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.

2020-03-19 All Roads Lead to Madness

I’ve been awake since 5 am after sleeping less than 6 hours. I’d like to let my brain wander around for a while on things that are not pandemic related, but it’s a challenge. I have six hours of work meetings today and that’s something I might typically groan about but my outlook on it today is that’s it’s fantastic!

For six solid hours my brain will be occupied with functional requirements, project organization, and diving into the technical architecture that’s going to support a new system my company is developing. Six solid hours I can ignore the world in chaos and do something I’m good at and enjoy and also contribute to a team. So good.

To be fair, I have plenty to do on the school and writing fronts but somehow it’s not the same. The second I pick up a book to read or open my laptop with the intent to work on writing my thesis preface, my mind starts to wander….

What in the world will happen tomorrow? Do we have enough supplies? Should we get cash out of the bank? Do we need to go fill our gas tanks? How bad is it going to get? How do I keep my kids safe? Will we be ok if we get sick? Will there be enough resources and people if that happens? Do I let my kids go back to their dads house?

“Stay home” .. I get it. But it’s tough. People need people. Even us introverts.

Yesterday I went to Whole Foods just because, you know. I don’t know. Like somehow the grocery store seems safe and it’s one of the places that’s stayed operational in other countries cuz they provide basic needs. When I told Jim about it he basically said not to again. Not right now anyway.

Ok, so this is a little rant-y and I know I need to suck it up and put my big girl pants on but I’m just feeling so trapped. He’s still going to work of course which is also being affected but that’s a lot of exposure to the general population. If we get sick, it will likely start with him. And I’m just now thinking through this but it’s terrifying. That we are higher targets because of his profession.

Then all of a sudden the pendulum in my head swings the other way and I’m 100 percent behind eliminating as many other variables as possible. That includes me going to the post office and grocery and vIsit friends and anywhere else I might really really want to go and do.

I have a friend that’s recently moved to town and I really want to go visit with her, but have been told no. My mom is moving this weekend (which was all planned long ago), and we promised we’d help move boxes and stuff to her new place and now we can’t. I’m starting to think about all the people I meet with regularly and I’m bummed.

I also want to make sure everyone is ok so I keep peeking in on social media. Then I find chaos and just can’t. Ugh!

On my agenda today is to call my darling daughters work to see what their plan is for protecting employees. That seems a little intrusive but if daughter is just going to shrug when I ask her, I’m going to take matters into my own hands.

I would think they would have communicated out to employees already (they are a fast food restaurant), but she’s not forthcoming if they have. She’s still in “spring break land”, staying up late and sleeping a lot during the day. Anyway, she often works the drive through which is likely still open.

That means handling money and credit cards from people and it doesn’t matter how careful you are, you can make a mistake. It only takes one. I want her to quit that stupid job. She doesn’t need it right now. She really doesn’t.

As for my son? He’s in the happiest of happy places. He’s also on spring break and remote learning has not started yet. He’s been gaming all day and night on his PC and his friends just started a new online D and D campaign last night. I’m the coolest mom ever because I let him set up an old PC that nobody is using in his room so he can have the game map up on one monitor and his character profile on another monitor (we don’t have the eq for dual monitors for one PC).

He would be happy with this setup in perpetuity. It’s going to be interesting when those online lesson plans start rolling in next week. I’m going to have to spend a whole lot more time monitoring his school work. I’m seriously not looking forward to that.

See?!!!… I’ve just gone off on a whole pandemic rant / tangent when all I want to do is talk about normal stuff. What’s normal though? Even the weather is going to be crazy today. High of 68 degrees and low of 18 with thunderstorms!!!

It’s now 7:15 AM and 50 degrees out and the thunder has started. Perhaps I’ll go back to bed for a bit and listen to the rain. My work meeting marathon starts at 9:30 so I’ve got time.

On that note. My time is up and whatever it is, I’ve got to go something else.

With Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-18 What’s really on that glass container you are holding?…

(Yup, another one of those articles you have to read and endure all the way to the bottom to get the answer.)

I’m a serious creature of habit and I like routine. It often means I dig my heels in and get stubborn about how things go but it also means I can easily get stuck in a rut. However, there are sometimes there are glimpses at inner rebellion where I get an itch to change something or suddenly decide that some aspect of normal is just not good enough.

There’s a lot of ways this could go today, because not only I’m thinking about how to best structure my day to conform to the new normal and also what I can do to break out of the box.

As I’ve said, aside from stocking up with supplies and not getting to go to any meetups or Jazzercise, my routine hasn’t really changed much. In truth, I should have more time now to focus on work and school and parenting but somehow I’m not.

I was asked to limit my socialization several weeks ago and I can tell it’s affecting my mental health. Knowing you can’t do something you normally would messes with your brain. I’ve got social anxiety but that doesn’t mean I’m not bothered by no-contact rules with some of my favorite peeps. Thank goodness for the internet.

And nope, not talking about social media because I still dislike most of those platforms. I participate minimally. I say thank goodness for the internet and the technology to have virtual meet ups.

Aside from my once a week writing group which is mostly just text chatting online and facilitated writing sessions. I haven’t had a lot of communication with folks via similar chat or Skype or FaceTime sessions. Last night was my first experiment.

It was a little gathering of mostly my writing group peeps plus another gal from the MFA program. We all hopped on a zoom meeting and actually got to chat face to face. I’m the one who set it up but was also the one with technical audio issues with my laptop. Go figure! 🙄

Now that I’ve got all that figured out, my brain is working on how to use this tool to turn my would be coffee and lunch dates into events that can still happen. For gawd sake.. I just realized I’m talking about talking on the telephone. Seriously?! 🤦🏼‍♀️

I mean the cool thing about last night was actually getting to see people, so perhaps I’m not just talking about phone calls but FaceTime. Anyway, just one of the things I’m thinking about as I also ponder what the near future looks like.

As I’ve said already, we (and I mean I) stocked our household with groceries and supplies weeks ago and so we are set for disaster (for the most part). But until the idea of being stuck at the house for several weeks sinks into the teenage brain, you don’t get much response from the question “I’m going to the store, what do you need?”

This is now sinking in. My darling daughter sent me a text message at 2:30 am Monday night with her list. She finally realized what was happening (despite school being called off and info being all over the internet). I think what made the lightbulb go off was the fact that we told her no fast food and no leaving the house unless it’s absolutely necessary. (She persists for days on fast food some weeks so it’s a big change).

Her list still consisted of mostly junk food and things she wanted to make sure we have so she can bake cookies and brownies, but at least it was a list.

So I went back to the grocery store. Early AM (my regular local market which is the Walmart market which is just a grocery store).

It was interesting to see what items were completely gone or mostly picked over. Yup, no TP as I’ve heard. The milk and eggs were also almost out but there was still plenty of cheese to be had. The produce also looked pretty stocked so that’s good. There’s no soap or hand sanitizer and the cleaning supply aisle doesn’t have much left. It’s just fascinating. Human behavior is odd sometimes.

In other news my Jazzercise classes can now be done at hone (by watching a video). I’m on the fence about that. More than half the reason I go is for accountability and being with a group pushes me to work harder. If it’s just me in a room, what’s to stop me from just taking a seat or just shrugging and turning it off? I should give it a shot before I rule it out. We’ll see.

In other news… I left the house 3 times yesterday. First it was the grocery store. Then it was the post office. Then it was to the glass recycling center which is just a big green bin outside at about 102nd and I Street. Yup.. I loaded up all the glass that’s collected at our house in the past two months and tossed it all in the big green bin.

It’s strangely satisfying to throw a bunch of glass and listen to it bounce and shatter. And you can get angry and think about something that makes you mad and just channel all that energy into the act. A lot of pent up anger at my stupid ex husband now lives in that bin and has presumably been carted off, crushed, melted, and turned into new glass.

Think about that the next time you drink something from a glass container. What your holding could contain some tiny sliver of SugarCookie emotions/energy. That is, if emotions can travel on and inside the surfaces and molecules of inanimate objects.

Hey.. if viruses 🦠 can, then why not??!!

My agenda today includes staying away from social media and the news and just hunkering down to make progress on a few work and school projects. There’s a few official meetings on the books. Later I might even try to get my kids in the same room to play a board game. 🤷‍♀️

That’s it for this hump day ya’ll.

Enjoy the rain or sun or snow or whatever nature is bringing your way today.

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-16 SugarCookie Shit Series Episode 4: Let’s Party ☘️ 💻 ☘️🍷☘️

Today started the same as any other. We get up, make breakfast, and Jim leaves for work. The kids are on spring break which means they get to sleep in. I dial in for my 8am work meeting and prepare for a day of project requirement and deliverable discussions. It’s all going to be just fine. Right?!

Hey, y’all!! Tomorrow is St. Patty’s Day. I just got the pop up notification on my phone. What I think the real focus today will be to not get to wrapped up in chaos and also make some fun plans. This is what I’m proposing… a Zoom party. That’s right, people dialing into a meeting dedicated for face to face chatting and remote socialization (drinking is optional, but you better bet I’ll be tipping back some Jam Jar).

A co-worker of mine posted a news story to our work chat channel about this phenomenon last week. And what better time is there for that than St. Patrick’s Day??! ☘️💚☘️

I mean, we have the internet, and laptops and phones with cameras. And my Zoom account has just been beefed up to support longer meetings. Let’s see what it can do! 😜

Just so ya’ll know. I just decided to do this for real just now. I have 45 more minutes to walk and write but all I wanna do is get back up to my office so I can start setting this up for real. It’s gonna be amazing. And that’s not just the caffeine talking.

If you are reading this and want an invite to the virtual SugarCookie St. Patrick’s day bash, post a comment or send me a message. For realz!

Ok.. onto other stuff..

It’s a new week and things are getting crazy out there but I’ve got lots of normal stuff that just has to get done. I work remotely and go to school remotely so I’m used to being at home with my butt in a chair and I still have to do all my house chores.

I’ve got taxes to do, a thesis to write, and people and animals to care for. Speaking of animals, it’s migration season and so this is the time of year we get one or two special visitors. Yesterday we had a pair of ducks in the back yard. I actually took a picture that had the ducks, and a squirrel and a cardinal in the same frame. If there’s anything to remind a person that life is a wonder, that’s it.

I think I’m gonna cut this short today. I suppose I can walk more later but I’m anxious to get to work. And by work I mean party planning. 😉

Washing Hands Regularly,

~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

2020-03-14 SugarCookie Shit Series Episode 3: Battling My Arch Nemesis

I woke up early and laid in bed for a while thinking. No surprise there. Then I heard a familiar sound I haven’t heard in a while. Tiny claws scraping in the ceiling above our bed. Something scurrying from here to there right above my freaking head. I know it’s a mouse (or mice) as we’ve had this issue before and solved the problem from the inside.

That is to say we found a way to access the space they were dwelling without tearing a hole in the ceiling or walls. However, that did not take care of whatever access point they used to get in the house in the first place. So I suppose it makes sense now that the temps have dropped again outside and there’s a fresh issue of snow on the ground that we would have new visitors.

Add it to the pile of stuff that needs attention. Yup, you know the one. But there’s no way that’s important enough to usurp the current priorities. Today’s top dog and the star of this shit show just happens to be my long-standing (or leaning ) stack of opened, partially opened, and unopened mail.

That’s right. I’m writing about snail mail. If that’s not interesting to you, you can click elsewhere now because it is what I’m all about right now.

I could NOT lay in the bed listening to the scurrying sound so I got up and shortly thereafter made my way to my office. I knew what was waiting for me there and my goal was to tackle, at the very least, step 1 of what’s probably a 4 or 5 or 6 step process. Let me break it down so I can get clarity on just how many steps are involved.

Step 1: Sort through the pile and separate items to be kept in distinct piles (to be filed, needs action/attention, Z’s mail, tax documents, etc). Toss envelopes and recyclable items in that bin. Toss plastic wrappers. Shred sensitive documents that don’t need to be kept).

Step 2: Put all items needing action in a folder and prioritize what needs to be taken care of immediately and what can wait.

Step 3: Make sure Z gets her mail and talk about her action items.

Step 4: Further Sort and file the “to be filed” items in the appropriate folders in my filing system.

Wow. I think that’s it. That’s not so bad right? It’s just paper after all. However, historically I agonize over all that because I truly just don’t want to face the filing and also the action items. I know I’m an adult (really I do) but I hate being reminded that my car hasn’t been serviced in forever and that my ex hasn’t paid his half of the kids’ medical bills in like 7 years and that we’re behind schedule getting Z set up for school next year. What else?

Oh yeah. My legal name changed recently so it’s also a nice reminder that there are about a zillion accounts and agencies that need to be notified and updated and yada-yada, woof-woof. At least with the timing, my 2019 taxes will be a clean cut.

Speaking of taxes, I did NOT add that as a step but taking care of the mail is major prerequisite to doing taxes. I have to sort through my pile to find the 4 or 5 necessary documents. I’m happy to report that as part of what I did this morning, that’s done.

That’s right. Step 1 has been complete and now I’m ready to move on to step 2 (or ignore it in perpetuity as is my MO). Actually I did put all the immediate action items in a folder as well as all the tax stuff so I’m ahead of the game. It’s all a matter of perspective you know?

I truly am going to ignore both of those folders for the rest of the weekend though. I’ve barely seen my sweetie all week and we have plans to spend lots of QT together this weekend. Some of it also revolves around adulting— working on a household budget and prioritizing things that need taken care of for the household). But we do also have plans to take a drive in the car for a day trip.

That’s kind of necessary for me to keep my sanity as I’ve been in isolation at the house for a week or more and haven’t been able to do any meetups with people or go to public places (besides the grocery store).

Not sure how this little day-trip will play out but I’m hopeful. I remind Jim, the secret to success is managing expectations. We’ll see.

My hour is almost up and other people in the house are for sure awake now. I’m gonna go get on about my Saturday.

Staying Frosty,

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. Today’s featured image is a before and after shot of my office floor. Yes, it really looked like that and was not staged for dramatic effect. Yes, it’s all good now. The cats were no help, by the way.

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