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

2019-10-04 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

2019-09-16 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

2019-08-20 How Much is Enough?

How many things can I cross off my list? How many things do I need to cross off to feel as if I’m doing enough? That I’ve done enough? Enough for what?

To earn my keep here?

To feel like I’ve actually accomplished something substantial and worthwhile?

To earn some reward or rest or treating myself to something selfish?

Don’t get me wrong, I spend plenty of time on selfish pursuits. But if the joy is not in them, then there must be something wrong. Right?

Between yesterday and today I’ve crossed almost every task I’ve written down. All but 1, and I have it in my mind to get that done before Friday. Roll into the weekend easy.

Sometime today I talked myself out of throwing a “dog days of summer” party on Saturday and that released me from the responsibility of doing about 4 things on my list, including extending invitations for the shindig. I told Jim at lunch and he said he was not surprised about that. I procrastinated the invites and that means I was still very much on the fence about it.

I got the idea after our last party which was, as it always is, a family affair and it was about 25 relatives from his side and a big fat zero from mine. Nothing like feeling like I’m alone on an island, albeit a beautiful one. I decided we would have a party and invite friends instead. But, as I said, I drug my feet on it until it seemed more a chore than anything else. Cleaning and preparing for guests and such involves a level of effort I just lost the heart to take on.

I’m supposed to go wedding dress shopping again tonight and my heart is not in that either. Whatever. I’m just feeling unsatisfied and I’m not sure how to fix it, and it’s only Tuesday.

And while we are on the subject of me being a spoiled brat and not satisfied with anything with nothing real to complain about.. my arm hurts. Damn it, it sucks to get old.

Jim just says “call the ortho”. That’s right. Get a shot, take a pill, rub some creme on it. So you say you are exhausted every day by 10am and not sleeping? Here’s a prescription for Xanax and we can try again with that hormone replacement therapy.

We can drain that HSA that nobody is contributing to anymore and we’ll worry about the fact that the kids still don’t have health insurance when it hits bottom. But all that will be fixed next February when I get married. Because that’s a reason to get married. What about Love?

Maybe I’m just not feeling very loved and appreciated. Maybe I’m not giving enough to get some back. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough.

Again, I ask, how much is enough?

Well this is certainly enough of this blog post. All this complaining.. ain’t nobody got time for that.

Peace and love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-08-15 Nightmares and the Spoken Poem

I don’t have much to muse about today. I could ponder longer the nightmare that I had last night which was super creepy but I kinda don’t want it to linger any longer than necessary. What was interesting was that I was having trouble falling asleep and at about midnight I got up and went upstairs to grab my phone off the charger where I keep it overnight (I don’t usually keep it by my bed anymore .. to tempt me into distractions). I brought it down to put the noise app on thinking that might help with my sleep.

Last I checked my Fitbit the time was 12:10. Incredibly I was stirred awake less than half an hour later by the aforementioned nightmare. I woke up and looked at my Fitbit and it was 12:38. That means that I fell asleep and fell into REM sleep and had a dream all in like 25 minutes. Who knows how long dreams actually last but it felt like a long sequence. It makes me wonder if we dream in fast motion. Is our brain playing out a scene that in real life would take 10 minutes in like 1 or 2?

I don’t have much insight from the Fitbit app interpretation of my sleep cycles other than the confirmation that I was in REM around that time. I also had a spike in heart rate which is another stat that is tracked. I’m like, no shit, that dream was terrifying, no wonder my HR was elevated. It was one of those that was so real so when you wake you’re all like over the top grateful that it was a dream. Why does our brain make nightmares. What is THAT about anyway?

***

Today the kids are back in school and I have the whole day to work on reading and writing. After my morning walk and Jazzercise, I’m gonna get down into it.

Tonight there is another poetry reading I want to attend. I know two of the readers, sort of, and am interested in hearing them read. I find that some poems are better read on the page and some are better heard out loud. I can definitely say that I’ve written a few that I think really suck on the page but with a little performance they kind of “pop”.

I enjoy slam poetry events too but sometimes I feel like the poems all end up sounding the same. Same topics, same drama, same voice. People don’t slam about their gardens and actual love poems are rare. It seems to be that slam poems and the rest of the written discourse doesn’t intersect very much. Perhaps that’s just a green assessment from someone with fairly limited exposure.

Whatever.

That’s all I got today..Time to Jam.

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-07-16 MFA Res Day 3 – The Floodgates are Open

Yes, the floodgates are open now and it’s serious. They mean serious business. I’m seriously serious and afraid for my safety and sanity. I’m not being overly dramatic, I’m being… serious.

Typically I would try to provide a brief synopsis of thought and feeling about the prior day, wrapping It with some overarching theme and providing some highlights that seemed especially vivid and moving for me personally, but I can’t do that this time because there is much to much and frankly, I’m dealing with the situation where it feels like day 3 has not actually ended yet.

The lack of sleep is STARTING to get to me. It’s got me. Now, just the facts ma’am, please. Ive been here five nights and in chronological order here are the stats…

Friday – 5 hours and 4 minutes

Saturday – 6 hours and 1 minute

Sunday – 4 hours and 46 minutes

Monday – 4 hours and 54 minutes

Tuesday (today) – 3 hours and 20 minutes.

It’s a problem I am not sure how to solve it. I’m self medicating but it’s not helping. A bit of foreshadowing here, I’m planning to drive home tonight and sleep in my own bed and before that (as of this moment), praying for rain so our morning outdoor group activity today will be cancelled. I need a break and I suspect I am not the only one. I need to take care of myself, and be selfish, and I suspect I am not the only one.

On the opposite side of that coin is the wealth of ideas and musings that I have been able to capture thus far. Yesterday was the best day for that yet, generatively speaking. I came into residency somewhat terrified of my 3rd term craft paper and now, I’m genuinely excited about it and enthusiastic to get that party going. I have tons of thoughts and they just keep coming. A very real flood of words. The waters are rising as I type this.

Yesterday our mentor preference forms were due and the outcome of the pairings was revealed before the evening faculty readings. I had to try very hard to not flaunt my enthusiasm about the result. I’m living that charmed life right now and the universe is giving me exactly what I want and need at the same time. I’m very much looking forward to see how this story unfolds and, in a way, all of that was akin to storm clouds brewing preparing to provide the downpour that is now occurring.

(Both literally and figuratively now. My foreshadowing of actual rain has already begin and I can hear the beating of tiny drums on the roof above me. I’m on the 4th and top floor of the lodge).

After the “big reveal” last night, we went right into the reading, which was a line up of four incredibly talented faculty members. These readings are always one of my favorite parts. You get to sit and listen to brilliance and let go of any self-expectations and responsibilities. We had a play-write, a poet, a short story guru (who read poetry), and a visiting faculty member who I had not met until workshop today and didn’t actually get to listen to because of the 3rd reader.

His subject matter and content hit me so hard, I wept openly during the reading and had to leave the room directly after to try and compose myself for the thing I had going on after the readings (volunteering to help in the bookstore). It came over me like a freight train and I didn’t try to stop it. I felt gross with all the stuff pouring out of my nose and eyes and managed as well as I could without a tissue. I can’t elaborate on the subject matter of the reading. Not right now anyway.

After that I got my act together and did the bookstore thing. That was followed by a walk to the basketball court with an enthusiastic group of folks hungry for a game. For me, this meant standing around talking with some other folks and cheering when someone made a basket or jeering some foul play. There was an issue with the lights and the game was much abbreviated.

Back at the lodge, a round of drinks and waters was secured and we gathered around the lobby area for conversation. Also great. I returned to my room close to 11:30 pm completely exhausted thinking I was going to fall into a deep sleep. I was wrong. I had taken a Tylenol for a slight headache earlier and seriously thought I had taken the wrong thing or something else because I had this giddy, medicine-head thing going on. I wondered enough about it that I googled it and as it turns out, it was just Tylenol and nothing else. That’s just how tired I was/am.

I could not fall asleep. I took a half a Xanax at 12:30. I woke up at 3:30M and thought and wrote and tossed and turned and through and wrote some more. I took another half and still did not sleep. It had zero affect. In short, I’m fucked up for doing anything today. That is why I am praying that this rain continues long enough our morning excursion is cancelled. Please, please, please. That’s selfish. I hope it stops raining and I muster the guts to just bow out even though I’m supposed to one of the carpool drivers.

I need to eat breakfast soon. I skipped dinner last night, trying to get some rest and avoiding the dining room experience (ordering from the menu takes an eternity to play out). I may be full of words and inspiration but the physical me is empty now. That requires a solution before anything else.

When it Rains.. it Sometimes Pours,

~Miss SugarCookie