2022-01-14 Giving My Brain a Creative Jump-Start ✍🏻

I’m back at the Lied Lodge in Nebraska city today. I was invited by an MFA friend who is also struggling to get back into writing. The regular routine of life often doesn’t leave enough space for flexing that creative muscle. I know I was just here a couple of weeks ago but that was mostly business and alas there was not time to just sit with my right brain self and reflect and write. So when she asked me, I jumped at the opportunity.

The Lied is where our low-res MFA program does their residencies every semester. It’s a ten day immersive experience that often leaves my head spinning and full of things I want to write about. My hope is that just by being here, it will kickstart something in my brain.

It felt good to pack a bag and break away from the castle. It felt great driving in my car solo, with my tunes turned up on the stereo. And it feels fantastic being here without any pressure to lecture, attend events, or socialize. I’ve stayed here enough times that I know the place inside and out. 

I know enough to ask for an odd numbered room on the 3rd floor (odd numbered rooms are on the north side of the lodge which faces a green space and a copse of trees instead of the parking lot). I know there’s hardly ever anyone in the exercise room in the basement (which is where I am now) and I know that in winter there’s not much going on so there will be few distractions. 

What I don’t know is whether or not I’ll be able to mentally break away from all the things in my life that have kept me from writing lately. I have to resist the urge to check email or work on the GLR or waste the precious time I have searching old poems for potential revision opportunities or submitting the same old shit to more places. 

I’ve turned notifications to camera events off and made sure folks know not to contact me unless it’s an emergency. I’ve brought a few books in case I need a little jump start for writing or to keep me occupied if the writing doesn’t happen. I hope it does. 

My friend will be here at about 5:30 and we’re meeting for dinner at 6. The bad weather is supposed to roll in any minute now and it would be lovely to feel a little stranded with a hot coffee next to the big fireplace overlooking the patio and the woods beyond that. 

It will also be nice to catch up with my friend and just talk about our big plans for the year without some timer going off. No mom taxi, no dinner to cook, no dishes or litter boxes for 24 glorious hours. Hell, now that I think about it, I don’t even care if I write anything. It’s like a whole day of “me” time. 

To be fair, I don’t want to spend a ton of time journal writing either so this is gonna be it for now. 

Time to get busy doing whatever I want! 

Ciao for now, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2022-01-10 Another Year in the Rearview

And what a year it was! Am I right??!! 

Sometimes when I’m on vacation and I have extra time, I elect to write about how it’s going. If I have a lot of extra time, there are pictures. That’s lovely to revisit later, but who has that kind of time? 

I’m usually more about the future than the past and once a vacation or event is over, if I haven’t written about it, it fades into the abyss of collective human existence. 

It used to bother me if something noteworthy went undocumented, like a road trip, barcamp experience, or all those years from 1994 to 2008. Poof.. gone! Oh the regret. 

In more recent times, however, I’ve gotten better at letting it go. I’ve been coaching myself to not get so bent about missing what I cherish as a perfect reason to write. The lack of time helps.. if I don’t have it, there’s little I can do about it anyhow and being upset doesn’t help anything. 

Now that that’s been established, I have to flip the script because when it comes to talking about a whole year, I feel a little different.  Yes… we’re talking 2021 now. I need.. NEED to reflect a little bit so that I can turn my full and complete attention to the year ahead. 

About a week ago I went all numbers nerd on y’all and I believe that had a healthy recap of my stats for the year. Step count average, sleep duration, creative writing submission counts, and blog stats.

https://theorganicsugarcookie.com/2021/12/22/2021-12-22-its-a-numbers-nerding-kind-of-day/

But not everything can be translated into numbers.

For example, in match my mom went through a hell of an ordeal and the result was a diagnosis of stage 3c ovarian cancer, which is pretty grim if you google the statistics. She’s now had two major surgeries and undergone 6 months of chemo. The short story now is that she’s been declared cancer free. For now. 

The visitor restrictions due to covid meant only one designated visitor was allowed. That would be yours truly. Daughter number 1. It was a rough time for her for sure, and I do not mean to demean that at all when I say it was pretty terrible for me too. Like a full time job managing a situation with zero in return. When I say zero, I’m being serious. 

Cold, yes, but frightfully serious. I suppose that’s because I’ve never had a great relationship with my mom. It’s only proximity and availability that I was put on good daughter duty instead of my 3 other siblings; two in the Denver area, and one local but already has a full time job. 

I’m the end we all did our part. Mine was just bigger. 

My mom is already chomping at the bit to have more surgery to reverse the ostomy. It will take two more procedures. She’s schedule this week if she could, but the rise in Covid again has put the kibosh on anything considered elective. I’m secretly grateful for that as I’m personally not ready for that circus again. I digress. 

This year I also navigated the publishing process for my first book. So quaint and optimistic I say “first” as if I really think there will be another. But there might! 

Anyway, I don’t believe I’ve learned anything new about myself through the process other than I really can get over my angst about social media and post modestly for the sake of self promotion. 

The process has been mostly hurry up and wait. I got the requested materials to the publisher in late summer/early fall which included cover design, pictures, bios, and blurbs they could use to promote the book and put on the back cover. The rest of it has just been waiting. 

Waiting for it to go up on their site, mostly so I could tell people about it. And now the waiting game during this pre-sale period includes me randomly posting about it and emailing folks. I get an email every couple of weeks on how it’s doing; how many copies have been sold. Last count was the magic 55. 

See how hard it is to find the words to recap a year without going down all the rabbit holes along the way. I’m sure my year had more about it than my moms cancer and my book. 

I did have seventeen poems published in 2021. That’s something! 

I traveled to Beaver Bend State Park in Oklahoma, Arizona and the Grand Canyon, Dubuque Iowa, and Austin this year. 

My daughter turned 19 and is dominating the school scene at UNL. She’s also navigating her way through the early stages of her first relationship. 

My son turned 17 and is a senior in high school. I was successful getting him to take drivers ed this past summer so now he’s driving. That’s a big win. He’s also getting closer to making some decisions about his future which is great. He’ll have more of a plan than I ever did when I was a senior. In my book, that’s a win too. 

Jim and I had our 1st anniversary as a married couple. We celebrated by going out to dinner for the first time in a year. That was last February, so the next me is coming up quick. 

I’m struggling to think of anything else noteworthy and I think that means it’s time to wrap. 

Perhaps if I think of something else I’ll return to update this post so it’s all in one place. Hey… I can do that. 🙃

Cheers to Endings and Beginnings,

~Miss SugarCookie

2022-01-07 Kind of a White Rabbit Start to 2022 🐇🐇🐇

There’s something about the end of one year and the start of another that puts me in a tizzy if I don’t have time to reflect on the past and also spend time musing about resolutions and planning my goals for the coming year. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m very goal oriented. Checking things off a list is my jam. 

That, of course, requires time, and a fair measure of solitude to really get into. Neither of which I have had for about 7 straight days. Who am I kidding it’s been since Christmas Eve. That’s about two weeks now. With no end in sight. 

A few days ago I happened to get a new like on the post I wrote a year ago about my 2021 resolutions. What a hoot to go back and read what I thought I was going to do with my year. 

In short, my plan was to work on not over-committing myself, reduce the pressure I put on myself to get so much done all the time, and meditate more. All of this was going to help solve, once and for all, the larger problem I have with daily exhaustion. Truly laughable. 

Not that I didn’t try, but most of the concrete things I had decided upon ended up not turning out. 

I did reduce my daily step count goal from 12k to 10k. It’s an easy thing to change in the app, but in practice my actual step count went from about 10k in 2020 to 12k in 2021. Oh the irony! 

My sleep stats went down instead of up,  I failed to meditate more than a handful of times, and I ended up pushing myself just as much as I always do despite dropping the daily “checklist” of goals off my planner. Yes, I still use a paper planner. It’s a more pleasing experience for me I guess. 

The irony of having a resolution to do less and ending up doing arguably more is not lost on me. The minute I try to make life easier for myself, I’m feeling crappy because I get the creeping feeling I need to be doing more. Good gravy, a girl just can’t win. 

Regardless, I’m trying to find more time to reflect on 2021 and plan for 2022. I’ve had scattered thought all through these first days of the year, but they’ve been easily supplanted by all that actually needs to get done right now. Plus the Bachelor started again this week so that’s high on my priority list now too! 🤣

I’m half tempted to dive into it right now but I know I’ve got my GYN appointment in an hour and the few minutes I have left to write would be a sad appetizer for that healthy main course of a post. I’m already running late. Just like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. 

“I’m late, I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say ‘hello, goodbye,’ I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!”

Yeah, that about sums up my year so far. 

On that note, I’ve gotta git to all the gitting. 

Hello, Goodbye, 🐇 

~Miss SugarCookie

2022-01-03 It Can Be Whatever You Want…

I have collected and carry with me a number of sayings. Mantras, if you will that I often turn to in times when I’m in need of grounding, or a reminder about how to live life properly.

Now is one of those times and the phrase today is “It can be whatever you want. You just have to know what that is.” 

I’ve spent the last four days solid immersed in doing what everyone else around me wanted, expected, and demanded. I’ve had almost zero time to myself and as an introvert, I know that continuing on in that way spells disaster. 

The next few days seem pretty booked up already too and sometimes when there’s this much going on, and I have a spare moment to come up for air and do something else, something that is just for me, I struggle. Because it’s tough to pull your brain away from the endless sea of to-dos and switch gears to something else. 

It can get bad in that in that spare moment. It should be glorious and filled from one side to the other with me spending time on what I really want to do. Instead I get paralysis from over analysis. I end up waffling and wasting time worrying that I’ll choose the wrong thing to do next. Then I’ve really done a number on myself because I’ve done the exact opposite of what I want.

It can be whatever you want. You just have to know what that is. 

About 45 minutes ago I returned home with my daughter with Qdoba for her and I and my son and we sat in our broken kitchen and enjoyed some tacos, chips, and queso together. I knew when we were done, we would all part ways and that would be my first break in four days to do whatever I want… for about an hour. But what did I want to do with my time?

One damn grand hour. What indeed! 

Then it started. I began to waffle. 

It’s the third day of the year and I haven’t written out my final reflections on 2021 or declared any resolutions for 2022. I should do that. 

I haven’t exercised at all today. I should do that. 

I have a new idea in my head for a project I’d like to dive into. I should do some research about that. 

I haven’t scooped the kitty litter in a while. I should definitely NOT under any circumstances do that. 

I haven’t had a real conversation with my husband in three days that’s not about our broken dishwasher, clogged sink, or disposal that is probably toast. I should hang out with him. 

I habitually consult my email as if I’m inviting the Universe to make my decision for me. There’s no new mail (thank the Stars). 

The kids finish eating and depart just as predicted and so I leave the kitchen as well. I wander toward my bedroom and have a disagreement with myself along the way. Do I change out of my day clothes into pajamas and head upstairs to write or should I change into something to get treadmill time? I do neither. It’s the paralysis thing rearing its ugly head.

Instead of going to my closet, I detour to the stairs and visit the room where my husband is settling in to read. Maybe I should read. That’s a novel idea too. Pun intended! 

As soon as I sit down in a chair adjacent to his and begin to get cozy with a blanket, I get this creeping feeling that I’ve chosen wrong. It takes me a minute, but I have to trust this instinct. 

I get up to leave and explain that I need to do something else. We agree to wrap whatever it is we’re doing at 9pm to meet again, elsewhere. I head back down to our bedroom. By now, I’ve waffled for nearly 20 minutes. What a waste!! 

I change into something that I can walk in and also later peel off pants and sleep in. Waaaaa-la! I make my way to the treadmill in the basement and here I am!!

It’s sometimes way harder than it should be to figure out what you want and want you need and that’s why I have those little mantras. 

Tomorrow my husband goes back to work. The day after that my son goes back to school. I’ll then have more time for that reflection I’m craving and documenting that list of resolutions grinding around in my head.

I am capable of looking on the bright side. In this case, no official resolutions equals no official acknowledgment of failure, self-loathing, or accountability for lack of progress. Three happy New Years cheers to that!! 

Just then one of my four cats, Gus Gus, eyes the treadmill as if he’s thinking of stepping on while the belt is moving. I immediately hit the stop button. 

I sit down and he climbs on and I pet him for about 5 minutes before finishing this post. 

And that’s it. That’s exactly how it all went down. Hopefully next time, I’ll figure out what I want a little sooner. 

#TrueStory

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-08-18 Mood Math

It’s been another week. Another 7 days since I’ve put two sentences together on a page, virtual or otherwise. Maybe this is the new me, the new Miss SugarCookie who posts once a week instead of once a day. If I was doing that, I’d want to make sure each week is one heck of a good post. Should it be Wednesdays? Is that the right day? Or perhaps Thursdays because the week is over half over and there’s usually a good vibe cruising into the weekend. 

I wish I could say I have a good vibe right now. I’d settle for an OK vibe. 

Instead I feel downright rotten again and the regularity of this funk is starting to get to me. 

Last week I blamed PMS and for sure when my period finally (FINALLY) showed up, I did feel a little better. But here we are on Wednesday again and I’m twiddling my thumbs and waiting for the sun to set so I can crawl into bed without taking too much grief about my mood or my lack of energy (or desire or motivation or whatever). 

I really have no excuse for being in a bad mood today. Nothing substantial anyhow. I mean, I tried to donate blood and failed. Low hemoglobin. That’s no big deal. I took some grief for not buying any bottled water at the grocery this week. Excuse me for not wanting to fill the land with plastic. I’m tired as hell and am easily annoyed by people. That’s kind of a big deal. 

I haven’t written anything in forever and have received one rejection after another via email. That could be something. My daughter left for college this week (or rather, I took her) and so I am missing not having her here to talk to after work. Also probably a bigger deal than I realize. I constantly feel unimportant and like I don’t matter to anyone. Yeah, now we are getting somewhere. 

So my kids don’t really need me. I have no job. My husband doesn’t really need me and is extremely busy. I’m his 3rd or 4th priority and I feel like our relationship only gets attention when he has time off of work. That’s to be expected with his job and business and kids who all come before me. 

Did I mention that I was tired? I’m literally typing on my laptop on my lap and can feel my eyes getting heavy. I might just stretch out this overstuffed arm chair and try to sleep. We’ll see if that makes me feel better…

*** 

Nope. And neither did the ice cream I just had. 

Oh.. and did I mention my birthday is next week? Maybe that’s the real reason I’ve been so down lately. Birthdays don’t usually get me down but then again I get older every year and so every birthday is just a reminder that my time is running out.

But it shouldn’t get me down because I probably have another 50 years to live. Not even on the downhill slide yet. 50 more years to make the most out of life. 

If I get an average of 10,000 steps a day that’s 182.5 million steps. That’s a lot of freaking steps.

If I get an average of seven hours of sleep every night that’s 127,750 hours of sleep. And 310,250 hours awake. That’s a lot of hours. What the heck am I supposed to do with all that time?! What do I want to do? What would make me feel better about how I’m spending that time? 

I just don’t know. 

You know sometimes I think I have life all figured out but I really don’t. I haven’t got a clue. I suppose it will always feel that way sometimes. 

I suppose the moods really come and go and I shouldn’t worry too much that I’m too depressed or stressed or anxious or, the universe forbid, happy and thinking any minute something bad is going to happen. Is that what it is now? Things are too good and I’m concerned it’s too good to be true and the next disaster is just around the bend??!! 

Good gravy, my brain is twisted. 

*** 

On second thought… that ice cream did make me feel a little bit better so I think I’ll have some more. 

If I eat one bowl of ice cream every day for the next 50 years, that’s about 18,250 bowls of ice cream. But you know what I always say… Today is a good day to start. 🤷‍♀️

That’s it for now, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-06-05 Cliches About Time are Cliche Because of Their Truth

The push and pull of all these days blurs into a gravity that begs to be let go of. Time is relative. Emotions are relative. Thoughts are relative. The next thing can only be measured against the last and the moment in time that lingers longer than it should, repeating itself in the mind, becomes greater as time passes. It’s natural.

Funny how the more you want to let it go, the harder it holds on and the harder you want to hold onto it, the faster it slips away. Why? I often think that I’m not ready to work on answers to the questions yet, because I’m still working on the questions. Maybe in my last minutes wandering this waking world I’ll come to understand the questions. Maybe then, and only then, I will feel ready for the answers. 

Since the funeral on Thursday, I’ve been replaying the same moment in my head over and over again. Each time I think maybe I can get through it without that emotional swell that brings me to tears. 

My mom and I arrived 20 minutes early for the funeral and there was no one in the receiving line before entering the main part of the chapel. Even before I saw the line, I could feel my emotions rising through my body, in my stomach, and up into my throat. By the time I was standing in front of my ex, i was already full and bursting from the eyes. I attempted to maintain my composure as I gave him a light hug and offered my condolences. 

Next was his mom, who I had been most worried about and felt very sad for. She hugged me tightly and whispered in my ear, she loves me, she’s glad I came, thanks for sending flowers, and that I’ve done a good job raising the kids. 

See, I can’t think of it now without tearing up again. 

I was worried and anxious and had nothing to worry about. I wish I had been more prepared. So many unsaid things are in my head and it’s too late for me to say them. So now they are stuck inside of me. And now I realize it’s too late, their “stuck-ness” hurts. 

I proceeded down the receiving line. Kristy, Wendy, Scott, and Larry. Family that used to be my family. Family that would be my family had I stayed married. Family that I was separated from suddenly and unnaturally. It was the toughest part of my divorce and standing there I was reduced to my younger self, broken and exposed and not knowing what to say. 

I hugged each person in turn, followed by my mom making easy casual conversation with folks the way she does. Why couldn’t I have inherited her easy social nature? 

We proceeded into the church and selected a spot near the back of the room. The service was nice. The personal portion was touching and the religious portion allowed me to splay my thoughts in different directions. 

My children were there, sitting with their cousins and though I said hello to them, it felt like I was approaching strangers, not really a part of that circle. They are all so grown up. The oldest cousin having children of his own now. That’s life. 

We didn’t stay for the reception after. My mom was in a hurry to get going. I almost regretted bringing her as I may have stayed longer if it wasn’t for her. It was probably for the best. I don’t really belong anyway and it would have been awkward. 

That was 2 days ago and that 120 second clip of navigating the interactions in that line will not stop replaying in my mind. Two mornings now I’ve woke up thinking about it. The words whispered, the embraces, the flood of emotions. It leaves me wondering what I will need to do to release myself from repeating that memory. That’s the question. 

I’ve told three people, and each time I began to get weepy and still that did not help. I’m hoping writing this will help. I guess we’ll see. Time will tell. 

Time heals and time wounds. Time is forgiving and cruel. Time keeps its secrets until it’s too late, revealing the questions when the answers no longer matter. 

My former father-in-law is gone and I can no longer tell him how I feel about him and how much he means to me, my memories locked inside because I’m not able to sit around the table with the family and reminisce. 

I can’t reach back in time and change anything. I can’t rewind and ask my grandfather about his life. I can’t stay in touch with Stacey and convince her life is worth sticking around for or change the way I treated KS. Life goes on and as cliche as it is, it waits for no one. 

That’s a good a place as any to stop. There’s more I could say about family and attempting to spend more quality time lately, but it’s Saturday and going to be hot out and I need to water my plants. 

Another cliche but so true—there’s no time like the present.

With peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

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