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

2020-05-07 Cheers to 16 Years!… 💚💙💚

Today I slept through Jim’s alarm and didn’t wake up till 7:15 and was groggy. Strange to wake up alone and miss making breakfast and seeing him off to work. Strange to wake up alone In the house as no kids are here either. Strange to shuffle around In silence, asking Alexa the news while doing the dishes and cleaning litter boxes

Strange and sad to do these normal chores while thinking about how 16 years ago today I was in a hospital bed with an IV Pitocin drip, watching some random movie, waiting for the anesthesiologists to show up and give me an epidural.

It sucks to not get to spend the day with my son, which is our tradition. Normally on his birthday he would get to skip school and I would get to skip work and we would spend the morning and afternoon together. Doing whatever he wanted. But not this year.

This year he’s waking up at his dads house and I’m alone here. No doubt he’ll be skipping school anyway as he has been doing that for about a month now. And I’ll be lifting myself up to my office to work in about 30 minutes and sifting through about 30 hours of work to figure out which things are the most important.

What I would really like to do is get out and plant those annuals and water my newly planted veggies and continue to think about this day in history.

If I can’t be with my son, I’d like to be alone with my thoughts about the fact that when he was born, we didn’t have a name picked out. How we let people who came to visit make suggestions and kept a whiteboard where people could vote. It wasn’t until the last day in the hospital that we landed on the right name. And his sister, who was two years old at the time couldn’t talk very well yet could not pronounce it.

She said “Booker”. That actually stuck for a while and after a few weeks we actually thought about changing his name to Booker. But then magically one day she started saying it better, and so the idea of switching his name faded away. She would not be able to say it correctly for a while though, because of trouble with the “R” sound at the end. She’d call him “coopa”.

Sometimes we still call him Coopa. Or Coopa-Troopa. Come to think of it, both my kids had issues with the “r” sound and both saw a speech pathologist in elementary school for this. I’m inclined to think there’s some genetic reason for this. Or maybe their dad and I just did not do a good job enunciating our “Rrrrs” when we would talk.

Should have talked more like pirates when they were little. I Guess.

He’s 16 and has no interest in driving or getting his license. So different than his sister whose goal in life when she turned 16 was to go to the DMV and get her license. Crazy to think about all the ways they are so alike and all the ways they are different.

We did have a FaceTime call earlier and I was surprised he was awake. What a bummer to be stuck at home on your birthday and not get to do anything special to celebrate. When he does get to come back (hopefully sometime this weekend) we can do some special things. At the very least, I can cook him his favorite meals.

Chicken and rice stir fry, macaroni and cheese, veggie straws, grilled cheese sandwiches, chocolate covered donuts, roasted asparagus, vanilla chai, cream soda, buttered noodles, ramen, steaks on the grill, goldfish crackers. No fruit EVER. 😜

Writing this post is starting to make me hungry. Ha!

Time to get to work anyway. Guess my lamenting the strangeness of this day has come to an end.

Cheers to 16 years and many, many, many more! I love you C, Booker, Coopa, Coopa-troopa, Super Coop.. My Buddy, My Cooper.


2020-04-29 Mathematics and Other Tragedies

I could draw myself into a spiral. I could pretend to be a straight line or paint my life as an isosceles triangle in perpetual motion. The faster it spins, the more the points blur into circles that create borders that can’t be penetrated.

If I was reborn as a star, would I have five points or six? Or Seven!?? Would I be a better poet if I was a broken heart, or the zig-zag white space between the two separate halves.

Hearts don’t ever break in half. It’s never an equitable split. Most are fragments shattered like that round dish that was dropped on accident or because it was too hot to touch. And there are never any answers for that. Just possible explanations and plausible deniability and revisionist history. What geometric shapes are those? It must be a chapter I haven’t gotten to yet.

I’ve spent so much time with my face on the the floor because of gravity.

I’ve spent so much time enduring air travel trying to escape gravety.

I’ve spent so much time trying to learn how to finish this geometry so I can finally move on to algebra 2.

I fear there’s a long way to go before gravity will start making sense.

So many apples. So little time.

You’re welcome for that nonsense. You know a lot of the poetry I write is sort of nonsense. Or based on little connections in my brain and sparks of thought where one thing just leads to another. I think the closer I get to finishing this mfa program, the more my brain will feel the freedom of writing what I want to write again for me, and my sanity.

I’ve spent so long studying craft that it’s altered my perception of reality. It’s hijacked my creative instincts in some way. Or perhaps it’s that my life is just good now so I have less to muse about.

Here’s a secret (spoiler alert, some “poor me” might slip in here). Once upon a time I was in love with a guy. And having been previously conditioned to have a fear of commitment, I was unable to go all-in. Right up to the day that I realized that’s all that was left for us. So I tried it.

I convinced myself with this little nugget of logic .. if my heart gets broken, then I’ll just have so much good poetry. Yes, I actually told myself that. That was me bargaining with myself to tip the scales in the favor of the “all-in” option. It worked.

Then, wouldn’t you know it all fell apart after that and my heart got crushed. And then you know what happened? There was no fucking poetry. I just cried all the time and couldn’t write a single line of a single poem. I wrote a lot of journal entries (mostly because I didn’t have close friends to talk to), but the empty space where those poems were supposed to be crushed me even more.

I had trusted myself, and was betrayed. So I said “I’ll never do that again”.

Yeah, so that’s that melodramatic charm of mine coming through again.

Fast forward 4 years and I’ve finally found a few lines and arranged them into a poem and it was such a clinical process that I actually learned something about myself and also about the art of making poetry. That was the point I guess. It passed the JP test and made it into my thesis manuscript.

I’m attached to the idea of it more than the poem itself.

After my heart was broken in 2016 I turned to a guy friend for comfort. I thought I loved him too. Which is a blurry line.

I loved the idea of being in love with him.

I loved the way he spent so much time with me and listened to me and held me when I cried.

He was always clear with me “we” could never be, so it was safe. I didn’t have to worry about the unknown quantity in the air after I said “I love you”. I knew the response and that was in some fucked up way, really comforting.

If you tell someone you love them, the Tough part is in having their response be unexpected.

What have I learned? That I really loved Matt, and that I really loved Josh but for different reasons, and Vis, and of course Brian. Stitch all that together and the picture becomes more complete. It’s a complicated shape. Still a bit above my current geometrical comprehension, but I’m nothing if not a diligent student.

What other option do I have anyway? That’s life.

Thanks for hanging in with what was not intended to be a rehash of my broken heart again. But, I will take all I can get.

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-28 Hidden Tracks, Nostalgia, and Serious Feels

I’m listening to a new playlist I created last week. It’s pretty much the bomb and full of songs I’ve forgotten I loved so much and some new ones I didn’t even know I owned.

Each new selection leads down another road of thought, which is pretty incredible, but it makes me feel sort of ADHD. I can’t focus.

One minute I’m sad because I’m reminded of Matt and how our relationship ended (“Poetry by Dead Men” by Sara Bareilles) and the next one leaves me dancing where I stand (“In Your Room” by the Bangles) or laughing out loud (Sweet As Whole by Sara Bareilles). Then there’s “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette.

That came on just as I was finishing up on the treadmill and though I like that song, it doesn’t really do anything for me. I listen all the way through though, because I know what comes after… a song that was “hidden” on the CD on the same track as “You Oughta Know”, but you have to wait through a minute or so of silence to hear it.

That’s right. Some of my music comes from CDs I ripped and imported into my music library years ago and the “Jagged Little Pill” CD was one of those I’ve had since I was 20. My first thought when I knew what was coming was how kids today will never understand hidden tracks or secret songs. They get their music streaming from some service and so those golden nuggets died off with the CD.

I wonder if CDs nowadays still have those things? Hmmmm.

My second thought? Well… I gotta listen to the song but it always makes me cry. She sings about going to her lovers house and enjoying spending time there alone, thinking of him and musing about their love. Then she finds a letter on his desk from another woman and it takes a turn. She’s instantly heartbroken and leaving salt in the bed. It’s an incredibly moving song for me and, well, the tears always come.

But then the song ends, you know, and then it’s Lily Allen singing “The Fear” in my ear and it just makes me bouncy again. That song s from a very different era of my life and hearing it takes me back.

35 years old and getting a divorce and as challenging as that was, my nostalgia about it is the color of freedom. I finally felt like I was in charge of my own life for the first time of my life. I was 35 and had never lived alone. Never picked out my own dishes or paint colors without someone else’s ok. Just listen to the song “I Could Say” by Lily and that’s the essence of my life back then.

I mean, I’ve tried to capture this in a poem, but it’s one of those elusive things. And frankly, since that was years ago, I’m not inclined to try anymore. I’ve got plenty of content from the present. I thought the other day that I could write a bunch of poems about that time in my life, but I ask myself “do you want to spend your precious time in the past, or do you wanna focus on now?”

The answer (right now) is now.

And right now, I’m just enjoying these tunes and the feels and whatever will be will be. Poetry or no poetry.

That’s all I’ve got time for on this taco Tuesday.

Peace and Love and Music, 🎶
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-23 Dance of the Mid Life Crisis

This has been a long week and I’m happy to be nearing the end. I gave myself a goal to finish my Thesis before Friday so I could just let go for the weekend. The format check by the program coordinator and thumbs up from the second reader are the only other hurdles before it’s a done deal.

Deadline for getting those electronic copies out is Sunday. I sent mine yesterday (the format check anyway). My second reader has had the preface and creative portion for a week+ now and I’m just going to guess that if I hear nothing back, it’s a pass from him.

I spoke to my thesis mentor yesterday who gave me the all clear on it and also some lovely words of praise on the work I’ve done this semesters. After that conversation and just hitting send on that email, a weight was lifted off. I’ve done it. I’ve really done it! Feels so good! 💃

The reality hasn’t really sunk in yet. There’s more boxes to check in order to officially graduate, but I’m a huge jump closer. Even if I have to wait until the global crisis is over, I’ll be getting my masters. A journey that began about 3 years ago as a result of a mid-life crisis is finally going to come to a close.

I’ve never once, until today, referred to what I went through as a mid life crisis. I mean, I was in the middle of my life (which we kind of all are, right) and it was a crisis. I guess instead of buying a sports car or doing wild and crazy stuff, I opted to get a masters in fine arts.

Not like anyone’s counting, but it’s probably the second mid-life crisis I’ve had. The first one ended with the divorce from my first husband (of 19 years) and that was in 2009/2010. Part of pulling myself through that Involved my claiming my independence. I built my kids and I a house and, yes, I also bought myself a fun little sporty car. I went to Europe and did some stupid stuff (but not too stupid). I guess since I did all that already, this go-round was bound to be different.

And now look what I’ve gone and done. Gotten myself married again. I’m following that same ole recipe for success. I suppose the difference is that now I have better ingredients to work with now. 😉 #truth

So the thesis is done-done and today I’m turning my attention back to work which I’ve been neglecting for about 3 days. I’ve gotta play catch up and that’s ok. I realize after my brief departure that the team really needs me. Yesterday I opted to skip morning call for that conversation with my mentor. Nobody took notes. Not that the notes are that important, but if action items and decisions need to captured, there’s value in that. (It is good to have the notes for searching later).

I was about to get on my notes soapbox and then I’m like.. FULL STOP. Nobody cares. Haha!

If there was no pandemic, Jim and I would be jumping in the car after work to go to Minnesota. I little weekend road trip planned around an appointment in Minneapolis to do our Global Entry interviews. I’m sad about not getting to go, but happy that I get him all to myself for a long weekend.

It’s just as well that the appointments have all been cancelled as I attempted to do the name change thing with my passport and that’s now somewhere lost in the Covid void. I started to change my name at a bunch of agencies shortly after getting married and just about the time I got to doing my passport, the risk was on the rise.

The US passport office is pretty slow anyhow, but I’m pretty sure with the pandemic, I’ll still be waiting for a while. 🤷‍♀️
Who knows how long it will be before international travel opens again. Could be months. Could also be years.

I told my mentor yesterday that I was opting for December residency so I could have that “in-person” experience. He cautioned that things could die down and then flair back up again and December could be worse. I shouldn’t put all my eggs in that basket (my words not his). I get it. But I just wanna have some hope, you know.

I’m really missing planning for the future and everything in limbo is getting to me. I swear that whatever happens, I’m gonna drive out to Kearney to hang with my friend Tre as she graduates. I also want to pin down a date for my daughters graduation party. When is it going to be ok to do that?

Soon I hope.

I’ve gotta get to work before I lose motivation for it.

Cheers to a three day weekend! 🍸
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-16 Lottery Ticket Happiness

Every time I drive west across Nebraska on I-80 I’m full of hope and excitement about what’s to come. If I’m driving west on that long stretch of boring interstate I’m driving away from home and toward something fun and different, people I love and mountains I marvel. I know that soon I will be wrapped up in feverish conversation, catching up, and clinking glasses in cheer.

Maybe I’ve got concert tickets at Red Rocks or plans to hike some new wondrous scene. So many opportunities for capturing pictures and words and memories.

When I’m in the car driving west it’s like the best feeling. It’s freedom. Everything about it is freedom. I gather snacks that are not good for me and allow myself to get that gas station cappuccino that’s loaded up with sugar and nerds or sweet-tarts or something else that’s pure sugar and throw in some giant bag of Chex mix to balance out all that sweetness with salt and crunch. I allow myself guilt free snacking and singing out loud to my favorite tunes. All of that is freedom.

I have a tradition of stopping in Ogallala Nebraska before I drive across the border into Colorado. I whip the car down the exit ramp and find a gas station to buy a lottery ticket.

I’m not a lottery ticket purchaser normally, but the mood of the road trip changes a person. If I won the lottery, it be cool to win with a ticket purchased in Ogallala. What a headline, right?!

“Omaha woman wins millions in Ogallala”.

That would be priceless even if I never collected a dime.

Then, as I cross over into the desolate sparse grassland rolling hills of Colorado, which are only slightly less boring because the scenery has changed, I have a little sliver of hope in my possession. I can keep my little hope-secret tucked safe inside the pocket of my coat or backpack or snug under the clip of my garage door opener above the window visor. And there it will stay.

At random moments on my trip I can think about it and dream what it would be like to win. What would I do with those millions? Oh how my life would change and what power I would have to change the lives of others for the better. My kids would not have to worry about how they would pay for college and my parents wouldn’t have to worry about how they would be taken care of as they grow old.

And there would be so much more. You know. I could give and give to all the organizations I believe in. Maybe spear head some plan to turn garbage into fuel for the future. Of course it would not truly be endless, and I would still have to choose, but the hope of it is freedom. And that, in turn, makes me happy.

If only to think about it for a brief moment.

Then I get where I’m going and have my fun and eventually have to say goodbye and get in my car to drive hone. Somehow the drive home takes twice as long and is 4 times as boring. Why is that?

Nothing to look forward to. Work and responsibility and the hum-drum of the everyday. On my way I may or may not stop back in Ogallala to have them check my ticket. I’ve probably lost interest and just want to get home.

Sometime later I might find that ticket in a pocket or in between the pages of a book I haven’t looked at in months or in a folder holding other flat memorabilia from the trip. It will remind me of the good time I had. It will remind me that freedom and hope are priceless, and that money really had nothing to do with those feelings. As long as I have enough for gas to get me there and back and load my bag up with snacks, I’ll be happy.

That lottery ticket is worth every penny. Also I just like to say Ogallala.

Ogallala, Ogallala, Ogallala! Oh haha I love you Ogallala!

I can’t wait to start planning again!

Cheers to Road Trip Daydreaming in the time of Covid,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-15 Rediscovering the Bloom Inside…

Yesterday I felt something I’ve not felt in a while, a little feeling that I had not even realized was missing. It’s something akin to freedom. Some notion not based in logic or reason, but emanating from my insides and manifesting in my socked feet sliding across the kitchen floor.

I asked Alexa to play Sweet 98 5, which is our local pop radio station. Out pours Britney Spears singing “ooops I did it again” and Hozier belting out “take me to church”. I danced alone in my kitchen to my good friend Tay-Tay singing “if I was a man”. I nodded in agreement and said “so true!” with no one there to hear it.

And then Green Day came on singing “I think we’re alone now”. And my jaw just dropped. So much awesome! Not only was I immediately transported back in time to when the Tiffany version was popular, but Green Day!! Wow! Oh radio, how I’ve missed you so. Oh dancing alone in the kitchen where have you been?

When they talk about the pursuit of happiness why don’t they mention this? Is it implied? Is it written in the bylaws between the lines? How can one forget that this exists for so long?

I carried that feeling with me into the afternoon and evening and when Jim came home from work I was still being silly and cracking jokes. He asked me if I’d had an edible or an adult beverage. “Nope”, I said. Just feeling great.

You know. I love music and spontaneous dancing but somehow when I moved into this house I’ve been shy about of it. Could it be the cameras that are always on? Perhaps that’s a factor.

But the bigger factor is probably stress and pressure from responsibility. I thought about this yesterday. It’s all moved so fast and I don’t like things that go to fast. My preferred pace is slowish. Each season for the past 2 years has brought big changes and the need to adjust…

March of 2018 Jim and I met.
August 26, 2018 we got engaged.
October I start working full time again.
January 25, the kids and I moved into his house.
By the end of May I ended my work contract and took up “household management” full time.
July I pick back up with school again With 19 credit hours.
December we are deep in wedding planning.
February 2, 2030 we get married and shortly thereafter have what we did not know would be the last vacation we would get for a while.
March Corona becomes a household name and my work ramps up again. They cancel school for the rest of the year and we have to adjust daily to new rules and horrific news coming in the speakers from the outside.
April we’re on serious lockdown and the shape of the world has been altered. My thesis is due and while everything comes to a screeching halt on the outside, there’s so much going on inside I can’t sleep right at night. No end in sight yet.

This is the life of the new modern man. I just need to remind myself of the beauty in the world and the joy in small moments. Like dancing in the kitchen and poetry and elevating those for the sake of my sanity and happiness.

Yesterday I got it right, finally. But the question is, can I pull off a repeat performance? As always, time will tell.

That’s it for today folks. Lots to do and I’m in the mood to kick ass.

With Love from my corner of the Universe to yours,
~Miss SugarCookie