2020-07-30 Thursday Status Update

According to my FitBit I’m supposed to be getting my period today. I mean, it’s not 8am, but it hasn’t happened yet. I put myself in a holding pattern waiting for that sweet release, which is typically followed by a leveling of my emotions— the amplitude of the wave hovers closer to the resting point.

I’ve learned to wait for it. I’ve learned that whatever it is that makes me want to scream or cry might be irrationally inflated by my hormones. It’s actually a lesson that I’ve tried to teach my kids as well. I mean, obviously my son doesn’t have a monthly cycle, but he does have teenage hormones which can wreck havoc on the emotions. I teach that we should try to be in tune with our bodies and recognize that we can be in control of our anger and sadness and yes, even excitement.

Practically speaking, this is one of those things that’s fairly easy to talk about and teach but a lot more difficult to do in practice. I still struggle. I always have to remind myself that whatever I’m feeling is influenced, at least a little, by my hormones. This is why I was waiting for another week before revisiting the question of whether or not I should quit my job. Just a few more days and I’ll be in tip-top condition to make a clear-headed decision.

Good Gawd, I make myself out like an irrational head-case. That’s really not how it is. I mean, it’s not a Jekyll and Hyde sort of thing. It’s just my wanting to not make any big decision with just a snap.

Frankly there’s also a lot of variables factoring into this equation that are outside of my control and could change at any moment. For example, if my sons school decides that the students will not be meeting in person at the school for instruction then I would almost certainly need to quit my job in order to ensure that he’s successful this year.

Last spring was a complete disaster. There is just not enough time in the day for me to work the amount of hours that are required by my job and also maintain the household and successfully manage the schooling of the children. Flat out not possible.

Pile on all the side projects and other things I want to do with my life. Pile on the lit mag, my reading and writing, exercise, and just enjoying life. Feels like a no-brainer. Still I wait.

The flip side is my lingering need for a safety net, the satisfaction I get from contributing to a project, and being a part of a team. All positives. But do the positives outweigh my need to reclaim the time I spend on work each week?

This week has actually been a good test. As it turns out my project manager has been absent all week due to emergency surgery on Monday. This has led to my needing to step up and take on some of her tasks as well as keep my own going. Needless to say I’ve put in a lot of hours this week already. Other things have suffered as a consequence. Stupid work ethic!!

Anyhow, today will be a repeat of yesterday and the day before that and of course I have to keep it up until my PM returns. And then how long after that? If the past is any indication, the forest fires will continue to pop up everywhere every week so I can’t count on some lull in the action being a good time to give my notice.

In other status update news we are a hot minute from the end of July. The end of July was my target for being free and clear of any drug that was a benzodiazepine. I’m not there yet. It’s an excruciatingly slow process and the side effects of withdrawal are not pretty. They say that everyone is affected differently so it’s hard to generalize what I am feeling as normal.

I have managed to Stabilize my dose and cut it to .25 mg per day at this point. It’s going to be difficult to cut those tiny little white pills into smaller doses so the next step is to begin skipping days completely. I did that successfully two days ago, but again the side effects are unpleasant.

Just another reason I probably shouldn’t make any rash decisions about my job until I’m finally clear of it. Maybe I can continue to do everything just fine if I can only get my health in check.🤷‍♀️

I think thats enough of a rambling update for today. I’m gonna use the few minutes I have left before starting work to actually take a shower. What a novel concept. It’s funny the things that a person can let go of it in a pandemic. Regular showers for example. Ha!!

Until Next Time,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-28 ‘A’ for Effort: The Grad Party Edition

And just like that half a week goes by. When they say “if you blink, you’ll miss it,” they weren’t kidding. There’s a lot of things I could gravitate toward writing about with this 30 minute set, but probably the most relevant is closing the loop with regard to my last post. That was 5 days ago and it feels more like 5 minutes.

In it I was attempting to make myself feel better about my perceived shortcomings as a parent by reframing the negatives into positives.

This past weekend we finally.. FINALLY.. pulled off throwing my daughter a grad party. It was small but in the end the size of the attendees list did not matter as much as the effort we put into it. It doesn’t matter if we only had 10 family members over as long as we set up like it was for 50 people.

Of course I, as her mom, have been waiting for this party for a long time. I have been dreaming about it since the first day I dropped her off at kindergarten. I pulled out all of her memory books that I’ve previously spent hours and hours putting together. I captured many moments from when she was a baby and toddler and when she rolled through elementary like a mighty little boss!

Right about second grade is when I stopped doing the scrapbook thing and started just collecting memorabilia into little plastic bins. I have saved every school picture, every certificate of achievement, piece of artwork, report card, and story/assignment I could get my hands on. It’s a LOT of stuff.

Now with my procrastination there was not a lot that I could do with all of that material. Because it just takes so much time to pull it all out and put things together. But I did manage to complete one book that has all of her school pictures from kindergarten through graduation.

We also pulled out all of her larger art projects and went through everything so she could choose what things she wanted out on display. She also had her own project where she had about 92 photos from both long-ago and high school that she had printed and arranged into two larger collages.

Because of the pandemic we planned it so the party would be outside where the tables and chairs and all of the set up could be fairly socially distanced. It was sort of a last-minute scramble with invites but you know you have to pick a time. We picked 6 PM on Sunday.

As it approached we watch the forecast and saw that there was a high likelihood for rain and thunderstorms during that time. We Made a judgment call on Sunday morning and scramble again to set everything up in the garage. This meant actually cleaning out the garage and moving stuff so that there was room for everything. It was a lot of work but It turned out great!

Yes, it is disappointing that we were not able to have a lot of people over. When it was all said and done and people were leaving and we were cleaning up the garage I told her I was sorry. It’s certainly not what I had in my mind on how the event would go. I’ve attended many graduation parties over the years and really thought that we would have a huge bash. I have to let that go.

We did good. I have to focus on that.

And then blink again and shift that focus to the next phase of her life. The college years. Even as we’ve been shopping for the last couple of weeks for dorm room essentials, I remain somewhat in denial that moving day is fast approaching.

In a few short weeks we will be loading up A vehicle with all of her necessities and driving to Lincoln. A few folks have asked me how I think I’ll feel. And I just don’t know. Will it be like that first day of kindergarten when it’s tough to put on a brave face and hold back tears.

Or will it be a joyful celebration with us dancing down the hallway of her new home? At this moment I can’t predict.

At this moment I’m still entrenched in memories and a little overwhelmed with emotions over her growing up so fast. At this moment I’m looking at all the things we DID do and how far she’s come. I’m feeling proud of us and letting go of mistakes.

I really have done a fine job raising her despite many obstacles. Her future is truly bright. And I have no doubt that whatever she chooses to do, she will be successful.

That’s it. That’s my 30 and I’ve got to cut and run.

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-23 Reframing Negatives Into Positives

I’m gonna go with another 30 minute set today. I’ve not got much new anyhow. How about a re-frame session?

Yesterday I had a great conversation with my friend, T, and one of the new thoughts that came out of it was the approach of taking a negative thought and reframing it into a positive. I mentioned to her that I often feel bad about not getting enough done or guilty for not spending more time with my kids. She told me about “reframing.”

Instead, think about the fact that I’ve got an 18 year old that’s successfully enrolled at a 4 year university, has goals and aspirations, and is very responsible. Think about the fact that I did that. I made that human and helped her grow and succeed.

When she said that I was like “wow.” She’s right. And when you spin it like that it, it softens the harshness of the constant angst I feel about not being able to spend more time or any residual guilt about getting a divorce.

I still remember an incident with my daughter freshman year, her first school dance and something I did which upset her to tears. She’s a shorty and when we went shopping for her dress and shoes, I bought her flats.

The day of the dance I drove her to the point she was meeting the group of friends she would be going with. They all gathered in a line for pictures and every single other girl was wearing heels. She was mortified! You can’t see it in the pictures, but she was seriously working hard to hold back her tears.

In the pictures she was at least a head shorter than any other girl. I mean, how was I to know? She was already overly sensitive about being so small and looking extremely young next to her peers. I should have known. But she was still so beautiful and that’s all a mom sees you know. I tried to minimize it, but that only made it worse.

T said Z would not even remember that. I disagreed. She said, put a note on your calendar 4 years from now to ask Z what she remembers about high school dances. That will be the test. I’m totally going to do that!

Anyhow, I need to try and reframe my current worry about unsent graduation announcements or the lack of planning around a party. The graduation never happened. I mean she’s done and she graduated, there was a virtual graduation ceremony which I sat and watched on Facebook that really only included her picture on the screen for about point five seconds. In-person graduation is set for August 2 but that is still kind of iffy at best.

We are planning a somewhat impromptu gathering of a few family members and friends this weekend. Very small, all outside, and late enough on Sunday we won’t have to do much in the way of providing food. She’ll have a few friends over and I’ll have my mom and sister. Some of Jim’s family was invited, but not sure who will show.

I know in years to come I will think about the fact that it wasn’t enough. Especially given that she had a lot of the senior experience swiped by the pandemic. But that’s no excuse really for not having done more, or at the very least sent out announcements. Yeah, I can see how I should probably try to start reframing that now, before it eats at me too much. We’ll see if I can find a way to do that.

On that note my 30 is up. Time to get to work.

Cheers to Thursday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-30 Take Back the City Tour: Day 15 Colorado Wrap Up

We arrived home from our Colorado road trip late afternoon Sunday. It’s now Tuesday. That’s what happens. And.. if I don’t take the time To reflect reflected on our trip, it will start to slip away…

At the very least, I’d like to capture the highlights so I don’t forget them. Pictures are worth a thousand words, as they say, so maybe that’s the way….

Day 1 (Wednesday): We get one the road about 2PM and drive straight through to Denver with just a few stops for restrooms, gas, food AND a stop in Kearny to visit my friend Tre who I haven’t seen since the wedding. That was definitely my highlight of the day. Z was so grumpy the whole way, which is not something I’m typically want to remember, but the emotions we both had were part of the overall experience.

We arrived in Denver at about 11 and after 2 failed stops at gas stations (hunting for Ben and Jerry’s) we gave up and went to my sisters apartment. We chatted briefly and then crashed out in her spare bedroom.

Day 2 (Thursday): We had take out brunch in the park with my sister before she had to go to work. Z was still tired and grumpy after that so I let her go back to sleep while I caught up on emails on the couch with the two cats.

When we finally got moving we drove south to Colorado Springs where we had reservations to stay the night at Glen Eyrie Castle. We explored the castle and the grounds and then headed out to resume our quest for Ben and Jerry’s and visit Cheyenne canyon.

The quest took us on a bit of a detour and we ended up at the great Wolf Lodge which presumably has a Ben & Jerry’s inside but it was closed because of the pandemic. It took two more stops but we finally found the coveted ice cream darling daughter was craving at a 7-Eleven. Huzzah!! She had her ice cream while we drove to Cheyenne canyon and proceeded to explore that whole area. By car.

Most of the stops were too packed with people and, being weary about social distancing, we opted to stay in the car most of the way at the canyon. We finally got out at the top and walked on a dirt road along the Ridgeline.

After that we made our way back to the Castle for the evening. It was great to take a shower and just relax and chat. Z did her own thing and I spent time mostly researching activities for us to do. Not sure what time I fell asleep.

Day 3 (Friday): We had a lazy morning once again and didn’t get moving until about eleven. That’s when we checked out and made our way to the Academy Riding Stables where we embarked on a 2 hour horseback ride. It was a tour up and around the garden of the gods and as hot as it was, it was a great choice. I would not have wanted to hike through there on foot.

Riding the horses was fun (a favorite activity of my Z) and it helped us keep our distance from the people. We were at the back of the line and several times hung way back so we could engage the horses to trot and catch up. It was a good little refresher, but boy were we both sore that night!

After that we drove through Manatu Springs and elected not to get out of the car (almost no one wearing masks) and also skipped the drive up Pikes peak (we have both been up to the top on previous trips) and were sort of just driving around looking for a good cell signal so we could figure out what to do.

Just about that time a healthy storm started to roll in and so we drove back to Colorado Springs proper and got a room at a Holiday Inn express. I would say we waited out the storm there, but we did get hungry for dinner so we ventured out in the pouring rain in search of fast food.

There is no Del taco in Omaha so I jumped at the chance to get that fix and my pudding pie had one of her favorites—raising canes (3 finger combo with extra crispy fries, toast buttered on both sides, and a Dr Pepper with light ice (she’s so high maintenance!) 😜

We had a pretty chill evening in the hotel and watched a B movie from the bed. Then she did her own thing again while I again researched activities for us to do the next day. Once I had a solid plan, I crashed out. Not sure how long she was awake after that but she sure likes to stay up late and sleep in.

Day 4 (Saturday): Surprise, surprise.. we get a late checkout again! 😏 After packing everything into the car AGAIN, we drove another hour south west to hit the Royal Gorge. Despite the pandemic the place was packed! Again, it felt like the wild Wild West with very few people wearing masks, and it was quite annoying how disrespectful people were getting too close in the queue to get inside the park.

The bridge is super cool and it was crazy windy. We struggled to get good pictures because the hair situation was just bonkers. I think it was a combination of factors but most the attractions were closed. No gondola ride, no theatre, no sky-coaster (though we did see that run at least once while we were up at the top of the hill on the opposite side of the bridge.

It actually worked out perfectly because we had just enough time to explore around before jumping back in the car to hit our scheduled Zip-line adventure.

It was 9 lines through the Colorado high desert outside of Canyon City. A really great hike and the Zip-lining was super fun. It’s the kind of thing Z is really into. She likes thrill rides. She asked me at one point if I would go skydiving with her. Uhhhhh, “maybe” I said and then dropped that topic like a hot potato.

After the zip line we were both super hungry and about an hour plus away from real civilization. I mean there were places to eat in canyon city but again, it did not look like they had any rules in place for protecting customers so we opted to drive back to Colorado city and get food from A Texas roadhouse.

My original plan was to drive home on Saturday but it was super late in the day so we just had to plan to go as far as we could and then stop again one more night. The way things work out, Sterling was not far enough for us and Ogallala had no rooms at my preferred hotel. So we ended up driving all the way to North Platte and arrived there around 2 AM. Yikes!

Day 5 (Sunday): waking up in North Platte was actually nice, knowing that we only had about four hours to get home. We drove most of the way through but took a detour in Lincoln so we could drive around University of Nebraska campus where Z it’s going to be a freshman in the fall. She wanted to see where all the dorm rooms were and get a first look at what’s in her future.

From there, home is only about 45 minutes away. Which is really good for so many reasons.

Arriving back home was a relief! It was a good trip but, you know, it always feels great to be in your own space again and sleep in your own bed (and spend time with those you have been missing while away).

I think the time together was super valuable and the time away was great for our mental health, even if I’m paying the price now trying to catch up on work (not to mention the inherent risks in so much exposure outside the home).

Wowza! That was a long session on the treadmill. I’m already at 10k steps today!! Definitely enough for now.

What a way to End June 2020!
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-27 Take Back the City Tour: Day 🤷‍♀️ Health Check

Somewhere along the way I’ve gotten messed up on what day it is. That happens when you miss accounting some days and double up on others. What I have been keeping track of on my handy-dandy paper calendar is the following:

  • What my Lorazepam dose is
  • What week it is in my plan to come down off that evil drug
  • How much caffeine I’m having
  • What time my nasty head symptoms present each day
  • And if I wake with a headache

As always, my sleep and my steps get recorded by my FitBit but I’m not watching that too closely for any connections. Perhaps I should, given the inherent connections, but I’m just focusing on how I feel, mind and body, and the chemicals I’m ingesting.

The abstinence from alcohol has been easy-peasy. I don’t really miss it. I think that when I’m done with this initial cleanse, I can just keep that up, except for the occasional happy hour. I’m also wearing my reading glasses more reliably than I was before and that’s probably helping too.

My original plan was to go for 15 days cutting the benzodiazepines, caffeine, and alcohol. My plan was thwarted on like day or 3 when I experienced a crash from withdrawal. At that point i saw a physician, had some tests, and got put on a better plan. Now it’s been another week and a few days and I’m following the prescribed plan as best as I can.

Even with the change in plans, I’m already feeling a ton better than I was two weeks ago. I’d go so far as to say I’m rediscovering what healthy feels like. I’ve been here before so I know what healthy feels like.

The strange thing is, I don’t know when I lost it (the healthy feeling) or why. In 2017 I was a wreck and had to take drastic action to put myself right again. So when did it slip out of my grasp again?

I mean, I’m in a great relationship. My kids are doing well, I get regular exercise and do several things for myself to feed my need for interaction and to flex the creative part of my brain.

Was it just too much change too fast? Moving, marriage, integration of households? Is it my job.. Too much stress? Could it be the pandemic and all the chaos and uncertainty in the world? Could it be politics and the divided shambles America has become? The constant dose of insanity and stupidity from our president. Can we get a step down plan for that hot mess too?

And how is it that in 2020, cops are still killing black people? And that the vicious cycle only perpetuates itself. And then here we are again, nearing the end of June and the daily news is waxing once again with the pandemic and politics. These serious and impactful events that shape our lives get swept under other news du-jour.

Sometimes I say everything is connected. Most of the time I’m talking about internally. Like the body and mind and soul. But it’s bigger than me. It’s all the external stimulus too. The ecosystem of the earth, the economy of the world, social and political constructs of civilization. It’s everything from the dwindling numbers of honeybees and the escalating conflicts between north and South Korea.

It’s a person making a choice to not to wear a mask in public.

It’s a parent who doesn’t teach their child about what’s right and wrong, or talk to them about current events, or lay down the law when they make mistakes. Or worse yet, teach them through their bad behaviors that lack compassion and sensibility. It’s kinda hard to witness. It’s also hard to hold inside and hold my tongue. But it’s complicated.

I’m not perfect and I’ve made mistakes and part of my angst, which I am sure contributes to my health, is the worry that I’m not doing all I should be.

This is probably enough wandering for one Saturday. I’ve got my sweet daughter sleeping in a room three floors above me in this hotel in the middle of Colorado and it’s time to make my words meet my own actions. We’ve got a fairly solid plan for today and my goal is to satisfy the thrill seeker inside her. So it’s off to the Royal Gorge we go!

Until Next Time,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-26 Take Back the City Tour: Day 12.944 – Enjoying the Moment

Today is almost over. The more time my daughter and I spend alone together, the more we come to understand each other better. I mean, we live together but sometimes, we are too busy just getting through each day that we don’t even really talk and that’s a shame. Tonight she told me she was not prepared for this trip because she didn’t think I was serious about going. She thought it was just a passing thought and now here we are, 3rd night of a Colorado road-trip. Guess I was serious. We both wanted this Llama in our respective stories and as day turns into night, we realize we did not just want the Llama—we NEEDED it.

Now that adequate sleep has been had and the restoration is in full swing, we are finally getting to the good conversations. I mean, sometimes I talk and talk and it ends up feeling like a one sided story or a mom lecture, but now, it’s a two way street. She’s talking and coming out of her shell a little bit. I’ve learned some things about her in the past couple days that I did not know before. I think maybe it is because I’ve been open and freely sharing stories from my life so she’s opening up too.

We’ve also veered into some uncomfortable territory today and it’s good to have a dialogue where I can just listen to what she thinks and feels and knows about herself and life in general. It won’t be long until we are packing her up for her college dorm. It won’t be long until she starts to experience some new things and I want to make sure she’s prepared. Or as prepared as one can be for life, since it is often unexpected. I won’t be able to just pop up to her room when she texts “mama, I need you.”

I dunno. I kinda want to memorialize this moment. Her and I sharing a bed at a Holiday Inn Express in North Colorado Springs. Flipping through random cable channels, watching the end of Aquaman and lamenting about what a bad show it is. And deciding to go out in the pouring rain to get dinner in our pajamas. And just a little bit ago, we were huddled together researching potential adventures for tomorrow. It’s just nice to be in this moment.

Of course that moment has passed and now she’s resumed her typical teenage before-bed-screen-time with her peeps and I’m.. well.. doing this. It’s past 10PM now and we did indeed find some cool things to do for tomorrow so I’d better get to sleep.

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-26 Take Back the City Tour: Day 12 – The Quest for Ben and Jerry’s

My daughter and I have different styles for vacations and road trips. Or perhaps years of experience has shaped my style into being more rigid and regimented. At this juncture, I think it’s important to note that sometimes life is better when you let go of what you have learned and just accept the day as it comes. It’s better to be free of expectation. It’s better to not care that time is short and even though you want to get the most out of life that you can, it’s not great to try and do too much. It is, in a way, freedom, to be on a road trip and sleep until 1PM and give your body the restoration it is craving.

It is my way to try and pack a day full of activities and sites. To worry about how long it takes to get from here to there and to always be on-time. It is my way to get frustrated if there is not a solid plan and what I am learning from my daughter is that sometimes the best memories happen when there is no plan and you just go with the flow of the moment.

Yes, I researched all kinds of things to do in Colorado Springs. We had a nice visit with my sister yesterday and took a brunch out to a park and sat on blankets in the shade. She gave me all kinds of suggestions on where to go from there and when we had to pack up and get going (because she had to go to work), we went back to her apartment and I started preparing to leave.

Z, on the other hand, laid back down in the bed and proceeded to fall asleep. 10AM and she crashed out in the spare bed in my sisters spare bedroom and there I was, rushing to get on with the day. I let her sleep. She was so grumpy the day before on our drive and I kind of knew it was what she needed. I probably should have followed suit and climbed back into the bed too but I knew I would just lay there thinking about stuff.

Instead, I did a bit of this and that on my laptop. Responded to emails. Had a work call. Accepted another call directly from my PM and did just enough to feel good about where things were at. I’m behind schedule on a task and, in prioritizing this trip, knew it was not going to get done by the time they wanted it to be done. It is atypical for me, and I struggle with the balance on a daily basis, but it is necessary.

Anyway, once she did wake up, we really had no plan for the day other than to make our way south to Colorado Springs. We had booked a room at a castle (of all places) and only had a little list in our heads of where else we could go. It was really hot out, and hiking seemed very unappealing. Hiking, in general is unappealing for my pudding pie. She’d rather just drive and watch the scenery from the car and maybe every once and a while get out and take a snap.

One of the things she’s been craving is Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. We had stopped at two gas stations thus far looking for those little single serving containers (which generally contain 2.5 servings). One was a Circle K and the Other was a Loves. We did not meet with success on those tries.

Once we got to Colorado Springs it was time to check into our Castle and so we did that after which we wandered around the grounds with a little map looking for the points of interest: the rose garden, the eagles nest, and the trust course. The scenery here at Glen Erie Castle is pretty cool, but those points of interest were quite underwhelming. With the Garden of the Gods a short car ride away, it felt like folly to spend any more time at all here. So we jumped in the car to head out again.

But she did not want to go to the garden of the gods. She said she wanted to do that tomorrow. We decided to go to Cheyenne Canyon instead. But the quest for Icre Cream took priority. No, Haagendaz was not an option, and nether was whatever generic brand each gas station was sporting. We googled “Ben and Jerry’s” and found one on the map that was 20 minutes north. So we headed that way.

When we arrived at the sprawling plaza of eateries, dentist offices, liquor stores and movie theaters there was no Ben and Jerries to be found. Google maps wanted us to go down a parking lot road that was completely closed off and the giant building before us turned out to be a Great Wolf Lodge (closed due to the pandemic). The whole lot was vacant. Near as we could guess, the Ben and Jerries was inside the GWL and so we were foiled again.

We stopped at a nearby Kum and Go and had no luck there either. Then across the way we spotted a Sinclair gas station and as we crossed the main thoroughfare, the 7-eleven came into focus. We stopped in and much to my surprise – Waaalaaa – there it was. The freezer with a great selection of Ben and Jerry’s. I was doing a little happy dance inside because this would make her so satisfied. She grabbed her “Brownie Chunk” (and a set of plastic spoons), and we made away like bandits with our treasure.

Now, now we could finally, at 6PM hit some scenery that Colorado Springs is known for. We drove to and up Cheyenne Canyon. We stopped at one of the more popular stops with a waterfall and watched for a bit as other human beings passed by and frolicked around the water. She does not like crowds and either do I. We would have walked up and around the falls but there were too many people and there was very little social distancing going on (let alone masks). It felt very inconsiderate.

We drove to the top of the canyon and parked at another lot there and walked a wide gravel and dirt trail for about 30 minutes. It was nice just to walk and talk and I would say that was more important than the scenery. I took a few pics but the best ones were of her. I discovered in telling to her that these scenic adventures don’t do much for her unless there are animals involved.

She was excited to tell me about a time she saw a bear in Yellowstone with her dad and once when there was an Elk right outside her tent and even a Giant horse fly they thought had a huge stinger and a couple of silk worms that hitched a ride from A to B on one of their trips.

Yesterday we saw a female deer in town, and a wild turkey, and several species of birds we had not seem before. We saw a pretty good sized lizard in the rose garden at the castle and she named him “Joe”.

I said “oh, Joe. That’s my new internal medicine doctor. What a coincidence!”. We both laughed.

Right now as I type this, she is still sleeping. I could not sleep much past 6 and now it is almost 8. I wandered out of the room and got ice water from the machine down the hall. I wandered into an area labeled as private because the sign said “Great Hall” and I kind of wanted to know what a “Great Hall” looked like. It was big, and kind of ornate, but maybe like the rest of this castle, a little over promised and under-delivered.

I’m going to wrap now and check to see if breakfast is open yet. It’s included with our stay but a “grab and go” kind of a situation”. I’d really like to have a coffee. I know part of my substance cleanse includes minimizing caffeine but I’m going to give myself a little wiggle room on that for a few days.

First it was 2 out of 3 aint bad and now it’s 1 out of 3 is good enough. I’m in the final 3rd of this “Take Back the City tour” as of today and will be looking to finish out this month feeling better mentally and physically than when I started.

I am doing the very best that I can and that is all I can ask of myself at this point.

Cheers to Another Day of Unplanned Adventure,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-25 Take Back the City Tour: Day 9 and 10 – Look!.. A Llama

What do llamas and road trips across Nebraska have in common?…

They are both great at injecting interest into a story.

Yesterday was a mighty long, but satisfying day. I woke up in my own bed as usual and did the morning routine but there was no time for the treadmill as I had to make quick work to both get my chores done and pack up a bag for a much needed getaway.

I did work for an hour or two AND I had a Telehealth visit with my son and his endocrinologist before my daughter and I loaded up the car with snacks and supplies and skipped town. The goal was to slice our way west straight through the middle of Nebraska and be in Denver Colorado before the end of the day.

Yes we brought a set of masks (which we decorated with sharpies the night before) and a healthy supply of hand sanitizer so we could try and keep ourselves and other safe along the way. It did not take long to realize that the trip was not only good for a change of scenery, but will likely do wonders for our mental health (well mine anyway). I miss road trips and visiting people. I miss people in general.

On the up-side, we were plugged in to Zs phone and got to listen to her playlist as we made our way on I-80 and did not hesitate to indulge in all things road trip. You know, munching on chips and popcorn in the car, having too much sugar by way of soda and coffee, and gratuitous stops along the way just because.

One of the stops was in Kearny Nebraska where I met up with a friend of mine, Tre, where we sat at a patio outside and caught up a little on life in general. I have not seen her since my wedding in February and honestly, 1 hour is not enough time to really catch up. I’m a huggie person and I wanted to hug her so badly. I abstained at first but when we parted ways, I just couldn’t help it (we were being good and wearing our masks).

That’s a real shitty part of this Coronavirus is the lack of human contact. You don’t realize how much it means to you until you miss it. I can’t imagine living alone. I’m so grateful to have Jim and the kids and I just need to remember that.

On the downside of this road trip is the expectation I have of how things will be with my daughter. It is rare for us to get to spend this much time alone and my hope is that we would talk and talk and start to get into conversations that are both helpful and necessary right before she embarks on this next adventure of her life. In about 6 weeks she’s moving into a dorm room and so our days of summer are numbered.

I was frustrated that she was in a grumpy mood to start with and tired and all she wanted to do was sit on her phone and communicate with her long-distance friends. I kept trying to engage her in conversation but she was annoyed with that and just wanted to not talk. What am I supposed to do with that?

As we crossed the border from Nebraska into Colorado the sun started going down and I could see a massive mess of clouds in the distance. The road twisted and turned and this mass of clouds switched sides of the road and eventually we were swallowed in it. There was no sunset to be had. Nearing the outskirts of Denver, there was a break in the clouds an I saw several really cool sky to ground lightning strikes cut through the sliver of daylight that was left. I tried to get her to look up from her phone and watch with me, but she wouldn’t have it. It made me feel very alone.

Part of the fun of road trips is making memories with people and I could not help but have high expectations. I thought about taking her phone away today, but then I’m the mean mom and not the cool mom. Tough to know what the right thing to do is.

We arrived in Denver at my sisters apartment about 10:30MT (which is actually 11:30PM for us). We chatted for a bit and then snuggled into the bed in her spare bedroom. I crashed hard and slept ok until about 6AM.

Now it’s 7:45 and I’m alone in the living room with the cats on the couch. There is no wifi that I can connect to so posting this will have to happen later. It’s probably a good thing that there is no wifi or I would be tempted to try and get some work done. What is wrong with my stupid brain?

In a little bit, folks will start getting up and we plan to go to breakfast at some place my sister knows that has a patio overlooking a lake. That sounds lovely. She has to work today and there’s no reason to overstay our welcome so we’ll be moving south to Colorado Springs this afternoon. I have not done much research about what we could do there, but I hear there is just a ton of outdoor places to explore. Where can you go when you want to stay away from crowds of people but also get to see cool stuff? That’s the question.

I’m trying hard to embrace my substance cleanse and also let go of worry about work, and the kids, and the virus. I’m still holding a great deal of anxiety inside and I can feel it. Now that the Llama of my story has made an appearance, I’m going to see what I can get out of it.

I need to release myself, forgive myself, and be good to myself. That’s part of the big picture of living a healthy and satisfying life, you know?
Time now to see of my darling daughter is waking up yet.

Pease and love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-13 Rejections, connections, and Strawberry Pie 🍓🥧❤️

I’ve had a few communications with folks lately about rejection. Anytime you take a risk and put yourself out there and pin hopes on someone else’s reaction, you are subjecting yourself to the possibility of rejection. I’ve got two specific instances to share with new insights.

In this not-so-new-anymore world of electronic communications, a person can sit at their computer and submit poem after poem to dozens of different places. I can’t claim to hit this kind of volume, but I have spent a fair bit of my free-time lately doing research, tailoring my bio, writing cover letters, and selecting and editing appropriate pieces.

Most people I’ve talked to about this process say things like “keep going and you’ll be able to paper your walls with those rejections”. However, that’s just not how it is anymore. There’s no paper.

No. Instead those rejections pop into your electronic in-box and end up interrupting your day at very unexpected times. We no longer walk to the mailbox with a measure of anticipation and hope. Nope. We send our babies out into the world and when they cone back, rejected it could be mid-morning in the middle of a work meeting you’ve lost interest in. You toggle over to your personal email and open that electronic rejection.

There’s nothing to do then. No physical evidence of the rejection (I suppose unless you printed it out). If I’m in a rotten mood already, it’s like I just shrug, and say “thanks universe, go ahead and punch a girl whose already down”. Whatever. I didn’t need to win that AWP contest or have my words appear in “32Poems” anyway. (Two very recent rejections).

If I’m having a good day or my dauber is up, it’s kinda like “so what, universe, my life is good and I don’t really like cake anyway, so the jokes on you.”

The lesson I’m working out here for myself, is that I’m doing pretty good not letting it get to me. I’m not hanging my hat on any acceptance or rejection. I’m not judging my self worth based on someone else’s opinions of the fruits of my creative labors. I’m writing these poems for me. Kinda like this blog. It’s just for me and though it feels good to know people are reading it and sometimes click the button to like it, it’s that’s not what gives me satisfaction. It’s the act of writing, documenting, thinking, and those moments where the light bulb goes off and I actually sort out an issue or find some conclusion to a troubling issue. Those moments are priceless!!

The second instance of rejection that’s relevant today, and not as easily dismissed has to do with Father’s Day. I’m certainly not alone in my plight with the “holiday”. It’s a Hallmark holiday that tends to remind me of the rejection I’ve experienced with regard to my relationship with my dad for many years now.

He’s got his family. His wife and her kids, grand kids, and great grandkids and they have the relationship I’ve longed for my whole adult life. They hang out. He babysits his great grandkids. He’s spent countless hours with them and almost none with me or my kids. When we try to participate in family events, we’re made to feel like outcasts. We’re literally the red-headed step children nobody seems to notice. Huddling near each other with nothing to contribute to the conversation. Our lives are so disconnected.

It’s rejection at a deep level. Something I can’t shrug off like a poem some random stranger didn’t care for. These are my real children not having a relationship with their grandfather. Now when I ask if they want to go visit, my kids just say “naw”. I don’t force them.

As their mother, I want to protect them. I’d rather they not feel the rejection I feel. I’d rather have them put their energy into relationships that are positive and supporting.

On my wedding day four months ago, when we were taking pictures during the reception, I requested one with just my siblings. As they came around me, the moment became emotional for me. With an 18 year spread among us, it’s rare to have a moment in life together. I began to cry. I had to regain my composure for the picture.

After that moment, my dad asked me why I was crying. I told him the truth. That it’s not often we get these opportunities to be together as a family. That it’s important to me. It’s part of the reason I wanted to have a wedding instead of just running to city hall or eloping to some exotic destination. I wanted to see my loved ones and come together in celebration.

I honestly don’t think he gets it. Or maybe he gets it but is unwilling to change the situation. Change is tough and it takes effort to maintain positive relationships. You sometimes have to risk rejection.

I did that last Christmas. I tried. I subjected my love to it too. We attended Christmas dinner at my step-nieces house. It was disastrously awful for Jim and I. I’ve never felt so out of place and unwanted in my whole life. On the way home from that event, I cried and promised Jim I would never do that to us again.

But now here I am. The day before Father’s Day, preparing a gift for him and his wife. I’m contemplating setting up a visit to deliver the gift (home made strawberry pie using his moms recipe) I’m considering making my kids go with me. I’m hanging my hat on a positive reception. I’m rejecting the idea of being rejected again. I’m hoping it’s not too late to re-establish some connection. It’s probably foolish.

Why do I feel the need to do this? Where does this need for his approval come from. Has it just been long enough that I need another reminder of how it is, or how it probably will never change? I can bake strawberry pies year after year expecting a different result. It’s not just foolish, it’s also really pathetic and sad.

If anyone ever asked me about my relationship with my father (which people don’t). I would say “it’s kind of a cats in the cradle thing”. I can’t help but think about that song when I think about my dad.

Anyway, that’s enough lamenting about rejection for one Saturday. Time to go cut strawberries and crush graham crackers. Whatever.

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-01 What other choice do I have?

A friend of mine texted me out of the blue to ask how I was doing. I said I’m OK, but that I think it’s “the end of days” going on right now. I’m not sure if this hellfire of strangeness is biblical, but it sure feels like it.

It would be just like the Universe to send the Earth into an unrecoverable tailspin just when I finally get my life together and good things start happening. I mean I get married and look what happens. Good grief. (Of course I’m not that self centered but how else does one human being approach trying to make sense of madness and chaos).

2020 – The year a deadly virus travels the globe and threatens the health, safety, and well being of every person on the planet. Humanity is tested to the extreme by the global pandemic. Results are pending.

2020 – The year racial tensions escalated in a way I’ve never experienced in my lifetime. Protests erupt into violence and people are hurt and murdered. Curfews are put in place in my city. Human beings are pushed to the edge of what they can tolerate. A test wrapped snug inside the first test. Results still pending.

2020 – The year America launches people into space for the first time in decades in a venture that was privately funded. Proving to the world that not only are we making progress forward again, but are dedicated to continuing on that path, driven by a desire to explore new horizons and fueled by determination. But how on Earth do we celebrate this when any celebration feels dangerous and disrespectful.

The spiral wraps a little tighter. A coil compressed with so much pressure. What’s a girl to do?

Get involved? Volunteer? Wait out the surge in hiding? Engage in conversations? Actions speak louder than words, but actions have consequences.

2020 – The year I was supposed to get married and now that day is a distant daydream. I’d like to rewind the clock 4 months and hug my friends and parents and siblings again. How long will it be before I can hug you again.

2020 – The year my daughter was supposed to have her senior prom, graduate, and celebrate making it 13 years through school. Senior lock-in-night, prom, skip day, grad parties, and graduation all cancelled save for a 1 hour virtual video I sat alone and watched, crying for her and myself and the fact that like most things, this too will just pass and fade.

2020 – The year I was supposed to finish my MFA. Celebrate with my new crew on the back patio, taking turns saying “cheers” as the sun slides into the trees behind us. The vision of that moment dissolved into a perpetual winter with white noise on an 13 inch laptop screen that constantly reminds me that my “internet connection is unstable”. My hope is hanging on a thread I’ll get to see these folks in person in January. My thesis sits in a box on the floor.

2020 – A year that’s already in shreds and yet I push forward for the launch of a new online lit mag. I turn a blind eye and just do the next damn thing on the checklist because it’s all I can do. I mean, I could have put it on pause. Would that have been the right call? No, I don’t think so. I believe in our mission and the power of words. Maybe this is just what Omaha needs. Maybe our mission and lifting up certain voices will help us all inch forward.

2020 – Almost half way through the year and I can’t stop myself from crying and I don’t care. I’m human and I do as the humans do. It’s these private moments when I’m torn between gratitude and self-pity, between helplessness and empowerment. A yo-yo winding and unwinding on some invisible string.

Maybe it’s the end times, but I don’t think so. The only end times I really believe in is the sun going nova and that’s not supposed to happen for millions of years. I wonder if human beings will still be around when that happens? Probably not. Not if we keep going like we are right now.

It’s June 1st. A new day, a new week, and a new month. All we can really do is put pants on and try, once again, to retain our humanity and find something of the good life in the day.

Wishing You Peace My Friends,
~Miss SugarCookie