2021-09-12 Twenty Years

I didn’t write anything yesterday. I didn’t spend too much time thinking about nine eleven either except little discussions and rememberances that popped up in the course of conversations with Jim. Where he was. Where I was. How he had a one year old son and I had my first child on the way.

He told me a story about where president george bush was at the time and how the news was broken to him. Then shared the still motion photo he found on the internet—the one that was captured of the president as one of his aids was speaking to him at a visit to an elementary school.

I still can’t get my head around it completely. It really happened and human beings really do conspire to do horrible things to each other.

We visited ground zero on our trip to New York in 2019 but that did not come up in conversation yesterday. Still.. all those artifacts we saw are burned in my mind and I can’t help but become emotional if I think about it too long. Seeing all that made it a whole lot more real. Like sometimes you know something is real but your mind kind of denies it anyhow. I think that’s how it is for me. 

Twenty years. 

Where are we now? What’s become of the situation and people involved? How are people coping and healing? 

The truth is, that not a lot has changed and there probably is no real coping and healing for those most affected. They just have to keep living life like the rest of us and they either do it, or they don’t. 

Don’t get me started on the Taliban or Afghanistan. What a mess! 

One thing I find necessary yet frustrating is that the day, “9-11,” has developed into a day made for rememberance. The memorials and events designed to do what? Not forget? Yet it comes and goes and then that’s it for another year. It feels too fleeting. Tweet your tweet. Write your blog post. Google the news. Maybe share a memory. Then the sun goes down and comes up again and we all go back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Again.. what else is there? What more should I expect? What more can I do? The answer is not a lot. And the other answer is that I just have to keep doing the best with what I’ve been given. Because if there’s anything that 9-11 reminds me of, it’s that time is a gift and we should not waste it. 

Peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-08-11 Happy Birthday Erika 🎂

Days like today I think about all the memories I’ve made with friends who are not in my life anymore. A baseball game I went to for a new friend’s birthday when I was 12 where we laughed so hard (at what I don’t recall) we cried. Years of pre-Christmas baking sessions and ornament exchanges. And many celebratory birthdays, engagements, weddings, and baby showers. Where does all that time go? 

Then the moment passes and I’m back to thinking about today. My mom’s last (hopefully) of 6 chemotherapy treatments before her next big surgery. Taking my son to a new doctor for what will likely be a lifetime of visits to check his free T-4. And returning home to not one, but two broken air conditioners, a house that’s hot as Hell, and endless laundry and dishes. Good gravy! 

I’ve been pretty uninspired lately and there have been a lot of rejections coming my way. This time next week my daughter will be back in the dorms in Lincoln and my son will also be back in school. You know when you hang your hat on the stay at home mom thing and the kids are either gone or totally don’t need you anymore, there is a hole that’s left and needs to be filled with something else. 

My problem lately is that the typical set list of activities I would gravitate towards to fill that hole feels very “meh” to me right now. I don’t feel like writing (even this blog) or reading or gardening and my mood has been downright rotten. What’s a girl to do? 

So strange to, just a few short months ago, feel great about the future and be high on life and now this? I just don’t understand it. 

Yesterday was a challenge and I ended up in tears over a few words with Jim. Not seeing eye to eye on something is not like us. I am looking forward to our next vacation together but is that what life is going to be like now? Me twiddling away and feeling very not needed and unimportant? Why can’t I just do the things I usually love and be happy? 

How many episodes of Masterchef do I have to watch before I get sick of wasting my time on it? 

All the time that’s gone and all the time I’m not sure what to do with. That’s life. 

With peace end love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-06-05 Cliches About Time are Cliche Because of Their Truth

The push and pull of all these days blurs into a gravity that begs to be let go of. Time is relative. Emotions are relative. Thoughts are relative. The next thing can only be measured against the last and the moment in time that lingers longer than it should, repeating itself in the mind, becomes greater as time passes. It’s natural.

Funny how the more you want to let it go, the harder it holds on and the harder you want to hold onto it, the faster it slips away. Why? I often think that I’m not ready to work on answers to the questions yet, because I’m still working on the questions. Maybe in my last minutes wandering this waking world I’ll come to understand the questions. Maybe then, and only then, I will feel ready for the answers. 

Since the funeral on Thursday, I’ve been replaying the same moment in my head over and over again. Each time I think maybe I can get through it without that emotional swell that brings me to tears. 

My mom and I arrived 20 minutes early for the funeral and there was no one in the receiving line before entering the main part of the chapel. Even before I saw the line, I could feel my emotions rising through my body, in my stomach, and up into my throat. By the time I was standing in front of my ex, i was already full and bursting from the eyes. I attempted to maintain my composure as I gave him a light hug and offered my condolences. 

Next was his mom, who I had been most worried about and felt very sad for. She hugged me tightly and whispered in my ear, she loves me, she’s glad I came, thanks for sending flowers, and that I’ve done a good job raising the kids. 

See, I can’t think of it now without tearing up again. 

I was worried and anxious and had nothing to worry about. I wish I had been more prepared. So many unsaid things are in my head and it’s too late for me to say them. So now they are stuck inside of me. And now I realize it’s too late, their “stuck-ness” hurts. 

I proceeded down the receiving line. Kristy, Wendy, Scott, and Larry. Family that used to be my family. Family that would be my family had I stayed married. Family that I was separated from suddenly and unnaturally. It was the toughest part of my divorce and standing there I was reduced to my younger self, broken and exposed and not knowing what to say. 

I hugged each person in turn, followed by my mom making easy casual conversation with folks the way she does. Why couldn’t I have inherited her easy social nature? 

We proceeded into the church and selected a spot near the back of the room. The service was nice. The personal portion was touching and the religious portion allowed me to splay my thoughts in different directions. 

My children were there, sitting with their cousins and though I said hello to them, it felt like I was approaching strangers, not really a part of that circle. They are all so grown up. The oldest cousin having children of his own now. That’s life. 

We didn’t stay for the reception after. My mom was in a hurry to get going. I almost regretted bringing her as I may have stayed longer if it wasn’t for her. It was probably for the best. I don’t really belong anyway and it would have been awkward. 

That was 2 days ago and that 120 second clip of navigating the interactions in that line will not stop replaying in my mind. Two mornings now I’ve woke up thinking about it. The words whispered, the embraces, the flood of emotions. It leaves me wondering what I will need to do to release myself from repeating that memory. That’s the question. 

I’ve told three people, and each time I began to get weepy and still that did not help. I’m hoping writing this will help. I guess we’ll see. Time will tell. 

Time heals and time wounds. Time is forgiving and cruel. Time keeps its secrets until it’s too late, revealing the questions when the answers no longer matter. 

My former father-in-law is gone and I can no longer tell him how I feel about him and how much he means to me, my memories locked inside because I’m not able to sit around the table with the family and reminisce. 

I can’t reach back in time and change anything. I can’t rewind and ask my grandfather about his life. I can’t stay in touch with Stacey and convince her life is worth sticking around for or change the way I treated KS. Life goes on and as cliche as it is, it waits for no one. 

That’s a good a place as any to stop. There’s more I could say about family and attempting to spend more quality time lately, but it’s Saturday and going to be hot out and I need to water my plants. 

Another cliche but so true—there’s no time like the present.

With peace and love, 

~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

2021-02-12 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