2021-03-21 Questions of Life and Death

I guess it’s been a few days. I guess that’s what happens when life gets busy. I feel like I complain a lot about not ever having enough time but then something happens and I have even less time. I guess that’s the nature of life. Experiences that are constantly teaching you that you don’t really know Jack about life.

As of today my mom has been in the hospital for 10 days and she’s probably got 3 or 4 to go. I’m the designated visitor (at the Med Center you can only have one) and I’ve been to see her everyday. It’s fine, but I’m kinda tired of my new routine and am really looking forward to her discharge. 

She is making good progress improving but still needs so much help from the staff I can see that after discharge is when the real work will begin for those of us who will be her home care team. At least once she gets home she can have as many visitors as she wants. And I’m sure I’ll be able to get a break when my youngest sister comes home to help. 

My brother has made no mention of trying to come home for anything. I might be harboring some resentment towards him for that. But whatever. 

In embracing my new routine I’ve had no problem letting go of a few of the household tasks I typically have high standards for. I’m letting the kitchen go a little and litter boxes don’t need scooping daily. The cats will live. And if the other humans don’t like it, they can do something about it their damn selves. 

It’s Sunday and I spent some time checking my stats though I suppose that’s another thing I have let go thinking about most of the week. I didn’t write anything in my planner and there have been no to-do lists so the only stats I can collect are those from my FitBit and phone. 

My exercise is solid and sleep has been average thanks to the Trazidone. My new screen time goals feel unachievable and it’s not the social media interaction that’s the problem.. it’s text messaging. And that’s kind of unavoidable. However, I might do a full court press on that after my mom gets discharged. 

She “sat me down” yesterday to tell me that she’s decided to fight the cancer and wants to see her life extend beyond this next year. This might seem like a no-brainer but for her it’s counter to what she’s always thought about decisions like this.

For years she’s said that if she got this old she wouldn’t put herself through any extensive life saving measures. That she would just let go and let whatever it is take her naturally. I know this because she’s told all of us that several times, especially after watching her own mom pass away. 

This issue, though, came on so suddenly and she was in so much pain that she just went along with what the doctors and hospitals were doing and telling her she needed. She said she was caught between a rock and hard place and didn’t really have a choice. Now that her primary pain causing issue is on the mend, she’s facing a different predicament and 6 months of chemo and more surgery.

The way she sees it is that she does have more of a choice now. She can just go home and let the cancer spread and take her or she can fight it. So the conversation yesterday with her decision to fight is a big deal to her. 

I told her years ago I would support any decisions she would make. I still do. I haven’t verbally said that lately because I didn’t want that to influence her in any way. I mean, I can’t imagine saying to her now “if you want to die, I’m ok with that.” It’s got to be her decision alone. 

Instead of verbalizing my support of her decision I’ve just been trying to remind her of all the things she loves about life. And when she started talking about traveling and putting her toes in sand and doing things like walking out in the rain, I’ve been encouraging her. 

I might have even promised to take her to New York City. The Universe only knows if that will ever come to pass, but if it kept her thinking about living instead of dying, that’s ok. 

If I’m being honest, I don’t know if there’s anything that can repair how I feel about our relationship or her. I’ve lived my entire life feeling like my parents did a crappy job at being parents. I’ve held a lot of resentment towards both of them about how alone and invisible I was as a kid. I feel like my moms part in that was because she’s so selfish and made so many selfish choices. Some of which had a direct hand in the trajectory of my adult life.

I suppose that’s what makes her current “demanding” behavior harder to take. She’s particular and begun taking really well to the attention and immediate reactions to her “calls.” Those poor nurses probably can’t wait until she gets discharged either.

Most of what I’m doing I’m definitely doing out of obligation and my desire to “do the right things.” Of course I can’t tell her how I really feel. Not while she’s contemplating living or dying. 

I’m not sure how this will play out or if the extra time I spend with her can heal my old wounds. I really doubt it. I just keep thinking it will all get easier when my sister comes home. We’ll see. 

I’ve been walking about an hour and have to get going with all the Sunday things. 

With peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-14 Designated Daughter

The saying “Hurry up and wait” is often attributed to the military but I think is also quite appropriate for the hospitals and medical care. Nothing like waiting around all day for something to happen or change and being disappointed because nothing happens. And why is it that the waiting and nothing is also somehow exhausting? It makes no sense. 

My mom has a tube up her nose and down her throat and she was sure that when the doc (finally) came in yesterday in the late afternoon she was going to get them to take it out. Of course the opposite happened. He basically told her it was a slow process and would take upwards of 72 more hours to see real progress to help her predicament. 

Her predicament becoming more complicated every damn day. Her predicament being cancerous tumors lining her abdomen, a partial bowel obstruction, and now a large amount of fluid building up around her lower abdomen. 

The doc showed us a comparison of the cat scans last night, and the changes that have developed in just a few short days. Of course the build up of fluid is going to make her obstruction more difficult to resolve. I have to imagine all that pressure is making it worse. 

I’ve had limited exposure to medical complications in my life. I’ve never witnessed some of this. And let me tell you it’s pretty gross to think about a tube sucking the contents of your GI track out through the nose. It’s disgusting and smells horrible, but it’s the most non-invasive way to clear a person out (when the opposite end is not working). 

I think they are going to try to drain some fluid out of her today. It’s strange for me to say I will know more when my husband wakes up. He knows the surgical oncologist that’s in charge of my mom’s care at the Med Center. From Med school I think or maybe early in their respective careers. They talked on the phone last night but it was too close to the time I was just out of it. 

Out of it meaning that my unexplained exhaustion plus having a big meal when I arrived home (with a glass of wine), had lulled me into a sleepy state around 9:30pm. They talked as I was taking my tired brain to bed. If Jim gave me an update after that call, I don’t remember it. Right now I wish I did. I wish I knew what last night’s CT showed and what the plan for today is. 

It’s still pretty early and I’m dreading going back to the hospital. I was awake at 4:30ish and up by 6am. My mom texted before 7 and I’m currently on the treadmill (of course). 

*** 

I think my mom has a high pain threshold but very low tolerance for extended discomfort. When my grandma (her mom) passed away she pretty much said she didn’t want to “go out like that.” Withering away in a hospital bed, losing control of physical capabilities and her marbles. I get it, but what else can you do? 

After the consult yesterday and seeing the CT on the screen, she became convinced that this was it. It was just enough evidence to solidify the fact that treating all of her issues was not only going to continue to be unpleasant (to say the least) but it was also not going to end anytime soon. 

Even if the obstruction is resolved in the next 5 days (with or without surgical intervention), she’ll be facing 6 months of chemo and eventual surgery in her abdomen. After the doctor left the room she pretty much told me she was done. Like “done done” and ready to check out of this life. What the Universe am I supposed to do with that? 

And why me? 

When my grandma passed, my mom made me promise that when the time came, I would help her out. But this is different. She’s otherwise healthy and enjoys life. She has a lot of friends and enjoys her book club and her dog and bird and going on trips. She can still do all that stuff when she gets better but she doesn’t see it that way.

She said she’s satisfied with the life she’s lived and has made peace with herself about all the bad things she’s done in her life. She’s also recently found a new belief in God. This was news to me. She’s been an atheist for as long as I can remember. 

It’s really challenging to talk a person through treatments and expectations when they don’t want any of it. So now I’m not just the designated visitor.. I’m the one responsible for convincing her it’s worth it to go through all this shit so she can feel better and keep living her life. 

I mean, I know what I promised her years ago but that was all hypothetical. What am I supposed to do? 

Again I ask.. why me? 

We’ve never been close. She’s so much closer to her youngest daughter and their mother/daughter experience was much better and more supportive than ours ever was. 

Growing up my mom was always so preoccupied with the other parts of her life and never had time for me. I was a very lonely kid. My parents were divorced and I lived with my mom but my primary role was babysitter. I had two younger sisters—8 and 16 years younger than me. I was an “easy” kid who was quiet and got good grades so easily never the priority. It sounds terrible but I feel like I never had the love and help and support I craved.

I left home at 18.. or rather I was kicked out because my mom chose to side with her husband in an ongoing conflict between him and I.

I moved in with my dad but that didn’t last long as I got married and escaped my situation completely when I was 19.

After I left home, I never looked back. And never had support from either of my parents in anything I went through as an adult. Yes, they showed up to celebrate holidays and birthdays but that’s about it. 

So why is it that I’m now in charge of both of them? 

I clearly have a chip on my shoulder. Good gravy!! 🙄

Jim says I have to be the person because I’m a good person and it’s the right thing to do. So after a lifetime of my parents doing the wrong things I have to suck it up and do the right things??!! 

Whatever. 

It’s now 8am and I’ve got 10K steps and should probably just quit lamenting.

Peace out, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-27 Three Days Rolled into One

Yesterday felt like two or three days long. Waking up just past two and milling about in the middle of the night and eventually meeting with the normal morning routine felt like day 1. Day 2 was going to a yoga class and returning home to house chores and a bunch of stuff for the GLR well into the afternoon. Then an unexpected thing happened that altered the trajectory of the day and threw me immediately into a third full day.

In short we scrambled to get our act together enough to make an impromptu road trip to Kansas City. 3 hours to get where we were going. 1 hour to “take care of business” and 3 hours home. When my head hit the pillow at 11pm last night I was asleep almost immediately. Waking up this morning, it feels like it was all a dream. Strange. 

The “business” was the purchase of a new car for Jim. We’ve had repeated trouble with the vehicle he drives (as in stranded twice in the last couple weeks) and that’s just not something he’s keen on happening again. Though we likely have the problem with the Jeep (2001) fixed now, the “experiment” of buying old cars has lost its appeal. He just wanted something that would be reliable. 

Shortly after I moved in with him I gifted my daughter who was 17 at the time my car. It’s a 2012 Prius-C. I also had a “fun” car which was an impulse buy sometime after my divorce. That was a 2004 RX8 which was fun, when it ran. But it was non-operational more than it was operational and taking up a garage space so we sold it. That left me with no car of my own except for the one Jim was leasing when I met him. A Mercedes. It was a great car but I’m just not a Mercedes kind of girl so when the lease was up, I elected to get a Hyundai Kona. It’s a cute little hatchback with all wheel drive when I need it. And I love it.

But Jim was driving old cars. Ones purchased outright with the thought that it would be more economical to just fix them when they break down. In theory this was a good plan, until the breakdowns threw a wrench in this day and that day and pretty quickly he got fed up and started looking for a newer option. He did a lot of research and picked out what he wanted, including options, but there were no cars in the Omaha metro area meeting the specs. So he’s been keeping an eye on surrounding areas, which apparently includes KC. 

Finding that yesterday, he snagged it right up. And they refused to hold it for us overnight to Saturday, hence the impromptu road trip on a Friday afternoon. This of course meant that I had to drive home by myself. You can see how being awake since the early morning that day coupled with no real rest during the day would equate to a big problem driving solo for three hours in the dark at 8pm. It was tough.

We had to stop several times just so I could snap out of my sleepy haze. I could tell Jim felt really terrible, but was also pumping with excitement about his new car. It was cute and annoying at the same time… all the text messages (hands free with apple car play) kept me going but also became irritating because I just wanted to be left alone. When I say that little trip felt like a whole day, I’m not kidding.

He actually felt so bad about it he elected to sleep in a different room last night so that his heavy breathing/snoring would not keep me awake. As a consequence, I slept for about 7.5 hours which was glorious.

I didn’t get out of bed until 8am and that too was amazing. Now I’m walking and working on recovery. Recovery from living those three days as well as the week of hell I put my body through with exercise classes. I’m taking this day as a rest day and going to let my aching muscles heal a little bit. No weights and no heavy cardio. Just walking. 

Having my afternoon and evening hijacked yesterday meant I didn’t get to some of my Friday chores. I didn’t finish washing and drying laundry or the cat grooming or scooping litter boxes. So these are on the agenda today instead. Other than that, I’m gonna take it easy.

I’m thinking about my attempt this week to roll back the calendar to 2006 and formulating thoughts about that little experiment but I think I’ve written enough about cars and stuff so that’s gonna have to wait. 

With that, I’m gonna quit early and get to all that relaxing I’ve promised myself. 

Happy Caturday, 🐱

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-21 Sunday Status Funny Money 🐹

It’s Sunday and I’m checking my stats. How did I do meeting my goals? 

For sleep I achieved my goal 6 of 7 nights. 

Healthy eating.. 4 of 7. 

Mood.. 4 of 7.

Meditation.. 2 of 7. 

Exercise.. 6 of 7. 

Most of this looks good but feels a bit like funny money. Like you know how you get paid every two weeks for doing a job and the money is electronically deposited in your bank account and then some other company comes along and takes that coin back out for things like rent, electricity, insurance. It’s like a magic trick. One minute the numbers are there and the next.. Poof.. gone.. It happens automagically. You never actually see the cash, hold it, count it. That’s funny money.

Kinda makes a person feel like a hamster in a wheel. You know, in that metaphor what gives the hamster quality of life? Stopping to eat. Stopping to wee (or woo). And getting pulled out of the cage by the giant 6 year old who lets her run around the bedroom floor for a while. Perhaps getting a lettuce or carrot on these tiny adventures and of course weeing and wooing on the purple rug is the BEST! 

What does this metaphor teach us about life? That we need to maximize our time off the wheel. Cuz pretty soon now, that tiny little pumping heart can’t take anymore and the hamster dies. Poof!.. Just like that. 

I check my stats regularly. I set goals for my self. I’m constantly evaluating myself and my health. I gave up my old hamster wheel last year but I’m still on this one.

My New Years résolution this year was to do less instead of more. To be kind to myself and more forgiving. To meet that end, I backed off on my daily goals. But here we are nearing the end of February and I’m questioning the validity of all this. Like money in the bank, it all becomes numbers and checkmarks on a page. I add them up but they don’t amount to much.

So I backed off on my sleep goal and the result this week is a 6 of 7 instead of 4 of 7. So what? I still feel the same. I still have the same energy issues each day. I don’t get more restful sleep just because I back off on my goal. It just makes me feel better about how I’m doing. But it’s a magic trick. An illusion. 

It’s the same with the other stats. I have my daily step goal, which I reduced from 12k to 10k as a part of my resolution. So today’s calculated 6 of 7 would have been 4 of 7 instead. So what. It doesn’t change anything. And the other measurements are just as suspect. 

I took away “productivity” and replaced it with “mood” and I added one for meditation. Mood is subjective as there are no numbers and this feels more legit. Of all the stats I’m tracking, it feels the most genuine and important. I think that’s because that’s the real goal. To FEEL better. To FEEL healthier. To FEEL like I’m getting the most out of every day. 

Tangentially related is the brain child idea I had this week about inviting 2006 to 2021 and living life for a week the same way I was back then.

No smart phone. No social media. No googling everything or relying on the internet so much. It crossed my mind that 2006 was pre-FitBit too and before I tracked my stats so vigorously. 

It also predates any regular daily writing so my mind is really foggy with how life really was. It might be an interesting exercise to try and mentally recreate a day in the life of Miss SugarCookie in 2006. The first step of course is removing all those things I just mentioned. 

This means (if I go through with it) that I’ll not be keeping stats for as long as the experiment persists. And won’t be mentally tethered to my phone.

Tangentialy related is also the argument I had with my darling daughter last night because I did not have my phone with me when she texted the specifics of what she wanted to eat. I cooked the wrong thing and she refused to eat it and it was so ridiculous. I got so so so angry that she was acting spoiled and ungrateful and she just didn’t get it. Jim said I just needed to make the other thing and remember that she’s sick (one day post vaccine shot and running a fever and in bed all day). So I did. And she didn’t even thank me. Whatever. 

My point is that the people that will be the most affected by this little experiment of mine are those who “expect” things from me or are used to communicating via text. Nobody on FB will miss me because I’m not really on FB anyway. Same for twitter. And since I don’t have a 9 to 5 anymore, there’s nobody who is going to miss me not getting back to them ASAP there.

So today is my day of preparation. Thinking about what it is really going to look like when I pull the trigger on this test. Rolling back to 2006.

Why 2006?

I had to draw a line somewhere, you know, and thinking about what things add value to my life, like that hamster with their brief breaks from the wheel. Eating adds value and so does sleep. It is not a basic need in the pure sense of the word but music is pretty much essential for my daily existence.

If I’m giving up my phone for a week, then I need some other way to get my tunes. I don’t have a working CD player so my original iPod will have to do. I actually looked up the model number and it’s circa 2006. So that’s why. 

No Bluetooth of course so I’ll have to find a wired set of headphones or earbuds. I know I have some somewhere, just have to find them. That part will be easy compared to making my people understand that if they want something from me, they need to ask me in person. How novel. People living in the same house sitting down face to face. 

I think my treadmill time today is past being up. I’m secretly hoping people stay asleep a while longer so I can get more time to myself. We’ll see. 

Next stop.. 2006 and scrapping the stats!

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-19 The One that Wanted to be About Sex but Couldn’t Make it Past First Base…

I looked into the salty air thinking about my irritation over an email I just read and said to myself “it’s time to get serious.” 

Then I looked at myself in the mirror from the treadmill and said “NO!” I actually pointed at myself as I said, “NO! NOT THIS TIME.” I’m not going to let it get to me. 

No. It’s high time I take things less seriously. I’m not joking around about this. I’m…. wait for it…. 

Dead serious! 😜

Life keeps trying to drag me down with greedy little tentacles. Green tendrils with those innocent looking suckers that you pay no mind to until they adhere to the thin layers of your epidermis, and you realize they’ve no intention of letting go. 

No. Not this time! 

I’m digging through my pockets to pull out all my weapons. The claws are coming out now, and with them the sword I’ve been sharpening for a while now. This day and it’s down smash is no match to that of my Princess Peach. 

Where’s my crown? Somebody hand me my crown! 

I’ll not be a victim of your bullshit patriarchy or any preconceived notions about the definition of the word success. Your archaic constructions can’t touch me today. 

I’ve got my kickass gear shifter playlist fueling my adrenaline and my hair looks amazing today. I’ve got knives up all 8 of my sleeves and under the skirt of my ball gown too. I’ve been practicing my moves and if you try to touch my mood I will cut you! 

Ok. Now that that’s settled. Let’s get down to business. One of two ways for this to go from here. It’s either “Freak Flag Friday” or “First Draft a Friday.” 

Really torn about this and gonna make a quick trip to Paris to see if that tips the scales…. BRB

***

In Paris today I found “The Sisters of Sexual Treasure” by Sharon Olds. So that’s how it’s gonna be?! I’m not so inspired by this somewhat erotic poem that’s got a bit of a Freudian flip. I mean.. I could easily springboard off this 21 line expertly crafted piece of writing and compose my own revealing paragraph about how my experience leaving my mothers house at 18 (sans sisters) was the polar opposite of hers, but I don’t feel inclined to. 

I’m not keen writing about how I never learned anything about sex from my mother except what her orgasms sound like through the wall of the tiny house we lived in when I was a senior in high school. 

To this day I wonder if she was faking it. To this day I’m quite disturbed to have this memory and have oft blamed it for the sexual dysfunction I’ve suffered for so many years of my life. 

Now I’m a parent with a teenage son and daughter. I wonder if it’s fair to blame anything squarely and/or solely   on a parent. Still, in this case I think it is. 

I dare say I could write more about all of this but I don’t want to. Why Ms. Olds was compelled to write, let alone send her poem to the Paris Review to be published escapes me. I have to reason that she was comfortable in her own skin and that no topic was off limits. Not that sex is or should be off limits. On the contrary, it should definitely have a place in poetic discourse as it is a fundamental part of our common human existence. Just maybe not a part of my induvidual public canon. 

Perhaps I’m still somewhat bent and broken when it comes to sex. Mind you, bent and broken is different from being confused. I’ve experienced enough that all of my curiosities have been satisfied. I know myself. I am who I am, as always, a complicated compilation of all of my explorations and experiments.  

Anyhow… today… I have neither the time nor the inclination to continue this trail of thought. 

***

8 hours ago I was very fired up and ready to throw all my knives at the day. I might have even gotten a little farther on the topic of sex, if I had not been rudely interrupted by obligations and responsibilities. Chief among these were taking lunch to my dad and waiting 2 hours in line (outside in 20 degree temps) with my daughter so she could get her second dose of the vaccine. All of that put a damper on any freak-flag flying or first draft drafting. 

It’s been a good cage match but I’m tapping out. Gonna save my strength for tomorrow’s down smash. 

There’s always tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-18 A Serious Need to Not Take Anything Too Seriously

Having another one of those days. You know.. where I just want to tell the world to efffff off. Not you darlings though. Nope. 

This mood has been a fairly regular thing these weeks, I’m finding. I was soooooo tired this morning and tired of being tired. Caffeine helps but then I feel bad about being addicted to caffeine. Then I tell myself there are much worse things to be addicted to and that I’m being to hard on myself and then I pop another pill. 🤷‍♀️

Often I go round and round about this, and the result is always the same so why do I keep doing this to myself when there are bigger fish to fry? 

All of everything that I am concerned with is small. I have to remind myself that it’s tiny, tiny potato’s. Not enough to make one single helping of mashed taters…. AND that I have to not take anything too seriously. If I can just go about my day, with this in mind, it would be better. 

So much has changed in my life yet it’s bizarre, like super strange, how much never changes. A few days ago I remembered a blog I started on Tumblr in like 2010. A little bit of writing I had missed as I was organizing and backing up all my files for a rainy-fucking day that will never come. 

I logged in and pulled all those posts to my laptop, next stop is the external hard drive. I digress. 

Last night I began to reread these posts for something to do before bed. Super unproductive but whatevs. Mind you all that was written 10 years ago, so finding some of the same “issues” I’m still dealing with is … well….. comical. I mean, how else can I look at it? 

Yeah, I’m still struggling with body image issues and obsessive about my weight. Yeah, I’m still trying to eat healthy and failing. I still hate social media. I still worry I’m a bad parent. I still get irritated by my ex and lament about wasting time. I still have trouble sleeping because I can’t shut my brain off. I am still too concerned about what other people think. And I’m still listening to the same music.!! 🤣

Right now? 

  • Listening to ‘Beercan’ by BECK. 
  • Messaging with darling daughter about how she can get her second vaccine shot because she missed her appointment last Saturday. 
  • Drinking strawberry ginseng fizz in water for more caffeine. 
  • Tried to donate blood today and failed cuz my iron was too low. 
  • Thinking about refusing to do any social media shit for GLR. Just flat out saying “I don’t care, someone else can do it.” 
  • Rescheduled 2 meetups this week cuz I didn’t wanna, including my dad today. Selfish, but I don’t care. 
  • Bought discount cut flowers at the grocery like a hypocritical BOSS.
  • Procrastinating calling a tow truck. 
  • Procrastinating cleaning toilets. 
  • Procrastinating <insert everything here>.
  • Put periods at the end of all my bullet points cuz that’s the way I am. Not sorry. 

I already had a website/blog when I created that Tumblr 10 years ago. The purpose was so that I could let loose all the random thoughts I had that were not exactly “blog” worthy. Or rather, all the shit I was thinking that I really didn’t want on my primary and publicly promoted site. Anything a little angry, or seedy, or jealous, or needy. 

It’s actually some funny stuff. Reading it I forget how much I enjoy my own sense of humor. And again, a good reminder not to take anything too seriously. 

The last post there was late 2016, when I hit rock bottom. Or like right before I hit rock bottom. Like a hot 10 seconds before I drank myself down a drain and hit my head on the concrete at the bottom of the sewer. 

Not sure how long I was out, but the day I woke up wet and covered in shit was the same day I decided to start this blog.

I haven’t needed that alternate blog because I have this! And I have you!! My oh my. What a day of epiphanies!!! Seriously!!!! 🤣

Why taking caffeine and saying “I don’t care” out loud makes me feel better, I don’t know. But I love it.  

Yours truly,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-12 Left Brain Digital Hoarder

Being “stranded” at home yesterday was good. I felt like I was really productive and balanced my time well between chores, GLR work, and the other selfish activity I had on my to-do list which was archiving content from my laptop on my external hard drive and reorganizing the drive. 

I started with my music library a few days ago and it reminded me that there was “unfinished” business to attend to. Some things that are “out of sight” also become “our of mind.” That was the case here. 

I’m ultra sensitive about losing data and haven’t yet embraced the cloud. I keep my little external drive in a locked fire safe. It has copies of all my writing, digital pictures, video, music, and documents from my entire life. To be fair, I didn’t start storing writing in digital form until the late 1990s and did not have a digital camera until 2002 so someone digging into the content would think  that’s when my life began. 😜

Keeping it in a fire safe is next level. I sometimes think about what to do with the dozens of paper notebook and boxes upon boxes of print pictures. If there was a fire (or flood) it would probably all be lost. Even if I get on board with utilizing a cloud for storage, it doesn’t fix that concern. Nope. The only solution would be to digitize all of that and much like bronchitis, “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

I spent about 3 hours, off and on and while also multitasking with my laptop, organizing. I love organizing. It was so satisfying to select a new organizational structure and force all the folders and files to conform. I removed a ton of duplication that was caused by changing my mind about naming conventions and also using a different approach to saving files previously. 

I’m not gonna lie, it was also great to lump all my old work stuff in folders that said “archive” and remove completely from my laptop. I’m kind of a data hoarder and have a ton of stuff related to my three previous jobs. I don’t delete “just in case.” I suppose all I really need to keep is my resume. If my external ever fills up, all that old work shit will be the first to go. 

Today that little device is back in the fire safe and I’m letting any further work on it go for now. 

Late last year, right around December 14, I had an incident with Evernote, which I’d been using for almost 10 years for documentation: poems, journals, first drafts of papers and letters, parenting notes, work notes, etc. Evernote was my go-to for anything and everything I needed to take a note on and have immediate access to from any device. 

The incident was lost content and for an Elephant that never forgets, that’s the ultimate no-no. It was not the first time. It was pretty much “three strikes and you’re out!” That day I switched to google docs, which nudges me ever closer to a full cloud solution to my archiving needs. And the G-drive is essentially free for the space I need right now. 

I still like to have my own copies of everything and yesterday was my first taste of how painful it will be to do that. I’ve got close to 2 months of journal entries for this blog and it took about 2 hours to extract a zip file of those individual files. In Evernote this takes like a hot second to extract all notes of a notebook to a folder full of html files. Literally hundreds of notes extracted and in an archive friendly format in a snap. That’s great. But not great enough to make me switch back. The SugarCookie Evernote Era is over and I’m not looking back. 

The question becomes.. what to do with all the files in the cloud. Do I just let it go. It’s all safe right? This is the same part of me that’s still stuck on having “copies” of all the music tracks I own. Good gravy, I’m stuck in 1998. Thank goodness I’m not actually stuck in 1998, what a boring year. 😜

In 1997 I was 26 years old and clueless about life. It was one of those years I think back on and wonder what I did with all my time. Married. No kids. Working for the man every day. And not writing anything. I guess things were good cuz if they were rotten I’d remember that right?! 

Two days in a row I start reminiscing about the past. What is up with that? Tough to reminisce though when you have no memory of events. And, like I said, that was before digital pics and electronic journaling so no record I have to remind me either (unless I want to break out those old notebooks and boxes of pictures). Such is life. 

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll go for the trifecta of writing about the past? Now taking requests for elaborations on particular years or events. 😊 It might be nice to not lean on my brain for a topic for a change. 

That’s it for today. 

Stay Frosty (but not too frosty), 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-11 A Quick Trip on the Memory Train

I’m walking. I’m walking. I’ve got nothing today. A full set list of stuff to get done today while I’m stranded at home. Jeep won’t start again and is parked at Jim’s office. He took my car to work today. 

It’s ok because it’s the first day of my period (cuz I know you wanted to know that 😜) and typically the heaviest day and the cramping-est day and probably would veto running errands around town anyhow. Been there done that anyway so…. meh. 

It just means I have all day to get stuff done around the house. Does that mean I will? Prolly not. 🤷‍♀️

I told you I had nothing to say today. Why you still reading? 

Guess it’s time to check my email and see what’s going on in Paris this morning…

It just happens to be a ride on a train. Fascinating. 

***

What I can say is that from down here, among the abandoned strappy black heels and patent leather pumps, I’ll never know for certain who triumphed over whom, which depends strictly on the definition of the word triumph. 

At times, for her own amusement, the Universe leads our memories astray but the outcome remains the same. Regardless of city streets riddled with contradictions, the street sign replaced a hundred times still runs parallel to the horizon, where the sun continues to rise in snowflake fashion every single day. 

I might have been sitting across from an Afgani woman on the Eurostar that one time too. Based on the year it might have been the same woman. But the advice I had been given was to not make eye contact so I’ll never know for certain. 

I just stared down at my shoes, thinking about how my stupid American wardrobe made me stick out like a sore thumb and and a target for all those shifty pick-pockets loitering near the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre and Notre Damme. I couldn’t have heard your conversation over the voices arguing about pairing a red trench coat with black leggings anyhow. I’d made so many mistakes.

Just then they rolled a cart of sweet treats by our train cabin and I was further distracted by chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, which hadn’t been invented yet. That was the moment the thread of the story fell to the ground and I went down on my hands and knees to hunt for it. 

***

I would say this would make more sense if a person read the triggering poem:

A Celebration

by Iman Mersal

Paris Review Issue no. 197 (Summer 2011)

But I doubt it.. as it doesn’t even help me decipher the message. And I’m the one who wrote it. Near as I can tell is that it’s an alternate take on the same subject as is in my poem, Left Brain Poet, with the references to memory and the flaws of our fragile human brains.

The actual details of my ride on the Eurostar are sadly long gone. The only solid memory is how incredibly different the French countryside appeared as we emerged from the Chunnel. Like I’d traveled through a portal of space AND time and ended up on a different planet. It was bright and beautiful and green which was so different than the dark, dreary greys and blues of London. 

I suppose the bit about the clothing is accurate too, though not a memory from the train. It actually pestered me enough for several days early on that trip that I spent half a day shopping on Oxford street. By the time my day-trip to Paris arrived, my “American-ness” was thoroughly camouflaged (as long as I didn’t open my mouth). 

Still hard to believe I went to England, Ireland, and Paris for two weeks all by myself in 2010. It was shortly after my divorce was final and I think I wanted to prove to everyone that I was finally free and could do whatever the fuck I wanted. That included visiting Stonehenge AND getting robbed in Dublin. Dublin.. don’t get me started on how much I hated Dublin. I mean, by then I was over traveling alone and let’s be real, once you see Paris and London, Dublin is a Dump.

I said don’t get me started didn’t I? Why are you still reading??!! 

In any case, my grand memories of that trip become even more grand as time passes and the truth of it all may be becoming mired by so many retellings. 

Maybe that’s the point and has nothing at all to do with what this morning’s poem from the Paris Review was all about. 🤷‍♀️ Such is the Way. In any case, I’m grateful for the opportunity to have lived those moments and to reminisce about them now. Thanks for reading.

With Much Love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-18 Happy Blog-A-Versary!! 💃💃🎉

2017-01-15 –> Now. Four years (+ a few days).. Yo!.. That’s a good freaking run!! 

(Spoiler Alert, this recap could get long. If stats are your thing and you want to skip the drunk trainwreck intro, scroll to the end, but don’t forget to click “like” before you leave. 😉)

In January 2017 I decided to start posting my personal journey online. I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t put a ton of thought into aesthetics, format, or the best way to approach doing what I wanted to do. Honestly, I didn’t even know what I wanted, or expected outside of wanted to find a way to live a happier, healthier life. 

If a person had asked me then what I thought would become of Miss SugarCookie in 4 years, I would not have had an answer. I wouldn’t have a clue. And there’s no possible way I could predict most of what has come to pass. 

Most of the time when I write, I’m writing in the moment. I’m writing for today. I’m writing for an audience of one. I’m trying to sort through what I’m thinking about and how I feel. I try to steer clear of hashing through old news that doesn’t concern me anymore. Most of the time, I try to do that. But sometimes, like now, it’s good to reflect. And it’s really good to see how far I’ve come. 

In January 2017 I was still very fresh off the end of my “big love” relationship. I was broken and closed and unhealthy, both mentally and physically. I was killing myself for a job that was never going to give me what I needed from life besides a paycheck. I was lost and confused and, after returning from my sister’s destination wedding in Mexico, I knew something had to change. 

I spent every other night in Mexico drinking until I couldn’t walk straight. I spent mornings after with blinds drawn, unable to eat any of the “all-inclusive” food that was available 24-7. One night I ended up stumbling drunk, laying on the grass next to the cart path that led to my single-occupancy room, sobbing. I begged the Universe for someone, anyone, to find me and want to help. I just wanted another human being, even if it was a complete stranger to care about my well being. 

I felt so alone. 

Other nights on that trip I wrote and tried to be social with the other 50 people who made the trip for my sister. I’m fairly certain there wasn’t another single person among them, besides my first cousin who I’ve never been close to and who (apparently) didn’t have trouble finding companionship on that trip. I wasn’t interested in a hookup though. I just wanted someone to talk to. 

I drunk texted people on FB messenger or iMessage from my room where there was WiFi. I don’t remember who, probably Josh and HL. I probably made confessions. I probably fell asleep mid-text. I had to write a maid-of-honor speech and sobered up to do that. 

I did a lot of wandering around the resort. I did an incredible amount of thinking. It’s probably then when the idea for posting my thoughts online came to me. I really don’t remember but it seems highly likely. 

Back in Nebraska a few short weeks later I was re-booting Miss SugarCookie who made her original debut in 2014 on Tumblr. But I’d become a solid WordPress fan and recognized the appeal of a versatile platform that was, at the time, the front runner for personal blogs (IMHO). 

I still remember one of my first posts, “The Riddle of the Middle” where I thought through the problem of starting something new, like I was, in the middle of the story. So much history, where does one begin to make it all make sense? The answer is.. to just begin. 

Eventually all the backstory would be  revealed organically. I know that now, but didn’t then. So many things I know now that I didn’t know then. 

And, as I said, could never have predicted what would change in the 4 years to follow. 

I learned along the way my “big love” had started seeing someone new a hot minute after our 3rd and final breakup. That helped me put a nail in the coffin of my hope for a reconciliation. 

I entertained a friends with benefits relationship with a good friend. It was both helpful and hurtful I’m a way. 

I quit my fucking job of course, by the following summer and elected to use my savings to take a six month sabbatical. One of the best decisions of my life! 

In those 6 months I began eating healthier and working out more. I traveled with and without my kids and had some amazing adventures. It was during our trip to the Pacific Northwest that I decided to get more education for my passion, writing poetry. 

By then, I was already well on my way to writing from a treadmill or elliptical machine each day. Wait… did I really write from an elliptical machine? I could not possibly have done that as I’m not that coordinated. I must be remembering that wrong. 

In any case, I do remember clear as the clearest day being in an exercise room at the holiday inn express by the Portland airport when I decided to apply for an MFA program. 

The beauty of this is.. I don’t have to remember because it’s verifiably in the archives of this blog. That’s some bonafide bonus-plan shit! 

I also started dating again during that sabbatical. Hello Bumble! There was a string of posts about my dating experiences (the good, the bad, and the seriously ugly) and navigating new territory. I’m probably going to struggle here. 

-Blog Intermission- I was going to go into a ramble calling out every made up name for every noteworthy person I went out with. Then I checked it and decided not to wreck it. So NOT going to go off on that major tangent. -End Blog Intermission-

Fast forward 5 or 6 or 8 months to March 2018. That’s when I said “Buh-bye” to Bumble. And good riddance. Dating sucks unless you’re dating someone you know you have a future with (at least that’s how I feel about it). 

Of course I’m talking about dating Jim and falling in love with Jim and being proposed to on my birthday in August of 2018. If you’re dating THAT person, dating is amazing! 

We went on dates, road trips, full-fledged vacations, and planned to “merge” our two households in early 2019. Of all the things.. this turn of events in my life was the least expected. And it happened so, so fast (based on the pace of my last long term). 

In 2018 I came off my sabbatical and took a job with a company learning a bunch of new stuff, which was great but fairly unpredictable as far as number of hours per week goes and, like most places, they would take all they could get. 

In 2019 the kids and I moved in with Jim and his boys and life just would not slow down for anything. I had work, the kids, Jim, the house, and school to take care of. Not to mention all my other relationships with family and friends. I was overcommitted for sure and by summer I was throwing my hands up and requesting to leave the work project I was on. 

I think my employer knew I was right on with my assessments about the project and let me bow out gracefully to bring a more skilled SQL person to work on the ETL. That fall was fantastic as I had time to work on my writing, MFA, and take care of my home and family (and also plan a wedding). 

By the time 2020 arrived, the wedding became the top priority and it’s the kind of thing that takes over your life for a while. Thank goodness we married as early in the year as we did (02/02/2020) because chaos in the world was about to take over. And so it did. 

I still finished my last semester, had a honeymoon, and began working again. Two of those three were fantastic. Can you guess which one wasn’t? 

By late August I put in my notice at work. This time I was going to be done-done with no option for accepting future contracts. Another great decision. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t nod to 2020 as a train wreck of a year for many other reasons. Still, despite that, I finished my MFA, had a few road trips, managed to get my darling daughter off to an OK start for her freshman year, and oh, by the way, set my sights on starting a new online literary publication. Which I did. Obvi with lots of help from some great peeps. 

Yeah. That’s another thing that I could not have imagined 4 years ago. Little Miss SugarCookie Starting and managing a lit mag. Wild!! 

So today’s the day!! 4 years (and counting). AND.. This post would not be complete if I did not end it in classic Miss SugarCookie style.. with the rest of the stats:

1460 Days
1143 Posts
8336 Visitors
13,513 Views
6296 Likes and
599 Followers

That’s fantastic! This quick look back has been refreshing for me. Quite rejuvenating actually. Were there bumps in the road? Yes, but I feel like I am on the right track now and look forward to the future. Only time will tell what can happen in the next four years. On that note, I’m just going to keep riding this wave as long as I’m able. 

Cheers to Four Years..
Love Ya’ll Bunches and Bunches! 
~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-17 Reminiscing With My Daughter About My Daughter

Day 2 waking up with cringe-worthy cramps. But.. I’m not going to let it keep me down today. I can do better.

I have a little time to collect my thoughts and get my act together. Yesterday I may have “let go” and tried not to let my mood control the day. I may not have been a complete success but it wasn’t too bad either. 

I spent a lot of time with my daughter and though we didn’t find what we were after, we had some great talks and she asked me about topics we’ve never discussed before which gave me the opportunity to tell a few stories. Chief among them was the story about my decision to have her and the journey I went on to make that happen. It’s one of my favorite stories to tell. Then of course she wanted to know about her brother which is a good one too.

After that, and running around town in a mask I was done for. We ended up at Target and I just hit a wall. We still needed to go to office max so she could look for packaging supplies, but went home after that. Much of what we were after are items for her new business. I’m impressed by her focus and determination when she has her mind set on something. And I want to encourage that spirit, so I’m being as supportive as I can. 

What started our conversation was just that. She’s 18, almost 19 and heading into semester #2 of her freshman year at college. I think about this sometimes. How when i was her age, I had just met her dad and also working through a 2 year program at community college. I talked about how farther along she is with knowing herself and what she wants from life. At her age I was clueless. 

Getting engaged, married, and moving to Vegas we’re not on any life plan. I had no life plan. I was just cruising, you know, doing the next thing. I have regrets for all that aimless wandering, but I don’t regret getting married. I was in love and it got me away from my family which is what I desperately needed. Of course that led to having two beautiful babies. Would not change that for the world. 

That’s how the stories began yesterday, with the events that led to her dad and I becoming more serious instead of just hanging out as friends. And then to the circumstances that brought her and her brother into my life.

All that reminiscing might have contributed to my exhaustion. I also haven’t been out much lately and was really shocked to see all the people everywhere. It’s as if there’s no pandemic and thousands of people aren’t dying every day. I think deep down I was kind of sickened by it and also that I was among them. After a few hours I was ready to go back into my hiding place. 

And so we did. 

We watched movies and ate leftovers and I was, you guessed it, in bed by 10. 

It’s Sunday today and I’m ready for the weekend to be over and get back to business. Ready to let go of letting go and start kicking ass again. The best part of Sunday is making my to-do list for the coming week. So much hope, and promise, and so much to accomplish. It’s the push and pull of thinking and not doing that causes me grief. 

Once I actually just start “doing” I feel better. That might be why last week I felt so good. I was making progress on several endeavors and that feels good. Tomorrow I’ll be back on that train and I’m ready. 

I think that’s it today. Cutting short again to get started with my day. 

Ready, Steady, Let’s Go, 

~Miss SugarCookie