2021-03-27 Time to Rebalance… ⚖️

Where did I leave off? Oh yeah, the sudden and drastic health issues my mom has suffered from and will continue to suffer from for an unforeseeable number of months to come. Somehow I need to find balance. I can’t let it take over my life.

The last three weeks were a rolling set of circumstances which required more of my time than the average contract. It was a good reminder how difficult it is to manage work and home and kids and how, too often, the “self” gets neglected. 

I equate the time I’ve spent in the hospital and now at my moms beck and call at her house to a work contract because that’s exactly what it feels like. An obligation to “do” for someone else without a lot of reward or satisfaction. I do it cuz what choice do I have. Just like most jobs.

Last night I got my first mental break. I mean it’s not like I was required to be at the hospital all day but mentally my focus was on my mom and her situation constantly. So it’s sort of like it took over my life. When my sister showed up at the house yesterday, and I got in my car and drove away, I released my mind from thinking about it.

It was easy, actually. I drove home and promptly showered because I needed time for my hair to dry before my double date last night. I checked in with both my kids and made sure they were doing good (they have been wonderfully independent and understanding in all this thus far) and I then scrambled to finish getting ready before our early meet-up time of 5:00. 

What are we like 70? Who meets to go to dinner at 5? Haha! 

Going out was fun. Having drinks and appetizers and a meal at a restaurant seemed like a damn vacation after the isolation of the pandemic and the designated daughter status I’ve endured these last few weeks. 

The double date itself was a test. We were meeting this new girl for the first time and it felt like too much was riding on our opinion to enjoy that part of it. I also didn’t get to spend too many moments talking to her alone to really get a sense of her or the dynamic of this potential relationship. 

Jim’s partner in practice is coming back over to the house today so the three of us can discuss. That’s what happens when you get three left brain analytical nerds on the case. Feels like a post date eval session. That poor girl! 🤣

She’s a physician too so really I’m the odd one out. Part of dinner last night (a large part) was shop talk and I was like 🙄 …. boooooorrrring! At times it felt a little like swinging dicks, if you know what I mean. And I’m done with trying to impress people with my accomplishments. But at least with all that I could just sink into the booth and not worry about what to talk about. 

Poetry never came up. My former career never came up. I brought up my kids at dinner, but that line of conversation lasted about a hot 30 seconds before it switched again back to something else. 

After dinner they came over to our house and we gave her a partial tour and had another drink. We were done pretty early as both Jim and his partner had to work at 8am this morning. I was thankful for the early night because I was quite exhausted. All I really wanted was to lay in my own bed and let sleep take the wheel. And that’s exactly what I did. 

Waking up today, I feel pretty good. I’m not looking forward to going back to my moms and going to put that off for as long as possible. I’ve got a few things to get done this weekend but really want to find that balance and give myself some “me” time too. (Part of that is the walk I’m on right now). 

On that note.. my times up. 

Cheers to the weekend and the Quest for balance, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-26 The Princess and Her Particularity 👑

It’s just past 6AM and I could use a nap. Oh how I want a do-over for my day yesterday or my night last night. What would I do differently? Not sure, but it’s just really rotten that I have to wake up, not in my own house and bed and then be tired on the Friday my hubby has off and not be my best self for the first double date I’ve gotten to go on in years. It just stinks! 

I can feel myself getting more bitchy as time with my mom drags on. Have you ever heard of the story “The Princess and the Pea?” It’s about a prince searching for a proper princess and finds it in an girl who doesn’t look the part but passes the test of being a true princess because she could sense the pea placed under 9 mattresses and could not get a good sleep. What a test!! 

My mom is that princess and let me tell you, if something is just one inch out of place, it needs to be fixed or she can’t rest. Her mind can’t rest. I thought I had a one track mind sometimes but her mind is out of hand. Off the top of my head I could probably name a dozen instances of her insistence and persistence and at the hospital. It was the nurses and techs and PT and OT that had to field most of that. Here, at her house, it’s whoever is taking care of her. Yesterday and last night that was me.

I’m not the one that first brought up that fable. That was the very kind and patient soul from PT that came to help teach my mom how to log roll out of bed and get back in. I think the comment came out when they were getting her back in bed and she was barking orders on how to position her, the bed, and the pillows below her. “More in the middle. I need scootched up. Too far! Too far! The pillow needs to be behind me, but not too far under. That’s too far. OK, I guess that’s ok for now. This bed always deflates and then I feel like I’m laying in a hole. Where’s my call button? It needs to be right here on this side by my head so I can hear the TV. The tray table needs to be on this side too. Put my chapstick closer, and my phone, and the ice chips, and the lotion. I don’t need that, you can put it somewhere else. There’s this trash that needs to be thrown away…”

That’s just a taste. I’m not exaggerating. If that paragraph was hard to read, just think how it is to listen to or be the recipient of all that. The PT person just laughed it off and called her the princess (which I think she liked) and then when he left I explained the story. She doesn’t deny it. She actually admits to all of it and just says that’s the way she is. 

Coming home yesterday wasn’t going to change anything. So far she’s lamented about the bathmat not being straight and against the tub, the counter being full of stuff (which is a bunch of things we brought from the hospital and have not sorted through yet), and the fact that I got ice cubes out of the tray and not out of the bowl in the bottom of the freezer. I had to take the dog out like 5 times. Even last night when I took her out at 9, that wasn’t good enough. I had to take her out again just before bed. And getting her comfortable where she can reach everything is just as painful as it was in the hospital. 

But what can I do? 

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. When my sister arrives today I’m going to get gone and free myself physically and mentally of the burdens of the past two weeks. I’m going to go home and shower and try to nap if there is time. I’m going to try not to drink too much too fast and be on my best behavior for our houseguests. And I’m going to put off going back to her house as long as I can. 

I don’t know when I will get a walk in today, outside of maybe walking the dog. The dog… she’s very sweet but don’t even get me started on taking care of her or dogs in general for that matter. I’m a cat person. That probably says enough.

Wow… another total rant day. Wonderful.

I briefly scrolled through the last few weeks of posts and this nonsense has really taken over my life. Whatever.

Happy Friday Ya’ll,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-26 The light at the end of the tunnel…

My mom is being discharged from the hospital today. Who gets to deal with getting her home, grocery shopping, fetching a walker, and staying with her at her home to make sure she’s ok and not at risk for falling down or ripping her stitches, ostomy, or drain tubes? 

That would be yours truly. 

She’s been in the hospital for two weeks which means I’ve been to the hospital every day for two weeks. It’s just draining. 

Jim asked me this morning if it felt good to know she’s getting out today. I’m not feeling good. I’m feeling like this is “out of the frying pan and into the fire.” 

Now.. instead of having an entire care team handling her every need and want, it’s up to my siblings and I. And I get the first shift. I pushed for this to happen today because I selfishly need her settled in at home today so that by tomorrow at about 3, I can cut and run away. I’ve had special Friday plans for this Friday night for a while. 

I’m really hoping that by this time tomorrow, we’re getting ready to switch shifts and my sister is embracing the tasks at hand. 

After all, I’ve had two weeks head start seeing moms pain and struggles and a week to get used to the reality of drainage tubes and wound care and an ostomy bag. I’m squeamish for sure but am convinced that anyone can get used to anything if they don’t have other options. 

Of course I still have that nagging voice in the back of my head about all this. The one that’s irritated because the responsibility falls on me (or a few of us). It’s selfish thinking but the Universe be damned, I never got this much care from my mother ever. 

It’s selfish thinking but she wouldn’t do all this for me if the situation were reversed. She said that. She knows it. She talked yesterday about her relationship with her mom and they weren’t close. She was just her mom and nothing more. Oh yeah, that’s familiar. So let’s just blame grandma while we’re at it for all the ways I was neglected. Because my mom was never taught any different. 

I’d buy that more if people were incapable of growing or changing outside of what they were taught at 10 years old. I’m not buying it because I, myself was able to break out of that “arms length” parenting mentality and have great relationships with my kids. We’re open and honest and I make sure all the time they feel loved and supported and like they are my priority. 

The way I feel about my mom is selfish and I know I can still grow and change beyond it, but the past will never change and I’ll always harbor resentment about being the “easiest” kid. I’ll always have that nagging voice that reminds me that my mom will never change so why should I?! 

It would all be easier if I knew there was a light at the end of this tunnel. But the only light at the end of the tunnel is the one that will eventually come for us all, and take us away to alternate plains of existence. The one that will supposedly judge us for our choices or admit us to a better or worse place. I don’t believe in any of that, but the light seems like the best way to describe the force that will greet us when our physical bodies give out. 

My mom has stage 3C ovarian cancer and the prognosis isn’t stellar, to say the least. She’s up against who knows how many rounds of chemo and multiple future surgeries. She wants to fight right now but if this first course of treatment and surgery doesn’t “fix her right up“ then she’ll prolly call it quits.

I don’t have extraordinary knowledge. I don’t have a crystal ball. Sometimes, I don’t even have a desire to know more than I know right now. Today.

And what I know right now, today Is that I have to get on with doing all the things and all the stuff. Or it won’t all get done before duty calls.

With peace and love and hopefully cheeseburgers and vodka lemonade… or

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-23 Radom Rant Tuesday 😒

What’s that saying again?..  If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. 

Yeah. That. 

In my own head I’m bitchy and constantly venting about all irritations, big and small. It’s everything and everyone and I’m not sure what I have to do to get myself out of this mood. Make no mistake, I get that nobody is going to be able to do it but me. I’m responsible, I know, but I’m just not sure what to do.

The problem is that I’m just on the edge and everything is setting me off. Not just other people, but also me, myself, and I. 

Yesterday morning I stepped on the scale and when I saw the number I pointed down at the display and called the scale an asshole. It’s probably the drinking. And eating too of course. I think I’m self medicating with food and alcohol. 

Every morning I resolve to make today different and better, but as the day rolls along all I can think about is what I want to eat for lunch and dinner and how good that glass of wine or vodka lemonade will be. Whatever.

Unfortunately the very nature of this blog being a stream of consciousness, what often comes out is all that negativity. Like the fact that my mom, who never did much for me in my life can’t even say “good morning” or even just “hi” before she reminds me she needs shoes and asks what time I’m going to be at the hospital. 

Her insistence and persistence and lack of gratitude or tact is really starting to get to me. I think about what it would be like if the situation were reversed and know that I would be extremely grateful for any one helping even to the smallest degree. And she has said “thank you” a few times but the lion’s share of the words coming out of her mouth are just so demanding.

Yesterday she was so put off by the fact that they did not bring her lemon for her iced tea on her lunch tray. And that’s all she could think about or talk about for 45 minutes. 

She’s driving me nuts. There I said it. Now can I just move on? 

No. Probably not. I mean.. it’s only going to get worse when she goes home and then we’re up against 6+ months of chemo and more surgery.

Yesterday I didn’t make it to my treadmill and didn’t get my steps and that makes me grumpy too. I’m taking trazodone to help me sleep and can’t seem to get the dose right. It’s either not enough and I still wake up and can’t sleep or it’s too much and I feel super groggy and don’t want to face the day. 

Today I felt groggy. And it’s super overcast and pouring rain so it’s really dark. When I got home from being mom taxi, I just wanted to go back to bed. But i knew if I did that, I wouldn’t have enough time to do all the tasks I didn’t get done yesterday like grocery shopping and dishes and laundry. 

Today I have the added task of putting together my reading for tonight and practicing at least once to make sure I hit the mark for the time limit. It’s a thing I want to do.. reading in public because I need the practice.. but my heart is just not in it. I have some new-ish poems that need more work before they will be ready to share or submit for publication and I have just had no desire to work on revision lately.

So the reading tonight is mostly (all) of what I’ve read before during my MFA program. And also mostly poems that have either been published or will be in my forthcoming book. Perhaps that seems like a good approach since I have confidence in those already. 

Mom indicated she was interested in tuning into the reading. We’ll see. I’ve got the link now and can share with anyone interested in hearing from 6 people giving readings. I’m last on the list. That makes me the “headliner” right??!! 🤣

In other poetry news.. I received the timeline for my book and that process apparently takes a long time. It won’t be ready for pre-sale/pre-release until November. I guess that will give me plenty of time to get my act together for self-promotion. Hell… I still need to get them a clean copy with all the extra stuff they need for production. Like pictures, bios, blurbs, inside and outside art. I should be all over that stuff but my heart’s not in that either.

See, there must be something wrong with me. Good grief. 

All I’m really looking forward to today is eating. I’m thinking about food all the time. Well.. and watching mindless TV sounds kind of appealing too. I kind of want to veg out on the couch with a pizza and watch the bachelorette. But I can’t. I’ve got work to do. 

And I’ve got to get started on all that right about now. 

I Don’t Want to Do Today, 😒

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-21 Questions of Life and Death

I guess it’s been a few days. I guess that’s what happens when life gets busy. I feel like I complain a lot about not ever having enough time but then something happens and I have even less time. I guess that’s the nature of life. Experiences that are constantly teaching you that you don’t really know Jack about life.

As of today my mom has been in the hospital for 10 days and she’s probably got 3 or 4 to go. I’m the designated visitor (at the Med Center you can only have one) and I’ve been to see her everyday. It’s fine, but I’m kinda tired of my new routine and am really looking forward to her discharge. 

She is making good progress improving but still needs so much help from the staff I can see that after discharge is when the real work will begin for those of us who will be her home care team. At least once she gets home she can have as many visitors as she wants. And I’m sure I’ll be able to get a break when my youngest sister comes home to help. 

My brother has made no mention of trying to come home for anything. I might be harboring some resentment towards him for that. But whatever. 

In embracing my new routine I’ve had no problem letting go of a few of the household tasks I typically have high standards for. I’m letting the kitchen go a little and litter boxes don’t need scooping daily. The cats will live. And if the other humans don’t like it, they can do something about it their damn selves. 

It’s Sunday and I spent some time checking my stats though I suppose that’s another thing I have let go thinking about most of the week. I didn’t write anything in my planner and there have been no to-do lists so the only stats I can collect are those from my FitBit and phone. 

My exercise is solid and sleep has been average thanks to the Trazidone. My new screen time goals feel unachievable and it’s not the social media interaction that’s the problem.. it’s text messaging. And that’s kind of unavoidable. However, I might do a full court press on that after my mom gets discharged. 

She “sat me down” yesterday to tell me that she’s decided to fight the cancer and wants to see her life extend beyond this next year. This might seem like a no-brainer but for her it’s counter to what she’s always thought about decisions like this.

For years she’s said that if she got this old she wouldn’t put herself through any extensive life saving measures. That she would just let go and let whatever it is take her naturally. I know this because she’s told all of us that several times, especially after watching her own mom pass away. 

This issue, though, came on so suddenly and she was in so much pain that she just went along with what the doctors and hospitals were doing and telling her she needed. She said she was caught between a rock and hard place and didn’t really have a choice. Now that her primary pain causing issue is on the mend, she’s facing a different predicament and 6 months of chemo and more surgery.

The way she sees it is that she does have more of a choice now. She can just go home and let the cancer spread and take her or she can fight it. So the conversation yesterday with her decision to fight is a big deal to her. 

I told her years ago I would support any decisions she would make. I still do. I haven’t verbally said that lately because I didn’t want that to influence her in any way. I mean, I can’t imagine saying to her now “if you want to die, I’m ok with that.” It’s got to be her decision alone. 

Instead of verbalizing my support of her decision I’ve just been trying to remind her of all the things she loves about life. And when she started talking about traveling and putting her toes in sand and doing things like walking out in the rain, I’ve been encouraging her. 

I might have even promised to take her to New York City. The Universe only knows if that will ever come to pass, but if it kept her thinking about living instead of dying, that’s ok. 

If I’m being honest, I don’t know if there’s anything that can repair how I feel about our relationship or her. I’ve lived my entire life feeling like my parents did a crappy job at being parents. I’ve held a lot of resentment towards both of them about how alone and invisible I was as a kid. I feel like my moms part in that was because she’s so selfish and made so many selfish choices. Some of which had a direct hand in the trajectory of my adult life.

I suppose that’s what makes her current “demanding” behavior harder to take. She’s particular and begun taking really well to the attention and immediate reactions to her “calls.” Those poor nurses probably can’t wait until she gets discharged either.

Most of what I’m doing I’m definitely doing out of obligation and my desire to “do the right things.” Of course I can’t tell her how I really feel. Not while she’s contemplating living or dying. 

I’m not sure how this will play out or if the extra time I spend with her can heal my old wounds. I really doubt it. I just keep thinking it will all get easier when my sister comes home. We’ll see. 

I’ve been walking about an hour and have to get going with all the Sunday things. 

With peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-14 Designated Daughter

The saying “Hurry up and wait” is often attributed to the military but I think is also quite appropriate for the hospitals and medical care. Nothing like waiting around all day for something to happen or change and being disappointed because nothing happens. And why is it that the waiting and nothing is also somehow exhausting? It makes no sense. 

My mom has a tube up her nose and down her throat and she was sure that when the doc (finally) came in yesterday in the late afternoon she was going to get them to take it out. Of course the opposite happened. He basically told her it was a slow process and would take upwards of 72 more hours to see real progress to help her predicament. 

Her predicament becoming more complicated every damn day. Her predicament being cancerous tumors lining her abdomen, a partial bowel obstruction, and now a large amount of fluid building up around her lower abdomen. 

The doc showed us a comparison of the cat scans last night, and the changes that have developed in just a few short days. Of course the build up of fluid is going to make her obstruction more difficult to resolve. I have to imagine all that pressure is making it worse. 

I’ve had limited exposure to medical complications in my life. I’ve never witnessed some of this. And let me tell you it’s pretty gross to think about a tube sucking the contents of your GI track out through the nose. It’s disgusting and smells horrible, but it’s the most non-invasive way to clear a person out (when the opposite end is not working). 

I think they are going to try to drain some fluid out of her today. It’s strange for me to say I will know more when my husband wakes up. He knows the surgical oncologist that’s in charge of my mom’s care at the Med Center. From Med school I think or maybe early in their respective careers. They talked on the phone last night but it was too close to the time I was just out of it. 

Out of it meaning that my unexplained exhaustion plus having a big meal when I arrived home (with a glass of wine), had lulled me into a sleepy state around 9:30pm. They talked as I was taking my tired brain to bed. If Jim gave me an update after that call, I don’t remember it. Right now I wish I did. I wish I knew what last night’s CT showed and what the plan for today is. 

It’s still pretty early and I’m dreading going back to the hospital. I was awake at 4:30ish and up by 6am. My mom texted before 7 and I’m currently on the treadmill (of course). 

*** 

I think my mom has a high pain threshold but very low tolerance for extended discomfort. When my grandma (her mom) passed away she pretty much said she didn’t want to “go out like that.” Withering away in a hospital bed, losing control of physical capabilities and her marbles. I get it, but what else can you do? 

After the consult yesterday and seeing the CT on the screen, she became convinced that this was it. It was just enough evidence to solidify the fact that treating all of her issues was not only going to continue to be unpleasant (to say the least) but it was also not going to end anytime soon. 

Even if the obstruction is resolved in the next 5 days (with or without surgical intervention), she’ll be facing 6 months of chemo and eventual surgery in her abdomen. After the doctor left the room she pretty much told me she was done. Like “done done” and ready to check out of this life. What the Universe am I supposed to do with that? 

And why me? 

When my grandma passed, my mom made me promise that when the time came, I would help her out. But this is different. She’s otherwise healthy and enjoys life. She has a lot of friends and enjoys her book club and her dog and bird and going on trips. She can still do all that stuff when she gets better but she doesn’t see it that way.

She said she’s satisfied with the life she’s lived and has made peace with herself about all the bad things she’s done in her life. She’s also recently found a new belief in God. This was news to me. She’s been an atheist for as long as I can remember. 

It’s really challenging to talk a person through treatments and expectations when they don’t want any of it. So now I’m not just the designated visitor.. I’m the one responsible for convincing her it’s worth it to go through all this shit so she can feel better and keep living her life. 

I mean, I know what I promised her years ago but that was all hypothetical. What am I supposed to do? 

Again I ask.. why me? 

We’ve never been close. She’s so much closer to her youngest daughter and their mother/daughter experience was much better and more supportive than ours ever was. 

Growing up my mom was always so preoccupied with the other parts of her life and never had time for me. I was a very lonely kid. My parents were divorced and I lived with my mom but my primary role was babysitter. I had two younger sisters—8 and 16 years younger than me. I was an “easy” kid who was quiet and got good grades so easily never the priority. It sounds terrible but I feel like I never had the love and help and support I craved.

I left home at 18.. or rather I was kicked out because my mom chose to side with her husband in an ongoing conflict between him and I.

I moved in with my dad but that didn’t last long as I got married and escaped my situation completely when I was 19.

After I left home, I never looked back. And never had support from either of my parents in anything I went through as an adult. Yes, they showed up to celebrate holidays and birthdays but that’s about it. 

So why is it that I’m now in charge of both of them? 

I clearly have a chip on my shoulder. Good gravy!! 🙄

Jim says I have to be the person because I’m a good person and it’s the right thing to do. So after a lifetime of my parents doing the wrong things I have to suck it up and do the right things??!! 

Whatever. 

It’s now 8am and I’ve got 10K steps and should probably just quit lamenting.

Peace out, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-10 News Too New to Process…

Yesterday’s brief topic was about no news being good news. So of course the Universe responded right away. It was quite literally 10 minutes after I posted (and was ramping up for my cardio) that I answered a phone call from my mom asking if I could take her to the ER. 

I will say I wasn’t surprised as she’s been suffering with some issues for several weeks now. Our visit yesterday was actually the third to the ER in a week. The first time she drove herself. The second time, she drove but my sister had to pick her up because they gave her morphine for the pain and she could not drive herself. Yesterday I took her and sat with her the entire visit. 

Three visits in one week seems excessive, I know, but two of the three she was following instructions from her primary care physician. This last time the concern was nausea and dehydration as she hadn’t been able to eat or drink anything for 2 days. It was concluded that the morphine was responsible for that. So no more narcs. 

On of her previous visits to the ER they had done a cat scan and told her she had cancer. 

I’m not being dismissive of this, but at this point it feels like one piece of info among a myriad of other diagnostic pieces and symptoms. It’s also hard to put it all together when the info is coming from my mom who is lucid, but not the best at remembering/relaying details. The story also seems to change slightly based on her immediate problem. 

One minute it’s her bowel movements and she diagnosed herself with colon cancer before ever seeing a doctor. Then it’s her upper-GI, because she’s nauseous and can’t eat. And now the tissue that can be seen on her abdomen has been labeled as cancer. 

From what I know about cancer, is that the actual diagnosis is dependent on pathology. They have to get a sample of the tissue and do a biopsy to know anything for certain. I feel like I’m maybe keeping myself a little disconnected from all the possible outcomes until I know for sure. 

There’s no reason to spend cycles on the “what if’s” and the focus should be on helping her with next steps and making sure she’s getting the best care as quickly as possible. 

I’m not personally bothered by 3 ER visits in 1 week because it’s Medicare you know and she’s paid into that her whole life and so have I. That’s what it’s there for. Yesterday she had an IV with meds to get her hydrated and relieve her nausea so she could eat and drink. 

Today she has a visit with an oncologist and I wish I was going to that to hear first hand what the doctor has to say but my sister is taking her and they only allow one other adult in the visit because of Covid. They are supposed to call me though, so I can be on speakerphone, we’ll see how that works out. 

That visit was actually scheduled to start 5 minutes ago and so I’m just waiting now. 

I’m a little anxious but not bad. I think that’s going to be it today. 

Peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-03 Ohhhh, the Irony….

It’s the 3 year anniversary of the day I met my husband. I’ve barely seen him today. I cooked his breakfast and left it on the counter for him to find when he was done getting ready for work. By then, I was already gone — I had to leave to taxi my son to school. 

***

I keep telling the Universe I just need more time, because I can’t ever get enough. At this point I’m starting to believe the Universe is answering my pleas by waking me up at 2, 3, or 4AM and not letting me go back to sleep. I mean, a girl can get a lot done if she starts working at those hours of the night, but it turns her into a mean ass bitch after a while. I don’t even want to be around me and my mood swings

***

Five of the last six GLR meetings with my co-founder (and now also co-eic, because titles are just organizational/patriarchal BS) have been thwarted by this thing and that thing that popped up suddenly and caused us to cancel or reschedule. I’m sitting on the patio at a local wine bar called Corkscrew because I’ll be damned if we miss another fucking meeting. Corkscrew just happens to be the place I met my husband for the first time exactly 3 years ago. Well played Universe. 

***

I worked on “stuff” all day to catch up so that I can basically wipe the floor during this meeting and also drink some wine and throw my hands in the air like I just don’t care. I might have shown up 20 minutes early so I could tell the server to cap me at three glasses so I don’t go overboard. I might not have. I might have told my husband he should be on the lookout for a text message from me needing a ride. I might not have. 

***

I did get a lot done at 3 and 4 and 5AM before I had to stop and make breakfast. I did not get to reading, signing, or sealing my book contract yet. Because things that are strictly for “me” are always the things that get put off until tomorrow. My tomorrow is already spoken for, by the way, because I’m trying to be a good daughter and both my parents need me more than they ever have. I wonder a little bit if I could pencil them in for 3AM and see how that flies. 

***

My “date” is here now. I’ve gotta wrap this and get to the throwing of the hands. 

***

The wine (three glasses) didn’t hit me until I was already home. I might have felt a twinge of rebellion running the light at the top of my exit off the West Dodge Expressway. I kept speeding toward the yellow (threatening red) despite the flashing blue and red lights that were stationary and in the lane going the opposite direction I was headed. I continued to focus on the lights as they faded in my rearview, just to be sure that cop car wasn’t threatening to u-turn and head my way. 

***

As it turns out, waking at 2AM, being up all day working on the Universe knows what and why, and then drinking wine until 8:30PM is a bad idea. Hell, the bad part of that idea began at 2AM. When I arrived home Jim was in good spirits but he was ready to wind down and go to bed. But I only got 5.8K steps today and I know I’m gonna lose that streak so I’ll be damned if a lose two streaks in the same day. 

***

That drive, desire, and unwavering dedication became this. I do hope it’s an enjoyable read.

Peace and Love on March the 3rd, 2021,
~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-25 Trials By Fire 🔥

It’s early and I don’t want to be up. I also don’t want to lay in bed for one more damn minute thinking about all the things and stuff. 

My desire to keep the schedule I’ve set myself for today ends at about 11:30am. I’m not particularly excited about going to CB today. I’m actually not really jazzed about going to the exercise class I have on the books for 8:15 this morning. Which is a good segue for what’s aching this week. 

I’ve met a number of really great people through the MFA program that I graduated from this past January and 2020 was not ideal for cultivating new relationships. 

It was also a serious bummer that I had to give up my addiction to Jazzercise. Now that things have relaxed a bit with the “restrictions” I’ve been given the green light to attend classes again. Just as I was getting ready to look into signing up for classes, a few women from the MFA program approached me about taking classes with them at a “classes only” gym. 

These two women I would consider acquaintances at this point but with the potential for more of a friendship, which is exciting. I mean, I don’t meet new people easily and am often socially awkward and quiet in group settings so the opportunity to chat outside the big MFA groups is great. So I accepted the invitation for attending a week of free classes with them. 

Monday was weight training which was working all the major muscle groups using a bar and free weights. The sets are set to music which of course is great. The classes are quite small compared to Jazzercise (5-8 people) or any class I ever took at my other gym. Monday’s class was good but there wasn’t a lot of intro or consideration given because I was new.

The instructor didn’t provide recommendations for weights or even explain along the way how one might go up in weight for legs or down for biceps and triceps. I was sort of left to watch everyone else and self conscious so I stayed with the same weight the entire time. Probably not smart.

The class was hard and made me super sore. It wasn’t just “next day sore”.. it was “legs and arms of jelly for about 2 hours after” sore and hard to move the day after. But in a way it felt great just to feel that feeling again after so long. For the past year I’ve just been walking every day and not really getting any weight training in.

These women go everyday so Tuesday was not a rest day.. it was cardio instead. We did a step class and I’ve never done step before. If I thought the instruction on Monday was poor, Tuesday was horrific! Zero intro and so fast paced that unless you’ve been doing it for years, you would be completely lost. 

It also made me feel like a fool, to be hopping around the riser trying to keep up and constantly facing the wrong direction, or being on the wrong side of the step. It was close to an hour of fast paced music with the instructor calling out moves and “left-this,” “right-that, “straddle,” “corner,” “indecision.”… 

Indecision?? No indecision on this one.. it was terrible. 

At least with Jazzercise they work slow into the routines and you can catch on. With this, there were so many hops and turns, half the time you aren’t even facing the instructor. I pride myself on being coordinated and also being able to pick up on stuff pretty quickly but this was horrible from the first song to the last. 

Anyway, if you’re paying attention, you’ll recognize that Tuesday was also the angry day from hell and let me tell you this cardio workout only made that worse. 

I dare say I won’t do that again unless they offer a beginners instructional class to teach the moves and practice at half pace or something. Then there was Wednesday.. yesterday, the anti-Tuesday. 

It was another weight training class (mind you I was still really hurting from Monday). This one was called “body pump” and it was a little less intense with more reps. I was actually kind of dreading it given the way my body felt and the two previous experiences, so the bar was really low. 

Turns out the class was fantastic. Everything about it was great. The instructor actually took T and I aside and explained the class and helped us to know what we needed for eq and also why we would want different weights to switch out during the class and what we should start with since this was our first session and was kind of a test of what we could handle. 

She was also really personable during the class and encouraging. It was a huge 180 from the previous two days and I don’t know why it hadn’t dawned on me, but it was the instructor. Makes a big difference. I would definitely go back and do that one again.. if I decide to sign up for realz. 

That was yesterday and today is barre. Another new experience for me. And T has already told me it was the hardest one from the classes she did last week. Good golly. I’m already feeling so, so sore. Can’t imagine it being worse than Monday and Tuesday so I can’t say I’m particularly looking forward to it. Still.. gotta try at least once. 

In the back of my head I’m comparing everything to Jazzercise. I love J so it’s gonna be a hard sell to get me to put my money into this place instead. Doing both would be big $$$ and also a big time commitment. 

Of course one thing going for this class are my two new acquaintances. T invited me over to her house after barre today for tea and that sounds lovely. It will be nice to sit and chat instead of standing around a gym floor. 

After that, as I said, I’m supposed to go to CB for lunch with my dad. Not particularly excited about that. I mean, it’s ok, but I could definitely use that time for something else. I know it’s bad but my brain is working overtime on excuses to get out of it. Does that make me a bad person? Probably. 

Anyway.. my time is almost up and I’ve got to get ready for the morning. 

Peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-10 The Mirror I’m Looking at is Also a Revolving Door

I suppose I’ve been past due for another “In the Mirror” moment. By now, with the reliable repeat, I guess it’s always just a matter of time until it happens again. 

I’m talking about the moment I step on my treadmill and look at myself in the mirror (figuratively and literally as the treadmill faces a wall of mirrors). I’m somehow engrossed in thoughts about my reflection, preparing for another session of writing which often begins with evaluating my “stats” and sometimes stray thoughts about the way I look. 

I’m well on my way to thinking about the potential topics for the day. And then I check my email. Now I’m getting to it. The moment where I get some piece of news that knocks the wind out of me, derails my thoughts, and frankly makes me feel ashamed for my self-centered focus. 

Today I clicked on a Facebook notification from email which took me to a detailed and thoughtful post of a friend who was letting folks know about her child who has elected to identify as male instead of female. The family has been working through this for a while and their love and support of their child comes through loud and clear.

I’ve not been super close to this friend in the past few years but my heart goes out to her, her husband, their child, and family. It’s a testament of their love that their child felt safe enough to tell their parents. 

Part of her post was about legislation in Iowa that relates to rights of LQBTQ+ peoples, but mostly it was about their son and their journey thus far. Reading down through the post it just hit me in a way I can’t quite describe and I didn’t get very far before I was so emotionally overcome that I broke into tears. 

As a parent, I have had challenges, but not this challenge. Everyone’s journey in life is different (which is one of the things she said in her post). And though I’m disconnected from them and don’t quite know how to try and relate, the common thread is positive parenting. I’d say that I would support my children no matter what choices they make in life or what struggles they face. 

And I say “choice” but recognize that being transgender is not a choice. It’s a natural occurring discrepancy of self when the body a person is born into does not match who they are inside. Just like being gay is not a choice, it’s just who a person is. I believe that a person is born the way they are and each of us has unique circumstances to reconcile, some of which are tougher than others because of the expectations and “norms” dictated by society at large. 

The “choice” comes in how we face these reconciliations and fortunately for my friend, the world is a far more understanding place now than 60 years ago, or 30 years ago when we were growing up. And fortunately for her and her son, they are surrounded by good people who are supportive. 

I continued to feel overwhelmed with emotion as I read through the comments and outpouring of love from friends. I want to respond too, but need to find the right words. That is Part of what I’m thinking about now. 

***

It’s now several hours later and my experience from earlier this morning has calmed somewhat. I wanted to respond via Facebook and did. I keep thinking about it and still feel confused about why it made me cry. Then I remind myself it’s not about me. Then I feel bad for being self-centered. All of this is true. And as history repeats itself, the experience described in my poem, ‘In the Mirror’ echo again. 

It’s a poem that feels important to me yet I’ve lost confidence in the writing because it’s been rejected so many times. Is it too melodramatic? Is this post too melodramatic? 

Does the fact that this random Facebook post and my friends situation move me to tears make me too melodramatic? 

Again, it’s not about me so why am I making it about me?

See this revolving door here made of reflective glass, hitting me repeatedly in the ass? 

Despite the end rhyme, I’m not joking. All I have to offer are words. 

What else can I do? 

Hug your babies and make them feel safe. 

~Miss SugarCookie