2020-06-23 Take Back the City Tour: Day 7 and 8

Continuing my course corrections this week and I’m still feeling better than I have in a while. Yesterday I went to the dentist and according to their records I had not been in for a check up and cleaning for two years. That’s one example of how time can slip by and a person just doesn’t realize that they haven’t done what they should have done. Two years.. really?

The good news is that my teeth and gums are in great shape. There’s no evidence of what might be causing my random teeth sensitivity. The dentist, who I’ve had a longer relationship with than any other man, worked his magic in adjusting my bite so that a non load bearing tooth wasn’t taking the lions share of the force when I bite down. The jury is still out on if that will improve my situation.

Today the health check up train continues. I go in for a mammogram and I think I know how long it’s been since my last one but I could be surprised there too. For anyone who has not had this procedure before, I will say it’s a treat (I’m lying of course).

My aunt once described it like this…. lying sideways on the ground and having a heavy garage door repeatedly smash down on your boob. Only you are standing and there’s a person there to position your boob perfectly on the surface of the platform so the machine can get some good pics of your parts smashed as flat as they will go.

Yeah. Exciting times! But ruling out one more serious thing will ultimately lift even more weight off me.

To recap.. Last week I had a head CT that proved I did not have a brain tumor or bleeding on my brain. I had labs drawn to check for all sorts of other potential problems. My thyroid is normal, chemistry looks great, my hormones are within acceptable parameters, and I’m not pregnant. The nurse called yesterday and indicated that the hormone levels indicate I’m not going into menopause yet. I hadn’t even thought of that.

Menopause is like one of those things that feels like it should be far away. But maybe it’s not as far as I think. 🤷‍♀️

The only test that’s not back yet is the testosterone. Being female, one might think that’s not relevant, but it is. Low T in women can be a cause of fatigue, low sex drive, lack of focus. All the things that sound familiar to yours truly. I won’t go into the medical saga I went through in 2018 trying to get to the bottom of these chronic problems, but I will say, I’m very interested in the results.

For real, though, even if my primary objective has temporarily become getting clean with regard to substances I’ve been abusing, I feel like original issues will likely still be there. So getting free of benzodiazepines is step one. Cutting out alcohol is happening at the same time as is minimizing the caffeine.

It’s Day 8 and I have not had a drink. It has been no problem, as I predicted. The caffeine is a little tougher but I feel like I’m over the hump with that (maybe) and kind of shrugging the occasional cup of coffee. But all this does, in my estimation, is remove a few variables and hit a reset. I’m not focused on my eating habits (yet) and have not scratched the surface with regard to my exercise routine. As in, still doing the same things. Probably need a change up there too.

I feel like I’m not quite ready yet, you know.. baby steps. Make some adjustment, rebalance, reevaluate, and add something new in.

And so far, there’s no appearance of a Llama or an Ostrich in this story. But I feel like there’s about to be. I’m planning something that is sure to be more interesting than a daily rehash of my body and mind cleanse.

I’m outta time now though so that’s gonna have to wait till tomorrow. 🦙

Until Then,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-21 Take Back the City Tour: Days 5 – Summer Solstice Shack Simple

Yesterday I was able to break out of the new normal routine to get a nice balance of holding counsel with the frogs and the butterflies and dragonflies at a “shack simple” experience and also have a lovely catch up session with some friends.

The shack simple day was coordinated by a friend of mine, Michelle, and hosted by the naturalist school out somewhere near Waubonsie in Iowa and the guy who leads that organization/effort, Jack. I honestly don’t know exactly where we were because Michelle drove me and two other MFA friends out around 8:30. It’s somewhere near the Loess Hills scenic byway which is across the Missouri River and about an hour south of the metro area.

I’d never even heard of a “shack simple” before but apparently the concept has been around a while. In my interpretation, it’s kind of an escape from all the havoc of life to live a simple life for for a while. Someplace to get clean and re-connect with nature. Get back to basics and discover what is lost from spending too much time trapped in the gridlock.

This experience was just a taste. Just a lazy morning rolling over like an old hound, into the afternoon. I can see where by itself, one day isn’t quite enough. My mind is often so wound up, it takes a while to settle down and relax. Once we chatted for a bit and the concept and amenities were explained to us, he turned the 5 of us loose to wander around and find our own way.

I personally wandered around a little getting my bearings with the building and the path to the nearby pond. I was emotional and fidgety and restless and had anxiety that I wasn’t going to be able to settle down to get something out of the day. Within the first hour I found two isolated places where I just sat and thought about stuff and let the tears come. It was a nice release.

I’ve been holding so much inside. It just needed out.

When I walked down to the pond Jack was there with the other gal from the Naturalist School that I had not met before. I sat with my notebook poised for brilliance and my water bottle at a picnic table. I was ready and waiting for something to come to me. But sort of distracted by what the other folks were doing.

I engaged Jack in conversation, asking questions about the school and his experience. I got good intel on a few of the butterfly species we were seeing and what his connection is with the MFA program.

Did you know that you can tell a butterfly from a moth by looking at their antennae? Butterflies have a little ball at the end of their antennae and moths have more of a feather like antennae. I never knew that. It feels like something everyone should know.

Jack is a cool guy and I really dig the fact that he had a flip phone and didn’t even assume I had an email address. Technology makes it easier to communicate with people but it was so lovely to daydream for just a second about how life would be without all that. It really would be more simple. There’s a longing inside of me to return to that kind of life and the shack simple just highlighted that.

I truly never did settle down. I wandered back to the shelter and put my yoga mat down in the cool dark basement and did corpse pose for about 20 minutes. Cried again. It wasn’t really crying, though, just letting the emotions leave my body and the path they chose was tears. They gathered on the surface of my eyes and softly ran down the sides of my temples.

I focused on my breathing for a bit but I would hardly call it meditating.

After that I went back to the main level to get a snack from my daypack. Stepha was there and so we chatted for a bit. The last time I saw her it was January and we were at Res together. That was all pre-pandemic and the focus was on the semester ahead. It’s crazy to think about how much was crushed by the virus and how it’s not only changed our daily lives but also had a huge impact on our mental health.

People don’t talk about it much but I’m sure the Covid has put a lot of folks into a depression. I was in denial about that until this past week but now I’m more aware that that is what I’m experiencing. People need people and I miss people. I miss all my people and meetups and conversations. It’s my lifeline, you know, to a better life. It’s a key component and you take that away and it leaves a void.

And Zoom doesn’t cut it. I feel like Zoom actually makes it worse. But that’s probably because we spend all day on Zoom and the last thing we want is to sit on a screen longer looking at ourself or a picture of ourself. I think I’m gonna change my Zoom profile pic to one of my cats this week. I digress.

After that shack simple introduction we packed our belongings back into the car and headed back home. Arriving back at Michelle’s place, we walked to get Tacos and margaritas (water for yours truly cuz I’m still off the sauce for at least the rest of this month). We sat at a table outside in the shade and talked about all sorts of stuff.

That was the bonus plan. It was actually better to have conversations and really connect with people than it was being out alone in nature. I mean, nature is great but the real value is sharing it with people and making memories.

Today is the actual Summer Solstice so there’s a lot of daylight to work with. I’ve got some serious weeding to do in the garden and also some planning to do for my upcoming week. There will be dentist appointments, mammograms, and mini-Road trips— oh my!

I’m keeping a paper calendar to keep track of my ailments and meds. I’m planning to abstain from the alcohol and keep the caffeine to a minimum. I’m feeling the urge to make a to-do list for the remainder of June. That must mean I’m seriously on the mend!.. That’s good news!!

Time now to get on the Sunday Solstice Train.

With Peace and Love and Gratitude,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-19 Take Back the City Tour: Days 3 and 4 – Wrecking Myself and Checking Myself

All I can say now, folks, is don’t do what I did. This post may seem a touch hypocritical but I think as a whole, it kinda proves what I was saying on Day 2 about Western medicine and how the “quick fix” of taking a pill is not the right answer (or at least not the whole answer).

As day two of my substance “cleanse” progressed I experienced a pretty steady decline in the way I felt. Head ache, stomach ache, nausea, and by the time I was wrapping work, my ability to focus was almost non existent. I sank hopeless into the couch when Jim got home from work and told him I didn’t think I could wait until next week to see a doctor.

I held my head and leaned away from him, sobbing on a pillow. I told him I needed relief and I needed to know that there wasn’t something seriously wrong with me. I told him I was afraid I had cancer or a brain tumor or something and I think that got his attention. He scrambled to help and within about an hour I was booked for an appointment (next day) at 6:30 am with an internal med doc he knows pretty well. This guy was willing to see me before his regular shift started and honestly I did not care what time of day it was.. I felt dire.

It was such a relief. 6:30 is early to be out somewhere and so I went to bed fairly early. Still abstaining from the sleep aid meds, I had trouble falling asleep. Then I woke up at 1 and then 3. Both times my mind was racing. I was able to fall back asleep after the first wake up, but never fell back asleep after 3. And my head was pounding. I laid there until 5:15 when the alarm clock went off.

I got up and got dressed. I took my zombie self to the living room and laid back down there waiting for Jim. We drove separately to the appointment so he could go on to work after that.

By the time I arrived my condition had degraded so much I could barely walk. We put on our masks and made our way in the building. We were ushered past the reception desk to a room and I took a seat in the exam chair.

There were vitals taken as the Q and A started. It’s a good thing Jim was there because I could barely focus to answer the questions. I started feeling really nauseous but we got through enough history and current stuff to start to build a whole picture.

Nearing the end of that Jim had to leave to go to work and I was handed a clipboard with a few pages of q and A. I had trouble reading the questions and thinking about the answers. It was truly the worst feeling I’d had in a long time. A full blown migraine and I just wanted a dark quiet room. The pain was terrible.

I had a little more discussion with the doctor to listen to his explanation of what was happening and the suggested course of action. I said I understood but I was struggling so much, I’m sure I didn’t catch it all. He left me with the clip board and forms and a barf bag. I think they were expecting me to breeze through that but between the vomiting and lack of ability to read and check off checkboxes, I’m sure it took a while.

They got me all set up for a lab draw and also a head CT. It may sound ridiculous, but if you are worried you have a brain tumor or something, the anxiety can be daunting. I just wanted to rule out all the serious stuff (which also included a pregnancy test).

This post has already gotten long, and I’m not even to the important part. Good gravy! But here it is at last…

The current immediate problem I was having right then (and probably for the preceding 24 hours) was a crash. I was crashing out due to withdrawal from not taking any of the benzodiazepines. Like a bonafide drug addict episode. Wowza!

And here I thought I would probably get a headache from cutting out caffeine.
I never even stopped to think that these other meds might cause some issue if I stop taking them. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was when he said “you’re a few days in and can try to ride it out or you can give your body what it wants and we can put you on a program to slowly come off them.”

He assured me he’s had great success helping ween people off this stuff. And I knew right away that was the plan for me. And that once I was off it, we would work on the other chronic problems and get to the bottom of those too. He didn’t necessarily say “everything is connected”, which is my belief, but his words implied that and the more we talked, the more I was sure that this was the right guy for me.

He also looked at the answers from those forms and told me I scored in the range of depression. I totally rejected that idea right away, because I am typically not a depressed person. But after talking with Jim about it, short term depression brought on by circumstance is a thing too and that is probably part of what I am experiencing.

Anyhow. I had the labs and the head CT and urinalysis and was released to drive home. When I arrived, I immediately took a Xanax (that’s the hypocritical part) and slid back into the bed. It was 8am and I would have been satisfied to just sleep the day away just for some relief. I really didn’t care about work or anything else.

I slept about 2.5 hours and missed my morning meeting. I still had that headache but the stomach pain and nausea were subsiding. I worked for a couple of hours. I ate two pieces of toast successfully. It felt like a small victory.

Throughout the afternoon I worked a little and rested a little and did a few chores around the house. By the time Jim got home I was feeling quite a bit better, with my headache almost completely gone and he brought takeout for dinner which was amazing.

We sat on the couch for a little bit and I got him caught up on the conversations that I had with the doctor. Who had, incidentally, also called me in the afternoon to follow up and see how I was doing and also let me know that my head CT was normal and the first set of labs with thyroid and chemistry panel all came back looking great too. That’s a huge relief. He (the doc) Also let me know that I was not pregnant, and said “sorry about that”.. which I snickered a little out loud about.

Jim said that if he and I met 10 years ago he would’ve seriously tried to convince me to have another baby. That was sweet. I guess he’d been daydreaming about that a bit too. He said he thinks that would have brought our four kids together a little bit more. But nope. Doug (the cat we All adopted together) will have to do.

In that follow-up conversation with the doctor he also went over what we discussed in the office because he thought maybe I was not in the best state to remember everything that he said that morning. He laid out a detailed plan on how to slowly wean myself off of the medicines and get myself free of that shit.

He called those meds bad news. He said if taken sparingly they can provide some immediate benefit but that it is too common that people start taking them regularly and then become dependent. After a while they begin causing more problems than they solve.

It’s exactly what I was saying a couple days ago about the whole instant gratification with medication thing. And I truly didn’t realize how much I was taking until I stopped to quantify it. It’s pretty scary actually. I mean, I keep a good eye on most of my stats and can’t figure out why this one seemed unimportant.

Anyway, that’s a pretty long run down.. Lots to cover. We’ll see what today brings. I might not be able to meet all of my “cleanse” goals, but you know what they say sometimes..

“Two outta three ain’t bad.” I feel like I have a good plan and am still on the right track despite the fact that my 15 day tour has turned into a 12 week affair.

Welcome to the Jungle,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-17 Take Back the City Tour: Day 2

Today’s message: Permanent change is nether fast nor easy.

One of the problems with Western medicine is the notion that there can be quick fixes for most problems. Or that there’s a singular root cause of a problem which can be solved by taking a pill.

While I agree that some ills can be eased in short order with modern pharmacological methods, i would contend that the better way is to treat a person as a whole unit, mind and body. The solution to a problem has to be comprehensive and that it takes perseverance and patience.

It was another short night last night and I woke with a headache. It’s a problem, for sure, and at this point it feels like piling an old problem onto a new one. The waking up super early and not being able to fall back asleep is th he problem I tried to solve with the Xanax. Prescribed by my OB. The morning headache is also familiar and It might be because of the reduced caffeine. Or it could just be the result of where I am stuck at in my monthly cycle.

It stands to reason that if I’ve been masking problems with pills, then when I stop taking those pills the original issues will resurface. With that, I recognize that things may get worse before they get better. The short nights might suck and the headaches might be tough to deal with, but I’ve got to fight through with a healthier solution.

Easy to say on day 2 I suppose. Ask me again on day 15 or 34 or 102. The universe help me if I haven’t fixed this in that amount of time. Good gravy!

One of my friends suggested yesterday that I might be pregnant. Yeah. Nausea, light headedness, and the absence of the start of my period does sound suspect doesn’t it? Interestingly, that thought crossed my mind too but is just not possible, biologically speaking. What a Llama that would be in the SugarCookie story indeed!!

Thinking about that possibility for a hot minute was interesting though. Here I am, nearing the end of my time raising kids into adulthood. How would it be to start over. And with a different man by my side. A far better man. In some ways I could see it being such a wonderful experience and in others, I think it would be very much the same. Which isn’t to say worse, just a high likelihood that I would feel like a single parent a lot of the time because of Jim’s lack of free time. I could be wrong about that though. I will, of course, never know.

So if that’s not the Llama, what is? Yesterday I mentioned a road trip and after that had visions of taking my peeps to Colorado or the badlands. I wonder if the cabins at the badlands are open for business. That’s probably worth a little investigation.

I mentioned a road trip to Jim and he’s not really on board with that because of the risk. He’s very careful about telling me I can’t do things, but he does take a disapproving tone. I’m still not used to this part of being a couple. You know, sort of needing to agree on the right things to do all the time. I’m so used to doing whatever I want whenever I want.

Single SugarCookie might have jumped in the car and taken off already. Maybe. I can’t really say what I might have done with this pandemic if I was flying solo. 🤔

Well now. I did have the intention of writing a thoughtful post about health and making good choices and establishing better habits and I wandered around and never really got there. Oh well.

It’s almost 8 and I’m tired already and losing my motivation to take on another day. What choice do I have though? /deep sigh

I can do this. Real change takes time.
I can do this.
Time to do the day 2 thing,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-16 Take Back the City Tour: Day 1

Day 1 and I’m feeling good about my decision yesterday to make some changes. No sleep meds last night and it was a rough start to the night, but eventually sleep came to me. I slept until just past 5 and that was quite nice.

I’m also going to ween myself off caffeine. This I’m fairly certain I can’t do “cold turkey” like cutting out the Xanax and Lorazepam. I’m gonna start by not taking any caffeine as a supplement in the AM. I might still sip a coffee. I might need to do that to avoid a withdrawal headache. Or at least that’s what I’m sure I will tell myself when I start jonesing for a cup. Sometimes it takes baby steps though, you know?

The trifecta for this tour is the abstaining from alcohol. Historically that’s been easier than the caffeine. I think with the lack of Meetups and happy hours, it will likely be the case this time too. We’ll see.

So the goal here in the next couple of weeks is to sort of cleanse my body and rid myself of substances that might be contributing to my feeling so unwell all the time. And knowing that everything is connected, I’m hoping it also improves my mental health and mood. I’ve been down too much and I’m getting so tired of that. Literally.

This goal by itself is kinda boring though. Don’t you think? I mean a cleanse all by itself is just so basic bitch. What this story needs is a camel, or a llama, or an Ostrich. So what’s that look like?

One of Jim’s suggestions yesterday was to get some good cardio during the day. I did 2.4 miles on the exercise bike at a rigorous pace. Felt like crap but I gotta not give up too easy. I suppose I’ll give that another go sometime today. Get the heart pumping a little. But does that cardio infusion qualify as an Ostrich? I don’t think so. What I need is something really interesting. Like a poem-a-day or a bonafide road-trip or, at the very least, some daily change up in the normal routine.

I’ll have to think on that and see what materializes. 🤔

That’s it then. Time to cut and run.
I sure hope the good motivational vibes I’m feeling this morning last.

Cheers to Change,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-15 Take Back the City For Yourself Tonight…

Or I’ll take back the city for me.

Why is this Snow Patrol lyric in my head?

It was a miserable day today. One of those days you realize, something has got to change. There are so many things in my life right now that are going right that it feels sort of ridiculous to be experiencing this need for change so deeply.

Jim and I have had a few good conversations about my health issues. I might have swept some of those things under the rug for too long. I’m generally healthy and active and have a desire to work on my fitness. I haven’t been to a doctor other than my OB in ages (except for the tennis elbow thing) and can’t even remember how long it’s been since I’ve had general labs done.

A year ago I lost my heath insurance. But I just shrugged. I figured I could just coast until I got married. No, I didn’t get married to get health insurance, but I won’t deny it is a nice benefit!

While I waited I put off seeing the dentist, getting a mammogram, and scheduling any sort of well check-up. I told myself that February was just around the corner and then I could get back to doing those things.

Then February came and went and I procrastinated. Then March arrived and along with it, a global pandemic. Everything for everybody was put on hold. Not only that, but it meant I was not getting my Jazzercise classes either and without that, I lost my motivation for cardio and doing free weights.

I took on more work this spring too which meantmore stress. I took on a big side project AND had my last semester of grad school AND was trying to navigate the newlywed life supporting my husband and his business through the worst of the first wave of the virus.

I actually started drinking more in the evenings and, if you read my last post, I started having sleep issues again for which I turned to meds. Now here we are in June and I feel just wrecked.

It took my all day today to recover from not sleeping last night and fighting whatever it was that had a hold of me. I was light headed, and achy and nauseated. It was terrible. It’s nearing 9PM now and I’m finally starting to bounce back.

As a consequence of the way I felt, I took the day off. I called in sick to work, cancelled a date with a friend, and basically babied myself for most of the day. I sat around, and laid around, and drove my car to get the kids and I take out for lunch. I thought a lot about how things have been going and, as I stated already, had good conversation with Jim about it.

Here’s the plan.. I’m quitting the sleeping pills and I’m abstaining from drinking alcohol for at least the rest of this month. I’m going to try to eat right and not worry so much about my sleep habits or my stats. Jim wants me to put my Fitbit on the shelf for a while too, but I am not sure I can do that. I also need to quit ignoring my health issues: tiredness, brain-fog, sensitive/sore teeth, insomnia.

I made an appointment with my dentist to get my teeth checked and talk to them about my constant tooth sensitivity. That’s next Monday. I made an appointment for my a mammogram. That’s next Tuesday. I did not yet make an appointment to see my OB, but that’s next on my list.

Plus, I did make an appointment to have a general physical check up with some labs with an internal med doctor. Jim suggested since it has been a while that I go see someone new and since I now have insurance again, I can do that. That appointment is a ways out but if push comes to shove, I can always go see another doc in the interim.

In any case, I’m taking some measures to put myself right. I’m going to ease up on work too and try not to put so much pressure on myself about everything. I need to try to relax and enjoy life. I see folks doing things like swimming and hiking and bike rides and I just want to do that too. It’s summer and I should be! It will be good for me.

In just a few minutes. Jim and I are going to go for a cruise in the Jeep. We’ll get some fresh air and finish out the day on a good note. I’m not sure how tonight will go in the sleep department, but if it goes poorly like last night, I know what NOT to do!!

I’m gonna take back this city for myself tonight and let the anthem of those words repeat as often as I need in order to make some real changes in my life. And those changes have to start right now.

Ready, Set, Sleep! 😴
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-15 Whaaaaaat is WRONG With Me??!!

It’s after midnight so it’s officially the 15th of June. It’s almost 1AM so I’m officially exhausted, frustrated, and dreading tomorrow. It’s no secret that I have a history of having issues with sleep. It’s right there in my list of categories. It’s one of the first things I check on my fitbit when I wake up every day. It’s one of those variables that I feel is super important in the grand equation of living a happy and healthy life. And just like a fair number of other variables, I’m pretty much failing at it.

Is that even possible? To fail at sleeping? Well I am here to tell you it is possible to fail at sleeping because I am doing it right now. I’m in a vicious cycle about it in my head right now. I think I can’t fall asleep because I’m too anxious about not being able to fall asleep. If that sounds fucked up, it is because it is. To make matters worse, Jim is in a deep sleep, and his breathing is so heavy and loud, it’s like a big gust of wind every three seconds like right in my ear. How can just breathing be so loud?

Well, literally, it’s not right in my ear anymore because I’ve abandoned my bed and bedroom for a different room in the house. So now I’m in the spare bed room and have obviously given up trying to sleep because I’m sitting in the bed with my laptop. I’m waiting for some sleep aid medication to kick in. I gave myself a good two hours of tossing and turning and feeling sick before giving in to the urge to take something.

That “something” is also a part of the story. I’ve given in a LOT lately to the crutch of something to help me sleep. I fear I’ve become dependent on the Xanxax. I say I’m not going to take it anymore and then I just shrug and cave and take the easy road. Well tonight I declared would be the night I would just cut it out. Cold turkey, as they say. Jim and I had talked about it. My Xanax usage is one of the suspects for some of my other daytime problems. I have to quit taking it to rule it out. So tonight was going to be the night.

We went to bed early. Like 9:30 and I was so, so sleepy. I thought, “no problem.” He and I chatted for a bit in bed and then rolled over to go to sleep. Obviously he did. Obviously I didn’t. I was feeling pressure in my head and had an upset stomach. I immediately started to think about all the things I am worried about in life and just could not get my mind to settle. I maybe fell into a half sleep for a bit, but whatever that was didn’t last long and I was tossing again.

That’s when the breathing became to much and I left. I tried to sleep in the spare bed, but no dice there either. I’m bothered by the pressure in my head and also feeling nauseous. I think about the Xanax and how I need to break myself from needing it and round and round I go. I decide that it will be ok to take some other sleep aid instead of Xanax, just for tonight, just because I need it. If I can’t get some sleep I’m gonna be wrecked tomorrow. Now the past has caught up with the present and it is tomorrow.

I’ve decided there’s too many fucking lights all over this house and I wonder why it has to be such a creepy castle. Seriously. The candelabra flicker lights in the hallway have to go. All the string lights in the backyard are cool for parties and such, but we’re not having a party right now damnit. We’re trying to sleep.

I used to take these little blue pills to sleep, years ago, and still had a few in a bottle in my old medicine tote. I had to sneak back to the bathroom to get one. I’m sure by now I should feel it start to kick in but I’m not. I have no idea what is in that little blue pill. I suppose I should know that, right?

I can hear one of the two of my kids is also still up and it sounds like they just went to the kitchen to get a snack. It must be nice to just do that and know you can sleep in until noon if you want. It sucks to be an adult and worry about stupid stuff like not being able to sleep at night. Adulting is so dumb.

I’m gonna put the laptop away now. I’m gonna let whatever it is I ingested work its magic. Hoping for 5 hours.

Apparently lack of sleep leads to bad ideas. The little blue pill was a big mistake. It was a horrible night. It’s going to be a terrible day. My stomach hurts, my head hurts, my body is confused about whether or not it should have a period.

My teeth hurt. I’m nauseated and dizzy. I took some more meds for my head and tried to eat. I just threw up. And now I’m sitting here feeling like I might have a fever. Could this be chills? Could I have Covid? Oh my, please somebody tell me what is WRONG with me.

Whaaaaaaahhhh. I want some relief.

2020-06-14 Dividing by Zero

I’m not ashamed of my love of numbers. I’ll be the first to admit I geek out about dates, and apps that keep track of stats and display pretty dashboards, and how I have a tendency to spend time adding it all up and dividing by the lowest common denominator so it all comes out smooth. I’m satisfied with whole numbers and don’t care for decimals too much unless we’re talking percentages. Then my eyes light up. I dig the number 3 and all numbers divisible by 3. 4 is pretty badass too.

Have you ever heard somebody call a number “badass” before? No?? I’m not surprised. 34 is my lucky number and I’ve often thought about seeing a numerologist to have my “numbers read.” If we weren’t in a pandemic, I think I would google for a local person or business that could do that for me. I dated a guy once who had it done. I was very intrigued.

Well, I was dating him but he wasn’t dating me apparently and when it comes to the dating world, that’s generally a problem. I digress.

Anyway, so I’m a numbers nerd most of the time. Sometimes, though, I think about throwing my hands up and dividing it all by zero. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately.

If you think about it.. the two are very similar. How come it is that human beings can engineer calculations to understand quantum physics but we can’t figure out how to divide by zero. That the answer is elusive in the same way that what happens when you die remains a mystery. It’s not meant to be known or understood. It’s beyond our comprehension.

The truth is, the more we engage with science, the more we understand about the universe and its properties. And the more we learn, the more we uncover how flawed our previous understanding was. Think about that for a hot minute.

Humans thought the world was flat. And we were wrong. Some of the calculations of the most brilliant minds that have existed have been since proven wrong. Einstein knew there was a flaw in his work and made up a variable to sweep it under a rug and make it all come out smooth. People gravitate toward wanting things to make sense; to be completely explainable without a doubt.

Then someone else comes along with a better telescope or microscope or a superior computer processor or.. possibly.. a more evolved brain. One that’s capable of looking at the universe with a different lens. That leads to discoveries that disprove the theories that were previously widely accepted as fact.

Jim and I sometimes watch these Nova documentaries which talk a lot about this kind of stuff and it’s fascinating. We nerd out about outer space and how much humans have learned or thought they have understood of the universe by studying space. Sometimes I watch and find it hard to believe we have the technology to calculate the distances between galaxies and how big some are and how small others are and what they are composed of.

So much has been documented and classified. How many people have dedicated their lives to the study of outer space? The answer is a lot. An incredible amount of time and money and resources have been spent on trying to get a deeper understanding of the universe.

And still, we can’t divide by zero. Maybe that’s the biggest flaw. That were trying to force the numbers to come out smooth. Maybe it’s not meant to be smooth or maybe approaching it all as a mathematical equation in the first place is fundamentally wrong.

Try this instead.

Right where you are right now, lay flat down on the ground on your back. Stretch your arms up over your head and make your body as tall as it can be horizontally. Then relax every muscle and let your arms rest at your sides, palms up. Let your feet fall to the sides. Let gravity pull the weight of your body down. Feel your torso sink toward the center of the Earth. Close your eyes. Feel the energy flowing from the ground through your extremities with every breath. Feel that everything is connected.

Pretty cool huh?

Who needs numbers and stats when you can do that?! So satisfying.

Cheers to just being alive,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-13 Rejections, connections, and Strawberry Pie 🍓🥧❤️

I’ve had a few communications with folks lately about rejection. Anytime you take a risk and put yourself out there and pin hopes on someone else’s reaction, you are subjecting yourself to the possibility of rejection. I’ve got two specific instances to share with new insights.

In this not-so-new-anymore world of electronic communications, a person can sit at their computer and submit poem after poem to dozens of different places. I can’t claim to hit this kind of volume, but I have spent a fair bit of my free-time lately doing research, tailoring my bio, writing cover letters, and selecting and editing appropriate pieces.

Most people I’ve talked to about this process say things like “keep going and you’ll be able to paper your walls with those rejections”. However, that’s just not how it is anymore. There’s no paper.

No. Instead those rejections pop into your electronic in-box and end up interrupting your day at very unexpected times. We no longer walk to the mailbox with a measure of anticipation and hope. Nope. We send our babies out into the world and when they cone back, rejected it could be mid-morning in the middle of a work meeting you’ve lost interest in. You toggle over to your personal email and open that electronic rejection.

There’s nothing to do then. No physical evidence of the rejection (I suppose unless you printed it out). If I’m in a rotten mood already, it’s like I just shrug, and say “thanks universe, go ahead and punch a girl whose already down”. Whatever. I didn’t need to win that AWP contest or have my words appear in “32Poems” anyway. (Two very recent rejections).

If I’m having a good day or my dauber is up, it’s kinda like “so what, universe, my life is good and I don’t really like cake anyway, so the jokes on you.”

The lesson I’m working out here for myself, is that I’m doing pretty good not letting it get to me. I’m not hanging my hat on any acceptance or rejection. I’m not judging my self worth based on someone else’s opinions of the fruits of my creative labors. I’m writing these poems for me. Kinda like this blog. It’s just for me and though it feels good to know people are reading it and sometimes click the button to like it, it’s that’s not what gives me satisfaction. It’s the act of writing, documenting, thinking, and those moments where the light bulb goes off and I actually sort out an issue or find some conclusion to a troubling issue. Those moments are priceless!!

The second instance of rejection that’s relevant today, and not as easily dismissed has to do with Father’s Day. I’m certainly not alone in my plight with the “holiday”. It’s a Hallmark holiday that tends to remind me of the rejection I’ve experienced with regard to my relationship with my dad for many years now.

He’s got his family. His wife and her kids, grand kids, and great grandkids and they have the relationship I’ve longed for my whole adult life. They hang out. He babysits his great grandkids. He’s spent countless hours with them and almost none with me or my kids. When we try to participate in family events, we’re made to feel like outcasts. We’re literally the red-headed step children nobody seems to notice. Huddling near each other with nothing to contribute to the conversation. Our lives are so disconnected.

It’s rejection at a deep level. Something I can’t shrug off like a poem some random stranger didn’t care for. These are my real children not having a relationship with their grandfather. Now when I ask if they want to go visit, my kids just say “naw”. I don’t force them.

As their mother, I want to protect them. I’d rather they not feel the rejection I feel. I’d rather have them put their energy into relationships that are positive and supporting.

On my wedding day four months ago, when we were taking pictures during the reception, I requested one with just my siblings. As they came around me, the moment became emotional for me. With an 18 year spread among us, it’s rare to have a moment in life together. I began to cry. I had to regain my composure for the picture.

After that moment, my dad asked me why I was crying. I told him the truth. That it’s not often we get these opportunities to be together as a family. That it’s important to me. It’s part of the reason I wanted to have a wedding instead of just running to city hall or eloping to some exotic destination. I wanted to see my loved ones and come together in celebration.

I honestly don’t think he gets it. Or maybe he gets it but is unwilling to change the situation. Change is tough and it takes effort to maintain positive relationships. You sometimes have to risk rejection.

I did that last Christmas. I tried. I subjected my love to it too. We attended Christmas dinner at my step-nieces house. It was disastrously awful for Jim and I. I’ve never felt so out of place and unwanted in my whole life. On the way home from that event, I cried and promised Jim I would never do that to us again.

But now here I am. The day before Father’s Day, preparing a gift for him and his wife. I’m contemplating setting up a visit to deliver the gift (home made strawberry pie using his moms recipe) I’m considering making my kids go with me. I’m hanging my hat on a positive reception. I’m rejecting the idea of being rejected again. I’m hoping it’s not too late to re-establish some connection. It’s probably foolish.

Why do I feel the need to do this? Where does this need for his approval come from. Has it just been long enough that I need another reminder of how it is, or how it probably will never change? I can bake strawberry pies year after year expecting a different result. It’s not just foolish, it’s also really pathetic and sad.

If anyone ever asked me about my relationship with my father (which people don’t). I would say “it’s kind of a cats in the cradle thing”. I can’t help but think about that song when I think about my dad.

Anyway, that’s enough lamenting about rejection for one Saturday. Time to go cut strawberries and crush graham crackers. Whatever.

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-11 Elusive Quests and Familiar Territory

Have you ever played a game like world of Warcraft where you were given the option to go on quests? I have. I had a brief encounter with WOW in 2010/2011 where I entertained the idea of becoming a mage and venturing out on endless numbers of quests and taking on battles and running around discovering all that the virtual WOW world had to offer.

It’s sort of satisfying and fun but at the end of the day, when I had sunk real hours of my real life into an imaginary life, it kinda made me feel a little sick. Time is so precious. I quit and didn’t look back.

Now here I am, years later, reinventing a new character (that I wish had magical powers of some sort) and life keeps handing me these quests and challenges and puzzles. Like the WOW quests, some are tougher than others.

For example, this past weekend the AC went out in one of the areas of our house. I happen to be the resident HVAC expert and have already tackled several similar challenges with my previous character. I did the troubleshooting. Found the problem was with a faulty thermostat, and took steps to get a new thermostat and install it.

Just like that /slaps hands together “no problemo” style .

I had my son help me do the uninstall of the old one and reinstall the new one. My darling daughter was sleeping and so we did not disturb her. It was kinda nice to have some QT with just my son and also a good teaching moment.

That was like a level 3 quest. The universe was probably irritated that I tackled it so easily and so a new challenge was issued.

In order to skip the full backstory, I’ll just offer that there are a few members of our household that have some serious dietary restrictions because of a medical condition. Other members of the household are spoiled and have their dietary “needs” catered to each week.

Part of my new role as household engineer is to make sure everyone’s needs are met. That’s a fancy way of saying I’m the one who does the grocery shopping.

Anyway, several typical items have gone missing lately. It must be understood that I enjoy providing for my crew. I like cooking and shopping and seeing everyone is taken care of. This includes humans, cats, birds, and fish. It’s a healthy house and they need me. It feels great to be needed.

This week I have failed this quest so far. I’ve been to SIX stores looking for three or four specific things and have been denied. Yesterday I cooked chicken breast and forgot it was cooking and baked the bird parts into solid little bricks (and might have ruined the pan too).

Two days this week I have not heard the alarm go off and missed breakfast. And today.. there was nothing prepared that Jim could take in his lunch. It’s his CB day and so he can’t come home for lunch and has to have something to take. I forgot it was Thursday.

Since my win on Tuesday with the thermostat swap, it’s been fail after fail.

Don’t even get me started on the complicated development of events regarding my daughter.

Don’t even get me started on my work taking over my life again and Jim “feeling it”.

Don’t get me started on how it affects me that I can’t be there when they need me. And trust me when I say the grocery thing is just a symptom of a larger systemic issue. It’s 2015 all over again and I barely survived what happened then.

This time has the potential to be way worse. I mean, it’s a pandemic and tensions are high and people are getting twitchy missing “normal” life. The peaks have been higher the last couple years so it stands to reason the valleys can be lower. I’m not equipped for that.

Corrective actions are required immediately. What those are, I don’t know. Where’s the “help” button? How can I toggle to the alternate screen to see what the map looks like or check my bag for supplies? Where did I leave my “time stop” potion?

The only things I have left to say on this subject would lead to seriously mixing my metaphors and ain’t nobody got time for that.

Instead. I’m going to cut it here and see if I can go figure out how to level up.

Game On,
~Miss SugarCookie