2020-10-25 Target Acquired

Today.. instead of walking this morning or getting my GLR submissions distributed I spent like 5 hours on my own poetry submissions. Research, editing, writing cover letters, etc. I even created a new chapbook to submit to a contest.

When they say writing is hard work, I’m pretty sure all of this has a lot to do with that. Sure, writing draft after draft is work. But this submission process is exhausting.

I’m happy to report I’ve hit my goal for October. I now have 51+ open submissions in Submittable (and elsewhere).

95% of what I’ve submitted in my life has been this year and so far the results, I believe, are promising. Setting previous years aside, my track record / stats are as follows:

52 open (from single poems to full manuscripts)
7 accepts (10 poems online and 1 in print)
26 subs declined Or “completed”.
And 1 withdrawn.

By my calculations, it appears I have about a 20% accept rate. Which is Pretty promising Right??!

We’ll see how things go with the 50 that are out in the wild right now.

As it happens, during the middle of my mad Sunday dash to let more loose, another rejection showed up in my in-box. I’ve maybe said this before, but at the end of the day it all feels a bit like gambling. Playing the odds as it were.

What gets accepted is just based on one or two or three peoples opinions, objectives, motives, experience, etc. A person can’t predict what the gatekeepers are looking for it what might pique their interest. Even if you are very diligent in your research, the folks at Ploughshares or Prairie Schooner are going to want what they want and like what they like.

So what is a girl to do? I mean, now that I’ve hit my goal for October, perhaps I let that ride for a bit and put my focus elsewhere. There’s only one place I submitted to which I paid extra to for additional feedback. I’m not inclined to do that on a regular basis because it’s not cost effective to get the opinion of one person. It would be much better if I had a regular workshop group. Perhaps that’s something I need to try and find (or start).

In any case, I’ve spent too much time sitting on Submittable today and it’s unlikely I’ll get those new subs distributed.
So I guess I’ll add that to the list of things to take care of Monday. Yeah, my new day job.

Prolly not going to make much more progress on my step goal today either. There’s always tomorrow. 😜

For now I’ll just try to be happy with what I’ve accomplished and enjoy a relaxing Sunday evening. Is that possible? Can I relax and just be happy with reaching a goal without thinking I could do more or setting the bar higher?

Maybe.

Maybe not. Ha!

Cheers to Reaching Goals,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-21 Tricky Pickles and Tip Toes Teetering in the Middle

I’m teetering on tip-toes between taking another day “off” like yesterday when I said “fuck it” to the universe and crawled inside myself and embracing today as a bedazzled opportunity to get a lot done.

I’m 9 submissions away from my goal for October. And technically I’ve got more poems out in the wild than are reported in my submittable stats as I’ve also been submitting to places with alternate platforms. I bet I can knock out two or three more today if I put my back into it.

It’s also 3 days from my husbands birthday. Which is already known to be a tricky pickle. Here’s a man who is generous and thoughtful AND has done an over-the-top job on celebrations for me, other people, and other events. Always. My birthday in August no exception.

S-cat-venger hunt, gifts, a new kitten, Clues— complete with quotes by famous authors about cats. How does one match that? The answer is they don’t.

That’s second base. First base is the fact that said person does not like to receive gifts or praise or special acknowledgment. It’s been a point of contention in our relationship. I Want to tell him how awesome he is, but he doesn’t want to hear it. He says he doesn’t like it. What’s a girl to do?

Blow up some balloons and hang some decor and wrap a set of thoughtful gifts of course. And cross my fingers that it can all be received with an open heart and positive spirit.

Spoiler alert for any young people reading this… it’s not as easy to blow up balloons with your own breath when you reach your forties. #truth

The real gifts that I need to work I’m in the next few days are “acts of service” type things which I believe are his primary language of love. This means, it will mean more to him if I take care of the car registration and replace the thermostat in our living room and get an appointment on the books for car maintenance. Or figure out the spice of that new drip from the ceiling behind me as I walk on the treadmill. That’s new today. Fun!

Yeah.. that adulting crap that is like my primary contribution to household operations now. Should be a snap right?

I’d better get my tip-toes in gear and get to work. I can’t have another day like yesterday. I just cant.

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

2020-10-13 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

2020-10-06 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

2020-10-04 On Days Like Today

On days like today I’m reminded how my son never wants to go outside. He resists it each and every time that I’ve suggested it, reliable as day turning to night as the sun slides down the sky. It always frustrates me because the outdoors has so much to offer. I ask myself as much as I ask him “why would anyone refuse it?”

The breeze and the sun.
The joy of stopping a fast moving soccer ball before it hits your opponents goal.
The mysticism in breath turning into fog on a cold morning.
The bounty of squirrels and birds busy with their own intentions.
That same cat that comes slinking around the porch at dusk that always makes you wonder if it is going, away from home or towards it. It must have a home right? You think about putting out a bowl of food or water.
And trees. Trees! So many different stories waiting to unfold there in the shade. Or perhaps just a good nap.
Have you ever slept outside?
You really can’t say you have lived unless you’ve slept outside. Exposed and open to every sound. Every star in the sky whispering the dreams they had on the way to greet you in the night. Their big plans for the future.

But he always says “no.”
Tells me he’s in the middle of something or has some excuse or another why not. Too cold. Too hot. Too tired. Too busy.

I try my best to be a good mother and so press a little harder. Coax with promises of fun. Press with my well rehearsed speech about living a balanced life and how important it is. He remains unimpressed. Sometimes he’s looking me in the eye and other times his back is turned.

Sometimes I let it go. And other times I conjure ultimatums. I push to the point he really has no choice. He follows me out the door, slumped shouldered and angry. I can feel his eyes burning the back of my head.

A half an hour later we are speaking to each other in British accents and laughing. We could be walking the block or, if we’re really lucky there’s a snow covered hill and we have our sled disks with us and we can get a rush from sliding down backwards. Maybe we carry our tennis rackets to the court to volley for a bit or, if it’s a hot day, we might sit by the side of the pool with our feet dipped in.

At least I imagine that’s how it would be if he followed me outside. Each and every time I’ve convinced him, he tries hard to resist letting it show that he’s having a good time until finally he gives in. He says something outrageous and I reply with “bloody hell!”

I know it is in his nature to resist but I also know, that even if he will refuse to admit it, these are the good times we’ll both remember. That he had fun when he finally gave in.

Today, for whatever reason, I was resisting my own plan to spend the day outside. Grumbling at myself as I rolled out of bed that I had promised my Sunday to the Sunshine. With no good reason why.


On days like today I need to remember how wonderful life can be, if we just open the doors and let it breathe.

It was a good day; a satisfying day. And I got to meet the grandmother chinquapin oak tree, not too far off the beaten path. Jack says the tree predates white man being in the area. That means that the tree is older than my heritage in America. That’s an old tree.

I’ve got more to say about my outing today, but it did wear me out a wee bit and I’d like to just sleep on all my thoughts a little.

Perhaps there will be more tomorrow. Perhaps not.
~Miss SugarCookie