2020-01-17 The Perfect Storm for Dissolving Doubt

It feels like a Saturday because everything is closed. The radar when we woke up today looked like something from the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”. A storm cell covering 1/4th of the country, starting in Minnesota and going all the way down into Texas, covering all of Nebraska moving slowly into Iowa. School was called off last night before I went to bed and this AM I was surprised that the alarm did not go off, which meant that Jim’s Office was closed too.

It was perfect timing as we really needed this extra day together to kick the final wedding prep in high gear. We’re making the most of this snow day and have already checked a bunch of boxes. I’m feeling good about things, finally. Mostly I just needed to check with him to review and get buy-in on what I’ve decided- readings, decor, cake, etc. it’s all good.

We are running a few errands today and among them is the courthouse. One of our to-do tasks was to apply for a marriage license. I was sort of on a caffeine/wedding planning/butt kicking high but then the form happened. Nothing kills a good vibe buzz like having to mine your past looking for your divorce date. Why is it with all the paperwork I’ve saved over the years my divorce decree (the official one with the dates) is not in my possession? I literally have my taxes saved back to 1993. I also have most important events in FB back to 2008ish, but not that. Why?

I Ended up digging into my old journal entries to find the exact date. But wowza if reading the surrounding words aren’t a mood killer, I don’t know what is. Not only that, but I found the reason none of it was on FB. I apparently deleted all of it. Or rather.. cut it and pasted it all into that word document at the bottom of my journal entry from March 14, 2010. All the surrounding posts with thoughts, poems, likes, and comments all retained just for this very moment for me to find.

So my divorce was final March 15, 2010 (the Ides!! How appropriate!!!). I kinda remembered that but now I know for a fact that was it. 10 effing years ago almost. And scrolling back through the last 10 years of ones life on FB is trippy.

The last 5 years I’ve not been very active since I hate FB and social media in general. But before that, I apparently posted a bunch. Events, check ins at restaurants, vacations, holidays, etc. I scrolled back through past relationships, Matt and SV and my jobs at OTTR and Methodist Hospital. Lots of pics with people I don’t see or hang out with anymore. Lots of history and also sadness for losing touch with people. Also sort of holding my breath on a few folks I’ve invited to the wedding, hopeful they will show despite not getting RSVPs back (looking at you RH!!!)

Reading that journal entry reminds me how conflicted and confused I was. I was pulling the trigger on a big life decision and yet still held so much doubt. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s exactly how things are now. Doubt is just a part of life I guess and you can never be 100% solid on your decisions.

Things are more 20/20 in the rear view. Getting married at 19 was naive, but i wouldn’t trade it or my life to follow for the world. Getting a divorce was also the right decision. No two ways about it. All the big decisions before and after that have all been good ones. Leaving the hospital after 17 years was good. Leaving OTTR after 5 was one of my best decisions ever. Leaving Matt was also a good call, and now, thinking about all of this, I have gained more clarity on what’s going down 15 days from now.

(Yes.. 15 days to go! 💍💕)

It’s the right decision and my doubt is fading fast. Maybe it’s the adrenaline of this caffeinated snow day that’s got me in this mood. Maybe it’s the worry in me that’s just giving up the fight. It’s losing/lost the battle and walking away. I’m finding myself in the sweet spot between doubt and party/wedding day anxiety.

Jim being here probably has a lot to do with that. He’s such a constant stabilizing force. He’s just amazing. I’m a lucky girl. 🍀💚🥰

That’s enough mush mush for today. What a wild ride for a Friday. Looking forward to the weekend.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-01-04 MFA Day 7 – It Will Find It’s Way Out

(making up for my brevity yesterday apparently so.. long post)

Your voice, your words, your emotions, your suppressed or unsuppressed opinions and thoughts. The things pushed deep inside or those loitering silently just below the surface. Whatever it is, it will find it’s way out. Especially in moments when you feel like you can trust the ones around you or if you are pushed to your limits.

Here in this place I have both conditions active so it’s no wonder that the things I hold inside find their way out. It’s not in the group dynamic mind you, it’s in those intimate moments where I’ve had the opportunity to talk, really talk, one on one or with just two other people about what’s happening in our lives.

And surprisingly it’s not sharing what’s going on with me but listening, really listening, to those people. Feeling with them in their moments of reflection, contemplation, and clarity. It’s incredible actually. It makes me feel like a whole person.

One of the things that have been different about this residency compared to others is that I haven’t given in to the flight or flight response that has caused me to have a need to get in my car and drive home. In past residencies I’ve found myself at a breaking point and just made the executive decision to leave for the night. Not just to sleep in my own bed but to disconnect enough to be in my own space and consider my own issues and make sure I can still reach my center of gravity.

What happens on those 45 minute car rides was unexpected but somewhat reliable. I’m on the highway like 5 minutes, enough time to get out of town and confirm I was headed in the right direction and let go of that and start letting my mind wander. Almost as if a switch has been flipped, I think some thought and am moved to tears.

And not just a teary eye, and uneven breath, but uncontrollable sobbing. The kind where you can’t catch your breath and the highway ahead becomes so blurry like a massive rainstorm when windshield wipers can’t keep up. It’s raining on the inside and everything on the inside just comes out. it pours, for a good 20 minutes and then just as suddenly as it came, it’s gone.

It’s not one thing, it’s all the things. It’s an overwhelming force, but once it’s over, I return to a state where my head is clear and I can start to put together my thoughts in a logical fashion again. I arrive home, find my center (or like I said, at least confirm it’s location), sleep, wake up, and return for another day.

So what’s different this time? I guess it is that I am getting more comfortable, have established relationships and trust with people here, and no longer feel that fight or flight in the same way as before. I have not gone home. I won’t go home until tomorrow when this is all over.

But that buildup of stuff, whatever it is, whatever has contributed to it, whatever it is made of is still happening and has been happening since day zero. I’ve felt myself teetering on the verge of tears. I don’t particularly like crying in public (though it did happen once last Residency and big time), so I breathe through those moments and maintain my composure.

Late afternoon yesterday the last of three graduating students presented their reading. One of the requirements to graduate is to give a 20 minute reading of content that you wrote during the course of your time in the program. She presented three pieces, two narratives and a one act play. It was exquisite. It was so moving and so well written that the narratives felt like long prose poems, constructed with language that carried powerful meaning while also singing and and creating a unique aesthetic experience for those of us fortunate enough to be in the room to hear it. And hear it in the authors voice, which was both soft and and strong in conviction with confidence and, a few times, with the brief line or two which were actual song.

When it was over the typical routine is for people to applaud and then approach and offer hugs and words of encouragement and congratulations. That happened, but as she started receiving hugs the applause did not subside and people began standing. A standing ovation. A first for me to witness here.

After the first hug and words ended, the author looked up and realized it. She was stunned. It was incredibly moving. I was moved to tears (still standing and clapping mind you). A line formed for continued hugs and those quiet words whispered into her ears. I took my plane in line. It was an honor to witness the moment and an honor to be able to tell this woman, who I barely knew, how her writing and presentation moved me.

After that the group dispersed and continued on with their own objectives and plans. I did too.

This morning I woke up just before 4. My mind was immediately there, back in that moment. Perhaps I was dreaming it all over again and moved so much it woke me. I sat up and realized I was about to cry. It came on like that rainstorm in the car, so suddenly and so hard. I wasn’t even fully awake or aware of what was happening. 4 am and it found its way out.

I had a good cry, albeit brief and that was followed by an epiphany. A rush of thoughts about my thesis and it’s content and organization and preface and the accompanying lecture and reading. All in a rush it came to me. What it is and what I have to do next.

I spent the next hour making notes. And now I’m well past an hour (approaching 1.5 hours) on this treadmill writing this post.

Because of the extra time I took today I’m running a little late to find Miss Margret up in the dining room to have our morning breakfast chat. Which means I’ve got to go.

Lots to do In the next 24 hours.

XOXO,

~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

2019-11-21 Turn Left at Uncertainty

Let me start by saying this has not been a happy day and this will not be a happy post, if you have (like I have) had enough of just feeling shitty today, then best just skip this one. My feelings will not be hurt, because my feelings are already hurt. I’m sure the sun will come back out again tomorrow or whatever.

In about 73 days I’ll be celebrating getting married with a few of my closest friends and relatives and also my new family. I’m sure it will be a happy time, but with some unfolding events in this past week I can’t help but be reminded of where I was at in 1993, preparing for my first rodeo, as it were.

But hold up – this isn’t about then, this is about now. It’s about friendship and holding on and letting go. It’s about giving the benefit of doubt and trying hard to stay connected in a world where the over-connected nature of things make all interactions feel a little shallow. How well do we really know people and even when we know them do we really know them?

The detail behind these questions comes from a place of such doubt. I’ve got a friend who I have known for about 15 years and she’s recently disappeared from contact. We don’t see each other often, but I consider her one of my people. We go to lunch about once every couple of months – that’s our thing. I should call her, but I am afraid that her non-responsiveness over text is supposed to be a sign that she no longer wants to have anything to do with me. This makes me very sad and I am scared to call her because I don’t know what will happen. I hate feeling rejected. I’m sure (or hoping) it has nothing to do with me but what then?

The second instance is my other friend who I have known for 9 or 10 years. We have recently been trying to make plans to get together and it just never seems to work out. Too busy I suppose and I’m half of the problem but now she’s not responding to text either. Again, I feel like I should call but can’t seem to dial the phone. Maybe I hate the phone. Maybe I’m scared of more rejection.

The third whammy came last night when a very dear friend of mine, who previously agreed to marry me (as in officiate my wedding), let me know it was too overwhelming and she was going to have to back out. I was disappointed as an immediate reaction and let her know right away it was totally fine and that I understood and that I still love her. I mean, it is a big deal and all and I don’t want anyone feeling too much pressure. But still, after having about 24 hours now to think on it (and also start googling for other options), I realize I’m just sad about it. I really don’t want to have some stranger marrying us. I knew it would feel more special if those I love were involved. As it is, we don’t have a bridal party so I’m feeling kind of alone on this bridal island.

It’s just been a rotten few days since the invites went out and I’m wondering now about anyone showing up. Perhaps I will get no RSVPs or people will just politely decline.

25 years ago when I got married, I sent invites to a bunch of my classmates I had been going to school with for 2 years who I thought I had formed lasting relationships with and not a single one of those people showed up to my wedding. After the excitement of the day settled into the rear-view, that really bothered me. I guess it still kind of does actually as I am still thinking about it now. Of course, about a week after I got married, I drove off to Vegas to live with my husband just outside of Nellis Air Force Base and never saw any of those people again. Like “poof” two years of bonding over assignments and late nights in the computer lab and ping-pong in the cafeteria, and hitting bars around town to play pool and darts and not drink because I was only 19. All gone.

I’m going to see a famous slam poet tonight, Buddy Wakefield, and Jim can’t go so I had to hunt around for another date. Thankfully my sister is able to go and that made me feel a little better. I’m just not sure what to do about these other friends. I dunno. Wait until tomorrow I guess and maybe then the sun will come out. Probably.

Flame Off,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-09-27 Austin Day 0 – Arriving Home

This morning I woke up in one of my favorite places. My bedroom in the corner of the house of my Texas bestie. It really does feel great to be home. It’s not my home of course but you know what they say, about home and the heart. Such truth.

My friends’ home has been my home for 10+ years. They were preparing to get married as my marriage was falling apart in 2009. They have offered me sanctuary at every turn. The divorce, the rebuilding of my life as a single mom, the stops and starts in the dating world, the high of meeting Matt, and the heartbreak as that too fell apart. Then round two of dating again.. and what a horrible thing dating has become. Why does it feel like there’s nothing redeeming about it?! Except, of course, that impossible needle in a haystack of finding a special someone. And now, my friends are gathering to celebrate that! Life is good.

Last night Rebecca picked me up from the airport and we immediately went to dinner, just the two of us, to start getting caught up. I know she’s my people because we both came with this thought in our heads we need a list so we don’t miss talking about anything. Yup.

So that was great, and we we went to one of our places, District Kitchen, where I had my Bison burger and whatever new thing is on the cocktail menu. We got through a few topics there and then continued back at the house with a desert cocktail and winding down on the back patio. In bed by like 10pm, cuz that’s where we are at. This might be my weekend away to stay up late, etc. but she’s got routine and little ones and life has requirements.

This morning I’m doing the elliptical thing and gathering some thoughts. One thing I’m grateful for here is just a break in my own crazy routine and getting a few things done which are important but never bubble to top priority.

After this session, she has a whole day planned for us and it sounds amazing. Temps here are record highs (100s) and it reminds me when I was in Colorado in June and it was freezing and snowing. The routine of the Earth, too, is off it’s rails.

She warned me ahead of time “don’t bring jeans or you might die”. Ha! So it’s sun dresses and shorts and tank tops. I’m all for extending summer a little more. I’m never really ready for fall.

That it for this session. Time to go find the sun.

Cheers to Day 1,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-08-20 How Much is Enough?

How many things can I cross off my list? How many things do I need to cross off to feel as if I’m doing enough? That I’ve done enough? Enough for what?

To earn my keep here?

To feel like I’ve actually accomplished something substantial and worthwhile?

To earn some reward or rest or treating myself to something selfish?

Don’t get me wrong, I spend plenty of time on selfish pursuits. But if the joy is not in them, then there must be something wrong. Right?

Between yesterday and today I’ve crossed almost every task I’ve written down. All but 1, and I have it in my mind to get that done before Friday. Roll into the weekend easy.

Sometime today I talked myself out of throwing a “dog days of summer” party on Saturday and that released me from the responsibility of doing about 4 things on my list, including extending invitations for the shindig. I told Jim at lunch and he said he was not surprised about that. I procrastinated the invites and that means I was still very much on the fence about it.

I got the idea after our last party which was, as it always is, a family affair and it was about 25 relatives from his side and a big fat zero from mine. Nothing like feeling like I’m alone on an island, albeit a beautiful one. I decided we would have a party and invite friends instead. But, as I said, I drug my feet on it until it seemed more a chore than anything else. Cleaning and preparing for guests and such involves a level of effort I just lost the heart to take on.

I’m supposed to go wedding dress shopping again tonight and my heart is not in that either. Whatever. I’m just feeling unsatisfied and I’m not sure how to fix it, and it’s only Tuesday.

And while we are on the subject of me being a spoiled brat and not satisfied with anything with nothing real to complain about.. my arm hurts. Damn it, it sucks to get old.

Jim just says “call the ortho”. That’s right. Get a shot, take a pill, rub some creme on it. So you say you are exhausted every day by 10am and not sleeping? Here’s a prescription for Xanax and we can try again with that hormone replacement therapy.

We can drain that HSA that nobody is contributing to anymore and we’ll worry about the fact that the kids still don’t have health insurance when it hits bottom. But all that will be fixed next February when I get married. Because that’s a reason to get married. What about Love?

Maybe I’m just not feeling very loved and appreciated. Maybe I’m not giving enough to get some back. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough.

Again, I ask, how much is enough?

Well this is certainly enough of this blog post. All this complaining.. ain’t nobody got time for that.

Peace and love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-07 The One About Marriage – Part 1

It’s been about 9 and a half months since my love proposed to me. It was a beautiful setting, the green space outside of the location we met for the first time. It was a warm day and though the sun was shining, there were isolated showers. He started giving what sounded like a speech and I just knew what was coming. In truth, I’d had suspicion that it was going to be soon and even told my daughter early in the day I was nervous about my date that night. It was my birthday and he insisted on taking me out, just the two of us, which isn’t particularly odd for a birthday dinner, but like I said, I just had a feeling.

He ended his little speech (which I don’t remember anything about because of my nerves) and got down on one knee and took the box out of his pocket and held it up to me and asked if I would marry him. Of course I said yes, it was the perfect moment. Then the sky opened up and it began to to pour. We hugged and kissed and I grabbed his hand so we could go inside for a celebratory glass of wine (our first meetup was at a wine bar).

It was sweet and simple and perfect. We were outside and there were not any people around. It was just us.

Since then we have talked about getting married about 10 times. That’s about once a month if one does the math. That’s not a lot.

The first time was when we drove to Minnesota last fall and that’s when we agreed we wanted to have a celebration with close friends and family and not a destination wedding. Our parents, except for my mom, don’t travel anymore and destination weddings are too expensive for the guests anyway.

The second and third time was mostly talking about the possible dates and the guest list. Neither one of us want a “big” wedding so we decided something smaller and more modest would be better. He suggested we get married on our one year anniversary and I sort of snorted what I was drinking out of my nose at the time and then proceeded to have an internal mini freak out. I calmly said “I think that’s too soon”.

Then we talked about summer and weather and a ceremony outside. Then I came up with the idea of getting married on February 2nd, 2020. That, folks, is a stellar day as it is a bonafied numeric palindrome – 02022020 (no matter what continent you are on)!! He said “I love it”. So that was it, the date was set.

And it was delightfully far enough in the future that I could forget all about it for a good little while. And so I did.

Every once and a while the subject came up and something else was more pressing. It was the holidays and then the move and then the sale of my house and then it was just work and kids and too much to do always. Now here it is, June and less than 8 months until that perfect date and I’m done with work and the kids are out of school and I’ve got no excuses not to start planning.

We talked briefly about it again and I cleaned out a few boxes in my closet and found an empty notebook to take notes in. I googled venues in Omaha and made a short list of a few places that looked nice.

I made a few calls and left awkward voicemails and also sent a few emails. We’re “Just checking availability” and not really doing any serious planning. That’s what I tell myself when I feel my pulse quicken thinking about all of it.

Now my calls and emails are being returned. A couple of the places are not available on that date and the next step will be to schedule tours of the rest. Oh gawd. “Tours”??!! That sounds so serious. Eeeek. I’m also looking at price breakdowns and that alone is enough for me to throw my hands up in surrender. It’s all just impossibly.. impossible.

Just this amount of “planning” has caused my eye to start twitching again. I want to celebrate this important time in our lives but I don’t want a grand, elaborate, expensive, look-at-us, sort of thing. He doesn’t either.

All of this and I haven’t even touched the actual subject of marriage. This is all just fluff, you know, next to the fact that on that day, the second day of February in the year 2020, I will be saying vows and committing the rest of my life to this one person. I mean, he’s amazing and all of that but the rest of my life is a long fucking time. I have a healthy amount of anxiety about the wedding but the idea of marriage literally terrifies me.

I’ve had almost 10 months to think about it and work through my issues and the reasons why I might be feeling this way, but I’ve been avoiding it. I’ve procrastinated thinking or writing or talking about it at any length with anyone, myself included. It’s probably about time I approach the conversation with him and let him help me through it. He’s been so great about so many different situations I’ve been challenged with or troubled by since like day-1, so why should this be any different??

Anyway, we have a (mostly) kid free weekend this weekend and it will be the perfect time for some good conversations. I can’t let myself repeat past mistakes and keep it all inside. Communication is key here. And, as a matter of fact, it’s one of the most important components in a successful marriage. I’d better make an effort to keep a good thing good now. It’s a long way till “death do us part”. Oh Gawd. Vows!!!!

Let’s call this little post part 1 of a series and if I can commit to that, I’m accountable to write part 2, which means I have to have the content to have something to write about.. right!?!!

Here Comes the Weekend,

~Miss SugarCookie