2019-06-20 Colorado Day 2 – The Picture of a Perfect Day

Yesterday was a good day with the stress of traveling behind me and the peace of being in a very special place taking over. The drive here was incredible and though I had a bit of a challenge adjusting to the altitude (headache, upset stomach, yadda, yadda), catching up with my peeps into the evening was great. The promise of today is even better.

I woke up headache free, thankfully, and refreshed and ready for what looks like will be the best weather day of the trip. There is a chance for rain and isolated storms almost every day but not today. Today will be sunny with a high of 71. It is fairly chilly at this elevation when the sun is not out, but when the sun is out, 71 feels quite warm.

After breakfast my friend and I took the dogs and the kids for a walk up on trails through the hills. The sky is so blue and everyone is in the best mood.

When we were done with walking the dogs we came back to the house and continued our walk along the streets of this little community just meandering, you know, and catching up one on one. That’s the best. I’m not sure what else is in store, really. I think we’ll go on a more serious hike later without the kids and talked about also taking the tennis racquets down to the court to do some volleying. We’ve already agreed that the point of tennis should be to see how long we can volley back and forth and stay in control and that it’s no fun at all to see if you can make the other person miss. Those are my kind of people.

Whatever is in store this afternoon, I will need to wrap it up by about 4:30 because I’ll be making my way back to the airport to pick up Jim. It’s about 4 hours round trip and it will be dark when we arrive back at the house. I’m actually enjoying not having a set agenda and also looking forward to doing that scenic drive again. Then Jim and I will have a nice time in the car catching up (though it’s only been a day and a half) before joining the group.

I’m really feeling the peace of being detached from the normal daily routine. I’ve never been in this place before or in this house but something about it just feels like home. That’s one thing I’ve found that always rings true in life – home is not about the place, it is about the people. Although when you are some place that Is as quiet and remote and beautiful as this, its even easier to get to that feeling.

I’ve got just a few more minutes alone, sitting in the sunshine, looking at the view off the back deck before we will be on the move again. I think I’ll try to get a bit of reading in.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-19 Colorado Day 1 – Changes in Scenery

The travel day yesterday was dismal. I sat on a plane that was not allowed to take off for two hours because the destination airport (Denver) was “shutdown” due to a massive storm in the area. Shutdown just means that no planes were allowed to take off or land. I sat reading and thinking and thinking and reading and watched as the minutes ticked by. At the time we were due to land, we were taxiing back to the terminal (of our departure point) so people could get off the plane if they wanted. There was no guarantee the flight would or would not be cancelled.

All my worry about plans and driving in the dark and visiting my brother versus my friend Lance had been ironed out early in the day. I had already determined I could not “do it all”, which is a thing I often fool myself into thinking. Broomfield and the visit with my bro would have taken at least 3 hours and the reality is, there just would not be time for that. The plane being delayed was that 3 hours. I arrived in Denver after 8PM, and by the time I had my things and the car and was on my way to downtown Denver where Lance lives it was about 9PM. Not even enough time for a nice meal and a chat.

We walked to a bar and had a drink and then walked back to his building and basically crashed out. Not quite the QT I was hoping for, but truly, when do things exactly meet our expectation? Rarely. But the rule of the Universe is Balance so things exceed our expectations about as often as they fall short. It’s just the Way. Not good or bad, it just is.

At the present moment, I am sitting in the new house of my bestest friends after having the most beautiful drive through the mountains, listening to music and marveling at being eye level with the clouds wafting through at the same time. It’s otherwise bright and sunny and now I’m hanging out with one of my favorite families. The view out the back picture window is more amazing than I expected.

The house is nestled among the hills with views of mountains off in the distance. It’s on the opposite side of a mountain pass which made the drive quite interesting. It’s so “nestled” that there is no cell phone service here. I quite like the idea of being off the grid, or at least partially disconnected. Of course there is still WiFi and all that jazz so communication is possible.

More of our “crew” is arriving later today, and Jim tomorrow, and by the weekend there will be 7 adults and 2 kids. It’s just like it is in Austin except for the delightful change in scenery. It’s my AAC (Austin Advisory Committee) but now it’s the CAC (?ewww no). That doesn’t really fit and so I guess it’s a good thing I no longer need the advice of the committee like I used to – about everything. My job/career, my relationships, my ex and that drama. It was a great way for me to check something before I wrecked it. 😉 And I definitely wrecked my fair share of things.

All that was not that long ago really. My oh my how the scenery of my life has changed.

Apparently we are going to take the kids to some “adventure camp” here in just a bit and i probably should unpack and figure out what is what with my newest “home away from home”.


~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-18 Where it Stops, Nobody Knows

It’s another severely overcast morning and the mood is set. Everything in the backyard is cast in a haze of forgetting. It would be a good day to slide under some blankets and nap the day away but then the guilt of wasting time would gnaw on my big toe and not let me really enjoy it. Just as well.. I’ve got packing to do.

I’ll be heading to the airport this afternoon. Typically now is about the time I would be second guessing flying but I’m actually glad I didn’t have to wake early to get on the road. If I was driving today, I would likely already be past Lincoln.

In my brilliance, I booked an afternoon flight thinking I would land just in time to meet my bro in Broomfield, perhaps catch a meal, and then head to my friends house about two hours west of Denver. Two things I was not thinking of.. if i spend any time at all, it will be dark when I’m driving and their house is literally in a town up in the mountains.

Typically I would be flying to Austin to visit my peeps and they are like 15 minutes from the airport and they pick me up. This new house is 2 hours from the airport and I have to rent a car. And it’s not just two hours of a typical highway drive. A few nights ago my friend texts me that it’s not a good idea to drive the mountain pass alone in the dark. “Wut?!”.

So either I’m skipping visiting my bro and going straight to my destination or I’m crashing at my bros house overnight which I’m not super excited about or I’m meeting up with my bro and then crashing in Denver with my friend Lance or I’m skipping visiting my brother and just hanging out with Lance. It’s good to have options but I really need to decide.

Part of my indecision stems from feeling obligated to visit my brother when I’m not really wanting to. When I contacted him to ask if he was available today he was very short in reply and didn’t seem that excited to meet up. I mean, how do you think a person feels when they are all like “hey, I saw your pics on Facebook and heard about your latest talk and that’s cool and I’m going to be in your area on Tuesday the 18th and would love to hang out and catch up”

And the reply is “we’ll be around”.

Well, super! I’m excited to see you too. Grrrrrr. My family is so stupid sometimes.

Lance lives in downtown Denver and if I had my choice of where to crash, I would stay at his place. That’s also questionable, I suppose, given the history of things. I haven’t mentioned that possibility to anyone but Lance which means I haven’t suggested it to Jim or Rebecca. That makes me question myself just a little bit. Why would that be? 🤔

I also am not sure about driving straight to Granby from the airport. If I arrive at 6, on time, will I have enough time to get through and over any mountain passes and sketchy roads before the sun goes down? I’m not cool with not knowing what I’m up against.

And now I’ve literally been rambling about my current conundrum for about 30 minutes. That’s enough of that. Things will all work out like they are supposed to.

In any case, I’ll be an expert driving the route by the end of this trip because I’m going to be driving to pick Jim up from the airport on Thursday. Eventhough I’m not flying, I’ll still have my fair share of time behind the wheel, and half of that solo.

I’m looking forward to that too. It’s wonderful to have a vibrant household full of life here but as an introvert, having some alone time is necessary. This is the first morning in quite some time that there have been no other people here.

Yup… right now it’s just the cats, birds, snails, fish and I. That’s still a lot of life, but nobody here to make dirty dishes in the kitchen. 😜

I suppose that’s enough random meandering for now. If I have time today before I head to the airport, I’m gonna try and start some new writing. (That’s my official declaration to make myself accountable). Yesterday a friend of mine suggested a writing “challenge” to write 1000 words a day for 2 weeks. After thinking on it, I determined that this blog doesn’t count (even though yesterday It was 1300+ words). So starting today I’m going to go for the 1000 with the parameter that it has to be “creative” writing and not this stream of consciousness stuff. We’ll see.

Cheers to All That and a Bag of Chips,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-17 The One About Marriage – Part 2

It’s Monday and the weekend went by too fast. We had a house full of teenagers again this go-round and it feels like I spent the entire weekend cleaning the kitchen and doing dishes. I don’t want this to turn into a rant but I just feel like I’ve gotta get it out. Every single time I walked through the kitchen, there was another mess waiting for me. I say “me” because clearly I’m the one with the lowest tolerance for mess.

In my head I’m all like “how hard is it to rinse your dirty dishes, wipe up spilled cheese or Ketchup, and not explode things in the microwave?” Apparently it’s pretty tough. And they seem fairly oblivious. It’s as if nobody has ever suggested they pick up after themselves before. Don’t even get me started on the lack of attention to recycling. I can’t tell you how many times I pulled empty soda cans and plastic cups out of the trash. I have to fight my own disgust but I do that because I hate to see recyclable materials go into the trash. But, again, I should not dwell here too long. Life is too short.

Among other things we did this past. weekend was the forward progress on wedding planning. I think it was Friday night when I finally breached the subject about my wedding angst with Jim. In truth, I put more weight on the wedding than the marriage, just like I did when I first opened the topic here in “Part 1”.

I began with the story about my first wedding and how it all just happened and I was a tangent in my own life. I never dreamed of a wedding growing up. I never had visions of what I wanted. I never even wanted to get married, as I grew up in a household in constant transition because of failed relationships.

When I was 19 and was unexpectedly proposed to, that set the wheels in motion and it was like a train on the tracks with no brakes. It was all sort of too much and there I was, outside myself and watching it happen. I was focused on finishing my associates degree and navigating a long distance relationship with my betrothed. All the while my future mother-in-law was planning our wedding.

Food, cake, flowers, balloons, centerpieces, bows for the end of the pews in the church, invitations, drinks, glasses to toast with, a knife to cut the cake, and some cute “precious moments” cake topper. No detail was too small and it was all just taken care of. I picked the color theme, midnight blue and black, but I guess midnight blue was tough to accommodate and we ended up with a bunch of stuff that was a lighter shade of blue – bridesmaid dresses, balloons, cummerbunds, and all the bows on everything. I picked the invitation, which was a black rose next to the text and that was the extent of my contribution.

The truth is that they probably asked me and I didn’t care. I was the anti-bridezilla. I didn’t even have my own dress. His mom gave me her dress and it fit and was good enough so I went with that. It was great because then I would not have to spend time dress shopping or spend any money on something I was only going to wear once. I digress.

On Friday night I told Jim I wasn’t sure about the whole wedding thing and that spending thousands of dollars just doesn’t seem justified. Let’s just say we rented a hall. That’s like $1000 right there. Catering will likely be $2500 and I have no idea how much decorations or all the little details will cost but I can easily see that the whole thing could cost $5000 or more. That’s enough for a really great vacation. Poof, gone.

We didn’t get very far with that conversation because there were other goings on and it just melted into the drama of other thoughts. He just said, “well just keep looking at the options and see how we feel”. We were seeing our first possible venue on Saturday so i agreed and so that was it.

On Saturday we went to check out two possible celebration locations and seeing those did nothing to sway my feelings. It didn’t make me excited and I had a hard time visualizing the event despite One of the spaces being decorated for a wedding reception already. The gal showing us the spaces was nice enough and provided a lot of detail for both. She even showed me pictures on her phone of different ideas.

All I kept thinking was that on top of everything else, the lions share of deciding how it should look is going to fall on me. Knowing what you want is sometimes the toughest part of any decision. How do you choose your job, your weekend plans, what to eat for dinner?. I’m so “go with the flow”, I don’t typically care. Perhaps it was good My now ex-MIL planned the last one.

I just did the math. That was 26 years ago. Good grief!!

One of the venues was ruled out completely because it was presumably too small for the amount of people we will likely invite. The other was large enough but I just didn’t get the right vibe. I could not tell if that was just me or because I didn’t like it. The best thing that came from the whole affair was the conversation that it spurred.

We talked about the guest list, what we both think about the entire weekend and what might be best in light of different dynamics involved. It was good for me to hear his thoughts. It makes it feel like more of a joint effort where both of us are involved. It makes me think that at the heart of my trepidation lies fear of divided and targeted roles and lines in the sand.

I don’t want to be the sole person responsible for always deciding things and always cleaning the kitchen. I’m looking past the wedding to the important part.. the marriage. It needs to be a partnership and a team and this whole wedding planning thing is a great litmus test. Though I have no idea what I would do if we fail.

By my latest estimate, we have about a month before the “save the date” postcards need to go out. That’s a thing now. I spent some time on Sunday going through hundreds of pics I’ve taken in the last year looking for good snaps we could use in the announcement. It was a nice reminder that the last year of my life has been pretty freaking great.

I know all of our years will not be like the first one we met, but if I hold the past year up as it’s own test, the marriage we are planning will be wonderful. I just need to keep that in mind. The wedding is just a blip in time, the marriage is what really matters.

I need to count myself among the fortunate ones. I’ve already figured out what I want and what I need and finally found that. So much of life is perspective and perception.

This “Part 2” is not the conclusion. There is more. I’m just peeling back the layers which will hopefully lead me to the answers I seek. It’s who I am. It’s why I’m here. I suppose it’s a good thing I’m no longer procrastinating thinking about it. Baby steps, you know?

The minutia of the day plays a part in all of it of course. And that will be fine as long as I don’t get stuck there in an endless “while” loop.. washing piles of dirty dishes and fishing soda cans out of the trash. Can I get a line of code with a conditional exit please? 😜

That’s all for today I suppose. T-minus 24 hours until I’m “on the move” again. Tomorrow’s agenda will be another change of scenery.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-15 Four, Three, Two, One, and Go (or Not)

At this point I’m just moving about the world and spending a lot of time thinking about it. The world and my place in it. What’s worth a second thought and what is not.

Four days ago I saw a tweet from a friend of mine that led to an article that was worth a second read, a subject I struggle with daily, health and “wellness” as it pertains to food and how our society decides and spoon-feeds us (women) what’s right and wrong. This dovetails with thoughts I’ve had about a book I finished recently and also an advertisement I saw the other night for a product/drug to help men with their “wellness” issues. I want to sort through all of it and figure out what I really think. But as it happens (too often) the clock is ticking and something else needs attention.

Three days ago I read some stories and poems in the Georgia review and I have the most brilliant idea about a writing project that I would like to work on that a friend of mine suggested I take on like 5 years ago. I only spent a short time thinking about that before moving on to the next set of stories in that publication. With each one, as it often does, I was struck with inspiration about something else I wanted to write. Again, life interrupts my trains of thought and I’m off and onto the next thing.

Two days ago I started to walk on the treadmill and as I was thinking about what I should write, the “wellness” topic came back to my mind first. Then I cane up with a really clever title for my blog post about that which just happens to be a twisted version of the beginning of the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken. I then spent the next half an hour thinking about the form of that poem and the iambic and how poetry in time of Frost was so different than the free verse we hold in such high regard now.

Then I wonder if there’s enough material there (which of course there is) to write a 45 page paper about it and whether that would be an acceptable topic for my 3rd term MFA paper. It may or may not be, but it could be a really great lecture which is a requirement for graduation.

I didn’t end up finishing a solid thought in writing that day either. It was mostly just thinking and I got one stanza of a poem which followed the form of the Frost poem and that’s tougher than it sounds. End rhymes are my jam but finding the right arrangement to both keep the meaning intended and elicit the right images and feelings, that’s difficult. And that’s part of the reason Frost is on near the top of the list of the most Famous American poets.

One day ago I started this blog post and never found the time to finish it where does all the time go sometimes? So I missed writing group and I missed first draft Friday and I’m doing more thinking and reading than writing, but I suppose that’s ok.

Today is going to be another busy day and I’m hoping to spend some time in the garden. Lots of weeding to be done now and that’s another set of pics I want to take for posterity. We’re also having our first in-person visit to two potential wedding venues. I should be more excited but that’s just one more unfinished set of thoughts. That’s the theme for my life right now, I guess. Things half started and no time to refine anything. Oh well oh well.

Time to Jam,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-12 Balance Restored

It’s Wednesday and the toughest part of my week is over. I had the dinner party and wouldn’t you know it, the world did not end. Nothing bad happened. Of course they all loved the house and I ordered sushi so food prep and clean-up was a snap! I slept in until about 7:15 this morning and woke feeling refreshed and so ready for what’s next.

It’s amazing the amount of time I spent worrying about the whole thing. I wish I could change the part of me that gets anxious about stuff like that. Could I meditate it away or medicate it into submission? Who knows.. it’s just such a waste of time and energy.

Today balance has been restored to the Universe in more ways than that one. I received my new FitBit in the mail yesterday which I broke down and ordered a few days ago after exhausting all efforts to fix the one that broke. I had figured out how to reboot it to restore the display and it was recording my steps but the heart rate monitor was busted and it would not sync with my phone and that’s just rotten. In total I lost about 4 days of sleep and steps, though I didn’t actually lose them, they just didn’t get recorded. Yesterday I got like 20k steps and not getting credit for that is a tragedy. Yes, that qualifies as a tragedy in my life so I guess you could say life is good.

Yesterday I also submitted some poetry for consideration in an anthology and filled out the form for Summer residency for my MFA program. I had actually forgotten about workshop materials and getting those is such a treat. It’s like getting a sneak peek at some really great writing that no one else gets to see. I didn’t actually get the materials yesterday but there was a question on the form about getting a hard copy versus electronic so I know it is on it’s way soon.

Last summer I received a hard copy in the mail and it was like getting a little 4th of July present. I wrote a poem about it (go figure). It’s amazing how different my life is now. That feels like it was years and years ago but it wasn’t, it was just last year.

I actually submitted my workshop materials several weeks ago and have already forgotten what I submitted. That’s an interesting phenomenon. My opinion on what’s worthy changes with my mood. In the last week I changed my mind daily about what I should submit to that publication I mentioned. And today… I’ve already forgotten all about it.

I guess that might be a good thing. It means I’m not taking it too seriously. I need that. I need to just chill, you know and worry about life a little less. I need to just start submitting all kinds of stuff all the time and let go of the anxiety over whether it’s good or bad or right or wrong or how rejection or acceptance will make me feel. I need to trust the Universe a little more. Yesterday turned out ok and tomorrow will too. There will always be shifts in the balance but things always return to center. It’s just the Way, you know.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-11 It’s all in my Head

I’m having a quaint get-together with co-workers at my house this evening and I’m having some serious anxiety about it. I don’t know what is wrong with me. Why can’t I just relax like everyone else and enjoy dinner with some really great people? Why can’t I? I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? Where does the needless worry come from anyway? This stupid social anxiety is all in my head. It’s real, don’t get me wrong, but it’s really just silliness.good grief!

As if one mental crisis were not enough.. I’ve finally pulled the trigger on submitting some poetry to a publisher today. I’m about two or three days past the deadline I set for myself on this one even though the deadline to submit isn’t until early August. I’m afraid filling out the info on the submission form, attaching a document, and hitting “send” is a set of actions that will also never get easier. There’s just so much second guessing. Are these the right poems? Are they good enough? I’m putting my heart out there you know and that’s a risk. I literally just sat at the computer for like an hour and a half going over the form fields and of course, the bio.

This publisher requires a bio written in 3rd person, which is to be 50 words or less. I have found that writing something like this will make one question their entire existence. I mean.. what can you say about yourself that is worth putting in a bio? Where you were born and where you live are easy cuz that’s just the facts. Then what? What is your whole life about?

What do you do? Gawd there’s not a question in the Universe I hate more than that. Do you say what you’ve done, what you like to to, what you aspire to do, or what your hopes and dreams are? I’m having an identity crisis, so Imma be like the magic 8 ball and say “ask again later”. I’m not sure they would accept that though.

And how about that pen name thing? I don’t even have a name I can use. Of course I have a name but in my current state of transition I’m torn. I can’t use my maiden name as I have not been that person since I was 19. I’ve had my married name for a very long time but that’s not who I am either. I mean, it is who I am but not who I’m going to be. Which begs the question.. who am I going to be?

When/if I get married I will most certainly take his last name. But I can’t think about that more now or my head will certainly explode. I just can’t even get into the whole marriage thing again now. By the way, that name may be great one day, as it is a kick-ass poets name, but I haven’t quite lived in that skin long enough to make it fit.

Do I use my Moniker/social media handle. “Shyspark”? I’ve had that since like 2010 and I suppose if one googled that they would find all roads lead to some blog post written by yours truly. Seriously though.. I’ve got like 4 WordPress blogs I have started throughout the years, 1 tumblr account, 1 blogspot account, facebook, instagram, Snapchat, and a few twitters. I’m clearly not bothered by throwing fluff out into the Wild. But “real” publishing is very intimidating.

Print is effing serious and I’ve just got so much doubt about who it is I want to be when I grow up. Print is like a permanent tattoo. It’s easier to have a constant identity crisis if you are not on public display. This is all in my head too, of course. On some level.. some rational, logical plane of existence, it doesn’t really matter. Life is what you make of it and what other peoples perceptions are should not hinder forward progress on whatever that is (unless you are a nefarious evil-doer). One could say “no risk, no reward”, but that’s not quite right anymore either is it?

There is NO risk because there is NO reward. “Reward” implies gaining something you want but if you don’t know what that is, then you’re not even halfway there. But isn’t that ok too? Because it’s about the journey right? I can travel twice as far and still not be halfway there. Wherever “there” is.

This is me trying to put rungs on a ladder in order to try and climb out of my own head. All this internal crisis management is exhausting. If you boil it down I suppose the essence is just a lot of doubt.

I am not this house and this house is not me. I’m not an extension of the house and it is not an extension of me. I’m not my fiancé or my children and they are not me. I’m not the jobs I’ve had or degrees I’ve earned or places I have traveled or people I’ve met and they are not me. I’m just me, doing the best I can with life, you know, and if i don’t know what the future looks like that’s ok. People will think what they think and that’s ok and people will like my poems or they won’t and that’s ok too. It’s all going to be OK.

That’s enough for today’s rambling on about what’s making me twitchy.

Until we meet again,

~Miss SugarCookie