2020-05-13 No Rest For the Wicked Part 336

Why 336? Because it feels like It might just go on and on and on and one can’t escape being wicked if it’s a part of their nature.

Riddle me this? Why do I have to spend 40 grand on a masters in fine arts which includes thousands (not exaggerating) of dollars for fees for things I don’t even utilize or know what they are AND then have to pay to print my own copies the thesis document that will be bound and forever kept somewhere. The UNO library I think. It was 60 bucks to print that and after the fact (of course) I notice that for poems that extend past one page, the continuation does not start low enough on the page. So there’s an inconsistent look on those pages. The perfectionist in me hates this. The frugal girl wags her finger and says don’t you dare fix that and pay for a reprint. These two people inside me will continue to argue until the damn document is out of my hands.

Mostly I’m lazy and don’t want to open Word and look at it again. Which is one reason I haven’t sent it to my mom, who asked to read it.

The other reason i have resisted sending it to mom is the poems themselves. One or two in particular that don’t paint her in a very favorable light. Well just one really. Jim said to just take that one out and send it. I have two minds in disagreement about this too.

On one hand all those things are a part of who I am. I want to model my behavior after the lovely Amy Plettner who Published her first book and just gave a copy to her mom, unedited (kind of hard to edit a published book like that). She told me that when she saw the book on her moms bookshelf it was markedly thinner. Her mom actually ripped out the pages with poems she didn’t like, ones about her presumably but also any poem having to do with sex or the word fuck (which is a lot of them).

My stuff is much tamer than that. I think the word fuck only shows up in one poem. And I haven’t included any poems that have anything directly to do with sex. But I did compare my mom to a fax machine / clean freak ….

My mom is sensitive like me (or I’m sensitive like her) and that would hurt her and I don’t want to hurt her. If I was Rachael Mckibbins and my mom was truly a bad person, I might feel differently. But my mom is a good person.

Incidentally, Amy also told me that later, after the page tearing out was long past, her mom asked for another copy. Probably she came to terms of what the book really represents. A piece of Amy’s whole heart and that life is rough, you know. Just gotta be more understanding with people and humanity and all its complications.

Wow. That was quite a tangent.

I suppose I don’t really have to cross any bridges that have to do with really publishing a book because that feels so distant or impossible at this point. The first step I suppose is submitting more. I’ve fallen off that wagon and truly the few things I’ve sent out into the universe have either been rejected or not returned.

Starting from zero is not easy. I mean, I’m not exactly at zero, but I’m at like 0.34. Ha! A few more tick marks in the “win” column and I’ll bump myself to a solid 1!!

I spent my day off yesterday working on the parenting thing and the lit mag thing, until I had another breakdown about being a failure. Jim has been very supportive and a huge shoulder to cry on and a good listener. Thank the universe for him. He literally has a hellish schedule at work this week and here I am crying on my day off. Ugh! 🙄

In the end, I was able to let my Failures go. And then it was pretty much time to go to bed. Go figure. 🤷‍♀️

But I’m up and at it again today and getting ready to make coffee and get to work. Round and round I go.

Cheers to Another Opportunity to Try,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-05-05 What a Girl Really Wants 🍷

Yesterday was a long day. Just a blur. And I’m tired. I had that thing happen again, where I was inspired to write something but I was in the middle of something else and couldn’t just drop everything to get that down.

I thought, foolishly, for the hundredth time that it would linger around long enough for me to remember later when I had a break. But I never got that break and it slipped away you know. Out the back door like a clandestine lover. Now she’s gone and didn’t leave her number. No way for me to find her again.

Not that what I had to eat yesterday is interesting to anyone, but it’s revealing:

  • 8 oz cup of coffee with an excess of vanilla creamer
  • 2 pieces of peanut butter toast
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 pre-packaged rice crispy bar
  • 2 Pagoda Egg Rolls (frozen snacks heated in the toaster oven)
  • 4 Pagoda Crab Rangoon with sauce
  • 1.5 glasses of red wine (actual amount is subjective 😜)

Sadly, those last 3 things were at like 8:30 pm and I was so out of focus by then I couldn’t think straight or enjoy it (or remember any conversation I had with Jim).

I probably vented about my irritations from the day or lamented about how every month my period is so unpredictable and how annoying that is or how I need to figure out how to consistently refer to a person as “they” when I’ve never had to do that. I’m trying, you know. I’m trying with regard to everything but at the end of the day I’m pouring that glass of red wine and throwing my hands in the air like I just don’t care.

And that red wine goes down sooooo easy.

Funny tangent.. I have my favorite brand of red wine. People who know me – who REALLY know me, know this about me. I found it years ago. It’s called Jam Jar and it’s a sweet Shiraz. It’s not a wine
connoisseurs wine. It’s more like a wine-cooler connoisseurs wine. It’s sweet and best served cold yet it has the same %alcohol content by volume as a regular bottle of red wine. It’s my Jam. And as an added bonus, it has a screw off top. Yeah, super classy.

They stock this at two places in town I’ve found. Whole Foods and cost plus world market. It’s cheaper at cost plus, when you buy like 4 or 6 at a time (which I refused to be shamed for doing). I’m not going to cost plus cuz of the pandemic right now but can get away with a random trip to Whole Foods because Of other grocery needs.

It’s still a crap shoot though. Sometimes they have it and sometimes they don’t. Two trips ago they were out (and my supply is desperately low), and I’m so loyal I just didn’t buy any wine. Whatever.

Last time I went was last week and they had 4 bottles left. But.. to get the 10% discount there, you gotta buy six bottles. So I picked up 2 other random bottles. I suppose it’s good to try new things because you never know when you’ll find a new favorite thing!

So the new selection was chilling in the fridge when I poured the last ounce of my original stash of Jam Jar last night and I was like… now seems like a good time to try the new thing. But I was so tired.

I pull the bottle out and what does it say about me that my heart sank in disappointment at realizing it was a corked bottle. Oh my goodness. So much extra work.

This, people, is how you know that the pandemic has not affected my life at all. That my emotions are being dictated by woe at having to find a corkscrew and exasperation at not getting dinner until 8:30 pm and with irritation about my period being unpredictable.

Such hard problems. 🙄

And how about the fact that what I end up writing about for an hour, when I have it, is my favorite red wine, instead of something way more interesting like that sweet secret that slipped into and out of my mind yesterday, never to be seem again. That’s the real tragedy.

I suppose that’s enough nonsense for one day. I guess, anyone who reads this will really, REALLY know me. More than other people who should but don’t. But that’s life I guess.

Cheers to Tuesday, 🍷
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-05-04 A Zone 7 Beauty Thriving in Zone 5

(Happy Star Wars Day Friends.. May the Force be with you today and always!) 😘

It’s a rainy Monday in Nebraska and my list of tasks never seems to lighten up. Instead of going there, though, and dwelling on the endless caravan of sideshow attractions, I’m gonna sit in the dirt and marvel at the earthworms that find their way to the surface.

In the last week, I’ve dug into the dirt with my favorite shovel. I twisted the big, unearthed clumps with my garden claw, and then raked it all smooth again.

Yesterday Jim and I grabbed our masks and jumped in the Jeep. We went to a local hardware store store and went our separate ways there. A half an hour later we came back together with our respective carts full of garden goodness. His was all landscape project odds and ends. Heavy stuff like bags of rocks and some pretty solar lights, cuz he’s Jim and lights are his thing. And that’s just one of the things I love about him.

My cart? Porting soil to mix in with the dirt from last years pots to prep them for annual color all season. But that was not my primary objective. Nope. This trip was all about bed #1 of 3. The one that’s dedicated to tomato’s and peppers and marigolds.

Last year was a good test of my new space. I had too many tomato’s and peppers so this year I have Dialed it back to 3 regular tomato plants- better boy, big beef, and celebrity. Two different variety of bell peppers, and one Anaheim (I’ll have to find the Anaheim somewhere else cuz they didn’t have those. The marigolds are to ring the border of that garden and that’s my tradition.

Yesterday I only got as far as planting the veg I bought. The flowers will have to wait till one day this week. And it won’t be today because lots of rain and lots of work to do.

I’m definitely in my happy place In the garden. It’s sometimes painful work, turning dirt and bending over and being on my knees, making things just so. But it’s so satisfying. And I think being alone for a little bit is great for my mental health. Somehow I’m able to shut off all the voices in my head that are urging me to do this or that.

I’m able to forget about the website work that needs to be done or the issues with the new design or the dirty dishes or the un-vacuumed floor or some seeder data that’s going to need to be loaded into the dev database for testing. It all melts into some place in the corners of my mind and I am able to focus on how I’m shaping the mounds of dirt around me new little babies.

This one likes “wet” feet and that one likes well drained soil. They have different needs just like people and as long as you know how to treat them, they will thrive and be happy. Some plants are “hardy”. This means they can tolerate too wet, hot, dry, or cold conditions (to a certain point). They don’t need as much tending cuz they will be all right.

If I were to tag myself with some characteristics, I would say that I’m hardy but prefer Zone 7. I mean, my life was just meant to be in Zone 5, and now I’m putting down even more roots. I can tolerate a lot. I’m low maintenance and mostly just want a good balance of being left alone and having great conversations with people I love. Like a Stella Daylily. Coming back time and time again regardless of the care or feeding I’ve had. Always reaching for the sun.

Yellow has never been my color though, so perhaps some orange variety or the tiger lily, spots of freckles in view when I’m happily in bloom. And so it goes.

The best thing about the hard work I put in to my garden is the times I can just walk back there and look at it and know that I did that with my two hands. I tend the plants and I they do the only thing they know how to do, which is live and grow. And then.. on one magical day in July or August, I’ll be able to pluck some tomato or cucumber or cauliflower or pinch off a head of dill or some cilantro before it flowers and Make something delicious to eat. Or, in the case of my cherry tomatoes, pop them right into my mouth right there in the garden. Glorious.

All right. That’s enough garden talk for now. Ive got to get down to other business. All those melted away things are starting to creep back from the corners and taking shape again behind my eyes. Mondays. 🤷‍♀️

No rest for the wicked,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-29 Mathematics and Other Tragedies

I could draw myself into a spiral. I could pretend to be a straight line or paint my life as an isosceles triangle in perpetual motion. The faster it spins, the more the points blur into circles that create borders that can’t be penetrated.

If I was reborn as a star, would I have five points or six? Or Seven!?? Would I be a better poet if I was a broken heart, or the zig-zag white space between the two separate halves.

Hearts don’t ever break in half. It’s never an equitable split. Most are fragments shattered like that round dish that was dropped on accident or because it was too hot to touch. And there are never any answers for that. Just possible explanations and plausible deniability and revisionist history. What geometric shapes are those? It must be a chapter I haven’t gotten to yet.

I’ve spent so much time with my face on the the floor because of gravity.

I’ve spent so much time enduring air travel trying to escape gravety.

I’ve spent so much time trying to learn how to finish this geometry so I can finally move on to algebra 2.

I fear there’s a long way to go before gravity will start making sense.

So many apples. So little time.


You’re welcome for that nonsense. You know a lot of the poetry I write is sort of nonsense. Or based on little connections in my brain and sparks of thought where one thing just leads to another. I think the closer I get to finishing this mfa program, the more my brain will feel the freedom of writing what I want to write again for me, and my sanity.

I’ve spent so long studying craft that it’s altered my perception of reality. It’s hijacked my creative instincts in some way. Or perhaps it’s that my life is just good now so I have less to muse about.

Here’s a secret (spoiler alert, some “poor me” might slip in here). Once upon a time I was in love with a guy. And having been previously conditioned to have a fear of commitment, I was unable to go all-in. Right up to the day that I realized that’s all that was left for us. So I tried it.

I convinced myself with this little nugget of logic .. if my heart gets broken, then I’ll just have so much good poetry. Yes, I actually told myself that. That was me bargaining with myself to tip the scales in the favor of the “all-in” option. It worked.

Then, wouldn’t you know it all fell apart after that and my heart got crushed. And then you know what happened? There was no fucking poetry. I just cried all the time and couldn’t write a single line of a single poem. I wrote a lot of journal entries (mostly because I didn’t have close friends to talk to), but the empty space where those poems were supposed to be crushed me even more.

I had trusted myself, and was betrayed. So I said “I’ll never do that again”.

Yeah, so that’s that melodramatic charm of mine coming through again.

Fast forward 4 years and I’ve finally found a few lines and arranged them into a poem and it was such a clinical process that I actually learned something about myself and also about the art of making poetry. That was the point I guess. It passed the JP test and made it into my thesis manuscript.

I’m attached to the idea of it more than the poem itself.

After my heart was broken in 2016 I turned to a guy friend for comfort. I thought I loved him too. Which is a blurry line.

I loved the idea of being in love with him.

I loved the way he spent so much time with me and listened to me and held me when I cried.

He was always clear with me “we” could never be, so it was safe. I didn’t have to worry about the unknown quantity in the air after I said “I love you”. I knew the response and that was in some fucked up way, really comforting.

If you tell someone you love them, the Tough part is in having their response be unexpected.

What have I learned? That I really loved Matt, and that I really loved Josh but for different reasons, and Vis, and of course Brian. Stitch all that together and the picture becomes more complete. It’s a complicated shape. Still a bit above my current geometrical comprehension, but I’m nothing if not a diligent student.

What other option do I have anyway? That’s life.

Thanks for hanging in with what was not intended to be a rehash of my broken heart again. But, I will take all I can get.

XOXOXO 😘
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-28 Hidden Tracks, Nostalgia, and Serious Feels

I’m listening to a new playlist I created last week. It’s pretty much the bomb and full of songs I’ve forgotten I loved so much and some new ones I didn’t even know I owned.

Each new selection leads down another road of thought, which is pretty incredible, but it makes me feel sort of ADHD. I can’t focus.

One minute I’m sad because I’m reminded of Matt and how our relationship ended (“Poetry by Dead Men” by Sara Bareilles) and the next one leaves me dancing where I stand (“In Your Room” by the Bangles) or laughing out loud (Sweet As Whole by Sara Bareilles). Then there’s “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette.

That came on just as I was finishing up on the treadmill and though I like that song, it doesn’t really do anything for me. I listen all the way through though, because I know what comes after… a song that was “hidden” on the CD on the same track as “You Oughta Know”, but you have to wait through a minute or so of silence to hear it.

That’s right. Some of my music comes from CDs I ripped and imported into my music library years ago and the “Jagged Little Pill” CD was one of those I’ve had since I was 20. My first thought when I knew what was coming was how kids today will never understand hidden tracks or secret songs. They get their music streaming from some service and so those golden nuggets died off with the CD.

I wonder if CDs nowadays still have those things? Hmmmm.

My second thought? Well… I gotta listen to the song but it always makes me cry. She sings about going to her lovers house and enjoying spending time there alone, thinking of him and musing about their love. Then she finds a letter on his desk from another woman and it takes a turn. She’s instantly heartbroken and leaving salt in the bed. It’s an incredibly moving song for me and, well, the tears always come.

But then the song ends, you know, and then it’s Lily Allen singing “The Fear” in my ear and it just makes me bouncy again. That song s from a very different era of my life and hearing it takes me back.

35 years old and getting a divorce and as challenging as that was, my nostalgia about it is the color of freedom. I finally felt like I was in charge of my own life for the first time of my life. I was 35 and had never lived alone. Never picked out my own dishes or paint colors without someone else’s ok. Just listen to the song “I Could Say” by Lily and that’s the essence of my life back then.

I mean, I’ve tried to capture this in a poem, but it’s one of those elusive things. And frankly, since that was years ago, I’m not inclined to try anymore. I’ve got plenty of content from the present. I thought the other day that I could write a bunch of poems about that time in my life, but I ask myself “do you want to spend your precious time in the past, or do you wanna focus on now?”

The answer (right now) is now.

And right now, I’m just enjoying these tunes and the feels and whatever will be will be. Poetry or no poetry.

That’s all I’ve got time for on this taco Tuesday.

Peace and Love and Music, 🎶
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-24 A New Setlist to Help Me Cope with Un-Planning

Yesterday I had this poem knocking on my door and I was like “just a second, I gotta check my messages”. I got distracted by the day.

The same poem knocked again later in the day but when I opened the door I found only echo and silence. And that’s when I know I’m still doing this wrong.

When the poem knocks I should go running and beg it to come inside. I should drop everything and pay attention. Yes, it’s not always possible, because .. life. But what happened yesterday was avoidable. I should have made a different choice.

Especially since I’ve barely written a thing in months. You know, except for these words. I wrote what I thought was a poem on 4/20 and looked at it again last night and was like. Nope. That’s not anything but some abstractions on a page.

That’s all I have to say about that right now.

I sometimes listen to the same music/artist/playlist over and over for weeks and this morning I thought it was time for a change. I created a new playlist called “Girls Only Club”. It’s comprised of all my favorite female artists (the ones already in my music library anyway). So that’s what I’m jamming to this morning on my treadmill.

The selections range from high-school fav the Bangles to my 20’s favorites, Alannis and Avril (and I didn’t really like Avril all that much but she’s in my library). All the way to my most recent crush, T. Swift (who I’ve liked since she switched from country to pop and I’ve got 3 full albums plus a single). There is representation by Sara Barellies and Lady Gaga of course. Truth is, I don’t have a lot of female artists in my library. It’s like 5 or 6 to 1. 🤔

I should have been waking up in Minnesota this morning but our travel plans were thwarted by the Covid. It’s the first of several plans that have been crushed. My daughters prom has come and gone and her graduation is the next cancelled event. It’s not exactly canceled of course. Just rescheduled.

The virtual event will be happening May 10th and the real thing is tentatively July 10th. I hope beyond hope that things are better by then.

In June we had tickets to see Elton John in Des Moines, Iowa. That may or may not happen. My summer residency has been moved to an all-online/remote format and I’m electing not to be official at that, which defers my graduation until December.

In July my daughter and I also had a trip planned which has not been cancelled yet. I just need some good news, you know. There’s just so much upset, and it’s all political, and I can’t stand that. I can’t stand that decisions are being made because it’s what’s best for the economy. And that the health and safety of the people is a secondary consideration.

I don’t know if that’s true, and I’m sure it’s circumstantial, but that’s the way it seems.

I guess I’m just so personally torn, but it’s because there’s no actual “plan”. The people in charge are just making shit up as they go along based on the info they are given and this event is unprecedented so it’s hard to know right now what’s a mistake and what’s not.

But people getting so riled up and protesting and making it a political decision and not one based on science feels wrong.

And if President Trump would just finish out his term without talking, that would be good. That idiot says so many really stupid things. He will go down in history as the most you-tubed president of all time because of his inability to speak like a coherent human, his demeanor, and just the sheer number of dumb things that he has said on camera.

I would say “what an embarrassment for America”, but that ship sailed long ago.

That’s it for today, folks. Time to get cracking.

XOXO,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-18 Wavelengths and Pages and Need for Connection

Exactly one week from today is the deadline for getting my MFA thesis completed and in the proper format with all the required sections and content. Should be a snap cuz most of it has been done for weeks. I’ve just been fiddling with some of the poems and negotiating with my mentor about a final decision on what’s in and what’s out.

The good news on that front is that I finally wore him down on that one Poem I’ve toiled for so long on. I sent yet another version with an explanation of why it was important that it have space in the book. The bad news is that I think I wore him down and now have no confidence about it. Did he just give in? Does it matter? Good grief! A girl just can’t win.

Then I’m all like. It doesn’t matter cuz nobody’s gonna read this manuscript anyway so I tell myself to just “shrug it off”. Package that shit up and ship it off to the void.

I sent a copy of the preface and creative portion to my second reader about a week ago. I received an acknowledgement from him that he received it, and nary a peep since then. The second reader is not obligated to offer comment or feedback. Just a signature that it passes muster, but I know in my heart, with as much as I respect this person, that I will be disappointed if they don’t say something to me about it.

But it might not happen and I have to be prepared for that, you know. Get my “shrug off” ready for that too. Kind of a bummer since I felt like we had such good connection last semester and I don’t want to have any more thoughts that it was fake somehow, because of obligation.

It’s been so different this semester from the start. I don’t think my mentor and I have ever been on the same wavelength. And believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve not felt comfortable just having a conversation. He’s not intimidating, but makes me nervous somehow and no matter what I say, he’s off on some other planet showing me something else.

Just this week I sent an outline of my lecture (which is based on my 3rd semester craft paper). It was more than an outline and less than just writing it all out. He comes back with a bunch of suggestions, which is great, but it’s all for going down roads which would require a lot more research. I already did that work. That’s that 44 page craft paper.

Now perhaps I didn’t make the best choices for poets to examine in my topic, but I just need to use what I have to get it done. If I wanna go read up on the lives and poems Wordsworth and Hirshfield and Merwin, I can do that. But I’ve learned enough now that I can just go do that on my own.

It’s not required at this point, and I just wanna be done. I know I sound like a complainer but whatever. It’s only a 40 minute lecture and the requirement is just to do it, so that’s what I’m gonna do.

I also suggested adding some examples from my own life and put some of my own philosophical commentary in there and he just said don’t go there. Not in those words but that was the point. And I think back to past student lectures and the ones that had those elements are the ones that I remember.

Let’s not forget that I am a student and I don’t do this teaching thing for a living and nor do I want to. It’s my time and my MFA and the lecture is an opportunity to teach something I’ve learned and maybe connect some dots, and, more than that, connect with people. That’s part of the point.

Ok. Enough complaining. All roads lead to the end of the road no matter what kind of rocks the road is made of.

It’s Sunday and after wrecking myself Friday night and spending all day yesterday recovering, I’m looking forward to feeling good today and just getting some long procrastinated things done. Taxes for one. More with forms and bills that have been piling up for a few months now. Maybe some communication I’ve been putting off. We’ll see.

Last night when I got my appetite back I started having a craving for Panera. More specifically a green goddess Cobb salad with spinach. It’s healthy AND satisfying. I think Panera drive through is still open. I wonder what kind of push-back I’ll get about that since it’s technically against “house” rules right now.

I hope this Pandemic doesn’t linger much into the summer. I’m starting to not care. I know the rules are important, but ugggggghhh!

Enough is enough.
~Miss SugarCookie

PS. In my decimated state yesterday I was unsettled and just wanted to get away from everyone. I wandered around the house and took like a hundred pictures with my phone. They might start showing up here. Just sayn.