2020-03-22 Super-Sized Sunday Status

It’s Sunday again and I really need to get some steps to boost my stats and get my heart going. Plus, I’ve got a lot to say today so this could get long.

Imma start with school. Yesterday I had a two hour phone conversation with my assigned mentor for the semester and though it was a good conversation, it leads me to conclude I’m behind schedule. Those are my words and not his. He actually said I was in great shape.

However, it feels like the deadlines are coming in hot and I’m all duck-and-cover like the 16 year old me afraid of the volleyball in PE headed straight for me.

This is my 4th and final semester in the MFA program at the University of Nebraska. As such, I’ve worked with three mentors in previous terms and each has been a very different experience. Each opening my eyes to various aspects of the poetic discourse, craft, and the writers life. However different though, it’s tough not to start to compare one semester to another and one mentor to another. That’s human nature.

The mentor I have this term has been, by a good margin, tougher on me than the past three. I naturally push myself hard, trying to exceed expectation so to have someone pushing me even harder is not what I’m used to. The result, I recognize, is going farther and taking my writing to a whole new level. I feel I’ve made more progress this term already than I thought was possible and perhaps that I was also naive in thinking I didn’t have much farther to go.

Yeah, super foolish, SugarCookie! There are miles and miles to go and when you get over that little ridge ahead you will still see a mountain rising up before you.

The progress, however satisfying when you look back, is not without pain.

How many poems have I written and revised countless times. How many have I been so proud of? And how many were actually done-done? As it turns out, none.

With poetry the devil really is in the details. All the information I’ve absorbed in previous semesters about image and line and juxtaposition and the signified and the signifier, the interplay between the mind of the poet, the reader, and the poem itself, as well as learning how to give in to the destructiveness of a subject is all conceptual and very big-picture.

This semester I’m down in the weeds with grammar and syntax. I’m in a cage-match with punctuation and line breaks. And I’m having to cut and slash and, at times, re-imagine where I have been to try and rewrite the scene. I’ve learned so much about what those adjectives and adverbs are doing to my work and how passive voice seems to be my default and that just wont do.

Now, I think my mentor last semester was getting to some of this with me but I just wasn’t there yet and I just wasn’t getting it. Now I think I’m getting it. It’s starting to click. I just needed someone to point out specific examples. Which I now have a ton of. Which is good, but it stings a little, you know.

Paraphrasing a comment I’ve seen several times, “I think there could be a poem hiding in all this”. Ouch!

I mean when you hand over your baby and are so proud of how wonderful she is, it’s tough to have the response be “I’m not sure that’s even a baby. It could be a puppy. It’s cute but really, go back and try again.” Ha!

That’s overly dramatic of course, but that’s pretty close to how I feel reading some of the feedback. Speaking of overly dramatic, apparently that’s another one of my problems. Some of my poems were tagged as too melodramatic, too preachy, or too clever.

Too clever? Part of me is like so what? I like clever.

Oh, clever is not one of the goals and neither is preachy. People apparently don’t like that and I need to cut that shit out. There I go… cut, cut, cut. /shrug

There are a few references in a couple of my poems to the speaker weeping. Ummmm, that actually happened and in case there’s any question the speaker is yours truly. Please tell me how I’m supposed to write about the most difficult parts of my life without the reality that I sometimes cry about it?

It’s clicking now though. I get it. I don’t have to include every detail and however sincere, I can use the images to try and evoke a feeling. So I cut cut cut. Several poems have been cut completely out of my thesis manuscript. Among those are some of those tough moments that I still can’t completely capture successfully in a poem. I may never be able to do that.

My five year relationship that failed and left me devastated was represented in a poem that’s now been cut. I’ve re-written that poem like 10 times now in 10 different ways and it’s still too raw. Instead, I’ve got a short little baby that’s about 10 lines to represent that part of the story. And that one is a play on cliche.

So, yeah, having one of the most impactful things I’ve gone through being reduced to a pile-up of cliches makes my heart hurt.

Anyway, the conversation I had with my mentor yesterday was a lot more positive than all that and I think a few more things are clicking now for me to finish out my revisions of this book. I need to get that done so I can move on to the other requirements for the thesis and also developing a kick-ass lecture to get me to the finish line.

***

One hour in and I think I’ve finally exhausted my thoughts on that topic. But I’m not done yet, yo, it’s Sunday and I’ve still got to check myself on status.

Steps and exercise are not up to par. I’m just shy of 10k steps per day and my goal is 12k.

My sleep is a puzzle. On one hand my sleep quality has gone up and holding steady at an average score of 77. On the other, the average duration of my sleep is suffering and has fallen to about 6.5 hours a night. Whatever.

Work hours went up again this week and I’m now close to a full-time work week. That’s one reason the other things are suffering. Like school and writing.

I did not submit any of my writing this week so that’s a fail.

I did not write anything new so that’s a fail.

I did not read anything new so that’s a fail.

I did finish watching Batman Begins with Jim and we continue to also watch the documentary-drama on Netflix about Ted Kazinsky (I know that’s not spelled right but “meh”). We also watched 1917 this weekend with one of the kids. I didn’t like it and would not recommend. For a war drama, it did a poor job pulling me in emotionally. And I’m typically a sucker for that shit. I often get teary-eyed during emotional scenes. I mean I cried like 4 tunes during “Onward”. But I just didn’t feel that connection with the movie 1917. We should watch Saving Private Ryan again to see how that is. I’ve seen it but it was a long, long time ago.

What else? Yeah, my healthy eating goals are still being ignored for the most part. Ha!

I think that’s it. The household is probably waking up now and I’ve got to get to rolling with the day.

Take care and be well,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-15 Out With the Old, In With the New

I’m briefly interrupting the current SugarCookie Series to write the Sunday Day Trip Status with a hint of realization and a pinch of actual stats.

Where to start? An interesting thing happened when I opened this note, started to type, and realized the date. March 15th. The Ides!!

Usually as this day approaches I think a lot about it (because of the history in it) and also usually get an ominous vibe thinking something bad is going to occur. Did Cesar have a creepy feeling when the soothsayer issued him a warning? I would think that would give anyone pause.

I have not thought about any of that or had any worry this year. I actually didn’t even realize what day it was. Shortly after getting up, we packed a few rations and jumped in the car. We drove west on I-80 with the hope of seeing some Sandhill cranes. We had a quaint little day trip and got as far as the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary.

The visitor center there was open despite all official tours being cancelled. We had no interest in going inside because we could learn anything we wanted by reading about the cranes online. We went to see the birds, which we did. Sort of.

We saw some from the car and used binoculars to get a closer look. We rolled the windows down so we could hear them, but we didn’t really get to experience the mass of birds you hear about when people talk about the migration. Apparently we would have had to go farther west for that and also arrive wherever that is at dawn or dusk when they are most active. Perhaps next time. We stopped there and turned around to head home.

For me it was just nice to get out of the house even though we didn’t even get out of the car. I wasn’t in the mood for a cold muddy hike and was more interested in just getting to spend 5 uninterrupted hours with my man. It was good conversation and we did learn a little googling about the migration along the way.

So, like I said, it wasn’t until I started to type the date just now that I realized what day it was. The 10 year anniversary of my divorce and also the anniversary of the day my dad had his heart attack. That’s how I know my life is so much better now.. I don’t dwell on these details. It’s a beautiful thing to forget the bad times.

Spending half a day in the car means I didn’t get any steps in so I’m trying to make up for that now. We’ll see how well I do this late in the day. I’m already losing motivation to follow through with the status analysis part of this session. Perhaps an abbreviated check..

Sleep: Average sleep score of 73 with an average of 6 hours and 49 minutes of sleep each night.

Steps: Just over 70k steps which averages to 10k a day. Ok I guess. This stat has taken a hit this week cuz Jazzercise classes are on the restricted activities list. Booooo!

School: I finished editing 2/3rds of my current thesis manuscript. Cheers for that success!

Weekly submission goal: Success! I’m now 3 for 3 with submitting to some publication or contest. Let those rejections commence. This week I also created a spreadsheet to track that activity and loaded it with my submission history going back to my first submission in 2017 (until 4 weeks ago, there’s only been a total of like 4 so I’ve almost doubled that in one month).

Work: I put in a whopping 18 hours. Money in the bank baby!

What else? I finished watching the bachelor and was disappointed in the result. It was dramatically satisfying but c’mon Pilot Pete?! How could you??!! Whatever.

I think that’s all I have in me today. I think it’s enough.

I guess the ominous bad thing happening March 15th this year is the chaos caused by a global pandemic. Things seem to be changing rapidly each day and I just don’t know what to expect when I wake up each day.

Cheers to forgetting bad memories and replacing them with good ones,

~Miss SugarCookie

2010-03-08 Super Sunday Status ✅😱🤷‍♀️

What in the world would follow this Epic Week and Super Tuesday but a Super Sunday Status!!

I fell off the Sunday Status wagon many moons ago and now I feel it’s time to put my big girl pants on and get back on it. I mean.. how else am I going to keep tabs on all my goals and plans? I would say “I’ll keep it brief”, but today that’s probably a lie. I’ve got lots to sort out.

Yes.. I finished updating my white board for March and it includes things like doing my taxes and trying to get my son to get his permit at the DMV. It also includes a few milestone dates which are over now (except that March Packet for my MFA).

The anniversary is done. ✅

Z’s birthday is done. ✅

As of yesterday my midterm summaries are done. ✅

Preparations for the Pandemic are done (as good as they will be). ✅

So it’s back to basics for this little cookie. What’s that include?

Exercise— step counts, Jazzercise classes, checking heart rate stats, and hopefully getting outside for fresh air and sunshine.

Sleep— which includes me asking the Universe to let me have 7 solid hours of sleep a night. Solid being a sleep score of 75+ according to my trusty FitBit.

School and the Writing Life— 20+ hours a week reading, writing, revising and getting my Thesis in solid shape. I also have a new weekly goal of submitting at to at least one publication or contest a week. The hours are hard to track but I’m two for two on weekly submissions thus far. 💃💃💃

Work— As it turns out, I’ve been invited to join a new project at my company which will be a variable number of hours as determined by my schedule and how much work there is to do. The first meeting is Monday morning at 8am (how very adult 😱) and I’d like to get 10-20 hours a week but we’ll see how it plays out.

Healthy eating. Ugh really. Do I have goals in this area? I guess the real question here is how detrimental will it be to my psyche when I fail. Like sleep my track record is terrible. At 9am everything seems easy and my motivation and plans are all positive but by 5pm I begin to falter and then by 10 pm I’ve gone off the rails and had ALL THAT AND an entire bag of chips (or like last night almost a whole bottle of wine). Yikes!! 😱

I guess I’m not really checking or writing out my actual stats. I’m just still talking mostly about my goals. But it’s ok. I’m pretty sure looking at my actual stats is going to depress me.

***

Confession time. I actually started writing this yesterday and things that have transpired in the last 24 hours, for whatever reason, have put me in a sour mood. Not any one thing in particular I think, or perhaps I am just tired. Not sure really but definitely not in the same mood as I was yesterday when I started writing.

***

Confession time again. It is now several hours later. This is what happens when a person get’s interrupted and is not able to finish a solid thought. Anyway, my mood has changed again, for the better (though still not as good as yesterday) and we are headed into the evening. I rarely write this late in the day at all anymore because my brain fog becomes a real thing.

Perhaps next Sunday I will actually have stats to report. I mean, other than what the outcome is of the Bachelor (which apparently everyone knows somehow yet I am avoiding looking at “google’s suggested news stories” that always pop up on the bottom of my google app home page when I open my phone.

What else can a girl say? 🤷‍♀️ This is not quite the blog post I was looking for.

I guess that’s it for this weekend.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

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

2019-09-20 The Friday Night PVP Edition

It’s pretty late on a Friday afternoon and I have a small window to collect some thoughts from the last couple days and I’m sort of not in the mood to write a long sentence song of woe from my drama and it’s actually a nice balance of good and bad so that doesn’t really fit anyway and I mean this already is too long of a run-on-sentence of a paragraph so it feels like a list and go kind of a day. How about a pvp list?

1. migraine versus imitrex. Imitrex wins.

2. Getting my next packet for school done versus a good night sleep. Packet wins with bonus points for getting done two days early.

3. Getting my ex to pay me the money he owes me for healthcare expenses versus figuring out I’m going to end up at the courthouse. Courthouse wins.

4. Doing a good job at all the parenting this whole week versus getting to spend more qt with my fiancé. Parenting wins.

5. Yardwork versus housework. It’s a tie.

6. Work work versus painting the craft room. Work work wins.

7. Reading versus writing. Writing wins. Reading has already demanded a rematch for this weekend.

8. Cats versus dogs. Cats win 3 to Zero.

9. Runza versus Panera. Panera wins.

10. Quitting caffeine versus stopping water intake 3+ hours before bed. Liquid abstinence wins.

11. Having plans to go out and do something on a Friday night versus hosting a house full of teenagers. Teenagers win.

12. First Draft Friday versus TV time with my sweetie. Bout has not concluded yet but my money is on couch time.

That’s bout enough for now. 😜

Perhaps the result of that last match will be posted tomorrow. But probably not.

Fighting the good fight almost every day,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-07-31 NYC Wrap-Up 🍎

Final thoughts and stats on NYC:

1. Four Gallons of Milk consumed by the crew, plus a dozen eggs, 8 bags of microwave popcorn, 3 packages of cookies, two containers of strawberries, 6 salmon fillets, one and a half loaves of bread, One 3 pound bag of oranges, 3 boxes of crackers, and one Big Apple.

2. 24+ glasses and 10+ plates to wash every damn day (seriously, can’t people use the same glass twice?!?)

3. 80808 steps walked in 6 days (13466 average per day).

4. Average of 6 hours of sleep per night.

5. Too many sub-par cheeseburgers, slices of thin crust pizza, and hot dogs to mention.

6. 6 trips on the subway. Only once did we get on the wrong one and had to nav to the right one.

7. about 6 über rides, one that made us all afraid for our lives and also want to throw up the contents of our empty stomachs.

8. One panic attack (by yours truly).

9. Five 90+ degree days, with rain occurring overnight only once.

10. 765 Pokemon caught (by Z and C and I) and many, many battles won and lost.

11. 8 trips to Times Square, 5 to the corner grocery, 3 to Dunkin, 2 to Gotham Pizza, and 1 to Hells Kitchen in Hells Kitchen.

12. Not enough time to do everything but very, very glad to be back home.

That is enough. Time to get back to business as usual.

Peace Out,

~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