2021-04-12 The Clandestine Miss SugarCookie Surprisingly Secures Seven Hundred Followers… 💃💃💃

Sometime in the last few weeks, the number of followers for my WordPress blogs tip-toed over the threshold of 700. It only took like 4 years. 😜 (Technically 10.5 years since I started my first WordPress blog in 2010.)

It’s actually pretty good for a random human simply musing day-in-and-day-out about the same 12 topics. Over time I’ve had many thoughts about what I could do to make this blog into a more helpful, marketable, informative, or entertaining place to visit. And each time I get an idea about that, it feels like more work than it’s worth. Plus I can’t seriously commit to rating cheeseburgers, being a travel blogger, or trying to give advice about ANYTHING as a self-proclaimed expert.

To be fair, there are literally thousands of folks out there just like me trying to utilize WordPress to build their name or establish a brand for what they are interested in “selling” or what they are passionate about. So the world doesn’t really need or want any more of that. Or maybe we do, because every human connection is valuable to someone. But it’s not what I’m about here. 

So what am I about? Why do I keep doing this week after week?

Well, the tag line for this blog has not changed since its inception four years ago. It’s my attempt to put focus, each and every day on living a healthy and more fulfilling life. I’ve lost my way in life a few times, and part of that comes from coasting and not really paying attention to time passing. How can a person lose 5 years of their life and not realize that is happening? The answer is pretty freaking easily if said person goes about their business every day working for someone else without thoughts for what they really want to get out of life for themselves. 

My life has changed drastically over the last four years and I can honestly say I feel like I have the secret to living the life I want to live figured out. However, it doesn’t matter how sweet things have become, the daily struggles in life persist.

I may think I have it all figured out but I still have days (sometimes weeks) where I’m in a funk and just can’t seem to snap out of the rotten mood I’ve found myself in. Kind of like yesterday.

I’ve been told to keep my personal melodrama out of my poetry for my own good, but this blog is a different beast and so I have zero issues confessing that I broke into tears like 5 times yesterday. Maybe more. 

My emotional swells were exacerbated by the random watching of the movie 2012 with Jim and Z yesterday afternoon. When I saw that is what they were watching, I was all like “oh this is the one where they all almost die like 50 times. Not an exaggeration.

In fact, if you count all the “near misses” of buildings and bridges crashing down, the ground opening, and last second getaways, it might be in the hundreds. I knew this when I started watching and it still…. STILL got to me. Each emotional moment of the “families” journey made me cry. What the hell.??!!

At least that was sort of heart-wrenching. What’s not heart-wrenching is a rando episode of bachelor in paradise which also made me cry. That’s when I know it’s hormones or some other bullshit causing me grief and not actual sad stuff. My poor daughter looks at me and says “oh mama.” She reaches over from the adjacent couch, touches my arm, and smiles. She gets me.

I say with a weak smile and tears welling up in my eyes, “yeah, it’s that time.” 

“That time” being any given day where I’m emotional for no reason. About 10 days ago I had my period, a whole week early, and now I’m spotting again which is not typical. So I’m definitely going to tag hormones as the cause. And they are probably also responsible for my persistent headache and upset stomach. 

Anyway, so yesterday was one of those strange funk days I struggled getting through, which is exactly why I can’t just declare I’ve got life figured out and drop the mic. 🎤

It’s why I need this blog. It’s my way to write through what’s ailing me and figure stuff out. It’s my therapy and the jumping-off point of all my crazy ideas, dreams, and personal experiments. It’s my version of therapy. And oh, by the way, it’s way cheaper than an actual therapist! 

Today the clandestine Miss SugarCookie has 706 followers and at least 4 actual humans reading on a regular basis. And I’m extremely grateful for each and every one!! 🥰

That’s it for Monday. Time to start climbing through the week. 

Peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-13 The Variable Speed of Time

Life. Funny the way it is. Short. Long. Boring. Overwhelming. Joyful and full of pain. The time we have is a gift and yet we often waste it in so many ways. 

Time is a major undercurrent in many of my poems and essays. It’s a theme that shows up subtly whether that’s what is intended or not.

What’s the point? I suppose it is that in the last few days my thinking about time has been less of a byproduct and more of a major theme. The cause? My mom has been diagnosed with cancer. 

It’s all happened so fast, then again, when does this sort of thing ever not happen fast? 

For her it started several weeks ago when she started to worry about GI problems. This led to seeing her primary care doctor who prescribed laxatives and a stool softener. My mom, in her typical way, was convinced it was cancer and solidified her thoughts by googling and reading all about symptoms of colon cancer. 

A few days after beginning the prescribed treatment to get her bowels moving she began having pain. She attributed her increased discomfort to the “meds” and stopped taking them. She also got so bad that she went to the ER. 

That’s just about when time began speeding up and the details all run together. In the last week and a half my mom has been in the ER four times with the last one ending in her being admitted to the hospital. 

One visit to the ER they gave her morphine for the pain and she had a bad reaction to that. Bad meaning that it did not help her pain and made her nauseous and dizzy. So much so that she couldn’t eat or drink anything (including taking any meds by mouth). That episode ended with another trip to the ER so she could avoid dehydration by getting fluids, Pepcid, and anti-nausea via IV.

So now on top of her severe constipation and abdominal pain, she had nausea and couldn’t eat. That was the one time I drove her to the ER. The others were at night and she had other folks take her. On several of those visits she had an X-ray of her bowel and each time there was conflicting evidence of just how badly she was “backed up.” 

On one of those visits they did a CT of her abdomen. The results of that were also questionable. Which is to say that’s when the ER doc came into the room and told her she had cancer. This, to me, was a very delinquent thing to say but I wasn’t there to hear how it was relayed, and only have the story as told by my mom. 

In any case.. they set her up an appointment with an oncologist. And because of the pandemic, only one person could go with her. That was my sister so I had to listen in on speakerphone. The outcome of that was only that they needed to do more diagnostic tests to determine a diagnosis and nothing could be known for certain. 

When my mom has sat in my living room two weeks before crying she had colon cancer, I (internally) rolled my eyes and reassured her she didn’t have cancer. My reaction to the news from the CT scan was one of more concern but still guarded. In my head it makes no sense to speculate about “what if” when an actual diagnosis is pending. I was still defending my position that it wasn’t cancer. 

Then she was admitted, thank the universe, as my sister and I are not equipped to take care of her at her home or manage more repeated visits to the ER. Being admitted also meant she could get the biopsy and chest CT she needed for a more accurate diagnosis sooner rather than later. 

As of yesterday those have both been done and we’re currently waiting on the pathology from the biopsy to identify just what kind of cancer we’re talking about. But.. no matter the result, it doesn’t necessarily explain her pain or bowel issues. The other revelation since her hospitalization is that she has a partial bowel obstruction. 

This may or may not be related to the “masses” in her abdomen, but could be. I just don’t understand why after 5 x-rays of her lower GI, they would not have detected this. Maybe because it’s just partial. I don’t know. In any case, it’s now all complicated enough that they recommended transferring her to an Omaha hospital as the hospital she was in wasn’t equipped to handle her case. 

Late yesterday she was transferred and is now under the watchful eye of a surgical oncologist. He came to see her last night. But I’m not privy to what was discussed and will get the info second hand today when I go to visit. 

I suppose I can’t hide behind my denial of the situation any longer. I can’t even continue to say “we won’t know for sure until the results of the biopsy cone back.” 

The only thing we don’t know at this point is what kind of cancer it is. What the primary source is. All diagnostics, including the blood test for cancer markers point to ovarian cancer, which they say has a better prognosis than colon or lung. 

I guess we also don’t know what’s going to happen with her bowel obstruction. More diagnostics? Surgery?

The hospitals have a “one visitor a day” policy because of the pandemic and my sister is on dog-sitting duty so I’m the designated visitor. It also means I’m in charge of communication with the “family.” <<Insert serious groan here>>

All that pretty much brings me to today. 

For posterity, and to punctuate how quickly life can change (and how fast time flies sometimes)… was 

  • Feb 23 – Mom comes to my house to complain about her health concern. 
  • Feb 26 – She goes to her PCP. 
  • Mar 3 – ER visit #1 
  • Mar 7 – ER visit #2 where they gave her morphine. 
  • Mar 9 – ER visit #3 for possible dehydration. 
  • Mar 10 – Oncology consult in the morning + ER visit #4 In the evening + being admitted to the hospital. 
  • Mar 11 – Inpatient, Chest CT and results of the blood cancer marker test. 
  • Mar 12 – Inpatient, IR / biopsy + diagnosis of bowel obstruction + transfer to Nebraska Medicine. 

That’s it. That’s enough. 

Until next time, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-21 Sunday Status Funny Money 🐹

It’s Sunday and I’m checking my stats. How did I do meeting my goals? 

For sleep I achieved my goal 6 of 7 nights. 

Healthy eating.. 4 of 7. 

Mood.. 4 of 7.

Meditation.. 2 of 7. 

Exercise.. 6 of 7. 

Most of this looks good but feels a bit like funny money. Like you know how you get paid every two weeks for doing a job and the money is electronically deposited in your bank account and then some other company comes along and takes that coin back out for things like rent, electricity, insurance. It’s like a magic trick. One minute the numbers are there and the next.. Poof.. gone.. It happens automagically. You never actually see the cash, hold it, count it. That’s funny money.

Kinda makes a person feel like a hamster in a wheel. You know, in that metaphor what gives the hamster quality of life? Stopping to eat. Stopping to wee (or woo). And getting pulled out of the cage by the giant 6 year old who lets her run around the bedroom floor for a while. Perhaps getting a lettuce or carrot on these tiny adventures and of course weeing and wooing on the purple rug is the BEST! 

What does this metaphor teach us about life? That we need to maximize our time off the wheel. Cuz pretty soon now, that tiny little pumping heart can’t take anymore and the hamster dies. Poof!.. Just like that. 

I check my stats regularly. I set goals for my self. I’m constantly evaluating myself and my health. I gave up my old hamster wheel last year but I’m still on this one.

My New Years résolution this year was to do less instead of more. To be kind to myself and more forgiving. To meet that end, I backed off on my daily goals. But here we are nearing the end of February and I’m questioning the validity of all this. Like money in the bank, it all becomes numbers and checkmarks on a page. I add them up but they don’t amount to much.

So I backed off on my sleep goal and the result this week is a 6 of 7 instead of 4 of 7. So what? I still feel the same. I still have the same energy issues each day. I don’t get more restful sleep just because I back off on my goal. It just makes me feel better about how I’m doing. But it’s a magic trick. An illusion. 

It’s the same with the other stats. I have my daily step goal, which I reduced from 12k to 10k as a part of my resolution. So today’s calculated 6 of 7 would have been 4 of 7 instead. So what. It doesn’t change anything. And the other measurements are just as suspect. 

I took away “productivity” and replaced it with “mood” and I added one for meditation. Mood is subjective as there are no numbers and this feels more legit. Of all the stats I’m tracking, it feels the most genuine and important. I think that’s because that’s the real goal. To FEEL better. To FEEL healthier. To FEEL like I’m getting the most out of every day. 

Tangentially related is the brain child idea I had this week about inviting 2006 to 2021 and living life for a week the same way I was back then.

No smart phone. No social media. No googling everything or relying on the internet so much. It crossed my mind that 2006 was pre-FitBit too and before I tracked my stats so vigorously. 

It also predates any regular daily writing so my mind is really foggy with how life really was. It might be an interesting exercise to try and mentally recreate a day in the life of Miss SugarCookie in 2006. The first step of course is removing all those things I just mentioned. 

This means (if I go through with it) that I’ll not be keeping stats for as long as the experiment persists. And won’t be mentally tethered to my phone.

Tangentialy related is also the argument I had with my darling daughter last night because I did not have my phone with me when she texted the specifics of what she wanted to eat. I cooked the wrong thing and she refused to eat it and it was so ridiculous. I got so so so angry that she was acting spoiled and ungrateful and she just didn’t get it. Jim said I just needed to make the other thing and remember that she’s sick (one day post vaccine shot and running a fever and in bed all day). So I did. And she didn’t even thank me. Whatever. 

My point is that the people that will be the most affected by this little experiment of mine are those who “expect” things from me or are used to communicating via text. Nobody on FB will miss me because I’m not really on FB anyway. Same for twitter. And since I don’t have a 9 to 5 anymore, there’s nobody who is going to miss me not getting back to them ASAP there.

So today is my day of preparation. Thinking about what it is really going to look like when I pull the trigger on this test. Rolling back to 2006.

Why 2006?

I had to draw a line somewhere, you know, and thinking about what things add value to my life, like that hamster with their brief breaks from the wheel. Eating adds value and so does sleep. It is not a basic need in the pure sense of the word but music is pretty much essential for my daily existence.

If I’m giving up my phone for a week, then I need some other way to get my tunes. I don’t have a working CD player so my original iPod will have to do. I actually looked up the model number and it’s circa 2006. So that’s why. 

No Bluetooth of course so I’ll have to find a wired set of headphones or earbuds. I know I have some somewhere, just have to find them. That part will be easy compared to making my people understand that if they want something from me, they need to ask me in person. How novel. People living in the same house sitting down face to face. 

I think my treadmill time today is past being up. I’m secretly hoping people stay asleep a while longer so I can get more time to myself. We’ll see. 

Next stop.. 2006 and scrapping the stats!

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-12 Left Brain Digital Hoarder

Being “stranded” at home yesterday was good. I felt like I was really productive and balanced my time well between chores, GLR work, and the other selfish activity I had on my to-do list which was archiving content from my laptop on my external hard drive and reorganizing the drive. 

I started with my music library a few days ago and it reminded me that there was “unfinished” business to attend to. Some things that are “out of sight” also become “our of mind.” That was the case here. 

I’m ultra sensitive about losing data and haven’t yet embraced the cloud. I keep my little external drive in a locked fire safe. It has copies of all my writing, digital pictures, video, music, and documents from my entire life. To be fair, I didn’t start storing writing in digital form until the late 1990s and did not have a digital camera until 2002 so someone digging into the content would think  that’s when my life began. 😜

Keeping it in a fire safe is next level. I sometimes think about what to do with the dozens of paper notebook and boxes upon boxes of print pictures. If there was a fire (or flood) it would probably all be lost. Even if I get on board with utilizing a cloud for storage, it doesn’t fix that concern. Nope. The only solution would be to digitize all of that and much like bronchitis, “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

I spent about 3 hours, off and on and while also multitasking with my laptop, organizing. I love organizing. It was so satisfying to select a new organizational structure and force all the folders and files to conform. I removed a ton of duplication that was caused by changing my mind about naming conventions and also using a different approach to saving files previously. 

I’m not gonna lie, it was also great to lump all my old work stuff in folders that said “archive” and remove completely from my laptop. I’m kind of a data hoarder and have a ton of stuff related to my three previous jobs. I don’t delete “just in case.” I suppose all I really need to keep is my resume. If my external ever fills up, all that old work shit will be the first to go. 

Today that little device is back in the fire safe and I’m letting any further work on it go for now. 

Late last year, right around December 14, I had an incident with Evernote, which I’d been using for almost 10 years for documentation: poems, journals, first drafts of papers and letters, parenting notes, work notes, etc. Evernote was my go-to for anything and everything I needed to take a note on and have immediate access to from any device. 

The incident was lost content and for an Elephant that never forgets, that’s the ultimate no-no. It was not the first time. It was pretty much “three strikes and you’re out!” That day I switched to google docs, which nudges me ever closer to a full cloud solution to my archiving needs. And the G-drive is essentially free for the space I need right now. 

I still like to have my own copies of everything and yesterday was my first taste of how painful it will be to do that. I’ve got close to 2 months of journal entries for this blog and it took about 2 hours to extract a zip file of those individual files. In Evernote this takes like a hot second to extract all notes of a notebook to a folder full of html files. Literally hundreds of notes extracted and in an archive friendly format in a snap. That’s great. But not great enough to make me switch back. The SugarCookie Evernote Era is over and I’m not looking back. 

The question becomes.. what to do with all the files in the cloud. Do I just let it go. It’s all safe right? This is the same part of me that’s still stuck on having “copies” of all the music tracks I own. Good gravy, I’m stuck in 1998. Thank goodness I’m not actually stuck in 1998, what a boring year. 😜

In 1997 I was 26 years old and clueless about life. It was one of those years I think back on and wonder what I did with all my time. Married. No kids. Working for the man every day. And not writing anything. I guess things were good cuz if they were rotten I’d remember that right?! 

Two days in a row I start reminiscing about the past. What is up with that? Tough to reminisce though when you have no memory of events. And, like I said, that was before digital pics and electronic journaling so no record I have to remind me either (unless I want to break out those old notebooks and boxes of pictures). Such is life. 

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll go for the trifecta of writing about the past? Now taking requests for elaborations on particular years or events. 😊 It might be nice to not lean on my brain for a topic for a change. 

That’s it for today. 

Stay Frosty (but not too frosty), 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-11 A Quick Trip on the Memory Train

I’m walking. I’m walking. I’ve got nothing today. A full set list of stuff to get done today while I’m stranded at home. Jeep won’t start again and is parked at Jim’s office. He took my car to work today. 

It’s ok because it’s the first day of my period (cuz I know you wanted to know that 😜) and typically the heaviest day and the cramping-est day and probably would veto running errands around town anyhow. Been there done that anyway so…. meh. 

It just means I have all day to get stuff done around the house. Does that mean I will? Prolly not. 🤷‍♀️

I told you I had nothing to say today. Why you still reading? 

Guess it’s time to check my email and see what’s going on in Paris this morning…

It just happens to be a ride on a train. Fascinating. 

***

What I can say is that from down here, among the abandoned strappy black heels and patent leather pumps, I’ll never know for certain who triumphed over whom, which depends strictly on the definition of the word triumph. 

At times, for her own amusement, the Universe leads our memories astray but the outcome remains the same. Regardless of city streets riddled with contradictions, the street sign replaced a hundred times still runs parallel to the horizon, where the sun continues to rise in snowflake fashion every single day. 

I might have been sitting across from an Afgani woman on the Eurostar that one time too. Based on the year it might have been the same woman. But the advice I had been given was to not make eye contact so I’ll never know for certain. 

I just stared down at my shoes, thinking about how my stupid American wardrobe made me stick out like a sore thumb and and a target for all those shifty pick-pockets loitering near the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre and Notre Damme. I couldn’t have heard your conversation over the voices arguing about pairing a red trench coat with black leggings anyhow. I’d made so many mistakes.

Just then they rolled a cart of sweet treats by our train cabin and I was further distracted by chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, which hadn’t been invented yet. That was the moment the thread of the story fell to the ground and I went down on my hands and knees to hunt for it. 

***

I would say this would make more sense if a person read the triggering poem:

A Celebration

by Iman Mersal

Paris Review Issue no. 197 (Summer 2011)

But I doubt it.. as it doesn’t even help me decipher the message. And I’m the one who wrote it. Near as I can tell is that it’s an alternate take on the same subject as is in my poem, Left Brain Poet, with the references to memory and the flaws of our fragile human brains.

The actual details of my ride on the Eurostar are sadly long gone. The only solid memory is how incredibly different the French countryside appeared as we emerged from the Chunnel. Like I’d traveled through a portal of space AND time and ended up on a different planet. It was bright and beautiful and green which was so different than the dark, dreary greys and blues of London. 

I suppose the bit about the clothing is accurate too, though not a memory from the train. It actually pestered me enough for several days early on that trip that I spent half a day shopping on Oxford street. By the time my day-trip to Paris arrived, my “American-ness” was thoroughly camouflaged (as long as I didn’t open my mouth). 

Still hard to believe I went to England, Ireland, and Paris for two weeks all by myself in 2010. It was shortly after my divorce was final and I think I wanted to prove to everyone that I was finally free and could do whatever the fuck I wanted. That included visiting Stonehenge AND getting robbed in Dublin. Dublin.. don’t get me started on how much I hated Dublin. I mean, by then I was over traveling alone and let’s be real, once you see Paris and London, Dublin is a Dump.

I said don’t get me started didn’t I? Why are you still reading??!! 

In any case, my grand memories of that trip become even more grand as time passes and the truth of it all may be becoming mired by so many retellings. 

Maybe that’s the point and has nothing at all to do with what this morning’s poem from the Paris Review was all about. 🤷‍♀️ Such is the Way. In any case, I’m grateful for the opportunity to have lived those moments and to reminisce about them now. Thanks for reading.

With Much Love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-05 Where’s Monday When You Need It?

After having slept for only 4 hours the previous night, I could not stay awake past 9pm last night. My sleep was unfortunately once again riddled with tossing and turning and congestion. At 4:30 this AM I gave up and got up (again). Sound familiar?

Despite that nonsense, I was in good spirits and looking forward to today. It only took all week to get to a point where it feels like all the mischief has been managed. Still.. I’m not ready for the weekend. At this point I’d like to have a few more weekdays with everyone else at school and work so I can continue to get stuff done without interruptions. While I love my peeps, they can sometimes be needy and nobody seems to care if the timing of their requests conflict with my own plans. Such is the life of a housewife I guess. 

I remember a conversation around a kitchen table with my then soon-to-be husband’s father who made a comment about my new job as a housewife. I remember how rubbed the wrong way I felt about the use of that term. It felt like an insult somehow. I’m not sure if it’s because the term is somewhat antiquated or perhaps that it implied a less important role. I’ve always been the head of the household, just not used to stepping into a role that’s primarily supportive. 

I’m still struggling with the transition. In some ways I’m happy to have more time to cook and clean, but in other ways this perception that it’s not as important still get to me. And the fact that my own personal endeavors can only get attention once my “primary” duties are taken care of is frustrating. 

This gets at the heart of what some of what’s been bothering me lately. Jim says he wants me to dedicate time each day to my writing but that does not jive with the amount of other things that need to be done. I mean, it’s one thing to say something supportive like that but when the rubber hits the road (and days and weeks pass with zero time spent on writing) it’s clear the words don’t match reality. 

Some of it is on me, for sure. I take on too much and literally filled the full time space I was spending at a regular day job with work on the lit mag before I even quit my job. I quit my job to relieve stress and have more time but somehow that extra time just evaporates each week. 

This week has been a particularly taxing week when it comes to the lit mag. We’re nearing the end of the current reading period and decisions need to made and there was a team meeting along with other intense conversations about how to do better with our mission. It’s all good, just taking a big chunk of time to be completely engaged and a bigger chunk of time to sort through my own thoughts and feelings. 

It’s all good, just time consuming and each day when the “work” day is over (like 3pm) I have to switch gears. Last night it was a provider meeting for Jim that was hosted at our house. That took all I had for about 4 straight hours. And I was exhausted! Then at 8pm, just as I sat down on the couch, my daughter comes down the stairs and asks (expects) me to cook her dinner. I wanted to scream. 

But it’s not her fault. I’m happy to cook. I like to. I was just so tired. I should have asked her to do it herself but I already carry so much guilt for saying no to so many things over the years. So many sacrifices because of my job and needing that stupid paycheck. “Sorry darlin, I cant right now because I have a meeting.” 

So I cooked. Then I sat with her while she ate. Then I went to bed. Like I said, 9pm. Such is life. 

***

It’s almost 9am now. I wrote most of that before 7am. Then I paused so I could wake the house and fix breakfast and get my son to school. 

I want to got my step goal now and beyond that, the only thing I can think of is going back to bed. I have so much to do but I’m trying very hard to sort out what needs done immediately and what can wait. My exhaustion is leading me to believe that everything can wait. Can that be right? 

Perhaps. 

On that note, I’m going to call it quits (For now? For the day? For the week?) who knows. 🤷‍♀️ 

With peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-02 Who Gets Married on Groundhog Day??! 🦦🥂💕

This Girl!! (I think that emoji might be an Ottr, but it’ll have to do).

One year ago today I got married. It’s quite hard to believe. In some ways it feels like it never happened, in other ways it feels like it was many years ago. There is no way I could have predicted that first year of marriage would go the way it did—overshadowed by so much global, national, and local unrest.

Overshadowed is the right word. I want to write about our year as a couple, our love, and how amazing Jim has been through this entire year, but my brain can’t get away from thinking about all the mess. The 2020 vortex of doom and the mental and emotional strain. I suppose if we can survive all that, we can probably weather any storm right? 

It’s a question. Why is it a question? 

It’s just where my head is at today. I’m not thinking about celebration. I’m not thinking about spending the evening together or going out to dinner with him for the first time in about 11 months. I’m not thinking about planning the next adventure or what this next year will bring. My mind is wandering elsewhere and stressed and I’ve got a knot in my stomach over running out of time.

Time is a strange beast. A dimension that’s hard to understand and even harder to deal with as it’s always slipping away. I feel stressed about deadlines and never having enough time. An inbox full of messages causes anxiety to rise in my throat. It’s like every minute of the day I’m carefully calculating what the next move is, never quite catching up or getting ahead.

Why can’t I settle down and just enjoy the day? Why does everything feel so urgent? And how did it get to be 11am and I haven’t walked yet or showered or made our lunches or done half the other things on my to-do list. 

I’m gonna quit there. Even this is starting to feel like a wrench in my plans for this day. I need to let go and get some focus. 

It’s my freaking anniversary people!! That’s gotta be the focus now. Effffff everything else. 

Cheers to Year 1!! 🥂 

~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

2021-01-01 Hurry Up and Wait ⏰

Or.. It’s About Time.

Two days ago I started writing about something that dissolved into a rant about titles and hierarchy and how disgruntled I felt after not being recognized for my contribution in an effort I’ve worked on and care deeply about. I ran out of time while writing and was subsequently told to let it go. (Clearly I have not yet).

One day ago I started writing and it quickly morphed into a statement of gratitude I wanted to include in my “letter from the editor” for the lit mag I’m managing editor for. Oh hey, this is directly related to the aforementioned endeavor. They are one and the same.

In the middle of writing I elected to switch gears and just write the letter instead of a journal entry. Or was past due anyhow. The part with the gratitude to specific folks on my team did not make it into the letter. If you are reading this, M or T, please know I wanted to but it was apparently too much like a repeat of the last letter and that part was cut. It was also not all me, it was E, who said we’d fit the recognition in somewhere else.

This is the complication I’m dealing with. 

E is the person who gets recognition instead of me, publiclally and privately and I’m really sick of it. I can externally let it go, but mark my words.. if it happens again I can’t predict what my response will be.

See I clearly can’t let it go. But there’s just not time to work through it right now. I have to hurry up on something else that’s important. I have to temporarily let go of what happened two days ago and yesterday and focus on today and tomorrow. 

Did I mention it’s now 2021. Good gravy how can I possibly put thoughts about that on pause too? But I have too. Where are all these things when my mind is dry and I’ve nothing to say? Why do noteworthy events huddle so close together? Ugh!!! 

But I have to focus. 

Focus. 

Today my goal is to wrap the prep and practice for my reading. It’s the next big thing that’s in front of me. Yes, there’s more res today to attend to but that should be a snap. 

Unlike the lecture, the reading doesn’t make me as nervous. That’s kind of a puzzle but one that I’m happy I don’t have to solve because it’s a good thing. I’m actually thinking of sending invites to like everyone I know to tune in and watch. Though I doubt most people will be interested in hearing me talk and read poetry for 20 minutes. If you are reading this and interested, message me and I’ll send the zoom credentials. Ha!

It’s also my opportunity to say a few words, which I will not get to do for graduation because of the sheer number of folks graduating. The question for me becomes.. how much time of poems do I sacrifice to say other things? It’s supposed to be a poetry reading, but damn, I just have a lot to say. You know? 

I suppose that first bit of writing I made reference to earlier is connected. I have been invisible all my life, and that comes at a cost. But we often don’t know the cost until it’s too late. 

Cutting to the heart of the matter, I don’t want to get to the end of what I’ve been offered and feel as though I’ve wasted time. 

Seriosly. A set of my poems were workshopped this week and the mentor facilitating pointed out the theme of time that was in all of them, more prevalent in some than others, but a current flowing between them for sure. She also said she liked the poem about my divorce the best. Which was sort of eye opening. I felt it was the weakest. That fact proves that taste is so subjective. 

That poem will not be in my reading. At least one of the others will probably. But I still need to figure out which ones to cut because as it is now, there’s too much. 

The good news is that I talked myself out of including a few I felt were really important. In a way, the lecture on editing (from the other mentor whose comment referencing E and not me), helped me realize that the audience is important and not to be too in love with new writing. Which are both good points to remember.

So I’m sticking with poems I have high confidence in and are perhaps more universally understandable. Nothing too specific with divorce, castle, or my parents (who might be tuning in). There’s also no poems about my children and that’s interesting. 

Interesting in that I’ve written very few about them. Or patenting. I have one I could read but I don’t have any confidence in it and it’s not polished. So I won’t. I digress.

I’ve got a lot to get done today. I really want to climb up to my tower in the castle after this and work at it until I’ve got at least the reading set. Then move on to other things. 

When this Res is over and things settle down, there will be more time to write about everything else. We’ll see if it all remains pressing with the passage of time. 

Until then, peace and love and happy New Year!

~Miss SugarCookie