2021-09-05 Working through Control Issues

This morning I’m thinking about control. I’m thinking about how to truly let go of something I have no control over and more than that questioning why I let something I know is out of my control dig at my insides. 

My day yesterday was consumed with taking a car in for an audio upgrade, getting a bike for my daughter to use on campus from Craig’s list, and catching up on different house projects. The goal for me is always about balance and all that had to be over and done with by 4:30 ish so Jim and I could get ready for our double date. 

We planned a morning bike ride and that did not happen because Of timing and the bike search. I wanted to get some steps in the afternoon and that did not happen because my time was hijacked by the realization that a group of folks from my MFA program have just launched their own lit mag. This, folks, is the thing that set my anxiety off, for whatever reason, and then all of a sudden I felt threatened and insecure about my own endeavors. 

Yes, I realize my insecurity and anxiety were not rational, but it took root anyhow and pretty soon I could not stop thinking about all the things “we” at the GLR could be doing better. Everything we have not been able to do and all the things I’ve personally been procrastinating. I worry that people on our staff will decide to leave us and join their team instead. I worry about other things too, but I know it’s irrational and don’t even want to acknowledge these worries. 

Instead, I want to be a better person and let go of that which I can’t control. I know there are literally hundreds of online lit mags and hundreds of publishers operating out in the wide world today and one more doesn’t affect us. I want to congratulate those people I know who are finally realizing a dream they’ve had even before the GLR was a seed planted in our heads. I want to embrace this circumstance as positive because it means more success for people from our MFA program. It’s win-win and that’s the way I want to view it. 

Still, it takes me a while to sort through my feelings and the information is so new. And.. get this… since they just opened for submissions (unpaid) I happened to have already sent in a poem. 

This shows how little I’m paying attention to the places I’m submitting. I read their mission and vision but did not visit the masthead. If I had, I probably would not have sent something in since there is too much IRL connection. Or maybe that’s ok and I’m just overthinking it. I’m not sure. 

In any case, I felt compelled to reach out to each person individually and congratulate them on their launch. It takes me a while to compose exactly what I want to say and so that consumed some of my time in the afternoon. However, after that was done, I did feel better about all of it. It was good. 

I was able to enjoy my sushi double date with some new friends and, getting back home by 9, get to enjoy and early evening bedtime. Yes it was Saturday and I’m old and lame but I don’t care. I was spent. 

Here’s the rub.. I had rotten dreams all night, restless sleep, and woke up feeling anxious again. Good gravy!! What in the Universe am I supposed to do now?! 

I know it’s not all about that one thing. I’ve got a host of feelings about different things eating at me. Angst about my relationships with my parents, a new experiment my husband has asked me to partake in regarding the news, and strangely enough, the drop-deadline for materials for my book. I need (need need need) to get those things submitted and ASAP.

What I feel like I need is one or two days in isolation to get on top of all of the things that are under my control. I just want several hours of uninterrupted time. Not 30 minutes to scramble and do something half-ass. Ugh!! 

Today. unfortunately is not going to be a day for that. Today my focus is spending time with the family and then going to Lincoln to spend some time with my darling daughter and bring her some things she needs to be successful this semester (including that bike we picked up yesterday). 

That all starts now. And my treadmill time is done. 

With peace and love and rainbow rolls, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-07-16 This Blog Post is Not About Toads 🐸🐸🐸

Jim and his boys brought back about 12 toads from their adventure at Two Rivers State Park and we released them in the stream behind our house. I feel a little bad for displacing them from their original natural habitat but feel confident they can thrive here too. Lots of cool places to burrow and hide in the day and bugs to snack on at night. The bugs are kind of bonkers right now with all this rain and heat. 

This would be a perfect intro to the garden update that I’ve been wanting to write about for a hot little minute lately but it’s not what’s on my mind today. Nope. 

Today I’m thinking about the grinder as a necessary tool in “sausage making.”

Sausage making (in this case) being the production of poetry which is opposed to where I first heard the term applied to developing software when I was working as an engineer for a software company. The metaphor, as it turns out, works well for both. 

I think that’s because there are a lot of similarities. There is a SDLC to poetry I don’t think people recognize.. call it a PDLC. Poetry Development Life Cycle. 

Complete with analysis to development to testing, iterations, and IF you’re good AND lucky, a little bit of implementation too. 

I’m also beginning to be a firm believer in the mathematics of it all. Proven formulas that work and methodologies that can be applied to increase the chances of success. But this is all just metaphorical until I can explain using real life examples to help solidify the thoughts. 

That’s a good disclaimer actually. These are all just my thoughts and what works or makes sense for one person might not for someone else so take that for what it’s worth. Back to “sausage making”…..

About a year ago I had just finished my last semester in an MFA program and my Master’s thesis in Poetry. It was also shortly after the “peak” months of the pandemic when folks were still on serious lockdown and waiting for news each day about what had transpired around the globe in the last 24 hours. I was working full time but had a growing desire to hang on to my MFA magic somehow and use the momentum from that to channel my creative energy into “something.” At the time, I didn’t realize that “something” was going to turn out to be publishing my poetry. 

Sure, I was also starting an online literary journal, but I needed something that would be more personally satisfying. Plus, Trish Lear lectured once that if you have a lot of balls in the air, something is bound to land successfully. You just gotta Toss ‘em up!! 

Yeah… it was near the end of July in 2020 when I started to submit my thesis poems like crazy. As it is with a lot of things you do for the first time, you learn as you go. The main platform I submitted on was Submittable and I slowly developed my own process. 

This process included things like finding and researching potential publishers, tweaking my cover letter and bio, and of course selection and revising poems I thought might be a good fit. After completing my thesis I felt as though I had about 50 poems truly worthy of letting loose on the world at large. I also had another 20 that had potential with more work and (not exaggerating) over a hundred others that will never see the light of day, so to speak. 

I had been told it’s a numbers game and so that was also part of my strategy. All this feels very much like an analysis phase tipping into development. I put the time and effort in. I created a spreadsheet to keep track of my submissions and with each submission and subsequent rejection, I made slight modifications. 

Soon, a few acceptances happened. If I revisit some of the blog posts I’ve written about being accepted and rejected in the past 12 months, I know I would find a sentiment of indifference. That’s kind of a curious phenomenon—to have a similar reaction to both. It’s like a brief shot of emotion right to the heart. An adrenaline spike when I open an email and see that a poem has been accepted and the same dose of a downer with each rejection. 

It passes so quickly, like minutes, and then I’m back to baseline. I’ve often wondered why I am so emotionally detached from the outcome—why I get so much more satisfaction out of revising and submitting than anything else? Maybe it’s the same rush as plunking your precious pennies in a slot machine and pulling the handle. The possibility of “hitting it big” is kind of a rush. 

That slot machine metaphors is also pretty accurate when it comes to getting your work accepted as a publisher, but I’ll stick with the “grinder” for now. 

I went on a serious roll, cranking that grinder daily and the last time I checked, I had amassed about 200 submissions (which equates to about 1000 poems). Being a numbers nerd, it’s an important part of the analysis. Law of averages melds with chaos theory to produce a result by which I can say now, with confidence, is about a 10% success rate. I put that statistic in my back pocket. 

Part of the PDLC is learning from mistakes and making modifications. And I’ve made a few. Some feel like big mistakes like submitting to a brand new publication with no idea about their presentation, professionalism, or vibe. I gave away one of my very best to a new place and was very disappointed in the outcome. I had to let that go, but will never do that again. 

Another mistake I made, which may or may not have been that big of a mistake, was spending too much (money and time) submitting to contests. Like Rattle, where I have very little shot of getting in. I know now that my poems don’t really fit with their vibe (or the current climate for rhetoric) and now all I have to show for that is 4 years of a subscription. That’s a lot of Rattle. I still aspire to get in there someday, but have to find the right poem for it and realize that I may never write that. 

I mention money. While this is not so much of a concern for me, it’s more about not just throwing it out the proverbial literary journal window. I’m all about support of small presses and startups but there are clearly some that have a good mission and vision and others that feel like they are just out to make some bucks. In order to ferret it all out, it takes research. And research takes time. 

It’s also a matter of observation and experience. For real! If I spent $20 on a submission and that hangs out there in “received” status the better part of a year with no communication back (even after the issue or contest it was submitted to has come and gone), that’s a serious red flag. 

Someone once told me that the longer it’s out there, the more chance it’s going to be accepted but I disagree. I think there’s a sweet spot and most of the acceptances I’ve received were at an average of 9 weeks. I think some places just don’t have a very good process for follow up on rejected pieces. 

It’s part of the reason I want to treat submitters to The Good Life Review way better and follow up on every inquiry and make sure each submission gets the care and attention it deserves. I digress. 

Anyway.. so now I have a process defined and operating like a well oiled machine. What this does for me is allow me to maintain my submission goals without a ton of effort. My current goal?.. maintain about 35 open submissions. 

This means when I get a rejection (or acceptance) the open count goes down and I engage with the process to crank another out. However, as most people in any sort of successful business know, there’s always room for improvement and ways to level up. My new aim, therefore, is not just to maintain 35 (or increase that number) but instead to make small steps forward to increasing the quality of the publications I’m getting into. Having names that are more recognizable on a CV or in a bio becomes important in the grand scheme. 

The grand scheme being what? Success. But, good gravy what is the definition of success? The true short story on that one is that I don’t know. Is it to someday get into Rattle or The Sun? Is it New York or Paris? Is it having a full manuscript published by Grey Wolf?

Maybe. I don’t know. 

If it is then I’d better get busy writing. What this post doesn’t address is that part of the process which remains shrouded in mystery. I’ve told a few folks my well of inspiration feels dry right now and what I get in return are comments like “well you are in the middle of publishing a book so I wouldn’t be too worried about it.” 

Good point. I’m not actually worried about it. I’m just a thinker and a planner so I know that if I desire to publish more, I’m going to have to write more. And prove to the world that I’m not just a one trick pony, so to speak. 

The other way one might interpret the grinder of which I speak is the way rejection can start to mush up your confidence after a while. Yes, I’m not so bothered by any individual rejection but after a while, as they start to accumulate without any acceptances to balance things out, I begin feeling like I’ve just gotten lucky and am really just an imposter posing as a poet. 

That’s ok. I fooled the world into thinking I was a rockstar engineer for about 25 years so I’ve got this. 

I know I’ve been shying away from public appearances lately and my social anxiety has thanked me, but I’m really jazzed about this topic and think I would like to give a talk or presentation on it. Barcamp? Winter Res? Nebraska Poetry Society? We’ll see. 

I think that’s it for today folks. Or should I say toad-a?!! 😜

With Peace and Love and Bacon Wrapped Dates, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-06-26 After the Storm there is Calm

I’ve once again navigated the sea of emotions my monthly cycle often laps over me in waves. Gritting my teeth through the frustration of the daily grind, the longing for peace and stillness, and anger when little pricks press into my skin like poorly executed acupuncture. 

My mantra? “Wait a few days and see what washes back out to sea.” 

In these moments, my mental accounting is both a blessing and a curse. Waking in the wee hours with unnecessary thoughts on repeat or awake and lacking focus, yet still surprisingly productive, flush with new ideas, and tapping into spaces in my psyche that are otherwise unreachable. 

I’m on the other side of it now and able to look back and recognize the waves that were / are nothing more than ripples in the tide pool—concentric circles created by pebbles tossed in by life. I can see them clearly now for what they are and decide what attention should be required, which is often none. I let it go and move on. 

***

I now have three poems in my daily in-box and today I’m very unimpressed and uninspired. 

I’ve tried to write a couple of poems this week—force myself to begin and just don’t have it. I’ve resorted to exercises and prompts and tricks and somehow those poems never hold the same energy for me. 

I spent a little time yesterday getting caught up with Submittable. My active submission count had fallen below my goal threshold of 30 and I wanted to hike that back up. I might have resolved to submit more to a few prestigious journals in July, but for now, my selections are mostly driven by cost and whatever journals show up at the top of the “discovery” list. 

I’m also spending time on the production of The Good Life Review’s Summer 2021 issue. It’s a fair bit of work but it’s coming together nicely. There are a few prerequisites I’m waiting on but hopeful we can get it together by mid-July. 

What else? It’s Saturday and we’re planning a family gathering, pending weather. If it looks like rain we are going to scrub it but waking up this morning the weather this afternoon looks pretty clear. I suppose that means I should get going to attend to the last minute outside things. The pool isn’t going to clean itself. 😜

Perhaps I’ll feel more like writing about the ins and outs of life again soon. I’ve kind of lost it lately. Maybe today’s party will provide sparks of thought worthy of writing about. 

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-04-11 Exhale and Release

Yesterday was a doozie. Hold up. This whole week has been kind of off the rails. I’m trying. I really am. And I’m truly doing the best I can. 

Yesterday the stress of the lit mag going live (and frankly being over a week behind the original release schedule) got to me and by the end of the afternoon, had triggered a migraine. It was terrible timing. 

I had previously committed myself to a social engagement which I did not want to miss. By 4 in the afternoon, after staring at a damn screen all day AND trying and failing to polish my “letter from the editor,” I developed a nasty headache and was worried it would prevent me from making the gathering. 

I hit the headache with all I had, ibuprofen, Tylenol, and sumatriptan. I would have tried to lay down for 15 minutes but there just wasn’t time. There wasn’t even time for me to shower, which was also quite undesirable. I basically only had time to change, put on some mascara and lipgloss and go. 

Normally I would also have a glass wine to calm my social anxiety, but that’s a big-bad idea with a migraine as it would definitely put me down with a quickness. 

The unfortunate set of circumstances put me in the corner at a far table with a group and of folks that I hadn’t met before. I did my best to be social as I suffered from my aching head.  Didn’t even have the spark to get feisty about the game we were playing. Normally the competitive board-gamer in me would override my social awkwardness but last night was not my night. 

The best I could do was make polite small talk, eat a little and drink a little, participate in the game (which was fun) and then say goodbye at the right moment. Like I said, I did the best I could. 

The same goes for the release of the third issue of The Good Life Review. I relied heavily on my friend, M, who is brilliant with web stuff, graphics, and design. I had previously spent hours and hours building the new issue 3 individual pages and the new home page but there’s just something about her special touch that nobody else can match. She’s a gift and I don’t know what I’d do without her. 

I did the best I could, but she really brought it all together. I was going to try to push the release live last night but just couldn’t do it. Instead I woke up this morning before 6am and pulled the trigger. Once I did, I immediately felt a sense of relief wash over me. Not sure what I could do differently with issue 4, but I would like to plan it out so that it’s not as stressful at the end. 

Here’s the result: https://thegoodlifereview.com

Today I would like to gift myself with a little bit of grace before letting my brain get twisted up with ALL the other things that I’ve been procrastinating. 

I don’t want to think about next week. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t. Good gravy I don’t even want to think about the vacation I have coming up very soon. How sad is that??!! I just want to sink into the couch and veg. Watch some trash tv and maybe, if I’m feeling up to it, go to a yoga class or something. 

I know there is no rest for the wicked and the week ahead of me is going to kick my ass again, but I’m still gonna try really hard to NOT think about that today. 

Nope. Not today. 

On that not.. it’s time to make a coffee, drag my tired body to the couch, and find some nonsense to get lost in. 

Cheers to exhaling and finally having a lazy Sunday,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-26 Dealing With Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde

I’ve been awake since before 3am. What time I don’t know because I’ve been told looking at the clock is waking up my brain. Ok. So the first time I looked at the clock was about 3:15am. It’s not the light of the clock waking up my brain. I’m pretty sure my brain does that all on its own.

I had a slight headache and think it might be the alcohol consumption from last night. That could have something to do with the not sleeping well. It’s not rocket science, but what came first? The drinking or the poor sleep? No matter.. these are not the thoughts that consume me at 3 and 4 and 5am. Nope.

What is it then? I had a brief conversation with Jim last night where I was lamenting about my thoughts always being consumed with something. In my margarita’d state I described a pac man that was chomping furiously through my mind perpetually consuming my thoughts. I’ve got a limited amount of dots, you know, on the screen everyday and the pac man is always navigating the map of my brain, searching and chomping.. rounding corner after corner, chomping and searching, and eventually all the thoughts have been eaten and the day ends.

What about the ghosts?? 

Yes.. Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde are there. They are there to drive the pac man’s decisions on which way to chomp next. 

Fun fact: Each of the four ghosts in the game has both Japanese and English names. In Japan they started as Fickle, Chaser, Ambusher and Stupid. In my case these alternate names seem more appropriate. Their current personas are defined further as follows… 

Fickle: Always something I can’t decide and am continuously analyzing and weighing options in. Currently this is the question of what to do about my title with the GLR? GLR stands for the Good Life Review and is the online lit mag I founded last year and am currently trying to keep afloat and moving in the right direction. When we first determined the masthead, I gladly accepted the title of “managing editor” and let Ed take the EIC title, but over time this had started to grate on me in ways I could not have predicted. My issues have do with perception, the division of responsibilities-who is doing the work, and traditional patriarchal roles, and also frankly the way Ed throws the title around as if it gives him more authority. Great guy, but I don’t care for that. 

The fickle thoughts I have gravitate between removing the titles completely, and all manner of variation in between. I can’t tell you how much brain power I’ve wasted on thinking about this. That alone drives me kind of batty. We’re still in our first year and have such a small fooorprint or following that it matters not. But it matters to me apparently. 🙄 

Chaser: The endless quest to lose 5 pounds and look better. This is often disguised as attempts to eat healthier or exercise more or detox. It’s an endless chase that never leads to success. Always failure. Always disappointment. And then forgiveness and then beginning again. 

Ambusher: This is the random thing on fire that seems to pop up out of nowhere to hijack my plans. It might be a sink that won’t drain, a car that won’t start, a kid with an F in English, or a show that demands to be binge-watched. They appear randomly and with varying degrees of severity. Whatever it is, it drives pac man in a different direction. 

Right now it’s a one-two-three combo of my sons school performance and feeling like I’m not pulling my weight here at the house PLUS my pending book contract. All will require a lot of effort to resolve or get through and any effort spent may not result in a solution. 

Stupid: Stupid is just stupid. 

No matter what I do, the pac man goes the way he goes. The ghosts pursue. The dots on the map get eaten and the sun goes down. The sun comes back up, there’s a fresh map full of new dots, and it starts again. 

Sometimes, like today, I get a new map before the sun comes up. There I am, lying in the dark and the pac man appears and immediately starts chomping. 

This morning it was the GLR stuff. Not just the title, but also the next release, the social media issues, the website that I’ve failed to update all month, the contest, the promo effort (or lack thereof), the lawyer and nonprofit establishment. All the dots. All the dots. All the dots.

At 4:30am I worked in the GLR website and updated the home page, the masthead, and the sound bites page. I’m going to try EIC on for size and see if that makes me feel any better. Cuz.. you know it’s all about how I feel. 🙄😜

Other than that I was thinking about my lack of sleep and not sleeping because I’m thinking about not sleeping and well… that’s just stupid. Thanks Stupid. 

There you have it folks. My Friday morning in a nutshell.

Cheers to the Weekend,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-15 Good Gravy!

Earlier today I was processing the pile of declines in my stack and finally at the end, turned my attention to the maybe pile. I can tell you I don’t read all the writing that gets declined, but I do read all the comments. I can also tell you that if one of our editors feels strong enough to “maybe” something, I read every word. 

And reading delightfully almost always leads to writing for me. I started feeling inspired by everything at about 2 in the afternoon, just about the same time I had to git up and out of the house. 

I tried voice to text for one idea but didn’t get very far. Later, returning to my “virtual” notebook, my effort to begin again was thwarted by my beloved Mario* and his desire to hammer my notebook into a new organizational structure. So I spent about an hour renaming files and creating some folders to sort more easily through the “slush and fluff.”

*Mario, if you want to know, is what I call my left brain. Well meaning but bossy as hell. And most often the side of my head that gets a pounding headache.

I have it on good authority that once a poem is written, you should leave it alone for a certain amount of time before returning to it. What’s the right amount of time? Dunno. I’m gonna say 3 months. This makes the origination date important. After that, the next most important thing is potential (this is perceived potential of course) which can’t be determined until that 3 month mark. 

Durning my thesis semester in my MFA program I devised a number/letter combo system. First character is a number 1 to 4 (Highest to lowest potential) followed by a letter, D for done, R for revision needed. This helped me to figure out what poems to include in my first draft of my thesis. 

Good gravy. Nobody cares about this nonsense. 

Where was I going with all that? What the hell? 

I suppose the point is that I never did write anything new and now I’m kind of bent about it because I lost it. The inspiration to write.. I lost it. Now all I can think about is organizing my google drive. Stupid cloud. Stupid Mario. 

Other than that not much else has changed. I still feel mostly like garbage and it’s still cold as fuck outside (currently -14 headed for -20). Good gravy!!

Before I went to bed last night, I was thinking about this blog. I was thinking about how, no matter what a person does if they are posting things on the intenet, it is done with some measure of filter based on the perceived audience. 

I mean, though I don’t really think anyone but one or two or five actual humans are reading this, there is still the seed of thought that there could be random trolling from who knows where. This little fact, as benign as it is, keeps me from being too revealing. In some cases this is good but in others, there are things that get stuck in my head I have a hard time working out. 

It’s absolutely fact that writing this blog all the time is my therapy. It’s not free, but it is a whole hell of a lot cheaper than an actual therapist. Right now, at this very moment, I have two issues itching my brain repeatedly and I have no way to scratch. Might just try to talk to Jim about both tonight, if I can get a little of his time. 

Good gravy. Why is it so hard for me to get QT with my husband? Strangely that’s not one of the itches that need scratching. Even stranger is that if it was bothering me, I’d have no problem writing about it here as he’s 1) Not one of the people reading and 2) Would understand. I mean, I suppose as long as things remain as they are now which is mostly newlywed-ish.

So last night I was considering a reboot of my tumblr. My black diary that held the secret thoughts I would not allow on my more public facing platforms. I got so far as downloading the app and resetting my password (haven’t logged in since late 2016). 

And just now as I write this I realize I’ve just this past week spent time organizing and archiving all my writing and forgot about Tumblr. Have I ever archived that? Ohhhhhh noooo! 😱

Guess I know what’s going on the Tuesday to-do list. 😜 Wait for it…. ….

….

GOOD GRAVY!!!! 

That’s enough gravy for one night. 

Stay warm ya’ll, 

~Miss SugarCookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers to Caturday! 🐱

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-20 Take Two

I kinda told the whole world to fuck off today. I mean, within reason. 

I cancelled the appointment I had with my financial advisor. I really don’t see the need to talk to him unless I need something or he needs something. Feels like a waste of time. He’s got my business, my money is in his hands, I trust him, he’s a good guy. But we really have no reason to chat. 

His company must require it though as he wanted to reschedule. So I kicked that can till Friday and continued to host my own personal pity party from my living room couch. 

I cancelled lunch with my dad too. Bad daughter but I just couldn’t. I just didn’t want to. Prolly try to Friday on that too. 

Then I put my darling daughter off too. Bad mom. In order to pull that off I had to promise tomorrow. I’m hopeful tomorrow will be less of an existential shit show. 

At 2:15 today I slid back under the covers for a 30 minute rest. That helped me regain the energy needed to get through the afternoon. 

I picked up my son from school, had a chat with my sister on the way, met with some folks about lit mag business, and then cooked dinner for a few peeps. Might have had a glass of wine with dinner. Might have eaten too much. Might be walking off that “too much” feeling now. 

I punched my subs back up to 75 today. Going the free route for most of it and and aiming low with batches of poems from my thesis that are still unpublished. New strategy is to mix up the batches though. A few old and a few new. Never know what’s going to appeal to a reader. It’s just all a gamble anyhow. 

I also sent like 30 declines for the GLR which I have decided makes me grumpy by default. Partially because I hate being the bearer of bad news (even if it’s largely anonymous) but also partially because it forces me to see just how careless most people are with their work. Why put so much time into the crafting of the poems and then completely ignore submission guidelines, formatting, requests to de-identify the manuscript. It makes me lose a little bit of respect. (Or a lot). 

I want people to have a good experience but good grief!! What is so damn difficult about making the title of your submission match the title of your attachment. IT IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!!! 

My lit mag meeting today was with Kate Gale, owner of Red Hen Press and LA Review. Yeah, she’s big time. All my questions are about funding and trying to run a sustainable business. But it’s been a long time since she was where we are, at the beginning. She’s operating on a million dollar budget and talks about donations and getting thousands of subs, and those being the two top revenue streams. We ain’t got none of that going on. We just small potatoes. 

The way I figure it, we will be operating in the red until we can get the paperwork for the non-profit status in order. I dunno. It’s a lot of work. And $$$. 

It’s now past 8. I’m so done with this day. Hoping to head to the couch for some serious veg time soon. 

Thanks for hanging out, anyhow. Have a great night. 

Yours truly, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-10 Sunday Status New Year Style

Yesterday was another well balanced day that began with a lovely walk and several hours spent playing catch-up on all the GLR stuff that’s overdue to be completed. There’s still more to do but I can sail through the rest of the weekend feeling satisfied with my progress. 

The day rolled along and I spent some good QT with Z and with Jim. Z is actively selling some of the extra furniture from our craft room and so I’m helping her with that. Any funds she collects will go toward her latest project which just happens to be starting a new business on Etcy. She’s got big plans, motivation, and time. I mean. At the moment she has all these. We’ll see once she goes back to school. 

In any case, the gutting and reorg of the craft room is for that endeavor too. She needs a well ventilated space to work on her latest passion.. resin. At Christmas we all got gifts that were made out of resin and she’s learning a lot about how to produce good quality items that don’t have flaws like bubbles and unfinished edges. One thing is true.. when she decides to do something she’s thorough and determined. 

All of the furniture we are parting with is mine from my old house and life. When we first moved in we decided to keep the furniture so that when the kids move out to their own places they would have some things that they would not need to buy. But honestly, that seems to be quite a bit into the future and it will be better just to get rid of it now.

She’s using Facebook marketplace to sell and these items are priced to move so as soon as she posted, she immediately had to field dozens of inquiries about availability, dimensions, etc. I suspect a large part of our day today will be more of the same. That’s ok. 

Last night I powered through almost falling asleep at 8PM and demanded we do something else besides sit and talk. Talking, while lovely, is sometimes not very stimulating. I basically said, let’s watch an action movie. So we did. 

Jim selected ‘Bourne Ultamatum’ which he had seen and I didn’t remember ever watching before and it was good. Some parts felt familiar but that could be because I’ve seen other Bourne movies. It’s a pretty good movie. I’d recommend it. We’ll I’d recommend it if it wasn’t for the fact that everyone has probably already seen it. That’s how it is with me. I haven’t seen much. 

Anyway.. we watched the entire thing and I stayed awake for all of it. Hooray! After that I was like, peace out, and went straight to bed. FitBit recorded 11pm as the time my body went inactive. I guess one thing I can be grateful for is the fact that I don’t have trouble falling asleep at bedtime. I can’t recall ever having that problem in the last 10 years. It’s just all the waking in the middle of the night nonsense that’s my peoblem. 

Today / this week, I’m introducing meditation into my regular routine. Normally when starting something new like this would involve research but in this case the heavy lifting has basically already been done for me. I’ve got a few good starter apps that were recommended to me by my friend Vis who I didn’t even know did meditation until we were texting about it this week. 

I previously mentioned backing off some other goals/measures and making that official today. My step goal has been reduced to 10K steps a day. My sleep goal is now 7 hours a night -or- a sleep score > 75. I’m changing the productivity measure to “mood” and backing off the requirement for meeting that each day (which is kind of nebulous), and adding meditation to the list. Starting small.. 15 minutes a day learning and experimenting. 

What about food and healthy eating? Well I’m going to try backing off paying too much attention to that actually. Which is tough. I wanted to declare that I was going to stop weighing myself but I can’t right now. Believe it or not, it’s counter to my new approach. It really would be taking on too much and causing my brain to think about it too much and that’s not my objective. So I’m truth, it’s better to maintain the status quo than try and make a change. 

I want to spend less time thinking about it and not more. Checking this box each day becomes somewhat nebulous too since there is no measure. I’ve always hated the idea of using weight as the measure, but it’s just easy. 

Yes.. I just tried to make a case for why I’m going to continue to weigh myself everyday in support of not thinking about healthy eating. Kind of ridiculous. But whatever. 

I also resolved to be a better accountability buddy. This means reporting to T each week and seeing how she’s doing too. It’s first up on my list today when I finish my walk. 

Then we’ll do that Sunday thing we do. 

So without further ado, 

I bid thee farewell. 

Later gaters, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-02 Jump Into this Day From Yesterday’s Sin…

On October 21, 2010 (not a typo – ten years ago) I wrote my first post on my first blog: Day By Day.

It’s proof, that no one can predict what the future holds. No one can know what they are capable of. No one realizes the capacity of their cup.. until they begin to fill it up.

I’ve been filling my cup for 10 years… with whatever I can find that brings me joy and helps me feel satisfied. All that keeps me warm inside. I swirl around the contents, and peer into the concoction to see what magic I’ve collected.

I’ve had so many great experiences with people I’ve cared for. Friends and family. I’ve laughed and traveled and, of course, done the best I could with rotten situations too.

As I look back at all my blog posts, poems, and stories, I recognize that those tough times are often where the focus of my writing often goes. That’s the nature of the beast I guess. But that’s not a new revelation. I’ve known it my whole life.

I’ve joked before about it being ok if I get my heart broken, because at least there will be new poetry at the end of the road. A foolish joke which I believe the Universe used to teach me a valuable lesson (or two or three). Sobbing on the floor like wishing there was no tomorrow is not a pretty site. And there were no words that would save me from that agony.

Hella dramatic much?! Yes. But that’s how that felt.

See what I mean? I started writing this intending to swish through the warmth I’m feeling inside right now because of all the wonderful things in my life. But instead end up spiraling straight to a moment of heartache. Why??!!

Rubbish!!

Today the project I’ve been working on, the start up of a new literary journal, went live with its first issue. It’s a good day and I feel great. I feel grateful. I feel… like it’s a little unbelievable really. A few folks I care for dearly have put a ton of effort into publishing a beautiful, professional issue and of course, it doesn’t end there. There will be promotion and calls for submission for our next issue. It’s just the beginning but I don’t want to think about that right now.

I want to savor this day and what we’ve accomplished. I want to celebrate. I want to slow down this happy day and really just get all that I can from it. Pour it all into my cup. And then lay back and let myself be satisfied.

It’s Friday. Maybe I should pick up a book or see what the gods of poetry have to offer me today.

Or do what I said that I would yesterday, which is to lay down in corpse pose for a few days. Yes.. I read what I wrote yesterday which is often how I start. “Jump into this day from yesterday’s sin.” That’s what that little poem is about.

Ten years is a pretty good run. Who knows what the next ten will look like. I bet even the Universe doesn’t know. 😉

Wishing for peace on Earth,
~Miss SugarCookie

Day By Day

I read what I wrote and then start again,
Jump into this day from yesterday’s sin.
A bump in the road, a thing at the right,
Adding one, day by day, from morning ’till night.
Oh when will I get there and how will I know?
With a smile and a hand shake at the end of the show,
The only words that I heard were “Please play again.”
Adding one, day by day, from beginning ’till end.