2021-09-19 And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack…

And you may find yourself in another part of the world

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

And you may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

I’m going to leave the past in the past and the future in the future today. I’m not going to let my mind wander into Tuesday or Wednesday or the end of the month. I want to focus on today and this moment and how I’m feeling, which is grateful and at peace with life. Today it’s all ok.

Today I went with my husband to take his dad to the grocery. His dad is in his 80s and doesn’t drive anymore. He’s full of vinegar and has lots of stories to tell. This morning was the one about the first time he had to be in charge of the ER in whatever rural community he served as a young physician. 

He was Twenty-five and nearing the end of that first rotation. It was the end of a long shift and a man came into the ER asking to borrow a wheelchair. As the conversation unfolded it turns out he shot his wife.

After that the story being told turns into a longer explanation of how the man came to be in that rural area with this woman, the truth of which is questionable. They had just gotten married and were driving to meet his family in Gretna Nebraska.

Whatever the full story was, it lead to the moment when he shoots the woman… to keep her from being hysterical? She’s hysterical because she’s just found out he’s already married with a family. Whoa!!

In my head I’m thinking “so he shot her on purpose??!!” But the punchline to the story was actually that the bullet hit some part of her insides that somehow saved her life. 

“An inch to the left and she’d have been dead immediately.” Is how that story ends. And that’s it.

He proceeds to ask me if I know what a store is called that only sells women’s hats. And then tells me the answer which I promptly forgot as he moved on to telling some other story about some shop in Ireland. I’m guessing it was a hat store, but I can’t be sure. 

Our trip to the market was uneventful and after returning home we saddled up the bikes and made a beeline for our favorite trail—around Lake Wehrspann. 

It was an ok ride but ohhhh the wind!! 

My Fitbit recorded that we rode for 33 minutes and I burned 171 calories with an average heart rate of 116 bpm. 

After that we drove to First Watch where I had brunch which was about 1000 calories (at least). Yeah… that’s about right. 

Stepping on the scale this morning I had gained two pounds since yesterday and the only way that makes sense is that I’m retaining water. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😜

I might try that intermittent fasting thing again this week. I’m also going to make a serious push to reduce my caffeine this week and am going to abstain from coffee. I’m going to do it. I really am! 

In other news, I’m back up to 40 active submissions. This means that I’ve got essays and poems under consideration with 40 different publishers. My goal is to be up to 50 by the end of the month. 

A few months ago I said that I was going to begin submitting to more “reputable” places. So far I feel as if I’ve failed to do that. It’s because my confidence has waned and also because, for some reason, it’s easier to just keep doing what I have been doing. Most of the journals I come across in the Submittable platform are fledgling, just like The Good Life Review. 

I’ve already gone on too long or I’d dive head first into describing the algorithm I created to “score” a publisher with a set of weighted criteria. Perhaps that should be where I start tomorrow? But I’m not thinking about tomorrow, remember??!! 😂

In any case. It remains to be seen.

All will be revealed in time. 

Once in a lifetime, 

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. Title and opening lines by the Talking Heads. Such a great song.

2021-09-10 What’s New for Little Miss S?

What a doozie?! What’s up? What’s down? What repeats and goes round and round?… 

“Little Miss S in a mini-dress”

What can I say? I’m a hot mess this week. Physically, mentally, emotionally. Monday was a holiday and I was already so done with “taking care” of the household I just wanted to be left alone. So when Tuesday arrived and everyone else had to go back to work and school I felt relief but was already a day behind on my work week and that caused me to be super grumpy. 

Litter boxes, laundry, dishes, cats, cleaning, cooking, groceries, trash. And a few “honey could you please” requests from my darling husband on his way out the door. 

All needing to be done by 2pm so I could make it to yet another doctors appointment. Another new doctor, for yet another professional assessment of what the hell is wrong with me. 

The symptoms? Afternoon fatigue (bordering on sheer exhaustion), brain fog, lack of motivation, low libido, waves of sadness, unexpected spikes of anger. What’s new? None of that but in the past few weeks a new physical symptom has been added to the list. 

My right hand and fingers go numb and tingly for no apparent reason. Or at least it seems like no reason. It happens and then I move about a little bit and shake it out until it goes away. Quite literally thinking of T-Swift’s song “Shake it off” right now. 

I deal with this new development lightly on my own for about a week and then consult the doc. My doc. His quick assessment is that I’ve got compressed discs C6 and C7 is what I think he said. He shows me a diagram about how the nerves in your hand are connected to the spine and when those discs are “pinched” it’s just like cutting off the circulation. 

This makes a lot of sense to me. Sometimes it goes all the way to my pinky finger and I think that’s C8, but mostly it’s my thumb and palm and first two fingers. And also predominantly my right hand.

He’s quick to this assessment because he also has compressed discs which he’s told me for years will eventually require surgery. Surgery of the spine? No thanks!! 

Right now he treats his own issues with traction. It’s an apparatus hanging in the bathroom on the closet door and it’s self administered. He urges me to try it and shows me how.

It operates with a weight and pulley system. The weight is a bag of water you can adjust easily and that’s connected by a wire to some straps you fit around your noggin to pull you head up when you let go of the safety bar. The idea is pulling apart the spine gently thereby releasing the pressure caused by compression. 

Five minutes, once a day and it should help. Unless you are me and you don’t hear the part about five minutes and you start with too much water in the bag. I didn’t feel it right away, but it totally fucked my neck up in one shot. 

That was Monday or Tuesday and so by Wednesday I was in serious pain and could hardly move my head around at all. Especially side to side. Then Wednesday night it got so bad it messed with my sleep and I hardly slept at all. This resulted in Thursday (yesterday) being an absolute shit show.

After scrambling at the beginning of the week trying to get caught up on chores, I had naturally pushed some meet-ups and to-do items down the line and all this culminated in the perfect storm of misery. I literally could not make it to 9am before I started panicking and cancelling and self administered pep-talks about how it was going to be ok. 

The first casualty was my dad who I have been trying to visit on Thursdays on a regular basis. I pushed that to the weekend. Then it was J who I promised to play pickleball with but have been putting off for several weeks now, and then finally… when I realized I needed sleep and would not be able to make it through the evening without a nap, I dipped on my friend M, who I was going to take tomatoes and salsa. 

Now I’m on a steroid for my pain and my hand and, like I said, waiting for my next follow up doctor’s appointment to get the results of the labs taken on Tuesday. Hopefully there’s a clue there. But I honestly doubt it. I’ve had all these labs, thyroid, hormones, cmp, etc done before (about a year ago) and it was all normal. 

I might try to log into the patient portal of that last office to get those labs so I can see how these compare. Modern medicine… good grief! 

I’ve got other stories to tell. Lots more on my mind suddenly but the day is waiting and all the nonsense this week has caused me to be dreadfully far behind. 

Stay Frosty My Friends! 

~Little Miss SugarCookie in a Mini-Dress

PS. I’m not at all like the little Miss S in that New Bohemian’s song. The lyric just works cuz I love mini-dresses. 🤷‍♀️

2021-02-17 Having an Out-of-Body Without Ever Leaving My Body

It’s another random ordinary Wednesday and there’s once again not a single noteworthy thing I have to contribute. Not a thought in my head worthy of writing about for the gazilllionth time. 

Late yesterday I ingested some citrus ginseng fizz I bought from a newish acquaintance of mine whose business is selling these Earth friendly health products. I’ve spent a fair bit of coin on protein powder, energy boosters, body washes and hair gels from her and this company. It’s part of my plan to try and live a healthier lifestyle and also be a better caretaker of our planet.

No matter, as that’s not relevant to my point. But this citrus ginseng powder which I mixed into water and drank about 6pm has caffeine. I think that’s what resulted in me being wide awake at 10pm.

At 10 Pm I was laying in my bed unable to fall asleep and thinking about all sorts of things including how much of a broken record I always am with my writing. I mean really thinking. 

Like I’m watching the needle on the track as it spins, a little swing arm with a tiny bit of metal digging into a groove on a piece of rotating black plastic. I zoomed in and saw the smallest wavering as the rectangular head holding the needle was moved by the imperfections of the spinning vinyl.

Round and round with each rotation ending in a small, almost imperceptible click and jump, back to the beginning of that same track. I zoomed in a little more to confirm what I was seeing. Sure enough, there it was, over and over. Click……..click…….click. How had I missed this before? Why did I think that the song had been changing? After all this time, it’s still the same song. I remember thinking it’s a good song but how can this be?

I thought about how to get to a new song. I mean, really get unstuck and find a new track, and that only led to a terrible scratching sound like fingernails across a chalkboard. Cliche I know! But that’s exactly the feeling. That sound and shiver you might do anything to avoid if you knew it was about to happen. All of a sudden I’m staring at a girl with pointy polished nails positioning her fingers precariously at the top of the blackboard. I say,“DONT.”

Turning my attention back to the record player, I balanced the swing arm on the tip of my index finger, not allowing it to move a centimeter in any direction, record spinning benieth it. I held it in place as I held my breath waiting for whatever was going to happen next.

This moment was one infantesimal moment in the grand orchestra of time. 

In a way I felt paralyzed by the math of it. For every possible move, an incalculable number of outcomes: actions, reactions, and ripples of consequence. In the biz we call this paralysis from over analysis which is something I’ve often been afflicted by.

An unseen amount of time passed as I sat there, hovering above the earth somewhere inexplicable. Where could I possibly be that neither the moon nor the sun were in view? The earth, a powder blue orb, was in front of me and a field of stars far behind. Defying the lack of gravity, my finger still balanced the swing arm of the record player. I would have asked (of no one) “how on Earth is this happening?” But I wasn’t on Earth anymore so the question seemed entirely irrelevant.

Is this a joke? I thought. Some sort of a test? Some survivor challenge I forgot I entered? Some random episode of Punkd? My finger began to cramp and suddenly the weight of the swing arm became a concern. How long could I hold this position? I’d have to decide what to do soon.

As the muscles in my forearm began to tense and quiver I conjured a conductor. This moment, as small as it was in the grand scheme, was too big for me to navigate on my own. An invisible index finger slipped under my index finger, helping me hold the needle in place and I immediately felt relief.

The song that had never stopped playing returned to my ear. I didn’t move but the scene surrounding me was transformed back to the familiar room I sleep in. I stared at the record player, my finger miraculously still balancing the arm that held the needle that dug its pin point into that familiar groove. I slowly pulled my aching finger away, curled it back into my palm with my other fingers, and pressed my thumb around it. The song never missed a beat. 

***

This was all very strange, considering that I don’t even own a record player.

With 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

2020-11-26 Rock Out With Your Turkey Out

I’m cooking the traditional today, for the 3 or so other people who also live here and want to partake. 3 people with picky palates and tummies and are used to getting exactly what they want and when. Today.. at the Castle, I’m making it all about me. I’m cooking food that I like to eat and will serve it when I want to eat it. And I’m not doing any ducking dishes when I’m done. None!

Zip, zero, zilch!

And since we are having holiday dinner Miss SugarCookie style, there will be no salad, veggies, or casserole. Efffff that noise.

I mean, I love me a mean broccoli-cheese casserole or veg tray with a savory dill dip but why not skip it and make more room for pie. Yes, there are only 4 of us here today but I bought two pies. Pumpkin and apple. Hey, ho, let’s go.

Say Yo?! What’s up with the voice today? The tone, the attitude? Must be the caffeine. Oh yeah, and imma have coffee today too and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Say Yo?! Do you ever feel like you’re just walking along having a conversation with yourself? Heh. Me too. 😏

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Productive despite not getting exercise or eating right. My four stats, in case you’re the newest member of the team and don’t know yet, are sleep, Exercise, productivity/mood, and healthy eating. I was going to say that since keeping track again I’ve not yet hit a day where I “achieved” my goal in all four categories but I just flipped back through the book I’m using to keep track and there have actually been 3 days where I hit 4 out of 4. 💃💃💃💃

November 6, 16, and 23rd. Despite the really rotten days, this is actually encouraging. That’s why it’s good to keep track. It’s also good to have days that you just toss into the wind, throw your hands in the air and tell the world that you just don’t care.

Say Yo? Guess what else? Two nights ago I did my first real honest to goodness public poetry reading. For realz. Now for some people I can guess that this is no big deal but for this SugarCookie it’s a BIG DILL.

Blog intermission: There should be a pickle emoji. Why is there no pickle emoji? Somebody needs to get on that.

One of the poems I read was “Cake at the Castle” which has several layers of meaning (pun intended) but people would not understand the layers unless they know me. I mean really know me. I’d like to imagine a scenario where I’m surrounded by all my favorite people and I read that poem and it makes them all smile. Not just for the attitude, but because they get it. They get me.

On the surface, it’s a fun poem, lamenting about hating cake, which is true. I don’t care for cake and when folks made a good god damned big deal about the cake that would be served at my first wedding I did not have the words to explain how much I did not care about the cake. I also didn’t really care much for all the wedding and reception planning, decisions, decor, food, yadda-yadda. I just wanted to focus on finishing my associates degree so I could  run away to Vegas with my love, which is where he was stationed in the Air Force and where we would live for the first two years of our marriage.

Fast forward 25 years and I’m getting married again and I STILL don’t care about cake. It’s just like it says the lines of the poem. But with this go round I had to make all the decisions and do all the planning because there was no future MIL who was going to do it all for me.

I literally waited till the last possible minute and ended up ordering from the grocery store down the block. I mean, I suppose I could have had pie, but in the end I realized I DID want that tall display and to stand beside my love, shoving a piece of stupid cake in his mouth. Oh for the love of a moment.

That’s what’s on the surface, of the poem. Dig deeper with some of the other lines though and one would have to know me and that one of my favorite bands is Cake. There was a time in my life where I crossed the line from fan to fanatic. I mean, as much as one can with a life of responsibility.

I traveled to watch them play live and collected stories about my failed attempts  to bring home a free tree to plant in my yard. I’d get drunk at parties and tell people all about how I had failed but was analyzing their selection process and figuring out how best to get their (the bands) attention the next time so I could win a free tree. 

I even participated in the music video experiment they orchestrated with fans around 2010/2011 for their song, “The Winter.” I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before. I’m in the video for a fraction of a second.

A fraction of a second of fame is all I’ll ever squeeze out of this life. But I’m satisfied.

But that’s just the middle layer of the poem. Going deeper requires an understanding of my connection to the Cake song referenced in the poem, “I Bombed Korea.” And here, my friends, is where the meaning is mired in the mind(s)—the intersection of my introspection and the interpretation by other interested minds peering in, drawing conclusions from their own experiences. Mysterious roads leading to mysterious places. So mysterious, in fact, that sometimes even I don’t know the deeper meaning of a poem I have written. Here are the full lyrics of the song: 

I bombed Korea every night.
My engine sang into the salty sky.
I didn’t know if I would live or die.
I bombed Korea every night.
I bombed Korea every night.
I bombed Korea every night.
Red flowers bursting down below us.
Those people didn’t even know us.
We didn’t know if we would live or die.
We didn’t know if it was wrong or right.
I bombed Korea every night.
And so I sit here at this bar.
I’m not a hero.
I’m not a movie star.
I’ve got my beer.
I’ve got my stories to tell,
But they won’t tell you what it’s like in hell.
Red flowers bursting down below us.
Those people didn’t even know us.
We didn’t know if we would live or die.
We didn’t know if it was wrong or right.
We didn’t know if we would live or die.
I bombed Korea every night.

I really dig that song. 

It never fails to amaze me, when I do this—Analyze one of my own poems and find some other meaning. Or return to one years later, reading with a fresh perspective and uncover a different spin on it. The deeper meaning hidden in “Cake at the Castle” shifts as my life shifts, though it has only been a year or so since it was born. I listen to the song today while walking the treadmill and am filled again with that “fuck yeah” feeling. Freedom. Don’t even get me started on not knowing if what you’re doing is wrong or right or being in the midst of life and just doing what it is you are “supposed” to do. Or telling stories about it, years later and knowing that the stories don’t do justice to the original experience in either meaning or implication. 

Kind of like me writing about setting up my camera and tripod at the kids’s elementary school park and shooting video of myself singing a few lines of the cake song, “The Winter” with the hope of making it into their music video. You just can’t know what that really meant to me. 

Say Yo?! So what’s a girl to do? I gush. I rush. I crush. And I mush and mash potatoes. Bake bread. Serve stuffing from the stove top. Yeah, that’s the only kind of Thanksgiving dinner I’ve cared for since I was just nineteen. 

Anyhow, that’s enough wandering for one day. Time now, to get that bird in the oven. 

With Peace an Gratitude,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-11-05 Nothing New to Say Thursday

Day 7 without a good nights sleep. It’s sort of like having a newborn without having to breastfeed. You go a little cray-cray after a while. I find myself being irritated at small things. I find myself giving up on stuff too easily. I’m walking a lot to try and compensate.

I try to take naps. Three days this week so far I’ve forced myself to lay down and try and sleep in the afternoon. I maybe have gotten 20 minutes sleep tops if anything and I would say I wake up feeling more tired because I didn’t really get a full restorative cycle. Damnit Janet!

What else? What can I possibly write about that is different?


I’ve literally been walking for 15 minutes listening to random music on shuffle. I have nothing to say.

So here are a few brief glimpses of what I’m thinking based on the music in my ears:

Lemonheads (insert any song from “Come on and Feel”): Reminds me about the better parts of my life in Vegas. 20 years old, laying outside by my apartment on the patio or at the pool playing super Mario or Tetris on my game boy. I must have listened to that album a gazillion times. The relentless sun warming my pale skin. Ignorant of the world and free from responsibility, it was a carefree, albeit fairly lonely time.

R.E.M. (any song): Elicits a strange mix of memories from both my ex husband and the maddest crush I had in HS, Scott. He doesn’t go by that name now. He’s used his middle name, Christian, for so long Most folks probably don’t know his real given first name. Last I heard he was a professor at Stanford. He had it all going for him in HS. The brains, the hair, the eyes, the shoes. When we were seniors I lived across the street from him. Yeah, serious wonder years kind of shit. I’m sure my journals from that time are full of fluff about that boy.

Both he and my ex were fans of REM and as such, I too became a fan. There are a lot of songs and bands I’ve liked in the past that I elect to skip now when they come up. But not R.E.M. I never skip them.

Blue October it depends on the song. Some of them are solid Joshua. Joshua the first time I fell for him. And oh the irony because he hated Blue October.

Yeah, I was reeled in by that guy twice. I don’t think there was music associated the second time around.

Arcade Fire: Is Jackson and the residency we spent in adjacent rooms, knocking on the wall good morning and good night. He would wander over to my room to nom on my snacks late in the day. That’s when he introduced me to the band.

He’s literally half my age and I just enjoyed listening to him talk. Partially for his enthusiasm and fresh ideas and partially because it reminded me how glad I’m not that age anymore.

Counting Crows: There’s a lot from this band that comes up but I don’t think I associate them with any person, place, or experience. Perhaps there are one or two songs that elicit certain thought, like Murder of One, which kind of reminds me of the end of my marriage. “You don’t want to waste tour life now darlin / change change change.”

And possibly that time near the end when my sisters and I did a road trip to Chicago to sight see and go to their concert. That was a fun weekend. Oh the stories.

Ohhhhh “Separate Lives” by Phil Collins is an interesting one. It reminds me of my parents and how I imagine their relationship would have been after their divorce. The male and female vocals, the conversational lyrics, and the hope at the end of the song that they would someday be “looking in each other’s eyes”. Probably projecting my own hope for my parents.

Maroon 5 belongs to Matt as do the Foo Fighters.

Sheryl Crow is also Vegas.

Dave Mathews is another strange mix, reminding me of both a guy I dated for a hot minute and an ex-boss who both were really into the band. The guy is a good guy that I’m still friends with on FB but I ended up hating my ex boss so much that I literally can’t listen to Dave Mathews without getting angry so I always skip those songs. Always. And I’m never getting over that.

Kelly Clarkson reminds me of watching American Idol. Haha.

Taylor Swift always makes me happy. Reminds me of my strength as an independent woman. There’s a few songs that remind me of Matt but mostly the power I found putting my life back together after our relationship ended and I was finally “Clean.”

Now I’m just fast forwarding through songs to see how long it takes for Jason Mraz to come up. There’s a point in my life I hijacked like every one of his songs off the inter-webs and my library literally has hundreds of songs from albums and live recordings. It’s an anomaly none has come up in the shuffle.

Upon further investigation, it appears that the music library on my phone currently has zero MR.AZ. This will have to be remedied in short order after my treadmill time is done. 

Jason, of course, reminds me of my friend Vis. As does David Ford and Death Cab for Cutie. All in the best ways. The one negative song. “Wish List” by Pearl Jam will forever be a scar on my brain from the night I realized he was truly going to pursue another girl over staying with me. My heart broke that night and kept on breaking for weeks. Years would go by before I could listen to that song again without getting upset. Strange how music has that kind of power over our minds.

I think that’s enough random shuffle memories for…. A long time! 😉 

No News is Good News.. I Guess, 🤷‍♀️
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-05-16 Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright

Bob Marley got it right.

Three Little Birds is just one of those iconic songs from my past that returns to my mind again again in new situations and brings with it the history that my brain has attached to it. And despite all the hurt I’ve ever experienced, and negative nostalgia attached with some of those times, the song still makes me smile.

It’s like those words are untouchable. untarnishable, and timeless. That’s when you know something is truly golden. The return and remembrance and power to evoke thoughts and, bigger still.. feelings.

The first time I heard that song was in high school at a house party that my friend Danielle threw while her parents were out of town. Danielle was the youngest of 7 children and she was born on Christmas Day. Her parents were strict and very religious. But I suppose having 7 kids would wear anyone down to turning a blind eye to unwanted teenage antics. Like throwing parties when you are out of town.

I was a goodie-two-shoes and didn’t drink, save for a wine cooler or two. And the “getting drunk” was something I didn’t understand. I remember sitting with people I didn’t know and that song came on and I just sat and listened to the words as the conversation swirled around me. It was a beautiful moment.

That’s all I remember but I still have a picture someone took (probably me) of my friend standing next to the open refrigerator like Vanna White proudly displaying all the adult beverages. I can count on one hand the number of house parties I went to in high school. Yup.. that’s just how it was for me.

I also remember hearing the song when I was dating my first boyfriend and I knew the song and he knew it too so it was a connection for us. It reminds me of falling in love. And like I said, despite all the hurt he’s caused me over the years what I feel when I hear that song is our falling in love. That’s incredible.

I sang the song to my babies when they were babies and remember the overstuffed rocking recliner I bought to nurse them in their room. Quiet moments in the early morning filled with love for them and also hope that they would go back to sleep for a little while longer. I don’t connect it with the colic or crying.. just peace and quiet.

Now, as this pandemic wrecks havoc on our lives, I have had the occasion to think about that song and find peace in it.

More info than anyone needs to know, but Jim and I have a chalkboard in our master bathroom and right now I’ve got that iconic line “every little thing gonna be alright” written out with a pic of a tiny bird sitting on a branch.

Every time I see it, it makes me smile. It also makes me think.. I should draw two more little birds to round out the trio. But then I don’t.

This morning I woke with the rising sun. The sunrise was absolutely amazing, from what I could see from our east facing windows (not a great view because of the trees and the position of our house in the neighborhood). The house was quiet and the only other life awake in that moment were the birds outside and the cats.

I tried to get a picture and then retreated back to the living room for a little quiet time alone with my thoughts. Besides that song, the other words that are repeating in my head right now are “this too shall pass”.

The pandemic will end. Life will go back to normal. We will all be affected by what has happened in big and small ways and probably normal life will be a little different too. But in the end, every little thing IS going to be all right.

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The answer (right now) is now.

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

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

Peace and Love and Music, 🎶
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-24 A New Setlist to Help Me Cope with Un-Planning

Yesterday I had this poem knocking on my door and I was like “just a second, I gotta check my messages”. I got distracted by the day.

The same poem knocked again later in the day but when I opened the door I found only echo and silence. And that’s when I know I’m still doing this wrong.

When the poem knocks I should go running and beg it to come inside. I should drop everything and pay attention. Yes, it’s not always possible, because .. life. But what happened yesterday was avoidable. I should have made a different choice.

Especially since I’ve barely written a thing in months. You know, except for these words. I wrote what I thought was a poem on 4/20 and looked at it again last night and was like. Nope. That’s not anything but some abstractions on a page.

That’s all I have to say about that right now.

I sometimes listen to the same music/artist/playlist over and over for weeks and this morning I thought it was time for a change. I created a new playlist called “Girls Only Club”. It’s comprised of all my favorite female artists (the ones already in my music library anyway). So that’s what I’m jamming to this morning on my treadmill.

The selections range from high-school fav the Bangles to my 20’s favorites, Alannis and Avril (and I didn’t really like Avril all that much but she’s in my library). All the way to my most recent crush, T. Swift (who I’ve liked since she switched from country to pop and I’ve got 3 full albums plus a single). There is representation by Sara Barellies and Lady Gaga of course. Truth is, I don’t have a lot of female artists in my library. It’s like 5 or 6 to 1. 🤔

I should have been waking up in Minnesota this morning but our travel plans were thwarted by the Covid. It’s the first of several plans that have been crushed. My daughters prom has come and gone and her graduation is the next cancelled event. It’s not exactly canceled of course. Just rescheduled.

The virtual event will be happening May 10th and the real thing is tentatively July 10th. I hope beyond hope that things are better by then.

In June we had tickets to see Elton John in Des Moines, Iowa. That may or may not happen. My summer residency has been moved to an all-online/remote format and I’m electing not to be official at that, which defers my graduation until December.

In July my daughter and I also had a trip planned which has not been cancelled yet. I just need some good news, you know. There’s just so much upset, and it’s all political, and I can’t stand that. I can’t stand that decisions are being made because it’s what’s best for the economy. And that the health and safety of the people is a secondary consideration.

I don’t know if that’s true, and I’m sure it’s circumstantial, but that’s the way it seems.

I guess I’m just so personally torn, but it’s because there’s no actual “plan”. The people in charge are just making shit up as they go along based on the info they are given and this event is unprecedented so it’s hard to know right now what’s a mistake and what’s not.

But people getting so riled up and protesting and making it a political decision and not one based on science feels wrong.

And if President Trump would just finish out his term without talking, that would be good. That idiot says so many really stupid things. He will go down in history as the most you-tubed president of all time because of his inability to speak like a coherent human, his demeanor, and just the sheer number of dumb things that he has said on camera.

I would say “what an embarrassment for America”, but that ship sailed long ago.

That’s it for today, folks. Time to get cracking.

XOXO,
~Miss SugarCookie

2019-12-30 MFA Res Day 2 – On Music and Magic and Math

The song “Straighter Pilot” by Snow Patrol was in my head when I woke up. It’s not one of their more popular songs. It’s kinda quirky and kinda nerdy and truly atypical compared to the rest of their body of work.

It’s a good reminder of what you can do with the freedom that comes with success. Maybe success is not the right word. Maybe it’s experience. You do a thing long enough, you are bound to gain acclaim, or at least a reputation. That history, that putting in the time, is like building credit up in the bank of life. You earn the right to flip a script or two. Perhaps it’s less about earning the right as it is acquiring a sense of not giving a fuck. “I’ve done all that you asked of me, and now I’m going to do what I damn well please.”

I’m as sure about that phenomenon with my own life as I am that it probably has nothing to do with the composition and execution of Starfighter Pilot. Things are often not what they appear and you don’t ever really know. No person can be in the head of any other person (thank the universe).

That last bit was part of the intro to a lecture I went to yesterday which turned out to be a discussion about the difference between speculative thinking and writing and magical thinking and writing. It was a fascinating lecture and it concluded with the person giving the lecture using his own story as an example. It left me teary. Not a surprise.

I became teary a couple times yesterday. No full-on crying, but it’s there, somewhere inside building it’s gumption and energy. A sticky ball rolling and picking up artifacts as it goes. It started as a little walnut and now it’s got tinfoil and bits of umbrella stuck to it and it’s about the size of a tennis ball. It’s lodged somewhere deep in my body cavity at the moment. No where near my heart or my throat. Its nestled next to my spleen, teetering back and forth with indecision and mounting momentum. It’s preparing to begin rolling again. A thing that’s as inevitable as the sun rising.

I will say, it’s nice here, with the sun still sleeping and this reliable treadmill. I guess that’s what I mean about balance. There has to be sleep and a return to center to counter what happens with the unpredictability of every day.

I suppose one theory about why people I’m centuries past didn’t live as long as they do I’m today’s day and age. When there’s so much volatility around just acquiring basic needs.. sleep, food, shelter, the body and mind have no time to reset and that ages a person pretty rapidly. Modern medicine plays in of course, but I think balance it the bigger factor by a wide margin.

There’s acute occurrences that can now be overcome, but life is long. The chronic condition of being human is what we have to live with from the day we are born.

Right now the shuffle (which I’ve invited the Universe to dictate for my time here) is feeding Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York”. Now there’s an artist with so much experience and talent that she’s able to re-invent herself again and again AND find success. An extraordinary example of an artist that has it figured out.

It feels as though there must be some equation that translates the speculative into the magical. What, oh what, are the variables and constants? What are the multipliers and factors that subtract? Does one approach it with the FOIL method or as a proof? Is it largely geometric or does algebra take over? Can it be elementary or does one need to grasp quantum physics to crack the code and unravel the mystery?

Perhaps the secret is in the letting go of expectations. That sounds like a task of which I’m completely capable of doing. Im going to roll with that.

Speaking of rolling, the sun is about to come up and that ball inside me is gearing up for the day. My hour is up anyway.

Balance + Experience + Being Open = Magic and Longevity

~Miss SugarCookie