2020-08-07 Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

If there is 1 thing that I know as truth this minute, it is that 2020 will go down in the history books as a year the world was sucked into a swirling vortex of doom.

As humans, we’ve had some bad years. Who is to say that what is happening this year is worse than Spanish Flu, or WW II, or any year of the plague. I mean, Black Death sounds pretty ominous. I’m sure the days of Genghis Khan were also quite horrific. Not that it helps a ton dealing with the grief of every single day of 2020, but it does put things in perspective.

My family is healthy and no merciless ruler is invading my village and massacring us. I may be struggling but no one I love has had Covid and I have the future to look forward to.

I still wake every day in a comfortable bed in a house with people who love each other. I’m still looking forward to the weekend, where I will get better rest and next week getting my daughter moved into her dorm room. And my son back to school. We’re still scheming about times ahead where we can travel again and have social gatherings again.

There will be a vaccine soon and, for the love of all the cheese in the Universe we may also be rid of the Plague that America has suffered through for the past four years come November.

As we settle into August like Sugar into melted butter, I’ll be embracing hope for the future. I’ll be trying my best to hold on tight to positive vibes. For some reason, Today I’ve got a feeling that everything is going to be ok.

I’m sure I had other things to say. But I lost it in a dream. I need to get to work and get through Friday so I can get to the weekend.

Peace and Love from the in-skirts of Contemporary Doom,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-08-05 What’s Behind Door Number 3?… 🚪

Now that my PM is back I’m seriously thinking about the exit strategy. Reducing my hours back to reasonable levels starting now and figuring out the best time to turn in my notice. It’s kinda scary. That safety net being gone, you know. After being self-reliant for so many years it feels like a crazy circus act letting go of that rope.

And for my next trick, I swallow fire.

Anyhow. That’s enough of that already.

So what is next? I’m asking myself as much as I’m asking anyone else or the universe or these cats that follow me all day from room to room.

“Kayla,” I say, “what do we do now?”

“Doug. Where do we go?”

“Emma. Is it ok too ok go back to bed and get some more sleep?”

Will that be a thing. Maybe there will be naps. Maybe I’ll spend my days with plumbers and electricians and auto mechanics because of this house and it’s groaning pains our growing collection of vehicles.

After all that will there be any time left in the days to actually enjoy it? The truth of that remains to be seen.

True confession time. I don’t think I have it in me to do this Tuesday thing. I don’t wanna work or do grocery shopping or take the trash out or wash the towels. And you know it’s bad when you’re not even looking forward to tacos.

I don’t even want to be on this treadmill right now. My heart isn’t in it and I don’t want it for a minute. I need a better reason to write this love song today.

(Oh yeah, just listened to that song by Sara Bareilles)

I need to find motivation to do some things I’ve been procrastinating. Imagine that!!

Really. There’s nothing beyond that. I’m just gonna cut it there and bathe myself in ‘Find the River’ by R.E.M.

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-08-03 Hello August!! 🌸☀️💕

Yesterday my love and I celebrated 6 months being married. I’m not super squishy sentimentally speaking but I do like to acknowledge these milestones. What a wild ride so far!! Never could have predicted how the first 6 months as a wife would be. Not in a million efffing years. For real. But, as I said to one of my co-workers yesterday, “it is what it is.”

It’s a good reminder that many things are wildly out of our control. I have to remember that, you know. That the point if it all is to live and try to enjoy life and not let the worry take over.

Now, today, this third day in August in the year 2020 I’ve had the relaxing weekend I needed. I indulged a lot in things that make me happy this past weekend. I shrugged at the pile of work waiting for me and the deadlines and decision on whether or not to quit my job.

After this past weekend, it’s a no-brainer. I got my period and that was the last thing I was waiting for in order to know for sure that what I’ve been thinking is right. It is. The question now is, when. When do I give notice and how long do I give. MVP is being released in September and by then the person they hired to supplement my efforts will be completely up to speed and immersed in it all. They won’t need me anymore. The timing will be perfect. (The timing is never going to be perfect, and, ummm, the universe has a way of reminding us the we are not in control.)

Anyway, that’s enough if that BS.

After this past week I’ve progressed to reducing my daily dose of lorazepam to .25 mg every third day. Which isn’t really a daily dose but there’s no way to cut those little pills down any further so really I’m just going as long as I can without taking another. My original goal was to be done by the end of July. I’m close, but not quite there. Those side effects really are a bummer.

It’s crazy to think that something that I was taking to help me sleep was actually the cause of so much of my daytime issues. Not sure how I was not able to connect the dots on that one but at least I know now. Those drugs are evil. Just one more thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to western medicine. Solving a problem with something that creates three more problems?! No thanks!!

In other news… As we approach the end of July I was spending more and more time looking at Submittable for the lit mag. I went on a bit of a submissions spree and now I’ve got dozens of poems out in the wild waiting to be rejected. Sometimes the rejections come really quick. Somebody looks at it right away and knows that it’s not For them.

In my estimation, the longer they are out there, the better chance They have for actually getting picked up. I can imagine all my hopeful little poems in some ‘maybe’ pile, just waiting.

I did have one set of poems get accepted almost Immediately. Like two days after. That was a rush! The trouble then becomes waiting for those poems to actually be published. This publisher actually said they were up to almost a year out in some cases. Wow, that’s a long time to wait. Still an acceptance is an acceptance. That’s probably why I see in a lot of peoples bios that they have things forthcoming. A big waiting game indeed.

I’m gonna cool it on that front for a while. I’ve decided my next leap of faith will be to put out a chapbook. Pick the best of the best from my thesis and try to make that into something cohesive. I just need to stay on track with that.

That’s it folks. My time is up today and I’ve got to pivot and git on it.

Cheers to the start of another week and embracing the uncontrollable nature of life!
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-31 Adios July.. Don’t Let the Door Git Ya!

Remember all that I was saying yesterday about riding out the hormonal storm until the crashing waves calm down? Yeah, just effff that. It really is easy to talk logic than to put it into practice sometimes.

Listen. Yesterday was a bitch. Work sucked. And at the end of the day I was on the couch, half laying into a stack of pillows watching some YouTube video Jim was playing for me. It’s a guy playing like a really old guitar. We’re talking made in the 1600’s old. And I just started to cry.

Was it that a guitar that old could still exist? That it could still be played, strummed by human hands and make such beautiful music? The mystical mastery of fingers picking the strings. That ‘we’ are capable of crafting an instrument out of wood and strings. And compose music. It was beautiful.

I told Jim it made me cry. He said it makes him want to take guitar lessons. I told him it makes me feel like I’m wasting my life. He just laughed.

He reminded me I’m working hard on my art, and that’s a good thing. He’s right, damnit, but ugh… the stress of trying to do too much is, well, too much.

Today is Friday and the last day of July. It is the last day that’s the window for submissions for the first issue of the good life review will be open. And midnight tonight the window will be closed. At midnight tonight the clock is going to start ticking down for reading, copy editing, author agreements, and all things required to publish that first issue. It’s going to be a lot of work. I need to quit my job.

I have been working hard on my art. The new lit mag is just one of the balls I have thrown into the air and I am trying to figure out how to catch without it falling on my head and cracking my skull open.

I’ve been revising poems and attempting to attend workshops to learn some new things. I haven’t really written a ton of new stuff, but the few things that I have written in 2020 seem like good candidate to continue working on in the future. You know sometimes you get a vibe about a piece of writing. Sometimes there is something in the core of it that remains so strong that you know that even if it looks like garbage on the surface, there could still be a diamond hidden underneath.

Either that or I’m just too emotionally attached to these precious few new poems in my virtual poetry pile. Someone told me once to set aside a new poem for at least six months. Let the emotional attachment fade. Then when you revisit, you can see with a fresh perspective if there’s something worth working on.

I mean I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that, but it does help me justify procrastinating revising new material. 😜

One final thought before I adjourn this session. On this day in history (not sure what year) my parents were married. When I think about that.. I can’t help but realize that if they never met or got married, I would not exist. Or if I did exist I would be a different person completely. Wild!!

Anyhow. That’s it.
Cheers to Friday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-30 Thursday Status Update

According to my FitBit I’m supposed to be getting my period today. I mean, it’s not 8am, but it hasn’t happened yet. I put myself in a holding pattern waiting for that sweet release, which is typically followed by a leveling of my emotions— the amplitude of the wave hovers closer to the resting point.

I’ve learned to wait for it. I’ve learned that whatever it is that makes me want to scream or cry might be irrationally inflated by my hormones. It’s actually a lesson that I’ve tried to teach my kids as well. I mean, obviously my son doesn’t have a monthly cycle, but he does have teenage hormones which can wreck havoc on the emotions. I teach that we should try to be in tune with our bodies and recognize that we can be in control of our anger and sadness and yes, even excitement.

Practically speaking, this is one of those things that’s fairly easy to talk about and teach but a lot more difficult to do in practice. I still struggle. I always have to remind myself that whatever I’m feeling is influenced, at least a little, by my hormones. This is why I was waiting for another week before revisiting the question of whether or not I should quit my job. Just a few more days and I’ll be in tip-top condition to make a clear-headed decision.

Good Gawd, I make myself out like an irrational head-case. That’s really not how it is. I mean, it’s not a Jekyll and Hyde sort of thing. It’s just my wanting to not make any big decision with just a snap.

Frankly there’s also a lot of variables factoring into this equation that are outside of my control and could change at any moment. For example, if my sons school decides that the students will not be meeting in person at the school for instruction then I would almost certainly need to quit my job in order to ensure that he’s successful this year.

Last spring was a complete disaster. There is just not enough time in the day for me to work the amount of hours that are required by my job and also maintain the household and successfully manage the schooling of the children. Flat out not possible.

Pile on all the side projects and other things I want to do with my life. Pile on the lit mag, my reading and writing, exercise, and just enjoying life. Feels like a no-brainer. Still I wait.

The flip side is my lingering need for a safety net, the satisfaction I get from contributing to a project, and being a part of a team. All positives. But do the positives outweigh my need to reclaim the time I spend on work each week?

This week has actually been a good test. As it turns out my project manager has been absent all week due to emergency surgery on Monday. This has led to my needing to step up and take on some of her tasks as well as keep my own going. Needless to say I’ve put in a lot of hours this week already. Other things have suffered as a consequence. Stupid work ethic!!

Anyhow, today will be a repeat of yesterday and the day before that and of course I have to keep it up until my PM returns. And then how long after that? If the past is any indication, the forest fires will continue to pop up everywhere every week so I can’t count on some lull in the action being a good time to give my notice.

In other status update news we are a hot minute from the end of July. The end of July was my target for being free and clear of any drug that was a benzodiazepine. I’m not there yet. It’s an excruciatingly slow process and the side effects of withdrawal are not pretty. They say that everyone is affected differently so it’s hard to generalize what I am feeling as normal.

I have managed to Stabilize my dose and cut it to .25 mg per day at this point. It’s going to be difficult to cut those tiny little white pills into smaller doses so the next step is to begin skipping days completely. I did that successfully two days ago, but again the side effects are unpleasant.

Just another reason I probably shouldn’t make any rash decisions about my job until I’m finally clear of it. Maybe I can continue to do everything just fine if I can only get my health in check.🤷‍♀️

I think thats enough of a rambling update for today. I’m gonna use the few minutes I have left before starting work to actually take a shower. What a novel concept. It’s funny the things that a person can let go of it in a pandemic. Regular showers for example. Ha!!

Until Next Time,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-28 ‘A’ for Effort: The Grad Party Edition

And just like that half a week goes by. When they say “if you blink, you’ll miss it,” they weren’t kidding. There’s a lot of things I could gravitate toward writing about with this 30 minute set, but probably the most relevant is closing the loop with regard to my last post. That was 5 days ago and it feels more like 5 minutes.

In it I was attempting to make myself feel better about my perceived shortcomings as a parent by reframing the negatives into positives.

This past weekend we finally.. FINALLY.. pulled off throwing my daughter a grad party. It was small but in the end the size of the attendees list did not matter as much as the effort we put into it. It doesn’t matter if we only had 10 family members over as long as we set up like it was for 50 people.

Of course I, as her mom, have been waiting for this party for a long time. I have been dreaming about it since the first day I dropped her off at kindergarten. I pulled out all of her memory books that I’ve previously spent hours and hours putting together. I captured many moments from when she was a baby and toddler and when she rolled through elementary like a mighty little boss!

Right about second grade is when I stopped doing the scrapbook thing and started just collecting memorabilia into little plastic bins. I have saved every school picture, every certificate of achievement, piece of artwork, report card, and story/assignment I could get my hands on. It’s a LOT of stuff.

Now with my procrastination there was not a lot that I could do with all of that material. Because it just takes so much time to pull it all out and put things together. But I did manage to complete one book that has all of her school pictures from kindergarten through graduation.

We also pulled out all of her larger art projects and went through everything so she could choose what things she wanted out on display. She also had her own project where she had about 92 photos from both long-ago and high school that she had printed and arranged into two larger collages.

Because of the pandemic we planned it so the party would be outside where the tables and chairs and all of the set up could be fairly socially distanced. It was sort of a last-minute scramble with invites but you know you have to pick a time. We picked 6 PM on Sunday.

As it approached we watch the forecast and saw that there was a high likelihood for rain and thunderstorms during that time. We Made a judgment call on Sunday morning and scramble again to set everything up in the garage. This meant actually cleaning out the garage and moving stuff so that there was room for everything. It was a lot of work but It turned out great!

Yes, it is disappointing that we were not able to have a lot of people over. When it was all said and done and people were leaving and we were cleaning up the garage I told her I was sorry. It’s certainly not what I had in my mind on how the event would go. I’ve attended many graduation parties over the years and really thought that we would have a huge bash. I have to let that go.

We did good. I have to focus on that.

And then blink again and shift that focus to the next phase of her life. The college years. Even as we’ve been shopping for the last couple of weeks for dorm room essentials, I remain somewhat in denial that moving day is fast approaching.

In a few short weeks we will be loading up A vehicle with all of her necessities and driving to Lincoln. A few folks have asked me how I think I’ll feel. And I just don’t know. Will it be like that first day of kindergarten when it’s tough to put on a brave face and hold back tears.

Or will it be a joyful celebration with us dancing down the hallway of her new home? At this moment I can’t predict.

At this moment I’m still entrenched in memories and a little overwhelmed with emotions over her growing up so fast. At this moment I’m looking at all the things we DID do and how far she’s come. I’m feeling proud of us and letting go of mistakes.

I really have done a fine job raising her despite many obstacles. Her future is truly bright. And I have no doubt that whatever she chooses to do, she will be successful.

That’s it. That’s my 30 and I’ve got to cut and run.

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-23 Reframing Negatives Into Positives

I’m gonna go with another 30 minute set today. I’ve not got much new anyhow. How about a re-frame session?

Yesterday I had a great conversation with my friend, T, and one of the new thoughts that came out of it was the approach of taking a negative thought and reframing it into a positive. I mentioned to her that I often feel bad about not getting enough done or guilty for not spending more time with my kids. She told me about “reframing.”

Instead, think about the fact that I’ve got an 18 year old that’s successfully enrolled at a 4 year university, has goals and aspirations, and is very responsible. Think about the fact that I did that. I made that human and helped her grow and succeed.

When she said that I was like “wow.” She’s right. And when you spin it like that it, it softens the harshness of the constant angst I feel about not being able to spend more time or any residual guilt about getting a divorce.

I still remember an incident with my daughter freshman year, her first school dance and something I did which upset her to tears. She’s a shorty and when we went shopping for her dress and shoes, I bought her flats.

The day of the dance I drove her to the point she was meeting the group of friends she would be going with. They all gathered in a line for pictures and every single other girl was wearing heels. She was mortified! You can’t see it in the pictures, but she was seriously working hard to hold back her tears.

In the pictures she was at least a head shorter than any other girl. I mean, how was I to know? She was already overly sensitive about being so small and looking extremely young next to her peers. I should have known. But she was still so beautiful and that’s all a mom sees you know. I tried to minimize it, but that only made it worse.

T said Z would not even remember that. I disagreed. She said, put a note on your calendar 4 years from now to ask Z what she remembers about high school dances. That will be the test. I’m totally going to do that!

Anyhow, I need to try and reframe my current worry about unsent graduation announcements or the lack of planning around a party. The graduation never happened. I mean she’s done and she graduated, there was a virtual graduation ceremony which I sat and watched on Facebook that really only included her picture on the screen for about point five seconds. In-person graduation is set for August 2 but that is still kind of iffy at best.

We are planning a somewhat impromptu gathering of a few family members and friends this weekend. Very small, all outside, and late enough on Sunday we won’t have to do much in the way of providing food. She’ll have a few friends over and I’ll have my mom and sister. Some of Jim’s family was invited, but not sure who will show.

I know in years to come I will think about the fact that it wasn’t enough. Especially given that she had a lot of the senior experience swiped by the pandemic. But that’s no excuse really for not having done more, or at the very least sent out announcements. Yeah, I can see how I should probably try to start reframing that now, before it eats at me too much. We’ll see if I can find a way to do that.

On that note my 30 is up. Time to get to work.

Cheers to Thursday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-21 Strategic Planning

I’m giving myself 30 minutes today to walk. Then I’m gonna get into the thick of it. I’m gonna be heads down getting stuff done. I have to stop procrastinating all the things. More specifically, holding up my end of the bargain on my lit mag project (think, paperwork to make our lit mag more legit and some SEO research). I’m on the hook for some social media posts too and it’s so easy to do but makes me twitchy. I just hate social media.

Also in the mix today is invites for my DD’s (darling daughter’s) graduation. We’re having a small gathering at the house this Sunday but have also wanted to send general announcements. Yeah, it’s way late. But better late than never. And in about 3 weeks she’s moving into the dorms for college and then it really will be too late! I gotta do this!!

Then there’s the promise I made to myself to submit more poetry. I get so lost in the mire of all the options and have a hard time pulling the trigger. I also have trouble with simultaneous submissions. My brand new idea is to make a goal to send out every poem in my thesis. Where to send them is the crux of the problem. I also had a thought about submitting to a chapbook contest. That would mean more work into what fits that bill. Lately I’ve not been motivated to do anything that takes any real effort at all. I blame Covid.

What else. Oh it’s Tuesday again so that means trash and toilets and towels and tacos (not at the same time of course 🤪). And it’s the day my writing group is supposed to meet. I’d really like to catch up with that crew. Perhaps celebrate Tre’s graduation a little bit! 🎉🎉 Yeah, that!!

All that is really ambitious. Life is give and take, you know. So as I think about all the things I’d like to get done today or this week I have to also recognize what can wait. Last week during residency I had all kinds of brief bursts of inspiration about the lecture that I will have to give in December. Today I’m getting on my tip-toes and putting that on the top shelf, out of sight (and hopefully out of mind).

The strategic approach I’m taking is to set a deadline for some of my short term goals and then giving myself a pass on everything else. I’m going to pick up the lecture and reading and all things MFA in September when the kids are back in school (pretty please, let that be normal). Yeah, I’m officially spinning procrastination as strategy. 😜

I’m also still simmering with the idea of quitting my job. It’s still on my mind, but I’m in a holding pattern waiting for some sign or validation or final straw. Just taking my time with my feelings on that.

Anyhow.. that’s my plan. And with that, my 30 minutes is up and I’ve got to cut and run.

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-19 Wrestling with Impermanence

I’ve been putting some serious thought into quitting my job. I’m checking the calendar to make sure the current stirring isn’t coming from an emotional place. Or, if it is, it’s persistent and genuine. And I’m also holding steady where I’m at to see if, like many ideas, isn’t because of just where I stand with the company right now.

Could be residency this week. It’s so tough to toggle between two worlds. I recognize that the reason I don’t have time to focus more on that is because of my responsibilities as a wife and mother and employee. And I don’t want to sacrifice my time with my kids or Jim. And something has to give.

I suppose I’ve got a little inkling that writing through this today will help me decide what to do. That it will help me lay all the factors out, side by side, so I can come to some conclusion.

What a strange problem to have though right? I’ve been living my “new” life for about a year and a half and still it feels strange to me to be having this conversation with myself. I mean, the fact that quitting my job at all is an option. How weird. But there it is. Right in front of me.

Jim and I went on a day trip yesterday to visit the Ashfall Fossil Beds in Nebraska. Three hours out and back with a half hour at the actual site. It was fascinating to see a giant barn built around and excavation site. That we could know, through scientific methods, that the fossils being uncovered there are almost 12 million years old.

Feels like something you’d read in a fictional novel. Real dystopian like. All these animals gathered around a watering hole one day and then a cataclysmic natural disaster happens (the volcano in what is now Idaho) and within a few weeks everything is covered in ash and all the animals are dead. Right where they were.

There’s a baby rhino in position to succle from its mom. It was surreal to see such a collection. And to know it was 12 million years old blows m mind.

Life is so fragile and we don’t know what can happen tomorrow.

Last night Jim and I watched a documentary about the making of the atomic bomb. Human beings have gathered enough knowledge that we don’t even have to rely on a natural disaster. We’ve engineered the means for mass destruction without the help of Mother Nature or the volatility of the earth.

The heat from the test blast was so hot it disintegrated the tower that dropped the bomb and turned sand to glass for 800 meters around the detonation point. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. No warning or chance to get away from the places they frequented for sustenance or for conversation or to nurse their newborn.

We are all temporary.

We are all subject to circumstances outside of our control.

If we had a choice to make more of every day, why would we not make that choice?

Why would I? What am I holding on to? What am I afraid of?

When the pandemic first hit, it was a relief to know we would still have income if Jim’s business had to close. But the possibility of that happening has been alleviated now. Now it’s mostly back to normal and even if it gets bad again, I doubt there will ever be a shut down at that level,

My company hired a new person. Someone to do my same job. My PM actually announced it by saying “she’s another Shyla”. Ohhh kay.

They expected me to want to go full time when I was done with school. I never once committed to that and now they are realizing they need someone in my position full time. She starts today. I’m responsible for part of her onboarding. We have a meeting first thing today (PST). Goodie.

Nothing like tiny little pin pricks, the way that that is. I can’t do full time so I’m being replaced. Maybe it would be better if I saw the positive side of this. It’s a gift that I can be replaced so easily and I don’t have to feel guilty for backing out of any perceived commitment. The question morphs from “should I quit” to “when”. Still, the pin pricks don’t go away.

Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing. It’s just temporary

Quitting is never easy.

I just don’t know. I suppose I’ll simmer with these thoughts a little longer. Set a deadline. Give it a week.

Let’s see how this week goes.

That’s all I’ve got today. It’s enough.

Breathing deeply,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-16 Thursday’s Train Schedule 🚂

Today I have my follow up appointment with my doctor. It’s at 7am. I’ve been awake since 4:41 (Earlier really). It’s 5:16 now. I just can’t lie in bed awake anymore. Did I try hard enough to meditate and focus on my breathing and the mundane to fall asleep again. Hard enough to give up. 🤷‍♀️

I’m up now anyhow and now that things are rolling, there’s no stopping the train. It’s gonna be full speed before long.

I figure my appointment will be over by 7:30 and I’ll be headed back home.

8AM As soon as I get home I’ll have to leave again to take new tires we got for the car to the shop it’s at for maintenance.

9AM I’ll be home again. I’ll need to do the rest of my house chores then. How much of that can there be? The answer to that is enough. Dishes, pool maintenance, paperwork, calling the insurance company. All the adulting that comes with having a house and cars.

10AM. Time for work. QA testing and the daily team meeting at 10:30.

11AM. MFA grad student lecture on creating characters with quiet courage.

12Noon. MFA student readings.

1PM. Back to work. More QA testing and an API spec meeting and a HIPAA compliance meeting and my one on one with my project manager. All that will go until about 5.

5:15PM. MFA grad student reading.

5:45PM. Date night begins! Something we’ve both been looking forward to all week. It holds the promise of tacos and time together, just the two of us!

That will carry me into the evening and all the way to bedtime. Like I said, a stop train.

It’s 6AM now. Time to get ready to go.

All aboard!
~Miss SugarCookie