2021-01-18 Happy Blog-A-Versary!! 💃💃🎉

2017-01-15 –> Now. Four years (+ a few days).. Yo!.. That’s a good freaking run!! 

(Spoiler Alert, this recap could get long. If stats are your thing and you want to skip the drunk trainwreck intro, scroll to the end, but don’t forget to click “like” before you leave. 😉)

In January 2017 I decided to start posting my personal journey online. I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t put a ton of thought into aesthetics, format, or the best way to approach doing what I wanted to do. Honestly, I didn’t even know what I wanted, or expected outside of wanted to find a way to live a happier, healthier life. 

If a person had asked me then what I thought would become of Miss SugarCookie in 4 years, I would not have had an answer. I wouldn’t have a clue. And there’s no possible way I could predict most of what has come to pass. 

Most of the time when I write, I’m writing in the moment. I’m writing for today. I’m writing for an audience of one. I’m trying to sort through what I’m thinking about and how I feel. I try to steer clear of hashing through old news that doesn’t concern me anymore. Most of the time, I try to do that. But sometimes, like now, it’s good to reflect. And it’s really good to see how far I’ve come. 

In January 2017 I was still very fresh off the end of my “big love” relationship. I was broken and closed and unhealthy, both mentally and physically. I was killing myself for a job that was never going to give me what I needed from life besides a paycheck. I was lost and confused and, after returning from my sister’s destination wedding in Mexico, I knew something had to change. 

I spent every other night in Mexico drinking until I couldn’t walk straight. I spent mornings after with blinds drawn, unable to eat any of the “all-inclusive” food that was available 24-7. One night I ended up stumbling drunk, laying on the grass next to the cart path that led to my single-occupancy room, sobbing. I begged the Universe for someone, anyone, to find me and want to help. I just wanted another human being, even if it was a complete stranger to care about my well being. 

I felt so alone. 

Other nights on that trip I wrote and tried to be social with the other 50 people who made the trip for my sister. I’m fairly certain there wasn’t another single person among them, besides my first cousin who I’ve never been close to and who (apparently) didn’t have trouble finding companionship on that trip. I wasn’t interested in a hookup though. I just wanted someone to talk to. 

I drunk texted people on FB messenger or iMessage from my room where there was WiFi. I don’t remember who, probably Josh and HL. I probably made confessions. I probably fell asleep mid-text. I had to write a maid-of-honor speech and sobered up to do that. 

I did a lot of wandering around the resort. I did an incredible amount of thinking. It’s probably then when the idea for posting my thoughts online came to me. I really don’t remember but it seems highly likely. 

Back in Nebraska a few short weeks later I was re-booting Miss SugarCookie who made her original debut in 2014 on Tumblr. But I’d become a solid WordPress fan and recognized the appeal of a versatile platform that was, at the time, the front runner for personal blogs (IMHO). 

I still remember one of my first posts, “The Riddle of the Middle” where I thought through the problem of starting something new, like I was, in the middle of the story. So much history, where does one begin to make it all make sense? The answer is.. to just begin. 

Eventually all the backstory would be  revealed organically. I know that now, but didn’t then. So many things I know now that I didn’t know then. 

And, as I said, could never have predicted what would change in the 4 years to follow. 

I learned along the way my “big love” had started seeing someone new a hot minute after our 3rd and final breakup. That helped me put a nail in the coffin of my hope for a reconciliation. 

I entertained a friends with benefits relationship with a good friend. It was both helpful and hurtful I’m a way. 

I quit my fucking job of course, by the following summer and elected to use my savings to take a six month sabbatical. One of the best decisions of my life! 

In those 6 months I began eating healthier and working out more. I traveled with and without my kids and had some amazing adventures. It was during our trip to the Pacific Northwest that I decided to get more education for my passion, writing poetry. 

By then, I was already well on my way to writing from a treadmill or elliptical machine each day. Wait… did I really write from an elliptical machine? I could not possibly have done that as I’m not that coordinated. I must be remembering that wrong. 

In any case, I do remember clear as the clearest day being in an exercise room at the holiday inn express by the Portland airport when I decided to apply for an MFA program. 

The beauty of this is.. I don’t have to remember because it’s verifiably in the archives of this blog. That’s some bonafide bonus-plan shit! 

I also started dating again during that sabbatical. Hello Bumble! There was a string of posts about my dating experiences (the good, the bad, and the seriously ugly) and navigating new territory. I’m probably going to struggle here. 

-Blog Intermission- I was going to go into a ramble calling out every made up name for every noteworthy person I went out with. Then I checked it and decided not to wreck it. So NOT going to go off on that major tangent. -End Blog Intermission-

Fast forward 5 or 6 or 8 months to March 2018. That’s when I said “Buh-bye” to Bumble. And good riddance. Dating sucks unless you’re dating someone you know you have a future with (at least that’s how I feel about it). 

Of course I’m talking about dating Jim and falling in love with Jim and being proposed to on my birthday in August of 2018. If you’re dating THAT person, dating is amazing! 

We went on dates, road trips, full-fledged vacations, and planned to “merge” our two households in early 2019. Of all the things.. this turn of events in my life was the least expected. And it happened so, so fast (based on the pace of my last long term). 

In 2018 I came off my sabbatical and took a job with a company learning a bunch of new stuff, which was great but fairly unpredictable as far as number of hours per week goes and, like most places, they would take all they could get. 

In 2019 the kids and I moved in with Jim and his boys and life just would not slow down for anything. I had work, the kids, Jim, the house, and school to take care of. Not to mention all my other relationships with family and friends. I was overcommitted for sure and by summer I was throwing my hands up and requesting to leave the work project I was on. 

I think my employer knew I was right on with my assessments about the project and let me bow out gracefully to bring a more skilled SQL person to work on the ETL. That fall was fantastic as I had time to work on my writing, MFA, and take care of my home and family (and also plan a wedding). 

By the time 2020 arrived, the wedding became the top priority and it’s the kind of thing that takes over your life for a while. Thank goodness we married as early in the year as we did (02/02/2020) because chaos in the world was about to take over. And so it did. 

I still finished my last semester, had a honeymoon, and began working again. Two of those three were fantastic. Can you guess which one wasn’t? 

By late August I put in my notice at work. This time I was going to be done-done with no option for accepting future contracts. Another great decision. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t nod to 2020 as a train wreck of a year for many other reasons. Still, despite that, I finished my MFA, had a few road trips, managed to get my darling daughter off to an OK start for her freshman year, and oh, by the way, set my sights on starting a new online literary publication. Which I did. Obvi with lots of help from some great peeps. 

Yeah. That’s another thing that I could not have imagined 4 years ago. Little Miss SugarCookie Starting and managing a lit mag. Wild!! 

So today’s the day!! 4 years (and counting). AND.. This post would not be complete if I did not end it in classic Miss SugarCookie style.. with the rest of the stats:

1460 Days
1143 Posts
8336 Visitors
13,513 Views
6296 Likes and
599 Followers

That’s fantastic! This quick look back has been refreshing for me. Quite rejuvenating actually. Were there bumps in the road? Yes, but I feel like I am on the right track now and look forward to the future. Only time will tell what can happen in the next four years. On that note, I’m just going to keep riding this wave as long as I’m able. 

Cheers to Four Years..
Love Ya’ll Bunches and Bunches! 
~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-10 Sunday Status New Year Style

Yesterday was another well balanced day that began with a lovely walk and several hours spent playing catch-up on all the GLR stuff that’s overdue to be completed. There’s still more to do but I can sail through the rest of the weekend feeling satisfied with my progress. 

The day rolled along and I spent some good QT with Z and with Jim. Z is actively selling some of the extra furniture from our craft room and so I’m helping her with that. Any funds she collects will go toward her latest project which just happens to be starting a new business on Etcy. She’s got big plans, motivation, and time. I mean. At the moment she has all these. We’ll see once she goes back to school. 

In any case, the gutting and reorg of the craft room is for that endeavor too. She needs a well ventilated space to work on her latest passion.. resin. At Christmas we all got gifts that were made out of resin and she’s learning a lot about how to produce good quality items that don’t have flaws like bubbles and unfinished edges. One thing is true.. when she decides to do something she’s thorough and determined. 

All of the furniture we are parting with is mine from my old house and life. When we first moved in we decided to keep the furniture so that when the kids move out to their own places they would have some things that they would not need to buy. But honestly, that seems to be quite a bit into the future and it will be better just to get rid of it now.

She’s using Facebook marketplace to sell and these items are priced to move so as soon as she posted, she immediately had to field dozens of inquiries about availability, dimensions, etc. I suspect a large part of our day today will be more of the same. That’s ok. 

Last night I powered through almost falling asleep at 8PM and demanded we do something else besides sit and talk. Talking, while lovely, is sometimes not very stimulating. I basically said, let’s watch an action movie. So we did. 

Jim selected ‘Bourne Ultamatum’ which he had seen and I didn’t remember ever watching before and it was good. Some parts felt familiar but that could be because I’ve seen other Bourne movies. It’s a pretty good movie. I’d recommend it. We’ll I’d recommend it if it wasn’t for the fact that everyone has probably already seen it. That’s how it is with me. I haven’t seen much. 

Anyway.. we watched the entire thing and I stayed awake for all of it. Hooray! After that I was like, peace out, and went straight to bed. FitBit recorded 11pm as the time my body went inactive. I guess one thing I can be grateful for is the fact that I don’t have trouble falling asleep at bedtime. I can’t recall ever having that problem in the last 10 years. It’s just all the waking in the middle of the night nonsense that’s my peoblem. 

Today / this week, I’m introducing meditation into my regular routine. Normally when starting something new like this would involve research but in this case the heavy lifting has basically already been done for me. I’ve got a few good starter apps that were recommended to me by my friend Vis who I didn’t even know did meditation until we were texting about it this week. 

I previously mentioned backing off some other goals/measures and making that official today. My step goal has been reduced to 10K steps a day. My sleep goal is now 7 hours a night -or- a sleep score > 75. I’m changing the productivity measure to “mood” and backing off the requirement for meeting that each day (which is kind of nebulous), and adding meditation to the list. Starting small.. 15 minutes a day learning and experimenting. 

What about food and healthy eating? Well I’m going to try backing off paying too much attention to that actually. Which is tough. I wanted to declare that I was going to stop weighing myself but I can’t right now. Believe it or not, it’s counter to my new approach. It really would be taking on too much and causing my brain to think about it too much and that’s not my objective. So I’m truth, it’s better to maintain the status quo than try and make a change. 

I want to spend less time thinking about it and not more. Checking this box each day becomes somewhat nebulous too since there is no measure. I’ve always hated the idea of using weight as the measure, but it’s just easy. 

Yes.. I just tried to make a case for why I’m going to continue to weigh myself everyday in support of not thinking about healthy eating. Kind of ridiculous. But whatever. 

I also resolved to be a better accountability buddy. This means reporting to T each week and seeing how she’s doing too. It’s first up on my list today when I finish my walk. 

Then we’ll do that Sunday thing we do. 

So without further ado, 

I bid thee farewell. 

Later gaters, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-08 Vivre la Résolution! 🗓

I’m satisfactorily rested and caffeinated. I’m in good spirits and so far feeling on top of the “sitch” today. It’s certainly still a very volatile status, kinda like that cliche about weather in Nebraska. Wait a day…. 

Case in point is that yesterday felt dire. I mean like “holy-hell-will-I-ever-get-my-act-together?” dire. Exhausted by a few chores and the “UN-Christmasing” of the house, I basically felt like a limp lump by 3 in the afternoon.

At some point I reached out to my friend M to see what her thoughts were and then later initiated a conversation with Jim about it. “Something has to change” I said. 

I’m now several months past getting over withdrawal from cutting the Benzos out of my life. My body should be back to normal, or at least baseline. A place ready to start fresh to try a new approach. Of ALL the things I want to resolve for 2021, this issue is at the tippy-top of my list. 

Sleep, daytime fatigue, and having more energy in the evenings when it matters most to my peeps. Last night I basically started falling asleep on the couch at 8:30 and was useless to anyone or for anything. Enough is enough. 

It’s January 2021.. It’s time! Let’s go!!

As I often do at the start of a new year, I’ve got big plans. Big ideas and dreams about what I’m going to accomplish or how I’ll finally figure out the balance equation of life. I’m working actively to resist this line of thinking now. Like meditation, my mind wanders away so easily and I have to refocus. I always feel like I fail at meditation because I can’t get my mind to behave. 

Yesterday my friend M offered some sage advice. About meditation. She said that it’s impossible to keep the mind from wandering and the trick is to let it play but be an “inactive” participant. Don’t feel like you have to take action on every thought. Just watch it play out like a movie. I think this is fantastic! I’m excited to try meditation again.

I’m letting that thought simmer as I determine the best course of action to take on my prime directive. The fatigue conundrum. 

I’m actively letting go of other potential objectives: eating healthy, exercise, productivity, cultivating relationships. But when I say I’m letting go, I’m not saying I don’t want to do those things. I’m saying I’m taking pressure off myself to have such high standards. I believe that if I can fix this one BIG problem in my life, the others will improve naturally. 

In support of this concept, instead of upping my goals, which is my typical New Year move, I’m actually backing off. I’m giving myself more room to breathe. Call it the anti-resolution, but a resolution none the less. 

It starts like this: 

  1. Backing down to 10k steps a day as an exercise goal (as opposed to 15k). And not adding any other requirements to check that box each day. 
  2. Back the sleep goal to 7 hours or 75 as a sleep score. 
  3. Not weighing myself every morning. This one is BIG. 
  4. Easing up on the self imposed daily productivity goals. Checking that box more based on mood and feeling than actual tasks accomplished. Trusting my instincts instead of relying on concrete proof. 

These are the real, measurable goals I use to gauge how I’m doing. It’s also what I use to report to my accountability buddy, T. I’ve mentioned this falling off the radar and we both agree we need to pick it back up again. In short, I’m still measuring but giving myself more ability to feel like a success. It also means I’ll have more time to focus on the prime directive. 

Again, talking about daytime fatigue, not prohibiting interference with the internal and natural development of alien civilizations (clarification for all you Trekkies our there). 

It involves meditation, getting quality sleep at night, and potentially naps during the day. And so far doesn’t include taking any sleep aid but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. I gave up on CBD oil, but Jim said I may look to a different manufacturer or type. Possibly. I also have Trazadone but the one and only time I took that I felt like crap most of the day after. Not looking to get hooked on another prescription drug either. 

What else? I suppose just thinking more not just about what but how. How to approach making steps toward this goal. It’s one thing to say you are going to try meditation but another entirely on how to start, and what measure indicates success? As with a lot of things, it begins with education. I’m going to spend some time with this and maybe include as a part of my “mood” goal each day.

You see how this anti-resolution can be a tricky-pickle? It really is. How do you stop thinking about something you are so conditioned to think about all the time. I think the answer is to do as my friend M says and let the thoughts happen but not necessarily act on them. 

An interesting experiment indeed. 

That’s it for today. Finally feeling that 2021 thing that’s happening.

Ready or not….

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-12-26 Soooo Ready

Having recently run out of episodes of my favorite, albeit old news, comedy series on Hulu, The Mindy Project, I had stopped watching anything altogether. 

It was the one show I watched alone. You know, folding laundry or eating lunch by myself on weekdays. All the other shows we watch, we watch as a couple in the evenings. The Crown, Lost in Space, Mandelorian, Umbrella Academy, and we just started Breaking Bad which is a show that I’m apparently the last person on the planet to watch. 

Anyway so I ran out of episodes on my one show. So I’ve been eating at my desk working on other stuff and folding laundry just standing there with the solo sound of gears turning up in my own head. Until this past week. When I rediscovered the Bachelor. 

Normally part of the appeal of this show is just being a part of the buzz while the show is unfolding on live TV. All those rose ceremony addicts and the girls fueled by drama and tears of some complete strangers’ crazy lives. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m one of those. 

I also love seeing alll the pretty dresses and cute outfits and hot bodies. I mean, they don’t pick ugly people to be on the show. The bomb first dates and glimpses into some primo vacation destinations is not bad either. So I started watching another season despite the fact that I’m pretty sure it’s all old news. 

This elaborate explanation reveals a piece of me, Miss SugarCookie, and my character and habits. But it’s also the setup for what I really want to write about today which is kicking 2020 out the proverbial door. So ready to be done with the nonsense that this year brought to the world. And mine. 

It was supposed to be the BEST year of my life. I was to get married to the man of my dreams, whichI still did, followed by the most badasss honeymoon ever, which we also did. It all went to shit shortly after that with the onset of the pandemic. 

No prom for my daughter, no graduation, no big grad party here at the house. She was robbed of lots of experiences she was supposed to have in that last semester of her senior year. Instead she retreated deeper into the shell of her bedroom. And frankly was seriosly affected by the isolation. Physically and mentally. 

Our “graduation gift,” that was a trip to San Fran to go to a Fall Out Boy concert was cancelled. Well, postponed, so they are holding our money hostage. As is the airline as those tickets were turned into virtual cash to be used on a future flight. No summer trip. 

No trips requiring flight anyway. No Austin, no San Francisco or San Diego. No fall trip to the northeast or anyplace tropical. We did drive to Colorado twice though. Once with my darling daughter, as a mother daughter make-up trip to sub for the Cali trip and to cheer her up. The second was just Jim and I when we really needed a couples only weekend. 

What else? Oh, I was supposed to graduate too. A summer residency at the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City with some of my newest favorite peeps. Sitting out on the back deck and sipping a drink and listening to stories. Followed by wearing cute dresses to present my lecture and give my graduation reading. Not to mention actual graduation. 

I elected to defer graduation until Winter, holding onto hope that the Covid would have run its course and we would have “flattened the curve” enough to get back in person. 

You guys remember that? When flattening the curve was all the rage. Where we listened to the news every day to see what havoc was happening in every state and when toilet paper and hand sanitizer suddenly became the hot commodities? Feels so long ago. 

No graduation for me and the changes in everyday routine things started to take a toll too. No Jazzercise. No coffee or lunch meetups. I mean, I still did some of those things (except the Jazzercise), but to a much lesser extent. The isolation kind of got to me too. 

Having my kids do virtual school was rough too. Ramping up to near full time at work also pushed me to an edge. It doesn’t matter how much I like to work.. it was a  painful project. They made quitting fairly easy.

Did I mention the habitual use of benzodiazepines to help with sleep that wrecked me for several months. I realized I had to change that the day I realized that my substance abuse was sort of out of control. Too much drinking, caffeine, and said sleep aids. I tried to cut cold turkey in May or June and totally wrecked myself. 

I subsequently came down slow, on doctors orders, and that took like 5 months. No joke. 

By the end of August I was off the meds but still feeling the withdrawal for about 6 mire weeks. By the end of September I was done done with my day job too. By the end of October I was finally feeling better. But the emotional mood swings and situational depression persisted. 

I wanted to drive to Austin for the election but was so down (and was sick that week) so it didn’t happen. I let go of it ok, but also had to let go of hope that I could graduate in person. Things are going to be virtual next week and it’s not fine but what can I do? 

I’ve known a few people who had Covid but everyone came out ok, albeit rather worse for wear in some cases. My immediate family has not been affected, miraculously, though my son had quarantine at his dads house for two weeks. My kids grandparents on their dads side  both had it but recovered. 

They (my kids) lost a grandparent anyway to Cancer. A speedy decline that was invisible to us until like the last two weeks of her life. They were not close to that grandparent (nor was I)  which is actually a blessing at this time. 

All of this is pretty character revealing too, right, but it’s just another setup. Because what I really want to write about today is all the things I was able to let go of in 2020. Things I would call successful little revelations. 

Like not caring about my hair and letting it grow really long. And also not seeing my esthetician since like January has led to the conclusion that I don’t need to wax my female bits anymore. After doing that for 10 years, there’s not much left. And what is there is completely personally manageable. No more $$$ going out the door for that or nail care. I can do that myself too. 

My skin is great thanks to my man bringing home great products and also not needing a shower every day. Usually winter brings seriously dry skin but so far this year has been great. 

What else? There has to be more but with all the meandering I’ve run out of time. 

Normally I would wait till January to reminisce and recap but I’m just so over 2020. 

Hey 2021!… The bar is really low, let’s GO!!’ 

Peace, 

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. The featured image is a glass ornament my darling daughter made for me. It says “2020 In Case of Emergency Break Glass” and is full of tiny little toilet paper rolls. So clever!

2020-12-13 “We Will Send a Car to Find You…

… if you ever lose your way.”

Last night I took my FitBit off because I went to bed somewhat early and realized that text messages buzzing my wrist were keeping me from precious sleep.

Consequently I have no idea how long I was asleep or what my sleep score was. I know I put the device back on just after 6am and that I feel pretty well rested. Perhaps that should be the measure instead of sleep duration or score. 🤷‍♀️

I stopped keeping track of my eating habits a few weeks ago. Thanksgiving week I think. I originally had a goal of boosting my protein, as a test to see if that would have a positive impact on my energy levels.

No definitive conclusion there. Too many variables to tell I think and the act of logging food (calorie counting) was having a negative impact on my psyche. Jim noticed it and made a few comments and that’s when I began noticing too. The calorie counting had led me to set (and continuously readjust) my expectations.

What started as a check mark next to healthy eating if my protein was 75grams a day became a check mark if protein  was > 30% of total calories (Not so harsh). But then it became a 1250 calorie diet with protein > 25%. Then 1000 with > 20%. Then any day < 1000 calories.

< 1000 is Drastically delinquent. I had days of less than 900, 800, 700. That’s a problem. Of course my energy tanked. Some switch in my brain flipped. I began equating the numbers with the weight I was able to lose and that was enticing. It’s far too easy to fall back into patterns of reckless behavior.

I look at myself in the mirror and the thinner I am, the better I feel about myself. That’s the mindset of a person whose self esteem is in some way attached to the way they look. And having been conditioned to think that super-skinny is sexy, I naturally strive for that.

It borders on eating disorder and when I begin to limit myself to under 1000 calories a day it crosses over into that territory. I know this. I know this and yet I did it anyway. The same way I know sometimes when I begin to binge that it will make me want to purge. I have to recognize it and limit the amount of food I eat.

It doesn’t happen very often but it still does. A couple of times a year. That’s the thing about eating disorders. They never really exit your body or mind. It’s not an experience you can suffer through and not have it haunt you. I’ll probably always be obsessed with the numbers on the scale. I’ll probably never believe it when people (like Jim) say I look great.

He worries of course. He sometimes engages me in conversation about it and, as it was with this last endeavor to get more protein, calls me out when he sees the slipping into bad behavior. It doesn’t matter how smart or logical a person is, the brain can still trick you.

I actually set my weight goal to 110 in the FitBit app. 110 is ridiculous. Like I said drastically delinquent.

So I stopped logging my food and calories. If I put some effort in I can probably get back to counting grams of protein but it’s not as easy without an app. The truth is, however, that even with the protein goal I don’t really alter what I eat that much. I end up substituting a protein bar or smoothie over an actual meal. Cuz I’m also lazy I guess.

So for the time being I don’t have a good measuring stick for healthy eating or a goal. Perhaps internally  gauging if I’ve made good choices and giving myself a check mark for that is the best I can do. It’s just such a slippery slope.

I could do the same thing for sleep. I mean, I do it now for productivity and mood. If I feel good and feel like I’ve gotten enough done during the day, then I give myself a check in the box.

I’ve been a poor accountability partner. I promised my friend T to check in each week with stats and how it’s going and that’s sort of been waning too. The week of the death and funeral I gave myself a pass but feel like today is the day to reach out and start checking in regularly again.

I think that’s it for today. It’s 8am and I’m going to take advantage of the quiet in the house to do a bit of reading and maybe writing. Put the fake fireplace on the TV and sip a coffee. Doesn’t that sound lovely?!

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

PS. The opening quote is from one of my favorite Cake songs, “Comfort Eagle”

2020-11-26 Rock Out With Your Turkey Out

I’m cooking the traditional today, for the 3 or so other people who also live here and want to partake. 3 people with picky palates and tummies and are used to getting exactly what they want and when. Today.. at the Castle, I’m making it all about me. I’m cooking food that I like to eat and will serve it when I want to eat it. And I’m not doing any ducking dishes when I’m done. None!

Zip, zero, zilch!

And since we are having holiday dinner Miss SugarCookie style, there will be no salad, veggies, or casserole. Efffff that noise.

I mean, I love me a mean broccoli-cheese casserole or veg tray with a savory dill dip but why not skip it and make more room for pie. Yes, there are only 4 of us here today but I bought two pies. Pumpkin and apple. Hey, ho, let’s go.

Say Yo?! What’s up with the voice today? The tone, the attitude? Must be the caffeine. Oh yeah, and imma have coffee today too and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Say Yo?! Do you ever feel like you’re just walking along having a conversation with yourself? Heh. Me too. 😏

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Productive despite not getting exercise or eating right. My four stats, in case you’re the newest member of the team and don’t know yet, are sleep, Exercise, productivity/mood, and healthy eating. I was going to say that since keeping track again I’ve not yet hit a day where I “achieved” my goal in all four categories but I just flipped back through the book I’m using to keep track and there have actually been 3 days where I hit 4 out of 4. 💃💃💃💃

November 6, 16, and 23rd. Despite the really rotten days, this is actually encouraging. That’s why it’s good to keep track. It’s also good to have days that you just toss into the wind, throw your hands in the air and tell the world that you just don’t care.

Say Yo? Guess what else? Two nights ago I did my first real honest to goodness public poetry reading. For realz. Now for some people I can guess that this is no big deal but for this SugarCookie it’s a BIG DILL.

Blog intermission: There should be a pickle emoji. Why is there no pickle emoji? Somebody needs to get on that.

One of the poems I read was “Cake at the Castle” which has several layers of meaning (pun intended) but people would not understand the layers unless they know me. I mean really know me. I’d like to imagine a scenario where I’m surrounded by all my favorite people and I read that poem and it makes them all smile. Not just for the attitude, but because they get it. They get me.

On the surface, it’s a fun poem, lamenting about hating cake, which is true. I don’t care for cake and when folks made a good god damned big deal about the cake that would be served at my first wedding I did not have the words to explain how much I did not care about the cake. I also didn’t really care much for all the wedding and reception planning, decisions, decor, food, yadda-yadda. I just wanted to focus on finishing my associates degree so I could  run away to Vegas with my love, which is where he was stationed in the Air Force and where we would live for the first two years of our marriage.

Fast forward 25 years and I’m getting married again and I STILL don’t care about cake. It’s just like it says the lines of the poem. But with this go round I had to make all the decisions and do all the planning because there was no future MIL who was going to do it all for me.

I literally waited till the last possible minute and ended up ordering from the grocery store down the block. I mean, I suppose I could have had pie, but in the end I realized I DID want that tall display and to stand beside my love, shoving a piece of stupid cake in his mouth. Oh for the love of a moment.

That’s what’s on the surface, of the poem. Dig deeper with some of the other lines though and one would have to know me and that one of my favorite bands is Cake. There was a time in my life where I crossed the line from fan to fanatic. I mean, as much as one can with a life of responsibility.

I traveled to watch them play live and collected stories about my failed attempts  to bring home a free tree to plant in my yard. I’d get drunk at parties and tell people all about how I had failed but was analyzing their selection process and figuring out how best to get their (the bands) attention the next time so I could win a free tree. 

I even participated in the music video experiment they orchestrated with fans around 2010/2011 for their song, “The Winter.” I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before. I’m in the video for a fraction of a second.

A fraction of a second of fame is all I’ll ever squeeze out of this life. But I’m satisfied.

But that’s just the middle layer of the poem. Going deeper requires an understanding of my connection to the Cake song referenced in the poem, “I Bombed Korea.” And here, my friends, is where the meaning is mired in the mind(s)—the intersection of my introspection and the interpretation by other interested minds peering in, drawing conclusions from their own experiences. Mysterious roads leading to mysterious places. So mysterious, in fact, that sometimes even I don’t know the deeper meaning of a poem I have written. Here are the full lyrics of the song: 

I bombed Korea every night.
My engine sang into the salty sky.
I didn’t know if I would live or die.
I bombed Korea every night.
I bombed Korea every night.
I bombed Korea every night.
Red flowers bursting down below us.
Those people didn’t even know us.
We didn’t know if we would live or die.
We didn’t know if it was wrong or right.
I bombed Korea every night.
And so I sit here at this bar.
I’m not a hero.
I’m not a movie star.
I’ve got my beer.
I’ve got my stories to tell,
But they won’t tell you what it’s like in hell.
Red flowers bursting down below us.
Those people didn’t even know us.
We didn’t know if we would live or die.
We didn’t know if it was wrong or right.
We didn’t know if we would live or die.
I bombed Korea every night.

I really dig that song. 

It never fails to amaze me, when I do this—Analyze one of my own poems and find some other meaning. Or return to one years later, reading with a fresh perspective and uncover a different spin on it. The deeper meaning hidden in “Cake at the Castle” shifts as my life shifts, though it has only been a year or so since it was born. I listen to the song today while walking the treadmill and am filled again with that “fuck yeah” feeling. Freedom. Don’t even get me started on not knowing if what you’re doing is wrong or right or being in the midst of life and just doing what it is you are “supposed” to do. Or telling stories about it, years later and knowing that the stories don’t do justice to the original experience in either meaning or implication. 

Kind of like me writing about setting up my camera and tripod at the kids’s elementary school park and shooting video of myself singing a few lines of the cake song, “The Winter” with the hope of making it into their music video. You just can’t know what that really meant to me. 

Say Yo?! So what’s a girl to do? I gush. I rush. I crush. And I mush and mash potatoes. Bake bread. Serve stuffing from the stove top. Yeah, that’s the only kind of Thanksgiving dinner I’ve cared for since I was just nineteen. 

Anyhow, that’s enough wandering for one day. Time now, to get that bird in the oven. 

With Peace an Gratitude,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-11-22 Flip to B Square

It’s been a good couple of days. I feel satisfied. I’m adding up my stats today, to report out to my accountability buddy how I did this week and it looks like a pretty “meh.” But still I feel ok. Ok is pretty good, you know, all things considered. 🤷‍♀️

I have to be kind to myself even when I haven’t made much progress on several fronts— healthy eating and sleep. And I have gone backwards on productivity, procrastinating things I should be doing. 🤷‍♀️

I thought I was making progress on sleep having three nights in a row with good numbers. Then I had three in a row that were rotten so I’m all like, whatever. 🤷‍♀️

Yeah, whatever.

Yesterday we moved my darling daughter out of the dorm at UNL. She has not been there for like 3 weeks anyhow. All her classes are online and are officially over this week. One semester done. I’m really hoping for her sake that next year will be more normal. I already know next semester will be all online too and she’s not going to live on campus. It’s better this way, to just live here at home and keep making progress as this Pandemic plays out.

The one stat that seems to get better as the others waiver is my exercise. Lots of steps. 16553 average per day last week and that’s counting yesterday when I only had like 6K. And I enjoy walking but really seriously running out of things to write about. Somehow I cant just walk. I’ve gotta feel like I’m making more of the time somehow, because just walking and thinking makes me crazy after a while. I get so irritated being alone with my brain. If I’m writing, my thoughts slow down enough for me to type them.

I’ve never had that thought before. That I like writing and walking at the same time cuz it forces my brain to slow down. 🤔

Anyway, I’m laying in bed this morning and contemplating getting up and starting my day and getting down to the treadmill, but dreading this. Yes, THIS, what I’m doing right now. Going around like the same broken record about stats and life and the stupid pandemic for the gazillionth time.

Then I think about the fact that new poetry books and lit mags are now showing up at my door quite regularly. And with all this new content, there are endless things to read. It occurs to me that I could read instead of write. So that’s it. That’s the flip that’s happening this week.

When I thought about this “flip” I wrote the title “flip to be square,” because it seemed so familiar. Where have I heard that? So I googled it. One slight tweak and you have “hip to be square” that is a song by Hewey Lewis and the News. Yeah, I’m old enough to remember that song.

I clicked on the video and watched for like 60 seconds, which is all I could take. So terrible. There is very little I find redeemable about the 80’s. This song (and video) are no exception.

I digress.

Today I’m going to dive into the latest book I received in the mail. A book published by “High Shelf Press.” They rejected my poetry but I got a copy of one of their issues out of the deal. That’s how some of these presses operate.

Part of you submission fee includes a subscription or book selection. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount on submissions this year and it’s nice to get something out of the deal. Hopefully it’s good stuff.

In any case, I’m really hoping this “flip” leads to more interesting posts. Or better yet, inspiration to write which has sadly been in short supply lately. We shall see.

That’s it for now. Time to flip!

Cheers to Being Square,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-11-14 Doing the Math ➖➗➕

Broke my streak yesterday. Worked on my workshop submission both fine tuning the lines and deciding which poems were worthy of such rare attention. It’s really a confidence game at this point.  I was tired and had an unusual day that went astray from my normal routine.

With my dauber down, not a poem in the bunch felt good enough. Might have possibly been the three rejections that I had received in the previous 24 hours. Yes, three. I dunno. I don’t need them chumps anyhow.

It wasn’t until I ingested a healthy amount of caffeine that I started to feel better, and more like editing. I swear caffeine sometimes has magical properties.

Right about 5pm the  poems started to appear viable, even good. And I kept editing through the evening into the next day until I was satisfied, putting them aside only to eat and hang out with Jim and the kids, and sleep. Though I did not get much sleep again.

I was up In the library with my laptop at 5:30am. By 1:30 Friday I did the final math and the conclusion was that they were as done as they were going to be. I proceeded to download and submit to our MFA program coordinator.  ✅

The trick now is to forget about it. It’s out of my hands now anyway so no reason to keep thinking about it. I need to learn to do that with a lot of things. I’m sure it’s the reason I can’t go back to sleep when I wake up in the middle of the night.

Later Friday I picked up some CBD drops that are supposed to help with that—getting a more restful sleep by helping the mind relax. Last night was the first trial and the math on it isn’t very conclusive. One point of data does not make a point. You need more points of data to draw a line that leads to a conclusion. Tomorrow there will for sure be some more math about that. I had half a dropper and might up to a full ml tonight. We’ll see.

Last night I also had. a virtual HH with a friend in San Diego. She was also the PM on my last project with the company I quit in September. We were friends from way back and before we both signed on at that company. She just started this year but has made quick work being elevated among leadership. She was promoted to my boss (without anyone letting me know) as a part of her engagement plan.

Of course I’m happy for her but it has made me privy to some info that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. She’s told me things in confidence and I can’t I know these things. So when she initiated a conversation about me coming back for part time work, I had to try very hard to listen and find positive things to say.

The truth is, she gave me a heads up she was going to ask so I had already done the math. I started with the X amount of dollars I was making an hour before. Which has not been increased after 2 years at the company. I’m not factoring in my excellent performance and dedication. I’m only positing that at the very least I should have had a 4% increase both years for inflation. That brings me to the lowball figure that would be an insult.

Now consider that I’m an employee that does not need benefits. So the company isn’t out of their own pocket for 401k or healthcare or life insurance on my behalf.

Now add the value factor. This is subjective, but if I’m as awesome as they always tell me I am, then why would they not come with a solid number. When it came to that part of the discussion she basically said that she could not remember our previous conversation but whatever it was I asked for, they could do that.

Listen, people, I DO remember that conversation as it was important to me. My life and my livelihood. And to say you don’t remember means it wasn’t that important. The status of our relationship aside, that hurts. Of course, when we had that conversation I didn’t ask for enough which I regretted. But herein lies the rub..

IT DOES NOT MATTER anymore. Say it was X * 16%. So what? That’s not enough. X * 50% is not enough. X * 861% is not enough.

Because can’t put a price on time.
Time is priceless. 

I told her I’d have to think about it and talk to Jim. She pressed me for a timeframe and I promised her by Monday.

I don’t need to think about it anymore except whether or not to be open and direct about my reasons. About the way I feel. And the mistakes I feel have been made. But then I have to ask myself, does that matter either? The conclusion?

THAT DOES NOT MATTER either. In the grand scheme, my feelings don’t matter. That folks, is a solid reality of life.

Your feelings matter to you. And they should matter to the people you hold near and dear, but outside that circle, no one else is going to care.

That’s why we need to be good to our circles of love and friendship. And to ourselves.

One of the poems I found enough merit in to edit further and submit to workshop is called “A Love Letter for Today.” I’m not typically inclined toward love poems, so this one feels important. Special. A good little poem.

Time to turn my attention elsewhere.
Where, I dunno.

Add It Up,
~Miss SugarCookie

~

2020-11-11 Streaks, Smoothies, and the Same Old-Same Old

Another productive day yesterday but no poetry. WordPress tells me I’m on a 19 day streak. That was not on my list of goals for the month, but it is evidence that when given time I gravitate to more walking which leads to more blogging. My Average step count has gone up in the last month too.

My previous goal was 12K which I rarely achieved this year after the pandemic hit and my Previous job sucked So much time out of my day. My new goal is 15K and I’m now killing it!

I’m still struggling with eating healthy. I mean, I’m having these protein shakes each day to start things off right and that’s pretty good, but it’s kind of unsatisfying because I look forward to eating food. It’s hard for me to separate seeing food as energy and also seeing it as an enjoyable act. If I could just drink these smoothies and forget about it, I could probably hit my macronutrient goal, 30% protein without problems.

But as soon as I’m done drinking the smoothie, I’m immediately thinking about what I would like to eat. Something crunchy or salty or savory. Perhaps a fried egg with salsa or a handful of nuts would do the trick, without blowing the carbs up, but the point is that the shake is supposed to be enough fuel.

It’s the same after dinner. I’ll have a sensible meal but then feel like I need to eat something sweet for dessert. I feel like I’ve figured this one out though. The sweet treat I’ve devised for myself is a cup of yogurt mixed with more of the protein powder. If I have that at the right time in the evening it keeps me satisfied right up through bed time. It helps if I go to bed between 9 and 10.

I did that a few nights ago and had a glorious and highly elusive 8 hours of sleep. Last night I was not able to get to bed that early and so it was back to the same old-same old. However, I did miss my target goal by a sliver and so that still feels like a win. In the official book, I won’t count it as a win, because I’m a stickler like that, but I’ll know that it’s a step in the right direction. The ultimate goal is sleep enough to leave me well rested with energy to spare. Of course, I’m hoping the protein is part of that puzzle. I believe it’s all connected.

Today I’m getting ready to pull the trigger on submitting a larger manuscript, chapbook size, to a publisher. I took a slice of my thesis manuscript, with a common theme and formed it into what I hope is a publishable book. Time will tell.

I wish I had more to write about, but I feel pretty uninspired today. I suppose this will be sufficient to keep my streak going but thinking I need to change things up tomorrow, use the time I have to read instead of droning on about my health goals. It’s such a broken record, but that’s life you know.

Same story, different day.
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-11-09 Advantages of Overcast Day

Today I’m going to wear lounge clothes all day. Enjoy the darkness a rainy day brings. Sit on my couch doing all that needs done nestled with my favorite blanket and pillows.

I’ve got plenty to do there, until 3PM when I need to leave to pick my son up from school.

The weekend was good. The best I’ve had in a while and I think it’s partly because there’s a giant weight lifted off my shoulders. Off America’s shoulders. I know I’ve been on edge lately and I wasn’t really aware how much of that was due to the political climate. I mean, this year has been bad enough without that. So it stands to reason.

I’m late getting down to business today. Gathered those blankets and pillows early to snuggle in for an hour or so after Jim left for work. My cat curled up behind my knees. I needed to sleep off the meds I took at 3 am to help me get back to sleep. Some OTC antihistamine that causes drowsiness. Apparently no amount of weight lifted will allow for a full nights sleep.

As such, it’s almost brunch time. Part of my good weekend was allowing myself to eat whatever. I blew my calorie numbers up and crushed those 30% protein dreams. So today it’s back to the “plain.”

Exchanging stats with my friend on Sunday and hers are N out of 5, whereas mine are N out of 7. Mine I know are days and I’m not sure if hers are but if they are that means it’s probably the weekdays only. And maybe that’s the way to be. Perhaps I should always use weekends as more lenient days, within reason. 🤔

In other news, I had another poem accepted to a publication yesterday. One that looks like it’s more we’ll established than some that I’ve been accepted by. That’s exciting! It also means I have to withdraw that poem from the 15 other places I’ve submitted it. Which is part of what my “couch-time” is dedicated to today.

This business of trying to break into the publishing scene is definitely a process. And it’s definitely work. All the research, letter composition, and trying to keep track and stay organized. It’s work. It is interesting to see how other places operate and each time I get an acceptance, I’m introduced to some other nuanced way to approach the process with regards to how we do things at the GLR. It’s actually quite helpful.

Yesterday’s acceptance came with info about the “author agreement” which they handle 100% within submittable. For our first issue, we did this with a word document. Letting the agreement be housed in Submittable is an interesting idea. I wonder if we can do that with our plan. 🤔

My hour is not quite up yet, but I’m gonna cut here. Might try to get more steps later when Jim is doing his workout. We’ll see.

Peace, Love, and Chocolate,
~Miss SugarCookie

PS. Today’s featured image is my bike posing at the suspension bridge on trail 2 at Schramm State Park in Nebraska. A late day drive/ride which turned into a hike when my bike got a flat. Turns out, walking a bike on dirt trails in the woods is a good substitute for cardio and strength training at the gym. Plus it helped me get to my step count yesterday whereas just riding would not. My weekend combined two day step count… 35K!!!