2018-11-29 Aaaaand That’s a Wrap…

Last night I finished polishing all the documents required for my MFA final that is due this week. I haven’t yet got feedback from my mentor on my 4th packet, but that’s not really a requirement. That’s one more thing checked off my list for November and I feel great about it. ✅😊❤️

I’m a little sad to not be attending residency this winter but it was a necessary sacrifice for my family and my sanity. Having a semester break between my first and second years in the program makes so much sense for several reasons…

1. My focus needs to be on moving and selling my house and finishing all my current work projects. I want those experiences to be positive and I want to have time to do a fantastic job and not just half-ass things. 🕰⏳⏰

2. Financially I can maximize the tax benefit of contributing to a 529 for all 4 semesters (4 years of max contribution) which equates to 2000 extra bucks in my pocket at tax time (500 per semester). 💵💰💲

3. Once my house is sold I will have enough to cover the next two semesters without taking a student loan. Again important for my bank account as I will save in whatever that interest would have cost me. 🏠💶💃

4. I’m skipping a term that starts with a residency in the winter. Being in Nebraska City in winter over Christmas break and the new year holiday is not awesome. Doing it this way I will get two more summer residencies and only one more that is over NYE. ⛄️👎🏻🌨

5. I will have my graduating lecture and graduation in Summer term which is superior to winter and I’ll be graduating in a traditional spring term with a larger class. ☀️🌈🥂👍🏻

I’ll also be sad about not graduating with the people I started the program with but, the benefits of skipping a term outweigh the negative things. And by now, you should know me. I’m all about that balance. ⚖️

So today I will not only be submitting those final assignments and sending hard copies in the mail, but also turning my attention to the rest of my November checklist which there are only two more days to complete.

I’m so looking forward to everything in December. 😊🎄📦 However, I also want to not jump ahead to quickly. I need to take some time and have some celebration for this semesters success and accomplishment. 💃🎉🍾 🎈

Time for me to go get this Thursday party started and tie a nice little bow on my final submission.

So Much Awesome!

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-08-16 I Don’t Miss It

Yesterday turned out to be kind of a terrible day despite how great it started out. I was Swamped with meetings and I ended up having to do a call in my car going to the high school and back because my darling daughter forgot something she needed. From my own house that a 6 minute round trip. From Jim’s it’s like 55. 🙄

I think I got burnt out the day before and didn’t really have my heart in anything. Plus, I had a slight headache which is something I haven’t had to deal with in a long tine. Everytine I looked at my screen I would wince with just a pinch of pain. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

My last call of the day was an internal meeting to talk through some action items due by our customer call (which is today). The person who was supposed to have done the work was out due to a death in the family and the other person was trying to scramble to run sql in the environment to get me the data. The call ended quick and I put my headset down and excused myself from doing more with it. I needed a break.

I’d promised a friend, who I put off last week, that I would meet her for happy hour. She suggested Blue and I figured that was perfect. I thought having a drink would do the trick and catching up with her would take my mind off things.

I was wrong. The drinks made my headache worse and though I didn’t feel like I ate very much, I felt overly full and generally crappy. I got back to Jim’s about 7:15 and felt so shitty all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep. I also sort of felt nauseous, I think from just too much, and was fighting an urge to throw up. It’s one of the unpleasant side effects of having a history of doing that to relieve the “too full” in my stomach. I didn’t say anything to Jim about it, we haven’t had “that” conversation yet. Maybe this week.

Due to my physical state, I could not read or think and so doing schoolwork was out of the question. Bummer cuz now I have only like 1 week to catch up. Jesus.. what am I going to do?

That’s rhetorical. Jesus isn’t actually listening or reading this blog. 😜

At this point I’ve failed to find balance and I know it. Now I’m going to have to pivot and focus a majority of time on school and that means Work is going to take a back seat and suffer. That’s why I can’t go to full time, truely. I’m reminded how last semester ended and it was hella stressful. I don’t miss that stress. I don’t want the stress.

Stress, dealing with head pain, and a constant nag in the back of my head about food are all things that I don’t miss. I felt like I was back in 2016 (minus the heartbreak), and i just can’t have that. Something has to change. I just don’t know what.

Hopefully it was just a temporary flash back. I got 8+ hours of sleep and woke up without a headache. Today will be better, I am sure of it. It has to.

Time to Find Out,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-06-27 Back to Reality

I’m Finally catching up to real time after my glorious vacation and getting back to reality. In truth as things were coming to an end, reality began creeping in on me and it was sort of a struggle to really enjoy the final day of my trip. The stress of what was just around the corner weighed heavy on me which had everything to do with what was supposed to be another work trip to California quite literally starting the morning after I arrived home from Florida.

The facts were as follows… plane arrived home from Miami at 11pm and flight out to San Jose departs at 6:30am. When I booked my flight out, I was totally in the zone, feeling great about everything and had no doubt I could make it work. That, folks, was a serious delusion. A trick if the mind.

Sitting in the condo on Saturday I started to have serious anxiety. What was I fucking thinking. I was going to be beat down from travel, not sleep because I was flying out and have only a few hours to unpack and pack and take care of anything needed at the house or with my kids. At that point I felt like a very neglectful parent.

Circumstances beyond my control were also in play, which is their dad taking a new job which requires travel every week. So they’ve been mostly solo for the better part of a week and a half. They are teenagers and very self sufficient but that doesn’t change the fact that I was missing them. I probably needed to see them more than they needed me, but it is what it is.

Anyway sitting on the couch with Jim I began to unravel and we talked through it. The only answer was to cancel the California trip. I felt very much like that this was me being caught between a Rock and a hard place, but cancelling was the right answer.

The rock was the reality that if I tried to make it, I would be a useless lump to the team, tired and worried about what I’d left undone at home. I would be meeting the people paying us for our contract Work for the first time and I was afraid my first impression would be dismal. And.. if I pushed the trip out a few days, like my boss first suggested, I would miss the rest of the team sort of defeating one of the main purposes for going out there. It was also going to cost a lot more to change flights, get a room, and Uber to make it work. It would have been a waste of money and I was worried about that too.

The hard place was that this whole thing, if I cancelled, would reflect poorly on me in the eyes of the people I’m working for. Either I look like I’m poor at planning or that I just can’t hang under pressure. Neither one of these things is true of course. I’ve come through with flying colors in really high pressure Work situations before. Many times. And I’m an excellent planner, most of the time.

This one, not so much. Like I said, a trick of the mind. I’m a hard worker, and very dedicated and dependable and will sometimes (too often) take on too much or rather allow too much to be piled on. That’s what led to my crisis at the last job. I was a star and keeping that status meant taking more and more on all the time. So much so that I nearly drowned.

During my time off after quitting that job, I did a lot of reflecting on the situation. I had to come to terms with the fact that the company I was working for, specifically the president, was never to be satisfied. They would always push for more as long as I would allow it. Zeroing in on that is key. I was allowing it. I was willing and didn’t push back. I was the one with my hand on the faucet and refusing to turn right. I didn’t want to loose my status or reputation, and that, my friends, is the real hard place.

I feel very much like this current situation was made to test me. Did I learn my lesson? I’m still in the drivers seat of my life. Could I make the right choice for my health and happiness? The answer is a resounding “yes”.

I cancelled my flight and was straight with my boss about it and let him handle the comms. to the team and to the People funding our contract who will have to wait for some future date to meet me. I spoke to our HR person to get advice about the flight cancellation and she was helpful. They were both very understanding and helpful. Will it tarnish my reputation? Perhaps. But I need to be ok with that.

It’s taken me a few days to come back to reality, to get my house in order and re-establish a cadence with my day, and re-connect with my kids. It’s super clear, in hindsight, that any other choice would have been a disaster. My challenge now is sticking to my guns and not allowing this kind of situation to creep up again. I need to recognize it off in the distance and manage appropriately. Seems easy enough from where I am now, and my mantra of “balance” is the key.

Hey, that reminds me of a poem I wrote once that was a parody of a Meghan Trainor song. The poem was called “All About that Balance”…

https://shyspark.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/song-parody-all-about-that-balance/

I wrote that in 2014. You think I would have learned long before now to follow my own advice. Such is life. 😜

Now Returning to My Regularly Scheduled Programming,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-05-21 Monday Again ☮️💟☯️

Whoa.. the gym is teeming with teenagers this morning. It’s finals week at the HS and this is where they go for their PE final. Luckily, when I walked in my machine was still open. Then I had not one but two dudes come over and talk to me. One was a guy I graduated high school with over in Iowa (small world), the other is a guy named Steve who now regularly strikes up a conversation with me. I think I’m my time here at the gym – about 12 years – I’ve had about 3 guys approach me. Truly that’s all been in the last year and two of the three were named Steve. Ha!

(Not one of them was the Man in Black).

Oh this is funny.. I just realized the other guy I talk to regularly here who was not a stranger because he was Matt’s boss at his old job is named Steven. Too many Steves. 😂

The guy who I went to HS with was a jackass-class-clown who was a troublemaker and always used to pick on me. Now Moms might say the boys do that when they like you, but no no, I don’t think so on this one. That kid was just an ass who got off picking on everyone. Now he’s a police officer. What irony!

Today I’m excited because I’ve got lots of work to do this week and I’m packing up all my stuff and my kitten to head to JS’s house later today. We’re gonna have a great week! Last week was kind of a milestone because we met each other’s kids (plus he met my sister Lindsay). This weekend my mom is having a family get together and so he’ll get to meet other folks too. It will be interesting for sure.

It’s also the opening weekend for “Solo”. I would have gotten tix already but kind of in a holding pattern to see if Brian takes the kids. If he does, then I’ll go with JS, if he doesn’t, then I’ll take the kids. It’s too late now to get good seats on opening weekend, but probably next week when the kids are out if school we can go during the day and not have too much trouble getting a good spot. It would actually be cool if the 4 of us could go together, but that’s a long shot all things considered.

Anyway.. I’ve got a few other things planned this week but I’m not overbooked. I’m really going to try and find a good balance, and for the love of all that is good in the universe, I’m going to try and stick to the diet and exercise regimen.

Ok now, all the Teens are gone and so is the Man in Black. I’ve outlasted everyone today (yeah, took a blog break to watch some morning commontary on the Royal wedding this past weekend). Time to get to work.

Rock out with you yin-and-yang out, ☯️😜

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-04-04 I Got Your Back

It’s taken a couple months but I feel like I have more than a foot in the door of my team. Of course my agenda has three primary goals..

#1 To have enough work to make a living. ✅

#2 To be productive and impress those I’m working with. (Half ✅ cuz this one is still a work i progress and kind of subjective).

#3 To Learn new stuff. ✅ Hopefully this will continue. It’s one of the things that will help keep me from being bored.

Yesterday I was looking forward to working on AWS Cloudwatch and dashboards and metrics. It’s super cool. I also had a meeting with my teammate responsible for building the AWS infrastructure and his goal (or so he’s been told) is to teach me enough to be his backup. To that I say.. “bring it!”.

He actually told me he thought I was full time and that my only role in the team was the AWS stuff. In my head I was like “uhhhh, that is not what they told me. And I was there when my contract was negotiated.” Still, job security.

Job security is the bomb. So I’ll have his back and that’s me stepping further into that space. At the same time I, apparently, have other people’s backs too. I’m sort of the tertiary backup as a planner/communicator (PM). I’ll also be responsible for assisting in testing and QA now too. This is all in addition to my original title of “Technical Writer”.

As I get into a good groove staying on top of all of that.. weekly status, release notes, production metrics, spec and run book updates.. I’ll be positioned perfectly to support operations in a technical capacity. At that point, I’ll be so deep in that I’ll have everyone’s back. Well.. everyone but the developers because that’s one job I’m not qualified to do. Not without some training anyway.

The only fine line I have to walk is balancing work and school and parenting (and my heath and other relationships). Talking with a friend yesterday, RH, who also happens to be a former co-worker from my last job I was kind of reminded how crazy it can be when you are so deep in it and responsible for multiple jobs and initiatives.

I’m the only one who is going to be able to balance things out; to push back when things become too much or unreasonable. Kinda like when I was asked what my availability for testing was over Easter weekend. Um.. no.

After the minimal work hours I put in last week, I definitely need to kick it up a notch today. And, thankfully I have a full set list to pull from.

Sadly, I am going to have to miss several really cool events going on this month (April is National Poetry Month). Today there is a reading at a university near by with 14 local poets and I’m not going to be able to go. It’s in the middle of the day and it just won’t be possible with Work. Who schedules that stuff in the middle of a Wednesday??!

Anyway, White Stripes probably said it best in their song ‘Little Cream Soda’, “Oh well, oh well, oh well, oh well”.

So Profound. 😉

Back to Work,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-21 Time to Shift the Balance

I’m quite sick of overcast days, waking up to freezing temps and snow/sleet. My spring bulbs are coming up and probably happy to have that moisture, but pretty soon they are going to want to see the sun too. I good balance of both rain and sun would be perfect. The same goes for school and work.

It’s the middle of the week now and I’m faced with things I’ve been procrastinating again and really have to get myself in the right frame of mind to kick ass and get shit done. I’m good with work, and quite happy that I have enough to fill my week now because that eases my financial concerns quite a bit. I have to be careful though because it will be too easy for me to slip back into familiar patterns of taking on too much. The consequence of that would be not spending enough time on school. I’m behind this month and haven’t looked at the schedule lately, but feeling like I’ve done less reading and writing than both prior months thus far. Not good.

I think tonight I may take the kids downtown to the bookstore so I can pick up a few things and they can look for some new/old stuff too. I have several new authors to check out and I’ve been inspired by those I’ve read already and perhaps doing this will help jump start me this month too.

I’m also toiling over some of my revisions and it’s more challenging than I anticipated. I don’t have any issues with cutting/changing things, but I’ve solicited feedback from several sources and there are conflicting opinions and I’m not sure what to do with that.

Poetry is, after all, subject very much to the individual perspective. It may seem obvious that I fall in the side of my mentor who has made it his life’s work to study, write, teach, and mentor. However, if I’m appealing to a larger audience, I have to thoughtfully consider the other readers and their ideas.

Some of those people are a part of a group I was introduced to locally by a fellow student. They are all, in their own ways, deep in the poety circle and each has projects and ideas they are working on and it’s inspiring just being around them.

I may have aspirations for being published and they have all been traveling that road already and there is much I can learn. At this point I’m just sort of sitting quiet (or trying to) and soaking all of this in.

I hosted a workshop at my house last weekend and just listening to people discuss what they have going on is eye opening. It’s just as valuable as the feedback on my poems. It’s also really great to meet new people. They have welcomed me to the group with open arms and that’s a pretty strong measure of their characters.

Wow.. it’s quite amazing how just writing and thinking about this has shifted my focus and now I want to go work on school stuff instead of work. That’s pretty powerful. As soon as I’m down in it I’m sure I will have the same problem pulling myself out the same way I do with work. These are truly great problems to have.

Life is really amazing right now. If my biggest concern is loving everything so much, I don’t have enough time and picking what I want to spend it in is a challenge, then we’ll, that’s pretty fantastic!! 😃

Since I’m a creature of habit who likes routine, I feel like I would be best served by putting some more structure around my day and instead leaving school to the end of the day when the kids are home and I’m potentially tired and winding down (like last night), I take one or two days a week and block out a longer time earlier in the day. Perhaps I should start today by making today a “school” day and put work on the back burner for a day.

We’ll see once I’m back home and in front of my computer. It all starts with those first choices. Aaaaannnd…. now I’ve hit my morning step goal and the Man in Black has arrived at the gym so it’s time to go put those choices to the test.

Happy Hump Day!

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-19 Delayed Sunday Status – The “Big News” Edition

What day is it again? I’ve been traveling on a new track and apparently left my sense of time a few stops back.

Oh yeah.. Monday. It’s been a few days since I’ve done anything resembling my normal routine, and my balance was definitely off this past weekend. I’m going to try and rediscover my center of gravity today and since I completely breezed by Sunday, I’m going to start by checking-in in my stats from last week.

Steps and Exercise.. 16K average per day. Not quite on par with where it has been (20k), but still above goal which is 15K per day. I had a few 25K days and that helped balance out the two days I fell way short of the 15. One contributing factor of the decline was the fact I only did 2 Jazzercise classes all week. There are reasons for that, of course, but I’ll get to that.

Food was pretty variable too. I didn’t do a stellar job of rejecting all the birthday goodies, but in hind site I did ok. If there is one thing I can see in the horizon for this is yet another attempt to minimize gluten. I’ve had a reoccurrence of a past irritation which was alienated before by eliminating gluten for over 6 months. Not solid on my level of commitment there, but it would be easier than ever given the, now, wide spread social and economic support of this lifestyle choice.

Sleep.. 7 hours and 9 minutes average per night and I’ll take it! This is arguably my most important stat and the most neglected area. If there’s something that always sufferes from my poor choices, this is it. I’m going to try very hard this week to get to bed at a good hour.

Work is really taking off now I think and I hit my goal for hours last week with more left undone. I don’t see there being any trend back the other way either. I now have my fingeres in more pies and I can feel my team members trusting me more. And at long last, my checking account is safely back in the black. Still not good enough to start looking at my wish list, but getting there.

My schoolwork has been severely neglected for a couple weeks now and I’m detecting a very bad trend. The panic monster is snoring hard and I’m content just to dance around and ignore it. That’s not good. I need to get back to my reading and writing. I need to set aside dedicated time and make this a priority. It’s going to get even tougher I think given my other status change. Which once again brings me to everyone’s favorite train wreck topic. This time, however, I feel like I’m riding the Eurostar.

At the present moment I’m thoroughly enjoying the smooth, elegant ride. The easy, effortless way I’m being propelled forward on this track makes the speed seem virtually unnoticeable. I’ve only known Bachelor #15 for two weeks, but It feels like much longer and I’m quite pleased with how things are going. This definitely deserves more words, and I have more, but out of time now. I’ll just end by officially stating that my relationship status is now happily being changed to “dating”!!! ☮️💕😊

If this train wrecks, I probably won’t survive because I’ll likely drown somewhere between London and Paris.

Time to Monday,

~Miss SugarCookie