2022-01-14 Giving My Brain a Creative Jump-Start ✍🏻

I’m back at the Lied Lodge in Nebraska city today. I was invited by an MFA friend who is also struggling to get back into writing. The regular routine of life often doesn’t leave enough space for flexing that creative muscle. I know I was just here a couple of weeks ago but that was mostly business and alas there was not time to just sit with my right brain self and reflect and write. So when she asked me, I jumped at the opportunity.

The Lied is where our low-res MFA program does their residencies every semester. It’s a ten day immersive experience that often leaves my head spinning and full of things I want to write about. My hope is that just by being here, it will kickstart something in my brain.

It felt good to pack a bag and break away from the castle. It felt great driving in my car solo, with my tunes turned up on the stereo. And it feels fantastic being here without any pressure to lecture, attend events, or socialize. I’ve stayed here enough times that I know the place inside and out. 

I know enough to ask for an odd numbered room on the 3rd floor (odd numbered rooms are on the north side of the lodge which faces a green space and a copse of trees instead of the parking lot). I know there’s hardly ever anyone in the exercise room in the basement (which is where I am now) and I know that in winter there’s not much going on so there will be few distractions. 

What I don’t know is whether or not I’ll be able to mentally break away from all the things in my life that have kept me from writing lately. I have to resist the urge to check email or work on the GLR or waste the precious time I have searching old poems for potential revision opportunities or submitting the same old shit to more places. 

I’ve turned notifications to camera events off and made sure folks know not to contact me unless it’s an emergency. I’ve brought a few books in case I need a little jump start for writing or to keep me occupied if the writing doesn’t happen. I hope it does. 

My friend will be here at about 5:30 and we’re meeting for dinner at 6. The bad weather is supposed to roll in any minute now and it would be lovely to feel a little stranded with a hot coffee next to the big fireplace overlooking the patio and the woods beyond that. 

It will also be nice to catch up with my friend and just talk about our big plans for the year without some timer going off. No mom taxi, no dinner to cook, no dishes or litter boxes for 24 glorious hours. Hell, now that I think about it, I don’t even care if I write anything. It’s like a whole day of “me” time. 

To be fair, I don’t want to spend a ton of time journal writing either so this is gonna be it for now. 

Time to get busy doing whatever I want! 

Ciao for now, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2022-01-08 Where’s the Bullseye This Year? 🎯

I’ve been thinking (and thinking and thinking and thinking) about goals, plans, resolutions, a new day, a new month, a new year. I’m getting closer to zeroing in on my target(s). 🎯🎯🎯

My good friend Rebecca always picks a word at the start of the year that will shape her year and help her focus on her goals. Sort of an overarching theme to the year that she defines. I guess this is a thing now but she’s been doing it for a long time now so in my book, she’s my inspiration. 

We don’t live near each other so communication is almost exclusively text. I texted a few days ago to find out what her word is this year to try and get my mind going in that direction too. I’ve had a few words bouncing around in my brain but nothing really stuck. 

This morning I thought about her word again and how it has multiple meanings (the word is light) and I like that. Then I thought about what I would like to do more of physically this year and the answer that came to me was yoga. So I decided that this year my word will be “stretch.” 

I can stretch my body and my mind and have stretch goals. Reaching beyond the mundane and the everyday for more. Yes, it’s kind of the antithesis of what I was striving for last year (which was to do less and de-stress) but if you read yesterday’s post you know how well that turned out. 🙃

The next step is to really put some concrete goals on the list. Here are a few I’m considering. 

  1. Read a book a month. 
  2. Write a new poem or free write once a week (this blog doesn’t count). 
  3. Do 20 minutes of yoga twice a week. 
  4. Maintain my 100 active sub count. 
  5. Lose 5 pounds. 
  6. Get 420 Zone Minutes each week (it’s a Fitbit exercise measure). 
  7. Average 30 minutes of custom cardio each day (another FitBit score). 
  8. Meditate at least once a week (failed last year but that can’t stop me from trying again). 
  9. Reduce my screen time by 30 minutes each day.
  10. Participate in at least 2 workshops and or readings each month. 

Each one is a means to an end and if I can do at least this, I’ll feel super successful. If I can “stretch” one or two and do a little more (or less depending on the objective) then so much the better.

***

Well, friends, I’ve been distracted and completely lost the thread for today. 

Perhaps I can pick it back up tomorrow. 

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2022-01-07 Kind of a White Rabbit Start to 2022 🐇🐇🐇

There’s something about the end of one year and the start of another that puts me in a tizzy if I don’t have time to reflect on the past and also spend time musing about resolutions and planning my goals for the coming year. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m very goal oriented. Checking things off a list is my jam. 

That, of course, requires time, and a fair measure of solitude to really get into. Neither of which I have had for about 7 straight days. Who am I kidding it’s been since Christmas Eve. That’s about two weeks now. With no end in sight. 

A few days ago I happened to get a new like on the post I wrote a year ago about my 2021 resolutions. What a hoot to go back and read what I thought I was going to do with my year. 

In short, my plan was to work on not over-committing myself, reduce the pressure I put on myself to get so much done all the time, and meditate more. All of this was going to help solve, once and for all, the larger problem I have with daily exhaustion. Truly laughable. 

Not that I didn’t try, but most of the concrete things I had decided upon ended up not turning out. 

I did reduce my daily step count goal from 12k to 10k. It’s an easy thing to change in the app, but in practice my actual step count went from about 10k in 2020 to 12k in 2021. Oh the irony! 

My sleep stats went down instead of up,  I failed to meditate more than a handful of times, and I ended up pushing myself just as much as I always do despite dropping the daily “checklist” of goals off my planner. Yes, I still use a paper planner. It’s a more pleasing experience for me I guess. 

The irony of having a resolution to do less and ending up doing arguably more is not lost on me. The minute I try to make life easier for myself, I’m feeling crappy because I get the creeping feeling I need to be doing more. Good gravy, a girl just can’t win. 

Regardless, I’m trying to find more time to reflect on 2021 and plan for 2022. I’ve had scattered thought all through these first days of the year, but they’ve been easily supplanted by all that actually needs to get done right now. Plus the Bachelor started again this week so that’s high on my priority list now too! 🤣

I’m half tempted to dive into it right now but I know I’ve got my GYN appointment in an hour and the few minutes I have left to write would be a sad appetizer for that healthy main course of a post. I’m already running late. Just like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. 

“I’m late, I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say ‘hello, goodbye,’ I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!”

Yeah, that about sums up my year so far. 

On that note, I’ve gotta git to all the gitting. 

Hello, Goodbye, 🐇 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-12-29 In What Universe is it OK…

… that the answer to the question “Do you like pizza?” is different than the answer to the question “Do you eat pizza?”?!

The answer to the question is that in no Universe is it OK (unless you have some health reason not to). I am surrounded by people who can’t eat things. Gluten intolerance, IBS, lactose intolerance, shellfish allergy, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, peanut allergy, and the beat goes on and on and on. What has happened to human beings?

Do you know what is arguably worse than that? I am one of the only people I know my age or older who can still eat anything I want but I don’t. We’ll I sort of do, but I really don’t.

Hold up. What?! 

I like ice cream. Scratch that… I LOVE ice cream. But I don’t eat ice cream because it makes you fat. And by you, I mean me. I love cookies, and candy, and chocolate, and pie, and Lucky Charms, and THAT beat goes on and on and on.

I’ve got a real sweet tooth and always have. When I was a kid I used to spend every dime of my dime-a-chore allowance on candy from the corner store on Harrison Avenue. Empty pockets and a satisfied tongue were just a short bike ride away. I also got in tons of trouble stuffing the empty wrappers under the cushions of our velvet blue and gold flower couch. But now every time I think about eating something sweet I have this self-loathing argument in my head about it.

Every, damn, time! But why? 

Because I’m damaged, that’s why. You don’t get to be my age without some sort of damage. Life is like that and it’s frightfully unavoidable. 

My damage was an eating disorder I developed at the uncanny age of 34. Might have started slightly earlier than that, but it was full-blown by the time I was in the midst of my divorce and trying desperately to control one of the few things in life that I could control–my weight. 

I became so obsessed with being in control that I began to take extreme measures to push my body to see how low I could go. And because my soon-to-be ex-husband had conditioned me to think that paper-clip thin was sexy, I actually thought I looked good. To be fair, people around me also supported this notion by telling me that I looked great so part of my distorted self-image came from society as a whole lifting up a slender physique as the ideal. What a load of garbage. 

I think by now everyone can guess what “extreme measures” means and that’s not really my focus now anyhow. Right now I’m mostly concerned about the mental scars I still suffer from because of what I went through. 

Once I was on the other side of the problem, which is to say, once I felt like I had overcome my obsession and was really back in control, I kept that shit inside like a dirty secret no one could know. For a long time. I felt as if I was over the worst of it but would carry those experiences with me for the rest of my life. I guess one could say, never really cured. Which is how it went. Always a little nagging magpie in the back of my brain pecking away about fat and carbs and quantity and calories and numbers on a scale. There were no more extreme measures, but there sure was (is) one hell of a body-image issue.

That, however, was small potatoes compared to other things I had going on in my life. I was a single mother of two, a full-time working woman, and a homeowner with a desire to have more of a life than just those three sides. I didn’t have time to worry about the numbers but I didn’t really need to either. 

I ate right, exercised enough, and had a pretty good metabolism. When my clothes got a little tight, I just cranked up the exercise and paid a little more attention to what I was putting in my mouth. It balanced out naturally. But it doesn’t anymore, which IS the focus now. This struggle I find myself living with day in and day out. 

In the last year, I’ve gained weight. I’m not getting any younger and my metabolism isn’t getting any faster so it has become more and more difficult to lose a few pounds. My sizes have all gone up. The clothes, the bra circumference, and yes, even my underwear drawer is in serious need of an upgrade. Everything I own is uncomfortable and I have started getting mad about it. Really mad. 

I created a “Goodwill” pile and every time something doesn’t fit, I toss it on the pile. I’m getting thicker and my wardrobe is getting considerably thinner. I hate it. 

I don’t want to give up. I want to fight harder but I also don’t want to deny myself all the food that I love. Including pizza and cheeseburgers and fried fish tacos and yes, ALL the sugar too. This daily struggle has become too much an obsession. 

I wake up thinking about it. I constantly argue with myself about whether I should eat breakfast or not, if I should have coffee with cream and sugar or try to give it up, how much I eat for lunch and if it should be simple and healthy or 

Something I want because I like the way it tastes. And the best goes on and on and on like that until the last decision of the day is upon me. Do I allow myself to have an evening snack.

I use twisted logic to convince myself of doing what I really want in the moment and then get angry thinking about how I need to go shopping for new clothes. It’s ridiculous. 

My husband says I’m sexy and beautiful and at the perfect weight right now. He wants to “deprogram” my lines of thinking and help me to see what he sees. He tells me to treat myself to some new clothes and says that I deserve to spend money on myself. 

It’s not about the money. It’s about the shame of not being able to fix something I’ve always had control over. But have I always had control? 

That’s how it started, yes. As I said, I could control my weight but in the thick of bulimia and anorexia, it’s definitely a situation that was completely out of control. 

The question I have to ask myself is am I out of control now? What can I really do to help myself and fix this? 

Therapy maybe. Set a modest goal yet allow myself to indulge and enjoy. Be reasonable. Take my husband’s advice and go shopping. Be kind to myself and try to make peace with these 10 extra pounds. Take the pile of clothes that don’t fit to the Goodwill. All I can say is that I’ll try. Keep trying actually as a lot of this is already a part of the daily conversations in my head. 

Actions speak louder than words though so I think it’s time to end the conversations and make up my damn mind so I can stop wasting so much time arguing with myself. If I like pizza, which I do, then I should just eat the damn pizza.

With that my time is up. 

Peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-12-11 Hunting for Gratitude

That’s it. I’ve officially lost my mojo. I’ve attended three generative writing events this week and have failed in a big way to write anything (new). Everything is a rehash of something I’ve already written or just plain garbage nonsense. And I think I’m just going to give up trying and see what that life is like. 

I really am. 

You know, I’ve been struggling with my purpose in life lately. I gave up my career, dove head first into a very different life and lifestyle and now that I feel like I’m failing at everything, my confidence and self-worth are pretty dang low. 

I have my health and that’s something, but my motivation has flatlined. 

This event I went to today was a holiday reading and speed writing affair. I took about 4 pages of notes before I had to dip out to go pick my son up at the high school. He retook the ACT today and I played mom-taxi so he would for sure be there on time AND get some good eats to fuel his day.

Anyway, the reading was good, but the notes I took were crap and toward the end I was already thinking about how broken I am and how I’ll never write a good poem again (or story or essay or anything). I actually thought about making a New Years resolution to hide from the world all of 2022 and just enjoy life, not putting any pressure on myself to show up or write or do anything. Just a free pass to do nothing and be nothing for a whole year). 

Sounds kinda like I might need that therapist I’ve mentioned a time or two before but I’ve been so unmotivated I can’t even make the phone calls. 

It’s like I’ve got both feet outside the door but can’t move forward or decide on anything. 

My kids and husband and our families are all healthy too. I’m think when I don’t feel like things are going so well at least I have that. The health factor. At least I have that to be grateful for and at this rate, I’ll probably live another 50 years. 

Then I  think… what the hell am I going to do for 50 more years? Good gravy! 

My husband is so motivated and dedicated and has like some magical endless source of energy and motivation. It’s kinda ridiculous, in a wonderful way. He gets so much done every day, it would put most people to shame. I wonder how he does. It’s probably something I should know, you know. Since we’re married. 

And he manages to also compliment me on every little thing I do. He works all day every work day and even on the weekends and somehow still remembers to thank me for breakfast every morning and say how nice the kitchen looks when he comes home.

He tells me how beautiful I am all the time and calls me sexy though I’ve never been sexy a day in my life. He knows I worry about my weight and makes a point to make sure I know he thinks I should actually gain a few more pounds. We’ve agreed to disagree on that point. 

In fact, we don’t really disagree on much. The biggest arguments we’ve had turn into a joke about five minutes after they happen. He knows what upsets me and allows me license to vent. Then we let it go. 

He’s also a very positive person, for the most part. Everyone needs to vent negativity sometimes and I try to be a good listener. It’s pretty easy actually because most of it has nothing to do with me or the house or kids so I’m indifferent and can just listen and try and offer encouraging support or suggestions. 

Good golly… good didn’t intend for this to turn into a gooey-schmooch fest, but here we are. 

I guess I’m just hunting for things to be grateful for so I can reframe the aimless way I’ve been feeling lately. I think I just need to try harder to focus on supporting my family and being at peace with the fact that that is my primary role now. Not as engineer and breadwinner, but the girl who holds the ladder for others. 

I should just embrace it. And not put so much pressure on my creative brain to  perform. Why do think I have to do tons of stuff everyday and be super productive or I’m not doing enough? Why can’t I just be happy taking it easy? 

And why do I think if I’m not writing anything that I’m failing at life? 

It should be enough to wake up everyday healthy, surrounded by people who care about me. It should. It really, really should. 

***

My son reported that today’s ACT went much better than the first time. He paced himself better and answered all the questions instead of missing a bunch. He also did not have to take the writing portion this time which should be good because writing is his nemesis. He was positive that his score will be better. I hope so. I certainly think that what he’s potentially learned in school since the last time will benefit him greatly. He might be coasting with a C in Algebra 3, but he’s still learning. 

My daughter who is away at UNL finished her finals this week (or is nearly done as they are all projects). She’s pulling straight ‘A’s and to that I say “that’s MY girl.” 

She also went and got herself a boyfriend this semester and I can tell you even after 4 years of high school thinking that would happen any minute, I’m still not prepared. 

It got serious pretty quickly and today her and her man are driving to his home town to meet his family. Tomorrow it’s our turn. That’s serious!! I just have to remember I was her age once and she’s a smart girl who knows what she wants.

Like both her parents she’s stubborn and headstrong and so this new Mr. isn’t going to get in the way of her goals. I hope. Ha! 

So I guess that’s it. Today’s spin on life is reframing inadequacy into gratitude. Not bad for a one hour walk. 

Cheers to holding other people’s ladders, 
~Miss SugarCookie

2021-12-05 Oh.. hello December. When did you get here? 🗓

Five whole days ago?! Damn!!

I think I’m in denial that winter is knocking on the door and Christmas is only 3 weeks away! 😱

I’ve also been hiding away because I’ve been feeling physically unwell for days and I was overcompensating by trying to take things easy on myself. I kind of suspected it was my period that was late when I woke up this AM after having a rough night with cramps I actually felt a huge weight lifted, mentally and physically too. I literally felt lighter. It’s not that I was worried I might be pregnant, because that’s not possible. It’s just that every day that went by I felt worse and worse. 

I had a constant headache and was bloated and lethargic. Today all that is just gone. Like magic. That’s how I know. 

Now I’m treating myself to a truly relaxing Sunday. I’ve done some decorating, chatted with Jim’s family that came over for a visit, and I even took a nap. I didn’t open my laptop and did not change out of my pajamas, even to drive to Runza for a comfort Cheeseburger and fries. It’s been nice. 

I’m still trying to get my steps of course, but after treadmill time I’m going to make dinner for Jim and I and then we’re gonna to watch some Lost In Space. A nice way to finish out the weekend I think. 

At this moment I’m actually looking forward to the week ahead. I’ve got a lot to get done in the next few weeks and kinda have to kick things into high gear starting tomorrow. It’s all things Christmas, and some GLR work, and also some things I’ve been procrastinating for too long that just need to get done. 

I can’t think about all that too much right now, because I promised myself that I’m order to really let go and enjoy a relaxing day, I could not let my mind get bogged downed in thinking about the never ending to-do list. 

And with that, it’s about time for me to wrap this up and get cooking. 

Short and sweet, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-11-23 Pulling that Pin Out and Tossing it in the Trash 📌

Yesterday I suffered from a mini-existential crisis and wanted to write through it. I wanted to write long enough for my brain to start unlocking the doors to potential answers. Hey.. it’s worked before so why not? 

However life itself got in the way and I truly did not have enough time to get to any meaningful conclusion. Well.. I got glimpses down different avenues of thought but nothing as definitive as a real window with a view. 

Mixed metaphors much? Windows, doors, avenues, oh my! 

Just before I had to exit the writing scene I “put a pin in it” to return today for more. Just before I pushed that proverbial pin into the corkboard of my brain (ouch), I was on the precipice of asking the next question…

Within the context of things that I do or can do that bring my satisfaction, joy, and fulfillment—another project I put work into on the regular is my beloved Good Life Review. I ask myself why the lit mag doesn’t do it for me. I might answer that it does, but it’s so short lived. It’s like any regular job where there are things you like and things you have to do that you don’t like and at this point in time there’s just so much more I don’t want to do that it doesn’t balance out.

Diving deeper, that’s not exactly true. It may not be the tasks I work on themselves because I do enjoy most of it.

I enjoy connecting with other writers and getting to accept their pieces and work with them in a way that (I believe) leaves them with a positive experience. Hearing someone say kind words about me or the lit mag also gives me a warm feeling inside. There’s more to this but let’s move on. 

I enjoy working on the website, editing pages, and producing something beautiful I think people are pleased with. It’s about giving those writers a lovely home for their words. But the WordPress stuff behind the scenes is kind of my jam. As long as WordPress isn’t being a total butthead (that happens). 

I enjoy interacting with people on our editorial team, as long as it’s more like a one-on-one interaction. I dislike team meetings and group conversations frankly because of the whole social anxiety thing and not wanting to be the center of attention.

I don’t like dealing with people issues. With a team this size (approaching 20), it’s sometimes tough to continue making sure people are happy with how things are going. I’m probably failing at this lately but I also don’t think I’m alone in that. 

I love reading most of the pieces our editors pick to accept. I’m impressed by the creativity and craft that comes my way, each story or poem shining a light on some truth of life. Sometimes I’m blown away and that’s a great feeling. That what we are doing is going to allow more people to read and connect and give those writers work a platform. 

However, I don’t like social media which is a necessary evil in the publishing business. I think if I never had to think about it again, it would be a huge weight off my shoulders. I cringe every time the subject comes up. 

I also don’t like sending rejections. The process as we’ve constructed it is probably too time consuming and in general it sucks. It’s never fun delivering unwanted news. It’s part of the business and having been on both sides of the rejection form letter, I know it just is what it is. Yuk! 

Bringing it back around to where I started, with the good stuff, I would say that with this last release (our Autumn issue, one week ago), I realized that the most fulfilling moment is when it’s done and we get to sit back and celebrate. I love sending the “issue live” notification to our contributors and getting there responses lifts me up. But it is so, so short lived. Like the rest of life, the emotions are fleeting and at the end of it all, it’s a damn lot of work for that hot-minute payout. 

Since it’s only been a week I’m still riding that wave (except yesterday, good gravy what was THAT??!!). Ask me today and I’ll tell you we are doing good and it’s so worth it. Wait a month and ask again. Ha!

Anyway. I’m in it to win it now so this whole meandering is probably moot. 

The original question remains. What am I doing with my life? And then I Ask myself, does this question ever have an answer. Is the point just to live it and then you know?

I dunno, I just want to be in the driver’s seat, in control of the direction and speed. I don’t want it all just to happen and check the rear view to find the answers. 

Yesterday was a total bust. From sunup to way past sundown. The feeling of failure followed me all the way to my pillow and the last “good night.” 

It’s days like that where I truly hope the mood really is like the weather in Nebraska, where we can wait a day and it will change. 

And what do you know? Low and behold.. it did! I can’t even begin to explain it but today almost everything has gone my way. I would go so far as to say it’s been magical! Whatever! 😜

I’m sure another bout with self doubt and feeling lost in the world is just around the next bend. Stick around.. it could be a good one. 

As for elaborating on what exactly has gone my way today, it’s just going to have to wait. I’m totally out of time again. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have time to do a deep dive into something more productive, or positive at least. 

As Bugs Bunny says, That’s All Folks.🥕🥕🥕

(Crunches a carrot) ,

~Miss SugarCookie

(Dropping the link here for anyone interested in my book: Unsuspecting Cinderella. Don’t wait, order your scintillating copy today!!)

2021-11-22 Today the Completely Organic Miss SugarCookie asks the Relentless and Unforgiving Question: What Am I Doing With My Life?

I had one job today and I failed. And no matter what I do now, no matter what happens for the rest of this day or the next or the rest of the time I live in this house.. every time I see the result of that mistake I’ll be reminded. It’s such a trivial thing in the grand scheme but c’mon people. I feel like I can’t do anything without making mistakes lately. 

I just got back from Austin. 4 days of well balanced rest and relaxation where I should have been able to get my mind right. But I feel like I failed at that too. Sure, I let go and had a nice time and got into some good conversations but for some reason now that I’m back I missed my opportunity to really get something out of it. I just swept all my angst under a proverbial rug and today it’s like I lifted the rug to toss it in the washer and was disgusted to discover all that mess is still there. 

I think I will continue to look for a therapist. I think I should continue to put effort into figuring out what is wrong with me that I can’t just be happy with what I’ve been given. 

Maybe it’s because I don’t take hand-outs and feel as if I don’t deserve the gifts I’ve been given. Why do I think if I haven’t earned it or paid some price, I don’t deserve this goodness. Worse yet, why do I think I’m on a train that’s not bound for solution town? That I’m just stuck here with no way to actually fix what is wrong with me. 

It’s mental. It’s physical. It’s emotional. It’s exhausting. 

Today of all days I should feel exhilarated. I should be over the moon that the book I worked so hard on and have waited so long for is finally.. FINALLY.. available for pre-order. But no. 

(Dropping the link here for anyone interested in this so-called book: Unsuspecting Cinderella. Don’t wait, order your scintillating copy today!!)

Instead I’m grumpy at myself and life. I don’t even want to open the 7 (yes, seven) emails I received from the publisher with all the info I need to promote my book. I mean, I’m just guessing that’s what they are all about. Maybe I’m just terrified. Which makes no sense, but sometimes humans don’t make sense. 

Last week before I left for Austin I hit the goal to end all goals with regards to my submissions. 100!! 🎉🎉🎉

And with that I told myself that was it. I headed to my home away from home and let it go. I was letting it go and truly going to try and ignore all the of that for the duration and of the week, month, and maybe even the year. 

Seven rejections later and I’m so tempted to pick it back up again. It’s like an exercise in futility. 

Last month I became obsessed with compiling not one but two more chapbooks and a full manuscript with my mountain of poems. I worked fervently for a couple of weeks and felt, wait for it.. HAPPY doing what I was doing. It made me excited and hopeful and looking forward to the next day when I would wake up and get back to work. 

When I was finished and satisfied with my work, I did some research and wrote cover letters and submitted them to a few publishers. That was also neat and made me feel like I had accomplished something, however not quite at that same level. 

So far I’ve had one publisher reject both my chapbooks and that’s kind of shitty because it happened so fast. It made me feel like they didn’t even have time to read, contemplate, and compare. They just took my money and said “thanks but no thanks.” So dumb. 

Anyway so maybe it’s the rejection that’s got me down or the fact that I haven’t been able to write anything new for a while now. All I have is the same pile of poems from my MFA that i continue to work over in different ways. 

Maybe I need to jump into some workshops or a class or something. Maybe I need to do something that gives me more of a sense of a purpose than grocery shopping, dishes, and exercise all day. What am I doing with my life??!!

Am I getting somewhere or going nowhere? I need to figure this out but right now I’m outta time. I gotta go cook dinner. Cuz, real life.

Like they say in the biz “put a pin in it”  and we’ll come back to it later. Maybe. 

Never ever my own but forever and always completely yours, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-11-20 Austin Adventure Day 1, 2, 3, 4, & Done ✅

I’ll only be in Austin for one more hot minute and while it’s still fresh, here’s the rundown (for posterity)…

Day 0: Land at the airport and be briskly whisked away by my Texas bestie who wastes no time heading to our traditional first night dinner spot. The District Kitchen. I depart from my norm (ordering a cocktail and cheeseburger) and opt for a cocktail and steak instead. Not a bad call as it was delish. 

After that we head home and have a relaxing night and are in bed early. 😊

Day 1(Wednesday): I hide out in the master guest suite until the kids are taken to school and my friend is back at home. She makes me avocado toast for breakfast and also reserves a tennis court for us for 11:am. This is strange to me as we have plenty of open courts in omaha and I’ve never had to make a reservation at a club. 

We volley the ball for about an hour and a half and then enjoy lunch at a cute restaurant where we sit outside. This time I ordered the cheeseburger. Cuz… it’s what I do. 🤷‍♀️

When we arrive home I get cleaned up and go for the ride-along to pick up the kids. 

We leave shortly after arriving home to meet another friend out for a drink and sushi dinner. I can’t recall the name of any of the places we went to, which is definitely part of the “letting go” that was a primary goal of this trip. 

We’re not really out that late and go to bed early (again). I realize this makes me sound old, but at the same time I don’t care because it also makes me happy.

Day 2(Thursday): Spa day. I actually had to set an alarm because Rebecca wanted to go early to our day spa destination to take advantage of the saunas and tubs before our treatment. The spa was a 45 minute drive and we spent about 4 hours there. I had a massage and facial and we walked the grounds and down to the river and also had lunch. It all made me feel really spoiled and pampered and relaxed. It also made me wonder if there’s anything like that in Omaha?? 🤔

On this day we did not have to pick up the kids and basically ordered take-out from a Tex mex place for dinner and sat on her back deck and watched the sunset. It was a little meh, but obvi I can’t complain!! I had less than 6K steps all day which is the lowest in a long while.

Day 3(Friday): There really was no plan except for the fact that we wanted to counter the laziness of Spa day with more activity. 

We had scrambled egg and bacon breakfast tacos and headed out to the Hamilton Pool … which is not actually a pool but a nature location with trails and lake water people sometimes swim in (swimming closed because of Covid). We hiked both trails and it was neat, but mostly good for the conversation as the scenery was nothing special. One of the trails ends at the water with a large rock overhang that had water cascading off of it. That was super neat but we weren’t allowed to explore as most of of that was off limits.

After this we went back home to clean up as we decided to hit another one of our regular spots which is a winery that is right next door to a fantastic Italian restaurant. I ordered my standard pork chop with Brussel sprouts and after, we walked over to the winery and got a glass of wine to enjoy at a table outside. 

Since we ate so late that day, we didn’t really get dinner. Just rummaged the refrigerator for leftovers from the previous meals out. Since I almost  never eat all my food I had like 4 things to choose from. 😜

We spent that evening playing card games with the kids and drinking from the bottles of wine we bought on the way home from our lunch outing. Then once the kids went to bed we settled into chatting about all sorts of different topics. It’s nice to have people who know your history and conversation that’s just effortless. This was probably my latest night up, but I was still in bed by 11:30. Lame by comparison to previous visits, but again.. I don’t care. 

Day 4(Saturday): I slept in and kept to my own space until about 10:am at which time we had a quick breakfast with the kids and played a few more card games. Once the kids were tired of that and went off to do their own things, Rebecca and I got dressed and went for a neighborhood walk. She promised me there was a Hindi temple within walking distance and it was actually super close to her place. We’d been on walks on visits before and had never seen it so it was striking when we rounded the bend and there it was!!

Clearly this was the most visually stimulating adventure of the week as it is where I took the most pictures!

When we got back home I decided it was time to rest and pack a little bit and then didn’t come out of my room again until it was time for lunch. She offered to cook but I opted for leftovers again because I didn’t want the food to go to waste. This was about the time I started feeling a little sad I have to leave soon but also that I’ve seen and done enough and don’t want to interject myself into more of their family time.

Us three adults had one more round of the card game, which I dominated 😜, and then I headed back up the stairs one last time to collect my things for the drive to the airport. 

Sad to be leaving but happy to be headed home. 

All in all it was a wonderful visit and the weather the entire time was amazing. Clear skies, little to no wind (except on day one when our tennis was happening), and no precipitation. Temps were between 50 and 70 the entire time.

It’s the perfect time of the season to visit. Not sure when I’ll be back after writing this, I hope I can make it happen more regularly like I used to now that the pandemic is (mostly) behind us.

***

My goals this trip were to, as I said, let go, but also relax, catch up with a good friend, and do enough thinking and recharging to come home with a clear head and fresh perspective on life. I believe I have done that and am ready to be home, back in my own space.

Perfect timing since the plane just touched down in Houston and I have only one more flight to go to get there. 

Peace and Love from Texas, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-11-11 Doing Something is Better than Doing Nothing

My husband Jim had said several days ago that I should “wait a week” and see how I feel. Ok. 

Two nights ago I talked with him again and he’s come around to my line of thinking. He said that he will support me in my decision to see a counselor/therapist. Honestly, I don’t even know the difference between a counselor and a therapist but it might not matter. Does it matter? I guess the bigger question now is who. 

I mentioned previously that I have friends that see people and have had good experiences with them so that is the most logical place to start. One of those folks lives far away and so her person is probably out as I believe I am in need of some real, face-to-face conversation. Another friend who is local told me about her person and that is definitely a viable option. I found her practice on the internet last night and sent an inquiry via email. We’ll see where that goes. 

This morning I told Jim at breakfast that I was also discontinuing use of the thyroid medication. Yes, it was prescribed by a physician based on lab tests (a slightly low Free Triodothyronine), but my lab level was soooo borderline that he (Jim) had originally discouraged me from taking it. He had said to try just the testosterone for now and see if that has any positive effect first, before adding a second variable into the mix. But I was so desperate to get some relief from my chronic symptoms, I didn’t care. The thyroid med seemed (on paper) to be the perfect pairing and would zero in on some of the lethargy I constantly feel. Plus boost my metabolism which also sounded super enticing because I have also been dealing with weight gain lately. 

So why stop? Well, I didn’t exactly tell Jim “you were right” and he didn’t exactly say back to me “I told you so” but in a roundabout way, that’s it. I have been feeling different and in some ways it is good but in others it is worse and damnit if it is tough to know if it is the testosterone or the thyroid. One clue is likely the changes in my body temperature. That’s something I don’t remember feeling the last time I tried the testosterone so I’m fairly confident the heat I’m feeling is from the thyroid med. 

I’m a little bit in denial that that temperature issue could be a pre-menopause, hot flash thing. I still don’t think I am there yet. In my heart I believe that because I was such a late bloomer as far as puberty is concerned that my body clock is just slow and that all that “change” nonsense will not happen for me for a while. In fact, my lab tests do show that to be the case as my girlie hormones are still right where they would be for a woman who is still technically able to bear children. 

The last lab test I had indicated that now that same lab is high. So maybe I should not discontinue taking it but reduce the dose?? That is something I’m going to continue to think about but one thing I do know for certain is that I’m not going back to that doctor. I really did not like him and the only reason I went there was because there are very few places in town that do testosterone therapy on women. My fall back is to go to my OBGYN who also does it. It has been a while since I’ve gone there anyhow so I’m probably overdue for my annual visit.

Anyway, that’s where things stand for my physical and mental health and no matter what, I think doing “something” and not “nothing” actually also makes me feel better. Like I’m trying to take control of things, even if a lot of it feels very outside of my control.

When Jim originally told me to “wait a week” all I could think about was that a week from then, I was going to be getting on a plane to go to Austin and of course.. OF COURSE.. that would make me feel better. I’m not going to do house chores for 5 days AND I get to hang out with my bestie and walk her property which is peaceful and calming and have a total spa day that she has planned for us at some fancy retreat sort of a place. It will be like taking a girls trip but we are actually just staying at her place. It’s been my home away from home for years and I’ve missed going because of the pandemic and also because of all the other changes in my life the last couple of years. 

Today, after I’m satisfied with this “me” time I’m going to turn my attention to the lit mag. We are getting ready to release our 5th issue and our arts and crafts person has been busy putting together the full issue. I do the pages in wordpress and she has final say on the artwork and then puts all the content together in a stunning PDF. If at all possible, I would like to get it wrapped up and released into the wild world before I leave for Texas next Tuesday. I think it is totally possible as long as we are able to collaborate on the finishing touches and she’s satisfied with the final product. Fingers crossed. 

On that note.. It is time to wrap this up and get to work. 

With sugar and spice and everything nice,

~Miss SugarCookie