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

2021-01-09 True Introvert

I’m pretty sure I mentioned yesterday my mood is volatile. You know yesterday was well rounded and satisfying and things were good but the day before that was kinda rotten and I found myself grumpy and exhausted. It’s not like anything big changed and this switch is pretty typical so I ask myself.. what gives? 

I think these swings might have something to do with demands on my time and my ability to get some quality “me” time. Sound selfish? Yes. But I’ve got my reasons. Mostly I think it’s because of the way that I was built. The part of human design that people talk about as personality traits like introvert and extrovert has everything to do with it.

The other day I was on a drive with my daughter and we were talking about her personality traits. She’s in the midst of evaluating profiles for roommates for her sophomore year at college. This, of course, requires self evaluation to fill out your own profile. She put down that she’s an introvert. I agree she is. But she talked about a conversation she had with her dad where he told her she was an extrovert.

I disagreed. She said he described her as being an extrovert around people she was comfortable with. I’m like, well duh. I countered that comfort level and the phenomenon of being talkative around your best peeps does not equate to being an extrovert. I think everyone can be outgoing when they feel a certain security. 

Being an introvert or extrovert isn’t dependent on how you are with other people, that’s just the easiest way to kind of tell, the behavior provides insight but isn’t really the defining factor. 

As I understand it (and I’m by no means an expert, but have been interested in the topic and have done research) the categorization is more based on where the individual derived their energy. Simply put, the extrovert gets energized by interaction with others and the introvert builds up their energy stores by being alone.

Flip the script and it stands to reason that the introvert would be depleted of energy after long sessions of interaction or not having the right quality time alone to recharge. 

In this way, I feel like my daughter is an introvert. And so am I. I also think Jim might be one of those self-professed introverts that’s actually an extrovert. He seems to thrive on interaction and gets more energized having lots of folks around. My son is definitely an introvert and my kids’ dad is definitely an extrovert. I digress.

The dynamic with my kids and I, when we lived alone, just the three of us was very much a situation where we were happy to be together for family time, to chat, play games, and watch shows, but then we’re glad to retreat to our own separate spaces to recharge. It worked.

It’s a bit different here. More people, always more going on, and less opportunity to retreat and recharge. And let me tell you that the pandemic does not help. It means all the other opportunities for those extroverts to get out into the world and get their fix are minimized and they end up needing more interaction at home. 

I also think the Covid just fucks everything up. Everyone is stressed and sort of depressed and just trying to figure out how to feel ok. I miss meeting people in person too, and that has nothing to do with my personality type. I just miss human interaction and conversation with different people. I think we’re all suffering from being just a little bit extra broken. Or a lot bit. 

Anyway so back to the being an introvert. I think some days this may be my problem. I mean, it’s not a problem but definitely plays into the mood I’m in and the puzzle I’ve now resolved to figure out. I think if I had more dedicated “me” time, it would improve my daytime fatigue and perhaps even improve my energy going into the evening of each day, instead of being “done done” and checked out by 9pm.

Of course it’s one thing to come to a conclusion and want to make a change and actually take steps toward improving, 

I said yesterday I think meditation might be part of the answer. I’ve since had advice from my friend Vis on a few apps to try and a Headspace series on Netflix to check out. I’m excited to get started. I’m hopeful. 

I also think that this is no different than anything else in life, that balance is key. And that change can be slow. I need to figure out where the “me” time fits into the routine and then form a good habit. It won’t work if it’s an afterthought that gets skipped everyday because something else is demanding attention.

This is part of the reason I’m backing off in my other goals. I’m not abandoning exercise, but instead will be devoting less time to it. Same with worrying about it (or healthy eating or productivity in general). I swear I spend more time and energy thinking about these things than actually doing anything about them. So why not let it go mentally and focus on the “here and now?” Good thought right??!! 

So that’s it today. Time to quit writing about it and just do it. 

It’s Saturday and I estimate I have about an hour before people start needing stuff. Gotta take advantage of that while I can. 

Cheers to the weekend! 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-26 Soooo Ready

Having recently run out of episodes of my favorite, albeit old news, comedy series on Hulu, The Mindy Project, I had stopped watching anything altogether. 

It was the one show I watched alone. You know, folding laundry or eating lunch by myself on weekdays. All the other shows we watch, we watch as a couple in the evenings. The Crown, Lost in Space, Mandelorian, Umbrella Academy, and we just started Breaking Bad which is a show that I’m apparently the last person on the planet to watch. 

Anyway so I ran out of episodes on my one show. So I’ve been eating at my desk working on other stuff and folding laundry just standing there with the solo sound of gears turning up in my own head. Until this past week. When I rediscovered the Bachelor. 

Normally part of the appeal of this show is just being a part of the buzz while the show is unfolding on live TV. All those rose ceremony addicts and the girls fueled by drama and tears of some complete strangers’ crazy lives. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m one of those. 

I also love seeing alll the pretty dresses and cute outfits and hot bodies. I mean, they don’t pick ugly people to be on the show. The bomb first dates and glimpses into some primo vacation destinations is not bad either. So I started watching another season despite the fact that I’m pretty sure it’s all old news. 

This elaborate explanation reveals a piece of me, Miss SugarCookie, and my character and habits. But it’s also the setup for what I really want to write about today which is kicking 2020 out the proverbial door. So ready to be done with the nonsense that this year brought to the world. And mine. 

It was supposed to be the BEST year of my life. I was to get married to the man of my dreams, whichI still did, followed by the most badasss honeymoon ever, which we also did. It all went to shit shortly after that with the onset of the pandemic. 

No prom for my daughter, no graduation, no big grad party here at the house. She was robbed of lots of experiences she was supposed to have in that last semester of her senior year. Instead she retreated deeper into the shell of her bedroom. And frankly was seriosly affected by the isolation. Physically and mentally. 

Our “graduation gift,” that was a trip to San Fran to go to a Fall Out Boy concert was cancelled. Well, postponed, so they are holding our money hostage. As is the airline as those tickets were turned into virtual cash to be used on a future flight. No summer trip. 

No trips requiring flight anyway. No Austin, no San Francisco or San Diego. No fall trip to the northeast or anyplace tropical. We did drive to Colorado twice though. Once with my darling daughter, as a mother daughter make-up trip to sub for the Cali trip and to cheer her up. The second was just Jim and I when we really needed a couples only weekend. 

What else? Oh, I was supposed to graduate too. A summer residency at the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City with some of my newest favorite peeps. Sitting out on the back deck and sipping a drink and listening to stories. Followed by wearing cute dresses to present my lecture and give my graduation reading. Not to mention actual graduation. 

I elected to defer graduation until Winter, holding onto hope that the Covid would have run its course and we would have “flattened the curve” enough to get back in person. 

You guys remember that? When flattening the curve was all the rage. Where we listened to the news every day to see what havoc was happening in every state and when toilet paper and hand sanitizer suddenly became the hot commodities? Feels so long ago. 

No graduation for me and the changes in everyday routine things started to take a toll too. No Jazzercise. No coffee or lunch meetups. I mean, I still did some of those things (except the Jazzercise), but to a much lesser extent. The isolation kind of got to me too. 

Having my kids do virtual school was rough too. Ramping up to near full time at work also pushed me to an edge. It doesn’t matter how much I like to work.. it was a  painful project. They made quitting fairly easy.

Did I mention the habitual use of benzodiazepines to help with sleep that wrecked me for several months. I realized I had to change that the day I realized that my substance abuse was sort of out of control. Too much drinking, caffeine, and said sleep aids. I tried to cut cold turkey in May or June and totally wrecked myself. 

I subsequently came down slow, on doctors orders, and that took like 5 months. No joke. 

By the end of August I was off the meds but still feeling the withdrawal for about 6 mire weeks. By the end of September I was done done with my day job too. By the end of October I was finally feeling better. But the emotional mood swings and situational depression persisted. 

I wanted to drive to Austin for the election but was so down (and was sick that week) so it didn’t happen. I let go of it ok, but also had to let go of hope that I could graduate in person. Things are going to be virtual next week and it’s not fine but what can I do? 

I’ve known a few people who had Covid but everyone came out ok, albeit rather worse for wear in some cases. My immediate family has not been affected, miraculously, though my son had quarantine at his dads house for two weeks. My kids grandparents on their dads side  both had it but recovered. 

They (my kids) lost a grandparent anyway to Cancer. A speedy decline that was invisible to us until like the last two weeks of her life. They were not close to that grandparent (nor was I)  which is actually a blessing at this time. 

All of this is pretty character revealing too, right, but it’s just another setup. Because what I really want to write about today is all the things I was able to let go of in 2020. Things I would call successful little revelations. 

Like not caring about my hair and letting it grow really long. And also not seeing my esthetician since like January has led to the conclusion that I don’t need to wax my female bits anymore. After doing that for 10 years, there’s not much left. And what is there is completely personally manageable. No more $$$ going out the door for that or nail care. I can do that myself too. 

My skin is great thanks to my man bringing home great products and also not needing a shower every day. Usually winter brings seriously dry skin but so far this year has been great. 

What else? There has to be more but with all the meandering I’ve run out of time. 

Normally I would wait till January to reminisce and recap but I’m just so over 2020. 

Hey 2021!… The bar is really low, let’s GO!!’ 

Peace, 

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. The featured image is a glass ornament my darling daughter made for me. It says “2020 In Case of Emergency Break Glass” and is full of tiny little toilet paper rolls. So clever!

2020-12-25 Merry Efffin Christmas

It’s a mood. It’s not necessarily a bad mood or a good mood. It’s just a mood. Christmas. Whatever.

Yesterday I kinda said efff it to stuff and did what I wanted. I had said previously that what would be good was a repeat of thanksgiving. Just us here at the house having fun. No obligations. And as the day rolled along yesterday I feel like we (or at least I) embraced that spirit. 

I opted to not drive to CB to visit with my dad. Bad daughter. Whatever. 

Instead I had too much coffee and junk food and drove my darling daughter to Qdoba for lunch and my son to target to buy his sister a gift (separate trips). Then in the late afternoon we came together and played a few games, and were successful keeping the losing rants to a minimum. My people are notorious for salty rage when losing at games. How do you teach children to be good sports at losing? Mysteries of the universe. 

Z won at Tsuro, which is a quick game that usually lasts less than 15 minutes. 

Then I kicked their butts at Qwirkle. It really came down to the last play. Z could have won but C put down a move that not only prevented her from running out of tiles first but also set me up for like an 11 point play on my last turn. That’s my boy!! 🤣

Anyway, sad to say that late in the day my brain sort of goes AWOL and I didn’t have a third brain game in me. I would have played UNO or something but C dipped too, wanting to get back to the video games. Z was grumpy about that and bored but what could I do? Another parenting conundrum. 

After that I hung about with Jim for the rest of a relaxing evening. We watched some YouTube and started a movie on Netflix, which we opted to put on pause to go to bed early and read. And yes, I really mean read. My mind goes AWOL about 7PM but my body also goes about 9pm. All I can do is lay in bed. And once I’m there I fall asleep in about 30 seconds. No lie. 

Last night I actually had to take care of Santa duty first. Yes my peeps still get stockings stuffed. And when I say my peeps I mean, the 4 kids (my two and Jim’s boys), 4 kittens (Doug, Kayla, Emma, and Gus), and Jim. That’s a mantle full!! 

At 10:30pm it’s a good thing that doesn’t take much effort. 

I had a pretty good sleep and feel refreshed and ready to take on this day. The days of excited children getting up at 6am to see what Santa brought are long gone. My people have been told that we’re converging in the living room again at 10am. That will be for opening gifts which will be followed by breakfast of cinnamon rolls and bacon and hash browns. Mmmmmm. And coffee for me. 

We have to be done with all that by the time my mom comes over at 1:30. Nice for her to drive here instead of expecting us to drive to CB. That should be a quick and socially distanced visit cuz my mom is not the most Covid-ly conscious person. She went to a steak house for dinner yesterday and I’m pretty sure she also has regular meetups with her pals. 

Yesterday on our way back from Qdoba I asked my daughter if it felt like Christmas. Of course she said no. Of course it doesn’t. But what I wanted to know from her perspective is why. 

She basically said that this has been such a strange year nothing has felt normal. She mentioned something she saw on Tiktok. A person posting a video from Easter with a caption “Anybody remember Easter?” All the comments were “no.” Yeah, that. 

It’s like the whole year got sucked into a swirling vortex of doom and nothing and our memories have all been wiped, like in Men In Black. 

Maybe it wasn’t Corona at all. Maybe aliens have finally descended on the planet and their big takeover move is to cause chaos enough that the human race self-implodes. Maybe Trump is playing for their team. He certainly doesn’t seem human to me.

Oooops. Did that political opinion slip out? Sorry not sorry. 

Anyway, so my goal today is to just have fun with my peeps and see where the day goes. It would be great if I can convince them to game some more. Maybe something more physical like ping-pong or I’ve hockey or shooting baskets. We’ll see. 

Time to get after it. 

Side note before calling it: My hair is getting really long, I’ve been noticing. It makes me want to write a post about all the things that were impacted by the new normal. Perhaps All the things that the pandemic made better. Yeah, that might be a good pre-NYE post. Thoughts? 

Peace, Love, and Peppermint Schnapps, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-24 It’s Always the Eve of Tomorrow

Christmas Eve today. On one hand it’s all just fine. I have everything I need here. My people, love, nourishment, warmth, opportunity, and am looking forward to tomorrow and the adventures we will find there. 

On the other hand, it just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like Christmas or the cusp of another residency and I feel so angry and cheated by this Universe forsaken year. What’s a girl to do? 🤷‍♀️

You know, I was awake at 5 am. Another early morning. I get up and put pants on and shuffle quietly out of the bedroom. I check the cats and my kids. They are all awake too. For my kids is a late night. They are enjoying the holiday break and have switched to alternate schedules. For the cats, well, they are always awake at this hour it seems.

So I begin my regular morning routine. It’s like any other day for me. I grab my water, headphones, reading glasses, and phone and head for my treadmill. 

I step on the machine and set the pace to 2.5 or 3 depending on my mood. Pick a playlist or perhaps leave the music app on random shuffle (today it’s random). Then open some app to write what I’m thinking, which is now google docs. 

I’ll give myself an hour to muse about yesterday or today or some issue hampering my mind. That’s it. That’s the start of just about every day of my life now. And there’s comfort in it. The security of knowing what to expect is something I’m grateful for. I’m pretty lucky.

The thing that my brain is stuck on today, besides how this Christmas is so strange, is the MFA residency that’s about to happen. The lecture I’ve poured so much into that will be over and done in a hot 40 minutes. The poems I’m not prepared to workshop. The other lectures I don’t care about. The readings I’ll be sitting alone for, instead of with the people who have come to be my friends. No library pub meetups. No late night’s loitering about the lobby of the Lied Lodge. No winter talent show. No sneaking down to the exercise room by the pool in the basement of the hotel at 5am. 

I guess last that part isn’t so different. 🤷‍♀️

One of my friends from the program is trying to coordinate our class’s graduation speech and it’s not going well for her. People are either over it, or not interested, or procrastinating. Anyone who knows me knows I fall into the last category. 

I gravitate between wanting to take over and just letting it go. I wanted to give a speech. I want to have the oppprtuniry that every other person who has graduated from the program has had. I’ll get to say a little at my lecture or reading and I had already come to terms with this virtual scenario, but this graduation speech thing has me fired up again, 

If nobody wants to do it, I’ll freaking do it. But I don’t want to outright voulenteer if the wheels are in motion for something else. I know my friend is irritated at the lack of support she’s getting. What’s a girl to do? 🤷‍♀️

In other news, I’m supposed to go to my dad’s today as it’s Christmas Eve and he’s alone. But you know I’m not feeling it. I just want to stay home with my people and snack and play games. He’s got his other family coming over at 5 and I’ve already said we’re not in for that or a meal or whatever. Using the pandemic as an excuse when the truth is that Jim and I had such a rough time with trying to integrate last year and I vowed then we would not do that again. 

Things have changed now, my dads wife is gone and he’s “alone.” But there’s hurt feelings (mine) that don’t just get erased. And if my dads never had the kind of relationship with my kids that he has with his other grandchildren, I can’t force it now. I can’t force my children to want to go. Hell, I can’t even force them to go to bed at a decent hour so as to be fresh for spending the day together. 

I told my son (who somehow missed the gene that makes people generous with gifting) that I was expecting him to be up at 10 to go shopping with me to buy a gift for his sister who has the gene and has spent countless hours making gifts for people. How did my two children end up so different? 

Anyway. We’ll see on that. I’ve got some other thoughts brewing but that will have to wait. It’s almost 7:30am and I’ve already got over 10k steps. Time to do this Christmas Eve thing. Thanks for reading.

Peace and Love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-20 Stand in the Mirror and Wait for Feedback

Sunday again. Lacking sleep again. Still working on that lecture. On and on. 

I’m trying not to freak out. You know, but there’s so much to do. Res. GLR. Christmas. Bills. You know I’ve got bills that are like 60 days past due and I can’t even begin. 

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Something must be. It must. 

Creature comfort make it painless. 

At least today I don’t have a hangover. Today it’s just cramps which in some ways brings welcome relief to the emotional roller coaster I sometimes live for about a week before my period with regard to my emotions. 

It’s just past 8am and I’ve just had my caffeine. I’m just now on the treadmill but have been awake off and on for like 100 hours. 

Somewhere around 5am I switched from reading about Adrienne Rich to Diane di Prima. The quintessential example of a poet embracing experience and freedom when it comes to both poetry and life. 

I’m almost wrapped with the research on this lecture. And I’ve probably got twice what I need for talking for 40 minutes. I’ll be polishing tomorrow while Jim is at work and then I’ll know for sure how much overage there is. 

Did I mention Christmas is in 5 days??!! Thankfully the family gatherings and gift exchanges are at a minimum. Thanks Covid. If I had my way it would be a repeat of Thanksgiving. 

Good food and just us. But.. being the good daughter that I am I’m going to CB Christmas Eve to visit with my dad and having my mom over Christmas Day. Part of me has wondered when it will feel ok to have them both over at the same time. So many levels of questions there. Least of which is the side-eye I’m certain I would get from my siblings. But whatever. 

It’s not like they make much effort. We were just not raised that way. 

Anyway. So I’ve got presents to wrap today and work to do on the GLR. 

Incidentally my newest side-gig is teaching my kitten Gus Gus to walk on the treadmill. Any day now he’ll be good enough that I can try getting some video footage. Then I’ll be making bank when the Instagram account I created for my cats blows up! I’ll put them on tic tok too or whatever the latest craze is the teenagers are wasting their time with these days. 

Every damn time I think about my distaste for the technological age, I feel old. I mean like seriously. I’m THAT person saying “back in my day we didn’t have no internet. We had to keep ourselves entertained. We rode bikes and explored the outdoors.” 

Yeah, and then a bunch of kids got abducted and that was the end of that. My poor little sisters, caught between the end of the latch-key era and before the advent of the internet. Stuck being raised by endless hours of mindless television. 

To be fair, I was a TV junkie too, more later though like in my twenties. 

Yeah. Any day now these cats are going to make me famous. 

The other night I created a new Instagram account for my cats. I had been drinking so the details are fuzzy but at one point my daughter takes the phone from me and just “fixes” everything. She declared that I didn’t know what I was doing. Said the username I picked was boring. Changed it to “kittens_shenanigans” and then we talked about hash tags. Yeah, I really have no business in that business but with her help, we can do it. 

The thing that makes me bad at social media (besides the constant resistance) is that I just don’t give a fuck. I just don’t. 

Post or don’t post. Tweet or retweet. Share, like, lick, suck, fuck… I DONT CARE!! 

There. I said it. So what? Perhaps I’m channeling Diane di Prima from the great beyond. 

It’s all just funny money anyway. Like titles. Tiny little boxes. Tiktok, ticky tacky. Little boxes on the hillside. Little boxes all the same. 

It reminds me of that theme song from the show “Weeds.” That was a good show. 

Little boxes on the hillside,

Little boxes made of ticky tacky

Little boxes on the hillside,

Little boxes all the same.

There’s a green one and a pink one 

And a blue one and a yellow one,

And they’re all made out of ticky tacky

And they all look just the same.

And the beat goes on, you know. But instead of little boxes were like zombies inside our little houses exploring the world with even smaller boxes in front of our faces, with all our creature comforts an arms reach from our couches and poorly lit desks and beds. 

Where’s the spirit of adventure? How do you teach that? You can’t just talk about it. You have to teach by doing, by example, and sometimes with a healthy dose of tough love. 

As it is with poetry, show, don’t tell. 

That’s enough wandering today I think. Gotta go get dressed to run errands. 

Peace and Love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-06 Catharsis

Writing, sharing, and letting go. Yesterday was good and necessary. The Funeral service was good. Strange to see so many people gathered together in close quarters. Strange to see so many people but not recognize them for the masks shielding their faces and emotions.

Jim called the funeral home which was in Iowa to ask what their policies were during this time. The answer was a very rehearsed statement about following the guidelines established by the state. Iowa has been notoriously loosie-goosie this year and so the guideline is the same.

No cap on max capacity as long as people wear masks (and the ceremony is religious in nature). Which it wasn’t. That’s not the kind of family we are. But that doesn’t mean we dont all have our own personal faith and spirituality.

In jest I almost added a “praise Jesus” at the end of the eulogy I’d prepared. I seriously thought about it. Like “here you go Iowa, here’s a line so we satisfy for your requirements.” But I didn’t. It wasn’t right for the moment. Plus, what are they gonna do anyway?! Bust in to these services and police the way people want to grieve? No, I don’t think so.

People need people and people need catharsis. I certainly did. When it was all over, the kids and I got in the car and drove home. As I drove I felt the weight I had been feeling all week begin to dissipate. It was good.

By the time we arrived home I was ready for food. I swear I haven’t had a good solid meal for several days and my stomach has been off. I immediately reheated some frozen pizza and popped open a new bottle of red wine. It was so good.

I ate the two slices and felt hunger so I reheated more leftovers. It was nice to eat and not feel nauseous. It was good to sit on the couch and sip wine and talk with Jim about the service, and my dad, and the family dynamic. Ironic that my brother and I were the ones to speak at the service.

30 years of being on the periphery has definitely taken a toll on me. In honesty I also started the feel the burden of strained relationships begin to lose its foothold on me as well. I’m hopeful I can now have more of a relationship with my dad. In good time I suppose.

After dinner my brother and his wife came over for a chat. It’s nice to be able to talk to them too without it being in a group setting. They are headed back to Colorado today.

As it turns out my youngest sister is now also in town now from CO for mom and her dad, who had a positive Covid test a few days ago. He’s actually doing ok so far and if that continues she’ll go back tomorrow or Tuesday. But she’s coming over to the house today. I haven’t seen her in many months so I’m looking forward to that.

Other than that it’s just Sunday. Just an ordinary Sunday. My kids are still sleeping, I’m walking on my treadmill, and will probably wrap and make breakfast soon. We’ll watch an episode of Rust Valley and I’ll pull my laptop out to see what I can do with the day. No shortage of things that need doing.

I’ve already scooped and fed all the other creatures here. I’ve still got dishes to do. Always with the dishes. Yeah, normal is good.

Time to stop walking and start doing.
Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-05 Stranger than Fiction

It’s 3:30am and I’m headed into what I hope is the last long day of a string of long days that has left me sleepless, and full of Negative emotion.

Yesterday was the first day I didn’t go across the river to CB and the plans I tried to make with my brother didn’t pan out because his time is always at a premium when he’s home. My mom took prescient but that’s ok because she’s been needing company and someone to talk to lately too.

Today we’re having what I can only guess will be a small gathering of friends and family at a funeral home in CB for services for my dads wife. My brother and I are the speakers. I’ve had plenty of time to prepare. I’m glad to have arrived at this day actually, because I feel there will be additional release when it’s over.

The whole thing is kind of sketch, you know, meeting in groups and Jim is still on the fence about going. I go back and forth about it but really think I’ll urge him today not to go. The risk is too high.

I’m not immune either but I’m going to try to be careful and distant.

My mom told me she wanted to go, to support us and not only is that a risk too but it’s also awkward. Sure my parents were married for 17 years but they have also not really been in any sort of contact beyond events for their kids and grandchildren for 30+ years.

It’s bizarre to have them both losing their spouses at the same time. My mom suffering slowly over a number of years and my dad hit suddenly with tragedy. Life is truly stranger than fiction. As a teenager and even into my 20s I had daydreams of my parent’s reconciling. I think that’s normal.

I wonder if my kids have that with me and their dad. I don’t think so. They were so young when we split they probably don’t remember what life was like before that. Nothing to daydream about I suppose.

I spoke to my ex yesterday. He offered to come to the service too, to support the kids. I told him it was not necessary and that I didn’t even want the kids to go really which is kind of a fib but I really don’t want him there or my mom or my youngest sister either who is now suddenly back in town too because of her dad.

Yeah, life is a total cluster right now. As if 2020 wasn’t bad enough. But it will be good to have her home for a while.

Ten months ago my siblings all came home to celebrate my marriage. That was in February just before the Covid hit the fan. I never could have imagined at that point how this year would go and of course, I never expected all this either.

I have to remind myself that this too shall pass. Covid, winter, heightened states of grief, isolation, sleeplessness. It will all be over at some point and longer, brighter, better days will return. That’s just the way of things. You know? That’s life.

It’s now 4am and I’ve already got 4.5k steps. It really doesn’t matter what I do right now, it feels like it could be 7 or 8am. Yesterday I worked on GLR stuff in the middle of the night and it actually made me feel better to make progress on something. That lit mag’s not going to run itself!

There’s more I could do this morning (there’s always more) but I think the exercise makes me feel good. If I run out of things to write about I’ve got a healthy pile of poems stacking up in my in-box and on my shelf. I’ve got a lecture to write. I’ve got a reading to prepare for. I’ve got Christmas ornaments to hang. The house got halfway decorated by last Monday and nothing has been done since. I think tomorrow will be the day for picking back up on that.

We’ll see.

I suppose that’s it for now.
Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-04 Waving Whatever Color Flag One Waves to Simultaneously Wage War and Give Up 🏴‍☠️🚩🏳️

Today I woke at 4 am. Like you need to know that. Another delightful 4 hours of sleep and droning through another fucking day in the year 2020.

Today I got so angry on the way to school I wanted to rip everyone not wearing a mask a new asshole. What a bunch of domestic fucking terrorists. I even thought about posting to FB, breaking my unannounced silence calling them out.

Did you know That 2977 people died of the initial terrorist attacks of 9-11? How angry we all were after that. How distraught we were. What outrage, sadness and despair surged for long days and nights and weeks and months to follow.

Yesterday in the United States there were 2857 deaths. And that number has been climbing daily. The reported cases are still on the rise too. Which means the “curve” is not going back down for a while. Probably not at all until the savior of science rushes in to rescue us.

So for the foreseeable future it’s likely that more people will die of Covid.. EVERY DAY.. than died on 911. Where’s the unified rage? Where’s the strength of our nation? Where’s the leadership and direction.

The answer is that it doesn’t exist. Our former President and his lackey administration have completely destroyed any semblance of “we the people.” We are not longer “We.” Now it’s “Us” against “Them.”

I’m well aware that the history of our country is riddled with division. And it may be just because this is the only time I truly know and am living through, but it feels extremely damaging and unrecoverable.

I ask how many lives might have been spared with a national mask mandate? At the very least, why could we not do that? The freedom to walk about society carrying a virus capable of decimating the population is not an inalienable right.

Last time I checked the list of those rights did not include murder or suicide but that’s exactly how I interpret the message from anyone arguing against a mask mandate.

I’m so angry.

I’m so sad.

This morning taking C to school I cried. Twice. Once on the way there and once on the way home again.

This week my kids lost one of their grandparents to what my dad called last night, the Big C. He lost his wife of 30 years and I was not prepared how to help my kids sort through their feelings. Let alone my own.

As if that was not enough, my mom got news yesterday that her husband of almost 28 years tested positive for Covid, the “other C.” He was moved to a memory care facility a few months ago because his Parkinson’s had progressed to the point my mom could no longer take care of him. The facility he’s in, I’m told, now has the virus rampant among residents due to a few staff members coming down with it. Congratulations people, you probably just killed 60 people with your mask-less abandon.

It’s too early to know the outcome of course but now my kids have to suffer more weeks of worry and anxiety. Their other grandparents had it and despite being hospitalized, came out ok.

All this is too much for me. How the hell am I supposed to help my kids.

I think to myself on the way home that it’s good for us to talk and for me to not be afraid to show my emotion. It’s ok if they see me cry because then they know that it’s ok to cry, to be upset and let others see. It’s ok to talk about it and show emotion. I tell myself I’m leading by example. It’s the best I can do. We’re all human.

Well.. except for those assholes who refuse to wear a mask. Some freak amalgamation of pond scum and asphalt.

Did I mention I was angry?

And besides that, I’m fucking exhausted. I have a prescription for Trazodone but I’ve been afraid to take it. I don’t want unnatural Remedies affecting my body chemistry.

I asked my brother who I know has sleep issues if he tried it. I think I remember our mom said he had.

He said he tried it but it gave him unacceptable side effects, the biggest being heart palpitations. Now he takes Lorazepam.

When he said it I stopped myself before the words “devil’s candy” rolled out my mouth. Instead I said, “ahh, that’s a slippery slope.” Then his wife changed the subject with her loud mouth and so we didn’t get a chance to discuss.

That happened about 10 times while I was there. She’s a serious piece of work. Her signature move is to dominate the conversation and not let anyone else talk. And she’s so loud. It’s really off-putting.

The one and only time I confronted her, we got in a big fight and she stormed off slamming doors and drawers and never came back out of her room. We we’re at their apartment and left the next day. Good gravy that was a long time ago.

I’m just sad. You know?

After crying twice in the car I checked the app that tracks my monthly cycle and it tells me I have 3 days left in my “fertile window.” So it’s not PMS. I mean, of course it’s not.

2020 has been so greedy. Stupid effing year.

That is all that’s enough.
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-11-30 Bow for November

My second full month in my new job is coming to a close. This morning I’m tasked with making breakfasts and lunches for my people and will of course get doing dishes and scooping litter boxes. And I’ll be working on the lit mag some. And hopefully finding time to read and write outside of this routine treadmill time.

It’s Monday and the last day of the month and I’m not missing my old job one bit. I had the best weekend and now get to start a new week full of promise and poetry.

I’ve got a fair bit to get done today as it’s the last day of the month—tasks I’ve been procrastinating that are due today. Mostly stuff for the GLR and I need to try and stay focused on that and not log into my personal Submittable account because that will inevitably lead to hours of research, revision, letter writing and I just don’t have time for that today. I need to stay focussed.

I should be satisfied with November. I mean, I am satisfied. I managed to bump myself up to 75 open subs despite the rejections and as I said yesterday, can cruise through December holding that line.

Amidst those rejections are a few more acceptances. Gyroscope Review, Local Honey, and Vital Sparks to name a few. Plus, my poem “Covid Sunset” was in the top 10 for a contest put on by Wingless Dreamer for their “Fruits of our Quarantine” collection. That’s awesome sauce. That’s an actual printed book which I somehow appreciate more than the bits and bytes that are online only. Even though Kate says online is where it’s at now, I like having a physical book I can hold, thumb through, dog-ear, and see on my shelf.

So far my experience with these publications leads me to believe that the GLR is doing a good job with communication. To be fair, most places that are accepting my work are just as new. Gyroscope Review might be the exception to that rule, but a few seem so new that there’s not a lot to see on their websites. Vital Sparks appears to be a basic placeholder for future content. With no info and no aesthetic, it makes me wonder what I was thinking sending my baby there.

And not just any baby but one of my favorites. Perhaps it’s for the best. As it is one of my favorites, I have no idea if it’s a good poem or not. More than a year, and 10 revisions old now and I still can’t tell. I’ve offered this baby to lots of places and this brand new lit mag was the one that snatched it up. How will they present my baby to the world? It remains to be seen.

I wonder if I should Pay more attention to social media. Maybe this is where the action is happening—the promo, the big-news. I might need to spend some time researching that. But not today.

Not today. Not today. Not today.

I have to keep telling myself this so I don’t get distracted. I have other work to do.

Yes, I seem to be taking nicely to my new role. I enjoy tending to my healthy household and look forward to my son returning this week from his quarantine. I’ll have all the Christmas decorations out of storage by then and we’ll be set for a bit of a traditional tree-trimming party next weekend. This would normally be the weekend after thanksgiving but the Covid kind of effffed that up too.

Pretty soon now we’ll have a vaccine but I’m still not making any plans. Not booking airline tickets or entertaining ideas about field trips or road trips or one-year anniversary vacations. Other people are doing this for me as I refuse to hope for one more damn thing.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Nope. I’m setting my expectations dangerously low and that way I can’t be disappointed. I’ll just keep trucking with all these semi-isolated days, enjoying all the good things that I have right here in the comfort of my own home.

Like walking on my treadmill, cooking for my crew, and scheming about how to protect our outside guests from the brutality a Nebraska winter, which appears to have arrived overnight.

We woke today to a bitter 18 degrees and both black cats were creeping the back yard. Puffy was clearly hungry and though he/she ran away when I went to fill the food dish, she/he came right back and had a really healthy snack. That’s when the topic of constructing some sort of shelter came up again. Nothing store bought mind you as we’ve spend enough money on the inside cats. 

No, we’re talking cardboard, leftover insulation and plastic. Jim even mentioned tubing that could be constructed to funnel vent heat into whatever shelter we decide upon. All with no guarantee that these strays will be interested in such a home. Heck, they probably already have several homes. But it does get really cold and if there is something we can do to help protect them, we want to do that. But not today. 

Not today. Not today. Not today. 

Oh boy, I’m headed for trouble. 

Cheers to Taking Bows and Tying Bows,
~Miss SugarCookie