California Adventure Day 1: Not the Blog Post I Was Hoping For

The day yesterday started with a bit of a headache,at 5AM. OK, It was more than a “bit,” it was pretty bad and within a few minutes of being awake, I knew it was a migraine. Of all days and times to have this?? The timing is terrible. I realized that with the long travel day yesterday and being off my normal routine I had not had the requisite amount of caffeine. Plus, air travel and navigating a new situation is always stressful. 

Right now it’s about 24 hours since I woke up yesterday and sometimes it’s hard to recount the events of the previous day when something has happened that has overshadowed everything else. 

I’d like to write about our drive up to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo California where Z met her good friend (of about 4 years) Alex in person for the first time. I’d be tickled to report the girls had a great time riding rides, taking pictures, and chatting about stuff IRL. I’d even like to write about my own experience as a mom, supporting this little detour in our trip and meeting Alex’s mom who I spent several hours talking with while we waited for the girls to ride rides. But all of that feels as if it pales in comparison to how our day at the park ended, which was with Z’s phone getting destroyed on a ride. 

It’s a sad statement to say that a person’s phone has become so much a part of their daily operations that when something like this happens, it’s a huge deal. She’s a teenager and her phone is her lifeline to the world. I wish it wasn’t so. I know that when I was 19, people didn’t have cell phones yet, but in this day and age, even for me, losing a phone would be an issue. 

Yes, data could be in the cloud, but her apple cloud has been “full” for quite some time and she stopped paying the 99 cents a month to have it. Even if she had all her data backed up there, it would not help the fact the most important thing to her were the pictures and videos she took yesterday, meeting Alex for the first time. She’s heartbroken to have lost these moments and what’s more, is that the shadow this casts on the day is tough to overcome. 

The phone is a total loss. The word “destroyed” best describes it’s physical condition and the bottom, where you plug in the cable, is smashed in well beyond repair. So there is zero hope to recover any lost data. 

The good news is that it is just a phone and we have insurance through our cell carrier and she can get a replacement phone by filing a claim and paying a deductible. However, this is definitely not something we can or want to deal with on vacation. Oh yeah, we are on vacation. She wants to take pictures and video and stay connected to people. At the end of the day, this bump in our road is more of an emotional one than anything else. 

As a parent, I need to be both supportive of her thoughts and feelings but also help her realize how small this issue is in the grand scheme. I want to help her see past it, so we can try to enjoy our time here together, which is so very short. I think this situation gives me the opportunity to provide a good life lesson. I need to take it and do what I can with it. 

It’s funny how in my post yesterday I was lamenting the fact that I’m in San Francisco, a city I don’t care for much, and kind of groaning internally about doing all the touristy things. And today, I need to embrace those experiences to help prove my point to my daughter. I have to make this day fun and memorable. I want to laugh through the dense fog and find the bright side. I have to, for both our sakes. 

*** 

So there it is. All about the stupid phone and nothing about our drive on the Golden Gate Bridge or dinner at a little hole-in-the-wall mexican joint or our third (yes I said third) trip to Target last night. One might scoff, but retail therapy is a real thing and looking at sweatshirts and little backpacks and being silly in the store really did lighten our moods. 

After that, I was beat-tired and very done with the day. I could barely stay awake for 5 minutes after going to bed (for the second night in a row). 

My fingers are crossed for a good (better) day today.

With peace and love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2021-07-22 California Adventure Day 0: No Love for San Fran (But Big Love for My Z) ❤️

San Francisco and I have a storied past. In all honesty, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t visit again. I’m not really a fan. I think the city is overrated and don’t quite understand the appeal. Am I not cultured enough or hip enough to “get it?” Perhaps. But arriving yesterday I was reminded not only of how uninspired I am by this 7 by 7 town, but also all the “meh-mories.”

First trip in my early 20’s with my mom and sister with a primary goal of visiting my brother who lived in Santa Clara at the time. I don’t remember much except the few touristy things we did which included a ferry ride on the bay and visiting the Pier. That trip was overshadowed by the one and only time I had the gumption to have words with my sister in law who (to this day) is a unique piece of work. 

I visited again in my early 30’s with a girlfriend and her friend. My first real “girls trip.” Of course that was near the end of my marriage and I was a little bit of a wreck at times. I remember drinking too many Bloody Mary’s  on the layover in Vegas on the way here and ending up with the most splitting migraine on the afternoon of my first day here. It took me out for a day, but I bounced back enough to do the touristy things, like riding a cable car and visiting the Pier. I also remember we went to a club one night that had salsa dancing and I had a great time. The man I danced with was a strong and brilliant lead and I remember thinking THAT was what I wanted from life (or rather who). 

Fast forward about 4 years to 2012. By then I had been divorced about 2 years and was newly dating Matt. We had our big two week California adventure which began and ended in San Fran. We flew in, took the Starlight Coast train to Seattle and then drove back down on highway 101. It was a good trip but visiting the bay area was mostly just in and out. Of course we made time to visit the Golden Gate Bridge and, you guessed it, the Pier. We also had friends, Rahul and Sarah, we visited here and that was probably the highlight of our stay in the Bay. 

Matt and I would travel to San Fran several more times during our five year relationship. He worked for a start-up that had regular meetings and I loved to travel so I would tag along. I don’t remember much except drinking and food and quit doing the normal touristy things. How many times can you see Alcatraz or the Sea Lions and not have it be sort of “so-what?” 

I also can’t help but have a few memories about Matt from here that sadly (but fittingly) remind me why we were not a good match for each other. I could spiral down into that here, but I’ve not got the time or emotional energy for it right now. The point is, I’m so not in love with this town. I’m not even in like with it. So why am I here?? 

The short answer is because of my darling daughter, Z. She’s never been here before and when we were working out where she wanted to go for her High School Graduation gift trip, visiting this town was a big part of our grand plan. Of course that was last year and then the pandemic hit and all our plans got squashed, but we finally made it to the coast, about one month before she goes back to begin her sophomore year at UNL. Originally we had concert tickets for Fall Out Boy and now that’s not happening until a week after she goes back to school so instead we are planning our own little drive down the coast to go to Universal Studios in Hollywood. 

For now, we have about 3 days to explore the area here and she does not know the extent of my feelings about the town so I’m open to doing whatever she wants to do. I’m sure that will involve many of those touristy things I’ve grown to groan about. But this trip is not about me, it’s about her. I want to make her experience as fun, memorable, and positive as possible. 

Yesterday was day 0, travel day, which began super early and was very long. We had our first view of the bay, the bridge, and the pacific ocean. We had pizza for dinner at a local place that’s supposed to be one of the best followed by a quick stop at Ocean Beach to see the sunset. We also hit Target and TJ Max to pick up a few essentials and snacks and with that, I think we are set for getting the most of out this trip. 

Today, thankfully, we are getting out of town and heading north to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom where Z is getting to meet her friend Alex in person for the first time. They met online and have been friends for a number of years and she’s one of the reasons visiting northern california was so appealing to Z. I’m excited for them. I’m not particularly jazzed about the amusement park, but we’ll see how that plays out. 

We’ll see how all of this plays out. Maybe San Fran can redeem itself on this trip. Maybe something about it will change how I feel? A girl can hope right?? 

On that note.. It’s time for me to get up and get ready for the day. This early AM writing without my treadmill is very different but I’m going to try and document as much of this trip as I can for posterity.

Cheers to West Coast Wandering,
~Miss SugarCookie

2021-07-18 Sunday Staycation Status 🏖🚴🏻‍♀️🍹☀️❤️🍱🍝🌮

Sunday Staycation Status, AKA Staycation Days one through six, is that one post that wraps six days “off” the normal routine enjoying many activities one’s home city has to offer. It’s true what people say about a person not actually taking advantage of the things the city they live in had to offer. It’s been about 8 years since I’ve been to the Henry Doorly Zoo here in Omaha and it’s a world class zoo. Why??!! 🤔

That was remedied this week with the outing we had on Friday afternoon. It was just one of the places we went this week while Jim had some extra days off work. 

Since I’m not currently working for the man, what the staycation means for me is putting a few things on pause to spend some extra QT with my sweetie AND not worrying too much about the dishes or cooking or cleaning. 

The first couple days of this staycation, however, were spent apart as Jim took his boys “cabin” camping at Two Rivers state park. For me, those first few days gave me an opportunity to really get the house in order and also spend some extra time with my Z. 

I cleaned, binged-watched The Bachelorette while jogging on the treadmill, got into Master Chef, and took Z to see Black Widow in the theatre. It was the first movie I’ve seen in a theatre since the pandemic and it was fun. It was mostly fun because I was there with Z who is Gaga for anything Marvel and it’s always nice to be with someone who’s really into what you’re watching. I’m not such a big fan but I enjoy the stories. 

When Jim and his boys arrived home on Wednesday, they brought the toads that we released into the stream area behind our house and then the boys packed themselves up and headed back to their mom’s house. That was the other part of our staycation—having a mostly kid free few days off. Mine were going on vacation with their dad. 

Here’s a quick rundown of what we elected to do with our time (in no particular order)…

A visit to the Zoo. 

Swimming and hot tub sitting.

Bike rides at Flannigan lake, standing Bear lake, and Papio Trail. 

Tubing on the Elkhorn river.

Brunches at First Watch and LePeep

Dinners out at V-Mertz, Biaggis, and Ponzu

Take out from R-taco

And a healthy amount of margaritas and vodka lemonades on the back patio. 

I also averaged 20K steps a day for the week and kicked my cardio up a notch by doing both bike rides and jogging while watching Master Chef. 

Today is a transition day.. back to reality this week and a mad scramble to get the next issue of The Good Life Review live as well as preparing for my next big adventure which is coming up hot! More on that later. For now, I’m lobbying for one last bike ride and brunch. 

If I had more time I’d at least write about some of the highlights of our “trip” like my first Elkhorn River tubing experience and my first dining experience at V~Mertz. Both were fantastic. I can honestly say that the meal I had at V~Mertz was the best meal I’ve ever had in Omaha. Just superb! If you’re ever on vacation in Omaha I’d highly recommend (both actually). 

As it is now though, my treadmill time is almost up. 

Cheers to enjoying the life you’re living! 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-07-16 This Blog Post is Not About Toads 🐸🐸🐸

Jim and his boys brought back about 12 toads from their adventure at Two Rivers State Park and we released them in the stream behind our house. I feel a little bad for displacing them from their original natural habitat but feel confident they can thrive here too. Lots of cool places to burrow and hide in the day and bugs to snack on at night. The bugs are kind of bonkers right now with all this rain and heat. 

This would be a perfect intro to the garden update that I’ve been wanting to write about for a hot little minute lately but it’s not what’s on my mind today. Nope. 

Today I’m thinking about the grinder as a necessary tool in “sausage making.”

Sausage making (in this case) being the production of poetry which is opposed to where I first heard the term applied to developing software when I was working as an engineer for a software company. The metaphor, as it turns out, works well for both. 

I think that’s because there are a lot of similarities. There is a SDLC to poetry I don’t think people recognize.. call it a PDLC. Poetry Development Life Cycle. 

Complete with analysis to development to testing, iterations, and IF you’re good AND lucky, a little bit of implementation too. 

I’m also beginning to be a firm believer in the mathematics of it all. Proven formulas that work and methodologies that can be applied to increase the chances of success. But this is all just metaphorical until I can explain using real life examples to help solidify the thoughts. 

That’s a good disclaimer actually. These are all just my thoughts and what works or makes sense for one person might not for someone else so take that for what it’s worth. Back to “sausage making”…..

About a year ago I had just finished my last semester in an MFA program and my Master’s thesis in Poetry. It was also shortly after the “peak” months of the pandemic when folks were still on serious lockdown and waiting for news each day about what had transpired around the globe in the last 24 hours. I was working full time but had a growing desire to hang on to my MFA magic somehow and use the momentum from that to channel my creative energy into “something.” At the time, I didn’t realize that “something” was going to turn out to be publishing my poetry. 

Sure, I was also starting an online literary journal, but I needed something that would be more personally satisfying. Plus, Trish Lear lectured once that if you have a lot of balls in the air, something is bound to land successfully. You just gotta Toss ‘em up!! 

Yeah… it was near the end of July in 2020 when I started to submit my thesis poems like crazy. As it is with a lot of things you do for the first time, you learn as you go. The main platform I submitted on was Submittable and I slowly developed my own process. 

This process included things like finding and researching potential publishers, tweaking my cover letter and bio, and of course selection and revising poems I thought might be a good fit. After completing my thesis I felt as though I had about 50 poems truly worthy of letting loose on the world at large. I also had another 20 that had potential with more work and (not exaggerating) over a hundred others that will never see the light of day, so to speak. 

I had been told it’s a numbers game and so that was also part of my strategy. All this feels very much like an analysis phase tipping into development. I put the time and effort in. I created a spreadsheet to keep track of my submissions and with each submission and subsequent rejection, I made slight modifications. 

Soon, a few acceptances happened. If I revisit some of the blog posts I’ve written about being accepted and rejected in the past 12 months, I know I would find a sentiment of indifference. That’s kind of a curious phenomenon—to have a similar reaction to both. It’s like a brief shot of emotion right to the heart. An adrenaline spike when I open an email and see that a poem has been accepted and the same dose of a downer with each rejection. 

It passes so quickly, like minutes, and then I’m back to baseline. I’ve often wondered why I am so emotionally detached from the outcome—why I get so much more satisfaction out of revising and submitting than anything else? Maybe it’s the same rush as plunking your precious pennies in a slot machine and pulling the handle. The possibility of “hitting it big” is kind of a rush. 

That slot machine metaphors is also pretty accurate when it comes to getting your work accepted as a publisher, but I’ll stick with the “grinder” for now. 

I went on a serious roll, cranking that grinder daily and the last time I checked, I had amassed about 200 submissions (which equates to about 1000 poems). Being a numbers nerd, it’s an important part of the analysis. Law of averages melds with chaos theory to produce a result by which I can say now, with confidence, is about a 10% success rate. I put that statistic in my back pocket. 

Part of the PDLC is learning from mistakes and making modifications. And I’ve made a few. Some feel like big mistakes like submitting to a brand new publication with no idea about their presentation, professionalism, or vibe. I gave away one of my very best to a new place and was very disappointed in the outcome. I had to let that go, but will never do that again. 

Another mistake I made, which may or may not have been that big of a mistake, was spending too much (money and time) submitting to contests. Like Rattle, where I have very little shot of getting in. I know now that my poems don’t really fit with their vibe (or the current climate for rhetoric) and now all I have to show for that is 4 years of a subscription. That’s a lot of Rattle. I still aspire to get in there someday, but have to find the right poem for it and realize that I may never write that. 

I mention money. While this is not so much of a concern for me, it’s more about not just throwing it out the proverbial literary journal window. I’m all about support of small presses and startups but there are clearly some that have a good mission and vision and others that feel like they are just out to make some bucks. In order to ferret it all out, it takes research. And research takes time. 

It’s also a matter of observation and experience. For real! If I spent $20 on a submission and that hangs out there in “received” status the better part of a year with no communication back (even after the issue or contest it was submitted to has come and gone), that’s a serious red flag. 

Someone once told me that the longer it’s out there, the more chance it’s going to be accepted but I disagree. I think there’s a sweet spot and most of the acceptances I’ve received were at an average of 9 weeks. I think some places just don’t have a very good process for follow up on rejected pieces. 

It’s part of the reason I want to treat submitters to The Good Life Review way better and follow up on every inquiry and make sure each submission gets the care and attention it deserves. I digress. 

Anyway.. so now I have a process defined and operating like a well oiled machine. What this does for me is allow me to maintain my submission goals without a ton of effort. My current goal?.. maintain about 35 open submissions. 

This means when I get a rejection (or acceptance) the open count goes down and I engage with the process to crank another out. However, as most people in any sort of successful business know, there’s always room for improvement and ways to level up. My new aim, therefore, is not just to maintain 35 (or increase that number) but instead to make small steps forward to increasing the quality of the publications I’m getting into. Having names that are more recognizable on a CV or in a bio becomes important in the grand scheme. 

The grand scheme being what? Success. But, good gravy what is the definition of success? The true short story on that one is that I don’t know. Is it to someday get into Rattle or The Sun? Is it New York or Paris? Is it having a full manuscript published by Grey Wolf?

Maybe. I don’t know. 

If it is then I’d better get busy writing. What this post doesn’t address is that part of the process which remains shrouded in mystery. I’ve told a few folks my well of inspiration feels dry right now and what I get in return are comments like “well you are in the middle of publishing a book so I wouldn’t be too worried about it.” 

Good point. I’m not actually worried about it. I’m just a thinker and a planner so I know that if I desire to publish more, I’m going to have to write more. And prove to the world that I’m not just a one trick pony, so to speak. 

The other way one might interpret the grinder of which I speak is the way rejection can start to mush up your confidence after a while. Yes, I’m not so bothered by any individual rejection but after a while, as they start to accumulate without any acceptances to balance things out, I begin feeling like I’ve just gotten lucky and am really just an imposter posing as a poet. 

That’s ok. I fooled the world into thinking I was a rockstar engineer for about 25 years so I’ve got this. 

I know I’ve been shying away from public appearances lately and my social anxiety has thanked me, but I’m really jazzed about this topic and think I would like to give a talk or presentation on it. Barcamp? Winter Res? Nebraska Poetry Society? We’ll see. 

I think that’s it for today folks. Or should I say toad-a?!! 😜

With Peace and Love and Bacon Wrapped Dates, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-07-09 All’s Well that Ends Well

I’ve got just a little time today, and at the very least wanted to document for posterity that the day yesterday turned out ok despite the conflicted emotions over cancelled plans and personal insecurities. I went to CB and had a nice time with my friends (after my obligatory weekly visit with my dad, who is also in CB). 

We met at Cellar 19 for a quick drink with my husband and her husband before her and I headed out to our other girlfriend’s house for charcuterie and more wine. It was a nice time with easy conversation and after the initial social anxious feeling subsided, I was fine. 

I don’t think people who don’t have social anxiety understand that even meeting friends—people you live and trust, can be stressful. 

Other than that, I made a good dent in my list yesterday and am continuing on the same path today. The first order of business, though, was to take my daughter to the allergist to be tested. 

She’s been just miserable lately and Allegra isn’t helping much. She’s been popping Benadryl like nobody’s business and that comes with some unsavory side effects. She wanted to get her options and also find out what the biggest causes are. 

They test for 56 different kinds of allergens by putting tiny doses in a grid pattern on your back with little needles. There’s minimal pain associated but a fair level of discomfort while you wait 20 minutes for them to “read” the results and then apply cream to alleviate the severe itch. 

She had at least a mild reaction to 95% of the allergens, and a more moderate reaction to about half, and a severe reaction to about 10 things, including several kinds of grasses, trees, mold, and of course cats and dogs. 

She loves her pets and can’t imagine life without them and is also planning to have both cats and dogs when she has her own place so she’s 100% all in with getting desensitization shots. It’s probably better she starts them now while she’s still under our insurance. It’s 3-5 years of shots and I had no idea that was a thing. 

As a kid I had seasonal allergies quite terribly and just suffered. I can remember every single year I was so excited about the first hard-freeze. Like serious happy dancing seeing frost and snow. It was trees, grass, dust, and who knows what else but it always subsided when winter arrived. 

I’ve pretty much grown out of all that but still take an allergy pill daily, apparently the most mild and reportedly least effective one on the market. After hearing that today, I’m considering quitting it altogether just to see if I can tell a difference. 

The doc said, “yeah, that one is like water… there’s nothing in it.” 😜

I think that’s it today. It’s definitely time to roll into the weekend. Calgon (and Jim)… take me away! 

With Peace and Love and Margaritas, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-07-08 Teeter Totter Thursday

The holiday has come and gone and I’m back to checking my to-do list. I know I’ve put too much on it and will not be able to get it all done.

I’m teetering.

I’m not sure if I need to pull back from life a little more or if my answer is to dive in and ensure every square inch of time is covered.

Life has been good to me lately and most days I’m looking forward to tomorrow. But something about it is not satisfying. I’m going through the motions. I’m checking things off but the sense of something empty inside does not subside. 

I have a friend in town and we had a glorious day planned for yesterday but it all went to shit and I only got to see her for a short time. While it was good, I can’t shake the fact that it made me feel very unimportant. It’s not the first time with her. 

I give people the benefit of doubt. I want to be understanding, but the constant creeping of self doubt in my head is hard to ignore. I know the circumstance behind their change of plans had nothing to do with me but by the third change in plan and cancelled dinner reservations (yes, I made not 1, not 2, but 3 different reservations that in the end all were cancelled), I didn’t even want to try and make any effort or scramble to cobble together alternate options. I was just done. And in a serious “fuck this day” mood.

Enter stage right, my darling husband who was excited about the cancelled plans because it meant we could enjoy date night, just us. Sweet, and I tried to let it lift my spirits up, but I felt like I was faking it. I was faking it. 

I struggled all night watching the clock and going through the motions. Don’t get me wrong.. it’s all fabulous.. 7pm dinner.. 8pm hot tub.. 9pm sunset drive.. But I just wanted to speed time up so I could get to 10 pm and declare I was headed to bed. Be done with the day. 

Today I had to get up early because Thursdays are our early days. Jim has a longer drive to a different office. He’s out the door by 7 and that means I’m ready to start my day by then too.

I’m tottering.

I’ve made my list and the day is rolling. I’m trying not to let yesterday’s mood bleed into today. I’m starting with steps and cardio and have high hopes for my productivity. 

I guess we’ll see how it all unfolds. 

With peace, love, and apple pie a la mode.. or whatever,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-07-02 Wait a Day and the Forecast Will Change

In case anyone is playing along, I did not let the snafu with my ex go. I sent a follow up text pointing out that he literally contradicted his own “advice” to our son by ignoring my text message. And of course I couldn’t help but throw in that I don’t agree with him and that we all want what we want. Who doesn’t? 

He replied promptly with a longer text that explained that my text didn’t ask a question and therefore required no reply. Oh there’s a loophole in the “social contract” that excuses his behavior. That makes sense. Then of course he could not help but include a statement about how he doesn’t understand why I “always take things so personally.” 

Hmmmmm. 🤔 Did I do that? After 18 years of marriage and 11 years divorced, how does one not take something personally, especially when it has to do with my son. 

I don’t think I said anything to indicate I had taken it personally actually. Was my follow up inquiry perceived as me taking things personally? Perhaps. But I care. Is that so wrong? 

Anyhow.. all that nonsense led to an actual phone conversation where he admitted he didn’t like to text. And he didn’t see any reason for it this time since we’d already just talked and agreed to a plan of action. 

He agreed. That’s the point. I didn’t agree to anything and specifically said so. What’s up with that? 

But for all our not seeing eye to eye, we do agree our son needs to be more active and more responsible. 

It ended up being an ok conversation. Not worth recounting with the time I have now, but I’m hopeful we can do better helping our son navigate his senior year. 

So that wraps that up. ☑️ ☑️ 

I wasn’t intending to hash through all of that, but if I’m anything at all, it’s a girl who digs having resolution and closure. 

Now, all of that is melting into a blur pretty quickly because there are hotter fish to fry. 

I’m simply livid over an issue with TicketMaster, irritated about something that happened at the hardware store, and most recently upset because my daughter borrowed my Air Pods without asking my permission AND then lost the case. Ugh! 😡 Where do I even begin??!!

*** 

That was how my day ended yesterday. I was so pissed off I couldn’t even have a conversation with myself before I went to sleep. That’s pretty bad man.. when you are so mad at yourself that you go to bed mad. But.. I think I really just needed sleep and to reset. 

Some days are like that. It feels as though nothing goes right and no matter what you do, it just keeps getting worse in your head. 

Jim did his best to talk me down but I wasn’t having that either. 

Waking up this morning I felt better. I still feel better. I guess that’s proof of what I’m talking about. I mean, nothing has changed. I still have ticket master and the missing Air pod case to deal with today, yet it’s a new day and I’m sure it will all turn out fine. 

A few days ago my friend T reached out to ask how I was doing and I told her I was good and she proceeded to tell me how she was depressed and feeling like life was out to get her. My advice was to be kind to herself and wait a few days and see if it subsides. 

The short story is that it did. It does that. I can give advice when asked but don’t always remember to heed that advice myself. Last night I certainly couldn’t. 

But now look. Today is a new day and every little thing’s gonna be all right. 

Cheers to a long weekend, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-07-01 The One To My Ex About Actions and Consequences

To admit you feel as though you want revenge is to admit to being human. That’s my excuse. I’m human and therefore flawed in all the miraculous ways human beings are. It’s a miracle that we are here at all— stranded on this spiral arm of stars. 

I’m flawed for feeling as though I’m enjoying a version of revenge served not by my own hand but the hand of fate which is, indeed, the sweetest kind. A dish best served not only cold, but guiltless and stringless. 

That I was a victim of your circumstance is circumstantial when so many years have passed. But we are all victims of our own circumstance, dear. Who would not agree? 

Scratch that. You probably would not agree—the consummate devil’s advocate in you has been nothing but consistent. But that was just a fraction of our fractured past. A piece of glass not worth looking at most days. But it’s on my mind today. 

Rewind a few days when I had to be the go-between in a disagreement you were having with our son. Except it was more of a one sided argument that you started when you didn’t like something he did. You just wanted to rant and lecture without any thought about the consequence or end.

The irony in it is that his behavior is learned behavior. Behavior he picked up from you. How many times have I tried to communicate with you only to be “ghosted”? So it’s not a surprise when you reach out to him and he ignores you. 

More irony in that you say he can’t just do what he wants when he wants and that there are consequences to his actions. Because that’s all you have ever done in your life—whatever you want regardless of the consequences. Quite literally.

You tried to pull me in and play the “unified parent” card for “his own good.” It’s bullshit. I’m not playing. 

You call me an enabler. You pigeonhole our son and predict his future to fit your own agenda. You say he’s a manipulator who plays us against each other. You say he hides from the world because he’s lazy and lacks confidence. I say, “sounds familiar.” 

For as much as he’s like you, he’s also like me. An introverted kid who keeps to himself and stays in his room doing what he enjoys most. He’s not motivated by your approach. He’s just a teenager who is vulnerable, impressionable, and probably lonely. To which I say, aren’t we all? 

Last night I scrolled through my text messages to find my last message to you, which you never replied to (two days old now). You had just finished ranting and preaching about “social contracts” and the courtesy of responding to text messages and then you undercut your own point by not responding to my attempt to communicate some sort of a plan to get our son more active. Typical.

Of course I know we both want what’s best for our son but in this case, I don’t happen to agree with you about what that is or how to achieve it. 

You hardly ever see your daughter and I wonder if you realize why that is. You burn bridges and then throw your hands in the air and wonder why people don’t come back to you. 

I began this writing about revenge. Or something that feels like revenge. When in actuality all I’m really doing is enjoying my life and the positive, open, and caring relationships in my life. Revenge implies I have something spiteful to get back at you for. 

For many years I held it against you that so many years of my life were wasted trying to make something out of us. I’ve since come to realize that none of it was wasted and that time is short and all we can ever really do is make the most of what we have been given. This is exactly what drives me now. 

Stop burning and start building. Or don’t. It’s your life and your relationships with your children. 

The only question for me now is whether I let this incident go, or say something more to try and get through to you? For your own good. For theirs. I’m just not sure. 

Waiting and watching 👀,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-06-30 List Making Foolishness!… ✅✅✅

It’s the last day of the month. This month I did something I haven’t done in a good long time and that was to put my monthly goals on the whiteboard in my office. In truth I only did it about a week ago in an attempt to reboot my productivity with regard to longer term goals. There are things I do every day or every week and for that I use my paper planner but some things I aspire to do are bigger or “one and done” and it helps to make a list so I don’t forget. 

Well, most things I won’t forget because if they are important they will stay in my brain so it’s maybe more about prioritizing. Oh, and also about the feels I get when I get to cross things off. 

It’s probably ridiculous but I’ve gotten a lot of stuff done in June and really wanted to “see” that. Now the real truth comes out. I did my to-do list and THEN wrote down the list so I could feel good about how much got done. 😜

But.. it also made me look ahead to July and put some forethought into that list. Obviously since it’s the last day of the month there are some things that did not get done and those just carry over but what else might I want to focus on for the month? I’ve got goals for the lit mag, goals for my personal writing endeavors, house projects, and friends on holiday for the summer who I want to spend some quality time with. 

My July list looks really ambitious and I actually ran out of room on the whiteboard. Might have gone a little overboard, but as I said the priorities are key and that will get sorted out fairly soon. I’m really looking forward to July actually. 

I believe the reason I put this monthly “accounting” on pause for so long is because I was trying to dial things back and be kind to myself with regards to expectations for myself. I have a history of over-committing and that always ends in me feeling badly for not putting the proper effort into a task. 

2020 was rough, you know, and I had finally come to terms with the fact that I needed more time to just live and focus on my family and our daily needs. Now I’m finally feeling much better about the state of the world and it’s evident in my better sleep and more consistent good moods. 

I still have to be careful and not over commit, but if I take a day I have a fair amount of free time and visit my list, it will feel great to start picking those things off. One by one. 

Today I have almost the whole “work” day to myself to get things done and I’ve got a high hopes about what I’ll be able to accomplish. And still have time to get in my steps and cardio. 

Besides my regular daily chores, I want to work on the lit mag, run a few errands, and then maybe figure out what else I can knock off that list (and it’s not even July yet!). We’ll see how that turns out.

I guess today’s post is all about lists, to-dos, and future plans. I suppose it’s time now to stop writing and start doing or I’ll never get it all done. 😜 ✅✅✅

Cheers to Getting It All Done,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-06-28 Loneliness

Today’s poem of the day from the Paris Review is about loneliness. Today’s heartache is not knowing how to help my daughter navigate her loneliness. 

It’s a staunch truth that though we may be surrounded by people—home, work, school— we can still be suffering from loneliness. A longing to be with our person or persons. Someone who has dedicated their precious time and space to listening to us. To hearing us, holding us, and to being present in those difficult moments. 

But not just difficult moments. Laughter is so important too and what would life be without someone who makes you laugh or laughs with you, sometimes rolling on the floor with tears streaming down cheeks, uncontrollably? Without someone to smile with, life would be a train on a track rolling through a dark tunnel. No sun, no rain, just a cold dark void. 

At 1:30am my phone rings. I know before I look that it’s her. Call it a mother’s instinct, call it experience. It’s a call that hurts my heart and I’m ready when I answer. “Yes, I will come to your room.” 

I shuffle up the stairs and she’s sitting on the edge of her bed in tears. The first thing she says is that she needs a hug but I’m already by her side with my arm around her. She’s crying so hard she can’t breathe. At that moment I’m not sure what triggered it, but it doesn’t matter. I hold her tighter. 

We sit that way on the edge of her bed for a while, not saying anything. And then finally I break the silence by asking what has happened. She tells me and again, I’m not surprised. 

Her best friend is a shitty friend. She only has one and has suffered from a long string of terrible, undependable, aloof, or thoughtless friends. People that she’s put her trust in and they’ve broken her heart, disappointed and abandoned her. She’s been stranded alone so often she has developed a fear and a kind of neediness that feels to me to be atypical for a girl her age. 

The advice or wisdom some might offer is that it’s just a phase and that she’ll meet other friends and it will be wonderful. And though I might believe that too, I can’t let those words exit my mouth in front of her. I understand her. 

She’s an introvert and has a tough time meeting new people. She doesn’t feel comfortable speaking in a group and doesn’t seek out new friends. She’s trapped in a bubble. I understand her. 

That’s my message. I hold her and just try to reinforce that she’s not alone. That I’m here to listen, to talk, and that I will not abandon her. 

I am hopeful that when she goes back to college this fall her new dorm mates will be nice girls who she can connect with. I hope she meets people in her classes and that her world gets a little bigger. It’s lonely living in a bubble and it’s not natural. And I hope she’s open to it too and pushes herself to be outside her comfort zone a little bit. I want to promise her it will be worth it, but I can’t make that promise. 

We sat and talked for about an hour and then laid down and talked some more. She shared her thoughts and feelings and I listened. Then I shared some of my own life experiences so she knows she’s not alone. At about 3:15am I went back to my own bed because I knew she had to get up at 8 for work. 

This morning she came down the stairs, her normal grumpy morning mood tempered a little as she asked for some ibuprofen for her cramps. Yeah, the apple doesn’t fall far. 

I’m not terribly inspired by the poem about loneliness, but it feels very accurate. I spent many years feeling that. I’m empathetic but it’s so much worse because I’m her mom and I hate that she’s hurting. You want to protect your children, you know, shield them from the rough times but you can’t. We all have them. All we can really do is be there. 

We’re going to dinner tonight, just the two of us. Hopefully we can have a good conversation and I can get to a place with her that she will be open to the advice I have to offer. 

So starts a new week. Not exactly the start I was hoping for, but there it is. 

Be kind to each other,

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. Today’s daily poem from the Paris Review:

Though It Looks Like a Throat It Is Not
by Patricia Goedicke
Issue no. 65 (Spring 1976)

The shape of loneliness is a hole
By definition, to be filled.

At the outer edges of the hole
The lizard of jealousy sits
Licking his cold lips

For the shape of loneliness is a hole
With teeth on either side.

In the middle of everyone’s body
Like an empty house, like a coffin

Though it looks like a throat it is not‚
Though it looks like a cunt it is not,

Nothing glows in it but heartburn‚
Nothing lives in it but hot air‚
Gulps of it, rushing through the passages

Occasionally a sigh hurtles through it
Like the roar of a buffalo in a wind tunnel

So that the thin shell of self pity all around it
Shivers a little, and whines

So that it develops a red nose
Complaining to itself, and muttering
Gradually its conversations become more boring

So that everyone walks right by it without looking,
Nobody even bothers to fall in it
By accident,

Tears water it, profusely
Eventually sadness swamps everything,

Out there among the stars
And the light years between stars

Even the last tiny pinprick of fire at the bottom
Soggy as a landslide sloughs away
To the other side of space

For the shape of loneliness is a hole
Without any edges, finally

The entire universe whistles through it.