2020-10-19 Quick and Squeaky

It’s a new day and a new week. Another opportunity to get it all done.

Despite waking up with a pain in my neck at 5:10am, I’m in pretty good spirits. In large part thanks to the fact that I no longer have to figure out how to fit work in with all the other stuff I’ve got to do. And magically, the “stuff” always grows to fill the space.

Two exciting updates to share! Yesterday I submitted my first poetry manuscript to a contest for first or second book. It’s exciting to think that all that I’ve learned in the last three years might actually result in a published book. I mean, it’s still a pipe dream but it’s my pipe dream and it’s fun to daydream about the possibilities.

The second thing is that another one of my poems was accepted for publication in an online journal. Huzzah!!

It’s called “Open Window” and it originally came from a prompt I did when writing with my Tuesday writing group. I got feedback on it from my mentor, Stave Langan, in the 3rd semester of my MFA program. Steve helped me find the right form for the poem. Now it’s going to be in The Wild Roof Review in January. 💃💃💃

And that thing I mentioned last week? About keeping track of what’s been submitted since I’m sending so many of the same poems out to so many places? Yeah, well.. now I’ve got to withdrawn that poem from like 10 other publishers. Seems like a good time, eh? Ha!

Other than that, I’m excited this week to be celebrating Jim’s bday and also plan to kick my week off right by going to vote. I’m taking my daughter so she can vote too (her first time) and not be intimidated by the process or choices. Hopefully the line to vote will not be that long.

For me it’s a bit of a repeat from 4 years ago since I went in to vote early then too. I just prefer it, you know. But last time there was like nobody there voting early the day I went. I have a feeling today will be different. I think many people have the same idea.

The jury is still out on a potential road trip to Austin to be with my peeps on election night, also just like 4 years ago. Minus all the driving. Jim does not have time off work enough for that but I certainly do. It’s the kind of thing I would not have hesitated about when I was single. If I wanted to go, I’d just do it. Now I feel a tug of angst about it.

Going without Jim, skipping out on my responsibilities here, and driving all that way. To be fair, the drive does not bother me that much so it’s mostly going without Jim that’s holding me back. Still, it would be great to see my people again. It’s been since February when I got married but 2020 feels like the longest year in the history of years.

I’m gonna cut this short today cuz I gotta get down to business. Like I said, lots to do!

XOXOXO,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-18 It’s Not the Poem’s Fault

It’s Sunday and my day is starting early. I woke before 6am and tried to go back to sleep but its futile. It’s almost 7 now so it’s not like I didn’t try to resist getting up. Hopefully Jim can get some extra rest with the absence of my tossing and turning. Hopefully he’ll text me when he does wake up so I can sneak back in and get some snuggles in. Hopefully the kids sleep in too.

So much hope.

My weather app is reporting snow showers. It’s already the coldest morning of fall yet with temps bottoming out at 34 degrees. Which means that if it is snowing, it won’t be for long. Another degree and that snow will turn to rain. And then the dusting we’ve gotten over night will be gone.

Kind of a bummer that I don’t have anything more exciting than that to talk about. Hey.. do you remember when I used to report on my stats every Sunday. Yeah, so I guess compared to that, talking about the weather is aaaallllll-right.

Yesterday I got my manuscript back from a friend whose helping me fine-tune it for submission. The original contest I was looking into for this has a deadline of today. This means most of my day will be spent on editing. And there’s a lot of comments and suggestions to get through.

Sometimes I think poems are never done. I used to ask this question when I attended workshops. “How do you know the poem is done?” Now I recognize the reason the question never seems to get answered.

The author talks a little bit about their process and evades any definitive answer. It’s because there isn’t one. The poem is never done. Stick with me here…

You write a poem. It comes from a combination of experience, state of mind, and knowledge. These shifting variables are how that line break ends up there and One word is chosen over another. Sometimes the poem writes itself and then you sit back and are like, “holy wow, there’s a poem.”

Then, if your like me, you’re making eyes at this new baby like it’s the best baby in the world. Why is it that each new poem feels brilliant? Because you’re still basically the same person (experience, mood, knowledge) as you were in that inspirational moment. But wait a hot minute.

State of mind is the fastest shape shifter. From one day to the next it can render a read of the poem with dramatically different outcomes. One day you love it. The next, you hate it. . Yeah, mood is pretty powerful. I’ve sat down to revise poems and end up throwing my hands up in the air because all the poems are terrible. I’d say, forget about it!!

Then, two days later I return again and things are softer. The words sneak back into my good graces. And I wonder why I had been so hard on myself (or the poem!).

But that’s just one factor. Experience and knowledge are others. As time has a habit of doing, it changes you. If you put that baby of a poem on a virtual shelf and don’t look at it for six months, donuts to dollars it WILL be different when you pull it off the shelf. But it’s not the poem, it’s the writer.

Perhaps in those six months you’ve fallen out of love with the person the poem is about. Maybe they cheated on you and broke your heart (that bastard!) and you read the poem with a new perspective. Is it better or worse? Are you still attached to it or over it? It’s so subjective.

And as for actually revising, each new thing you learn causes you to rethink a choice. I’ve taken the same poem and revised with like a dozen different techniques, tried and true methods, and personal experimental ones.

Again, it’s sometimes tough to sit back and be objective about the result. That’s why getting other eyes on it is so important. Other people can look at your work more objectively and perhaps point out something that’s better or different or more effective. Probably they will find something, and are not going to just tell you to toss it out as rubbish.

Back to the question at hand. When is it done done? When is enough enough? Don’t ask me.. I don’t know. 🤣

I thought for sure my answer would be, “once it’s published”, but now I’m revising poems that have already been published for a full length book and still finding ways to tighten and improve them. Swap this verb for that one and change the way the stanzas are arranged.

Yeah, three line stanzas for sure work better to enhance the unbalanced nature of the topic. Four line stanzas are structured and stable and confident. The speaker of that poem is definitely unbalanced and is teetering like a three legged table. Much more effective.

That’s something I learned at a workshop this summer. And now I can’t unlearn it. So if I’m revising, it’s now one of the things I’m thinking about. The difference between the one, two, three, and four line stanza. And what about five or six? What do each of those mean?

Where does the madness end?

Well, at some point you just have to be satisfied with it I guess. Which comes back to mood again. There are days when I still think some poem is the best thing since sliced bread and that’s the day I pull the trigger and send it out into the world to see if it can find a real home. Three days later I’ll look again with a facepalm wondering what I was thinking.

Today I don’t have time to think to much. And I certainly don’t have the luxury of waiting another day to see if my mood improves. Which is ok, since I’ve looked at the poems in this manuscript so many times and for so long, that I’m kinda over them. And I feel that makes me more objective than ever.

Accepting and rejecting suggestions and making edits like a boss! Today’s the day!!

Huh. And here I thought I had nothing to write about. Go figure!

It’s 8am now and my weather app is reporting the snow has stopped and has been replaced by fog but the temp is holding steady at 34. It’s the perfect day for a hot cup of cocoa and editing poetry. Time to get on it!

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-16 My Morning Commute 🌅

My daily morning drive is less of a commute than it is a taxi service. I know some people think that my son (16 years old since last May) should have his license by now. And perhaps be driving himself to school. That it would be less of a burden on me or time I could be doing other things. It’s about 1 hour round trip, twice each school day.

That adds up to ten hours a week. And yeah, I suppose I could be doing other things, but I rather enjoy the break. It’s an easy cruise and the traffic in Omaha is not that bad. Sometimes I even get the opportunity to chat with my son, just the two of us. Which is valuable. It’s tough for a mom to connect with her teenage son. Can I get a thumbs up on that one??

Most of the time, however, he’s using the drive to get into his own zone of relaxation. In the mornings I think he sometimes even falls back asleep. That’s ok. I like to have quiet time for reflection too.

The bonus plan these days is that the timing for sunrise coincides exactly with our morning drive. A few days this week it’s been almost completely dark when I leave. And when I arrive home the sun is up and the sky is bright. What I find, in between, is different each day.

Today the sunrise was the most intense I’ve witnessed in a while. Deep pink laced with orange as the light of the sun, not yet showing itself on the horizon lit up a sky full of clouds. So much definition and dimension that the pictures I captured look almost 3D. Amazing!

The view of the sky transformed with lighter shades of those same hues as I made my way to the school. From the entrance ramp for West Dodge Expressway, to the on-ramp of 680, to the big curve as the interstate turns into I-80 east, the it was a kaleidoscope of dazzling color changes.

During the long stretch on southbound 84th street is when the sun finally appeared. The horizon on that part of the drive isn’t really visible, but I could still see the color through the houses, businesses, and trees.

By the time I got to the school, the color had all but been replaced by the hues of blue and white that will likely persist all day.

I go different routes to get home all the time. Today was 84th to Q Street West, which I did on purpose cuz it’s Friday and I was in the mood to treat myself with a vanilla latte from Dunkin’. Large today as I was redeeming my free beverage reward earned from moneys spent on past lattes.

That sweet treat is now waiting for me on the kitchen counter. Gotta get my treadmill time in before I can truly enjoy that reward.

It’s fascinating how some days I’m so down on myself for not being productive enough and other days I feel great about what I’ve accomplished. Makes me think that every fleeting feeling is just a mirage in the desert sands of time.

Fleeting as the colors of the sunrise.

In 6 short hours I’ll make the return trip to pick my son up from school and I look forward to that.

Just as I also look forward to our Friday night, and the weekend. We don’t have
a ton of plans and that’s a nice contrast to the long drives we did last weekend.

Perhaps I’ll crack one of the books in my ever growing stack. Perhaps I’ll be inspired and do some creating. Perhaps I’ll finally get around to opening the mail and paying my bills. Or not. 😜

That’s just my MO. Always pushing the envelope on how long I can procrastinate the adulting.

On that note, my time is up.

Peace, love, and vanilla lattes,
~Miss SugarCookie

PS. Yes, I did take these pictures while I was driving. Yes, probably not the smartest thing to do. But just look!! Can you blame me??!

2020-10-15 Fat Stacks and Train Tracks

Back in my day, children wandered out of their bedroom on Saturday mornings while their parents hid under the covers, behind closed bedroom doors in attempts to get a few more minutes of precious sleep.

We shuffled in our PJs to the living room to sit in front of the TV to watch a thing called “Saturday Morning Cartoons.” Bugs Bunny, Wylie Coyote, and the occasional Justice League are the ones I remember the most. There were not very many episodes or they were all so similar that it felt like watching the same thing over and over. But what details can I recall? Not a lot. To be fair, it was all pretty mindless; not unlike watching YouTube videos of people playing Minecraft, which is where the children of America now wander to.

There is one bit that sticks out in my mind, all these years later. An episode of looney tunes where some character was sniffing out and following tracks. The type of tracks changed from one clip to the next. There were rabbit tracks, fox tracks, and then.. train tracks.

I can’t remember what happened when the character found the source of the train tracks. Did he have a fatal run-in with the train? That would be brutal. But no more brutal that good ole Wylie falling off a cliff over and over and over, sometimes involving an anvil falling too. No wonder we’re all so disturbed.

No wonder we’re all so fascinated by dystopian fiction and so easily desensitized when it comes to a life threatening virus. We should be terrified, but we’re not. Instead we risk our lives daily by getting takeout and sending our kids off to school and having meetups with friends.

In March everything started to shut down. And we held our breath listening to the news as reports of rising death tolls across the globe were reported daily. Each day brought some new horrific tale of hospitals out of equipment and rooms and beds and dead bodies piled into vehicles en route to places they could be taken care of.

It’s someone’s job to take care of the dead. That’s got to be a horrible life. Gruesome. One would have to be desensitized beyond repair in order to handle that.

By May I was crying daily listening to the things Alexa was relaying in my daily flash briefing. I stopped listening for a while.

People were mad scrambling for supplies and the country literally ran out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. I will admit, while I didn’t try to stockpile these things, we did our fair share of gathering food enough for several months in isolation. We still have the majority of that fat-stacked in the high cabinets of our laundry room. None of it expires for over a year, so it will not go to waste.

I think modern programming has romanticized the end of the world. Stockpile your food, and guns and ammo, and medicine and you’ll be winning in the end. Never mind your neighbor, who can’t see so good anymore and sits most nice days, in his garage, dozing off.

Never mind your mother’s husband with Parkinson’s who was moved to a home this week because your mom can’t physically take care of him anymore.

Never mind that guy standing in the median with a “please help, god bless” sign as you wait for the light to turn green, nervous and avoiding eye contact.

Just never mind.

And what about this winding track of thought? It will all be ok as long as you don’t follow me into the dark tunnel ahead like that one hound.

By the way, I looked up that episode of bugs bunny. It’s 6 minutes 44 seconds long, called “Foxy by Proxy”, and not quite how I remembered it (big surprise). The dumb hound does get convinced by Bugs that he’s actually supposed to be catching a train. He does run into the tunnel and does not get injured when he “catches” the train, the rest of the pack of hounds falls off a cliff, and Bugs Bunny get’s his tail cut off in the end. Amazing that a person can find almost anything online. Saturday morning cartoons for all to sustain us through these end times.

I suppose it’s time for me to get to work (whatever that means now).

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-15 If I’m Being Honest…

I might as well be painfully honest. **Spoiler alert.. Rant city, dead ahead in 30 seconds.

I have not had one of these in a while, but no matter how good life is, it is bound to happen. And the longer I hold the angst inside, the worse it will be when it comes out. And I want to be true to myself and my feelings. And it IS just past midnight and I’m awake with these god-damned thoughts so I might as well. 

First. I’m so fucking sick of politics. Nobody is going to change anybody’s mind so shut up and vote already and move along. We can’t change what happened four years ago and we can’t change what’s going to happen a few weeks from now. It’s bad enough that there are NO GOOD OPTIONS. As an American citizen I’m sick of having no good options. And it does not matter what happens anyway because the ship is too big and heavy to make any course correction that will matter to the individual citizen. Good grief. 
But that’s not what is keeping me from sleeping. 

Secondly. I just found out a few days ago that my final residency for my MFA will be  conducted in virtual format. I was given the option to defer last time, and crossed my fingers and eyes and held my breath but it did me no good. I could stomp my foot and cry about it but that would do me no good either. But it might make me feel better to stomp my foot and cry about it, so consider this pathetic paragraph my version of that. 
I get to graduate on Zoom. Fuck that. Just flipping forget about it already. I’ll just take that piece of paper that I spent 40K of my savings account on and disappear back into the fog of insignificance from whence I came. 
But that’s not what is keeping me from sleeping. 

Thirdly. It’s just past midnight and I’m awake writing this. And that sucks. I want desperately to get a good night sleep. I went to bed at 9:15, exhausted, and with high hopes of getting 8 full hours. When I woke at like 11:15 I thought it might be like 3 or 4 or 5am, but nope, it was 11.  I took some pill to help me get back to sleep, and that might kick in any minute now so if I start slurring my words, that’s why. Also my son was still awake and I was frustrated to find his light on and computer on as well. I’m being honest. I just don’t want to deal with it. 

I … just … don’t. But, yes, you guessed it. That is also not what is keeping me awake right now. Well right now it’s the typing keeping me awake but what was it at 11:20, 11:25, 11:30, 11:35, 11:40, 11:45 that was tossing in my head and preventing me from falling back asleep naturally? Stuff with the lit mag. 

Kate was right when she said it’s all work and that people suck. That is what I appreciate about Kate. It is that she is honest. And direct. And I question my own motives with starting this little project and I wonder how much I have in me to continue if it is going to be this way. What is THIS WAY?? 
“This way”, is constantly dealing with situations which give rise to angst in my chest. I just want everything to be smooth. For people to be pleased with their experience with “us”, and frankly, to not feel like I’m lying when I say I’m pleased with my own experience. I’m not sure it’s possible. Start-ups are hard. People are complicated. You can’t please everyone. And what makes all of this more difficult is that I have to rely on another person who, for whatever reason, doesn’t do what they say they are going to do and / or if they do, I’m not aware of it. 

We’re nine months in and it can’t be a fluke as it has happened too many times. The (now) classic volunteering to handle something and then just not doing it. I mean, maybe his is doing those things, but has learned by now (because I have asked countless times that he CC me on communications) that he tells me he will CC me, but then doesn’t. Then I’m stuck. I can’t send the communication because I don’t know if he has already done it. And I can’t let it go because it’s probably something that needs to be done. 
By the way, most communication is ineffective if not done in a timely fashion, so sitting on something for weeks and weeks makes everyone look bad. 

Take yesterday for example. We meet as planned at around 5PM and of the many things discussed, were three different agenda items which require communication. 1) Follow Up with potential script writing editors. 2) Follow up with a person who’s fiction stories we will be publishing with the next issue. 3) Inquiry with a different individual to see if they are interested in being a guest editor/ judge for a future contest we are planning. (Not to mention the countless other ideas we brainstormed about on how to increase the number of quality submissions we get). 

Set aside #3, because that can wait. Perhaps even #1 can wait another week with no ill repercussions. But #2?! That should have gone out Monday as far as I am concerned. So here we are Wednesday (tip-toes into Thursday) and he say’s he’ll do it but didn’t. “I’ll go home right now and do all those and CC you on them.” Direct efffffing quote. I want to trust him. I finish out my evening. I go to bed early, so hopeful, and then wake at 11:20 and check my email and there’s nothing new in my in-box. Grrrrrr. 

So that’s it. That’s what is at the heart of the matter and eating my brains. 
Hopefully the meds I took will put me back to sleep and I’ll wake with a clear head and have regained my composure. I hate that these things affect me so. I’ve even considered just trying to let it go, and let him be the kind of leader he wants to be and help where I can but go off and do my own thing. But that’s not really an option at this point. I’m too personally invested in this. Ugh!! 

I’m just tired. I’m just needing sleep. I’m just….  being honest. 
It’s now almost 1am and I need to get back in bed. Thanks for the therapy session.

Big Yawn,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-14 New Addiction

I can feel it. I’m approaching being completely free of my benzodiazepine dependency. I haven’t taken a sliver of a pill since the end of August so it’s about effffing time! And my doctor was spot on when he said it would take up to six weeks to clear my system completely. Yeah… that.

Last weekend, when I was on my way to Colorado I commented to Jim that i was noticing more improvement. Some intermittent days without the withdrawal symptoms. The progression was so slow it comes close to imperceptible.

Now it’s Wednesday and I don’t think I had any symptoms yesterday. That’s a freaking incredible milestone! I’m looking forward to being done done. The day I can say I don’t remember when the last time was that my teeth hurt. That it’s just faded into the part of my past where the memory of it can no longer be pinpointed with accuracy.

At this point I’m not sure which affliction was slower to heal. The benzo recovery or tennis elbow recovery. That mess was also so terribly slow to recover from. Some days I think I still feel a ghost twinge. Now that I’m actually doing the math in my head, I’m pretty sure the tennis elbow took longer.

It’s also difficult to tell which was worse. In the thick of it, it’s just awful. The tennis elbow made me miserable for so long and to such a moderate degree. Something you can probably live with, like a toothache on one side of your mouth that causes you to chew on the other side. The Lorazepam withdrawal caused an actual tooth ache. Also moderate and tolerable but with no way to relieve.

To both I say “good riddance!!” Let’s hope that’s this is the last post I’ll ever do about that sort of crap. I’d much rather be writing about my apparent newest addiction. I mean, I use the word addiction with tongue in cheek, because what I’m really referring to is the fact that I’m spending a lot of time on Submittable, researching places to submit my writing and writing cover letters and putting together manuscripts somewhat tailored to what they are Looking for.

I started with a goal of doing one or two a week. Then my new target became daily. And now I’ve changed the measuring stick and want to have at least 50 open subs by the end of October. That’s not 50 total. It’s 50 new or in process with the publisher.

Feels a bit like gambling actually. You toss the dice and mostly the dealer just collects your money and says “please play again.” But sometimes a winning number comes up and you’re all like “Huzzah!!”, collect your 10 bucks and throw it right back down on the felt. Yeah, let’s go!!

I’m still green with this process but I feel like the insight I’m getting by doing all the research makes me a better equipped to be a success in my role as managing editor of The Good Life Review.

I’m getting exposed to a lot of magazines and publishers and their styles, approaches, and really have my finger on what’s hot right now. I already have a bunch of new ideas for promotion and adding a bit more personality to our public facing image. Yeah.. big ideas!

But back to my new personal affliction… with my aim to submit once a day, I found that one I started, mid morning, I really found it tough to close my laptop and move on to something else. I’d be all like “just one more” and “I wonder what submission windows will close tomorrow” and then “ohhhh, this one is a chapbook”.

Yesterday I was on submittable for 2.5 hours. I was only able to tear myself away because my stomach started grumbling and I realized it was past lunchtime. I was happy to sacrifice the time I had earmarked for cleaning toilets. The toilets can wait right??!! 😜

I’m up to 35 open subs, so I’ve only got 15 more to hit my goal by the end of October (unless I get some rejections, which is highly likely). I got one yesterday which was from a fairly recent sub.

That’s always appreciated.. punctual responses are delightful even if they are rejections. I have one open sub that’s been “in process” since February. I think the editors may have made a mistake. I’ve read the turnaround time with some of these publishers and am amazed at how long it takes. But I suppose some of those places get mountains of subs.

I’d send an inquiry note, but I’m kind of curious how long it will take.. like some sort of experiment. I love experiments.

I kind of love my new “addiction”. It’s much better (and a lot less destructive or personally harmful) than most other possibilities. And since I’m apparently immune to rejection now, I can submit away without any ill feelings. My bank account might get a little lighter, but I’ve certainly saved enough to ride this wave for a while.

Of course I’m keeping meticulous track of all the subs, moneys spent, and yes, moneys I’ve received. You kind of have to keep track because if something gets accepted, you have to withdraw it from all the other places you sent it. That will be a bit of a task indeed IF that happens.

Wowza.. and just like that I’m already at 10k steps for the day. Time to get rolling with the rest of my day.

Cheers to Good Health,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-13 Pepperoni Pizza = Strange Dreams 🍕➡️😱

It’s been previously verified that if I eat pepperoni pizza too close to bed time, strange dreams will disturb my sleep.

Last night was no exception. Though I would hardly call the dreams strange or disturbing, it was certainly odd for so many men from my past to pay me a visit in the same night.

Saying “so many” makes it sound like a lot. And that’s just not the case. But when you’ve only “dated” a few people, more than half feels like a lot.

I mean, I married my first boyfriend when I was 19 and we were married for 17 years so that’s a healthy chunk of my life and also when most people are meeting lots of potential partners and sowing their wild oats.

Fast forward to about 6 months after my divorce was final and I got on Match. I went on a few dates with a few guys but had no idea who I was and what I was looking for. I ended up seeing this one guy for a hot minute (six months). It was my first friends with benefits relationship. But I thought we had a potential future together so it broke my heart when he found someone else. (Thanks for all the good times and poetry Vis 😋).

Then there was Matt. My “big love.” We were crazy for each other. Until the sun came out, and burned off all that god-dammed dewy-eyed newness (paraphrasing the only viable poem that came out of those 5 years). Yeah. 5 years. Good grief. 🙄

Then there was JTA, another good friend who I knew from the first time he told me we weren’t right for each other that there would never be an “us.” He’s one of those that visited me last night. Just before I woke up. Probably talking about moving away and how this town is not the right place for him. If you think I’m a broken record, talk to that guy for 10 years and realize that it could be much worse.

Still, I’ve got a special place in my heart for him and all the time we spent together. I would not say he helped me through my rough patch so much as he was just reliably there. More reliable than most people in my life at the time. So I’m grateful. 🥰

After that I got back in the dating game and went out in my fair share of first dates. Even a few second dates. I dabbled in a few one-time stands and even started seeing a guy pretty regularly, for about 5 months. Again I thought we had potential.. until I started to lose interest. The day I told him I wanted to call it quits was the day I found out “we” were also never really dating. WTF people??!!

Sprinkled in all that were a few good times with my friend HL. Again, according to my well established MO, I did have thoughts there could be something more there. The main limiting factor was the distance between us. He doesn’t live in Omaha so we only saw each other on trips elsewhere. He was another one of the dudes to show up in my pizza induced dreams last night.

Then I met Jim of course and that was that. The Universe help me, I hope that’s it. I really think it is. And he didn’t need to show up in my dreams last night cuz he was sleeping right beside me. 💕

Removing the “one and done” instances, that adds up to about 6 dudes I’ve had feelings for. I guess two out of 6 is not a lot after all. I stand corrected.

I suppose the most disturbing part of the dreams I had was the fact that Jim was absent. And I had this uneasy guilty feeling about hanging out with these other dudes, even though I have no recollection of the actual going’s-on.

Whelp.. I didn’t intend to rehash my entire (un) romantic history, but there you go.

It’s almost mid-month and I have once again not done all the things I said I was going to do in October.

What I did do (that was not a part of my plan) was spend time putting together a poetry manuscript for sending out to potential publishers. I ran across a familiar name in Submittable and the deadline is October 18. And I’d rather be working on my writing than almost anything else. So that happened.

A friend of mine agreed to give it a good once over for editing and I was able to send it to her last night.

Today my set list includes GLR catch up and other various house chores. Oh, and I promised to help my darling daughter with her photography homework. Which translates loosely to needing a shower so I can be photo ready.

What’s not in the cards for today is eating more pizza. Nope. Not because of the crazy dreams, mind you. But because it’s Taco Tuesday. 🌮🌮🌮

Peace and Love Ya’ll,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-07 What Will It Become When Too Much Thought is Involved?

I’m dipping my toe into figuring out what my days look like now that I’m not working. I’m excited to have more time and my first order of business has been to increase my step goal. I changed the goal on my Fitbit from 12K steps a day to 15K. And I’m not limited walking in the AM anymore so it should be a snap.

I’m missing Jazzercise more already, which is a great cardio workout and also motivates me to do strength training. I haven’t been to a class since February because of the pandemic. I asked Jim yesterday about the possibility of going to a class or two. The answer was a resounding “hell no.”

He said that by the time the class is over you’ve basically breathed air from every other person there, no matter how small the class is, and it’s too risky. He’s right, but .. how different is that from my son going to public school five days a week? I know, it’s the masks. If I tried to do a workout with a mask on, I’d probably die. 😷

So no Jazzercise for me.. yet.

I’m also holding my breath about winter residency for my MFA. Which is to say that I’m hoping that they have figured out how to host an in person / part virtual experience. Live in person at the Lied lodge in Nebraska City for those who can make it, and virtual for those who can’t travel.

I mean, schools across the globe have had about 6 months now to figure this out. Get some good WiFi, put some computers and screens in the rooms, coordinate some zooms. It’s possible.

Though technology is not a strong suit of the Lodge. Seems like there’s always some difficulties. Even with something like a microphone setup. And I suppose all the extra hardware costs money and the university probably does not have the funds in the budget despite an MFA costing like 45 grand. 🤷‍♀️

So I guess we’ll see. It doesn’t really matter though. Yesterday’s inquiry about my lecture topic leads me to believe that I’ll not get another offer to defer like the last semester. I’d decided that even if they did, I’d still suck it up and just finish out virtually. It’s disappointing, for sure. But that’s life. Even without a pandemic, things often don’t meet our expectations. Or perhaps my expectations are always too high. 😉

In any case, one thing on my set list today is to revisit the notes I took with JP about my lecture topic to see if I can get over my fear of commitment and pick something to talk about.

One of the people whose lecture from summer just knocked it out of the park was Erin. She sent a group of us notes about the formula for a successful lecture (summarized from her convo with the program coordinator). I’m planning to revisit this today too.

One thing I recall is to be the expert and present as such.. so the trouble with that is that I don’t feel like an expert and might not ever. But.. despite the fact I’m already overthinking this.. I’ve technically already graduated so I need to use that to my advantage. Which is to say.. not worry about it so much. Still, how can I not?! Good grief! 🙄

I’m going to cut it there today cuz I need a shower and to get on with my day. Yeah, regular showers are another change I’m looking forward to now that I have more time. How sad is that??!!

Peace and love until next time,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-06 Life as a Kitten Mama

This morning I had to take Gustav to the vet for shots and so I’m getting a strange late start to my day. These days it’s curbside appointments only. You pull up and call when you arrive and they check you in and come out to the car to get your pet. Then you wait in your car. Or if you’re me you make a quick trip to the Dunkin that’s in that same plaza for a medium hot latte with French vanilla swirl. Mmmmm.

20 minutes later they call back and get your payment info and then bring your furry back to your car. Gus had his first round of shots today and will have to go back in a month for the follow up.

He’s worn his harness a few times now and outside of the drive from Michigan, he’s barely been in the car. Maybe like 4 rides total. But he did great. They say that in the first six months you should do everything you intend to do with the cat in their life to get them used to it. I’ve definitely not taken Gus for as many rides as I did with Kayla.

She was in the car with me a lot and I even took her to the badlands. Still, there was a long stretch after that that she was almost never in the car and I think she forgot all her conditioning. Now when we go she is very nervous and does a lot of mewing. It’s the only time I ever hear her talk.

Come to think of it, all our cats are pretty quiet. Wonder why that is.

When Gus talks he still has his baby-monkey voice sometimes. Like In the car today. I’ve heard him have a big-boy mew a few times but not a lot yet. I kind of wonder if that tiny, squeaky voice will stick around or if he’ll grow out of it completely. It’s really adorable. He’s adorable.

The vet said she had a tough time listening to him (his heartbeat I’m guessing), because he was purring so loud. He’s a purr machine! And it is loud and so cuddly. He’s 7 pounds 9 ounces now. A ball of energy that has two speeds, go-go-go and sleep. He definitely has the energy of a kitten and the other cats seem to like him ok, but sometimes lay there and watch him like “I used to have energy like that.”

Sometimes Gus Gus (not a typo, that’s one of his nicknames) provokes Doug cuz he likes to wrestle. Him and Doug go rounds of pounce and roll until Doug has had enough and tries to get away. Doug is like more than twice his size so it’s super adorable. You can tell that they are just playing and Gus is relentless for more.

Like an annoying little brother who just wants the attention of his big bro. With Kayla it’s a different story. She’s top Kitten here and wants to make sure the other cats know it. She chases and pounces too but it seems a little more aggressive and territorial. And after introducing Gus, the hierarchy was established and Gus doesn’t really challenge her anymore.

She definitely was not maternal like we had hoped. Maybe once she realizes he’s not a threat, she’ll be a better sister. We can hope anyway. 🤷‍♀️

As one of my first orders of business this week, I wanted to give the kittens all some better attention. Lots of pets and playing. And of course get lots of pics of all the cuteness that goes on. Which is a lot.

Another prime directive is to spend each day working on my personal endeavors. Yesterday I submitted to about 4 new places. I told Jim that sometimes I aim high and sometimes I aim low and sometimes I close my eyes and don’t aim at all. Which is to say that I just “discover” places through Submittable and don’t research them at all.

Probably not the best way to go about it but it is a lot of work doing the research. Sometimes I wander away to the websites to see what they have to offer and what they have published in the past. I would say that has caused me to rethink submitting a few times. Save my worlds and my $3 for someplace else.

Yesterday I took a different approach to aiming high. I opened a newly acquired poetry book by one of my MFA mentors Jim Peterson, and read the acknowledgements page. Then I went through that list of places and started looking them up, one by one, to see if they had open calls. About half so far have.

I’ve thought about submitting a full manuscript but I’m not quite there yet. Feel like maybe I should try to get more individual poems published first. Then again, sometimes I question the point of it all. Maybe that’s just the mood I’m in today. Which is that I-just-want-to-snuggle-kittens-all-day mood.

While I was sitting in the car at the vet this morning I read a new email from my MFA program coordinator relating info about the lecture topics for this coming residency. In an instant my blood pressure went up and I felt a knot form in my stomach. I just don’t wanna think about it at all.

The other lectures look extremely informative and well thought out and my one sentence description was very generic. I wrote it that way for a reason, like 6 months ago as I was supposed to give a lecture at Res this past summer.

I deferred till winter in classic Miss. SugarCookie procrastinator form. The reading doesn’t bother me at all. It’s just reading. But giving a lecture is icky. Of course I’m terrified. Of course I’m unprepared. Of course I’m worried that I’ll bomb and people will find out I’m a big fraud. Of course, of course, of course. 🙄

I guess I’ll have to put some more effort into figuring out what exactly I’m going to talk about. /deep sigh 😔

But first…. kittens!! 🐱🧡💛

Time to get on with it.
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-05 A Day at Waubonsie

What must it be like to have your day defined by the hunt for firewood.. or searching for viable acorns? I had a lot of stray thoughts yesterday as my mind tried to walk away from the conversations in play. Someone would say something and I would think about that for a second and then I would follow that thread away and stop paying attention. It’s not that the conversation wasn’t interesting. On the contrary. I was very interested in these other people’s musings and talk that was at the front of their mind.

It’s just that I haven’t opened my mind in a while for new thoughts. The classic broken record on repeat (those who visit frequently to read what I am thinking know all too well). So having a whole day with new thoughts and ideas from other folks was a lot to process in the moment. A thing I’m not great at anyway. I even had to pop my phone out a few times to make a note of something I wanted to research more on or think about later so as to not lose track of it as one topic was quickly stacked onto another.

There was a lot of talk about academia. A subject I’m pretty ignorant about so I don’t have a lot to contribute. Things like what systematic problems exist and why someone might choose to stay in the field versus leaving to find something else. And my mind wanders away.

Talk about career. These are things I’ve beat like a dead horse and my opinions are clear. Working for your life for someone else or some organization. I’m on the side of it not mattering as long as you find yourself doing something you get satisfaction and value out of. Something that makes you feel fulfilled and like you have a good purpose.

There will always, always, ALWAYS be issues and things you don’t like about it. Frustrations, or people, or company politics that suck. That’s life. But does it pay the bills? Can you live the way you want with the moneys provided? Is there enough time at the end of the day to breathe? Time to do something else you enjoy? Time enough to give yourself to other people you love?

If so. That’s better than a lot of folks. Which is another good point. That it’s more important to have a measuring stick built on your own ideals than to fashion one that’s a replica of someone else’s. Or worse.. what the world at large has decided it should look like. Yeah, that standard issue stick is definitely not right for most.

I can’t directly give people advise. I just can’t. But if I could, I would say all of this. My fear is that people would look at my life (now) and say, “easy for you to say.” Which might lead to me getting defensive about the path of my life. And I’d have to start at the beginning and explain everything and nobody has time for that.

As Jack and Robert talked about their hunt for firewood, I could not help but think about the fact that I’m so conservative about everything. Something buried in me from my upbringing compels me to save things. I try to eat every bit of leftovers in the fridge (and am strict about not throwing food away). I save dryer sheets cuz I can’t bring myself to throw away something that has so much purpose left in it after one or two runs in the dryer. I wash out plastic bags because I don’t want to contribute to the piles of plastic that won’t decompose in the world. Is there nothing we can do with these super soft plastics? I need to look into that.

As of late I find myself slipping a bit, changing ever so slightly and letting something go into to trash that I previously would not. And am ashamed of myself. I don’t want to change that part of me.

Robert talked about sleeping out in the cold in his tent and how with one quilt, tucked just right, he got better sleep than he’s had in a great while. It made me want to try it. No space heater, no fire, just a blanket and my own body heat.


The primary goal of the “Shack Simple” day is to be restorative and just get back to a simpler way. Perhaps spend more than a day, cleanse the body of toxins, cleanse the mind of toxins, and just exist. Rediscover what it feels like to just be a creature that is a part of a grand ecosystem without all the fuss that comes with being human.

Of course it’s tough not to talk about current events. Politics, the president, and the coronavirus. Those were the topics I had the toughest time staying with the conversation. I want to cleanse my mind of toxins and not pump more in. Also I’m just tired of it all and have built up a wall to protect myself from it. Yes, of course I’ll vote, but it does me no good to get riled up about it. So I just sat there and tried to listen. I like to just listen (most of the time).


Today is the first Monday I don’t have to work. Yesterday it was decided that what I am is retired. Retired and ready to give my life to Poetry. Yes, Poetry, I’m open and ready to receive.

I don’t yet have words to describe how I feel. But I’ll keep working on that.

Thanks Michelle, Gina, Robert, and Jack for a lovely day yesterday. And cheers to having another soon.

Until next time,
~Miss SugarCookie