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

2019-06-30 Super-Sized Sunday Status

It’s official.. Half the year is done. There’s no time like late on a Sunday where the digits outside are soaring to get some steps in my cool basement and reflect upon the status of things.

I used to take some time most Sundays and look at how my sleep, and exercise, and healthy eating were trending. Now it’s about once a month. I mean, I technically “look” everyday at my sleep for the previous day and am constantly mindful of my step count and if I’ve hit my goal for the day, but lately it’s all just blending together. I’ve got good routines and don’t worry too much if I’m off for a few days. And I might say “healthy eating” is one of my goals but I’m not even sure if I’ve ever found a good definition for that.

Is it moderation? Is it a perfect balance of protein, fat, and carbs? Is it veggies and micronutrients? Is it limiting things like sugar and gluten and caffeine? It certainly shouldn’t have anything to do with weight or BMI Or dress size. I person who is a size 4 can have terrible eating habits and with the healthy metabolism maintain that size.

I digress. Let’s see what The almighty Fitbit has to say about my stats for the last week, month, and half year…

Sleep.. 7 hours and 14 minutes average for the past week. 7 hours and 18 minutes for the month of June and 7, 14 for the year so far. I think that’s pretty much right on target. I’m not sure getting more sleep at night will ever help my all too common afternoon brain fog and evening exhaustion. I hate to say I think it might just be related to my age. Even when I get 8 hours of sleep it does not seem to have a positive impact on my issues. I’d like to see if napping might help but I cant seem to hit enough consistency of routine to really say for sure. 🤔🤷‍♀️ I’m still going to maintain that good quality sleep is key in overall heath, which is just me flexing my “captain obvious” superpower but I always say, what may seem obvious to some isn’t necessarily obvious to all.

Steps/Exercise.. Last week I got about 10K steps each day which is another stat that has not had much variation in the last month and half year. Both come in at just above 10K, 10.1 and 10.6 respectively. My goal there is 12K so I’m still not there yet. But it’s days like yesterday that are the biggest challenge. I hit my goal almost everyday this week and then yesterday I was just a lump (plus we were in the car a good part of the day), so I only got like 3K. That kills my weekly average. In order to have days like that I would need to boost my daily goal to like 15 or 18. That would be tough.

With sleep, both quality and quantity are important measures. With exercise it’s tougher to measure the other key factors, such as diversity and strength or balance work. I’ve recently started doing Jazzercise again regularly and I can already tell a difference. It’s tough to put into words but my body just feels better. I’m only doing 5 pound free weights as I’m still unsure what affect doing arm weights will have on my tennis elbow. When I stopped doing Jazzercise last year I was using 8 pound weights. Eventually my goal will be bank to that.

I guess one measure I could be paying more attention to is resting heart rate. According to several web sites I visited, adults normally range from 60-100 and lower scores indicate better, more efficient cardiovascular function. Mine was 66 this past week and 63 the past week and this year so far. I’m going to say that’s a good thing.

I guess not much has changed in my relationship or school status either. Still happily engaged and on a break from School. Although one of those is going to take a dramatic turn in July. There will be at least one post coming soon dedicated to my 3rd term in the MFA program at UNO.

The biggest change in the last month has been my switch from full-time wage earner to “stay-at-home-Mom”/“household engineer”. That transition was mostly positive. Life is never free of doubts, but all things considered, it’s been great. The jury is still out on the question of whether I will go back to work. If I do, it will be when I am done with school and hopefully it will be something more in the sphere of writing and less on IT.

All in all my stats are petty stable and that doesn’t leave much to write about. Still, ive still managed a healthy sized post for this last day of June.

July is looking like one crazy rollercoaster. I’ve got about 1 more full week until that ride starts. It’s also a holiday week so we’ve got a few fun things planned. I should have plenty of time to get everything I want done, including sleep and exercise!!

Well that’s it for today.. this month.. and the first half of 2019. If you only get two bites, make sure they are good ones!

Cheers, 🍻

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-03-29 Those are Not My Cats

This morning I woke up in the middle of a dream where I had just realized my cats were standing next to each other and they were not hissing in offense or defense. I was all like “hey, look at that! Do you see that?” And the cats in my dream did not look like my cats. They weren’t my cats but in my dream they were. What’s even stranger than that is that I was with my ex-mother-in-law who was showing me some cool new feature on the iPhone that makes it super easy to share pictures and videos.

She had some thing she wanted to share with me that had to do with the kids and I just didn’t know how I was going to access it. She was showing me the settings to change to turn on this super cool new sharing feature and then I got distracted by the cats, amazed that they were both just sitting there like normal cats. When I said “do you see that?” I’m confident I was saying it to Jim, so he must have been with us but I never saw him in the dream. Then I woke up.

Now I haven’t seen or talked to my exMIL in years. I was always her favorite DIL (she had 3), right up to the day we told her we were ending our marriage and I ruined her sons life and her picture perfect family. Well, yeah, on the surface things always look perfect because that’s what we’re programmed to do. Beneith that thin veneer, though, were secrets, lies, grief, alchoholism, and infidelity.

The day we broke the news she said to me “you are a strong woman and you can get through this, I survived and so can you”. WTF was that supposed to mean? It took me a bit of time to put the pieces together enough to recognize that she had gone through much of the same things I was experiencing. They stuck it out and managed to maintain that picture we are all taught to believe is the ideal life. Perhaps by then things were back to good for them, that there was an end to the very dark tunnel I was in. But I was not going to try any longer or waste any more time on what felt like a lost cause. A marriage isn’t supposed to be a “cause” anyway, it’s supposed to be a partnership.

No, I said “F that noise”. She was right about one thing.. I’m a strong woman. I was strong enough to leave her son and take my life back. It was a hard road, but I did it. Sometimes one day and one step at a time, and of course I’m still alive and tied to that part of my life and my ex through our beautiful children so the struggle is still challenging at times.

Like I said, I haven’t seen my ex-husband’s mom in years. I’m not sure why she showed up in my dream now and why she would be the one showing me a cool new iPhone feature when she was always technologically challenged (and I’m the engineer). Does that mean I have unresolved issues with that family? Does it mean I should hold on to hope for my cats actually getting along? Does it mean I should look into getting a new phone? Dreams are so strange. 😜

It’s Friday again.. and I’m so ready for the weekend. I’ve worked a full week already and am ready to forget all that and enjoy doing a whole lot of nothing important with my sweetie for a couple of days. We’re prolly gonna be doing a careful balancing act between binge watching shows, vacation planning, and getting stuff done around the house. It may not be the most exciting thing in the world but it’s far superior to the alternatives my stupid dream-brain has forced me to think about.

Time to Jam,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-03-24 Sunday Stat Monthly Recap

Oh hey! Here’s a blast from the past.. Sunday Stats!! Somewhere along the way I decided weekly stats were overkill (probably right about the time I was confident I had finally found the secret to success). But I still keep tabs on myself on a regular basis and think it’s Important to check it so I don’t wreck it by being pulled into a false sense of security with my new found fabulousness.

What I know now that I did not know then was that you can do all the right things and still fall short. I mean, if you are a bicycle built for two, flying solo is always an uphill climb. Holy mixed metaphors Batman, that’s terrible. The point is, teamwork makes the dream work and I can count steps and calories and hours of sleep all I want but without some qt with my people, I’m never gonna make it to the peak.

Still, the daily grind requires balance and if I just let go of some of the other targets, it’s a slippery slope. If I don’t get the sleep, the QT with people loses its “Q”. If I don’t get my exercise, I start feeling like a grumpy lump. In short, it’s ALL part of a big equation. Ok… that’s enough fuss about that and here’s the update for this week/month:

Sleep.. 6 hours 44 minutes average this week/ 6 h 54 m this month. Not hitting my goal of >7 hours. Let me tell you, I feel it. So many days I’m just beat by 9pm and that’s just sad. I’ve taken a hit because of my new commute and not figured out how to solve that. I still think naps might be the answer but right now I don’t have the bandwidth for that. Ask me again in 2 months. 😉 interestingly my 3 month and average for 2019 thus far IS greater than 7 hours which is how I’m confident that my new routine is to blame.

Steps.. Just shy of 12k per day for the past week and hovering at about 10k for the month, 3 months, and the year so far. That means I did slightly better this week, but am still below the target goal I’ve set for myself. Hell.. I used to get 15-20k per day and that felt great! Again, it’s gonna change soon cuz I’m about to have more time.

Healthy eating.. I’ve done pretty good this week and cut out coffee (which always comes with lots of sugar for me). I had a happy hour drink Friday to celebrate the house closing with my realtor but besides that I had no other alcohol. I opted for healthy snacks between meals and had reasonable portions otherwise. I tried to do that 16 hour fasting thing and was able to stick with that for the most part too. The exceptions to most of this has been this weekend. A girl’s got to have some weekend bending of the rules you know! 💃💃💃

Work.. 23 hours logged this week. That’s pretty much been my average for the entire month.

Reading .. nada.

Writing.. Aside from this blog, not much aside from submitting one set of poems to a contest and trying really hard to force a few poems into the shape of the subject matter for that “doubt”.

Entertainment.. We finished the first season of “The Handmaids Tale”. It’s pretty good. There’s a reason why I don’t do official reviews of shows and books. By the time I get to something it’s typically already been verified and often old news. I also almost always like everything so me saying “it’s good” isn’t saying much. Still, dystopian fiction is my jam and this one does not disappoint so if that’s your thing I highly recommend it. 😜

No real progress on any of my other personal creative endeavors outside of wheels turning in my head. I have high hopes for the rest of this year and aspire to do more, just not solid on what that means yet.

I think that’s it for this week/month. Next month will be super exciting cuz it will be my first trip overseas in 9 years. We have everything booked for Barcelona and Valencia and it’s coming up quick. Stay tuned for more on that. Life is good… just gotta enjoy it while you can.

Happy Sunday,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-02-10 Sunday Status Catch-Up, Bonus Edition

As predicted things are, at long last, starting to slow down and it’s just about time I got back to some good ole accounting of stats. I know going into this that I’m not back to hitting my goals yet and have sacrificed both sleep and exercise this week as I’m establishing my new routine and daily commute. Time to validate that.

Sleep.. off by “that” much. 6 hours and 50 minutes average a night and now as far as I can see, the only way around this will be to go to bed earlier (not happening) or take naps. “I’ll choose door number two Bob”. Of course this will be better on weeks my kids are with their dad -or- when my daughter starts driving. That second one will be more of a possibility when the weather gets better and when my comfort level for her driving goes up. In short, sleep is the main sacrifice I’m making right now for the luxury of living with my fiancé. Still worth it by far!!

Steps would be a secondary sacrifice and certainly way easier to fix. I’m at about 10K average per day for the week and that’s low for me historically speaking. I should be able to get back to goal much easier on this one because I now have the treadmill I’ve always wanted. In truth, the low count on things this week is more to do with my work than anything. I mean, I have a new set list of things to get done each day around the new house and all that takes barely no time at all. Anytime I have an extra half hour or even 20 minutes, I should be able to pop downstairs and walk. No excuses!!

I did pretty good with healthy eating this week and went into Friday feeling great about that. Then the road-trip happened and then Friday Night happened and it all kinda went to shit. It started with cheeseburgers and fries and went onto pizza and ended with red wine. Nothing like feeling like I undid all the progress is made earlier in the week. Whatever. 🤷‍♀️

I kicked ass at work and was able to get a ton done in about 20 hours. I hit my quota for one project and sacrificed the other to do that. I’m still not back to 30 hours per week and wondering how long this can go on without someone saying something to me about it.

School is still on hold and I’m not yet making anything out of this semester to play catch-up on that but that’s going to happen soon. Today is typically a good day to start but I’m holding off on this one until tomorrow at the moment.

Of course my relationship status is solid. The last couple weeks have been a great test of our ability to work together as a team through a number of challenges. Seeing someone under pressure in abnormal circumstances is telling too. It’s been great for the most part and the biggest strain in the past couple weeks has been dealing with our respective exes and their typical bullshit shenanigans. At our age, it just seems almost everyone who had kids with their previous significant others is going to have that crappy baggage. We both do.

What else? Ahhhh, here’s a new category which might be worth a second look and the jury is still out on if it’s worthy of including in the normal rotation. It’s my “screen time stats”. Tho is a feature of the iPhone Jim introduced me to about three weeks ago and I serendipitously got a notification about it just now. Here are my stats for this week..

Average screen time per day – 2 hours and 15 minutes. Down 24% from last week.

Productivity (Evernote, wordpress, slack, mail, etc) came in the highest with 5h 8m total for the week.

Social networking (messages, twitter, Snapchat, FB, messenger, etc) camecin second with 3h 35m total for the week. That’s incredible. I never would have guessed.

Entertainment (YouTube, Alexa, music) came in last with 1h 13m total for the week.

This is incredibly interesting and worth a little more investigation. It looks like you can set limits and I’m guessing that would trigger notifications if you go over. 🤔 There are other categories like games, education, health and fitness, etc which I spent mere minutes on.

It also records how many times you picked your phone up and how many notifications you received. Last week I picked my phone up 49 times per day on average and got about 58 notifications per day. Again, super interesting. Perhaps if I’ve got a little spare time this week I’ll check into it a little deeper. Of course this will mean my screen time for this next week will go up. How ironic! 😜

Anyway.. that’s enough for this week. I’m done checking it.. time to go wreck it!! 😉

Peace Out,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-02-04 Monday Routine Musings

Welcome to the new morning routine. It’s just hit 8AM and I’ve already been up since about 6:15. So far I’ve finished laundry, gotten my kids to school (new commute is about 25 minutes), and hit the gym.

That’s where I am at now on my favorite elliptical machine. If I hit a descent pace, I can get 10k steps in about an hour and be good with that for the day. I was doing a little time accounting in the car and thinking about how I can arrange my schedule to get the most out of my day.

The new bookends to my “productive” alone time each day are now the tribe to and from the high-school. That’s 8 to about 3. So if I can get my cardio in from 8 to 9, I can be home by 9:30 and working by 10. That will give me 4 to 5 hours to get some work-work done. Then, I can break and drive back for the kids and then spend some QT with them after school before Jim gets home from work.

Of course when the kids are at their dads I’ll have much more flexibility because that cuts out 2 hours of driving each day. Dare I say I may even be able to sleep in once and a while?? Perhaps. Though I’m a very routine oriented type person so I doubt I’ll be able to do that. We’ll see.

In any case, I’m looking forward to this next chapter in my life and we figure out how well a household can be run with two engaged adults at the helm. That’s something neither one of us is used to. Yes, we have four teenagers to manage, but they are mostly independent and need their own “alone” time so I’m hoping we can strike a good balance.

I figure by the end of February I’ll have all the details figured out. That needs to include dedicated time for reading and writing and Jazzercise. That also needs to include making sure I get enough sleep. I’ll be waking up half an hour earlier and I doubt I can manage going to sleep half an hour earlier. This past weekend things were still not back to normal but I was so, so tired both days.

On Saturday I was so wiped out that I fell asleep at 2 and slept for an hour and a half. I felt the same on Sunday but pushed through it. I haven’t been reporting my stats but they are still being collected. Checking on sleep last week, I was right at 7 hours average and then that nap pushed me over the top. Anyway, that’s just going to be another challenge in this new routine.

It’s kind of like an interesting Tetris puzzle where I’m just wanting all the pieces to fit snug. I’m probably being too rigid where flexibility will end up being the ultimate key to success. I’m just overthinking things as usual. Again, we’ll see. 🤷‍♀️

On that note 🎵.. my hour is almost up so I I’ll quit hashing over this routine topic.

Later gaters 🐊,

~Miss SugarCookie