haven’t changed.

***

Ok.. that went somewhere weird. But, that’s just Luigi stretching and flexing.

I really need to do Jazzercise today.. I haven’t gotten to it at all yet this week. And for clarification, it’s not needed for the aforementioned numbers, but is needed to get my heart pumping, and because dance, and also… the current theory is that the free-weights and activity are helping with my tennis elbow situation.

More on that soon I hope. Until then..

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-09-16 Just Shrugging Along

Monday again and I had class which felt really long today. We finished a class exercise we started last week and it took 77 minutes. I didn’t count .. the prof was apparently keeping track. It makes me realize these things are sometimes just as tedious (or more so) for the person dreaming up, conducting discussions about, and then grading assignments. There’s a teeny-tiny fraction of a percent in me that thinks that would be good, fulfilling work. Working with aspiring writers. Watching them grow and flower. The rest of me is like.. “nope”.

If I ever become a teacher I think middle school would be my main Jam. Fresh minds who need to be introduced. Not jaded human beings who have already suffered enough to want to write through their pain. I dunno. /shrug

Anyway.. class was ok and I happily turned in my poems and reading response and feel good about that. Rewind one hot minute Before that and next week’s assignment was passed around. This weekly class thing, yeah, I remember how this works. Kinda. I’ve been spoiled by a program with big deliverables and deadlines but a lot of time in between to work with. We have to be good at time management (which is sometimes a problem for me because of procrastination), but I can crank it out if I need to. /shrug

Monday again and the kids are back and I’m catching up on the parenting thing, checking grades and trying to cook a meal. My Son is already struggling and I went to bat for him convincing the powers that be that he can do well if he’s motivated. He said he wanted to take AP World History. “It’s one of the toughest classes at the high school”, I said to him.

He said “I know, I can do it”. I want very much for him to be right. I want him to show them what I already know.. that he’s a very intelligent. He has a logical, and strategic mind. He’s got a huge capacity for vocabulary and great reading comprehension. He just needs to be interested or he shuts off. Now I know life doesn’t hand you “interesting” on a silver platter calling it your life. Nope. But in this one case I’m hoping he’s not all talk and no action. What’s a mom to do? /shrug

My darling daughter had a baby sitting gig this evening and I had about 10 whole minutes to figure dinner out (because of unexpected traffic after class) and I said “chicken in a skillet and Mac and cheese?”. She said “no”.

I said “pizza rolls?” She said “ok”. I made pizza rolls in the toaster oven (and started the chicken and Mac for C and I). When she came down the stairs she looked at the plate with a frown, “I’m not eating that and I don’t have time anyway”. She grabbed a package of pop tarts and went out the door. Grrrrr.

The pizza rolls were offered to every other human in the house and it was a big fat round of “no”s. Fine. Whatever.

I ate 3 to spite them and dumped the other 9 in the trash. /Shrug

I mean none of the things on the menu tonight were very healthy. I admit it. I didn’t go to the grocery store today for supplies. I’ll go tomorrow. /shrug

What else is there? (I’m doing an hour on the treadmill tonight to make up for the lack of exercise I did today, my butt in a chair most of the day). I dunno. Work maybe? There’s been a flare-up in the last few weeks and right now it feels like the hours I’ve put in are pro-bono. There no bucket to log my time and I know how this goes. We gotta our in some work and then if the project gets picked up for real, then it will be billable.

What can I say? I’m on the bench right now and they are still covering my health insurance. So I kinda feel like I owe my employer anyway, for keeping me on and covered. So I do the requested tasks, which are all not too difficult, and see where it leads. /shrug

Speaking of health insurance. My kids still don’t have any. And my ex is ignoring my requests to help pay. He’s a total ass-hat and I’m going through paperwork which is super painful with the DHHS and the hospital. I hate hate hate it! I don’t want to think about that or it will pull me from my /shrug down to mind on fire driving a burning stake straight through his left eyeball. Nobody wants that.

Simmer down.

Simmer down.

/shrug

That’s better.

I’m on a new sleeping plan prescribed by my fiancé. We are, one thing at a time, eliminating factors that impact our sleep negatively to try and find the thing that’s going to help improve the situation.

Step 1: Remove the cats from the bedroom area. No more walking back and forth all night, taking baths right by my ear, and sleeping with their fluffy bits in my face.

Step 2: Stop drinking water several hours before bed to reduce waking up to go. Yes, we’re old. Whatever.

Step 3: Use a noise app to generate white noise. Not sure why that’s a thing but I know lots of people who can’t sleep if it’s too quiet.

Step 4: Reduce caffeine intake. Oh, this! We’ll see. Never really been successful trying to do this. Willpower = weak sauce. More on that in another post soon I am sure. Maybe /shrug

Fitbit now has a “sleep score” and even if you get like 8 hours, it can still be poor. Though I’m sure duration is a factor in that score. So all of my nights of sleep are “fair”, not good. Good would be my new goal though hitting my last goal, 7 solid hours was a dream realized only for a short time before it tanked again. Makes me think my issues are chronic and or age related.

Yet, Jim is hopeful this will work for me so I have to have a little faith too. Still… /shrug

Times up! Time to shrug my way into pajamas and onto the couch.

Xoxo,

~Miss SugarCookie