2019-08-07 The One About Fluff and Stuff

No.. those are not the names of my kitten cats, but they could be since they are so super soft.

I didn’t get to walk this morning, or this afternoon like I had planned. The whole day has been drained away by other duties as assigned. I had a solid 4 and a half hours of sleep as I was up late writing and then woke around 4:30AM to start wrapping up my first major assignment for school. Aside from cooking breakfast, I wrote through till about 10am in order to hit send on a bunch of “stuff”.

“Stuff” is the best way that I can describe what was in the collection of writing we (my mentor and I) are calling my “packet point five oh”. It was an agreed upon acceleration to the typical schedule for the semester, which would include sending the first official packet, “packet one” around the end of August. The “stuff” included a little bit of brilliance on what I want my craft paper to be about this term surrounded by a very large amount of “fluff”. “Fluff” being all the filler of words you use when you are wanting to fill up a page but have nothing of real substance to say. The packet also included four new, very messy poems about a topic we discussed with some measure of detail during our time together in July. Namely, my house (AKA, the Castle) and my new life.

One of my goals this term is to be less general with my creative work, and really get into the weeds of the details. Some of those details will be about my current life, and not some rehash of all the same ole, same ole I’m always going on about. Mind you, I write about my every day, well, almost every day, but not in my poetry for some reason. It seems I’m always sticking to musing about the world in quite a general way. You know, the meaning of life, and why we are all here and things like that. I shy away from details. That’s where the devil hangs out. But that’s gonna change, apparently.

I submitted my stuff today with a fairly high level of confidence that those pages are never going to amount to anything. I’ve tried to prepare all the parties involved (which at this point is just my mentor and I). I’ve written past the end of the story on three of the four narratives and not sure there is an actual poem among them. I guess I don’t need to think too much more about it, because it’s sent now and out of my hands (for the moment).

I’m not inclined to wait for feedback before I dive into the stack of books I have acquired for this term. I’m totally excited to take my time and spend my time on some high quality reading. As it is late in the day now and the sun is heading for the horizon, I think that reading may just have to be something that gets started tomorrow. But, perhaps I’ll have time to take a peek at one of the more bite size books after I put on my pajamas and get comfy on the couch. Perhaps.

The rest of my day was all snoresville. A few errands around town, very limited QT with my children (they have better things to do), and lots of cleaning and yard work as I continue to prepare for an onslaught of houseguests which starts tomorrow and will continue through Saturday evening. Amazingly, the sink is full of dishes again. I gotta believe nobody is going to want to read a poem about endless dirty dishes in a bottomless kitchen sink. Aint nobody got time for that. Certainly not me.

I suppose that’s enough fluff and stuff for today. Those pajamas and that book are calling my name… I just need to be able to stay awake long enough to get that far.

Sweet Dreams Ya’ll,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-08-05 The One About Dresses

I’ve been awake since 6am and it’s 10 til 9 and I’m finally getting down to some serious thinking. Serious like cats milling about the living room deciding on the best place to nap. So, yeah, pretty serious.

The weekend went by like a bullet and I dodged a direct hit, for the most part. I had a lot of swell ups yesterday about this and that, but no time to stop and capture any of that with words. Any attempt today would probably be in vain, but what else have I got to work with? Just the same ole’ castle life musing so I might as well rewind the clock and replay Sunday in my mind.

The biggest swell came as I walked out of a dressing room wearing a wedding dress and stepped up on a low wooden pedestal and took my first look in the mirror. Seeing myself in that dress made the fact that I’m supposed to be getting married in 6 months really real. Naturally, I started to cry.

Those poor women at the little family owned store probably thought I was just so in love with the dress. They had no idea that it was actually a combination of angst, sadness, happiness, and sheer terror. How is that even possible?

My friend Sam was with me and she knows. She’s the one who suggested that we go. She’s been in my corner for years and a solid source of common sense and wonderful advice. We went to happy hour about 6 weeks ago and she asked how planning was going. My reply was something like “it still isn’t”. That was the truth.

Jim and I have been engaged since August of last year and all we had done was pick out a date. We didn’t even have a place to get married. I had done some work on “save the date” cards, because I was solid on that, but that’s it. At that time she urged that we needed to get started. She asked if we had talked about what we would be wearing. I had thought briefly about this too and left the thoughts alone in the back of my mind. I replied “not really”.

That’s when we set the date to go dress shopping and I made the commitment to have a place booked. Two weeks ago before we went to NYC, Z and I went and looked at a place. I told Jim it was just perfect for our needs and so we booked it. It was that easy. What else is there? Oh yeah, back to the dress.

I’ve never been wedding dress shopping before. The last time I got married it was 1993 and my future mother in law handed me a large black trash bag (literally) and inside was the dress she got married in. I took it home and tried it on. It fit. That was it.

That’s pretty much how all that wedding planning went. I was in the last semester of a two year associates degree program and taking like 16 credit hours and doing an internship at FDR. I didn’t have time to plan a wedding. My mother in law did, and it was really her thing and I just let all that happen. I didn’t care much about flowers and cake and decor and food. It would all just be forgotten anyway. That was my line of thinking.

Actually, my way of thinking about the topic hasn’t changed much. It’s not the wedding that’s important, it’s the marriage. The wedding is just a celebration of our love and lifelong commitment to each other, that commitment is where the gravity is. As such, it doesn’t really matter what we eat or if we have flowers or what we wear. Right?!!

Oh yeah, but back to the dress. I’m a dresses kind of girl. Short dresses, long dresses, fitted dresses and light flowing dresses. Black and white dresses and dresses with flowers, green dresses and cream colored ones too. I love to wear dresses and have always liked beautiful flowing skirts. Ones that waft up when you twirl around are the best. I also like ball gowns and princess dresses. I really enjoyed when my daughter went through the “Disney Princess” phase, and wanted to play dress up every day.

I thought I would just wear a simple party dress, but seeing all those beautiful wedding dresses kinda made me want one. Maybe I do want a special dress and have just not been able to admit it to myself. Then I saw my reflection in the mirror.

Maybe, just maybe, it WAS the dress I was crying about after all.

I proceeded to try on about 3 or 4 others that they had at that shop. What I found was the the more uncomfortable the dress was, the better it looked on me. Go figure.

We didn’t have an appointment. We didn’t even know you needed an appointment to try on wedding dresses. That shop let us try on because they didn’t have any other clients coming in that day. The second place we went didn’t have any open appointments so all we could do was look. I guess the wedding dress business is really serous. I also think that contributes to the fact that these dresses cost hundreds (even over a thousand) dollars. How can anyone justify spending a down payment for a car on a dress they are only going to wear once? Seriously.

Maybe that’s what I was really crying about. The cost of the dresses!! What a rip off!! It does make me quite torn.

Talking with Jim about it last night I said it was good for me to go see in-person what I might want and how it would look. I may do a little searching online for similar styles or something more reasonable. He joked and said he’s wearing shorts and a polo shirt so not to get too fancy. Point taken.

Of course it is not the first wedding for either of us so that’s a case for not doing all the traditional things. We could do something silly and fun instead. Whatever it is, we just need to start figuring it out.

But who has time for that anyway? I sure don’t.

There’s a lot of work that needs to get done here at the castle and what I really want is to find a nice spot to take a nap.

Everything else can wait. Including wedding planning. It is just Monday after all.

Exes and Ohhh’s, Yeses and No’s,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-08-04 The One About Birthdays

I woke up at 7:30 and fed the fish and birds and checked the cats’ dishes. Bits of food and litter sand are scattered on the laundry room floor and I think, “I’ll deal with that later”. I collect dishes set about the kitchen and push uneaten food and napkins into the trash and put them in the sink to soak. I’ll deal with that later too. I sit down on the stairs that go up to the second level of the house and check my Fitbit stats for yesterday and last night and open my email app which reveals whose birthdays are today, thanks to Facebook. Otherwise, I would not know.

It’s typically someone that I used to know. Someone Ive met along the way but don’t really talk to anymore. Friends or relatives of my exes or someone whose house I used to get invited to for parties. Or friends of friends who I maybe have never talked to and connected just because Facebook suggested it. They all have birthdays. And when I open my email on that day, that’s when I know.

If I don’t open my email (or twitter) I might miss your birthday. I’m sorry about that. I really am. I know how much it means to you. Another year around the sun is worth something. It means a lot to me and so do you.

There are very few birthdays I actually have memorized. My parents and siblings, my children of course, my ex-husband and my fiancé. My friend from HS, Danielle and a former co-worker Chris, both of whom I have not spoken to for years. Their birthdays are on Christmas Day and that’s one you don’t forget. My Texas Bestie, Rebecca is easy to remember because it’s the day after mine. Beyond that, all bets are off.

Some people I have a general sense for the time of year, but forget the specific day. Din-din for example has her birthday around the time of the College World Series, so sometime in June but not sure exactly what day. Steph is sometime after that, also in June. Kel’s is in December because it always is sometime around our traditional cookie baking day but again, I don’t know the day. Erika and Amy and Kristy and Wendy and Rebecca are all August. I remember that because mine is too.

Today is Marcus’s birthday but I don’t really know him anymore. Only what I see on Twitter and FB. He’s still the same dude, following his passions in life and that is something I have a great deal of respect for. I had a party once, and I think he showed up. That was years ago in a life that is so distant now it feels like a hazy dream. The last time I saw him in person it was at his mom’s funeral and aside from giving him and his brother and cousin hugs and brief words of love, I only remember my own grief. There were faces from a life I was having a hard time letting go of. People I had to distance myself from for my own good.

Places and sights and smells and music are reminders, but people are also reminders and when you are hurting, sometimes you have to let them go too, you know? All those people remind me of my life with Matt and I remember talking briefly with Jenomaha in the back of the visitation room and she said something (I can’t recall what) and I lost my shit and tears welled up in my eyes and I had to try really hard to resist crying. I was embarrassed and felt so guilty for being so selfish and overcome with my own pain at someone else’s grieving time.

Sometimes when FB reminds me of something, I’m inspired to think for a while about it and sometimes I just want to forget it again.

As a general rule, with regard to birthday reminders, if I have that persons direct number I will text or call them to wish them a happy day. I doubt I have Marcus’s number. Just as well.

It’s time now to get to doing all my chores. Litter boxes and dust bunnies and thirsty plants are waiting for me. I’m kinda hungry too. Perhaps I’ll have a bowl of cereal or some toast. Pancakes would take too much effort.

Happy Sunday Ya’ll, and Happy Birthday if Today is Your Day.

XOXO ❤️,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-08-02 Things that Can Happen When You Blink

And just like that, the majority of the summer is gone. I blinked and it came and went. It’s four days until school registration and 12 days from the start of it. It just doesn’t feel like we’ve had enough time. Sure, we’ve done some incredible things, but having some lazy, relaxing summer days just doesn’t seem like one of them. It’s always hurry up now, and onto the next thing.

Today is actually the first day in over three weeks that I’ve been able to wake up and enjoy my regular morning routine — chores, treadmill, writing, chilling with the cats. And what is it about never having time to pick up a book to read? I honestly thought when I quit my job, the reading would happen naturally. But my new gig is pretty demanding.

Yesterday I had all day, but ended up spending hours in the garden doing some much needed weeding and tending to my tomato’s that have become overgrown and were falling over. There went my afternoon. But it takes as long as it takes, you know.

I did get to ordering my books for the semester when I arrived back from our NYC adventure. They are now arriving on my doorstep daily and I’m craving to dive in, but I also have my first deadline this Sunday and so that’s a priority. It’s what I should be focusing on now instead of musing about my life. Still, getting back into my normal groove is important. I need to get this hour of walking in. I need to find my center of gravity. I need the music in my ears pointing me in some right direction.

Today I’m listening to Arcade Fire which was introduced to me by a new acquaintance from Res. Interesting guy.. and like so many people and experiences from Res, not enough time in life to explain them all. In any case, the color of this music has been shaping my thoughts for a couple of days.

It’s Friday today and that means the weekend is so near. This one is already shaping up to be a busy one which means that the summer slowdown I’ve been craving is nothing but a sweet daydream. The Summer office party for Jim’s work is on Saturday and then Sunday I have a date with my friend Sam to have lunch and go dress shopping. I’m trying not to think about that too much, or it will consume me.

Today is exactly 6 months from our wedding date.. which, as I am well aware, will also fly by in a blink. I’m far from prepared and feeling very different about the whole thing depending on the day of the week. On Tuesday I’m excited and by Saturday I’m downright terrified. This weekend will be a good time for me to talk with Jim about it, and I need to not chicken out (again).

Well, there you have it folks.. August 2nd, 2019 in a nutshell. Time to get moving and actually be productive doing something.

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-07-31 NYC Wrap-Up 🍎

Final thoughts and stats on NYC:

1. Four Gallons of Milk consumed by the crew, plus a dozen eggs, 8 bags of microwave popcorn, 3 packages of cookies, two containers of strawberries, 6 salmon fillets, one and a half loaves of bread, One 3 pound bag of oranges, 3 boxes of crackers, and one Big Apple.

2. 24+ glasses and 10+ plates to wash every damn day (seriously, can’t people use the same glass twice?!?)

3. 80808 steps walked in 6 days (13466 average per day).

4. Average of 6 hours of sleep per night.

5. Too many sub-par cheeseburgers, slices of thin crust pizza, and hot dogs to mention.

6. 6 trips on the subway. Only once did we get on the wrong one and had to nav to the right one.

7. about 6 über rides, one that made us all afraid for our lives and also want to throw up the contents of our empty stomachs.

8. One panic attack (by yours truly).

9. Five 90+ degree days, with rain occurring overnight only once.

10. 765 Pokemon caught (by Z and C and I) and many, many battles won and lost.

11. 8 trips to Times Square, 5 to the corner grocery, 3 to Dunkin, 2 to Gotham Pizza, and 1 to Hells Kitchen in Hells Kitchen.

12. Not enough time to do everything but very, very glad to be back home.

That is enough. Time to get back to business as usual.

Peace Out,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-07-30 NYC Day 5 – A Girl and Her Limits

Nothing like trying to remember exactly what life was like 48 hours and 1,241 miles ago, especially when traveling has created a haze around everything. Where was I at again? Oh yeah, New York City. It was a Monday in the year 2019 and I was just a girl traveling with her family and trying to do every last damn thing… which pushed me to my limit.

Our first stop that Monday was to the new One World Trade Center. The time was 9:30AM. We had tickets to go up to the observation deck on the 102nd floor and experience NYC from the highest point in the city. From there, you can walk 365 degrees around and see for miles in all directions. Their slogan, “See Forever” feels spot on. You can see to the edges of earth where it starts to curve under. The advertised “experience” included a bunch of electronic nonsense — iPads, video clips, and interactive displays. As if being shot up 100 floors in less than 45 seconds and pondering life from such a height wasn’t good enough. Guess I’m just a simple girl.

The second stop of the day was a short walk from the new trade center. It was the memorial site and museum for the original buildings that were destroyed on 9/11. All of the 16 acres of land where the original seven buildings stood has been reconfigured into new buildings, a green space, and a memorial and museum. We did a 1 hour guided tour and also walked around the area above ground where the twin towers stood.

Those two locations have now been transformed into a pair of water features where the water descends into the middle past where the eye can see and the stone on the perimeter of the pools has the names of all persons who lost their lives etched in it. That was quite touching and the tour even more so. Our guide did a great job walking us through the museum and relaying information about the day, the towers, the structural collapse of the buildings, stories of people involved in escaping, rescue, recovery, and clean up in the months to follow.

I learned a great deal of new information and was moved to tears watching video of the bringing down and “laying to rest” one of the great concrete columns. The city has done a fantastic job with the space and it was time well spent.

Our third stop of the day, and last ticketed attraction, was the cruise out to the Statue of Liberty and trek up inside the statue. This was also memorable, but for very different reasons. This, “pilgrimage”, if you will, is a thing that most tourists who visit NYC do. An icon of the city and of our nations history, it is one of the most toured sites in the country. There were hundreds upon hundreds of people piling onto the cruise ships which departed about every 20 minutes. It was a massive moving crowd of human bodies on and off and through three different airport like security checkpoints. If they were going for the “huddled masses” effect, they were successful.

We had also not eaten since breakfast (and some of us don’t eat breakfast) so we also had the pleasure of being packed into the food court for what was arguably the worst cheeseburger I have ever had. Let’s make that official – Crown Cafe Cheeseburger, a solid 1 (terrible) on a 5 point scale. TO be fair, Jim had the “New York burger” and said it was delicious. There were lots of cooks on the grill and perhaps our line cook was having an off day. To make matters worse, our tickets to go up in the statue were for 3PM and we were pressed for time and had to eat in about 5 minutes.

We gobbled the food, headed for the statue at a good clip, and then proceeded to climb the 215 steps that are inside the pedestal of the statue. Bear in mind, by this time of the day the heat was at its peak and there was a heat advisory on the island. I got to the top of the pedestal, quite winded, where you can walk outside and look. I took my time walking around and would have taken longer, but the rest of the crew were impatient to go up to the crown. They only allow a few folks a day up there and we bought our tickets months ago.

They let us through the roped-off section to the stairs that led up into the top of the pedestal where the statue is secured to the base. That is as far as I got. The next stairs to climb were a tight spiral that wound around the center of the statue. When I say tight, I mean narrow and steep, and confining. Once you commit to going up, there is no going back down. You have to get all the way to the top before you can descend down the other side of the spiral. I got about 20 steps up and a panic came over me. I felt trapped and hot and dizzy and nauseous. I went back down those 20 steps and waited at that level, alone, while the rest of our crew went up and came back down.

That is the first time in my life I was not able to do something because of a panic. I’ve been afraid of things before – rollercoasters, public speaking, driving up and around cliffs on mountainsides, scuba diving, snorkeling – and at no time have I ever let that fear get the best of me. It’s just all in the head, you know. You have to push past it and things always turn out just fine. This was different though. This felt less like a mental block and more like an actual physical limitation. As I stood there alone I briefly tried to talk myself into heading up and then, upon realizing it was not going to happen, I instead tried to reason out why my body was reacting the way it was.

All I could think is that it must have been the perfect storm to create such a commotion inside. The heat, the emotional draining from seeing the 911 memorial, the being packed on a rocky boat, the pounding food into an empty stomach, the physical exhaustion from climbing the first set of stairs, the lack of a break in-between hikes around the island and up. All of these things culminated in my having a meltdown at the base of the steps that led up to the crown. All these things were responsible, I told myself, and not just a simple fear of being trapped. It couldn’t be just that. I sat down and wept. It was the second time I cried that day and would not be the last.

When Jim and the kids came back down, we all descended the rest of the stairs together and once back inside the air-conditioned lower level, both Jim and Z took me aside separately to ask me what happened. I still couldn’t say anything more than “I just couldn’t do it”. Z put her arm around me and gave me a light squeeze. Then Jim did the same. That’s when the tears came again. I just wanted to be done, and magically transported back to the apartment, back to a cool place to rest. There was no magic, of course and It would take about 2 more hot, sweaty, physically and emotionally draining hours to get back home.

***

That evening would be our last in the City. I didn’t want to waste it and was quite sick of “vendor and cafe” food. The area we were located is called “Hells Kitchen” which is named partially because the area is so densely packed with exceptional restaurants. We had only been at a sit down place twice the entire trip and that was a damn shame. It was mostly easier to satisfy the kids needs by eating a quick slice a pizza or hot dog or hamburger on the go.

So after our recovery Jim and I went out to a real restaurant, just him and I. I wanted to go to the “Hell’s Kitchen” restaurant which was literally less than a block from our apartment. It was Mexican food and a margarita sounded like the perfect refreshing start of the evening. It was.

We had a great meal and got a buzz on over our tacos and nachos. It felt like a normal night out at home. It also gave me the pep I needed to venture out, one last time, to Times Square with Z. Everyone else was over it, but realizing that it was our last opportunity, we went for it.

Jim stayed back with the boys so it was a girls only night out. We hit the Disney store and one of a dozen “I ❤️ NYC” souvenir stores. We stopped in at the McDonald’s to get her fries and a soda, “dinner of champions” in the heart of Manhattan. We sat at a table between the streets and giant electronic billboards. We caught some more Pokémon and laughed a lot and then wandered back, carefully avoiding the group of mini-mouses and other cartoon characters. It was a great night and a good end to our Big adventure in the Big Apple.

There’s more to write (and remember) as always. Words that go forever and curve under the edges of the earth. But even the longest day has to end sometime and this one is quickly fading into the haze.

Next Stop.. Nebraska!

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-07-29 NYC Day 4 – An Afternoon at Coney Island

Sunday was a day we didn’t book anything and really kind of left open so we could either rest and recover or do something else that folks were in the mood for. For the current crew, this meant a little of both. Two of our four kids really wanted to experience Coney Island while the other two wanted to veg at home base. I really wanted to stick close to home and maybe go back to Central Park or the MET but it was Z who initially had done the research and decided that Coney Island was something to see so I really needed to support that and make sure we followed through.

It was another sweltering day, highs in the 90s, and not only is there very little indoor space on the boardwalk for relief from the heat, there was also practically no shade where one could hide from the sun. It took about an hour to get from where we were in Manhattan to the southern tip of Brooklyn where the “park” is. We walked up and down the boardwalk by the beach and bought ride tickets. I used to be a fan of thrill rides, but as I get up in years, the appeal is waning. Still, Z loves rollercoasters and fast drops and anything that makes your heart beat irregularly and puts your stomach in your throat and I wanted her to have fun so we rode together.

We waited in line for rides for an average about 20 minutes a ride, and really only rode like 5 or 6 things. We waited in line at Nathan’s for hot dogs for about 45 minutes which was incredibly painful and then at the beach rest rooms (the only public restroom I found all around the park) for abut 30 minutes. The whole afternoon was spent waiting in the hot sun for this and that and I kept thinking, I’m getting too old for this. The kids had fun though and when the sun started to go down, it cooled off considerably. Of course then the lines got longer. We were going to ride one more ride, but the wait probably would have exceeded an hour, so we called it done. In hind site, we should have waited until later in the day to go, but we didn’t really know what to expect.

I’m sure there was a lot that we missed, which was clear as we were on our way out of the park. There were several more blocks farther away from the beach that we never explored. There were older rides, like the ferris wheel which we were sure were not a part of the park we bought ride tickets from (which was called “Luna Park”). Still, the kids were satisfied so we were satisfied.

Arriving back at our apartment, we chilled out for a while, then went down the block for food, and then Z and I walked a little more playing PokemonGo. Oh to be a teenager with that much energy. It wore me out. I also knew we had an early day on Monday (and a lot of activities booked) so I wanted to get to sleep at a decent time.

At this point, things just moved so fast through the end of the trip, there was very little time to sit down and reflect and write on the day’s activities. No more sleeping in for the kids, no more relaxing mornings walking to the local grocery and planning out the day.

No Time to Waste,

~Miss SugarCookie