2020-11-10 Freezing Rain, Memory, and Poetry

A freezing rain greets me as I accompany the trash carts to the end of the driveway. It tears my attention away from what I don’t remember. It feels good to feel the rain on my skin and how it forces me to move faster, look forward to being back inside, strip down to dry.

Yesterday I wrote a poem. I can count on two hands the number of poems I’ve written this year. A sad story compared to the sixty I wrote last year. Years from now when I look back on this moment, what will I think?

Not about the rain, or daylight savings ruining my morning drive, or how responsible my daughter is on this day.. her first at an office job. Or all these thoughts and steps and words. Or the numbers on a scale. Please, let it not be the numbers.

If I were patient and kind I might find that what I remember is how we held on tight to each other in 2020 when the world pressed down on us, compressing our lives softening boundaries, making them more easily punctured.

Maybe I won’t remember anything about today other than the fact that it was wholly unremarkable next to all the other unremarkable days. Which is why I need to be here, in this moment today, and just enjoy the rain.


Yesterday the week was kicked off with a good start. I felt fairly productive and In a fair mood. Today I’m hoping to keep things  fair and balanced. I’d love to write another poem, that felt great. Of course I’ve got a full set list of chores and work I’d like to get through. Though having made my list on Sunday I can’t recall at the moment what’s on the agenda for today.

Two poems in my in-box each morning bring me something old and something new which are, more or less, mirrors of each other. The language and rhetoric of 2020 run together until they can’t be separated. It gives me a good sense of what is currently sought after. Unfortunately it’s not what I currently have to offer. Which only means I have more work to do.

When I mention work now, that’s what I mean. I’m more than a month out of the old kind of work. The kind my daughter just started at today. The scheduled hours, direct deposits, and doing something for someone else instead of yourself. It’s not that I don’t believe in that life, but now rather i start to come to terms with its Reason and value.

I’m now one month in with doing things for myself and my loved ones. It’s definitely a better life. I don’t miss “work” like some people said I would and am approaching the answer to that question.
You know the one I hated for years. “So what do you do?”

Instead of the monotone explanation of my job which leaves trails of glassed over eyes in my wake at parties, I can begin to describe how I work at being a better writer.

I can imagine the new scene at parties, the question, the chuckle, the follow up Sarcastic question, “how much does THAT pay?”

Me: It’s priceless.

Mic drop and walk away.


I’m currently studying the life and poetry of Adrienne Rich. She’s going to be one of the main persons discussed as a part of the lecture I’m giving during residency in December. As an added bonus, she’s a stellar role model for breaking out of a mould. I suppose that’s what makes her such a great candidate for my lecture.

When I wrote my craft paper in 3rd semester, the topic was the journey of the poetic voice but the paper was really focused more on the qualities of voice without a lot of definitive evidence about the actual journey in question. To be sure 3 out of the 4 poets I studied we’re not good candidates as they were still mostly at the beginning. Creeley was the only one that had lived his whole life where the body of work could be analyzed in full context of the events of his life and the world.

As I was only scratching the surface with that paper, I now must put in more work to learn what my lecture has to teach me. If I’m to be the expert, which is the expectation, then I’d better get down to business. I’m close to letting go of using anything from Creely or Merwin as I think focusing on female poets is key to getting me to a more impactful conclusion.

I’ve more to say on this topic, but I need to get on with my day. I’m definitely getting into the right zone though. Cheers to that.

And Cheers to Living in the Moment,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-24 Saturday Schmatterday

Prolly gonna make quick work of this today since it’s Jim’s birthday and we gotta a whole lotta nothin that needs doing today.

When we woke up today I told Jim I ordered another overcast day so he could sleep in without the sun bugging us to get out of bed. The trade off? It’s like 21 degrees out. Brrrrrr. Coldest temp since last winter.

I remembered at 5am that I forgot to unplug the garden hose from the rain barrel and I hope it’s not ruined.

I’ve got a meeting today with my fellow MFA graduates and am challenging myself to just listen and not say a word. On one hand I’m looking forward to seeing what kinds of things will be proposed and on the other hand I’m so over it. You know that whole saying “icing on the cake.”? This is like the opposite.

Yeah.. bad enough the whole residency is virtual. The graduation ceremony being virtual is just shit on top of a shit sandwich. I just gotta keep my damn mouth shut. Whatever.

What else? Did I mention I miss summer already. I really hate winter. I really really hate being cold. Wow. Really complain-y today and not very inspired.

One of the things on my agenda this weekend besides celebrating Jim’s birthday and putting together the biggest badass cat tower you have ever seen is reading all the poetry that’s come across my GLR desk this reading period thus far. Perhaps I’ll step into the fiction and non-fiction as well. Ed and I have both committed to reading everything to just see what different decisions we might make from our editors. It’s much more feasible to do that this session than last as the numbers of submissions is significantly less this time around.

And get this!!.. two days ago I got a notification of a new poetry submission from my ex husbands fiancé!!! Whoa. I didn’t even know she was a writer. I knew she was a photographer but I’m very interested to see what she’s written. I mean not interested enough to look at it yesterday, but for sure today. 🤣

I’m personally up to like 43 active subs now so we’ll on my way to hitting 50 by the end of October. Then I’ll turn my attention elsewhere and just let that ride for a while (I say as I conspire secretly to set a new goal of like 100.)

I think that’s gonna be it today. Gotta go make birthday breakfast. And coffee!!

Mmmmmm. Saturday!
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-07 What Will It Become When Too Much Thought is Involved?

I’m dipping my toe into figuring out what my days look like now that I’m not working. I’m excited to have more time and my first order of business has been to increase my step goal. I changed the goal on my Fitbit from 12K steps a day to 15K. And I’m not limited walking in the AM anymore so it should be a snap.

I’m missing Jazzercise more already, which is a great cardio workout and also motivates me to do strength training. I haven’t been to a class since February because of the pandemic. I asked Jim yesterday about the possibility of going to a class or two. The answer was a resounding “hell no.”

He said that by the time the class is over you’ve basically breathed air from every other person there, no matter how small the class is, and it’s too risky. He’s right, but .. how different is that from my son going to public school five days a week? I know, it’s the masks. If I tried to do a workout with a mask on, I’d probably die. 😷

So no Jazzercise for me.. yet.

I’m also holding my breath about winter residency for my MFA. Which is to say that I’m hoping that they have figured out how to host an in person / part virtual experience. Live in person at the Lied lodge in Nebraska City for those who can make it, and virtual for those who can’t travel.

I mean, schools across the globe have had about 6 months now to figure this out. Get some good WiFi, put some computers and screens in the rooms, coordinate some zooms. It’s possible.

Though technology is not a strong suit of the Lodge. Seems like there’s always some difficulties. Even with something like a microphone setup. And I suppose all the extra hardware costs money and the university probably does not have the funds in the budget despite an MFA costing like 45 grand. 🤷‍♀️

So I guess we’ll see. It doesn’t really matter though. Yesterday’s inquiry about my lecture topic leads me to believe that I’ll not get another offer to defer like the last semester. I’d decided that even if they did, I’d still suck it up and just finish out virtually. It’s disappointing, for sure. But that’s life. Even without a pandemic, things often don’t meet our expectations. Or perhaps my expectations are always too high. 😉

In any case, one thing on my set list today is to revisit the notes I took with JP about my lecture topic to see if I can get over my fear of commitment and pick something to talk about.

One of the people whose lecture from summer just knocked it out of the park was Erin. She sent a group of us notes about the formula for a successful lecture (summarized from her convo with the program coordinator). I’m planning to revisit this today too.

One thing I recall is to be the expert and present as such.. so the trouble with that is that I don’t feel like an expert and might not ever. But.. despite the fact I’m already overthinking this.. I’ve technically already graduated so I need to use that to my advantage. Which is to say.. not worry about it so much. Still, how can I not?! Good grief! 🙄

I’m going to cut it there today cuz I need a shower and to get on with my day. Yeah, regular showers are another change I’m looking forward to now that I have more time. How sad is that??!!

Peace and love until next time,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-06 Life as a Kitten Mama

This morning I had to take Gustav to the vet for shots and so I’m getting a strange late start to my day. These days it’s curbside appointments only. You pull up and call when you arrive and they check you in and come out to the car to get your pet. Then you wait in your car. Or if you’re me you make a quick trip to the Dunkin that’s in that same plaza for a medium hot latte with French vanilla swirl. Mmmmm.

20 minutes later they call back and get your payment info and then bring your furry back to your car. Gus had his first round of shots today and will have to go back in a month for the follow up.

He’s worn his harness a few times now and outside of the drive from Michigan, he’s barely been in the car. Maybe like 4 rides total. But he did great. They say that in the first six months you should do everything you intend to do with the cat in their life to get them used to it. I’ve definitely not taken Gus for as many rides as I did with Kayla.

She was in the car with me a lot and I even took her to the badlands. Still, there was a long stretch after that that she was almost never in the car and I think she forgot all her conditioning. Now when we go she is very nervous and does a lot of mewing. It’s the only time I ever hear her talk.

Come to think of it, all our cats are pretty quiet. Wonder why that is.

When Gus talks he still has his baby-monkey voice sometimes. Like In the car today. I’ve heard him have a big-boy mew a few times but not a lot yet. I kind of wonder if that tiny, squeaky voice will stick around or if he’ll grow out of it completely. It’s really adorable. He’s adorable.

The vet said she had a tough time listening to him (his heartbeat I’m guessing), because he was purring so loud. He’s a purr machine! And it is loud and so cuddly. He’s 7 pounds 9 ounces now. A ball of energy that has two speeds, go-go-go and sleep. He definitely has the energy of a kitten and the other cats seem to like him ok, but sometimes lay there and watch him like “I used to have energy like that.”

Sometimes Gus Gus (not a typo, that’s one of his nicknames) provokes Doug cuz he likes to wrestle. Him and Doug go rounds of pounce and roll until Doug has had enough and tries to get away. Doug is like more than twice his size so it’s super adorable. You can tell that they are just playing and Gus is relentless for more.

Like an annoying little brother who just wants the attention of his big bro. With Kayla it’s a different story. She’s top Kitten here and wants to make sure the other cats know it. She chases and pounces too but it seems a little more aggressive and territorial. And after introducing Gus, the hierarchy was established and Gus doesn’t really challenge her anymore.

She definitely was not maternal like we had hoped. Maybe once she realizes he’s not a threat, she’ll be a better sister. We can hope anyway. 🤷‍♀️

As one of my first orders of business this week, I wanted to give the kittens all some better attention. Lots of pets and playing. And of course get lots of pics of all the cuteness that goes on. Which is a lot.

Another prime directive is to spend each day working on my personal endeavors. Yesterday I submitted to about 4 new places. I told Jim that sometimes I aim high and sometimes I aim low and sometimes I close my eyes and don’t aim at all. Which is to say that I just “discover” places through Submittable and don’t research them at all.

Probably not the best way to go about it but it is a lot of work doing the research. Sometimes I wander away to the websites to see what they have to offer and what they have published in the past. I would say that has caused me to rethink submitting a few times. Save my worlds and my $3 for someplace else.

Yesterday I took a different approach to aiming high. I opened a newly acquired poetry book by one of my MFA mentors Jim Peterson, and read the acknowledgements page. Then I went through that list of places and started looking them up, one by one, to see if they had open calls. About half so far have.

I’ve thought about submitting a full manuscript but I’m not quite there yet. Feel like maybe I should try to get more individual poems published first. Then again, sometimes I question the point of it all. Maybe that’s just the mood I’m in today. Which is that I-just-want-to-snuggle-kittens-all-day mood.

While I was sitting in the car at the vet this morning I read a new email from my MFA program coordinator relating info about the lecture topics for this coming residency. In an instant my blood pressure went up and I felt a knot form in my stomach. I just don’t wanna think about it at all.

The other lectures look extremely informative and well thought out and my one sentence description was very generic. I wrote it that way for a reason, like 6 months ago as I was supposed to give a lecture at Res this past summer.

I deferred till winter in classic Miss. SugarCookie procrastinator form. The reading doesn’t bother me at all. It’s just reading. But giving a lecture is icky. Of course I’m terrified. Of course I’m unprepared. Of course I’m worried that I’ll bomb and people will find out I’m a big fraud. Of course, of course, of course. 🙄

I guess I’ll have to put some more effort into figuring out what exactly I’m going to talk about. /deep sigh 😔

But first…. kittens!! 🐱🧡💛

Time to get on with it.
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-01 The (Other) Letter From the Editor

I’ve been tucked in a cubby hole of time for a few days. I’ve tried to finish strong with my last few days of work without letting my apathy show through the zooms and emails. I’ve tried to hide the fact that my heart is already elsewhere. Ask me how I feel today on this day, the first day I’m not required to show up on the job. I’m all like “what job?”

Yes, friends, my heart wandered away from the Career Life years ago and so the only difference now is that I don’t have to dedicate so much of my precious time trying to stay in the game. Yes, I like and appreciate my job, and my team. But life has so much more to offer now and I have to let my heart take the lead. Even if I’m pretty sure it’s clueless most of the time about where it is and where it thinks it wants to go.

Yesterday I spent my treadmill time writing a “letter from the editor” instead of diving into my normal rhetoric. What I was writing will be unveiled tomorrow when we publish our first issue of The Good Life Review.

A letter from the editor? The editor?? Is that me? Holy shit, I did that. I’m doing that. This is real and this is really my life now. Unbelievable!

Anyway, I wrote some words, and it’s all legit and I mean every bit of what I said in the letter but there’s other sides to the story that just aren’t a good fit for the actual publication. Stuff people don’t talk about, you know. As we say in the software development business, the sausage making.

What the letter doesn’t say is that this entire process is exhausting. It’s hard work. My friend Sarah told me that. She said, “people don’t realize it unless they experience it for themselves.” #truth

From the word “go” it has been one challenge after another. Between getting the infrastructure in place to deciding on a name to engaging folks in the process to trying to keep everything organized and operating smoothly.. it’s been a wild ride.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a great learning opportunity, and for sure I’m coming out the other side of this first issue a wiser soul. It’s just that I truly had no idea how time consuming it would be. And the Universe knows how I have a tendency to be over-committed. What on EARTH was I thinking??!!

I know. I wasn’t thinking. I was letting my heart lead. And if Robert Creeley can do it, damnit, so can I!

He started the Divers Press and was also an editor with the Black Mountain Review for its first three years. Also, he wrote and published literally hundreds of poems across decades. A role model I will never get to meet.

If it sounds as though I’m aiming high. It’s likely because I am. “No limits but the Sky” baby!

But that’s probably the adrenaline of the treadmill working magic in my body.

When I woke up today I had a hell of a headache. It was compounded by last minute scrambles to get everything just right for pulling the trigger on our first issue. And trying to keep things smooth. A lot of folks are paying attention now and we have to do our best to keep our best front and center.

What I want, more than anything, is for the people who are involved to have a good experience. I want people to say, “The Good Life”, was good to them. I want people to think of us as kind, and thoughtful, and professional yet personable.

Keeping that in mind is key. In my letter I wrote about the “difficult” time we are all having this year. And therefore we could all use a little more leeway, love, and kindness. I certainly could use a little more.

I hit my migraine and nausea with all the meds I could get my hands on (sans Lorazepam). I had an English muffin and drank a bunch of water. I’m better now. Feeling like I can continue on this fast moving train for at least one more day. One more day.

It’s the final countdown folks. And after that?

After that I’m gonna lay down on the ground in corpse pose for about three days. Yeah. That seems like a good plan.

Ok, I think that’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed the alternate version of my “letter from the editor.”

Peace, love, and tacos,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-09-15 Monday Colored Glasses

I could do without insomnia for a while. I could do without my mind spinning endlessly on things I can’t do anything about. I could use a day all by myself, no responsibilities, no work, no chores. What’s that called? A vacation? Perhaps soon.

I could also do without rejection greeting me first thing in the morning when I check my email in-box. Yes, it’s true, I shrug. But what other choice do I have? Yes, it’s their loss I suppose. But after a while there’s just a wearing down that happens. A loss of confidence. Thoughts of throwing in the towel creep in. That’s depressing.

Especially considering I didn’t even think about trying to publish before my MFA. That was never the point so why hang my hat on it now? How did that become a goal.. because someone else said so? Words echo in my mind “welcome to the rejection business.” Yeah. I suppose.

My Monday didn’t start or end well. And Tuesday has not seen any improvement yet. Not sure what it will take. I want to crawl under a rock, but don’t have time for that. And now I’m just being overly dramatic and that’s useless too. Good grief.

Peeking in at social media in the last week and I see several instances of fellow MFAers posting about their degrees showing up in the mail. Seeing that, all I could think was that that should be me right now too, but I was selfish and didn’t want to graduate with a virtual residency. I wanted the in-person experience as before and as it has been in my mind for 2.5 years since I started. Was that selfish? Should I have just sucked it up and recorded myself giving a lecture and reading and called it good?

I lamented a little internally about that. Thought about the fact that deferring until winter res was just delaying the inevitable. The pandemic won’t be under control in December. Nothing really will have changed and I’ll end up finishing out online anyhow. I’ll feel cheated and there’s nothing I can do about that.

Then.. two days ago a package came for me from the university. Upon opening I was shocked to pull out my diploma. Wait?! Hold up!!?? What the???!!! Hmmmmm….

So apparently I graduated already. I kind of thought that final residency was a requirement of graduation. It is. But it’s apparently not. I mean, the book on my thesis was closed last May and I know I’ve crossed all the “T”s and dotted all the “I”s Up to this point. So leaving this final requirement unfinished feels so wrong.

That’s what Jenna meant when she said they trust me. I didn’t get that until I opened that envelope. So what about this next res— the one I’m supposed to lecture at? It certainly does not leave me with a lot of motivation.

If I already have my degree, then who gives a fuck about doing well? I’ve got my 4.0 and that’s not going to change. I could get up and talk for 40 minutes about nonsense and nobody can say boo to me about it. And the pomp and circumstance of the reading and the graduation ceremony is minimized too. Again, who cares? (Of course I do, of course).

Probably I’m looking at all this with Monday colored glasses. I just need to snap out of this shiz. But how.

I need to snag a play from my friend Tre’s playbook and enjoy the small things that are aligned with my true north goals. I might start, as she said in her latest blog post, with a dose of gratitude.

I started walking/writing late this morning because of the rough night sleep and need to wrap now, but I think I may cut here and continue writing— in my mind—a list of things I’m grateful for.

I hope I can turn the shade of Monday I’m living today into something rosier.

Deep breaths,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-02 Introducing… The Good Life Review

I’ve sent some of my darlings out into the universe and it’s so tough to let them go when you know life is tough and people are critical and maybe they (my babies) are not wanted or needed and their message will land in the hands of someone too busy with chaos or wrapped up in their own confusion.

I open the door and let my toddling poems wobble out to these strangers in a strange land and I kiss them on the foreheads and wish them well and wave goodbye as they disappear out of sight.

I fear for them, that I haven’t prepared them enough for what it s next. Afraid that I myself am not prepared.

Someone, somewhere equated writing to having children. To babies. To little darlings. I understand this to my core. It echos inside of my body as I realize I gave them life in the same way I gave life to my actual children.

I probably should submit more of my writing but haven’t been very diligent about it. Still, there are a few out in the wild, wandering about the digital forest, looking for a home.

Wouldn’t that be something. A place where all the writing could congregate and the publishers would have to visit that place and convince the writing to come to their home. Flip the script so that the poem has a choice where it wants to live and.. AND go with the one it likes the best, where it feels like it fits in the most among the other poems. Ahhhh… aren’t daydreams satisfying?

You know what else is satisfying? Listening to Sara Bareilles singing “Sweet As Whole”. If you’re having a tough time trying to do good and frustrated with people who just insist on making your life more difficult, I highly recommend listening to this song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IcqRbPk_bk If you are anything like me, I guarantee it will make you smile and also feel empowered to do what you want to and say what you want and write what you want. I won’t spoil it, but check it out and let me know what you think.

I’m going to avoid the elephant in the room for a moment to do some shameless self promotion. Self promotion is definitely not my strong suit. I’ve got well manicured Facebook and Twitter and instagram accounts out there and am not particularly active and frankly hate what these platforms have become and how they have destroyed real human connection and any hope we ever had for uncovering truth.

Still, the world has latched on to them as if it’s a lifeline. Like the blood running through their veins might cease if they don’t get their social media fix or find someone who will listen to what they say and agree with them with tiny like and love buttons. I’m only human, I’m susceptible as anyone to the pull of it all. I can get sucked in my some I m age or video or story and fall down the rabbit hole.

See that? Just there I got sideswiped by my own soapbox! Have you ever been hit in the head with your own soapbox? Incredible!

Anyway. Last week I launched a new website. It’s been about 5 months in the making and I’ve spent literally about 100 hours researching, doing setup for domains, securing accounts at various agencies and building the site. I’ve been organizing meetings, conducting meetings, trying hard to work through issues and solve problems. All of it leading up to the moment when the site was live.

I learned a ton about block editing on WordPress among other things and now have the opportunity to learn a lot about how the submission platform, Submittable, works.

There I was, sitting alone in my living room and hit that “launch” button. It would have been great to throw a party. Gather up all the people who have agreed to be a part of our team and raise a glass to the vision becoming a reality, but alas, that was not meant to be.

No. Instead there is a pandemic and riots and curfews and we’re all sitting in our little corners of the universe alone.

The good news, is that the evil social media beast is good for something and that’s advertising. The word is out and there are little thumbs up and hearts and even a few comments.

See how terrible I am at self promotion? I should have led with the links instead of closing with them. Here’s the shiny new website for the new online literary magazine for which I am the Managing Editor and frankly also playing Oz behind the curtain pushing all the buttons and working the levers and knobs.

Welcome to the Good Life!

If you are a fellow writer and, like me, looking for a good home for your babies or toddlers or teenagers or adult children who don’t seem to want to move out, send them our way. Submissions are now open for our inaugural issue!!

https://thegoodlifereview.submittable.com/submit

You can also check us out on FB (https://www.facebook.com/TheGoodLifeReview/) or Twitter (@goodlifelitmag) if that’s the kind of thing you are into. Kindly remember that we’re just getting started. But like most things in life, you gotta start somewhere or you won’t get anywhere.

OK, that’s it today folks.
Wishing you peace and love,
~Miss Sugarcookie

2020-05-21 Mother / Daughter Stuff

I’ve got some venting to do but I can predict the future so I’m not going there today. If you live long enough, you too will be able to predict the future. The disclaimer on that is that it all comes from experience. Ride that record right round enough times and there’s no question what the next song will be.

All that to say, I’m skipping the vent session and writing about a relationship topic instead. Not my love, or my kids, or friends who I’m tethered to by responsibility and dedication and love. I’m writing about my mom who has always been a person In my life, albeit not in the forefront, ever.

There’s not enough time or motivation to trudge through all the backstory of why our relationship is the way it is. You know, but it’s always colored by the fact that human beings are mostly self-centered and when it comes to parent / child relationships I sort of feel that the parent should be more selfless but it’s not in my moms nature.

Don’t get me wrong, she always does those things that in her head are requirements of the job… remembers birthdays and sends a card. She reaches out every so often to see how we are doing. She makes a big deal about getting together sometimes. And in the flipside she also expects these things in return.

That being said, outside of one other person, she’s the only one who wanted to talk to me about my Thesis. She genuinely wanted to read it and was happy for me getting my degree and my 4.0. I have a small group of people I’ve met in the MFA that are wonderful and we chat about all things MFA of course, but my mom is the only one outside of that that goes deeper than skin deep in conversation about it.

As I said, she asked for my thesis so she could read it, and I made a few edits and sent it to her. All 138 pages. Within a day she had read through all the poems and sent me back a long text with her feedback. She took the time to really evaluate some of them with her experience in mind and let me know her favorites and why.

She also let me know that reading the “Castle” poems made her sad for me. I’m not exactly painting a pretty picture of my new life here. She’s concerned for me and I told her we could meet up to talk about. It’s too much to text and I’m not one for phone calls. I guess we could do a call but I feel like any week now I’ll be able to see her in person.

Her husband has Parkinson’s and his condition has deteriorated enough in the past year that she’s had to employ help. All his medical stuff is handled by the VA as he served in the Vietnam war and there’s been a direct connection made with his issues and his exposure to Agent Orange. There’s not enough time now for me to elaborate on how absolutely Fucked Up that all is. But you can guess.

So she’s about to start getting weekly visits from a care person because she’s not physically able to do some of what is required. She’s been under tremendous stress with all of it for a while now so the help is a huge relief to her. It also means she can actually leave the house while the care person is there and so she’s looking forward to resuming our lunch meetups. I am too.

People need people yo! I miss all my meetups!

Anyway. It was so wonderful to me that she read my words and she said she’s proud of me. It means a great deal to hear those words from a parent. Inside I’m still that tentative, shy girl who just wants a little recognition from the people who are important. No matter how old I get I’m still seeking approval and hoping to loose my invisibility cloak, even if it is for short little bursts.

I love my mom. Things I write might focus more on the negative side of life, because that’s in my writer’s nature. It’s not often I bust out a happy poem or a positive one, though I’ve written a few of those over the years. I don’t know why I don’t think they are as interesting. It’s the opposite problem of my “poor me” tendencies. It’s too self-congratulatory or boastful or feels too much like bragging. I have to solve that puzzle too.

Anyway, maybe next week my mom can get away. She doesn’t want me to come to her house because she really wants to get out of the house and away. She’ll probably come to my house which Jim has given the OK on and I’ll make us some lunch. I’m looking forward to that.

On the flip side, I think about my daughter and our relationship and I’ve tried hard to make sure she knows she’s number 1 in my book. Her and her brother are tied for number 1. She texted me after midnight last night (she’s at her dads house) and said she needed to talk about something important. No clue what it was about.

She wants me to come get her for lunch today. So that’s what I’m gonna do. Nothing could be more important. Not work, not Jim, not school or writing or anything. About 12:30 I’m gonna cut my day in half and just let go of anything that needs doing. We’ll see how it plays out.

I did confirm with her that it’s not a health issue. So that’s a relief.

That’s it for today. Can’t believe it’s Thursday already. There’s never enough time. Why is that?

With Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-26 Sunday Un-Status

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-21 Longest Day EVER!

There I go being overly dramatic again. If you ask me how I feel about my dramatic tendencies, my answer will depend on my mood. Today I’m feeling plucky so I’ll just say, it’s part of my charm.

It was a long day though. And quite an atypical one compared to most of the SugarCookie days lately.

I skipped my morning walk/cardio because I wanted to go to the grocery store and just go early and get that over with. We tried to stock up on stuff before the shut-down, but it’s a healthy household and there’s only so much in perishable goods one can keep in fridge and not be wasteful. So yesterday was my day.

The whole thing makes me nervous. Good gawd one should not have this amount of anxiety about making a trip to the store. Yes, I have a mask. And no, I’m not afraid of getting the virus. So what is it that gave me such pause? Who knows. But I really had to give myself a pep-talk as I pulled out of my garage and down the street.

I actually went to two stores as supplies are low with regard to the lactose-free milk and protein. In between stores I checked my email and received a bit of good news that literally brought me to tears.

I’ve kinda been on an emotional edge lately (not unlike a lot of people) and just let the tears come. I was actually standing in my kitchen alone and didn’t even know what to do with myself for a few minutes. And this was from GOOD news. The Universe help me if I get bad news during this strange time!!

Anyway, I needed to go to the other store so I got myself back together and did that. When I arrived home I put the groceries away and got online for my morning work call. That 30 minutes was the extent of my work day yesterday, which was so odd.

Instead, I dove into the arduous task of packaging my thesis in Word, with all the sections and table of contents and formatting. It should not have taken me all damn day, but part of the thesis is the craft paper I did last semester and I could not just paste it in at the end and forget it. It was a flipping mess.

I’m actually embarrassed that it’s what I turned in last term. For one thing, I was using a google doc which does not do as good of a job as Word at flagging mistakes. But the bigger issues have to do with mistakes I’ve been making all along with grammar and punctuation. All the things I learned about this semester were glaring at me from the screen.

Not such a big deal fixing a few pages but this is a 45 page document. It literally took me all day to go through paragraph by paragraph, page by page and fix them all.

Now I’m certain that I make these mistakes habitually in my daily writing, and I’ve resolved to try and catch those if I can, but ok if some slip through. That craft paper, however, is a part of my masters thesis and mistakes are just unacceptable. So I needed to spend that time.

At this point I’m close to being done but not quite there yet. The formatting blips with copy and paste from gdoc to word are also troublesome and the whole document is going to be about 140 pages which is a lot to go through with a fine-toothed comb. I’d like to get back to it today but I’ve got a busy day stacked up ahead and it’s not likely.

Anyway, after I closed down Word for the day yesterday I had 2.5 hours of lit mag business to attend to, including 2 hours on a zoom which was super draining. What on earth have I gotten myself into??!

It’s going to be good, I just know it, but we’re not there yet. I’m still trying to figure out all the personalities on the team and super sensitive to potential issues. I’m probably over thinking things as is my way, but I feel like I’m already in damage control mode and we’re just trying to get started.

By the time that was all done last night it was 8pm and I hadn’t eaten or said boo to the kids or Jim since like noon. I ate some comfort food (for me that’s like 3 pieces of toast) and vegetated on the couch. We watch a bit of TV and talked for a while and then I shuffled myself to the bedroom and just let the long day sink out of me horizontally and into my bed.


(Hours later)

I had to scoot my booty off the treadmill and up to my office for work real quick like and did not have time to finish. But, as it turns out, I have no more to say about yesterday anyway. Nothing worth writing about anyhow.

As it is, I really don’t have a ton of time today and already had to defer one meeting for another so there’s no rest for the wicked (or the plucky) I guess.

Cheers to Taco Tuesday,
~Miss SugarCookie