2019-12-30 MFA Res Day 2 – On Music and Magic and Math

The song “Straighter Pilot” by Snow Patrol was in my head when I woke up. It’s not one of their more popular songs. It’s kinda quirky and kinda nerdy and truly atypical compared to the rest of their body of work.

It’s a good reminder of what you can do with the freedom that comes with success. Maybe success is not the right word. Maybe it’s experience. You do a thing long enough, you are bound to gain acclaim, or at least a reputation. That history, that putting in the time, is like building credit up in the bank of life. You earn the right to flip a script or two. Perhaps it’s less about earning the right as it is acquiring a sense of not giving a fuck. “I’ve done all that you asked of me, and now I’m going to do what I damn well please.”

I’m as sure about that phenomenon with my own life as I am that it probably has nothing to do with the composition and execution of Starfighter Pilot. Things are often not what they appear and you don’t ever really know. No person can be in the head of any other person (thank the universe).

That last bit was part of the intro to a lecture I went to yesterday which turned out to be a discussion about the difference between speculative thinking and writing and magical thinking and writing. It was a fascinating lecture and it concluded with the person giving the lecture using his own story as an example. It left me teary. Not a surprise.

I became teary a couple times yesterday. No full-on crying, but it’s there, somewhere inside building it’s gumption and energy. A sticky ball rolling and picking up artifacts as it goes. It started as a little walnut and now it’s got tinfoil and bits of umbrella stuck to it and it’s about the size of a tennis ball. It’s lodged somewhere deep in my body cavity at the moment. No where near my heart or my throat. Its nestled next to my spleen, teetering back and forth with indecision and mounting momentum. It’s preparing to begin rolling again. A thing that’s as inevitable as the sun rising.

I will say, it’s nice here, with the sun still sleeping and this reliable treadmill. I guess that’s what I mean about balance. There has to be sleep and a return to center to counter what happens with the unpredictability of every day.

I suppose one theory about why people I’m centuries past didn’t live as long as they do I’m today’s day and age. When there’s so much volatility around just acquiring basic needs.. sleep, food, shelter, the body and mind have no time to reset and that ages a person pretty rapidly. Modern medicine plays in of course, but I think balance it the bigger factor by a wide margin.

There’s acute occurrences that can now be overcome, but life is long. The chronic condition of being human is what we have to live with from the day we are born.

Right now the shuffle (which I’ve invited the Universe to dictate for my time here) is feeding Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York”. Now there’s an artist with so much experience and talent that she’s able to re-invent herself again and again AND find success. An extraordinary example of an artist that has it figured out.

It feels as though there must be some equation that translates the speculative into the magical. What, oh what, are the variables and constants? What are the multipliers and factors that subtract? Does one approach it with the FOIL method or as a proof? Is it largely geometric or does algebra take over? Can it be elementary or does one need to grasp quantum physics to crack the code and unravel the mystery?

Perhaps the secret is in the letting go of expectations. That sounds like a task of which I’m completely capable of doing. Im going to roll with that.

Speaking of rolling, the sun is about to come up and that ball inside me is gearing up for the day. My hour is up anyway.

Balance + Experience + Being Open = Magic and Longevity

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-12-10 Miss GingerSnap Speaks Her Mind

This might end up making me sound like a person with a multiple personality disorder but I was inspired to “try on” some different cookies by my friend Michelle. So from now until Christmas (or the end of the year), I’m going to be a different cookie every day. Yay!!! 😃

***

Yesterday I had an interview with Nebraska Poet Amy Plettner who has two books and a select number of other poems in print. One of the questions I asked her was what her favorite part of the day is. An atypical question but my goal was not to be typical and asking different questions is one way to open a conversation to unexpected topics.

She had two answers. First thing in the morning before the sun comes up, alone with her writing and during sunset on her ranch which has an unobstructed view of rolling hills and prairie grass. It’s one of the last places in Nebraska that the earth has not been plowed or paved. I can’t imagine waking up and falling asleep to that every day. As a fellow sunrise/sunset lover, I’m sure it’s amazing. Yet…

Is it?

I could not imagine falling asleep and waking up everyday in a mystical mansion that is part fun-house, part fish and bird and cat sanctuary, part botanical paradise, and part summer resort. Yet… here I am. It was An unlikely development in the grand SugarCookie adventure for sure, but now that it’s my reality, am I able to get used to it?

The answer is not quite. There are a few different threads of thought that my mind is going back and forth on.

My friend Amy (not the author) came here one day for lunch during summer and we sat out by the pool and ate and talked. Our legs dangling calf deep into the water she asks “do you just come sit out here every day and enjoy it?” My answer was no. “Why not?” She asked.

The short answer has to do with the amount of work that’s always needed elsewhere. I think it’s a thing that people understand on some level if they have been here but perhaps not really. And then there’s guilt. A huge amount of guilt which I can’t even explain. And then it’s just me. It’s not my personality to just sit and “enjoy” a moment. Believe me.. I wish it was, but my mind never rests and sitting with a coffee on the patio off the master bedroom listening to the wind chimes and staring at the statues in the courtyard sounds magical but I just can’t.

All I see is crumbling brick-work and yard work that’s falling behind and windows needing cleaned. All I hear is the sound in my brain cycling through a checklist of tasks leading up to the next big thing and all that’s to get done in a day. Not to mention the part where I’m about to commit myself to this life and a partner who will never have me as his number one priority unless we’re on vacation alone. I’m not even in the top 5, honestly, and what the hell am I supposed to do with that?

What else? The last time I saw my friend Barb, who I have known for 20 years, it was at a Greek festival she invited me and Jim to join her and her husband at. She’s been to my new house once and after that night, she said she “didn’t think she knew me anymore.” The invite to the Greek festival made me hopeful, but since then she’s not responding to my text or phone calls. At all. Not one reply.

Jim says to let it go. To give it Time. To wait and see if they RSVP for the wedding. To wait to see if they show up. Really? Ok. I know people will think things and judge me/us but it’s not like I planned to fall for a doctor that lives in a house that is literally 4 times as big as the house I owned before. It’s also not like I don’t somehow, with the balance in the Universe, deserve all this after the shit that I’ve been through. Really!!!

And shit I’m still going through. My ex and his financial and life delinquency. His terrible parenting decisions and my son texting me on Saturday night at 2am wanting me to come get him. And then two days later calling me asking for favors that will save him hundreds of dollars on car insurance. I want to scream “I’m not fucking Geiko”.. suck it up and pay for your daughter to be on your policy (she’s already on mine).

No matter. That does not change anything and has no bearing on where I live and how. It’s always been this way and it will always be with that one. What an idiot!!

Good gravy .. it sounds like I’m having a huge pity party and that’s not what I intended, but how on earth do you get over winning the lottery and having people, especially those you care about, having ill feelings toward you?

I don’t want to let go. I’m sick of letting go in life. I want to hold on tight to every person and sunrise and sunset AND actually enjoy my damn self once and a while. Would I trade this person I have found for a simpler existence? Ohhhh my. Please don’t ask me that on day 25 of my cycle. Please wait about 7 days and then ask.

***

The interview yesterday went well. Amy was great and she’s a pretty unique soul for sure. As the interviewer and the person whose job is to listen, I alone have a sense for the similarities and differences in our lives. I’m supposed to be writing a book review of her book “Points of Entry” for class, and I suppose I’ve got more insight now, but still don’t feel worthy or that I will be able to do it justice. I’m also sort of over all these assignments. I’m ready for the semester to be over. One more week!

That’s probably enough wild wandering for this cookie today. I guess the Ginger Snap is just full of snappy ginger spice! 😉

Peace,

~Miss GingerSnap

2019-11-17 Pick a Card – Any Card ♦️ ♥️ ♠️ ♣️

It is Sunday but I probably won’t have sushi. Just hasn’t been in the cards for me lately. It does sound amazing right now, prolly cuz I’m hungry and also cuz 🍣 Sushi is the bomb 💣.

By now you can probably tell I’m not in a writing mood. I’m not really in any sort of mood except for a hungry one. And perhaps cold cuz we just came in from hanging more Christmas 🎄 lights on the house 🏠. I mean 🏰 castle.

We’re not quite done but when you’re hands start to go numb that means it’s time to stop. It’s supposed to be above average temps a few days this week.. possibly 60 degrees on Tuesday and that sounds good to me. Hopefully We can finish the lights that evening before it gets dark. It gets dark so early now.

What else?…

***

Yesterday was a hell of a day. A real doozie. It started with me waking at 5am. What the hell. Saturday and I can’t even sleep. There’s got to be something wrong with me. I digress.

5:30am and I decide to finish the poetry book that is due to be read by class on Monday. Little did I know the second half of this book is all about this guys divorce, or more specifically the downward spiral of a relationship and a life. Which by itself, I suppose I could handle. But with the pms and.. AND.. the fact that Jim and I have been going through stacks of pictures to put together a slide show for our wedding. Seeing all those pics of my “happy” life, you know years before my marriage went into the toilet, was just emotional.

But wait.. there’s more. At about 8am I decide to visit the birds and feed the fish and found our newest finch upside down and stiff in his water dish. There’s a whole story behind our acquisition of Ringo, needless to say, I’ve been really at an emotional breaking point all week.

So that was the start of my Saturday and the weekend. It has been, thankfully, up-hill since then. I mean, I got through all the picture sorting and will not ever have to do that kind of a sort through again. We have another new bird now, because Zebra Finches are social birds and should always be kept in at least pairs.

I dunno… I don’t really want to write any more and didn’t even intend to start all that but perhaps it is therapeutic to get it out. Or at least start to process. What I think is that I have a whole lot more processing to do and I haven’t completely processed through everything that happened last week.

In any case, it’s time to go check the status of kids and homework. Hopefully I don’t have to crack any whips. I’m really, really not in the mood for that.

☯️,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-11-11 Sort, Organize, File.. Repeat

First things first, tipping my hat today as a loyal numbers nerd. It’s eleven eleven. That’s got to mean today is going to be a great day, doesn’t it?… Yes!!

There were a lot of things that happened on Saturday. As I said yesterday, it was too much and too overwhelming to write about. Like a big plate of broccoli.. if there’s one serving on your plate, you have no trouble digging in to consume that deliciousness. But a whole plate overflowing with green florets and stems might just make you turn your nose up, put your hand up, and just say “nope.”

Yeah.. it’s was just like that. Yesterday I began to compartmentalize so I could consume all of Saturday. Some things get lost in processing, forgotten as I sift through fading memories. But I do believe I successfully sectioned things into a set of perfect portions. Each of these could be a blog post, I suppose, if I do continue to have the urge to write about it at all. But no promises.

As life continues to happen, whatever is happening today could easily become more important. Still I think that the list will be helpful for posterity….

1. Notes on the 7 presentations I went to at Barcamp.

2. Notes on my own presentation and what I did to cope with my anxiety.

3. Interactions with other Barcamp attendees which included two people I previously dated. Doh!!

4. What happened after it was all over, lunch and walking the Old Market with my daughter, which should include both eating delicious cheeseburgers and a visit to Hollywood Candy.

5. Notes about getting home just before dark and doing yard work. Which seems minimal compared to the rest of the day, but it’s not.

6. Deciding to reward myself with binge-watching a tv show (Stranger Things season 3), which I gave a third shot to after a terrible first and second episode. I wasn’t disappointed.

7. Not being able to sleep despite the 20 hour day! Good Gravy— what is wrong with me?!!

8. A wrap-up on my time alone in the castle.

I think that’s it. Like I said, life keeps happening and things that need to get done for school and the kids and Jim more of a priority.

That includes finishing the poetry assignment due today for Advanced Poetry Studio and several forms and workshop materials that have to get submitted for winter Residency for my MFA today.

The kids are out of school because it’s veteran’s day. And it’s snowed. Not that THAT is news or has anything to do with anything except ewwww snow! Ick!!

Jim is back home and took the day off too just to get a bunch of stuff done before going back to work tomorrow. Needless to say, my attentions are already being tested.

On that note, I’m gonna Jam before the day really starts getting away from me.

Taking One damn bite at a time,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-11-07 Predictable Predicaments

Last night exactly everything I predicted came to pass… from mid afternoon all the way to bed. I said yesterday I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my self all alone here, but I did have an intuition on my side, along with history which always repeats itself.

I took Jim to the airport at 2 and when I came home I scrambled around the house making the beds, vacuuming, and doing one last set of dishes. I just want to exist here in a clean house for four days and there’s nobody else here to fuck it up. Glorious!

Then I sat down and really did not know what to do next. As strange as it sounds.. that was actually one of the most of the most predictable parts of my evening. Left to my own devices, and without chores, and with choice.. what I typically do is waste a lot of time just sitting and thinking about it. Even to the point of like getting irritated with myself about not being able to decide and wasting time.

I opened my notebook and laptop because a few days ago I decided I wanted to try writing a villanelle but after about 10 minutes I realized that’s a huge undertaking and requires a whole lot more thought first. Then my stomach began to rumble and i realized it was dinner time.

There was no way I was cooking. Nope. But there was another decision to make. I didn’t really have a ton of time to eat at a sit down restaurant and don’t care to do that alone anyhow. That leaves me with a quick run for fast food, takeout, or the grocery for a prepared meal I could bring home. Of course I had a craving (predictable) and of course it’s rush hour and of course I don’t care because I want what I want… which in this case was a sub sandwich from Little King.

No.. subway or jimmy johns would not do. Both have issues that really prevent me from ever eating there again. I also didn’t want to risk going to a new place and not being satisfied. I’ve never been to potbelly or Jersey Mike’s. I guess I really am a princess. So I ventured out for that 45 minute round trip and returned home with my delicious sandwich which I barely had time to scarf down before I had to leave again. (BTW, my regular #8 on white made the little king way minus oregano was delicious!).

The event I wanted to go to was a reading by an author visiting UNO. It was the last in the series of readings the university hosts every semester. I had communicated with several other people who expressed interest in going to such things so I was mostly assured I would not be alone. Mostly.

I have one friend who is near and dear to my heart who I’ve known for like 10 years and we always have trouble getting together because of our busy schedules. I was going to pick her up at 7 but she ended up working late and just couldn’t go. The other folks were solid maybes and one of them stayed home too. But! I ended up going and sitting with a new acquaintance from the MFA program we are both in. It was great. It was so nice to not have to sit awkwardly alone like I usually do.

Then I came home and resolved not to be so wishy-washy about the rest of the night. I dug into the first episode of season 3 of stranger things which I’ve been waiting to watch but Jim’s not into it and we only ever watch tv together. The episode was seriously disappointing. I mean, I loved season 1 and season 2 was not as good but still pretty good. This episode was just a mess. I’ll have to watch another just to see if it bounces back.

When that was over it was time for bed and I took a book.. yeah, an actual novel I’m starting to read for fun and not for school. I only read like 3 pages before my eyes got heavy and I knew sleep was inevitable. That was also pretty predictable. If it’s past like 9:30 and I’m anywhere near a bed or couch It just happens. The spontaneous falling asleep.

Despite having nothing to get up for this morning, I still woke up at 6:30am and got up right away. Right now I’m doing that treadmill thing I do and plan to hit my friend Leah’s Jazzercise class at 8:30.

The most predictable thing of all for the rest of this week/weekend? The steps, Jazzercise, and writing. Those are no brainers and I can’t foresee anything that would distract me from doing those things. We’ll see if life has any curve-balls in store.

Life is often predictably unpredictable.

Cheers to That,

~Miss SugarCookie

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