2020-03-30 Balance and Flow

When you put in the work, sometimes it sucks. But man oh man does it feel good when you’re close to the finish line.

That’s how I’m finally feeling today after putting myself in a box for the last three days. Not only did I need to crank out some pages for my MFA thesis preface, but I also had to complete another round of revisions on the actual manuscript. The due date my mentor and I chose together was last Friday, but he gave me a pass cuz, well the whole world is in chaos for one thing.

And though it’s no excuse, I’m also now being expected to pick up as many extra hours at work as I possibly can. This is mostly because my husbands income is being reduced during this challenging time.

My boss and my team are coming out guns blazing on a new project and I put my PM hat on for the three weeks while the real project manager was wrapping up her current gig. She started last week, thank goodness. I still worked like a full time chimp but this week I’m going to dial it back.

I’m gonna ease into a support role. I love my new PM, for real. She’s a fellow princess. My nickname for her is Princess KK and hers for me is Princess SheShy. Those names were established in the 90’s when we last worked together and became friends. After that she moved on to bigger and better things while I remained in Nebraska.

She’s a rockstar at both team and project management. She can have all that shit. Imma sit over in my corner of the universe taking notes and writing documentation and adding detail to the Jira tickets and confluence. That’s my happy place, keeping quiet and only interjecting when I feel something is really important. It will be easier to keep my damn mouth shut with such a strong leader.

The other thing that starts today for real is online learning for my kids. Last week was dedicated to “enrichment learning” while the teachers figured out their plans for how to teach in their pajamas.

When I pressed my son about doing enrichment work, he just said “mom, nobody is doing that.” He spent most of the week playing video games. My co-workers tried to make me feel better by saying that playing video games was enrichment. Haha! This weekend my email in-box was flooded with tons of instructions and links from all their teachers. Sure, the kids got these also, but who do you think will be responsible for making sure they actually get up and out of bed and on the Zoom meetings? There will be assignments and video instruction and quizzes and tests online.

Yeah.. all that starts today. I have to remind myself that balance is key and also try and take my friend Michelle’s advice and go with the flow. Give myself a little slack you know, partially because it is a stressful time in the world but also because I’m only human and can’t freaking do everything perfectly all the time.

Anyway, all that time in the box this past weekend was rough but I feel great about my progress and almost ready to send those pages off to my mentor. That’s my priority this morning (besides finally getting back to walking on my treadmill and writing).

At 10am I have a two hour work meeting and so the homeschooling will be delayed for a few hours today.

That’s it. Short and sweet. Balance and flow. Time to go.

Peace and Love!

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-26 Climbing the Pyramid is a Struggle

My basic needs are being met, and I’m grateful for that. By Maslow’s standards, I’m probably at Safety and while that’s ok, I’m desperate to go higher. But I’m stuck.

So many of my writer friends and acquaintances are writing their hearts out right now. Amid this crisis people are inspired to create. In times when you have more time because you’re isolated you can explore and let your brain wander and maybe, definitely that’s a good thing.

I’m not. And I haven’t been. I’ve got less time now, and feel less isolated, because my sanctuary has been invaded. My time has been raided and from before sun-up to after sun-down I’ve nothing left to give back to myself.

It’s work, which I’ve praised but it has transformed before my very eyes from saving grace to marauder. It’s got to level out soon. I think (I hope) today will be the start of that.

It’s not knowing how to, at the same time, homeschool. Sure, if I was twiddling my thumbs all day I would sit with my children and play task-master, checking in on their “enrichment plans”.

I’m not there, though, you know. I’m still adjusting.. fighting with my ex about where the kids are and why and all my anger and frustration that’s built up over the years comes pouring out. I just hate my ex. After all this time I’m still angry about so many things. Does one ever get over being treated so rotten by someone they love and trust with their life.

How is that possible? How can we have hurt each other so much? And when the bullshit just continues for years and years and you have to continue to take it and try to be amiable for the kids sake, it just doesn’t go away.

Yesterday I ripped him a new one on the phone and he acted like he had no idea where it was all coming from. Like an ignorant ass, he said my yelling was unfounded and something in me has changed. “You’re different now.” He said.

No shit genius. People change and perhaps I’ve grown a spine. Perhaps I’ve also been perfecting my throat-punch and he should be grateful that there’s a pandemic because if there wasn’t I might just go to his place and demonstrate my skills. I just hate him. And that’s a world I rarely use.

My son is here with me and my daughter is at his house. She’s not being very communicative and I’m just hoping she isn’t being persuaded to stay there. Gawd. It’s an awful feeling to know that the kids are stuck in this conflict with us, probably taking shrapnel from our verbal confrontations. It’s got to stop.

So, yeah, I’m just trying to figure out how to shelter in place and not lose my mind. I’ve not yet arrived at master of the art of homeschooling.

Oh, did I mention I’m behind on the whole writing a thesis bit? Or the lit-mag startup. Or, I dunno, supporting my husband and nurturing my marriage which is still less than 2 months old.

I logged onto Facebook today and that was a big mistake. So many people posting about every freaking thing and I just don’t have a positive note to contribute. Just because I say I’m grateful, doesn’t mean I’m bathing in gratitude and finding all the beauty in every little nook and corner. Facebook just makes me feel like shit. And those things I’m seeing are being posted by friends and family who I love. Why can’t I just find joy in their accomplishments and words of encouragement? What the hell is wrong with me?

Don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical.

I’ve got a meeting today with the other “co-founder” of this not-yet-a-real-thing on-line lit mag. It’s been a struggle for both of us to find the time. This is a guy I just happened to be sitting across a lunch table from when approached by one of the mentors of the MFA program about this little idea. He’s a teacher and has kids so he’s in the same boat as me trying to juggle life.

We both bring unique and needed skills to the table, but we do operate differently. I like things to be organized and well planned out and he just seems to like to roll with whatever. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just an adjustment for me. We need to get shit done and were still at step 1, which is assembling a team.

Hopefully I’ll get more insight into what that looks like from his communications (which he has not copied me on). I’m a little miffed about that. If you were starting a new project together, it’s good to have Everyone have as much information as possible. So I feel a little bit in the dark on where things stand and can’t make progress forward myself until I’ve got the full picture. I’m sure I’m overthinking and overdramatizing this as usual. Hopeful today’s meeting will actually happen this time and that all will be revealed.

I mean, if our launch date is still June 1. We gotta get in gear and go. So that’s where the “go for it” attitude is such a positive.. we just really need to engage the whole team soon. Again, just hopeful we have a complete list today on who that is. we’ll see.

For now, I have to put that out of my mind so I can get to work. No place to hide.

Stuck at Safety,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-24 Turning My Frown Upside-Down

I don’t have anything positive to say today it seems. My mind is cycling through points of irritation about my ex-husband, my current husband’s son, and just not having enough time to get everything that “needs” doing done. Most of this has roots in the current state of the world and the Pandemic.

And frankly I’m so sick of thinking about it, a 7 hour workday with 4 conference calls is a welcome occurrence. What I would like to do is shift my attitude by focusing on the positive. Can I do it? Can it work? Let’s find out….

I still have a job where I can work and earn money in this time of financial uncertainty. Even if my husband was forced to stay home and had to take reductions or pauses in his paycheck, we would still be ok. Which extends to our children of course. But what about the rest of the fam?

I have one sister that manages a Trader Joes grocery store in Denver, which is an essential service so her job is secure.

I have another sister that works at a Google data center in Iowa which has also been tagged as an essential job function (by Google anyway) and in her words, “I’ll be there until I get sick or this is all over.” She’s looking at it negatively but I see that as a positive thing because she can still make moneys while some people don’t have the option. Her’s is a physical job.. server maintenance and stuff I think. It makes me wonder what the situation is with other data centers around the globe. What happens if there is nobody there to maintain the servers and we lose the internet?? 😱

My bro is also in Colorado and I think most of his job, like mine, can be done remotely. He’s an aerospace engineer for Ball. So he’s going to be ok too. His two kids are close to the same ages as mine. His daughter is home from her freshman year at college and his son is in HS and is at home for the duration too. We’re all safe in our houses, which is also a thing to be grateful for.

We have a safe place to sleep and enough food to eat. We have each other here to talk to. We can play games and watch shows and when the weather gets nice, I might even be able to convince my kids to go outside with me.

In fact. It’s supposed to be 60 today and close to 70 tomorrow. I really need to get out of the house for a walk in the fresh air. I admit I’m kind of a pansy when it comes to being outside and being cold, so the nicer weather is a prerequisite. See, I’m kinda spoiled too.

Today I do indeed have another long work day and I’m ok with that.

Well….

That didn’t seem to work. The second I ran out of things to type just now, my mind gravitated back to the situation with my ex and my son not wanting to go to his house. And just like that, back to a grumpy thought puzzle.

I can name at least 7 reasons why my son staying here is a better plan than going to spend time at his dads house. And no matter what my reasons are, my sons reasons and feelings are important too and I want to support that. He doesn’t want to go to his dad’s and that says a lot. I just have to suck it up and not be such a pushover. I also need to let it go, you know, the anger and worry. So what if C stays here? What’s his dad gonna do? Drive here and knock on our door. I don’t think so.

It’s hard for me to imagine how that would go down. I kind of start to daydream about my ex getting his ass handed to him (verbally at least) from my husband. They have met on the phone but not in person. What would it be like if THAT were their first time meeting in person??!! Priceless!! 😂

Ok.. so I guess that daydream is the thing that’s going to improve my mood so imma just roll with it.

Pretty soon now I’ve gotta get to work. I’m currently substituting jogging for Jazzercise (as long as my knees can take it anyway), so I gotta get my jog on now while I still have time.

Here’s to hoping you too can find your happy place,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-23 Navigating the New Monday

I realized yesterday that just being home doesn’t qualify as time I need to recharge my battery. I need time alone. There’s a big difference between me being home while everyone goes off to work and school when I can get down with my own intentions and plans and parting ways after breakfast where I’m still on the hook for every little thing that comes up.

I’m going to resist complaining too much about dishes, but my struggle is real. And believe me, I recognize the privilege in that, but I’ll just leave it by saying, I don’t really get a day off from my other job duties as assigned.

Yesterday my writing goal consisted of two things: 1.) Not bringing Covid into the picture and 2.) Writing a poem.

I did both so.. yay me!

I’m coming into today feeling like it’s ok if this wanders into thoughts about being quarantined for like 15 days. Yeah, 15 days ago was the last time I left the house to meet a friend or do anything that didn’t involve getting last minute supplies for the house.

It could be worse. We could be in California or New York or somewhere else in the world where it’s turning from disaster into nightmare. Here in Nebraska I feel like there were restrictions and recommendations that started to happen super-early and watching the rest of the world, it feels like a good call.

My kids were on spring break last week and so this is technically their first day of “remote learning”. For my school system that means that I’ve now got to be super involved in what they are doing with their days, continuing to use the resources we have to continue to be engaged in all subjects. Yup, they are putting it on the parents more than the teachers at this point so just add teacher to the list of my “other duties as assigned”. Whatever.

Right now I’m up and the whole house is still sleeping and I’ve got lots of my own stuff to do: school, work, reading for workshop, and lit mag stuff. I’m going to have to really work on navigating this “alone together” scenario. Even Jim is home today when normally he’d also be going to work.

In a non-Covid world he would be in Denver for a work conference and I’d either be there too visiting family or here with just the kids. And the kids would be in school of course. So today Jim has the day off and won’t go back until tomorrow. And being in healthcare, the picture of what that looks like is changing daily.

They are shifting to a tele-health model to continue to provide patient care for non-emergent cases that can be handled by video conference. It’s likely that by the end of the week, the in-office visits will be limited and that means they only need some of the staff. Of course, this could turn on a dime and get worse. Or, it could stay this way for 4 weeks and then start to get better.

I mean, if they lock down domestic travel and keep the community spread case numbers down, it could have that curve flattening effect everyone keeps talking about. Best case would be that they do get to re-open school in May. A girl can dream right??!!

My priority today is probably work stuff. At least that’s the direction my mind wants to go now. The last few weeks things have gone wild and I’ve worked more than I have in months. On one hand it’s been great but on the other it’s really cut into my schedule. I apparently don’t have a good handle on balance. No surprise there I guess.

Things this week will probably not be as crazy cuz the real project manager / scrum master is starting and she’s going to take some of the pressure off. She’s actually a friend of mine who lives in San Diego. It’s a crazy small world and the fact that we worked together 20 years ago at Methodist Hospital in Omaha and are now back together at a consulting company / dev shop that employs less than 25 people is wild.

It just so happens that we’ve both have connections back to one of the founders of our company through different channels. Me from a job I had in Omaha at a software dev company for 5 years and her from working at a hospital in California about 4 years ago. So her and I go way back and I’m excited to get to work with her again. I also know she’s a tough cookie with high standards so she’s gonna keep those devs in line!

My role on the team will start to shift this week from PM to project support. Working on organizing Jira tickets, adding the Epics, filling in fields and helping to prepare for our formal project kickoff with the customer. It’s a greenfield project which is super exciting for all the members of the team. And so far the interaction with the customer had been really good so it’s full speed ahead.

That’s probably a good place to stop and do the mic drop. 🎤

Welcome to the New Monday,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-20 Best Laid Plans 🤷‍♀️

Today I’m going to try… really try to get through the last third of my manuscript and revise those pages based on feedback from my mentor. I have a call with him tomorrow.

***

I literally wrote that opening sentence 7 hours ago. I was called away by other duties as assigned and now it’s almost 4 in the afternoon. Wherever this Friday has been, it’s not been anywhere near what I was hoping for based on that sentence. I have not even opened a browser tab to access the feedback document or the thesis source document I’m editing in. Needless to say, I’ll probably be unprepared and winging it for that call tomorrow (not unlike other conversations I’ve been involved with lately).

The work thing has really blown up lately which is good, cuz $$$ but there’s a lot of big changes in general with life and it’s been leaving me feeling scattered. Like I said yesterday, at least when I’m working I’m mostly in a bubble and able to focus on the task at hand. With the school stuff, it’s a struggle. I think later today I’m gonna have to try. Maybe.

If I’m being completely honest, (and you know that’s the whole point of this right) … I haven’t showered in several days, my eating is askew and I’m just generally not feeling well. I keep taking my own temperature as if it’s suddenly going to register something different than yesterday even though I’ve been living under general quarantine for about 12 days. So yeah, paranoid.

I’ve been watching my kids and their spring break behavior, on laptops and computers for like 6 straight days now. In their rooms and not having any problem with it. I mean, my daughter is starting to have fast food withdrawal episodes but that’s about it for complaints. Are they just taking it so we’ll because they don’t realize yet it’s the end times? I dunno.

I also admit I got sucked into the FB vortex today and actually contributed to the noise. That’s how you know it’s truly the end.

Well, there you have it folks. Another post has spiraled into pandemic-y stuff. It’s like freaking unavoidable.

What else can I say? It’s Friday.. I’m gonna go take a shower and pour myself a bottle of red wine. Why not? I’m not going anywhere. To hell with goals.

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. I’m back to using pics taken in Kauai for my featured image. Daydreaming myself into the past. Hard to believe that was just 5 weeks ago.

2020-03-13 SugarCookie Shit Series Episode 2: The Friday the 13th Edition 😱

What is it today besides Friday the 13th??

The first day my kids are off school because of the pandemic. 😷

The end of the week and I have not yet my weekly goal for submission. 😦

My thesis manuscript has turned into endless revisions with no light at the end of the tunnel. 😧

My work folks tapping on me has turned into about 20 unexpected hours this week. And for some reason my brain is eating that up like it’s the biggest priority (behind preparing for pandemic panic). 🙄

Yeah.. the Pandemic. You remember when I wrote about wanting to go back to the grocery store? Today I got permission to do that. This time to stock up on refrigerated goods. I swear we are good for a month now. In case things shut down like they have in Italy.

Though Jim tells me this morning that the grocery stores are open there. I suppose it’s less about them being open as it is supply and demand. Walmart had zero TP! Of all the things that’s what runs out? Not bottled water, not milk or eggs, or meat (though some of the shelves were looking a little lacking).

Nope… it’s TP. 😜

We’re all good here as far as that is concerned and I feel like sitting the teenagers down and saying “don’t think about how many squares you want. Think about how many you NEED!” 🤣

We’re so spoiled. Jim and I talked last night about how it might be good for people to go without some of the luxury and wants they are just used to being available. I even thought about hiding our food stores more discretely so they can deal when their cheez-its or bags of their favorite cheese, or soda runs out.

What kind of chaos riot would it create here if only frozen and canned vegetables were left. You get what you get and don’t throw a fit!

Imagine living on those rations for a while…. time passes. You open a can of canned chicken or tuna. It’s delicious. People can get used to that. It’s just fuel after all.

Now imagine living that way for a couple of months or more. Serious dystopian daydreams here. Then one day Mom emerges from the depths of the basement and produces a box of cheez-its?

It would be total mayhem and we would probably have to start counting our equal portions of tingly little deliciously cheesy squares into piles. Of course parents get a larger share. “Two for me, one for you and you and you and you.” 😜

Maybe I’m in a good mood because I got to leave the house today. I might be an introvert but people still need people. And I’m kind of a busy-body that like to meet up with people. It’s my jam you know and this whole pandemic is cramping my style.

Still, it hasn’t forced me to tackle all my piles of shit yet. My arch nemesis (aka paper mail) is spread across my office floor. I went to retrieve it out of my closet yesterday, where it was hiding and growing in a neat little pile. I went to pick it up and it fell out of my arms and all over the floor. It’s still there.

I basically looked at it and put my hand up and said “not today.” (That was like Monday). Calendar check— it’s Friday. I’ve worked all week staring down at it and still, STILL I refuse to get down on my knees and sort it out. I know what comes after. Taxes. Yuk!!’ Talk about Friday the 13th!!!!

I suppose that’s enough twists and turns for today.

I just want you all to know.. As things get really crazy out there, I’ll be here, quarantined in my sanctuary, typing away. Unless the internet goes down or the power gets shut off, I’ll be faithfully writing and posting all about the nonsense in my head. Isn’t that comforting?

It is for me at least.

It’s a mad mad mad mad world..

Stay safe!

~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