2021-03-23 Radom Rant Tuesday 😒

What’s that saying again?..  If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. 

Yeah. That. 

In my own head I’m bitchy and constantly venting about all irritations, big and small. It’s everything and everyone and I’m not sure what I have to do to get myself out of this mood. Make no mistake, I get that nobody is going to be able to do it but me. I’m responsible, I know, but I’m just not sure what to do.

The problem is that I’m just on the edge and everything is setting me off. Not just other people, but also me, myself, and I. 

Yesterday morning I stepped on the scale and when I saw the number I pointed down at the display and called the scale an asshole. It’s probably the drinking. And eating too of course. I think I’m self medicating with food and alcohol. 

Every morning I resolve to make today different and better, but as the day rolls along all I can think about is what I want to eat for lunch and dinner and how good that glass of wine or vodka lemonade will be. Whatever.

Unfortunately the very nature of this blog being a stream of consciousness, what often comes out is all that negativity. Like the fact that my mom, who never did much for me in my life can’t even say “good morning” or even just “hi” before she reminds me she needs shoes and asks what time I’m going to be at the hospital. 

Her insistence and persistence and lack of gratitude or tact is really starting to get to me. I think about what it would be like if the situation were reversed and know that I would be extremely grateful for any one helping even to the smallest degree. And she has said “thank you” a few times but the lion’s share of the words coming out of her mouth are just so demanding.

Yesterday she was so put off by the fact that they did not bring her lemon for her iced tea on her lunch tray. And that’s all she could think about or talk about for 45 minutes. 

She’s driving me nuts. There I said it. Now can I just move on? 

No. Probably not. I mean.. it’s only going to get worse when she goes home and then we’re up against 6+ months of chemo and more surgery.

Yesterday I didn’t make it to my treadmill and didn’t get my steps and that makes me grumpy too. I’m taking trazodone to help me sleep and can’t seem to get the dose right. It’s either not enough and I still wake up and can’t sleep or it’s too much and I feel super groggy and don’t want to face the day. 

Today I felt groggy. And it’s super overcast and pouring rain so it’s really dark. When I got home from being mom taxi, I just wanted to go back to bed. But i knew if I did that, I wouldn’t have enough time to do all the tasks I didn’t get done yesterday like grocery shopping and dishes and laundry. 

Today I have the added task of putting together my reading for tonight and practicing at least once to make sure I hit the mark for the time limit. It’s a thing I want to do.. reading in public because I need the practice.. but my heart is just not in it. I have some new-ish poems that need more work before they will be ready to share or submit for publication and I have just had no desire to work on revision lately.

So the reading tonight is mostly (all) of what I’ve read before during my MFA program. And also mostly poems that have either been published or will be in my forthcoming book. Perhaps that seems like a good approach since I have confidence in those already. 

Mom indicated she was interested in tuning into the reading. We’ll see. I’ve got the link now and can share with anyone interested in hearing from 6 people giving readings. I’m last on the list. That makes me the “headliner” right??!! 🤣

In other poetry news.. I received the timeline for my book and that process apparently takes a long time. It won’t be ready for pre-sale/pre-release until November. I guess that will give me plenty of time to get my act together for self-promotion. Hell… I still need to get them a clean copy with all the extra stuff they need for production. Like pictures, bios, blurbs, inside and outside art. I should be all over that stuff but my heart’s not in that either.

See, there must be something wrong with me. Good grief. 

All I’m really looking forward to today is eating. I’m thinking about food all the time. Well.. and watching mindless TV sounds kind of appealing too. I kind of want to veg out on the couch with a pizza and watch the bachelorette. But I can’t. I’ve got work to do. 

And I’ve got to get started on all that right about now. 

I Don’t Want to Do Today, 😒

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-21 Questions of Life and Death

I guess it’s been a few days. I guess that’s what happens when life gets busy. I feel like I complain a lot about not ever having enough time but then something happens and I have even less time. I guess that’s the nature of life. Experiences that are constantly teaching you that you don’t really know Jack about life.

As of today my mom has been in the hospital for 10 days and she’s probably got 3 or 4 to go. I’m the designated visitor (at the Med Center you can only have one) and I’ve been to see her everyday. It’s fine, but I’m kinda tired of my new routine and am really looking forward to her discharge. 

She is making good progress improving but still needs so much help from the staff I can see that after discharge is when the real work will begin for those of us who will be her home care team. At least once she gets home she can have as many visitors as she wants. And I’m sure I’ll be able to get a break when my youngest sister comes home to help. 

My brother has made no mention of trying to come home for anything. I might be harboring some resentment towards him for that. But whatever. 

In embracing my new routine I’ve had no problem letting go of a few of the household tasks I typically have high standards for. I’m letting the kitchen go a little and litter boxes don’t need scooping daily. The cats will live. And if the other humans don’t like it, they can do something about it their damn selves. 

It’s Sunday and I spent some time checking my stats though I suppose that’s another thing I have let go thinking about most of the week. I didn’t write anything in my planner and there have been no to-do lists so the only stats I can collect are those from my FitBit and phone. 

My exercise is solid and sleep has been average thanks to the Trazidone. My new screen time goals feel unachievable and it’s not the social media interaction that’s the problem.. it’s text messaging. And that’s kind of unavoidable. However, I might do a full court press on that after my mom gets discharged. 

She “sat me down” yesterday to tell me that she’s decided to fight the cancer and wants to see her life extend beyond this next year. This might seem like a no-brainer but for her it’s counter to what she’s always thought about decisions like this.

For years she’s said that if she got this old she wouldn’t put herself through any extensive life saving measures. That she would just let go and let whatever it is take her naturally. I know this because she’s told all of us that several times, especially after watching her own mom pass away. 

This issue, though, came on so suddenly and she was in so much pain that she just went along with what the doctors and hospitals were doing and telling her she needed. She said she was caught between a rock and hard place and didn’t really have a choice. Now that her primary pain causing issue is on the mend, she’s facing a different predicament and 6 months of chemo and more surgery.

The way she sees it is that she does have more of a choice now. She can just go home and let the cancer spread and take her or she can fight it. So the conversation yesterday with her decision to fight is a big deal to her. 

I told her years ago I would support any decisions she would make. I still do. I haven’t verbally said that lately because I didn’t want that to influence her in any way. I mean, I can’t imagine saying to her now “if you want to die, I’m ok with that.” It’s got to be her decision alone. 

Instead of verbalizing my support of her decision I’ve just been trying to remind her of all the things she loves about life. And when she started talking about traveling and putting her toes in sand and doing things like walking out in the rain, I’ve been encouraging her. 

I might have even promised to take her to New York City. The Universe only knows if that will ever come to pass, but if it kept her thinking about living instead of dying, that’s ok. 

If I’m being honest, I don’t know if there’s anything that can repair how I feel about our relationship or her. I’ve lived my entire life feeling like my parents did a crappy job at being parents. I’ve held a lot of resentment towards both of them about how alone and invisible I was as a kid. I feel like my moms part in that was because she’s so selfish and made so many selfish choices. Some of which had a direct hand in the trajectory of my adult life.

I suppose that’s what makes her current “demanding” behavior harder to take. She’s particular and begun taking really well to the attention and immediate reactions to her “calls.” Those poor nurses probably can’t wait until she gets discharged either.

Most of what I’m doing I’m definitely doing out of obligation and my desire to “do the right things.” Of course I can’t tell her how I really feel. Not while she’s contemplating living or dying. 

I’m not sure how this will play out or if the extra time I spend with her can heal my old wounds. I really doubt it. I just keep thinking it will all get easier when my sister comes home. We’ll see. 

I’ve been walking about an hour and have to get going with all the Sunday things. 

With peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-07 Checking It and (Mostly) Not Wrecking It ❤️💤☯️ ✔️✔️✔️

It’s Sunday again and I’m up early and checking my stats. I changed things up for the month of March so this is my first week evaluating new measures. 

For exercise I’m still keeping tabs on my step count but also trying to improve my heart function by making sure I get some good cardio in. I had no idea what to expect for my heart rate with certain activities so I set my goal for this first week at 15 minutes a day in the “cardio” zone. 

Cardio zone for a woman my age starts at 121 beats per minute and apparently that’s not as easy to achieve with my normal routine. I can’t seem to walk fast enough on the treadmill to get there (no surprising I suppose) and I’d have to kick it up to a jog. Gross! 

I went to a few weight training classes this week and that doesn’t do it either. Again, not surprising as that’s not a cardio activity, Then on Friday I went to a “Turbo Kick” class and it literally kicked my ass. Yes, I got 44 minutes of cardio that day but I also almost died. Good gravy! 

I also achieved 1 minute in the “peak” zone during that class which is anything above 147. There’s got to be a happy medium. I just need to find an activity that gets me right to 125 and doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to puke or pass out. 

Another discovery this with addition of cardio this week is that all the sports bras I used to use for Jazzercise no longer fit my body. They are all too tight and I think that between being less active during the pandemic and stress eating and also just enjoying life as a married woman, I’ve gained some pounds. Sadly it’s not my cup size that has gone up but my circumference. I mean.. you don’t put weight on in your boobs. It’s underarms and back fat I’m talking about. And one might say it could be muscle but I’m 100% certain it’s not. The conclusion of that little tangent is that I’ve got to shop for a few new articles of clothing. 

Anyway so that’s the cardio story this week and now I’m determine what I need to do or adjust to improve. I did hit my target 3 of 7 days so I think just sticking with 15 minutes and aiming for like 5 of 7 would be good. I think it will be easier now that I know what activities work. 

This week I also changed my sleep measurement to include going to bed (sleep) before 10:00. The FitBit records when I fall asleep. So I’m banking on the fact that when I go to bed I’ll fall asleep right away which is almost always true for me. I achieved that goal 4 nights out of 7 but for overall sleep goal only 3 of 7. The check and balance is seeing if going to bed earlier actually improves my overall sleep score. 

I’d like to adjust the goals a little differently for the weekends because I’d actually like to get to a place I can stay up late and sleep in more, so figuring out a way I can factor in later bed times for Friday and Saturday and still hit a certain goal. As it is with most things I’m like.. it’s a work in progress. 

I still haven’t been meditating like I’d like. I even set a timer to remind me every day to stop what I’m doing and meditate. That was an absolute fail as I just dismissed the alarm EVERY SINGLE TIME. I’d say.. “I just have to finish this task and then I’ll meditate.” Then I finish and forget and rush off to do something else. I’m gonna try to do better this week. I really am. 🤞 

The other thing I added this week was screen time including duration on “social networking.” I set the goal at less than 2.5 hours of screen time and less than 30 minutes of social. For screen time I achieved my goal 5 of 7 days and for social 3 of 7. 

“Social networking” is in quotes because Apple includes text messaging in this stat. I don’t necessarily agree with this because texting is mostly just communication with my loved ones. Last Sunday for example, I didn’t meet my goal because I logged 1 hour of social time yet 56 minutes of that was texting and 4 was Facebook. So to really set a true measure I’d have to look at each day and set a different goal for messaging versus everything else. 

Frankly that’s too much work and I’m going to just try to stretch my goal this week to under 25 minutes and then just not text as much. I’m also stretching my overall daily screen time goal to less than 2 hours and 15 minutes. We’ll see. 

Today is going to be tough because I’ve already been looking at stats and typing for almost 2 hours. I’m going to wrap soon and then hopefully put my phone away for most of the day. Again, we’ll see.

I think that really is it for today. That’s enough right?! 

Cheers to the Change Up,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-02 In Like a Lamb?!… 🐑🔜🦁

March.. I think the saying is supposed to be “In like a lion and out like a lamb.” 

***

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the weather folklore stems from ancestral beliefs in balance, meaning if the weather at the start of the month was bad (like a roaring lion), the month should end with good weather (gentle, like a lamb).

***

But what happens when March marches onto the scene like a gentle lamb? It’s Nebraska round here people and let me just tell you, when there’s not a lot going on (and there is often not) we get giddy talking about the weather. The buzz around town right now is about the potential for the temperature to break into the 60s and I’m just as excited as the next person. The 10 day extended forecast looks balls-out amazing and it fills me with joy thinking about the opportunities to get outside. 

But Again I ask, what happens after that? If the old farmers almanac saying is about balance, does that mean we’re in for trouble toward the end of the month? And should we forget so quickly that our beloved (and sometimes hated) furry friend Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on February 2nd securing the prediction of six more weeks of winter? 

Incidentally when I decided to get married on February 2nd. And mark my words… I am the one who decided and didn’t entertain much discussion about it. When I came up with that date, the fact that it was Groundhog Day (or the Super Bowl) didn’t even enter my mind. Now it’s a pretty good joke. I’m still happy with my decision even if that means I have to share my special day with a woodchuck with an over-inflated ego. I digress.

The change in the weather has the distinct ability to change people’s moods. I know I’m not alone in this. The drone of life through winter in the Midwest is long and boring. Endless strings of cold and overcast days can cause even the most positive and energetic human to feel as though hibernation is a good option. Though this might be good for Netflix and Hulu and Sling (Disney Plus, Apple TV, and Amazon.. good grief!).. it is NOT good for the human psyche and soul. 

The bright sunshine and it’s warmth are essential for fulfillment. I mean, obvi a person can survive without it, but it becomes tough to get to a place of positive energy and enlightenment. Seasonal depression is a real thing and there’s a reason Seattle, as hip as it is, is also kind of a depressing. 

I’ve visited Seattle twice and both times felt very “meh” about the town. And that’s after going to some really cool places! It just feels so monotone. Perhaps I was just there on grey days, but I think they have a lot of those.

***

I’m looking forward to today despite another 4:30am wake up. I said to Jim at the breakfast table this morning, “i don’t know what’s different between yesterday and today, but today just feels like it’s going to be good.” Can it really be the weather? 

As of right now everyone else is either at school or work and I have the house to myself. I’m finally catching up with myself in regards to the to-do list and don’t feel too pressed about deadlines. I received more feedback late yesterday from the publisher who will be publishing my debut chapbook. It wasn’t from my assigned editor so I think I must have submitted with the option to request feedback. 

Strange to get feedback after they’ve already accepted it. It was written as if the person wasn’t aware it had been accepted. Maybe this is just a larger publishing company and my manuscript is just being pushed around different channels based on how I submitted it. Who knows what happens behind the scenes?? 🤷‍♀️

I now also have the official contract in my hot little inbox just waiting for me to have the time to really read it thoroughly. I would like to give myself an hour where I will be completely free of distraction. Today would probably be the perfect day for that. It will also help me keep the positive mood going as thinking about this book is starting to really sink in and I’m over my anxiety and getting excited about it.

I still haven’t told too many folks about it. A handful really but I think after the contract goes through and it’s “official” I’ll begin being more public about it. Not that the money matters beans to me but the presale numbers dictate the percentage I’ll collect on the deal. I mean to say, money matters, but I never expected to make anything from “selling” poems or books. 

Thus far in my poetry career I’ve collected exactly $110 and that’s a fraction of what I’ve spent on submissions. If this poetry game we’re offered at a casino, the odds are so bad nobody would play. 😜

When I quit my job I had a few friends comment “now I could give my life to poetry.” How true.

I’m giving poetry my time, money, and effort (measured in brain cycles). Not to mention my heart and soul through the words on the page. When I said “take all of me poetry” it seems as though poetry was listening and decided to take me up on the offer. 

Ok. That’s enough of that. One more comment and then I have to git. 

I’m working with a new set of metrics this week to measure how I’m doing with certain health goals. Sunday I busted my ass to get 30 minutes of cardio in on the bike and apparently my heart rate never reached the “cardio” threshold. I clocked a ton of time in the “fat burn” zone according to FitBit. What the hell??!! Thanks FitBit. 

So now I’m spending cycles figuring out what activities get me into that cardio zone (above 121 bpm). Yesterday it was walking really fast on the treadmill, which is slightly less like hell than jogging. I think Jazzercise would do it, but I’m not doing that yet. I’ve thought about classes at the gym. That would essentially be something I could do without shelling out loads of cash because classes are free with my membership, 

Anyhow. We’ll see how this week goes. 

Cheers to the anti-taco Tuesday,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-28 Looking Back to Improve the Future… 🗓 ✅🚫⏰

It’s the last day of the month and the last day of the week AND the last day of my little experiment to untether myself from my phone. You know what that means? It’s time for the ultimate Sunday status. 

First off.. I’ve already been analyzing “stats” for about 50 minutes of today’s walk so either I’m gonna keep walking and get a huge boost on my steps today or this post is going to be super short. 

My update is also going to be a little skewed this week cuz I did try to disconnect from my phone and normal routine to see what affect that would have on my mood and outlook on life. 

This means I did not check my steps or sleep or anything else all week and did not keep track of meditation or eating habits. I just let it all go for a week. I didn’t have a FitBit in 2006 so I treated this past week as if I still didn’t. However, I still wore the FitBit so it could collect the stats anyhow. Why? Just cuz. 😜

Syncing this morning it appears that there are no surprises. Aside from the addition of exercise classes this week, my steps remained about the same and my sleep did not deviate from the norm. 

Those are the only two categories I have definitive results on. As I said the others weren’t tracked and are largely subjective anyhow. 

Moving on to the the results of my little experiment to bring 2006 back…. all things considered I would say it was kind of an epic fail. I suppose I did a fine job leaving my phone alone for the most part and embraced limiting my checking of email like a champ. I’m already a minimalist when it comes to Facebook and twitter and insta so it was easy to not open those apps all week.

In short, all things that are naturally easy were easy. The more challenging areas are responding to text messages and I came to conclude that I wasn’t going to be able to give up this daily blog. It’s the main activity that boosts my screen time each day. And that didn’t change this past week. 

My daily average screen time last week was 2 hours and 27 minutes (down 32% from the previous week). The previous week was about an hour longer. The devil, of course, is in the details. I can look at the apps and categories (productivity, social networking, and creativity) and see where my time is being spent. Very useful.

It looks like the reporting of data collected only goes back 4 weeks so I don’t have long term analytics like I do with FitBit, but it’s enough to analyze my week last week and perhaps set new goals. I’m not inclined to try and limit my productivity (this) but can definitely set a goal around “social networking.” 

I find it interesting that the messaging app is categorized as social networking along with Facebook and Twitter. I dig digging into this data and am already developing a new set of metrics and goals. I just can’t help myself. 🤣

***

Tomorrow is the start of a new month and new week which means an opportunity to start fresh and redefine the goals. Considering my attempts in February (and January too for that matter) fell short, I’m going to try and take a look at things from the new perspectives gained these past few weeks. I’m no longer going to be measuring “success” according to the same scale. Here are the new-new targets:

For sleep, instead of going according to the sleep score or duration, I’m going to be hyper-focused on whe time I go to bed. The goal will be to be in bed by 10pm with about half an hour of wind-down time beforehand. If I’m able to do that, the other stats should validate that it is working. 

I’m removing food and healthy eating from the set list of goals. Instead I’m going to try not to think about it as much. I’m putting the scale away and not imposing any restrictions or trying any fad behaviors. The ultimate objective is to put the focus elsewhere. I spend too much time struggling with the healthy eating puzzle and always seem to fail. Maybe if I let that shit go, I will have more time to work on other mental puzzles. We’ll see.

I’m keeping mood and meditation for now, but added an daily alarm on my phone to stop what I’m doing immediately and meditate. We’ll see how that goes too. 

As for the screen time and dependency on technology.. my new goals are to keep daily screen time down under 2.5 hours a day AND not more than 30 minutes on social stuff (remember that includes messaging). To support this I’m going to continue to keep my phone at a distance, both overnight and during the day. At least that part of what I did last week seems as though it would be easy to adopt more permanently. 

I’m not really changing my expectations for steps but adding 20 minutes of cardio as another check. The classes will help and I’m going to look into what cardio classes my gym offers. The strength training I started this week is great, but I’m really missing Jazzercise or some other form of cardio. If all else fails, I could always just bike here at home. 

I’ve actually switched to the bike now. I’ve perfected walking and typing at the same time and so this is a test of biking and typing. 

I think that’s the end of the changes for this week. Am I ready for a new week? Am I ready for March? Yes and no. 

Ready or not though.. time waits for no one.

Cheers to Healthy Living (and Analytics),

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-27 Three Days Rolled into One

Yesterday felt like two or three days long. Waking up just past two and milling about in the middle of the night and eventually meeting with the normal morning routine felt like day 1. Day 2 was going to a yoga class and returning home to house chores and a bunch of stuff for the GLR well into the afternoon. Then an unexpected thing happened that altered the trajectory of the day and threw me immediately into a third full day.

In short we scrambled to get our act together enough to make an impromptu road trip to Kansas City. 3 hours to get where we were going. 1 hour to “take care of business” and 3 hours home. When my head hit the pillow at 11pm last night I was asleep almost immediately. Waking up this morning, it feels like it was all a dream. Strange. 

The “business” was the purchase of a new car for Jim. We’ve had repeated trouble with the vehicle he drives (as in stranded twice in the last couple weeks) and that’s just not something he’s keen on happening again. Though we likely have the problem with the Jeep (2001) fixed now, the “experiment” of buying old cars has lost its appeal. He just wanted something that would be reliable. 

Shortly after I moved in with him I gifted my daughter who was 17 at the time my car. It’s a 2012 Prius-C. I also had a “fun” car which was an impulse buy sometime after my divorce. That was a 2004 RX8 which was fun, when it ran. But it was non-operational more than it was operational and taking up a garage space so we sold it. That left me with no car of my own except for the one Jim was leasing when I met him. A Mercedes. It was a great car but I’m just not a Mercedes kind of girl so when the lease was up, I elected to get a Hyundai Kona. It’s a cute little hatchback with all wheel drive when I need it. And I love it.

But Jim was driving old cars. Ones purchased outright with the thought that it would be more economical to just fix them when they break down. In theory this was a good plan, until the breakdowns threw a wrench in this day and that day and pretty quickly he got fed up and started looking for a newer option. He did a lot of research and picked out what he wanted, including options, but there were no cars in the Omaha metro area meeting the specs. So he’s been keeping an eye on surrounding areas, which apparently includes KC. 

Finding that yesterday, he snagged it right up. And they refused to hold it for us overnight to Saturday, hence the impromptu road trip on a Friday afternoon. This of course meant that I had to drive home by myself. You can see how being awake since the early morning that day coupled with no real rest during the day would equate to a big problem driving solo for three hours in the dark at 8pm. It was tough.

We had to stop several times just so I could snap out of my sleepy haze. I could tell Jim felt really terrible, but was also pumping with excitement about his new car. It was cute and annoying at the same time… all the text messages (hands free with apple car play) kept me going but also became irritating because I just wanted to be left alone. When I say that little trip felt like a whole day, I’m not kidding.

He actually felt so bad about it he elected to sleep in a different room last night so that his heavy breathing/snoring would not keep me awake. As a consequence, I slept for about 7.5 hours which was glorious.

I didn’t get out of bed until 8am and that too was amazing. Now I’m walking and working on recovery. Recovery from living those three days as well as the week of hell I put my body through with exercise classes. I’m taking this day as a rest day and going to let my aching muscles heal a little bit. No weights and no heavy cardio. Just walking. 

Having my afternoon and evening hijacked yesterday meant I didn’t get to some of my Friday chores. I didn’t finish washing and drying laundry or the cat grooming or scooping litter boxes. So these are on the agenda today instead. Other than that, I’m gonna take it easy.

I’m thinking about my attempt this week to roll back the calendar to 2006 and formulating thoughts about that little experiment but I think I’ve written enough about cars and stuff so that’s gonna have to wait. 

With that, I’m gonna quit early and get to all that relaxing I’ve promised myself. 

Happy Caturday, 🐱

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-26 Dealing With Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde

I’ve been awake since before 3am. What time I don’t know because I’ve been told looking at the clock is waking up my brain. Ok. So the first time I looked at the clock was about 3:15am. It’s not the light of the clock waking up my brain. I’m pretty sure my brain does that all on its own.

I had a slight headache and think it might be the alcohol consumption from last night. That could have something to do with the not sleeping well. It’s not rocket science, but what came first? The drinking or the poor sleep? No matter.. these are not the thoughts that consume me at 3 and 4 and 5am. Nope.

What is it then? I had a brief conversation with Jim last night where I was lamenting about my thoughts always being consumed with something. In my margarita’d state I described a pac man that was chomping furiously through my mind perpetually consuming my thoughts. I’ve got a limited amount of dots, you know, on the screen everyday and the pac man is always navigating the map of my brain, searching and chomping.. rounding corner after corner, chomping and searching, and eventually all the thoughts have been eaten and the day ends.

What about the ghosts?? 

Yes.. Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde are there. They are there to drive the pac man’s decisions on which way to chomp next. 

Fun fact: Each of the four ghosts in the game has both Japanese and English names. In Japan they started as Fickle, Chaser, Ambusher and Stupid. In my case these alternate names seem more appropriate. Their current personas are defined further as follows… 

Fickle: Always something I can’t decide and am continuously analyzing and weighing options in. Currently this is the question of what to do about my title with the GLR? GLR stands for the Good Life Review and is the online lit mag I founded last year and am currently trying to keep afloat and moving in the right direction. When we first determined the masthead, I gladly accepted the title of “managing editor” and let Ed take the EIC title, but over time this had started to grate on me in ways I could not have predicted. My issues have do with perception, the division of responsibilities-who is doing the work, and traditional patriarchal roles, and also frankly the way Ed throws the title around as if it gives him more authority. Great guy, but I don’t care for that. 

The fickle thoughts I have gravitate between removing the titles completely, and all manner of variation in between. I can’t tell you how much brain power I’ve wasted on thinking about this. That alone drives me kind of batty. We’re still in our first year and have such a small fooorprint or following that it matters not. But it matters to me apparently. 🙄 

Chaser: The endless quest to lose 5 pounds and look better. This is often disguised as attempts to eat healthier or exercise more or detox. It’s an endless chase that never leads to success. Always failure. Always disappointment. And then forgiveness and then beginning again. 

Ambusher: This is the random thing on fire that seems to pop up out of nowhere to hijack my plans. It might be a sink that won’t drain, a car that won’t start, a kid with an F in English, or a show that demands to be binge-watched. They appear randomly and with varying degrees of severity. Whatever it is, it drives pac man in a different direction. 

Right now it’s a one-two-three combo of my sons school performance and feeling like I’m not pulling my weight here at the house PLUS my pending book contract. All will require a lot of effort to resolve or get through and any effort spent may not result in a solution. 

Stupid: Stupid is just stupid. 

No matter what I do, the pac man goes the way he goes. The ghosts pursue. The dots on the map get eaten and the sun goes down. The sun comes back up, there’s a fresh map full of new dots, and it starts again. 

Sometimes, like today, I get a new map before the sun comes up. There I am, lying in the dark and the pac man appears and immediately starts chomping. 

This morning it was the GLR stuff. Not just the title, but also the next release, the social media issues, the website that I’ve failed to update all month, the contest, the promo effort (or lack thereof), the lawyer and nonprofit establishment. All the dots. All the dots. All the dots.

At 4:30am I worked in the GLR website and updated the home page, the masthead, and the sound bites page. I’m going to try EIC on for size and see if that makes me feel any better. Cuz.. you know it’s all about how I feel. 🙄😜

Other than that I was thinking about my lack of sleep and not sleeping because I’m thinking about not sleeping and well… that’s just stupid. Thanks Stupid. 

There you have it folks. My Friday morning in a nutshell.

Cheers to the Weekend,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-21 Sunday Status Funny Money 🐹

It’s Sunday and I’m checking my stats. How did I do meeting my goals? 

For sleep I achieved my goal 6 of 7 nights. 

Healthy eating.. 4 of 7. 

Mood.. 4 of 7.

Meditation.. 2 of 7. 

Exercise.. 6 of 7. 

Most of this looks good but feels a bit like funny money. Like you know how you get paid every two weeks for doing a job and the money is electronically deposited in your bank account and then some other company comes along and takes that coin back out for things like rent, electricity, insurance. It’s like a magic trick. One minute the numbers are there and the next.. Poof.. gone.. It happens automagically. You never actually see the cash, hold it, count it. That’s funny money.

Kinda makes a person feel like a hamster in a wheel. You know, in that metaphor what gives the hamster quality of life? Stopping to eat. Stopping to wee (or woo). And getting pulled out of the cage by the giant 6 year old who lets her run around the bedroom floor for a while. Perhaps getting a lettuce or carrot on these tiny adventures and of course weeing and wooing on the purple rug is the BEST! 

What does this metaphor teach us about life? That we need to maximize our time off the wheel. Cuz pretty soon now, that tiny little pumping heart can’t take anymore and the hamster dies. Poof!.. Just like that. 

I check my stats regularly. I set goals for my self. I’m constantly evaluating myself and my health. I gave up my old hamster wheel last year but I’m still on this one.

My New Years résolution this year was to do less instead of more. To be kind to myself and more forgiving. To meet that end, I backed off on my daily goals. But here we are nearing the end of February and I’m questioning the validity of all this. Like money in the bank, it all becomes numbers and checkmarks on a page. I add them up but they don’t amount to much.

So I backed off on my sleep goal and the result this week is a 6 of 7 instead of 4 of 7. So what? I still feel the same. I still have the same energy issues each day. I don’t get more restful sleep just because I back off on my goal. It just makes me feel better about how I’m doing. But it’s a magic trick. An illusion. 

It’s the same with the other stats. I have my daily step goal, which I reduced from 12k to 10k as a part of my resolution. So today’s calculated 6 of 7 would have been 4 of 7 instead. So what. It doesn’t change anything. And the other measurements are just as suspect. 

I took away “productivity” and replaced it with “mood” and I added one for meditation. Mood is subjective as there are no numbers and this feels more legit. Of all the stats I’m tracking, it feels the most genuine and important. I think that’s because that’s the real goal. To FEEL better. To FEEL healthier. To FEEL like I’m getting the most out of every day. 

Tangentially related is the brain child idea I had this week about inviting 2006 to 2021 and living life for a week the same way I was back then.

No smart phone. No social media. No googling everything or relying on the internet so much. It crossed my mind that 2006 was pre-FitBit too and before I tracked my stats so vigorously. 

It also predates any regular daily writing so my mind is really foggy with how life really was. It might be an interesting exercise to try and mentally recreate a day in the life of Miss SugarCookie in 2006. The first step of course is removing all those things I just mentioned. 

This means (if I go through with it) that I’ll not be keeping stats for as long as the experiment persists. And won’t be mentally tethered to my phone.

Tangentialy related is also the argument I had with my darling daughter last night because I did not have my phone with me when she texted the specifics of what she wanted to eat. I cooked the wrong thing and she refused to eat it and it was so ridiculous. I got so so so angry that she was acting spoiled and ungrateful and she just didn’t get it. Jim said I just needed to make the other thing and remember that she’s sick (one day post vaccine shot and running a fever and in bed all day). So I did. And she didn’t even thank me. Whatever. 

My point is that the people that will be the most affected by this little experiment of mine are those who “expect” things from me or are used to communicating via text. Nobody on FB will miss me because I’m not really on FB anyway. Same for twitter. And since I don’t have a 9 to 5 anymore, there’s nobody who is going to miss me not getting back to them ASAP there.

So today is my day of preparation. Thinking about what it is really going to look like when I pull the trigger on this test. Rolling back to 2006.

Why 2006?

I had to draw a line somewhere, you know, and thinking about what things add value to my life, like that hamster with their brief breaks from the wheel. Eating adds value and so does sleep. It is not a basic need in the pure sense of the word but music is pretty much essential for my daily existence.

If I’m giving up my phone for a week, then I need some other way to get my tunes. I don’t have a working CD player so my original iPod will have to do. I actually looked up the model number and it’s circa 2006. So that’s why. 

No Bluetooth of course so I’ll have to find a wired set of headphones or earbuds. I know I have some somewhere, just have to find them. That part will be easy compared to making my people understand that if they want something from me, they need to ask me in person. How novel. People living in the same house sitting down face to face. 

I think my treadmill time today is past being up. I’m secretly hoping people stay asleep a while longer so I can get more time to myself. We’ll see. 

Next stop.. 2006 and scrapping the stats!

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-06 What’s Got My Brain in a Bunch on a Saturday?

Spoiler alert. This post is a rant about social media. These are my opinions and I’m entitled to them. And I reserve the right to be flawed and change my mind. I’m only human and this could all just be coming from that special place in my brain that I get access to when I’m going cuckoo for coco puffs from lack of sleep.

I’ve got a solid streak of abysmal sleep going. 4 days straight of less than 6 hours and two of those were right around 4 hours total, including last night. 

Jim and Zoey kept me awake until midnight with the thought that perhaps staying up really late could work to force a long, deep sleep. Wrong. 

Good thing today is Saturday and the schedule is more relaxed. Yesterday I was hoping for more work days so I could have the house to myself while everyone else was away, but Saturday is good too. I mean, considering everyone else sleeps in, if I’m up at 5am I have a lot of alone time to do with what I please. 

Right now it’s just me and the cats. What’s in my mind today? Social Media. 

Or rather Social Fucking Media. 

Have I mentioned previously that I hate social media? I must have. It seems unlikely I’ve not had at least one or two raging rants about the evil platforms that have become irritatingly essential for communications on a grand scale. 

You want a little ego boost about your promotion, new relationship, or your kids’ good grades? Facebook has got you. 

You want to share that good hair day, fantastic looking vegan dinner, or your cat looking adorable for the thousandth time? Please consider instagram. 

You need to have a clandestine conversation or share some pictures your mom might not be super proud of? Snapchat is where it’s at.

How about that need to rant about something you feel super passionate about? Rage on in a string of 140 character tweets on Twitter. 

Is video more your style, You-tube it or if it’s under 30 seconds and really funny, maybe Tic-tok would be more appropriate. 

But you can’t just half-ass this. If you want the world to sit up and pay attention you have to grow your followers, curate your feed, and be on and ready to respond at all hours of the day and night. 

Watch out for the pitfalls. Rage on, but be prepared to defend your position. Don’t follow the wrong people or you could give people the wrong impression. And whatever you do, don’t ever appear weak or uncertain or vulnerable. People are interested in definitive options and desire taking sides and swinging dicks for comparison. 

This person has 348K followers so what they say must be treated as gospel, right? But wait.. this person disagrees and they have 779K followers so THEY must be right on. 

That’s enough of that. It’s all nonsense. 

Nonsense aside, if you want to promote something and don’t have a gazillion dollars to spend on ads, there are not a ANY other options. Last time I checked standing on a street corner or town square with a sign doesn’t really cut it anymore. Are there still town squares? Are there city squares? The most trafficked intersection in Omaha is 72nd and Dodge. Could that work? I digress. 

I see folks use social media for self promotion of all sorts all the time. It’s literally the concept Facebook (+ etc.) built their empires on. The Universe revolving around a single individual and spiraling out from one human connecting to dozens, hundreds, thousands, and good gravy millions of others.

The “all about me” sells. We’re so self centered and for love of cheese, so very vain. Humans are visual beings and it makes sense that pictures are better at getting people’s attention but the selfies are eye-roll enduring. Yes, I take them too. I post them too. I’m not special, I’m just saying I hate it. So why do it? 

Great question. I rarely post as I believe the less you post, the more weight/consideration people might give those posts. Like “Miss SugarCookie posted today.. that must be important.”

That’s a bad example because this blog is tweeted almost every day (automatically) but believe it or not, I’m banking on that one-dimensional approach being the reason people gloss over it. Like not noticing something because it’s so regular. For me, it’s just a door. An invitation, if you will, for people who want to read. I digress again. 

I obviously also rarely post because I hate social media. This week Jim and I went out to celebrate our anniversary. He doesn’t like social media either but interestingly enough asked me to post our little celebration to Facebook. I was like “whoa… ….Ok”.

Three days later I finally got around to posting. I posted in the afternoon and was disturbed by how much I checked my phone all afternoon and into the evening for likes and comments. I’m disturbed by my own obsession and also loathe the social etiquette that is paired with posting like this. Responding to every comment and liking them, thanking them. What a freaking time suck. You wanna know what I did for an hour this morning at 5am? By now you can guess. 

That led to looking at more posts and other people’s stuff and that’s one huge rabbit hole. Literally a time warp where I looked away and snap, just like that I’d lost at least an hour of my life. 

I see posts from people who I like and want to root for but it’s exhausting. I see people engaged in self promo for their forthcoming or published writing and think, “i should be doing that.” 

I’ve posted a few times this year about poems being published but mostly I haven’t. I had two more published this week at an online journal for their February issue. I’m pretty sure I haven’t told anyone about this. I promptly did the due diligence to add the details and link  to my personal website, but that was it. 

I’m still struggling with posting about it or not. I suppose that’s a small part of why this topic is on my mind today. Should I post?

The larger part is probably the fact that social media is make or break for the little lit mag I’m managing. And I hate that. If I’m truly committed to this endeavor, which I am, then I have to care, pay attention, and be involved. So that puts me between a rock and a hard place. I have to embrace utilizing something I hate. 

It does make me question why I hate it so much. Could it still be that one time I posted about my broken heart and poured my soul into a poem and that was “liked” by a handful of people. At the same time my little sister posted a picture of her pug wearing booties or some other such nonsense and had 70 likes. Probably each time I recount that story the situation is spun as just a little more dire, but it can’t possibly be just that. 

I think it’s way more likely that I hate Facebook and Twitter because of how easy it is to use and abuse the power of spreading content, including fake-news, misinformation, and hatred. How easy it is to divide people or make them pick sides. And even sicker than that is the algorithms behind the scenes that tailor your feed, collect your info and use that against you. Ads and promoted posts disgust me. And any ass-hat can spread lies and insight violence. Yeah… that’s it. 

There is a flip side and I forget this. This morning I also spent time on my @goodlifelitmag account following a list of good people and organizations. It’s a first step for being more engaged in the “conversation.” Whatever that conversation happens to be in any given moment. It’s also necessary to build an image, and begin shaping people’s perception about what The Good Life Review is.

This is essential and necessary. I know that.. I just don’t have to like it.

Ok.. I’ve been walking for an hour and a half and I have to cut here. Feels unfinished. I have more to say. This could go on and on and much like social media, I just don’t have time for that. 

Happy Caturday, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-05 Where’s Monday When You Need It?

After having slept for only 4 hours the previous night, I could not stay awake past 9pm last night. My sleep was unfortunately once again riddled with tossing and turning and congestion. At 4:30 this AM I gave up and got up (again). Sound familiar?

Despite that nonsense, I was in good spirits and looking forward to today. It only took all week to get to a point where it feels like all the mischief has been managed. Still.. I’m not ready for the weekend. At this point I’d like to have a few more weekdays with everyone else at school and work so I can continue to get stuff done without interruptions. While I love my peeps, they can sometimes be needy and nobody seems to care if the timing of their requests conflict with my own plans. Such is the life of a housewife I guess. 

I remember a conversation around a kitchen table with my then soon-to-be husband’s father who made a comment about my new job as a housewife. I remember how rubbed the wrong way I felt about the use of that term. It felt like an insult somehow. I’m not sure if it’s because the term is somewhat antiquated or perhaps that it implied a less important role. I’ve always been the head of the household, just not used to stepping into a role that’s primarily supportive. 

I’m still struggling with the transition. In some ways I’m happy to have more time to cook and clean, but in other ways this perception that it’s not as important still get to me. And the fact that my own personal endeavors can only get attention once my “primary” duties are taken care of is frustrating. 

This gets at the heart of what some of what’s been bothering me lately. Jim says he wants me to dedicate time each day to my writing but that does not jive with the amount of other things that need to be done. I mean, it’s one thing to say something supportive like that but when the rubber hits the road (and days and weeks pass with zero time spent on writing) it’s clear the words don’t match reality. 

Some of it is on me, for sure. I take on too much and literally filled the full time space I was spending at a regular day job with work on the lit mag before I even quit my job. I quit my job to relieve stress and have more time but somehow that extra time just evaporates each week. 

This week has been a particularly taxing week when it comes to the lit mag. We’re nearing the end of the current reading period and decisions need to made and there was a team meeting along with other intense conversations about how to do better with our mission. It’s all good, just taking a big chunk of time to be completely engaged and a bigger chunk of time to sort through my own thoughts and feelings. 

It’s all good, just time consuming and each day when the “work” day is over (like 3pm) I have to switch gears. Last night it was a provider meeting for Jim that was hosted at our house. That took all I had for about 4 straight hours. And I was exhausted! Then at 8pm, just as I sat down on the couch, my daughter comes down the stairs and asks (expects) me to cook her dinner. I wanted to scream. 

But it’s not her fault. I’m happy to cook. I like to. I was just so tired. I should have asked her to do it herself but I already carry so much guilt for saying no to so many things over the years. So many sacrifices because of my job and needing that stupid paycheck. “Sorry darlin, I cant right now because I have a meeting.” 

So I cooked. Then I sat with her while she ate. Then I went to bed. Like I said, 9pm. Such is life. 

***

It’s almost 9am now. I wrote most of that before 7am. Then I paused so I could wake the house and fix breakfast and get my son to school. 

I want to got my step goal now and beyond that, the only thing I can think of is going back to bed. I have so much to do but I’m trying very hard to sort out what needs done immediately and what can wait. My exhaustion is leading me to believe that everything can wait. Can that be right? 

Perhaps. 

On that note, I’m going to call it quits (For now? For the day? For the week?) who knows. 🤷‍♀️ 

With peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie