2021-10-14 Being Busy has its Advantages

What’s on my mind today? My children flying to Washington by themselves (with each other) and the whole thing is outside my control. Yes, they will be with their dad for the duration of their trip, but he and his significant other flew yesterday. 

Despite my daughter sometimes being needy, she’s definitely independent and very responsible. I trust her to take charge and help her brother. However, that doesn’t stop a mother’s worry. It doesn’t change my fear of something happening and I have to keep telling myself it will all be ok.

It will be fine. It will be fine. It really will.

The trick, at this point, is to distract myself with things that are in my control. I’m therefore going to be exercising, working on the pages for issue 5 of The Good Life Review, and packing for my next vacation which is coming up quick. 

I’ve felt like I’ve needed a vacation for a while now—a serious break from this house and the Cinderella routine. Its been nonstop drama for a few weeks now with plumbing issues, security system issues, and closing the pool. Not to mention the never ending pile of dirty dishes and litter boxes that need scooped! 

I also need some time away from the situations with my parents. Both have ongoing health problems that require more than the typical amount of daughter duties. My brother is actually arriving today to help my mom who’s still recovering from major surgery and chemotherapy. My only task in the next couple days will be to show up at dinner. 

Anyway… I’ve got a lot to get done and, like I said, it’s all a good distraction from the worry balled up in my stomach. And with that.. I’ve gotta jam.

Stay Frosty Friends, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-10-12 Stopping to Smell the Hibiscus 🌺

I often spend too much time worrying about not being productive enough. Always pushing myself into the next thing, and the next and next. Never stopping to savor the success of what I did yesterday or last week or last year. 

In 2020 I received my MFA in Writing from the University of Nebraska and after, there wasn’t an ounce of celebration or rest. The focus had already shifted to the next endeavors, striking while the iron was hot. 

I launched the lit mag and began submitting my own writing like a mad woman to other publications. I spent so many hours researching, revising, and strategizing. And when I had my first successes I didn’t savor or celebrate them. In most of those cases, I didn’t even tell anyone. 

Maybe I mentioned it to Jim, but the excitement of each acceptance faded almost as quick as the sting I felt with each rejection. And I sure as hell didn’t post about it on social media. The Universe knows that’s not me. 

Actually, I think I may have once or twice and to be honest, I didn’t like the way that made me feel. It felt boastful and self-congratulatory. I know it’s like standard practice, but ugh!! I just hate social media. Seriously….. don’t get me started. 

But I’ve swallowed that lump recently and am trying to embrace the power of social media in the self-promotion game. In a little over a month I have my first book coming out. It’s probably the biggest personal accomplishment of my life, aside from raising two amazing kids. I poured my heart and soul into that book and I want to celebrate it. I also want to get some recognition for my efforts. I think that’s natural. 

Anyway, I started a few weeks ago with a few posts and the intent to post with more regularity on Facebook, instagram, and Twitter. So far it’s mostly just pictures with tag lines as little glimpses into my personal life but my hope is to also begin sharing with more regularity, the successes I’m having with my writing. Like today! 

Today I have a new poem titled “Still Life at Hefflinger Park” that’s been released by The Closed Eye Open in their “Maya’s Micros” section which features several brief pieces once or twice a month. With this one, I’m totally going to pause and take time to enjoy it and treat myself (with a hot vanilla latte or perhaps a pedicure) AND post about it. Starting now! 😉

https://theclosedeyeopen.com/mayas-micros-ed-12/

In case you’re interested.. it’s a poem about a park that is near my neighborhood which used to be a landfill site. The covered the whole thing with dirt and turned it into a city park. Gross right?! 

With that… my time is up. Thanks for reading. 

Cheers to New Poetry, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-10-09 Where to Begin… ✍🏻

I forget what day it is. I wonder why I’m still here. I fail to find what I’m looking for. 

Some days I get upset thinking about how many years I wasted working for the man, living that picket fence life, and not wanting anything more than I had. 

Other days I second guess that disgruntled feeling. Didn’t I just have it all? Happy and oblivious of having more purpose. Way back when, the point of living was just to live. Was that better than now and I’ve gotten confused in my pursuit of more?

Maybe there was a reason I didn’t write for 15 years. Maybe it was because I didn’t need it. And then one day I snapped. Or rather was snapped. Bent and broken and found myself lost and searching for answers. 

How many times have I thought about that moment—those moments? Too many. The story written and rewritten in essay after essay, poem after poem, bit by bit until I was whole again. 

This is where I find myself today. Whole again but with an insatiable desire to do more and be more. Like there’s a beast deep inside that was stirred from slumber all those years ago and will not rest. It eats me from the inside out and will not let me rest. Why can’t I just rest?

Why can’t I just enjoy the happy medium of a well balanced life with both purpose and obliviousness? 

Good gravy I think I’m asking the Universe for a vacation from my newly found charmed life. A break from being the “Unsuspecting Cinderella.” A kitchen pass for a weekend away by my damn self. 

You see how this is such a puzzle? I don’t even know how to begin. Beginning used to be my jam. Pick up a pen and start anywhere. It doesn’t matter. Everything is a trigger. Every town a new opportunity to create something brilliant. 

I still have a lot to say. 

I blew a gasket this week…

I had a personal communication from an editor of a reputable magazine giving me edit suggestions on a poem I submitted…

I kicked myself for my inability to self promote and also for my hatred of social media…

My “good daughter” duties got the best of me and usurped every other damn objective I had…

I picked a fight…

I daydreamed about going postal in the Verizon store on Maple street…

I wondered if my newly prescribed pharmaceuticals were the reason for the rise in my temperature and temper…

I didn’t write one damn thing (save this)…

And right on que, the song “It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)” pops into my ear. / Thanks Universe!

I really have nothing more to offer. What a waste. 

Peace, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-10-02 A Fresh Start for Fall 🍁

A new month has been born and with it we enjoy the most ironic season of all; when juxtaposition reigns supreme. 

The weather gets cooler yet we become cozy and warm as we gather around fires, sip hot drinks, and swap our summer wardrobes with sweaters, boots, and hats.

It’s the season where the nights become longer than the days and creepy, spooky things emerge from the darkness. We get caught up in scary stories, delight in the jump-scare, and celebrate by knocking on doors for candy. How strange and wonderful!

The farmers markets start to thin and we have to mentally prepare for what we all know is coming. We curse those who speak of the next season, especially those who say that four letter dirty word that starts with “S.”

“A pox on your house!” I say!

Even the spiders know what’s coming and scurry to find ways to get inside.

Yeah. That’s how I know. I’ve seen so many spiders in my house in the past few weeks and I know they are looking for good nooks to bed down for the winter. And believe me, this damn castle I live in has plenty of hiding spaces. Too many. 

The last few days I’ve been stepping on my own last nerve and it culminated in my husband and I getting into a fight on what was supposed to be a fun Friday night trip to Walmart. 

Well, we don’t really fight. It’s kind of like I get into a mood and start acting like a grump, criticizing his behaviors. I know when I’m being that way but I’m really just acting out so he’ll let me open up and tell him what’s wrong. After that, I apologize and he says he’s sorry too and we continue on. They are the most boring “fights” ever.

I know myself. I know I need certain things and if I don’t get them, it’s tough for me to pull myself out of a mood. Sometimes there’s nothing that can be said or done. Sometimes it’s just circumstance and I have to get over it, get to bedtime, and treat the next day as a new day and fresh start.

This week was a challenge. The primary things I need are alone time and exercise and I wasn’t getting either. I just like to be alone long enough to think through how I’m feeling. Yes, it also helps to talk with other people, but I maybe take more time than other people to process.

Jim bought me a workout tee for my birthday that says “hold on while I overthink this.” Spot on! 

Anyway, my mom was discharged from the hospital on Thursday and neither my sister nor I were prepared. Someone needs to be with her 24/7 for a little bit and we had to scramble to figure out coverage. I ended up spending the night on Thursday and by the time I left on Friday I was spent. That’s probably when my bad mood really took hold. 

I didn’t hit my step quota this week and I’ve barely had time to watch any trash Tv. 😜 No wonder I’m a grump! 

But… It’s a new day AND a new month and I’m ready to embrace sweaters, early sunsets, and being amused by the cats toying with the newest residents of our castle. 🐱🕷🐱🕷🐱🕷🐱

Today I’m going to get my steps AND have some quality “me” time before diving into being the good daughter, wife, sister, mother, and friend again.

That includes writing this blog and maybe going for a bit of a jog while I watch master chef. 

With that, I bid thee adieu, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-09-29 An Epic Rant from a Terrible Daughter…

You know that saying?.. How does it go?..  “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” 

It’s something like that. 

Well… fuck that saying. There is absolutely nothing good I have to say about this situation with my mother but I’m done being the good daughter. At least here in my own private Universe that’s completely open for the entire Universe to read/translate/interpret and judge. I don’t care. 

She’s stepping on my last nerve and what can I do because she’s the cancer patient who just had major surgery. Anything I say and do that’s not good-daughterly will be perceived poorly. I’ll be marked as a horrible human being for life. 

The truth is I’m just tired because I didn’t sleep well and had bad dreams. She’s called me and texted and texted and called. I know I threw myself into work today and tried to ignore my own irritation. Eventually I made my way to the hospital, timing it so that I’d only be able to stay an hour. 

I know. I need examples to back me up. Ok. 

She literally called me because she was done with her breakfast and the nurse call button had fallen out of her reach and she wanted the number to call the unit to get someone to come to her aid. 

To do what? Take her tray away? To fluff her pillow? To move her chapstick a little closer? Put the water jug out of view because she hates drinking water and seeing it is making her upset? 

Not kidding. 

It must be tough being seriously OCD and having everything outside your control. Let me tell you it’s also difficult being on the receiving end of all that neediness. 

Ok. Maybe she really needed something. Pain meds maybe. But yesterday she complained they were pushing too many meds into her and she was confident that all that was keeping her from feeling better. 

She’s called a second time because the hospital kitchen doesn’t have the “pink” packets of sweetener. She absolutely can’t drink tea without that. And nothing else tastes right and she doesn’t want to put my sister out of her way to run by the house or go to the grocery. 

So why is she calling ME? It’s ok to put me out? 

All I wanted to do this afternoon was take a nap so I could be fresh for a little quality time with my husband tonight. But that didn’t happen. Because she called again, just as I was drifting off. This time it was to let me know she was being discharged tomorrow. Way ahead of schedule, might I add. 

It’s great news she’s doing well enough to go home so soon but at that moment all I could think was “there goes my Thursday.” I’m a terrible person. 

I made sure she knew I was trying to nap. 

I followed that by texting minutes later that she should think about a grocery list so we could have the things at the house she wanted when she gets home.

In the weeks and days leading up to the surgery she knew she would not be home for a while so she used up or threw out anything that would go bad. In her own words there is nothing left she would want when she gets home. So I’m just trying to be proactive. 

She texts she needs a bag of ice, milk, and New York style vanilla ice cream specifically from Family Fare. That’s it. 

That’s it?? 

No.. that’s not it. I remember this rodeo. Every time someone shows up at her house she’ll act like she’ll die if she doesn’t get what she’s craving. This results in another trip to the grocery every day (or Panera or Taco John’s, or Qdoba, or McCallister’s deli). 

She’ll remember the rodeo too and the bar has already been set. I swear I’m not going to the grocery store unless I get a full list to stock her refrigerator and pantry. 🙄

***

My sister just texted me about the artificial sugar drama and said she’s also “not ready for this.” 

I know it’s expensive in the hospital but couldn’t they keep her for a few more days like they promised. 🤣

Aaaaannnnyway…

That’s probably enough of a rant for one day.

Peace, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-09-27 Today is the Intersection Where the Past Meets the Future 🔥

The end of the month is quickly approaching and what have I to show for my time? Plenty. 

  • Book materials to my publisher for my first book. ✅
  • Bike for my daughter for campus. ✅
  • Mom’s big surgery and getting on the road to recovery. ✅
  • Three new editors secured for the GLR. ✅✅✅
  • Proposals for winter Res drafted and nearing completion. ✅
  • October vacation plans solidified and my own personal getaway plans for November taking shape. ✅

It’s true that I’m never satisfied and will always feel like I could have or should have done more. But I’m doing alright. 

I’ve got big plans to finish September strong and set myself up for success in October. 

I really don’t have a lot else that I’m thinking about this morning. It’s Monday. A new week, another chance to begin again, and a fresh to-do list. 

  • Help my son get caught up on homework so he doesn’t fail his senior year.
  • Order bday gifts for Jim.
  • Finish planning that November getaway. 
  • Keep my mom’s spirits up so she can get out of the hospital and go home. 
  • Keep chipping away at that mountain of GLR work (most of the detail items on my list fall under this umbrella). 
  • Ramp up the campaign for promoting my book. 

Ok. That’s lofty. No way I’m gonna get all that done this week. But a girl can dream right. 😂

That’s enough list making for now. I’m gonna get started on all that soon. First.. a little trash TV. Master Chef anyone? 

Flame On,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-09-25 Happy FIVE-OHHH Bro! 🎉🚀🌕

Today I’m walking to try and rid myself of a headache that was probably induced by too much to drink at dinner last night. Some cocktail with a clever name I can’t recall. I suppose if it was really clever I’d remember it. 🤷‍♀️

After two of those I switched to amaretto sours which have considerably less alcohol I’m sure. Still, the headache is definitely from that because after dinner we went straight home and I didn’t have another drop. It doesn’t take much these days. Probably because I’m getting older. 

Older. 🤔

My older brother turns 50 today and it’s a numerical impossibility because there’s only two years between us but I just turned 34 last month. 

50. Five-ohhh. Half a century. That’s a long time to be hanging about. 

He’s as fit as anyone I know. Lives in Colorado near the mountains and hikes all the time. He’s got a wife and two smarty-pants kids in college. He’s got a solid gig as a rocket scientist. It’s a tired family joke… his career in working on “stuff” for NASA, etc. The Universe forbid asking him about it unless you want a long conversation that’s mostly over your head. 

I kid. I understand most of what he talks about, but he likes to talk about it so the “long” part of that description is accurate. But like I wrote, he lives in Colorado so I don’t get to chat with him very often. 

Once, when I went to Boulder I got to have a tour inside one of the Ball Aerospace buildings where they actually assemble some of the crafts they launch into space. That was beyond cool.. walking the halls and peeking inside clean rooms and windows where 3D printers were printing who knows what for who knows why. I even got to go into a huge room that had a rocket that was being assembled. It was neat-O. 

I digress. 

He’ll be coming back “home” in a few weeks to help out with our mom for a few days. I’m sure by then she will be out of the hospital and it will be a welcome break. He only has been one long four day weekend to spare, so that’s kind of a bummer. But I’ll take all I can get. 

My mom is doing fine. She’s still in ICU and yesterday she was really grumpy and nothing seemed to help. She feels trapped and uncomfortable and I get that. 

She complains about the staff as soon as they leave the room and is not satisfied when I say “they are just doing their jobs.” So I’ve stopped saying it. 

Mostly I just listen and roll my eyes when she’s not looking. Does that make me a horrible person? Rolling my eyes because I’m irritated by her? 

🤷‍♀️

When I’m done walking I’m going to head to the hospital to check on her. Soon… my time is almost up here. 

I still have a headache. I probably need to eat a piece of peanut butter toast or something. What I really want is a coffee. Maybe I will have that too. Maybe. 

Until next time, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-09-24 Over it.. Already

It’s day 5 of going to the hospital and I’m already over it. I hate that it feels obligatory and routine. I hate that it seems to cut my day in half. I don’t use the word hate a lot but in this case it fits. What’s a girl to do? 

To balance things out and soothe my worried mind, I’m leaning on other people more than usual. I‘ve been transparent with people about my limited time and the circumstance, to level set expectations.

I posted about checking in the hospital on Facebook which is way out of character for me. I just want folks in those outer circles to know. Then, as we spiral in close to home I’ve basically reached out via text and whatnot that the surgery was happening this week. The responses I’ve gotten have been kind and encouraging and it really has made a difference so far in my mood. 

Then yesterday I indulged in two meetups with friends. I met my friend JS for a quick lunch between times visiting the ICU. I then went directly to a rooftop bar in Benson to meet MK at dinner time. We were there for several hours and it was so good. She’s an incredible person and we always have loads to chat about. 

When I returned home in the evening i found my hubby freshly home himself from a meetup with his best bro. I got to hear all about that and there was no need for me to go in detail about my mom. I just didn’t want to think or talk about it. 

Nothing to say anyway. She’s had another surgery and so now it’s just down to recovery. That’s it. 

Like I said, it was good to lean on folks and not let myself feel the pressures of all the things left undone. All those check boxes will still be there tomorrow. And they are. And here it is tomorrow and I’m beginning again. 

I’ve completed a few of my Friday house chores and am indulging in a little treadmill time. I’m all caught up on Bachelor in Paradise and not sure how I’ll get motivated to do cardio. It’s gotten to where I need something interesting to watch to distract me from how much I hate jogging. 

There’s that word again. Hate. Very curious. 

In other news I am trying to maximize the times I have at the hospital when my mom just wants to be left alone to doze off. I’ve taken my laptop and have been spending time on Submittable. The hospital room is not the right vibe for writing or revising but I can submit poems all day long from just about anywhere. Outside the required research and reading, it’s pretty much a robotic exercise at this point.

I breached my September goal of 50 active subs yesterday and the new plan is to hold steady right there. I’ve done this in the past. Get a rejection and then find a new place to sub. This time the twist is that I’m committing to only submitting to higher quality publications. It was actually one of my goals for June or July but it didn’t happen. 

This month I created an algorithm to score a publication to see how they rank based on my own criteria. The real value in that exercise was figuring out what is important to me and I don’t really need to plug in the numbers to get the score to get a sense for how they rate. The most heavily weighted criteria are the longevity of a publication, their acceptance rate, their money model, and the format and frequency in which they publish. 

Of course the recognizability of name is key, but in reality the longer running organizations are going to be the ones whose names you read in other people’s bios and covet. Those are the names I can mention off the top of my head and have rarely submitted to thus far. 

Regardless, there is very little difference to me when receiving a rejection. It doesn’t seem to matter what publisher is rejecting my writing. A rejection is just a door opening to submit somewhere else. That’s a healthy and positive attitude I think. 

Enough about that. I gotta get a move on my day. No rest for the wicked. 

Three Cheers for Friday, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-09-22 Take Over, the Breaks Over

The Break’s Over? What break? 

The one where I don’t have to drive to the hospital every damn day, check in at the front desk to get my Covid clearance sticker, and sit at my mom’s bedside. 

We checked into the hospital yesterday afternoon and she went into surgery this morning. I was there when they took her down to pre-op and so was my sister, thank goodness. If there’s a saving grace in this go-round it’s that restrictions have eased up a bit and two designated people can visit instead of just one. That means I’ll get some breaks at being the designated daughter. 

This surgery is to “de-bulk” her insides and clear out any residual tumor tissue. She’s been in chemo for six months to eradicate the cancer cells, but physical tumor still exists. They are also going to remove her spleen, ovaries, uterus, Fallopian tubes, appendix and maybe her gallbladder and parts of her large and small intestines. “Anywhere the Cancer can hide,” they said. They are also going to to be working to reconnect her lower intestine to remove the ostomy. She will likely have an ileostomy when it’s said and done, but we’ll see. 

Exactly when we’ll see is the burning question. “Ten plus hours” they said. They took her down at 7am but I didn’t get kicked out until 8. AND I didn’t revive the automated text message that the procedure had started until 9:46. I can’t know if that’s when it actually started or when someone finally got to doing whatever it was in the system to trigger the text. 

In any case, it’s a long wait. But I’ve got a full complement of other things to keep me busy in the meantime—a never ending pile of GLR work, house chores, and of course a new episode of Bachelor in Paradise to watch. 

Truth be told I already watched like 45 minutes of that while getting my cardio. You know those shirts that say “but first… <insert thing here>? I need one that says “but first… trash TV” 😜

The timing of all of this seems to have worked out. I just finished sending everything to my publisher last week and at the moment most of the decisions about pieces for the next issue of the lit mag are still in the hands of our editing teams. So there’s nothing really pressing for me to do. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still lots that could be done, as I said “a pile” but not an urgent pile. 

I’m not worried about the surgery at all. I have utmost faith in the surgeon and my mom is otherwise very healthy. It’s a lot for a 74 year old woman to go through. I’m many ways it’s the recovery I’m dreading more than anything but trying not to think about that too much. 

So that’s it. Today is the day this Cancer business takes over my life again. And with that, I need need need to get back to watching my trash TV. 

With peace and love and pumpkin-spiced sweet-nothings, 

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. Take Over, the Breaks Over is actually a Fall Out Boy song. One of my favorites actually.

2021-09-20 Monday Roll Call

Trending: Princess Beatrice is a mom! But nobody knows who Beatrice is because Gabby’s body might have been found and some Russians are dead too.

Last Saturday was national Cheeseburger day and I missed it. Damn.

I gained another pound since yesterday. It’s an unwelcome trend.

From Genesis Fitness: “It’s Our Birthday.” About every three weeks I get an email from the gym I haven’t been to in two years declaring it’s own birthday. They want to give me a gift but I’ll never know what that is because I open the email.

Three people have updates that Facebook thinks I’ll be interested in. I’m not. 

There’s a new poem from Rattle written by Ted Kooser about a man descending into his cellar to get a jar of peaches. It’s followed by a statement from Ted explaining that he’s 82 and he’s the subject of his own poem. It’s really quite good, of course. 

There’s an old poem from Paris Review that makes no sense. As I read it all I can think is that if someone wrote that poem today, it wouldn’t fly.  I also want to try sending some of my own nonsense poems to Paris to see if they will fly. Someday, maybe. 

There’s more.

There’s always more. 

But it’s kinda like bronchitis and I’ve got a lot to do today. 

Peace and love and all that Jazz, 

~Miss SugarCookie