2020-01-14 A Fast Moving Train

Full speed ahead. 18 days to go and last night before falling asleep I touched my forehead to his forehead in bed and asked for him to help me with my anxiety. He promised me it would be alright and that when it comes to it, he’ll talk me away from the edge. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. That’s all I’ve needed, all my days.

I’ve spent the last hour googling love poems and marriage poems and reading through old and new poems, funny and poignant, long and short. I need a few for the reading we are having as a part of the ceremony and it’s one of those details I’ve been procrastinating. One of the many details.

Things are moving fast now though. The days are numbered (for real!) and as the numbers get smaller, my unease becomes more intense. My to-do list today is about 75% wedding related and 25% work and school.

I’ve been pulled into a project for work which may take like 5-10 hours a week and yesterday I got the feedback for the first half of my MFA thesis manuscript and I’m itching to pour through that. I’m easily distracted by these shiny objects but I can’t put off some of this wedding stuff any longer. What I’m trying to avoid is a mad scramble the last 7 days where I lose my mind.

But.. if I do, Jim has promised to talk me away from the edge. I’m keeping those words in my back pocket.

Getting a little cray-cray is probably unavoidable at this point. I need to just focus to get stuff done. I haven’t been able to write much since returning home from Res. I start but then I just sit thinking and can’t seem to find any words. Even now I’m struggling.

I think I’m gonna cut and run for today.. before this post turns into a Tuesday to-do list.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-01-01 MFA Res Day 4 – Sisters of the Star Blossoms

This is the day I’ve been waiting for All My Life

All My Life, Life

My All, I give you my all, all my alll

And everything I have acquired. All

That has been imprinted upon me by this

Cruel and magnificent life. My

Brilliant insignificance and you, your

Unanswerable questions and unknowable elusive answers and endless abstractions. Yes, I noticed it. Thank you. For your gift of the tools and desire to unwrap them. A thirst for Christmas morning. So giddy with anticipation and wonder. Laying awake wondering if it’s time yet. The silhouetted shadow cracking light into the door saying it’s time. Pulse quickening, eyes jumping out of bed and rushing still in a nightgown. Unprepared and as prepared as I have ever been as I was born with all of the essence I had before I met you. Down the stairs, rushing hand on the wooden banister, skipping every other step and picking up speed, Seeing the lights of the tree, twinkling in the dark morning. A bounty spread under the branches, spilling out on the living room floor. Pausing to bask in the wonder for an impossible moment and rushing in. Reckless abandon, fingers sliding under the seam and tearing, ripping, turning over. more tearing revealing. Wild joy as I hold my treasure up, beaming, for the camera to capture the moment. The gift and i In our inaugural moment. Together at last, never to be separated again.

So many gifts to open. This

is what I have been waiting for.

All my life.

***

Yesterday was the last day of 2019, the last day of December, the last day of the decade. The end of the SugarCookie that was and the beginning of the SugarCookie that will be.

We sipped and talked in the lobby of the lodge. We wandered into the library lounge and congregated at the bar and then out again. We settled into overstuffed couches and chairs and put our energy into oracle cards, Kuantans Yin, each choosing one and reading in the book what it meant for us right now, on the precipice of a new day, month, year, and decade. I received Sisters of the Star Blossoms which was impossibly appropriate for my situation right now in life, down to the details only the universe knows.

We wrote wishes for 2020 on paper and then ventured out into the cold Nebraska night to stand in a circle and burn them, sending our wish to the universe. Ritualistically Placing our trust and faith in a higher energy. I believe that if I believe it, the magic will happen.

(Just watch the polar express and try to prove me wrong).

We milled about a little longer, then hugged and exchanged well wishes and wandered down the hallways, some going up and down stairs leading to our separate rooms to sleep and wake up new and changed.

That was four hours ago. I’m not necessarily refreshed of course as four hours is just a long nap but I’m jazzed and ready to roll. Today is my workshop and that’s exciting cuz I love it and also nice as I don’t have to prepare, just show up and listen.

I have two back to back lectures starting at 9am first. Before that I have to get dressed for the day and eat something. Before that I have to finish this walk.

In order to do that I have to finish my current thought. I have so many swirling it’s hard to cut it but I need to do that. I’d probably stay here in the basement for another hour if I had the time. I don’t have that luxury though so I’m going to have to just end it.

With gratitude and love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-12-27 MFA Res Day 0.5 – Midnight in December

6PM on December 27th in Nowheresville Nebraska and it might as well be midnight. Last time I was here I had to request a new room after 3 days because of a wasp problem and this time? It might be a neighbor problem. Time will tell. I’m not next to my friends anyway so they can put me wherever. Put me back home or wherever. Or whenever.

I looked at the first two or three days of the schedule and tried to consume it. Tried to put some ginger snaps in my mouth before and after to make it taste better but it doesn’t. My hearts not in it and all of a sudden this feels like a big mistake. I’m going to write a thesis? A What?! Are you looking at me when you say those words. I don’t even the hell know what a thesis is. I don’t know if I can learn the definition in time. Too many other things to do, you know, and never enough time.

It’s so dark and I’m already missing home. The cats and the kids and Jim. Not the dishes or the laundry though. Nine days not doing laundry is truly the definition of a saving grace.

There’s dinner tonight and as dark as it is now it will feel like a late night snack. All 62 of us sneaking down to the pantry to pull a plate of some baked chicken and sauce de jour. Please, oh please, let it be marinara tonight. With some motz cheese and maybe a noodle or two to twist onto my fork. Who doesn’t love a midnight snack?

The schedule for tomorrow has six events I want to go to and the day after that is 7 and already I’m exhausted because I haven’t slept for three days. I’m exhausted from not sleeping for the next 3 or 5 or 8 days and I don’t believe I have enough Xanax to get me through.

Oh my but how it is cold at midnight in Nebraska. I suspect the temp in this room is a fickle as my grandmother said it was her prerogative to be. Just scooch a degree up and watch her say “you want it hot?! Fine.. I’ll show you hot”. Every room a different shade of grandmother in this chateau. “Lodge” is such a rustic word. Such a hard square word that sort of chokes you when you try to say or unsay it.

I’m afraid it’s too late to unsay this little adventure. And this post. And what’s about to happen now. Soon it will be 1AM and for the love of all the trees in the world, please let me be sleeping by then.

XOXO,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-12-11 An Infestation of Peanut Butter Christmas Mice

Why? Because Baby it’s cold out there and the mice have scrambled around looking for nooks to squeeze into the house, under the foundation, cracks between brick and wood and drywall and now!?.. Now they are in the walls and scurrying above our heads in the rafters and finding places to huddle together and nest down. In the wee hours of morning before the cats are up they are hunting for food. Their tiny little claws scrape in the ceiling above my bed and infest the darkness and always when I wake I hear them, busy going to and fro.
I’m restless with their ta-ta-ta-ta-ta and sure that come Christmas their numbers will be out of control. Who will save me from this madness? Who will rescue me from the peanut butter Christmas Mice? Some unlikely hero, perhaps? Some fine carpenter or Italian plumber dressed in blue and red? Or maybe his taller, more clever cousin ready with a wrench and a brilliant idea?
“A poem about cat’s” he’ll declare, “Is just the thing that will fix this sickly sweet peanut butter predicament”. I will trust him. I will have no other choice.
***
The last 24 hours have been interesting. Interesting is a word people use to describe something when there are no other words or perhaps lots of words would be required but the right combination can’t be determined in the exact moment that a description is needed. Like now.
Instead of leaving it as “interesting”, I will include a list of events and perhaps you, my dear reader, can figure out what other words you would use to describe the last day in the life of this Christmas cookie girl.
  • I did the jazzercise thing and there is nothing interesting about that – satisfying perhaps but not interesting.
  • I finished another assignment for my seemingly endless Poetry Studio class. One more down and two to go. The word for this one is exhausting only because I’m quite over it already and ready to be done-done.
  • Fetched my son from school. That was enjoyable. We are having a good week despite the recent woes with school and troubles at his other household. We came home to an empty house and were both able to take naps. Quite restorative.. Huzzah!
  • My dinner date flaked out on me (which is like the 4th time this person has forgotten or been too busy). I would say it was disappointing, but given the next item on my list, I hardly had time to think on it.
  • Identity Theft – I Opened the mail last night and found two letters (forwarded from my previous address) which basically were denials for credit cards/cash advances that I had applied for. Oh no I didn’t!!! What? Through several hours of investigating online (and also digging through my current paper recycle bin, I discovered that my identity has indeed been stolen. According to my credit reports (I pulled from all three agencies), the thieves did indeed meet with success in opening a Bank of America credit card but luckily it was only a few days ago so no charges had been made yet. I was able to catch it in time and put a “fraud” flag on my accounts with those agencies so that no more hard or soft inquiries might be made without me being notified and extra information being required to open a new account. This was three very valuable hours of my life and had a very good lesson. Pay attention, monitor your credit reports, and if you are someone like me, keep that high-alert flag on at all times. I mean there really is no reason to not require the extra security. And I don’t need any new accounts. Whoever did this created a fake email and used my old address and the two places that denied them were Bank of the West and Barclays for a Hawaiian airlines credit card. Good gravy!! The word for this one.. Valuable!
  • All that consumed most of the evening and so as we hunkered down for some couch time and TV it was one episode of “The Crown” and done. Still, that was nice.
  • At 2AM we were urged awake by my daughter notifying us that the alarm system was going off. We scrambled up and Jim went to check the house while I answered the phone call from the security company. If you don’t answer, they put a call in to the police. I was so dazed and confused I could not remember the secret password that they use to know it’s an authorized person answering the phone and not an intruder. I might be OK in emergency situations but apparently not if I’m woke from a dead sleep. Once we figured out the problem (and found no cats had escaped the back door which had been blown ajar from the wind) we went back to bed. When I woke this morning it almost felt like a dream – only we all had the same dream.
  • Today was my son’s check-up with his endocrinologist which is every six months until he’s an adult. He’s got a thyroid autoimmune disorder called Hashimotos wherein his body does not make enough hormone. His check was fine and he’s on really the smallest dose of daily hormone a person can be prescribed (the doc said a baby amount), so he just needs a little boost to keep his levels normal. We followed that visit with our tradition of stopping for a bite to eat before going to school. That just means he got two breakfasts today, but a growing boy should have that if he’s going to keep growing! It was more good QT with just him and I which is nice.
  • I could barely keep my eyes open driving home and decided a nap was in order. So yeah, 10AM and I went back to bed which is really strange. I slept for an hour and then woke with a strange dream. The dream was me sleeping and not being able to stay awake, so that was weird. It was like I was dreaming about sleeping. Sleeping in my dream, and being all groggy. Then I woke up and was all groggy. Happy to wake and find my cat Doug nestled beside me surely protecting me from all the peanut butter mice that are trying to make a home in my walls. Or perhaps that was part of the dream too. I dunno.
That brings me almost to this very moment, sitting in my kitchen with my laptop, which is far from interesting. I realize that after making that list that I’ve fallen asleep and woken up at least 4 times in the last 24 hours. I think I might have a problem. Perhaps that should be more concerning than the mice. Or maybe the mice are the cause of the problem. 😉
Perpetual Nap Hunter,
~Miss PeanutButterMouseCookie

2019-12-10 Miss GingerSnap Speaks Her Mind

This might end up making me sound like a person with a multiple personality disorder but I was inspired to “try on” some different cookies by my friend Michelle. So from now until Christmas (or the end of the year), I’m going to be a different cookie every day. Yay!!! 😃

***

Yesterday I had an interview with Nebraska Poet Amy Plettner who has two books and a select number of other poems in print. One of the questions I asked her was what her favorite part of the day is. An atypical question but my goal was not to be typical and asking different questions is one way to open a conversation to unexpected topics.

She had two answers. First thing in the morning before the sun comes up, alone with her writing and during sunset on her ranch which has an unobstructed view of rolling hills and prairie grass. It’s one of the last places in Nebraska that the earth has not been plowed or paved. I can’t imagine waking up and falling asleep to that every day. As a fellow sunrise/sunset lover, I’m sure it’s amazing. Yet…

Is it?

I could not imagine falling asleep and waking up everyday in a mystical mansion that is part fun-house, part fish and bird and cat sanctuary, part botanical paradise, and part summer resort. Yet… here I am. It was An unlikely development in the grand SugarCookie adventure for sure, but now that it’s my reality, am I able to get used to it?

The answer is not quite. There are a few different threads of thought that my mind is going back and forth on.

My friend Amy (not the author) came here one day for lunch during summer and we sat out by the pool and ate and talked. Our legs dangling calf deep into the water she asks “do you just come sit out here every day and enjoy it?” My answer was no. “Why not?” She asked.

The short answer has to do with the amount of work that’s always needed elsewhere. I think it’s a thing that people understand on some level if they have been here but perhaps not really. And then there’s guilt. A huge amount of guilt which I can’t even explain. And then it’s just me. It’s not my personality to just sit and “enjoy” a moment. Believe me.. I wish it was, but my mind never rests and sitting with a coffee on the patio off the master bedroom listening to the wind chimes and staring at the statues in the courtyard sounds magical but I just can’t.

All I see is crumbling brick-work and yard work that’s falling behind and windows needing cleaned. All I hear is the sound in my brain cycling through a checklist of tasks leading up to the next big thing and all that’s to get done in a day. Not to mention the part where I’m about to commit myself to this life and a partner who will never have me as his number one priority unless we’re on vacation alone. I’m not even in the top 5, honestly, and what the hell am I supposed to do with that?

What else? The last time I saw my friend Barb, who I have known for 20 years, it was at a Greek festival she invited me and Jim to join her and her husband at. She’s been to my new house once and after that night, she said she “didn’t think she knew me anymore.” The invite to the Greek festival made me hopeful, but since then she’s not responding to my text or phone calls. At all. Not one reply.

Jim says to let it go. To give it Time. To wait and see if they RSVP for the wedding. To wait to see if they show up. Really? Ok. I know people will think things and judge me/us but it’s not like I planned to fall for a doctor that lives in a house that is literally 4 times as big as the house I owned before. It’s also not like I don’t somehow, with the balance in the Universe, deserve all this after the shit that I’ve been through. Really!!!

And shit I’m still going through. My ex and his financial and life delinquency. His terrible parenting decisions and my son texting me on Saturday night at 2am wanting me to come get him. And then two days later calling me asking for favors that will save him hundreds of dollars on car insurance. I want to scream “I’m not fucking Geiko”.. suck it up and pay for your daughter to be on your policy (she’s already on mine).

No matter. That does not change anything and has no bearing on where I live and how. It’s always been this way and it will always be with that one. What an idiot!!

Good gravy .. it sounds like I’m having a huge pity party and that’s not what I intended, but how on earth do you get over winning the lottery and having people, especially those you care about, having ill feelings toward you?

I don’t want to let go. I’m sick of letting go in life. I want to hold on tight to every person and sunrise and sunset AND actually enjoy my damn self once and a while. Would I trade this person I have found for a simpler existence? Ohhhh my. Please don’t ask me that on day 25 of my cycle. Please wait about 7 days and then ask.

***

The interview yesterday went well. Amy was great and she’s a pretty unique soul for sure. As the interviewer and the person whose job is to listen, I alone have a sense for the similarities and differences in our lives. I’m supposed to be writing a book review of her book “Points of Entry” for class, and I suppose I’ve got more insight now, but still don’t feel worthy or that I will be able to do it justice. I’m also sort of over all these assignments. I’m ready for the semester to be over. One more week!

That’s probably enough wild wandering for this cookie today. I guess the Ginger Snap is just full of snappy ginger spice! 😉

Peace,

~Miss GingerSnap

2019-12-03 Celebrating Success!

Somehow another month has slipped by. Somehow we’ve slid past the first of the fall/winter holidays and miraculously glossed right past the milestone that signified 2 months until the day of marriage vows. That was yesterday and I’m sure I could do a whole post about all of that, but it’s not what I’m aiming at today. Nope.

Today I’m raising a glass to another semester in my MFA journey being completed successfully (three down and one to go). Two days ago I submitted my final which included a 44 page craft paper, a sampling of 5 final drafts of poems, a summary of my experience throughout the semester with my faculty mentor, a summary of my overall experience, and a bibliography. It only took me a day or so to put that all together because the heavy lifting of writing all the supporting content has been done for a while now.

I still have a bit more to do for my class on campus, but my generative numbers are pretty solid. I submitted 44 new and revised poems to my faculty mentor for review and 18 for my class on campus. Only 6 of those were “crossovers” that we’re submitted to both. Almost all of them have some potential to be something more if I want to put the thought and work I to them.

That’s 62 new poems. Plus the 44 page paper and 7 other reading responses and essays for class. That’s a shit-ton of writing!!

According to my mentor about half of what I’ve submitted to him are candidates for my thesis (as well as candidates for submitting to publication). Now it’s tough to know what all that looks like when you don’t have a crystal ball and also when the work is evolving so rapidly.

In any case, I’m quite proud of some of what I have done and am excited for the next chapter in the story.. my final semester and graduation. My mentor suggested I do a character study of the central figure I’m representing in my body of work, and at first it struck me as an odd thing to do. Who is the character? Well, yours truly. And why would anyone need to do that? I mean, nobody is more of an expert on themselves but themself. Right?

Wrong. When it comes to the speaker of a collection, some things don’t fit. And I think it’s never a bad idea to do more self evaluation and make some choices. Obviously in my lifetime there’s a wealth of writing I could pull from but that would be a holy chaos so it all has to be filtered through a lens.

I learned early on in the program that I didn’t know much about poetry. I only knew what I had picked up a long time ago and most of what I have written in my life shows that. I also tried once or twice to apply what I was learning to revise some of that but found pretty quickly that it would be an exercise in futility.

I decided that the collection of hundreds of poems I wrote previously would stand together as an unaltered record of my life and a measuring stick that shows how far I’ve come. I’m ok with that. I might put some more effort into reorg and cataloging but otherwise it will remain unedited. For most of it I wouldn’t be able to get back into the right headspace anyway. Which is just one of the many things I’ve learned this term.

You have to be able to find your way back to that headspace or very near it to revise a poem. If you cant, something gets lost in continuity and you risk either trying to be about more than one subject or worse, just losing what the poems purpose is completely.

All the things I’m writing about currently are really easy in that way as I’m writing about my current life and all these big changes and all I have to do is wake up in the morning and I’m in that headspace again. It’s a see-saw of confidence and doubt. It’s a merry-go-round of thought, and worry and contentment swings to and fro from day to day.

Like I said, I don’t know what the future of this writing life looks like but I have a hunch that it will be a wild and satisfying ride. For today I just want to revel in my success this term and not worry about what’s next.

Cheers to Today!

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-11-22 A Love Letter for Today

A Love Letter for Today

 

My words are a love letter.
To love is a verb which doesn’t always mean
the same thing as it did the day before.
The bible says that it is patient and kind but i find
more often than not, it can also be lonely and wanting
and hopeful and full and sometimes stomping it’s foot
in defiance, not wanting whatever meaning is given that day.
What do the men that wrote the bible know
about anything really? How can you trust an ancient mirage
someone might have seen or heard
and language so new in the mouth
not everything had been named yet?
We can only know of love what we experience
in brief existence. And we can only know our thresholds
according to what came the day before.
And we can only learn the capacity of our cup
if we dare to let it run over once or twice
and can never know when or why it’s bigger
or smaller than the day before.
My words are a love letter to all who might listen
for a moment, in the morning to the birds
or gaze out a window, steam rising from a warm cup in their hand.
Those who allow themselves to be mesmerized by the dryer vent
pushing heat into the cold
or their breath as they wander out to get the mail in December
and also those who hold the importance of a moment up, in wonder.
Or a lifetime. Or a life.
Or each other. For all things fragile are a wonder.
I thought once that pain made me feel alive
and believed that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.
Now I believe only that what doesn’t kill me, leaves me alive
to try again tomorrow.
My words are a love letter to myself. To my future self
who will never read them, just as so many others who love me
and will never read them.
This love letter is just words.
Some of which don’t know the meaning of themselves yet
Or might mean something different
tomorrow.