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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No rest for the wicked,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-05-01 This Day Calls for Big Hugs

Today is the last day of High School for my darling pudding pie. It’s easy to be in denial when nothing is happening as planned. We haven’t even sent out graduation announcements yet. The box was shoved up onto the top shelf in a cupboard in the kitchen and we basically forgot about it. Oops.

So today not only are we getting that box back out, but we’re also designing inserts with the alternate dates for graduation and parties (we picked two possible dates for a party, just in case).

We’re also making a trip around lunch time to the school to pick up her senior care package. It includes anything that was left at the school as well as her cap and gown, and thinking about it just makes me want to cry. It makes it real. And I can no longer be in denial.

I want to do something special with her today. I want to make this last day something she will remember other than a non-event because some pandemic has shut down all our favorite haunts. What would be the best thing ever is if she could get to see her friends.

It’s been so long since any of us has seen our friends in person. Sure, we have zoom and FaceTime and that’s something, but to touch another human and get hugs and give hugs. It’s just part of who we are, you know. And we’re not the huggy-est people, but over the years I’ve gotten more and more huggy and I just miss that so much.

We hug each other daily. That’s something. I think when we get to the other side of this chaos, I’ll be even more hugg with other people. You don’t know what’s important till it’s gone, you know?

I just want to hug the whole world. You know?

I read a social media post yesterday from a guy I barely know and it busted me down to tears. I just wanna hug that guy.

People will probably see me walk in a room and high-tail it out a back door to avoid my hugs. 😜

Anyway, that’s gonna be all I got today. Though it’s Friday, there’s no rest for the wicked and I have all kinds of stuff to do while Jim is at work.

Peace, love, and hugs! 🥰
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-30 Light-Bulb Stories

It never fails. At some point each day I will have a conversation or thought and that’s followed by the lightbulb over my head lit up by the notion that it’s a topic I should blog about.

Two days ago I had a conversation with my daughter about her thoughts on her parents drinking. (Yeah, that includes both yours truly and her dad who she lives with about half the time).

It’s good she feels comfortable talking to me about these topics, especially when they go to uncomfortable places. She’s almost an adult and she’s also a really smart cookie. She talked about the both of us in very matter of fact and almost humorous term, though she did admit that her dad makes her incredibly angry.

She said she could always tell when we had had a drink. We were sitting on the stools at the kitchen drop down counter having dinner at the time. Frozen pizza and motz sticks and I just happened to be drinking a mikes hard lemonade at the time. I think that’s what started the conversation.

She said “I can handle you when you get tipsy”. She told me I get silly and cute, and really talkative. That’s alll true. I’m a lightweight. I get in that mode after a few and then if I tip over into having too much, I typically just don’t feel well and am inclined to go to bed.

Don’t get me wrong.. I’ve had more than my fair share of drinking too much and having things go sideways, but not when my kids are home. And I don’t do a lot of going out for drinks. I’ll have a Happy hour cocktail or two but that’s it.

But the conversation with her quickly flipped to talking about her father. And he has a history of drinking and drinking too much. And what happens then is one of the reasons I wanted a divorce 10+ years ago. It makes me sick that now my kids have to deal with that.

It’s not physical abuse because of it was, they wouldn’t be allowed to go. It’s more how his demeanor changes and he turns into a mean person who wants to pick fights. I can’t talk about how very many drinking nights that started out as a “good time” ended in yelling and crying. Or me just wanting to retreat to the bedroom alone. Too many.

She told me story about something that happened last week. All I could do was listen. That’s all I can do. I basically told her I remember that behavior and say that I’m sorry she had to deal with it. Like I said, it’s not terrible, just picking fights. In this case some stupid thing about her car in the driveway. She said he says things that are irrational and stupid and I’m all like “yup”.

Stupid like really stupid. Like the car being left on by accident (it’s a Prius and so very quiet, you wouldn’t know it’s on if it’s parked). And they got in a fight about who should go turn it off. She’s in pajamas in bed and would have to get up and get dressed. She told him to do it and he actually said “I don’t know how”.

Don’t know how to turn the car off? What?! You turn the key and pull it out of the ignition. Just like 90% of the cars in the world today. We never had a push button start when we were together and even if he does now, it ain’t rocket science either way. 🤦🏼‍♀️

She said he just makes her so mad. And all I could say then was “pretty soon now you’ll be able to choose where you want to be”. She’ll be leaving me in the fall for college and when she does come home, she gets to decide where that is.

I’ll be sad when that happens, but at the same time I’ll be happy for her and her freedom and having the authority to choose. It’s always bothered me that I was able to get away from him but that my kids were stuck. He’s not a bad dad, just irresponsible and doesn’t care about the same things or providing structure or being a good role model. And yeah, the drinking thing too.

I guess I always hoped that it was a phase he got over, but based on what she said, it’s still going on to some degree. Maybe not as bad as I had it. I hope it’s not as bad. No way to know for sure.

I’m really looking forward to the days when both my kids are grown and can have more choices on how they want to live their lives. I also hope I’ve done a good enough job showing them what “good choices” looks like. At the same time though, I don’t want to think about that too long, because it does also make me sad because they will be leaving and I will want to stay connected and see them often and I hope they will want to see me often too.

They could decide to move away, for a partner or a job or just to live somewhere else in the world. And that makes me really, really sad.

Anyway, that’s my light-bulb story for today. Yesterday I had a convo with my mom and that’s a whole different story and this morning I had another convo with my daughter and that’s a whole different story too. I just want to write and write right now— get it all down, but alas, duty calls.

Cheers to the Last Day of the Month,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-29 Mathematics and Other Tragedies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So many apples. So little time.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I loved the idea of being in love with him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

XOXOXO 😘
~Miss SugarCookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The answer (right now) is now.

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

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

Peace and Love and Music, 🎶
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-27 Today’s Big News Top 5 List

It’s Monday again but not just any Monday. Lots of big things to report on. Perfect for a top 5 List:

  1. Thesis = Done (I’ve said that about 4 other times, but I think this is it. Yes, I still have to print copies and send to the university by snail mail, but I’m not planning on touching it anymore). 💃💃💃
  2. It’s officially spring. I’m putting my money on no more freezing temps. It will be 80 today and I really don’t think we’ll see those low temps again since it’s so close to May. 🌷🌷🌷
  3. This week is my darling daughters last day of high school. May 1st is her official last day and then that’s it. Kind of feels anti-climatic, but I’m gonna do my best to make her feel special this week. It’s a big deal and just because her last semester and graduation has been hijacked by a pandemic is no reason not to do a happy dance and do something fun. 🎉🎉🎉
  4. It’s also Jim and my 3 month anniversary this week. Doesn’t even feel like we ever got married since the world went to shit after that. Things are going well. It’s nice to know we can work together through such a stressful time. Wonder what married life is like when there’s not a life threatening virus in play? 💕💕💕
  5. I took a shower yesterday. Normally that wouldn’t be news, but in these desperate times, we have to take all we can get. 😂😂😂

In other news, I seem to have some sort of mood swing thing going on. One minute I feel so happy and content and like the I’ve got the whole world in the palm of my hand. And the next I’m full of anxiety and sadness, triggered by the smallest stuff.

I woke up at 12:22am. My mind was wrecked with worry about lit mag stuff and I couldn’t fall back asleep.

Rewind to yesterday in the garden when I was listening to my tunes and digging in the dirt. I was inspired with so many great thoughts and ideas. I actually had strange heart palpitations and felt like I had taken a double shot of espresso or something. It was euphoric.

Two hours after that I saw a Facebook post that led to deep contemplation about my strained relationship with my father and it led me to the edge of tears. (The answer is to stop looking at FB ) and I guess do what Jim suggests and just treat the situation how I would counsel my children to do when they are adults. It’s good advice. He’s a keeper.

Anyway. You get the point. How is one supposed to focus with all this noise going on inside? 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

I think that’s gonna have to be it today. I need to get to work.

Cheers to the last week of April,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-26 Sunday Un-Status

Well.. today is the actual deadline for getting my thesis submitted for a formal format check but since I sent that off last week, I’ve already got my reply.

There are changes I have to make because it’s an official university document. Some of the choices I made for section headers for the 5 sections of the manuscript and images for those section separating pages just have to be removed. It’s a bummer. I was so proud of how those images fit perfectly with my theme.

I was reminded that it’s not an actual book so even though it’s common for poetry manuscripts these days to have images, mine have to go. Ok.

I was also told the left margin has to be 1.5 and though I have not gone back into word, I know that’s going to seriously mess with my table of contents. Each of my 60+ poems has to have its own line item and it’s all gonna probably shift. Fixing all that is one of the items on my to-do list today.

More work in my garden is another. It’s going to be a lovely Nebraska day out there and I’m looking forward to spring. The garden on the northwest side corner of the back yard is one of the places I feel I actually own where this house is concerned.

It might be a big house, but the room decor and furnishings were all established before I moved in. It’s all super cool, but I would not have decorated in the same ways. In fact, that’s been a tough part of my adjustment process. I went from being the person who made all the decisions and being really independent to really not having any say.

Of course, that’s not an absolute and it certainly doesn’t provide a complete picture. We completely re-did the room that is my daughters before we moved in, among a few other changes since then. On the whole, though, there’s not been a ton of changes or decisions. Except the garden.

I’m the consummate gardener in the house and as such, I’ve got free reign over what goes in the garden. It’s my happy place and I’m rolling into my second year figuring out the space. It’s a great space to work with and I’ve got the former owners to thank. Gardening was one of their pastimes too so there’s already three garden beds encompassed by railroad ties with the rest of the pathway set with brick pavers.

Wood does what wood does when it’s exposed to the elements and so the railroad ties are starting to rot. Still, they will last for a few more years. My focus is deciding what arrangement of flowers and veg is best and perhaps how I might finally be successful with herbs like cilantro and dill and whatever else we might use in our summer cooking.

Anyway, there’s some of that in my future today and that makes me happy. This weekend has brought a lot of happiness and contentment thus far. My kids are at their dads and though I miss them and am looking forward to their return tomorrow, I’m still grateful for the time I’ve had both alone and with Jim this weekend.

As for an official report of my status, I’m sort of feeling very “so what” about it. My steps are down, my weight is up, my sleep is sub-par, and oh.. by the way.. I’m healthy and don’t have a life threatening virus. How’s that for a Status?

Now that my thesis is pretty much wrapped up, I turn my attention this week to the lit mag startup and developing the forms for Submittable: somehow we went from 3, maybe 4 genres to like 8 different sections. It’s pretty ambitious. And since the content will be online only and not formatted in an actual book (which is what I wanted to do), I guess it doesn’t matter as much how many pages the whole thing collectively would be. I might lobby again for an actual “pdf” of each issue, and if we do that, the volume might become more important. I’m probably overthinking this.

I’m encouraged by the enthusiasm of the people who have graciously volunteered their time and effort to this project. I hope we can keep that energy up as we get closer to “going live”. It feels like each time I start working on something new it leads to uncovering more tasks that need done.

Hopefully the Submittable thing won’t be like that. Perhaps I’ll dip my toe in that today and see if I can figure it out. I have to remind myself.. one thing at a time. “Stay focused!”

That’s it today. My hour is up and I need to go make some coffee.

With Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie