2019-09-11 Hung Over Sunday Status

We had a shindig at the house last night and I’m feeling it this morning. Jim has a lot of relatives and so when we have a family gathering, it’s a pretty good size crew. No representation from my side. My one brother and one of my sisters live in Colorado and my other sister is on vacation this week in Yellowstone. My mom couldn’t come cuz she’s watching my sisters animals and my dad wasn’t invited. Such is life.

I’m on the treadmill trying to walk off the crummy side-effects from too much vodka-cran and so far, it’s not really working. I’m not really in a writing mood either and that makes it the perfect time for a Sunday Status Cheat Day. I haven’t done one of these in a while. That’s something noteworthy I think.

With that, I’m going to just take a quick look at the entire month of July and compare to August so far since we’re already a third of the way through that. Eeeeeek!

For steps in July I got an average of 13k per day, which is over my goal of 12k so that’s pretty good. August, so far, has been only about 8k a day and that’s pretty rotten. Hard to balance out to 12 with that much of a deficit.

In contrast, my sleep was poor in July and I only had about 6 hours average per night. I blame residency and NYC. So far this month I’m back up to about 7.25. Seven and a half would be better (I just need two more bits). I think I can shoot for that. I think I’ll start right now.


That’s enough of that. I needed a do-over so I took a half a Xanax and had a fat nap. I needed the sleep more than the steps. And I needed to find my way to some sort of normal Sunday. Not sure I’m there yet

I put on my kitty cat earrings and left my engagement ring on the shelf after my nap.

My tennis elbow pain, which woke again from its cortisone sleep somewhere in New York City is just really angry now. I went to lift a water bottle off the counter and pain surged up my arm. I’m gonna have to get back to the ortho again. /deep sigh

The kids who also missed the family party because they were at the wedding of one of their first cousins (on their dads side of course) which was somewhere in Kansas. I miss them, and perhaps that was one thing that contributed to my being a little loosy-goosie with the vodka last night. They have seven 1st cousins on their dads side and I haven’t seen most that crew for 10 years. I saw pictures posted on Facebook last night. That made me a little sad too. They are all grown up. Life happens.

When I was at res I met a guy named Jackson. After the lodge switched me to the second floor because of the wasp problem my room was right next to his. I hung out on the patio real late a couple of nights and he’d follow me down to my room to chat after. He helped me eat the hummus and crackers and cheese I brought with me and I was grateful since I couldn’t eat it. I hate when food goes to waste. Sharing a wall, we devised a “knock code”. Two knocks for good night and three for good morning and the classic “shave and a hair cut, two bits” knock for “hi, is anybody there”. It was sweet.

We’ve been to lunch twice now and I sat with him and another newbie of our little UNOMFA program at a poetry reading Friday night. Jim was spending the evening with his son who is headed back to college this week and I was grateful to know a few faces at Kaneko and not sit all alone.

Not sure if I mentioned this after residency but my kids went on vacation with their dad to Yellowstone and glacier national park while I was gone. Lots of driving and camping and their dad proposed to his girlfriend somewhere out there on some beautiful scenic overlook. It’s been a long time coming and there’s a little part of me that wonders if my getting engaged has a little to do with the fact that he’s finally pulling the trigger too. Ten years really is a long time for two divorced people to both remain unmarried. When I got divorced I vowed to never get married again. Guess I was wrong about that.

He told me a couple of years ago he would never marry that girl. Guess he was wrong about that too. That’s life. February 2nd is going to sneak up fast and I have flashes of inspiration about the ceremony and the reception, but mostly it’s all still pretty fuzzy. I think I need to think about it some more, but today is certainly not the day for that.

I’n a little bit the kids will be coming home and I’m going to have leftovers from the party for dinner. I don’t think I’ll be quite back to normal until tomorrow. It sucks to get old. I remember when I could drink like that and have a grand time (like I did last night) and wake up the next day feeling great by 10AM. Now hangovers seem to last about 24 hours. It’s rotten.

What I should have done this weekend is a lot of reading and writing but just never got down to it. The weekend hours are waning now and I may do a little light reading and see if I can get myself into it. Maybe.. no promises of course.

I guess this qualifies as a status. Status minus most of the stats. Ha.

Two bits and I’m gone,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-07-21 MFA Res Days 8 and 9 – Tough Choices

The last two days I’ve felt less anxiety and less pressure, mostly, yet still inspired by so many shiny objects. On the downhill slide, the back of the back 9, the preparing for a return to reality from the dream, I find that the most difficult task is the necessity to chose between things, people, places, moments, activities, and food. A sense or acknowledgement that I cannot, infact, have it all as it is an impossibility and am faced with decision making. Not my strong suit.

Do I hang with people I just met, or my closest allies here who have grown more dear to me by the hour, or perhaps the faculty who I would get more wisdom from. It is not lost on me that everyone is on their own back 9 and also having to choose.

I had to choose between watching the sunset and talking with one of my previous mentors. We both kept crossing paths all week and promising each other we would take some time and catch up, but the time never materialized. We have similar dispositions and both worry about doing everything that needs doing and focusing on the next thing at hand. We were both prioritizing (though some of mine was dictated by basic needs sort of stuff). I chose the conversation, the sunset behind me. It was one of the easier choices and well worth it.

Later I had to choose between staying at the lodge and leaving for a walk with a few folks. Should I stay at the physical place that embodies the spirit of the program with its diversity of great people and potential conversations and possibilities for fun and games and amusement? Or do I leave the place and choose to reward myself with physical activity and the opportunity to have a more intimate conversation with a select few? More of a difficult choice, but I went with my gut. What I needed.

Some walking and digestion. Less sensory input, not more (except for that one bar we stopped in along the way where it was all just much too much). Less drinking not more. Less chaos of conversation not more. I made my choice and In return I was again rewarded by the universe by having a wonderful walk and conversation with two really incredible people. One a mentor and the other, a woman I met in the program who is now more than just a fellow writer, peer, safe space at the dining table, she’s a friend. Not the ‘see you later, let’s do lunch’ type of friend, but a genuine human I want in my life for a long time.

The walk deserves a whole blog post of its own, perhaps a collection of poems. Isnt that something!?! But my time for this one is getting short now and I’ll have to wrap soon. You know what they say about time.

This morning I woke naturally after the most amount of sleep I’ve had in 9 nights. I opened my eyes and shortly thereafter heard the low rumble of thunder. I got up and opened my window which revealed the pouring rain. I thought to myself “how god damned appropriate is that?”. “IT” was still happening, the serendipitous-ness of the program and the place and its people, even as everyone was well on their way back to their own realities.

The release, the transition, the dramatic change being echoed by nature. Or felt by it, or being mourned by it. It took me two trips to get all my stuff loaded into the car. I closed the trunk of my car and looked up at the sky, the rain on my face felt wonderful.

With peace and so much love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-07-15 MFA Res Day 2 – Life is Wonderful

The day yesterday was certainly less action packed than the first and there were several sessions when I had the opportunity to sit, listen, and think without the expectation for something in return. There were also several noteworthy highlights that made the day so, so wonderful.

In chronological order, the workshop where my writing was discussed in detail, dinner with a fantastic group of people, frisbee in the park with a different group of folks, and a long evening walk through the town to the river and back.

I co-conspired with one of the faculty to organize the frisbee event and it felt great to get outside and be physical and release myself from all the heavy mental contemplation that immersion brings. It was also a great lead in for our walk where we got to spend time getting to know new people a little better outside the confines of the lodge. Oh my but it was a hot one.

Rewinding a bit, Part of the responsibility I assumed when I agreed to help organize was to secure a second frisbee for the toss. I had a brief break after workshop which I used to make a wal-Mart run. That’s when it happened, in the car on the way. That first outburst of tears. Impossibly unpredicted, a familiar feeling rose from somewhere deep inside, my stomach and heart conspiring to push it up through my throat to the top of my head. I wept openly in the car because of the catch and release effect that being workshoped has on me. It’s that satisfaction and doubt and confidence and vulnerability mashed together that does it. I should have anticipated it but I didn’t. No matter.

I secured the frisbee and continued about my day, holding a piece of that feeling inside the rest of the day. It was wonderful.

I sacrificed the sunset for the walk through town and it’s not lost on me that I also sacrificed missing something that happens far less frequently too. The MRAZ concert at the Stir Cove. I missed him singing “Life is Wonderdul” in order to actually live the words. The polar opposites in life that occur and that we can’t really know “it takes some bad for satisfaction”. That song is brilliant and is the essence of so much truth that I can’t even describe. I don’t need to, he’s already done it.

It also, of course, reminds me of another time in my life with a very special person. If there was a measure of a man, and that measure was poetry, he sits on the top of that list. That was my “Simply Vera” era, for which, now that it’s far in the past, I’m immeasurably greatful for. Yes, I’m talking to you Vis. How can I not think about you when I think about MRAZ and the music you introduced me to. I hope you went to the concert and I hope it was .. Wonderdul!!

I have more to say, but time is short today and I’m already running late. Such a tragedy.

Wishing you peace and love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-07-11 Changing Tides and Tidal Waves 🌊🌊🌊

When last we met my mood was foul and I had accepted the fact and was rolling with it. That feels like four hundred years ago now and so much has changed. In truth, nothing has changed, all those issues persist but somehow the ride turned. And that, folks, is the nature of the beast we call life.

Shortly after I wrote that mess of a rant I took my ass to a Jazzercise class and danced and worked my way out of the twisted knot I had found myself in. I also decided to stop listening to that “angry” playlist. These things combined with a long sesh with my laptop working on stuff for residency put me on a whole different wavelength.

It certainly helps when other little things just happen to go your way. My kids were in good moods and we had a nice afternoon. The house was clean (thanks to yours truely) and all the animals were fed and also getting along. I rode that wave across the evening and into the next day. I’m still on it.

Today’s crisis, if one can call it that, is finishing up stuff so that I’m well prepared for my summer residency which will take me to Nebraska City for 10 days. It’s a wild ride in and of itself and in trutth, I don’t think I can ever feel prepared. The REAL crisis is that I always over think everything.. what to pack (which ends in me packing way to much), collecting my thoughts about mentors and interactive lectures and workshops, and the student reading. That last one is the thing I spent most of my time on yesterday.

On one hand, I have a plethora of poems I could read – selections I’ve worked on for the past two semesters. On the other hand I have a bunch of new-ish raw material that I would love to share. The reading itself is a very safe space despite the fact that having the attention of everyone in the the room makes me feel sweaty and a little naucsuous.

Sitting at my desk yesterday I poured through a lot of that new material and with each one I was like “hell yeah, this is good shit” and I was feeling great. I made some tiny little edits and copied and pasted into a single document to print and read from.

Then, as the day grew long I took a break from that effort to spend some QT with my cuties and cook us dinner. Later, when I returned to the task to finish, the tide had turned and something had changed. I reread what I had selected and everything .. yes EVERYTHING.. seemed stupid and very sub-par. I was all like “whoa, what happened to that brilliance I was reading earlier? This is all garbage”.

Yeah, that happened. This is what I call my brain playing tricks on me. I’m not a good judge of my own words and that’s one of the reasons workshops and feedback are so very valuable. Now I have no idea what I should read. I abandoned the task and turned my focus on reading my workshop packet materials again. As I write this, I’m still undecided on it.

Really over thinking that one, you know? It feels like a tidal wave and yet it’s only 5 minutes of my life. Nobody is going to remember it but me. Nothing I say is going to blow people away.. it’s just a bunch of poems. Good grief! 🤦🏼‍♀️

Anyway, it’s T-munis 23 hours till I arrive at my destination and when that Res train starts to roll there is no stopping it. Things will happen as the Universe intends them to. I’m expecting more epic tidal waves and whatever happens, as long as I don’t get pulled under by some gnarly rip-tide, I’ll be fine.

Surfs Up, 🌊

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-15 Four, Three, Two, One, and Go (or Not)

At this point I’m just moving about the world and spending a lot of time thinking about it. The world and my place in it. What’s worth a second thought and what is not.

Four days ago I saw a tweet from a friend of mine that led to an article that was worth a second read, a subject I struggle with daily, health and “wellness” as it pertains to food and how our society decides and spoon-feeds us (women) what’s right and wrong. This dovetails with thoughts I’ve had about a book I finished recently and also an advertisement I saw the other night for a product/drug to help men with their “wellness” issues. I want to sort through all of it and figure out what I really think. But as it happens (too often) the clock is ticking and something else needs attention.

Three days ago I read some stories and poems in the Georgia review and I have the most brilliant idea about a writing project that I would like to work on that a friend of mine suggested I take on like 5 years ago. I only spent a short time thinking about that before moving on to the next set of stories in that publication. With each one, as it often does, I was struck with inspiration about something else I wanted to write. Again, life interrupts my trains of thought and I’m off and onto the next thing.

Two days ago I started to walk on the treadmill and as I was thinking about what I should write, the “wellness” topic came back to my mind first. Then I cane up with a really clever title for my blog post about that which just happens to be a twisted version of the beginning of the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken. I then spent the next half an hour thinking about the form of that poem and the iambic and how poetry in time of Frost was so different than the free verse we hold in such high regard now.

Then I wonder if there’s enough material there (which of course there is) to write a 45 page paper about it and whether that would be an acceptable topic for my 3rd term MFA paper. It may or may not be, but it could be a really great lecture which is a requirement for graduation.

I didn’t end up finishing a solid thought in writing that day either. It was mostly just thinking and I got one stanza of a poem which followed the form of the Frost poem and that’s tougher than it sounds. End rhymes are my jam but finding the right arrangement to both keep the meaning intended and elicit the right images and feelings, that’s difficult. And that’s part of the reason Frost is on near the top of the list of the most Famous American poets.

One day ago I started this blog post and never found the time to finish it where does all the time go sometimes? So I missed writing group and I missed first draft Friday and I’m doing more thinking and reading than writing, but I suppose that’s ok.

Today is going to be another busy day and I’m hoping to spend some time in the garden. Lots of weeding to be done now and that’s another set of pics I want to take for posterity. We’re also having our first in-person visit to two potential wedding venues. I should be more excited but that’s just one more unfinished set of thoughts. That’s the theme for my life right now, I guess. Things half started and no time to refine anything. Oh well oh well.

Time to Jam,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-05-31 May the Thirty First

It’s the last day of the Month and at the present moment I’m looking at myself in the mirror and asking “What have YOU done?”. This constant soul searching is quite draining. But literally.. I’m on the treadmill in my basement that faces a mirror and I’m staring at myself. Seems pretty vain but it’s right there. It’s hard not to.

My observations?..

My hair looks good today. I washed it yesterday and it always looks best the day after that. My natural waves are clinging to each other in ringlets, loose and fluffy-ish on top with tighter spirals underneath. I straightened my hair for years and years trying to fit an ideal that was established by goodness knows who. Fashion people somewhere? Rich people? Skinny people with equally skinny hair. It’s just not natural to spend so much time trying to shape yourself into someone else’s picture of perfection.

I can say that my life is tremendously better now that I’ve gone ohh-la-la-natural. For one, I have more time now that I’m not spending an hour with a hair dryer and fat-barrel curling iron every time I wash my hair. And the other is that it’s liberating to not give a fuck what people think. The bonus plan is that I actually think it looks better this way. Yeah, I’m totally digging that “I woke up like this and so what” look.

I really wish I could say the same about my stomach and butt. But improving one’s self takes time and patience and the best changes don’t happen overnight. I still wake up everyday thinking about my weight and food and what I might strategically eat today and when. I’m constantly mentally calculating what I ate and drank yesterday and what that did to my number. You know the one… on the scale.

The first thing I do when I get out of bed in the morning is pee and strip naked and step on the scale. The second thing I do is go to my closet to put on workout clothes and pick up my phone (which I keep in the closet overnight and not by my bed) and log my weight in my Fitbit app. These are such routine behaviors for me at this point that I feel like something is wrong if things don’t start that way.

When I say “improving one’s self takes time”, I’m not talking about working off excess pounds so that the stomach is flatter and tighter. I’m talking about feeling ok with my shape the way it is now. Accepting my body and not being so highly critical of myself. It’s about not letting the dominant thought in my head be about how I look. I did it with my hair so I can certainly do the same for the rest of me. Right?!

I can’t actually see my stomach or butt from the treadmill. That’s probably a good thing. I can see my eyes and I have slightly smudged mascara because I didn’t wash my face before going to sleep last night. I basically walked into the bedroom, pulled the sheets back, crawled in and went to sleep. I slept straight through to 6am when Jim’s alarm clock went off.

I got up this morning and cooked him breakfast and sat on the couch and chatted while he ate. I clutched the cup of hot tea from two days ago I reheated in the microwave while the salmon was waiting to be turned over in the skillet on the stove. I can’t even waste a cup of tea.

When he’s done eating he gets up and kisses me goodbye and heads out the door for work. And there I sit, in my workout clothes holding the cup of tea that I’m not drinking again and I think, “this is my life now”. I’m not sure how long I sat there before I got up.

Yesterday I insisted that I was going to go to Jazzercise despite the fact that i didn’t feel good. It was a mistake. I did it and then spent the rest of the day feeling worse. I napped instead of going out to lunch with a friend and I wouldn’t let go of the internal argument of whether it would be better to rest and relax and recover or push hard through whatever it was that had a hold of me. Some strange, sneaky unwell feeling that didn’t have a definition.

When my daughter says she doesn’t feel good I ask “does your head hurt? Is it a stomach ache or cramps or do you feel nauseated? Do you have aches and pains you can point to or body parts you can name? Can you describe it as sharp or dull or throbbing?”.

What if the “ache” is a heavy heart or worried mind? What if you have anxiety of known or unknown origins? What if the sky is too big and it all just feels like too much or worse, that it doesn’t matter at all how you feel?

What if that girl you used to know finally died of the cancer that crept through time and sank it’s teeth in her bones, leaving behind two babies who will only ever remember their mom as a person fighting for her life for them. They won’t know the 20-something strawberry blonde, full of life, who hung out at Billy Frogs with you on Fridays after work, laughing at stupid things and drinking terrible cocktails and splitting nachos.

Or .. What if that other girl you barely know was raped and wrote a poem about it and posted it on Twitter? What if you wanted to hold her up and give her strength but you didn’t know what to say?

And what if that other girl you know really well because you have given birth to her is getting ready to fly away and the world she’s flying into is wrought with terrible things and terrible people and you can’t protect her from any of it?

You can’t stop time and you can’t keep bad things from happening and you sure as hell cant unmelt the polar ice caps or save all the creatures of this world from meeting their doom because human beings are incredibly selfish and sometimes only think about things like how their hair looks when they wake up in the morning.

You just can’t. But you might feel better if you write about it. So you do that, hoping that it will. “Hope is not a strategy”, but it will have to do today. Today on this thirty-first day of May.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-04-28 The Miracle of New Life – Part 2

We have four Zebra Finches.. two boys and two girls. The boys’ names are Captain and Thor and the girls are Tennille and Fauna. I call her “fat Fauna” cuz that’s the only way to tell the two girls apart. Fauna is just a little bigger. No way for us to tell which one has been dropping so many eggs. I suppose both of them may be. Captain and Thor are easy to tell apart because Captain has the typical grey zebra finch coloring and Thor is white. The ladies seem to prefer Captain which really makes no sense because everyone knows that Thor is everyone’s favorite. 😜

I honestly did not even think about the fact that “Captain” could be taken as a reference to Captain America (especially in the context of the other bird being Thor) until this very moment. The birds did not have names until we moved in, but Once we acquired the two female birds it was a must. I just liked the name Captain for a bird and could not help but think of a pair as “Captain and Tennille”, after the music duo. Jim’s son is the most interested of all our kids in the birds and fish and cats and snails and he picked the name Fauna. He wanted Flora and Fauna for the girls but we didn’t really like Flora and so Tennille it was. The atypical male became Thor, because.. well.. everybody loves Thor (he’s certainly my favorite Avenger).

A week ago we were taking bets on what gender our two new little members of the family were. We decided to hold off naming them until their adult plumage came in. That would happen at about 7 or 8 weeks. At the time I thought we were out of the danger zone with regard to their survival despite what Jim was saying about it.

It’s that hopeful part of me that named my last post “The Miracle of Life – Part 1” and ended the post with the sign-off “To Be Continued”. I’m perpetually and forever on the side of life where everything continues and has a positive ending. I don’t care for stories that don’t have happy endings or at least an ending where something good has prevailed. I’d like to think of myself as an optimist, but I’m also a realist and I know real life often doesn’t turn out as we hope it will.

I’d really like to continue now, with this post, reporting that I returned home and found our newest little inhabitant recovered from Wednesday’s drama, hopping around just fine. Unfortunately that’s just not what happened.

We arrived home around 11am and I made a straight line right to the room with the birds to find him or her in the back of the cage behind the cardboard and not moving. It made me a little sick and then I was angry. I pulled the plastic tarp off of the pond and fed the fish and left. Jim took care of the rest.

I can’t help but wonder if putting the bird on cardboard in the cage before leaving was a bad idea. Just like all the other things we had done, sticking our giant human noses in their little business, it was hard to know if we were doing more harm than good. Through the few short weeks they were alive, I often second and third guessed our actions. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if we had left the little creature on its own, where it was. Would the outcome be different? No way to know.

It’s a microcosm of our human existence on this planet. Each time I watch and episode of “Blue Planet” I come away feeling like we’re just ruining everything. Every episode has amazing footage of nature and the ocean and it’s inhabitants. Near the end of every episode, there’s always a “but”, which is followed by footage and commentary on how the ocean levels are rising due to melting of the polar ice caps and how that’s affecting the habitats that depend on the delicate balance of nature remaining somewhat static. It affects penguins, walrus, polar bears, sea coral, and pretty much everything else that lives in and around our planet’s oceans. If I think about it too much I get pretty down about it.

Just like with our little Zebra finches, though, I’m at a loss for what can be done. What can a few people do to effect positive change and better outcomes? I just don’t have an answer in either case.

On Friday I sat on the floor and brought Captain more materials for building (or rebuilding) his nest. He’s gotten quite brave and will come very close to me to snatch twigs and bits of twine. I felt like it was a peace offering for whatever my part was in his offsprings’ failure to thrive. It was all I could do really.

Looking for the positive is sometimes a challenge but I did find some solice in the fact that he wasn’t pausing his efforts to rebuild. Life does indeed continue and there will be other clutches of eggs. We may yet get to witness some new life that has a happier ending.

Three of our four birds have tags on their legs as they were purchased at a pet store. Captain, however, does not, Jim tells me he was born in that room which means that success IS possible. I’m going to hang onto that and not consider this the end of this story. It’s just a story that, like every other story, has its ups and downs.

I’m just a witness, playing a small part in it. And with that I say again.. To Be Continued…

~Miss SugarCookie