2018-01-20 Dreams and Unresolved Feelings

Welcome to Saturday. In truth, it’s a day for me like any other. It’s gym time first followed by a writing workshop downtown and then I’m going to try and get a little more time in on a work document. My life is so exciting.

One thing good that comes from such a boring existence is a decent amount of sleep. I woke up this morning just after 5 and was able to go back to sleep for a few more hours of dreaming. And dream I did.

Last night the maker of dreams brought me incomprehensible insight into my relationship with both Josh and Simon. I don’t remember anything about the one with Josh and that one was probably inspired by the fact we hung out for a few hours at his house last night. That’s something I have not done for months and months.

We were planning to take a closer look at some self authoring, eye opening, life changing program he found online. Once I actually read the content in their landing page, I pretty much decided I wasn’t interested. Instead I helped him with a sewing machine and a little project to mend a few articles of clothing and then just talked.

With him it’s always the same story, only the days and weeks and years change. It’s not my story to tell so I’ll just drop it there.

The last dream I had before I woke up was about Simon. It was also really incoherent but the overarching “feeling” I had during the dream which lingered a bit after I woke up was that “I” was not good enough. It was just a feeling, but sort of sums up how that whole relationship made me feel.

Most things I did were inadequate. Some were indirectly stated through my interpretation of his words and actions and some were just flat out explicit.

I don’t have an issue with self esteem and I try and approach things with an open mind that there could be a better way of doing something. I’m not above trying new things and truly believe that’s the best way to be in order to learn and grow. So I was welcoming of the indirect criticism and even direct suggestions about certain things. However, feeling constantly inadequate was the result and that’s rotten.

Frankly, after some evaluation, some of the things I’m talking about were, in fact, not better. There might be a “proper” way to set a table and use a knife to cut with the right hand and eat with a fork in the left, but that’s just absurd. I don’t live in Buckingham Fuking Palace. I live in Nebraska and I’m an American who eats with a fork in my right hand. I’m sure that his ‘way’ comes from his British upbringing, but that doesn’t mean it’s better.

That’s just one example, but it’s a pretty good one. There were issues with my cooking and how he’s just superior but in truth, there are only like four things he made regularly and one of them was an omlet. Flipping an omlet in the pan does not equate to being a master chef and in my opinion, anyone who does not put cheese on a cheeseburger is just daft. Food is very subjective but there was a specific instance where I was made to feel bad about breaking a yolk when cracking an egg for fried eggs. For real!

Not only that but he went so far as to eat that one to “show” me how ok he was with it and patted himself openly on the back for that gesture. Yes.. for real!!

His habit of giving himself credit for these sort of things was just putting an exclamation point on both his self-centered nature and his general attitude that he was better than most.

At one point he said that he was proud of himself for being sensitive to my feelings. How on earth is THAT something to be proud of. You’re dating a girl and you feel the need to point out that you acknowledge the she has feelings? And this was after a conversation that left me tearie-eyed. So he made me cry AND THEN went on to say how wonderful he was to have recognized the effect that conversation had in me. Dude.. if you didn’t, you probably aren’t human. That’s nothing to be proud of. And even if you are pleased with yourself, maybe you should just keep it to yourself.

Several weeks back, before our breakup that wasn’t a breakup, I wrote about the fact that I wasn’t going to go into any detail about all his faults. Well.. that’s out the window now!! 😜

There’s more, but I’m going to try and keep it to myself. I guess I just haven’t achieved appropriate closure on that little experiment.

He’s supposed to come over to my place tomorrow to help patch a hole in my wall where the old thermostat and humidifier control panels were pried out. I only agreed to this because he owes me one and I don’t want to pay someone to do it. After that, I’m just going to let it all fade to nothing naturally.

Hopefully writing the unwritten will release me from feeling unresolved about all of it and my dreams will get the hint and just leave him out of the picture from now on.

Moving On,

~Miss SugarCookie

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2018-01-19 The Problem with Millenials

My last post centered around my concern for my bank account, which lead me on a meandering path about other things that I want to do and how much money they are going to cost. Not with specifics, you know, just about wanting to travel and how I’m going to have to be frugal this year and play it smart if I still want to enjoy time away from home. It also brought to mind the debt that I am incurring going back to school.

When I was first inspired to apply for the masters program at UNO, I had no thought at all about how much it would cost. I actually didn’t even look that up until I was well into the process. As I waited to hear if my application was going to be accepted I did look into it and all at once it became a major concern. I actually considered abandoning the path even before I was on it because of the cost (almost 40 grand), but the side of me that is searching for something more in my life and understands that I’m only given a short time to do the things that are meaningful to me, won out. So I accepted the risk and the cost and now I’m in it.

Logging into my account on the University website is a huge reality check. The semester is underway and I am enrolled and now I owe that money no matter what happens (at least one semesters worth). It’s the first time in a long time I have had any debt, so it is a shock to my system. I did, like most people, jump through the hoops to see what financial aid I could get.

I submitted that paperwork weeks ago, and just a few days ago heard back from the powers that be on what I would be allowed to borrow. In truth, the whole thing seemed incredibly easy.

It was like “hey, can I have some cash for school?”. And then Bam!…

“Sure. Here’s a cool 10 grand. Enjoy!”

It made me question – Is this how the system works now? No wonder hundreds of thousands of millennials are in debt and have no clue about money. Frankly it’s too easy and they already have no clue how to work hard and earn .. anything (no fault of their own). I at least know what it is I have to do to make that money AND make a real contribution in my endeavors along the way.

I happened to watch another video by Simon Sinek (again with the ‘Why Guy”) about the problem with millennials. He defines that population as anyone born after 1984 and in the video articulates how it really is not their fault they have no clue.

It’s because of poor parenting, technology, impatience, and the environment. I would argue that impatience is actually a result of the other three and not a cause, but he lists it as one of the four causes. He makes a very strong case for society being to blame and that now the burden of correcting that problem falls squarely on the shoulders of corporate America where these people now Work. The big take away, is it is NOT their fault. I also agree with his statements about people/humanity as a collective and our desire to “feel” like we are contributing and that we have a purpose. What the millennials don’t have is any sense at all for how hard a person has to work to achieve the things they dream about.

They see a mountain, but don’t know how to climb it or even what equipment they need to do so. They don’t know how long it will take and what impact it will have on their bodies. They have no clue because they have never been taught or given an example and THAT is the fault of their parents, our culture and teachers, and frankly, a lot of the so-called role models these people were given.

The video is quite good and at one point made me tear up (but that’s probably just because I’m me). Here’s a link … Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace

I was born before 1984, so I’m not in that group, I’m Gen X. I don’t feel entitled and I have a pretty good idea what it takes to accomplish the things I want to accomplish. Right now I have a mountain ahead of me with this Masters program, and I’m under no delusion of grandeur about how hard it is going to be to climb. Right now it’s day by day, one foot in front of the other.

If I am mindful and talking to my children about it and showing them what I’m having to do to earn my successes, then they will be better for it too. According to one source, they are not millennials, they are Gen Z or the iGen. I think the jury is still out on what their signature character traits will are because they are still so young. That just means that there is still time for us Gen X parents to shape how our Gen Z children will be in society. Its not too late to turn them away from being clone copies of the misguided and confused millennial population.

Well, at least not in the case of my children anyway. But I’m only one person and it really does take recognition and a collective effort from many, many people to actually make a change that is systemic and lasting. I have no control over that, and as I have stated before, am in no position to lead the charge on anything. I’m just doing the best I can do everyday for myself and my children and looking for a leader with a vision I can get behind. Which might turn out to be the biggest challenge of all!

From the Foothills,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-01-18 Poking the Panic Monster

I have just under two weeks to get my first set of assignments turned in for this semester of my masters program. The panic monster inside of me is still fast asleep. That’s probably not a good thing. I think part of me thinks it’s going to be easy and the other part thinks that since this is my very first submission, if it’s not quite right, my mentor will correct my mistakes, give me more direction, and then we’ll just move on to the next one.

There are basically three elements required for this first “packet”.

1. A sampling of my creative writing, either first drafts or revisions, with a minimum number of pages.

2. A set of critical essays written on subjects derived from my reading of the books on my reading list. Again, there are a minimum number of essays and pages.

3. A cover letter which is to serve as the main communication between my my mentor and myself. It’s the start of a semester long dialogue to discuss what I’ve done, problems I’m having, and any questions I might have.

This is all to be compiled in a single document and emailed to my mentor by the deadline, which is January 31st.

#1 is Cake! That’s money that is already in the bank. I’ve been writing everyday and revising everyday and inspired by things around me that naturally fall into words on a line on the page. It’s been quite magical actually.

#3 will also be a snap. An hour at the keyboard at most and everything I’ve been thinking about this process and my work and my reading will just simply appear. At least that’s what I’m thinking about it now anyway.

#2 is where it gets tough. I’ve got three texts and three collections of poems from three poets on my reading list. Week 1 was acquiring the books. ✅

Week 2 was beginning to read in order Of interest and also as directed by my mentor. ✅

But that’s where the train stops.

I read up a little on both Robert Creeley and Emily Dickinson on wiki and began reading poems from each. I haven’t yet started in on Wallace Stevens. I’m going to hold my comments for a minute on first impressions.

I also started my first text, “A Poets Guide to Poetry”. I’m still in the introductory section and have not made it to chapter 1. I will not hold my tongue on my initial thoughts where this is concerned. It’s confusing as hell.

Picture reading a novel where the subject matter is completely foreign and so the terms used to describe things are unknown and have to be looked up, one by one. Then, add in that the language itself is on a level above what one is accustomed to. This just means that not only is there a teminogy gap, but a language gap, and ordinary words also have to be ‘googled’.

As if that was not enough, it is also written with a cadence that someone who is used to reading and interpreting a poem might understand. The whole thing feels like a poem whose subject is not obvious without some diligent re-reading, analysis, and reflection.

In fact, it goes right into that very idea, even before chapter 1. Some analysis of lines with conclusions I never in my wildest dreams would have come to in my own. I wondered when reading if the author had some insider information from the poets themselves or interviews or explanations written after the fact. Is it common knowledge? Are these famous poems used time and again in lectures in universities to highlight the exact point she’s making? Is this the stuff I should know already? Shit.

It feels like I’m a pre-med or pre-pharmacy student who is taking organic chemistry for the first time. For those that are not aware, “orgo” is the class they use to weed students out of these programs who don’t belong. Sure, being a doctor sounds like a fantastic idea, so why not go for it? However, not everyone has the mental capacity to do that job. The system is designed with keepers of gates and checks and balances to make sure that when you go visit your PCP, you don’t end up talking to ‘“Biff” from Back to the Future. Orgo does that. It separates good candidates from those who will not be able to make it through the program.

But this is POETRY, not rocket science. I get that there’s a lot more to it than just words dancing on a page. I’m engaged with learning all those things and am committed and have my mind set, but I actually want to learn them. I don’t want to guess and pretend to learn them and end up spending every penny I ever saved for a piece of paper and a few letters. I want to grow as a person and come away knowing more than I did before and be able to talk about it intelligently and even perhaps even pass on what I have learned. Nobody’s life will hang in the balance if I mess up, for sure, but that does not mean I’m ok with fluffing my way through.

I recognize part of my problem is me, and the fact that I’m not classically trained in literature or poetry or art and that I’ve been out of school for 20 years. My brain is mush. I’ve fallen to reading young adult dystopian fiction and I hang out with teenagers in my spare time. My vocabulary has not advanced in adulthood and everything new I’ve learned is based on acronyms, systems of operation, and thought processes of software development. Not helpful, as it turns out, when reading poetry.

This is probably why I’m having no issues picking up all this AWS stuff. It’s all cake so far, and being fed to me with language an elementary student could understand. I’ve aced every practice test and have not yet come across a concept that didn’t make complete sense.

It’s as if instead of “Poetry for Poets”, I need to start with “Poetry for Dummies”. According to my mentor, that the one he assigned is the best reference book on the shelf today and the easiest of the three texts he assigned me to read. Damn. I shudder to imagine what the other two texts will be like.

Thinking about all of this is making the Panic Monster roll over in his bed, as if he were having a bad dream. I’m thinking he’s about to wake up.

Let the Chaos begin!

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-01-17 Happy Blog-aversary

We’re over half way into January now and well past what my typical “reflection” time is for the previous year. I did a little, over December that spilled into January and recognize how far I’ve come in just one year, but there is one key thing that should not be dismissed easily and bears mentioning.

I briefly included this in my last “Sunday Status Update” for the year which happened to be on January 7th, but only so far as statistics go. What I am referring to is this blog and how it was a major contributing factor in my journey to live a healthier, more fulfilling life. It was my declaration from the start and not once have I gone back to edit that statement of purpose that appears at the top of every page.

Since the day I started, it has been, and continues to be a vital part of my journey. Writing for this blog every day has helped me see things more clearly. It has help me articulate what I am thinking. It has provided me daily practice in sharpening my craft and opened my eyes so that I can be witness to and report on the world around me, however small that is. It’s also helped me in some intangible ways that are difficult to describe.

Some day’s I feel as though I am talking to a dear friend and others I feel like I might be talking to a therapist. Some days I’m in the mood to rant about the world, and that’s OK, because this is my space to do that. I’ve carved out a little corner of the world and claimed it as my own. Some day’s I’m hopeful for the future and some days are just down-right miserable and no matter what nonsense or earth shattering revelations I decide to write about, it’s really just for me and I have no expectations higher than the satisfaction I get from writing and contributing to the collective consciousness of the world.

The day I started happened to be January 15, 2017. That first post is timestamped as January 16, because by default “Wordpress” was using the wrong time zone for my part of the world. At that time I really had no idea how often I would write or if I would even have enough to say. I never imagined then, how the story would unfold.

I missed the anniversary date of the inaugural post by a few days.. that’s a bummer. I like to celebrate anniversaries. I like to acknowledge the passing of time and look back and see the distance that has been travelled. It brings me comfort to see it and makes me excited for the future. A year ago, I never knew what things might be possible and so much has changed in this past year that I realize now that ANYTHING is possible.

So happy first blog-aversary to me and to anyone who tunes in to read my musings. Thanks for being a part of the story. Here’s to another great year to come!

Cheers,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-01-13 About ‘August and Everything After’

Last night on my way home from getting groceries one of my favorite Counting Crows songs came up in the shuffle. I could only listen for like a minute before I had to skip to the next song. It wasn’t because it reminds me of something unpleasant. It’s because when Adam sings live, and it was obviously a recording of a live show, he tends to go “off script”, and just sing whatever he wants.

Maybe those departures are arrangements that are well planned out and practices, but they are so different from the studio recording, that one can’t even try to sing along. I like to sing along. I especially like to sing along to my favorites.. the ones I know by heart because my heart is so moved by them.

So when that song came on, I was so excited because I haven’t heard it in a while. After a few versus though, I was disgusted and had to hit “next”. It did leave me wanting to revisit the Crows so that’s my selection this morning for my morning workout (the original recording of ‘August and Everything After’, which is my favorite album of theirs).

Now that that is established, there are three places this can go…

1.) Backstory of the road trip my sister and I took in 2008 to see Counting Crows live in Chicago.

2.) The narritave I wrote about Adam after that experience.

3.) The significance in the title of that album in my relationship with Matt.

I’m really not sure which way to go on this. #1 could be long and I’m not sure I’ve got time for that. #2 Is still one of my favorites after all these years, but I’d rather just post it again instead of writing about it (show don’t tell 😉). #3 feels right for this moment…

As long as I’ve been writing, as far back as I can remember and have content to show for my efforts, I’ve had a thing with naming my Work. I’ve organized, cataloged, grouped, named and described everything.

Every journal had a name. Every poem from those journals was collected and copied together in a separate location, and each of those extracted sets was given a name. I put a lot of thought into all the names so there’s significance in all of it.

One has to recognize that all those early artifacts were pre 1992. There was no cloud online or copy-paste or even typed writing. It was all hand written, reviewed, revisited, page after page. Even the colors of the folders I selected had significance and I spent a great deal of time on all of it.

I still have most of that work. It’s in a box on a shelf in my bedroom closet and on my list of things to grab if there’s time, in an emergency. The notebooks are so worn and delicately still attached to their spiral binding. The folders are in better shape, and there’s even extra folders in the box because I once had hopes of more. Most of that stuff is garbage rambling of an emotional teenage girl. It’s not worth anything to anyone but me, but it is a record and that means something to me.

I didn’t get my typewriter (a Brother AX24, I believe) until I was a senior in HS, and I only ever used it for school Work In HS and my first years in college. I’ve got very little from those days and my personal writing remained handwritten. Incidentally that was also about the time I started dating Brian and I graduated from community college the same month we got married.

What followed was a long drought in my writing. I went from writing hundreds of pages to writing virtually nothing at all… for years. I guess that’s what adult life does to a person.

Work, relationships, tv and movies replaced my original go-to for what to do with my time. I had my career and I had my babies and for a very long time, I really didn’t have the time to write.

It was not until 2008 that my life started to change. Time accounting is important to me so I feel the need to point out that for 15 years of my life, there was very little writing. I had a few small random journals from when I was pregnant or after I had C and was trying to lose weight, and a few random blurbs and poems inspired by fairly significant events, but not more than that. Sadly.

2008 was the year I finally came to the end of what I was willing to endure with my marriage. Not to be dismissed is the nudge I got from starting to have feelings for another man. The latter may have fueled the fire for the former, but both were turning points and I started to write again.

Incidentally, 2008 was also the year my sisters and I went to Chicago to see the Counting Crows. I did not intend to make a circle back to this, but there it is.

What followed in the years to come was my divorce and more writing. Then dating again and more writing. Falling in love is sweet and capturing that with poetry and words is priceless. I admit my writing waned again in the middle of my relationship with Matt, but as soon as there were issues, it picked up again. With each new phase, I was documenting everything and just as before categorizing and labeling.

I had collections named for the person I was dating or that time in my life and this time, most of it was electronic and either in folders on my laptop or online or both. When I started using Evernote in 2009 it made things so much easier. When I started my blog in 2010, I found joy in the organization of it all.

My need for labeling things probably contributes to my desire to have multiple blogs. So this one is for stream of consciousness journaling and that one for poetry and creative writing. It all makes sense to me and that’s the way I like it.

I start dating Matt in August of 2011. When we started, I was sure that this was it. I’d finally found the one and we were a great match and it was going to last forever. I think he thought so too. We both liked the Counting Crows and one of the first things we did in our relationship was share all of our favorite music. The “notebook” I have from that time in my life, right up to our relationship breathing it’s last breath is therefore called “August and Everything After”.

That’s a long, mostly irrelevant story just to get to a very brief conclusion. But I guess that’s just how it goes sometimes. I’m still sad that “Everything After” only lasted for about 5 years and I really have not yet come to conclude what the current phase of my life shall be titled. Most of the time, the inspiration for that doesn’t really come until there is something noteworthy to make it make sense.

For now, I’ll just keep being Miss SugarCookie and rolling along with the punches, singing my tunes.

“I am the Rain King”
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-01-09 Closing the Book On Day 1

The first day of the rest of my life was a complete success. I only had enough work for a couple hours but that left more time for another Cloud Guru course and this time it was my first lab. So now, yours truly, has an account on AWS and can create users, groups, and assign policies with permissions. I’m on my way!!

I also wrote a new poem with a topic that I was inspired by the day before and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t suck. I tried to edit the poem I wrote the day before too but got stuck on some detail in the middle. Damnit all if MY brain always wants things to rhyme. It just sounds better, but I’ve been challenged to stray away from that for a while so I’m trying.

My “textbooks” have not arrived yet and I’m using that as an excuse to not start working on my critical essays. I did research Emily Dickinson though (as far as what was on the wiki anyway). I’m fascinated by her life and can now point to that and say “hey look, she did that and so just take off your judgie pants”.

I’m referring of course to her reclusive life style and the fact that she didn’t aspire to be a published writer (or did she? 🤔). I’ve got more research to do and lots of her poems to read and I think there will be some clues in there.

I successfully survived day 1 of the whole 30 without giving in to temptation. My kids’ reactions to my declaration about the next 30 days…

Z “God damnit”.

C /shrug

Both of these reactions made me smile. I don’t encourage swearing in my house, but recognize that sometimes it’s appropriate. In this case, it was completely appropriate. Z knows it means dinners will all be cooked by yours truly and that I’m not going to feed her need for fast food or junk.

I smiled at my sons reaction too. It means he’s smart enough to know, for him, it won’t mean sacrificing anything. He doesn’t have the same dietary desires as his sister and I’d go so far as to say he even likes my cooking.

Today is Day 2. It’s not lost on me that if I’m going to make this work, I’m going to have to find a good balance. Not just the food, but exercise, reading, writing, parenting, sleep, and Work too. I might have to give in a little in the exercise department.

I need to work more than 3 hours a day and I need to spend about 4 a day on school work. I used to work an 8 hour day so that should be cake, but I’m still adjusting. I have more work assignments today that came out of our team meeting last night (our weekly team meeting is 8PM on Mondays) so I’m looking forward to getting started on that.

Tonight my sister is having me over for dinner. She’s the one doing the Whole 30 with me.. and she’s a good cook so I’m looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to chatting and being able to talk about Simon. I’ve made light of the “end” of our relationship, but it’s not nothing. It’s something and I’ve got more to say about it.

Anyway.. Day 2 is well underway now and I’ve got to practice what i preach and cut this elliptical session short.

One day at a time,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-01-07 Sushi Sunday Funday Status Update – A Year in the Rearview

It’s Sunday January 7th, 2018 and my gym is swarming with resolutionaries but I’m not there yet because I’m still catching up from last week.

I’ve not had time to reflect deeply on 2017, but I think that’s ok because I spent so much time on it throughout the year. I was evaluating my status and goals every couple of weeks and it goes without saying (because I have said it often this past year), but I’m in such a better place, physically and mentally now.

My left-brain, lover of Stats has this to say about 2017…

231 Jazzercise Classes

Up 3 lbs in handheld weights in class (now at 8lbs).

5,480,146 steps. Just over 15k per day.

That’s freaking awesome.

An average of 7 hours and 25 minutes sleep per night. This is also amazing, but I’m somewhat shocked by this and may go back and check the data.

Lots of attempts at changing my diet.. and zero change in my weight. Don’t misunderstand, the weight is not important.. it’s the only measure I have. Perhaps I’ll do body fat % again sometime soon to see if I really did add more muscle like I think I did.

Relationship status daily average: Single 😜

Employment status daily average: Part time. I spent half a year at full time and half a year unemployed.

I’d like to calculate how many miles I travelled.. but there’s not an app I’ve been using for that and it would take too much time to do manually. I’ll just name my destinations:

Cancun Mexico for my sisters wedding, Kiehei Hawaii on the island of Maui, Phoenix, Austin (x2), Denver (x2), Seattle, Portland, The Redwood Forest in Northern Cali, Highway 101 in the Pacific Nortwest, Saint Louis, Beatrice Nebraska for the Totality, and finally, Nebraska City Nebraska for the inaugural trip for my MFA.

Whew!

Consequently, my bank account is now 30k lighter. Financial status is still holding steady at stable.

And last, but certainly not least, my main goal to live every day inching closer and closer to a happy and fulfilling existence was, for the most part, met with success. This could not been made possible without the help of the writing I have done for this blog.

337 blog posts

1399 visitors

2191 views

1166 likes

11 comments

And 84 followers.

Thank you to all who have read and liked and stuck with me in my little blogging adventure. You are all awesome!

And without further ado, welcome to 2018!

Lets Rock and Roll this Bitch!

~Miss SugarCookie