2021-01-23 Up and Down, Round and Round

It’s been a strange week and I’m very much looking forward to shifting gears. The focus this weekend is on vacation prep. That’s right.. I said vacation. 

It’s still too sketch to fly so we basically put a pin in Omaha and did a radial circle around it with a driving distance of  10 hours max. Our first bit of research landed us in South Dakota and we’re both so hungry for getting away that it actually seemed like a viable option. We booked an air b n b near Deadwood. Two days later we had issues with the rental contract and both did a facepalm… South Dakota in January?!! WTF were we thinking??!! Who goes NORTH in Winter?? 🤦🏼‍♀️ 

We were able to get out of that deal without issue and quickly turned our attention to the opposite side of the circle—south to Oklahoma and Arkansas.

With our second attempt to zero in on a destination that would be “off the grid” enough to disconnect from normal life but still have comfort with amenities to get some good R and R, we landed on Broken Bow Oklahoma. Well, near Broken Bow anyhow. 

For 30 years of my life I’ve had to do all the vacation planning. Let me tell you, it’s really easy to get used to someone else taking control. It’s just one of the many reasons I love my husband. He’s incredible for a lot of reasons. The excellent vacation planning is just one thing. 

The vacation is partially to celebrate our one year anniversary. And what a year it has been. Natural disasters, the BLM movement hitting another climax, a nail-biting election cycle, and.. oh yeah.. a global pandemic bringing humanity to its knees. My friend Rebecca said if we weathered this ok in our first year, we can survive anything. I sure hope so. 

Other things on my agenda this weekend besides laundry and cleaning and packing include trying to catch up on my GLR tasks that always seem to be falling behind. With the strange week that has been very up and down and round and round, it seems that some of those tasks fell to the “I will do that tomorrow” list. I’m also in a holding pattern on a few things that have started to become sources of irritation. Namely the contest that we’ve been waiting to announce since the beginning of January. In truth, when we originally planned it, the window for submissions was supposed to open on December 15th.

Now it’s nearing the end of January and we still don’t have all the content needed on all four judges to round out the lineup. It would be strange to have bio and pictures for two of the judges and not the other two. I also have other growing concerns but nothing worth writing through right now. Or at least not on a Saturday before vacation.

In any case, lots to do today and no time like now to get on it! 

Cheers to Caturday! 🐱

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-21 Doing the Thursday Smile and Wave 👋🏻

Yesterday was such a strange day I want to let go of and forget it ever happened. By contrast today has been pretty freaking great so far. I just don’t get life sometimes. Is it life or is it me? I really do wonder if other people’s lives are like that. One day is shit and the next is sunshine.

I had 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night so that helps I suppose. Darth didn’t make an appearance, nor did I wake up with strange dreams or sweating through my clothes. I slept all the way to the 6am alarm and when it went off, I was like “holy crap!”

I stretched and checked my stats and other notifications that came in while I was sleeping. Then I thought, “it’s gonna be a great day.” And so the tone was set. 

So far everything else is the same. The morning routine, breakfast, commute to school, and now this. Still, the good mood persists. I guess I should not question, just enjoy it while it lasts. 

My set list today includes things I put off doing yesterday plus all the stuff on my Thursday list. Somehow it all feels manageable today and I’m not overwhelmed. 

What else? Today is my little-middle sisters birthday. She’s 39 I think. I wonder what kind of mood she’s in or what she thinks about being 39. Wonder if she is freaked out by being 39. For me 39 was no biggie. Life was crazy and I hardly cared how old I was.

My whole life I will not be able to separate my sister’s birthday from my ex Matt. They are the same age too and I REALLY wonder what he thinks about being 39. Never married, no kids. I wonder if he regrets “us” in some way, either that it was a mistake to let me go or perhaps that he wasted those 5 years of his life on me. Time is a funny thing and as it passes, it sometimes changes how we feel about a person or situation.

When I met Josh for coffee last week we talked briefly about Matt and I said I kind of wondered what he thought about my life now. Being married, a doctor’s wife, taking care of family and no longer clocking in at a paying gig.

Josh treats other people’s lives, questions, and problems very matter-of-fact like. He basically said Matt probably just thinks that “Shyla got everything Shyla wanted” and that’s it. It’s true. I knew what I wanted and I got it.

The life partner, living together, pursuing my passion for writing, the secure future for my children and I, and having the opportunity to do what I want with the rest of my life. How did THAT happen?

I suppose my mind still wanders to Matt at times but it’s no longer pangs of “what if.” Now it’s more just hoping he is well and finding peace with life, doing things he likes to do. I don’t really wonder about his relationships anymore really which is healthy. I think getting “everything” I wanted helps with all of that.

But now that I have “everything” I have to think about what else I want. Since I never imagined getting here, I never really dreamt beyond it. 🤷‍♀️

Wonder what my sister wants too. She’s been engaged since before I even met Jim. That’s coming up on three years. I wonder if they are going to be engaged forever and never actually get married. Or if they are both good with the “parent life” ship sailing away. They bought a house together last year finally. That seems like a big commitment to stay together. I’d ask her but she’s never very forthcoming when talking about these things.

What else? I’m not terribly inspired today to write. I’ve got some new content in my in-box and will make a go of reading some. Perhaps it will inspire me in some way to write. We’ll see.

On that note. There’s not much else for now. 

Waving from the Wave, 👋🏻🏄‍♀️🌊

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-18 Happy Blog-A-Versary!! 💃💃🎉

2017-01-15 –> Now. Four years (+ a few days).. Yo!.. That’s a good freaking run!! 

(Spoiler Alert, this recap could get long. If stats are your thing and you want to skip the drunk trainwreck intro, scroll to the end, but don’t forget to click “like” before you leave. 😉)

In January 2017 I decided to start posting my personal journey online. I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t put a ton of thought into aesthetics, format, or the best way to approach doing what I wanted to do. Honestly, I didn’t even know what I wanted, or expected outside of wanted to find a way to live a happier, healthier life. 

If a person had asked me then what I thought would become of Miss SugarCookie in 4 years, I would not have had an answer. I wouldn’t have a clue. And there’s no possible way I could predict most of what has come to pass. 

Most of the time when I write, I’m writing in the moment. I’m writing for today. I’m writing for an audience of one. I’m trying to sort through what I’m thinking about and how I feel. I try to steer clear of hashing through old news that doesn’t concern me anymore. Most of the time, I try to do that. But sometimes, like now, it’s good to reflect. And it’s really good to see how far I’ve come. 

In January 2017 I was still very fresh off the end of my “big love” relationship. I was broken and closed and unhealthy, both mentally and physically. I was killing myself for a job that was never going to give me what I needed from life besides a paycheck. I was lost and confused and, after returning from my sister’s destination wedding in Mexico, I knew something had to change. 

I spent every other night in Mexico drinking until I couldn’t walk straight. I spent mornings after with blinds drawn, unable to eat any of the “all-inclusive” food that was available 24-7. One night I ended up stumbling drunk, laying on the grass next to the cart path that led to my single-occupancy room, sobbing. I begged the Universe for someone, anyone, to find me and want to help. I just wanted another human being, even if it was a complete stranger to care about my well being. 

I felt so alone. 

Other nights on that trip I wrote and tried to be social with the other 50 people who made the trip for my sister. I’m fairly certain there wasn’t another single person among them, besides my first cousin who I’ve never been close to and who (apparently) didn’t have trouble finding companionship on that trip. I wasn’t interested in a hookup though. I just wanted someone to talk to. 

I drunk texted people on FB messenger or iMessage from my room where there was WiFi. I don’t remember who, probably Josh and HL. I probably made confessions. I probably fell asleep mid-text. I had to write a maid-of-honor speech and sobered up to do that. 

I did a lot of wandering around the resort. I did an incredible amount of thinking. It’s probably then when the idea for posting my thoughts online came to me. I really don’t remember but it seems highly likely. 

Back in Nebraska a few short weeks later I was re-booting Miss SugarCookie who made her original debut in 2014 on Tumblr. But I’d become a solid WordPress fan and recognized the appeal of a versatile platform that was, at the time, the front runner for personal blogs (IMHO). 

I still remember one of my first posts, “The Riddle of the Middle” where I thought through the problem of starting something new, like I was, in the middle of the story. So much history, where does one begin to make it all make sense? The answer is.. to just begin. 

Eventually all the backstory would be  revealed organically. I know that now, but didn’t then. So many things I know now that I didn’t know then. 

And, as I said, could never have predicted what would change in the 4 years to follow. 

I learned along the way my “big love” had started seeing someone new a hot minute after our 3rd and final breakup. That helped me put a nail in the coffin of my hope for a reconciliation. 

I entertained a friends with benefits relationship with a good friend. It was both helpful and hurtful I’m a way. 

I quit my fucking job of course, by the following summer and elected to use my savings to take a six month sabbatical. One of the best decisions of my life! 

In those 6 months I began eating healthier and working out more. I traveled with and without my kids and had some amazing adventures. It was during our trip to the Pacific Northwest that I decided to get more education for my passion, writing poetry. 

By then, I was already well on my way to writing from a treadmill or elliptical machine each day. Wait… did I really write from an elliptical machine? I could not possibly have done that as I’m not that coordinated. I must be remembering that wrong. 

In any case, I do remember clear as the clearest day being in an exercise room at the holiday inn express by the Portland airport when I decided to apply for an MFA program. 

The beauty of this is.. I don’t have to remember because it’s verifiably in the archives of this blog. That’s some bonafide bonus-plan shit! 

I also started dating again during that sabbatical. Hello Bumble! There was a string of posts about my dating experiences (the good, the bad, and the seriously ugly) and navigating new territory. I’m probably going to struggle here. 

-Blog Intermission- I was going to go into a ramble calling out every made up name for every noteworthy person I went out with. Then I checked it and decided not to wreck it. So NOT going to go off on that major tangent. -End Blog Intermission-

Fast forward 5 or 6 or 8 months to March 2018. That’s when I said “Buh-bye” to Bumble. And good riddance. Dating sucks unless you’re dating someone you know you have a future with (at least that’s how I feel about it). 

Of course I’m talking about dating Jim and falling in love with Jim and being proposed to on my birthday in August of 2018. If you’re dating THAT person, dating is amazing! 

We went on dates, road trips, full-fledged vacations, and planned to “merge” our two households in early 2019. Of all the things.. this turn of events in my life was the least expected. And it happened so, so fast (based on the pace of my last long term). 

In 2018 I came off my sabbatical and took a job with a company learning a bunch of new stuff, which was great but fairly unpredictable as far as number of hours per week goes and, like most places, they would take all they could get. 

In 2019 the kids and I moved in with Jim and his boys and life just would not slow down for anything. I had work, the kids, Jim, the house, and school to take care of. Not to mention all my other relationships with family and friends. I was overcommitted for sure and by summer I was throwing my hands up and requesting to leave the work project I was on. 

I think my employer knew I was right on with my assessments about the project and let me bow out gracefully to bring a more skilled SQL person to work on the ETL. That fall was fantastic as I had time to work on my writing, MFA, and take care of my home and family (and also plan a wedding). 

By the time 2020 arrived, the wedding became the top priority and it’s the kind of thing that takes over your life for a while. Thank goodness we married as early in the year as we did (02/02/2020) because chaos in the world was about to take over. And so it did. 

I still finished my last semester, had a honeymoon, and began working again. Two of those three were fantastic. Can you guess which one wasn’t? 

By late August I put in my notice at work. This time I was going to be done-done with no option for accepting future contracts. Another great decision. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t nod to 2020 as a train wreck of a year for many other reasons. Still, despite that, I finished my MFA, had a few road trips, managed to get my darling daughter off to an OK start for her freshman year, and oh, by the way, set my sights on starting a new online literary publication. Which I did. Obvi with lots of help from some great peeps. 

Yeah. That’s another thing that I could not have imagined 4 years ago. Little Miss SugarCookie Starting and managing a lit mag. Wild!! 

So today’s the day!! 4 years (and counting). AND.. This post would not be complete if I did not end it in classic Miss SugarCookie style.. with the rest of the stats:

1460 Days
1143 Posts
8336 Visitors
13,513 Views
6296 Likes and
599 Followers

That’s fantastic! This quick look back has been refreshing for me. Quite rejuvenating actually. Were there bumps in the road? Yes, but I feel like I am on the right track now and look forward to the future. Only time will tell what can happen in the next four years. On that note, I’m just going to keep riding this wave as long as I’m able. 

Cheers to Four Years..
Love Ya’ll Bunches and Bunches! 
~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-16 Being Mindful That There’s Always Tomorrow

Whatever it was I had all week I lost. And I can’t exactly explain it. I mean, I can blame it on my period, I suppose, which has just begun. Middle of the night with a vengeance. My sleep was restless and by 5am I gave up and shuffled myself to the kitchen to get some ibuprofen. Those cramps. Ugh!! 

But is that the reason I’m stuck on Day 4 of the Waking Up guided meditation app? I literally tried 3 times yesterday to sit still and listen and pay attention and follow along. I rewound to the beginning three times and then gave up.

I rolled into my stomach on my closet floor and just felt the ground under my body. The new carpet, the contact points on my exposed skin and just tried to be there. I quickly forgave myself for not being able to listen to the entire meditation session. I have to accept that I’m just learning and some days it will be easier than others. I said “I’ll try again tomorrow.” And so I will. 

Then I sat up a little and stretched for the box of mindfulness cards I got for Christmas. I’ve been pulling random cards from the deck and it feels more like reading a set of tarot cards than anything else. Ironically the card I pulled yesterday was “let it go.” 

I chuckled to myself, well I just did that so what now. 🤷‍♀️

I honestly didn’t feel like doing anything else. Sometimes I feel like I spend a lot of time waiting on Jim. He’s a busy guy and it’s ok when I’m busy too, which I often am, but on a Friday night I should not be waiting. Work should be done or put on pause. Projects too. And if I’ve made an effort to do that, and don’t want to start something new because it’s Friday night, then I should not be laying on my closet floor waiting. 

After all, I have this problem where I’m so tired by 9pm and falling asleep and so being in that position at 7pm doesn’t help. I need to be doing something, talking, watching something. Something so that I don’t just crash out by 7:30. 

We eventually made our way to the basement to watch a movie. It was not the most exciting thing so I had trouble. Some Amazon original movie or something else included free with the service, some true story about a British guy who was an explorer obsessed with the Lost City of Z. Over two hours long. We could not finish it. I think we have 50 minutes left. Neither one of us was that into it. They can’t all be winners. 

So that was my exciting Friday night, followed by a sub-par nights sleep, and atypical Saturday morning. It’s already 11:30 and I’m just now on the treadmill. I’ll be heading over to CB today and after that taking my daughter shopping for a new desk. She’s decided to spend her own $$$ on a craft desk for the craft room. Probably we’ll spend some time in there organizing today. It’s almost done.

We’ve agreed that we’ll each have our own work area, with a desk and set of shelves. We have enough shelves and I don’t really need a desk, so I think getting her a desk will be the last thing. 

I can tell I’m in a down mood because I’m not looking forward to any of this. When the thought of doing things you normally would enjoy feels like a chore, then you know the dauber is down. 

I need to snap out of it. I’m not sure how. 

Maybe I just need to let go more. Take a few days to back off even farther from putting expectations on myself. Can I just give myself more time? There’s no way to know what is right. Is there really  no way to know? 

I’m staring directly at the open notebook with my stats, goals, checkboxes, and the rest of the weekend that’s not filled out yet. Sleep, eating, mood, mindfulness, and exercise. My daily five, plus other to-do list items. Time to close that book for now I think. 

I’m only at 5k steps but really not feeling this jam today. It’s ok. Like the meditation I’ll have another opportunity tomorrow.

Peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-14 Day of Reckoning 🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽

So far so good this week. It’s the second week of January and I’m doing OK sticking to “the plan.” The plan being to NOT take on too much and make micro moves to improve my health and well being. The target is currently getting better/more sleep and trying some things that might help with my daytime fatigue. 

I changed “productivity” on the list of goals I’m tracking each day to “mood” and added meditation. I’ve committed myself to not becoming over committed so I set the goal for meditation to 15 minutes a day. I can do that. It’s achievable and that’s important. Yesterday was day 3 using the Waking Up app. I’m digging it. 

As far as swapping productivity for mood, the way I figure it’s all the same in my brain. If I’m productive, I’m usually in a better mood and both categories are subjective. I never really had a solid daily goal. No “if I do X, Y, and Z, then I can check that box” so This mood thing makes more sense. 

Probably one of the biggest challenges with “the plan” for this year is the thoughts that creep in about what else I can do. Like today, I’m doing good. I see my stats are banging and all the boxes are being checked and my brain naturally urges me to add something else. 

Brain says “you’re doing great so why not do better by adding another goal? You want to do better right? You’re awesome and you can do it!” 

Yes, my brain tells me I’m awesome all the time. Now aren’t you jealous? 

I try to be humble most of the time but sometimes it slips out. We all have our weak moments but I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem with self esteem. I mean, not in the pure sense of the concept. I’ve suffered from a lack of being loved properly before and wondered what was wrong with me, but even through that, I still felt good about myself. I’ve suffered also from body image issues, but deep down still know I’m doing ok. That I’m healthy and doing the best I can. 

I digress. 

So far this week my brain has urged me to do the following:

  1. Increase my daily step count goal (more than once). 
  2. Set a new goal to increase my submissions to publications. 
  3. Add additional chores into the daily rotation. 
  4. Donate blood. 
  5. Add another New Years resolution to keep my closet clean every day. 
  6. Commit to writing a new poem each week. 
  7. Try to start a new writing workshop with friends. 

These thoughts just pop into my head randomly and I acknowledge them. I remember what my friend M says about these busy thoughts. She said just watch them go by like a movie and let go of the need to take action. I’m trying.

They pop, and I watch, and then they subside. I’m learning more about how to be better at this and beginning to practice with the meditation instruction I’m receiving. Like I said, so far so good.

***

Today I have one and only one weekly house chore on my list. That’s to clean toilets. I’ve put this on my list in past weeks and have never actually made an effort to go around the house and clean all the toilets. I hate cleaning toilets. This is a stupid statement. Who likes cleaning toilets? When I got married last year I almost put in my vows something like “I vow not to let you domesticate me, and I vow never to do your laundry or vacuum.” Call it the anti-vow. 

A few weeks ago Jim and I had our first real argument. We’ve had disagreements before but this was a heated, trite conversation that was triggered by the fact that his teenage son does not separate his recycling from his trash. I was sick and tired of digging through dirty trash bags to separate the recycling and it just came out, and it came out exasperated and angry.

Jim countered this with how upset he was that the toilets are dire. Instead of talking more about it, it was swept away till “later” when we were both calm and away from the edge. We never revisited these issues so I’m sure it will rear its ugly head at some point.

However, IF I’ve made an effort to clean, he’ll have no choice but to help with my “trashy” issue right??!! 

Today is the day. Toilets, here I come! 🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽

I’m also driving to CB to visit my dad and having a rare coffee meetup with my friend Josh. The last umpteen times Josh and I have made a plan, I’ve dipped out day-of. We used to hang out a lot when I lived in Papillion. We went to the same gym and we used to walk and talk and sometimes go for coffee too. Of course it was way more than just that but the friendship waned when I met Jim and when I moved it became rare to hang out.

I think I saw him once last year with the pandemic. Maybe twice. I definitely have to be in the right mood for a meetup with the guy. He can be intense. He can also be a broken record. He also sometimes says things with a motive of insighting conflict. A good example is telling me I’m with the wrong person. Even after I got married he still says it. Obviously since I have not seen him, his only opportunity to get digs in is over text. My standard response is “cool story bro.” What I should say is “at least I’m with someone.” He hasn’t had a real girlfriend for years. He’s very stuck and broken and can’t face his own issues (or just doesn’t make moves to fix them) but very good at pointing out other people’s issues. Not my problem.

Wow. It seems like I really don’t like this guy. It’s probably why I haven’t met up with him in a while (besides the Covid). Why then would I meet up with him now? That’s a good question. I think that would be a good topic for a future blog post. Maybe tomorrow after I’ve met with him. 

Anyway, so that’s my day today and perhaps it will all play out like I envision in my head. Perhaps. 

Sometimes I think my steps are not being recorded accurately. I mean, I feel as though I’ve been walking and typing for a while now and I still only have 7K steps. How can that be? No matter, I’ve got to get to scrubbing. 

🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-30 Final MFA Day 2: Gathering All the Internets

I’ve gathered all the internet in the house that I could do as to try to get a good signal in a more isolated location. Maybe I should put the cable modem, WiFi router, and signal boosters in my car and drive away. 

Never mind that. There’s a giant snow pile behind my car and I’m stuck here. 

I just can’t seem to get out of my own way. I for sure thought that once that stupid lecture was over, I would really enjoy my week. But alas, it’s not happening. 

I’m in such a mood already and taking the “trash” out yesterday to find two full bags full of trash mixed with recycling set me off in a big way. I don’t ask for much. You know, as the person that runs this household, but my one big thing is recycling. It grates on me to no end that something so easy is just not done. My wishes ignored. I want to talk with these teenagers with authority, but in two cases my hands (and mouth) are tied. 

Clenching my teeth while sorting through disgusting trash bags to pull out bottles, cans, cardboard, and paper do nothing to help the migraine I was trying to get over or the rotten mood I was in. Listen, I was wearing a brand new sweatshirt I got for Christmas and the last thing I wanted was to get it stained with some unknown drips or goo from the trash. Just gross. 

I could not help myself. I picked a fight with the only other adult around. I admit it, I knew it was wrong of me in that moment to come swinging into the living room where Jim was eating his dinner. I simply just could not help myself, 

If I was in Nebraska city right now I wouldn’t be taking out the trash, you know, so there’s that too. 

My grievance was met with and equal and opposite grievance about dirty toilets (which he’d spent time cleaning) and I thought, well, here we go. Our first official fight. I mean we’ve known each other almost 3 years so it was bound to happen eventually. But now? Why now?!! 

We agreed, like adults, that the timing for the discussion wasn’t right and that we should dismiss it. Ok fine. 

But then I pressed for “when” and that too was met with a snark of a reply, was it so wrong for me to not want to fall in an all too familiar pattern of keeping my damn mouth shut then have a blow-up at some future juncture? I just wanted some acknowledgement that we really would talk about it. I didn’t need “January 17 at 2 o’clock” as the reply or “oops but I’ll be at work, so sorry”. 

For real, I didn’t. 

Seems there might be more to talk about than recycling and dirty toilets. 

I had a future poetry book flash in front of my eyes. Title still TBD, but the cover has a picture of a princess morphing into a monster in front of a grand castle. Nobody wants to read THAT book. Least of all me. 

So I did some more zooms, multitasking, ate some food and had a drink. Tried to get time fast forwarded to bedtime so everyone would go to sleep and I could be alone. 

I’m not super prepared for today, but fuck it. At least my headache is gone. 

I’ve got two lectures this morning and workshop and another lecture this afternoon. So not into it. And I was serious about that internet thing. I moved the booster that’s usually near the treadmill up to a different area of the house. So I don’t have internet for reading online this morning. Ugh!

Is it only Tuesday? Good gravy!! 

Must be time for coffee.

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-24 A Perfect 4

I haven’t put on a dress in a while, but I’m pretty sure size 4 is still what would fit best. On a scale from 0-10, pretty sure my poetry is a 4 too. At least based on all these rejections. Another one popped into my in-box this morning. Like hello… merry fucking Christmas to you too. Who sends rejections on Christmas Eve? Whatever. 

I’m still letting my submissions ride through December. I’ve had three or four new rejections in the past week and one new poem get posted on a new site. 

That one I’m not particularly excited about (the journal not the poem—that poem is at least a 7 on the aforementioned poem scale). I’m calling this latest publication a lesson learned. Everyone makes mistakes you know and so this is a mark in that category. 

As I’ve come to conclude, finding places for your writing is a lot like dating. It goes like this…. 

Submittable is like that dating app. There’s a list of potentials you can do a bit of filtering on. You get a brief “picture” and bio of potential matches. You sit alone and scroll and scroll and click and read and if something looks promising, you might dig a little deeper on their website, you know, how one might google a person of interest. At this point in the game, you have to decide which ones are worth more effort. Like dating, it can be slim pickings at times. 

You might ask yourself if they are right for you and your babies. Oh that’s another thing, you are concerned about yourself but also your precious children, because they will be the ones inheriting the outcome if there’s a match. 

So you find a good one. You swipe right and fashion that first communication. You have to decide if you will be clever or just stick with the standard form letter greeting. Hi. I’m “so and so” and I’d like you to go to the prom with me. We don’t have to go to dinner. Yes, I have a fancy dress I can wear, I’m a size 4 (in case that’s important). I’ve been checking you out and I think we’d be great together. Not up for something long term? How about just a one night stand? Here’s a good poem. Take it pretty please with sugar on top. 

Too desperate? Makes sense… that’s what rejection does to a person. 

So as far as I figure, part of this dance is like determining what league you are in (and sizing them up too). Like see that hot guy over there, Mr. New York Times is a 10. Miss Paris Review is also a10. Unless you’re name is Ilya Kaminsky (who is also a 10), you should just forget about it. 

You have to know yourself. I’m not a good judge of myself. I think I’m like a 6 but I’m probably a 4. And I’ve been aiming all over the place. 1s, 8’s, and everywhere in between. I’ve even swiped on some unrated lit mags. Literally. Which makes them a 0. 

That was my mistake. Now I regret hooking up with that ZERO who misspelled my name when the issue came out and frankly was sloppy in their presentation. And I sent them one of my best babies… like one of my 7s. Ugh!! 😩 

The truth is, just line dating, after a lot of rejection you kind of lose confidence. I think that’s what happened. I just felt down about it and started sending everywhere and didn’t do the proper evaluation. I won’t do that again. 

From now on I’m going to evaluate what I have to offer and match that with the places I’m sending to. (I say in the wake of this latest mistake). But it’s a lot of work. Just like dating. 

For now though, and through the new year until after Res, I’m just riding out the swipes I’ve got stacked up already. Still hovering above 70. Maybe I should just ride it out until I’m back down around 50. We’ll see. The swiping can be addictive though. Hmmmmm… that’s just like dating too. 

Wonder if I’ll ever find a good match for my manuscript? 

Well..  I used Bumble once and hit the freaking lottery. So I guess anything is possible. 😜

“Why yes, Mr. Graywolf Press, you can have me. Just take me. Take all of me!” 🤣

Happy Hunting, 

~Miss SugarCookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace and Love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-23 Missing Christmas

Today I’m thinking about how in life, sometimes, not always, you get what you give. 

There have been times in my life where I apparently had nothing but time. Scrapbooks, photo albums, hand crafted Christmas cards, and all manner of hand written letters. Who remembers hand written letters? What a wonderful thing to go to the mailbox and get a letter you’ve been hoping for. I wanted to gift that to the people I adored. And I did. 

Now I struggle to do anything with that extra measure of hand-crafted caring. It takes a lot of time, you know, which seems like the most precious commodity these days. 

Rewind about 5 years. I sent out about 50 Christmas cards. All hand crafted. I used a paper cutter to cut red and green card stock in envelope size rectangles,  used a corner punch to punch decorative photo holder trim into the cards. Mounted 50 individually selected photos. Printed a brief greeting and cut and glued them on the back of each. Then hand addressed each envelope, adding a stamp and sent them through the post. 

It was fun. I enjoy that sort of thing but I also selfishly relish getting cards in return. I love the updates, pictures, and really just seeing how many I would get. 

In 2016 I was just wrecked and didn’t have it in me. The Christmas spirit. And you know, it didn’t come back. 

Christmas sometimes feels like a lot of work. You get all the decorations and lights out and for what. For teenagers who don’t care about it? What was once tradition and magic became a fight to have them help me. 

And I was busy too and didn’t really want to do it either. Work started ramping up and I enrolled in school. I don’t think I did cards in 2017. I don’t remember. 

2018 I was in a fully committed relationship again and getting ready to move. No Christmas cards. 

2019 I was on the verge of getting married. My time was spent on planning and sending invitations instead of Christmas cards. 

Now it’s 2020 and the year has been needy and greedy and I just don’t have it in me again. Just trying to keep my head above the water. Just trying to keep breathing and putting one foot in front of the other each day. Hence, no Christmas cards again. 

And I know everyone has had a rough year, you know, so I don’t blame them for not sending cards either. I really don’t. But it makes me sad to not get them. 

I’ve gotten exactly 2 from friends. Sad to get more from service industries than friends. I got one from my financial advisor, insurance agent, and realtor. Ok. My realtor is a friend of mine so that counts two ways I suppose. 

I think about the people I lost touch with this year. Two or three folks I would see fairly regularly but just haven’t because of the pandemic. I miss going to Jazzercise and to my aesthetician and coffee and lunch dates. Happy hours. 

It’s not the places or food I miss (though I do miss those too) but it’s the people. I miss face to face conversations. Laughing. Reminiscing. Hearing and telling stories. 

So now we’re getting to the heart of it. It’s not the Christmas cards. That’s just the start of it. 

I’m not sure how long things are going to be like this and what the new normal willl be after. We’ve all just lived through a very dystopian year and it’s still going. 

I keep saying “2021 will be better” but that’s just me trying to pep myself up. I want to believe it. I need a little magic of Christmas here. 

Anyway. I’m cutting short because I’m short on time today. I’m going to give my dad a Zoom lesson remotely and don’t know how this will go. 

Peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

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

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

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

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

Creature comfort make it painless. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little boxes on the hillside,

Little boxes made of ticky tacky

Little boxes on the hillside,

Little boxes all the same.

There’s a green one and a pink one 

And a blue one and a yellow one,

And they’re all made out of ticky tacky

And they all look just the same.

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

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

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

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

Peace and Love, 

~Miss SugarCookie