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

2021-06-06 All the Life that Wants to Live

My neighbor Dick has touched over a thousand people’s hearts. Literally. In his prime he was a cardiothoracic surgeon who performed thousands of procedures. I can’t imagine having the kind of skill, knowledge, and expertise required for such things. It’s got to be a bit surreal to think back over your life and know that you have saved hundreds of peoples lives, extended ten times that, and had a positive impact on thousands of family members falling over each other with unyielding gratitude. Not to mention the weight that must come with delivering the worst news to the spouse, daughter, or parent of a patient. Watching as they clutch whatever is in their arms and hands a little tighter, pain and anguish climbing inside of them bursting from their eyes. 

Dick is retired now and though his career is long behind him, he still comes out every day to check the mailbox at the end of his driveway and on Tuesday’s to wheel his trash cart to our shared curb. His hearing and eyesight are not so good so when he sees me, he always walks closer to the small green space that separates our driveways. 

His greeting is familiar now, “Shyla, is that you? I can’t see so good anymore.” He hobbles with his cane a little closer. His smile is soft and genuine. 

“Yes.” I reply, walking a little quicker toward him so he doesn’t have to come too far and also so I don’t have to raise my voice in an unnatural way like I’m talking to an elderly person who is hard of hearing. “How’s it going?”

“Oh, you know,” he says with a smile. And I’m not sure I know but think I might. 

Recently I was working to tease the weeds out of the lilac bushes that live in our shared strip of green space. I was on his property on my hands and knees pulling out little saplings and Creeping Jenny that have planted themselves there. You have to really get them up from the root otherwise they will stubbornly grow back.

All the life that wants to live.

It wasn’t Tuesday. The mail hadn’t been delivered yet. Yet here was Dick outside and making his way across his driveway.

He smiles and says hi and asks me what I’m doing. I stand so we can be eye to eye and I tell him I’m pulling weeds. We survey the bushes in silence for a second. They have been neglected for far too long and are in rough shape but still working all their lilac magic to produce those wonderfully smelling blooms. 

I once heard something about plants that were nearing a rough patch or the end of their time. That they somehow put all their energy into producing whatever it is that will beget offspring. Like a pine tree producing twice the normal number of pine cones as its branches become brittle and brown. Or a flower blooming out of control before a bad winter it might not survive, somehow with a premonition of things to come. 

Dick breaks the silence and says the bushes look great. I don’t think we’re looking at the same bushes. They smell amazing though, and maybe with failing eyesight that’s what he’s basing his assessment on. 

I ask him how it’s going. He surprises me and says, “You know a person shouldn’t live past 90.” 

He’s 92. 

I’m not sure how to respond to that so I just smile and we stand there for another moment of silence. 

He reaches over his cane and grabs the tendril of a Creeping Jenny and yanks it away from the bush. It snaps, leaving the root of the weed intact. 

“I think I’ve got my work cut out for me,” I say. 

“You’re doing good.” He says. And then “I’ll leave you to it.” 

As he turns to walk back to his open garage door I can’t help but think that no matter how much good I do in my life, it will never amount to much.

All the life that wants to live.

I get back down on my knees and reach for another weed.

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

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