2020-05-25 The Sign on the Door Says “Beware of Dragons”…

… but I open it anyway.

I’m not even sure where to start today.

Should I begin with the 5am wake up and subsequent spin-brain keeping me from going back to sleep?

Perhaps I should start by reflecting on that conversation I had yesterday with my Texas Bestie where she said her new motto was “good enough”.

Maybe it’s important to note that I launched a new website yesterday and consequently a new online lit mag. Yeah, that’s probably the most relevant place to begin.

Or is it?

After lying awake for an hour I rolled over and looked at my phone. There was a notification from WordPress about a new like on yesterday’s blog post. It’s not surprising that in this new world of constant connection and attaching self-worth to “likes”, that I find that satisfying. I’m like a child craving attention from parents who are almost always otherwise occupied. I am not like a child.. I am a child.. craving attention.

I unlocked my connectivity device and scrolled through the top news stories that google has chosen to “serve” me. I’m half creeped out by the fact that google knows too much about me. But The other half of me is glad that google has already done the heavy lifting, weeding out all the crap in the world that I don’t care about. /shrug

I scroll until a headline/article catches my attention. Something about rejecting editors of literary publications. My first thought was “oh, of course this new job of mine will provide yet another source of rejection”. As if I haven’t had enough opportunity for that. Of course.

I sort of read the article, in my way. I read the first two paragraphs with great intent and then skimmed the rest for words supporting the intent of the article. I want the example. I want the personal story that proves the argument.

It was something about being rejected and then being nominated for a pushcart prize for the same piece of writing. It was about researching lit mags before you submit to 1. Validate your work fits with the other writing they publish and 2. Decide if they are worthy of your writing.

I agree with both these things, but have found that that process is exhausting. Not sure why. Oh I know, because I’m overcommitted in general to start with and don’t feel like I have the time and patience for the process.

I don’t have the time for that, Yet somehow I think I can run a lit mag. That’s just crazy talk. It’s insanity. But wait. There’s more. Are you ready for this??…

I’m not qualified and I have no idea what I’m doing. Oh, yeah, and I’m terrified. Did I mention I was terrified?

I’m like a kid who just wandered into a seedy neighborhood on accident and is asking directions from people hanging out by a chain link fence around a neglected city park.

Yes, I did just equate the literary community to a seedy neighborhood. That’s just how I feel right now. Hoping “this too shall pass.”

So I rolled the dice yesterday and now I’m in it whether I like it or not. I don’t know how many hours I spent working on the WordPress site that will be the platform for this lit mag, but it’s a goddamned lot. This morning I spent 1 hour cruising Submittable and looking at other sites and ended up feeling defeated. There is only so much one can do with a “personal” plan and free themes. I have done the best I can but have a hard time reminding myself that it’s “good enough.”

In the not too distant future, a potential submitter can read the words written by other people. Words that were bravely submitted, read by our editors and accepted. Words “we” chose to publish. They can decide for themselves if their words fit with what we’re all about. They can reject us and not submit based on that. And “we” are going to live or die by that decision.

Until then though, it’s just the words on our site right now that have been written and approved by Ed and I. No pressure.
it’s also the site itself (in my head anyway). Someone might see it and think it rudimentary or not professional enough and reject based on that. If that’s the case, I suppose, I’d be inclined to say, “fuck off.”

Yeah, maybe I could do that. Just tell someone straight out, we don’t have funding or a paid staff and are basically trying to give this a go during a Pandemic. Who does that. Who decides to start a lit mag in the midst of a global pandemic? We do!

It’s going to be a bumpy ride. I can feel it already. And despite my being terrified, I’m going to do it anyway because that is all I know how to do. What choice do I have? I had no choice in getting my MFA. My inner spark demanded it. I’m not sure if it’s good or evil (this ShySpark).. I’ve been on the fence about that for years.

Is this driving force leading me to a better life or simply keeping me in a state of perpetual discontent? WTF?!

My friend Rebecca said her new motto is “good enough”, and no matter how much I’d like to get on board, I don’t think I can. Instead, I decide I’m going to hunt submittable for places I can submit my poetry to. And spend hours reading about potential places and deciding where to put my money. Because I’m assuming my money is all they will accept. My words, no doubt, will be rejected. That’s just how it is until it isn’t, apparently.

My hour is up and it’s almost 9AM. It’s a holiday supposedly but I’ve got plans to get back to the job that pays me actual money and play catch-up on all that QA I’ve been putting off in order to get to the “launch” yesterday.

The door is open now. Bring on the Dragons.

Yours truly,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-05-24 Sushi Sunday Anyone? 🍣

We had a glorious thunderstorm last night (apparently) and I woke at the end of that, happy to hear the rain as I’ve done some planting of annuals in pots the last week or so and every day it rains is a day I don’t have to. Thanks Universe!

I also went back to sleep after both my 3am and 5am wake ups.. with no meds. That’s pretty glorious too. I was able to get a collective 8 hours which is rare and also really necessary to get that restoration I was talking about yesterday.

It’s apparently going to be a pretty rainy day out today too. Perfect for getting stuff done inside. This includes work work, work on the lit mag website (which is supposed to go live today), and probably getting in another episode of Picard before our one month trial of whatever the streaming service that show is on runs out. I think that ends on the 26th so if watch 1 episode a day, we’ll get to the end (we don’t watch a lot of TV).

Truth is, I have a hard time watching TV anymore because I always start to feel like I’m wasting time. It has to be a really good show. Picard has been good, but not quite great, even for Trek fans, so we’ll see.

I woke up this AM and one of the first thoughts in my head was that Sushi sounds good. Sunday’s used to be my day to treat myself to that. It also used to be my day to check on my stats. I haven’t had/done either in a while. The stats thing is just kind of depressing and I gave myself a big ole pass on it because of the pandemic but that’s just a sorry excuse.

There is, however, no excuse for skipping out on the Sushi Sunday experience. I might just have to right that wrong today.

Of course, we had been on serious lockdown because of the pandemic for a while and that included take out. Those restrictions have eased up a bit lately and we’ve treated ourselves. (I’ve probably treated myself a little more than we agreed upon, bending that “minimalistic” approach we agreed upon). 🤷‍♀️

After yesterday I think my veg garden is all in. I finally found that Anaheim pepper plant I’ve been looking for and the pumpkin seeds are in, which is probably too late to have actual pumpkins ready in October. Some varieties take 120 days. I’ll have to look at the seed packets.

My grape iris are in full bloom now which is late for them because they typically pop in early May and are amazing by Mother’s Day. I would cut some and put them in a vase in the kitchen but Doug, the resident plant destroyer, would probably just munch them. Maybe I’ll do that anyway.

We’ll see.

Peace and love and sushi, 🍱
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-05-23 Laundry Day 🐱

Yesterday was the worst day I’ve had in a long time. I was on such an emotional edge almost all day and barely made it through all the things I had to do.

I participated in an early meeting with a client in which my only responsibility was to take notes and have my brain on to ask intelligent questions. I had no intelligent questions and spent most of the meeting with my head down on the desk. It’s a good thing that everything is Zoom and with the customer it’s audio only.

To be honest, I’m all Zoomed out.

The second meeting was out daily internal team meeting. I said “fuck it” nobody reads these notes anyhow so I didn’t take notes. I mean, I like having the notes because Confluence makes it easy to search for stuff and when people ask about a certain thing, it makes me seem like a damn genius because I have the answer in like a minute.

Again, had my head down listening to the same broken record conversation as every day and thinking about Z and C and how effed up things are right now, I wept. I literally put myself on mute and fought really hard to keep myself together but then let go.

I was also getting FB instant messenger notifications on my phone from my writing group and one of my friends was going through the loss of a pet and I knew that’s what it was about and it just hurts me to think of her hurting and to remember loosing Louie Louie. My sweet first pet as an adult. It was just all too much.

I took some time in the afternoon to get some more of my annuals in pots before the rain came and then it was back inside for my third meeting of the day… sprint retrospective.

This time I was up front about not taking notes. I told the PM before hand that I was having a tough day and didn’t feel like the internal notes for this wasn’t really necessary. Which was self-serving, but whatever.

This time I had more to say so I had to pay attention for my opportunities. The project is on two week sprints and the devs have established a bad pattern of not getting their tickets done. They are supposed to do their work, internal code reviews with each other and then merge all the code changes into the dev branch where KK and I can log in and do QA testing. The tickets can’t be closed until we QA them. So if they wait until the last day of the sprint (or even worse, the weekend after), KK and I are stuck testing on the weekend. That fucking sucks!

She’s the PM and responsible for steering the ship and helping correct that behavior, but there was some serious push back and discussion. If it does not change with the next sprint (after which we release a new version to the customer), it’s going to murder us. I know it’s going to happen again and that makes me want to cry too.

Last time we released to the customer we went into Friday with so much broken it was sickening. We worked our asses off all weekend. Our bosses bought us lunch on Sunday and the week after I received flowers from the company.

To that I say, that’s nice.. and thoughtful, and appreciated, but it doesn’t make up for the lost time with family or the anxiety that affects my health. If I’m burned out or dead, I’ll be useless to the project. It’s disturbing.

What did I not have to do?

I basically ducked out of three different personal meetups yesterday. Virtual happy hour with my company and I was so wrecked that was the last thing I wanted to do. Another one on one with a friend who I’ve been trying to connect with for a while and I just reached out to her to reschedule. And a third meetup with Josh who wanted to meet in person and I just wasn’t in the mood for dealing with the anxiety of that, nor did I feel like getting in my car to drive to meet him. You know, putting real clothes on and trying to make it look like I hadn’t been crying all morning.

So that’s me venting. And I let go last night and drank a bunch and Jim and I had a good night of saying “fuck it” to everything. We got take out. We talked all evening and I have no idea what time we stumbled to the bedroom.

Today I’m not doing any laundry, except maybe airing this dirty nonsense.

I’ve got work to do. I’ve got lit mag stuff to do. And Z Is coming back home so we can hang out more just the two of us.

My aim? Balance and restoration.

That’s it. Thanks for reading.
Happy Caturday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-05-22 How does one protect those they love from a broken heart?…

On this day 27 years ago, I got married. That lasted 17 years. And in case your curious, nobody gives out prizes for that. I didn’t get a gold star when I was married 10 years and yeah, the marriage was a big party after which there were a few pats on the back, hugs and words of congratulations. But after that it felt like a half-hearted good luck accompanied by a kick in the ass out the door.

Don’t get me wrong, I was so ready to leave those broken nests. The point is.. you’re pretty much on your own in life and so it’s important to make good decisions on who you spend your energy on. And be in it for yourself, and probably humanity as a whole, and the Earth.

I’ve got very little time today for myself, and for my treadmill and I don’t want to waste it dwelling on the past or getting on my lofty soapbox about life. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

My sentiments today are unavoidably colored by the goings-on of yesterday. Which was a shit show of emotions and strange occurrences. I gotta make quick work of this….

My daughter reached out to me in the middle of the night. She was experiencing her first real heart-break. I was sick that I was not there to hold her. I texted her first thing in the AM and she would not tell me what was going on because she wanted to talk in person.

I drove to where she was. Upon arrival we chatted for a few minutes while she prepared herself for the conversation. In short, one of her best friends, who she’s been conspiring with for months about rooming together for their freshman year in college, basically let the clock run out on their opportunity to “pair” in the UNL housing system. She waited until it was literally too late for Z to search other profiles and find another match. At 10:36 pm she sent Z an apology text letting her know she picked someone else, leaving my Z hanging out alone.

Z had texted her all day reminding her of the deadline. They have had hundreds of discussions about this plan over the past year and not once did her friend mention that people advised against it, or that she was already promising this other girl she would room with her too. All of this came out in that long text which was about 1 hour before the pairing option closed in the UNL system.

She described how she felt, crying all night and not being able to breathe at times. She only slept for like 3 hours. She never responded to that text and I advised her to hold off until she had time to sort through feelings. I urged her to write it out, what she’s feeling and what she would like to say to this girl, even if she never sends it.

By the time her and I were talking about it, the sadness had subsided but it was replaced by anger. We talked about the stages of grief and all the things we can control in this situation. I tried to be a good mom despite my own anger and desire to call this girl up myself and give her a piece of my mind. Ugg!

We then spent about 2 hours looking online at her next steps for housing and filling out forms so she can make an appointment with an advisor. We checked a lot of boxes. It was productive and nice to spend the afternoon with just her and I. I said “fuck it” to everything else. That felt great too.

People can be so shitty. This girl was the one person she was counting on knowing at this university which is a big campus. She already has fear of abandonment and fear of being alone. It just sucks so bad I can’t even. I know I can’t protect her from all the hard times and crappy situations and people, but it’s so hard to be witness to.

All I have are words and hugs and just making sure she knows, as long as it is in my power I will never abandon her or leave her alone. I didn’t want to take her back to her dads house. I wanted to keep her at my house.

I’m just so not prepared for this. I’m so fucking mad and sad and I want to scream at the world. My baby. My love.

To the title question, “How does one protect those they love from a broken heart?” .. The answer is that you can’t.

You can’t. I can’t. Nobody can. Just be there to help sort through it all, I guess.

Hugs,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-05-21 Mother / Daughter Stuff

I’ve got some venting to do but I can predict the future so I’m not going there today. If you live long enough, you too will be able to predict the future. The disclaimer on that is that it all comes from experience. Ride that record right round enough times and there’s no question what the next song will be.

All that to say, I’m skipping the vent session and writing about a relationship topic instead. Not my love, or my kids, or friends who I’m tethered to by responsibility and dedication and love. I’m writing about my mom who has always been a person In my life, albeit not in the forefront, ever.

There’s not enough time or motivation to trudge through all the backstory of why our relationship is the way it is. You know, but it’s always colored by the fact that human beings are mostly self-centered and when it comes to parent / child relationships I sort of feel that the parent should be more selfless but it’s not in my moms nature.

Don’t get me wrong, she always does those things that in her head are requirements of the job… remembers birthdays and sends a card. She reaches out every so often to see how we are doing. She makes a big deal about getting together sometimes. And in the flipside she also expects these things in return.

That being said, outside of one other person, she’s the only one who wanted to talk to me about my Thesis. She genuinely wanted to read it and was happy for me getting my degree and my 4.0. I have a small group of people I’ve met in the MFA that are wonderful and we chat about all things MFA of course, but my mom is the only one outside of that that goes deeper than skin deep in conversation about it.

As I said, she asked for my thesis so she could read it, and I made a few edits and sent it to her. All 138 pages. Within a day she had read through all the poems and sent me back a long text with her feedback. She took the time to really evaluate some of them with her experience in mind and let me know her favorites and why.

She also let me know that reading the “Castle” poems made her sad for me. I’m not exactly painting a pretty picture of my new life here. She’s concerned for me and I told her we could meet up to talk about. It’s too much to text and I’m not one for phone calls. I guess we could do a call but I feel like any week now I’ll be able to see her in person.

Her husband has Parkinson’s and his condition has deteriorated enough in the past year that she’s had to employ help. All his medical stuff is handled by the VA as he served in the Vietnam war and there’s been a direct connection made with his issues and his exposure to Agent Orange. There’s not enough time now for me to elaborate on how absolutely Fucked Up that all is. But you can guess.

So she’s about to start getting weekly visits from a care person because she’s not physically able to do some of what is required. She’s been under tremendous stress with all of it for a while now so the help is a huge relief to her. It also means she can actually leave the house while the care person is there and so she’s looking forward to resuming our lunch meetups. I am too.

People need people yo! I miss all my meetups!

Anyway. It was so wonderful to me that she read my words and she said she’s proud of me. It means a great deal to hear those words from a parent. Inside I’m still that tentative, shy girl who just wants a little recognition from the people who are important. No matter how old I get I’m still seeking approval and hoping to loose my invisibility cloak, even if it is for short little bursts.

I love my mom. Things I write might focus more on the negative side of life, because that’s in my writer’s nature. It’s not often I bust out a happy poem or a positive one, though I’ve written a few of those over the years. I don’t know why I don’t think they are as interesting. It’s the opposite problem of my “poor me” tendencies. It’s too self-congratulatory or boastful or feels too much like bragging. I have to solve that puzzle too.

Anyway, maybe next week my mom can get away. She doesn’t want me to come to her house because she really wants to get out of the house and away. She’ll probably come to my house which Jim has given the OK on and I’ll make us some lunch. I’m looking forward to that.

On the flip side, I think about my daughter and our relationship and I’ve tried hard to make sure she knows she’s number 1 in my book. Her and her brother are tied for number 1. She texted me after midnight last night (she’s at her dads house) and said she needed to talk about something important. No clue what it was about.

She wants me to come get her for lunch today. So that’s what I’m gonna do. Nothing could be more important. Not work, not Jim, not school or writing or anything. About 12:30 I’m gonna cut my day in half and just let go of anything that needs doing. We’ll see how it plays out.

I did confirm with her that it’s not a health issue. So that’s a relief.

That’s it for today. Can’t believe it’s Thursday already. There’s never enough time. Why is that?

With Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-05-19 Today Miss SugarCookie asks, “What does the Universe Want?” 🤔

Last week was ballz-out crazy and I have high hopes that this week is going to slow down. Is it too high or wishful to believe that it can actually slow down sometime?

What I need, is like a week without obligations or responsibilities. What’s that called again? Oh yeah, a vacation.

I’m missing my spring trip to Austin. I’m missing planning a trip to Colorado. I’m missing day-dreaming with my besties about our next girls trip off the grid. I’m missing musing about where in the world my love and I should go next. In the grand scheme of “what’s different now” because of the pandemic, my daily life hasn’t changed much.

Less trips to the grocery. Wearing masks. No coffee or lunch or HH meetups. That’s all changed and I feel like we are slowly coming out of that haze. Cautiously dipping a toe into the uncertainty of more trips out, getting take-out, and a few visits with friends.

But I have a feeling it’s going to be a while before I can travel. Well, big travel anyway. I tried logging in to Ticketmaster on my phone a few days ago (which I had been procrastinating) to check to see if Fall Out Boy in July was on or cancelled or postponed. That’s in California. If it’s cancelled, I guess I need to cancel those plane tickets. I could not get logged in and I took that as a sign from the Universe that I should wait.

Then there’s Elton John in Des Moines in June. That’s getting close now and it’s most assuredly cancelled but I’ve been remiss in looking into that too. I just don’t want those negative feels, you know?

Oh hey… and did I mention my daughters graduation. Probably once or twice before, yeah. My poor pudding pie. She’s sort of over it.. or at least not lamenting outwardly anymore. As a parent, to raise a child and be so freaking proud of the person they have become and then have that “moment” and celebration ripped away, it just sucks big time.

Her unused prom dress is hanging in her room. She dwells mostly in her bedroom and so I’m sure she’s reminded of that missed event everyone she looks at it. That’s part of why I haven’t been looking for the status of my concert tickets. Blissful ignorance I guess.

Her live graduation and party are still pending. The new date for graduation is August 2nd. Any later and she’ll have gone off to college. Well… there’s hope in that too.

I’m officially asking the Universe to help the Humans get this virus under control, figure it out and stop fighting about it, and give us back normal, even if it’s a new normal. What kind of prayers or gifts or sacrifices do I have to offer?

Not going to gamble my heart or soul or life on it (never again).

…Back to this week… It should be more chill. I’ve got flower planting and work and chores stacked up but nothing is on fire. Nothing is burning out of control. it is only Tuesday though. Ha!

I think that’s it today. It’s time for me to stop thinking about doing and to actually start doing. 😉

Cheers to Taco Tuesday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-05-16 Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright

Bob Marley got it right.

Three Little Birds is just one of those iconic songs from my past that returns to my mind again again in new situations and brings with it the history that my brain has attached to it. And despite all the hurt I’ve ever experienced, and negative nostalgia attached with some of those times, the song still makes me smile.

It’s like those words are untouchable. untarnishable, and timeless. That’s when you know something is truly golden. The return and remembrance and power to evoke thoughts and, bigger still.. feelings.

The first time I heard that song was in high school at a house party that my friend Danielle threw while her parents were out of town. Danielle was the youngest of 7 children and she was born on Christmas Day. Her parents were strict and very religious. But I suppose having 7 kids would wear anyone down to turning a blind eye to unwanted teenage antics. Like throwing parties when you are out of town.

I was a goodie-two-shoes and didn’t drink, save for a wine cooler or two. And the “getting drunk” was something I didn’t understand. I remember sitting with people I didn’t know and that song came on and I just sat and listened to the words as the conversation swirled around me. It was a beautiful moment.

That’s all I remember but I still have a picture someone took (probably me) of my friend standing next to the open refrigerator like Vanna White proudly displaying all the adult beverages. I can count on one hand the number of house parties I went to in high school. Yup.. that’s just how it was for me.

I also remember hearing the song when I was dating my first boyfriend and I knew the song and he knew it too so it was a connection for us. It reminds me of falling in love. And like I said, despite all the hurt he’s caused me over the years what I feel when I hear that song is our falling in love. That’s incredible.

I sang the song to my babies when they were babies and remember the overstuffed rocking recliner I bought to nurse them in their room. Quiet moments in the early morning filled with love for them and also hope that they would go back to sleep for a little while longer. I don’t connect it with the colic or crying.. just peace and quiet.

Now, as this pandemic wrecks havoc on our lives, I have had the occasion to think about that song and find peace in it.

More info than anyone needs to know, but Jim and I have a chalkboard in our master bathroom and right now I’ve got that iconic line “every little thing gonna be alright” written out with a pic of a tiny bird sitting on a branch.

Every time I see it, it makes me smile. It also makes me think.. I should draw two more little birds to round out the trio. But then I don’t.

This morning I woke with the rising sun. The sunrise was absolutely amazing, from what I could see from our east facing windows (not a great view because of the trees and the position of our house in the neighborhood). The house was quiet and the only other life awake in that moment were the birds outside and the cats.

I tried to get a picture and then retreated back to the living room for a little quiet time alone with my thoughts. Besides that song, the other words that are repeating in my head right now are “this too shall pass”.

The pandemic will end. Life will go back to normal. We will all be affected by what has happened in big and small ways and probably normal life will be a little different too. But in the end, every little thing IS going to be all right.

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie