2018-04-23 Lifting Weights

Great Scott, I’ve done it again! It’s been a short 3 weeks since I officially sent in my last big assignment for my MFA and as soon as I pulled the trigger on that, the clock started ticking on #4. As of about 4:30 this afternoon, that was sent and it feels as though a giant weight has been lifted off me.

Not only is it the last of the semester, which means the pressure is off to do more reading at least for a little while, but today the kids went to their dad’s for the rest of the week and so there is peace and quiet in my house again.

I love them, but it’s incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything when they are in constant need of something. Even if the need is not constant, at any inopportune moment they could decide they do need something and it is like being at work and being constantly interrupted by people asking questions.

RH… It sucks right?!?!

I gave myself a pass for the rest of the day to not immediately start a to-do list of things that have been neglected and need to get done. I know what they are, and my brain can’t escape that, but if I hold off for just one night, then hopefully I can relax and enjoy this beautiful evening (after my 8PM conference call anyway). Truth is though, what I might need more than anything is a good night sleep. So it could come to pass that my call comes and goes and I go straight to bed. With the weight of school lifted for now, I should be able to sleep easy.

The other consequence of that weight being lifted is that it will open the door to lifting more weights. Both figuratively and literally. I think I’m going to switch up my work out routine quite a bit and add some more heavy lifting to the mix. This will need to be balanced out by doing less of something else, but I guess I will figure that out as I go. As I go, As I go. Going, going, gone.

That’s enough for now.
Tomorrow is the new normal.
~Miss SugarCookie

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2018-04-20 Timing is Everything

I’m well caffeinated this morning and just flush with thoughts about what I’m reading and the music in my ears. I’m so inspired about all the things I could pontificate about in my next set of essays for school. The renaissance, history, evolutionary biology, the invention of computer language. It’s wild. The book I’m reading is fucking tough. It’s like the author made a point of making it as difficult as possible for what purpose, I’m not sure.

I’m equating it to Organic Chemistry. The class that they give med student hopefuls to weed out the cruft. If I can consume this book and come away with some higher level of understanding, then for sure I’m qualified to be a poet. I’m grateful for the opportunity to try. And since I don’t care for failure or the words “I Can’t”.. then I will get through it and I’ll write the most kick-ass essay about it. There’s only two people who will read it, but that doesn’t matter to me. Like so many things in my life, I’m driven from within and inspired from being without.

I may or may not have stated before but my resolve to continue with my current course has waned considerably this past month. The struggle to do well in all things has caused a stress I never wanted to feel again. I wrote a poem about it and even felt my hand move closer to the emergency stop lever.

The contributing factors are time and money. Probably time because of money. I’m just now coming into the black again. The combination of not getting enough hours into work these past few weeks and seeing another semester on the horizon which will put another 10 grand hit on my safety net has caused a serious pause.

Despite that, I pulled the trigger for Residency this summer. That decision was made easier by tempering my anxiety by holding off on the fall semester for now. I’m waiting to see how this semester ends and also waiting until I hear back from my program advisor on questions I’ve asked.

Timing is sometimes everything though. My thoughts about the program, my goals, and my responsibilities vary day to day and swing certain direction based on my moods. How am I to ever trust any decision when I’m so swayed by emotion. I try sorting things out with logic and reason and separating the feelings from the main equation. That’s where my left-brain analytics and desire to see a visual list of pros and cons come in handy. This usually helps me come to the best conclusion on life decisions.

This time, it’s not as easy. What happens when one side of the list is abstract and un-quantifiable. How to I put money on one side of the equation and “the meaning of life” on the other?

What is the price of fulfilling your life’s undefined purpose? Is it priceless? Is it worth risking the very life you are trying to define? Is that life so insignificant that there is actually no risk at all.. only perceived risk? Have I now travelled so far down the rabbit hole that any conclusion I come to fails to carry any weight at all in the real world?

You see, I’m failing to explain myself because somehow in the midst of all my self doubt about the right course of action I’m blinded by the light of poetry. I’m blinded and called to it and it’s so bright and hot that it’s literally melted everything on the left side the equation.

There’s a certain event in my life that I equate to punctuated equallibrium. That event set the wheels in motion like the Turks capturing Constantinople. Like the Greeks, I fled from that scene with all my texts, Poetry, journals, and art in cardboard boxes and electronic files.

Margo Street was my Italy. Thus began the Renaissance, thus began the evolution. Everything that has transpired since then has been moving me forward and now, today, when I’m faced with a decision about what the right course of action is, it feels as though the answers to all those questions don’t even matter.

Timing is some mystical power the Universe uses to bend us to the will of fate. We might try, with our primitive brains, to explain or even describe it using science and mathematics and history, but the essence of it evades.

That or it’s just the caffeine making me loco. 😜

Back to Reality,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-04-19 The Time Puzzle

One of the hardest things to do, especially for someone like me who thrives on routine, is recognize when something is not working as it could or should and make a change. It’s even tougher when that “thing” is something that was previously optimized for maximum potential.

My routine. Goals. Meeting Expectation. And Time.. The timing of everything. The self-imposed expectation. For all of my cold, calculated precision I can’t seem to figure out the puzzle of time. I’m going to thoughtfully guess that it’s because the puzzle is a moving target. Something is always changing around me and therefore, there is no static solve that ever going to be the perfect fit. Or, even if it is, it won’t remain that way for too long.

Despite getting my taxes done, and signing up for residency, submitting my poems to the schools spring contest, and getting the trash out to the curb on time, I’m feeling behind. In the past week I’ve sacrificed some of my exercise regimen in order to make progress on a few things. I’ve sacrificed writing for other writing and one set of relationships for another. The short story is that there is just too much to do and not enough time. And now I’m awake at 3AM and feeling like I’m going to fail doing something, or that I’ll manage to do everything, but it will all be well below average. The rest of this week and the week to follow are already crushing me.

Tomorrow (today) is Thursday and I’m severely behind on work. My focus has been other things and now it’s time to buckle down and get something done. I haven’t even worked 6 hours so far this week and THAT isn’t going to pay my house payment. There’s a writing workshop in the evening but I already have plans with JS and doing either one of those things puts my parenting on the back burner. Tripple booked and I have to choose.

Friday I’m meeting with the IT director of a local hospital about a potential job opening. I probably would not even consider it except for a friend who works there and has been singing the praises of the organization for years. Frankly though, I can’t see myself working another 40 hour a week job while trying to do school too. What I am doing now is already testing my limits.

Friday I’m also planning to go visit Leah at Westwood. I used to go every week and and now I am down to every other week. I know I’ve recently written about how wonderful Jazzercise is, but I’m definitely back on the fence again about it because of the time and monthly expense. It’s tough to justify when my gym is 80 bucks a year and I can do classes there for free.

Saturday things get even worse. I’m potentially tripple booked again and have to somehow make 5 things fit into one morning/afternoon. That’s Jazzercise (again), donating at the Red Cross, the poetry workshop, meeting with Denise (who I cancelled on last Saturday due to illness), and also, yeah, spending time with my kids. I just can’t do it all. Jazzercise is the first to get cut, especially if I managed to go Friday.

If I donate between 9 and 10am, then I should be good to go by 11 downtown to the poetry workshop. That runs until 1:30. If I scoot from there to CB I can meet Denise at 2, but she’s got other plans at 3 so that probably won’t work. Since I am missing the first half of the Poetry session on Thursday evening so I can visit JS, I don’t really want to miss again Saturday. They only do these like 4 times a year.

If I don’t meet with Denise, I’ll reschedule on her AGAIN, which is probably not leaving the best impression. I also only see her about 4 times a year. I really wish something could be on Sunday. On Sunday everything starts over again for the week and to add insult to injury, I’m also now officially a week away from another big assignment for my MFA coming up due.

So, not only do I have to find 24 hours worth of work in the next three days, I also have to read like a hundred pages and write three critical essays. My brain hurts just thinking about trying to fit it all in. I’m going to have to be agile with my days and nights. I’m going to have to continue to mix things up and shift things around in order to fit it all in.

If there is one thing I now for certain though, it’s that sacrificing sleep is NOT the answer. Ironic that it doesn’t stop my brain from trying. It’s now almost 5AM and I have to see if I can get a few more hours. Try and forget it all and find some peace in dreams.

Until Tomorrow (later today),
Miss SugarCookie

2018-04-17 Broken Records

Balance.. procrastination.. balance.. sacrifice sleep.. social anxiety.. steps forward.. struggle.. too much to do. Rinse and repeat.

I’ve been writing this blog for 15 months now and when I started I was very much a broken person. A broken down broken record repeating the same sad story week after week. I was all “too much and poor me for my misery”.

But my goal was to get it out of me. I unpacked my insides and laid it all out on the floor in front of my own eyes so I could see pick through and see what I’d been collecting.

It was heartbreak and stress and sadness and grief. Life is too short to carry all that around. I looked at all of that and slowly started tossing it in the trash. I say slow because there’s no way to pay any price to speed that up. It takes as long as it takes. And it took a while but I got there.

It also took some big life decisions. Quitting my job for one. Going back to school for another. These are luxuries afforded by a long history of being a reliable employee to a few organizations. I always put my best foot forward and saved my pennies and then when I most needed it, I could gift myself the sabbatical that would propel me into the future.

Those five months were priceless. Being healthy, writing, relaxing, working on other projects I otherwise wouldn’t have time for, and going on vacations became my lifestyle. I slowly recovered from 2016. And in that time I also mostly recovered from the end of my five year relationship with Matt.

I say mostly because I’m forever scarred from what we did to each other. Two good People who couldn’t force love into being enough to make a life together because there weren’t enough pieces to complete the picture. We were right for each other but our lives weren’t meant to be intertwined the way one with my heart strings requires.

It was tough for me to say “no” and remove myself from that relationship. I’ll be forever grateful for the girl that swooped in and blocked me from that door opening again when I cried and screamed and banged on it. That girl I hated despite never meeting her. She’s moved to Cali now and the Universe only knows what’s become of their relationship. I’m grateful not to care too much.

I know I still care some. I know deep down I’m still in some state of perpetual grief about all of it. Good times I wish I could recall without being drowned in sadness and regret. Bad times and problems my brain has tried over and over to solve. Time has helped the answer to be more clear. It was a puzzle all along and like I said, for all the right pieces, there was just too much missing.

Still, when I got feedback from my mentor on that one poem that was inspired by him, I could not help but cry as I cut and created that 3rd draft. That’s my life now.. words and poetry and allowing all of it out for examination and criticism.

I was broken open and I’m no longer broken but I remain open. I’m open for whatever this new life path brings my way. If I submit a hundred poems and they all get rejected, then so be it. I think about the fact that I don’t have a goal. I think about how all along the goal has been there and my grand failure was not recognizing it.

A person can’t help but believe in fate when they look back at the path of their life and see every choice they made and why. Day to day, you can’t see it. It just feels like the same record spinning over and over and, at times, extremely boring, but those broken record repetitions are what lead to what exists now.

Two beautiful, loving, happy children. A new loving relationship. The loving pursuit of a life dream. The security of a job that allows me to maintain my current way of life. The beauty of spring blooming around me despite the long winter. The prospect of a future full of love and positivity. The new broken record looks pretty great.

There will always be struggle with balance and hard work and health and social hurdles. The difference now is that I’m not packing it all down inside myself. I’m open and therefore free of repeating that part of my history.

Now.. time to go write some poetry!…

Poetry is the New Black,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-04-12 Being Human

It doesn’t matter who you are or how healthy you are… everyone gets sick. I don’t know where I might have picked up a cold (especially this time of year), but did and yesterday I was down for a count.

I determined pretty quickly that my body needed to rest and recover and I was so tired. I alternated sleeping and working all morning and most of the afternoon. My Fitbit doesn’t seem to record naps that are less than 30 minutes but I’m pretty sure I had over 2 hours of naps between 9am and 4:30.

If I was at a regular job I probably would have had to take the whole day off. But in my current job, I was still able to log about 4 hours. That’s pretty great. And I’m grateful.

When I woke up at 4:30, still feeling like total dog doodoo, I decided what I was doing wasn’t making me feel better. In fact, I felt like the sleep was keeping me in a fog and making me feel worse. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my life is if something isn’t working, change it.

It was 70+ degrees and I decided activity and fresh air might do the trick. I also decided some boost of vitamin C wouldn’t hurt either so I got dressed and jumped in the car to head to the grocery.

Sunglasses on, windows down, I rolled to the store and picked up some green juice heavy with iron and vitamin c. While there I texted with my sis, who I had dinner plans with. She picked Panera and I suggested the one close to my house, which is within walking distance. On my way home from the store I decided to walk.

As time ticked by (with my randomly doing this and that) my window for walking began to close. Of course, not wanting to give up on the idea, my thoughts turned from walking to jogging. Yeah, that.

With less than 15 minutes to be on time I stepped out of my front door, phone in the back pocket and earbuds in hand. Yeah, that was me jogging in jeans on the trail that runs along the major street eastbound toward the shopping plaza. I had one hand holding the sweatshirt tied around my waist, the other hand swinging with the rhythm of my pace.

It reminded me of “bird-girl”, who I haven’t seen at the gym for weeks, running on the treadmill in her jeans, spaghetti strap tank, and bling. I imagine people staring at me wondering why I would choose to jog in that outfit. I channeled the spirit of bird-girl and said “Fuck it, I don’t give a shit”. It felt great.

I’m not a runner or a jogger. I typically hate it, but this felt different. I had a destination, goal, and there was a clear end in sight. Also, it was only 15 minutes so that’s not a huge commitment. I arrived sweaty and out of breath right at 6:pm and even beat her there. I washed up in the bathroom and was fresh and ready when she arrived.

I was actually feeling much better. The congestion persisted and my throat was still scratchy, but as a whole, I felt better.

Her and I ate and talked for a couple of hours. It was nice to catch up, one on one. I can relate to everything she is going through and very much enjoyed telling all the details of my new relationship. It was awesome. When we were done, she drove me home.

I don’t feel like I quite had the do-over I was hoping for yesterday morning, but I certainly made the most of my evening. I even had some extra energy and motivation at the end of the day, when I would normally be choosing to go to bed, and dove into my MFA packet feedback.

I worked my way through almost every comment and revised ten poems. There are a few I need to think on and revisit again, but it’s certainly a first step into getting my thoughts together on both the upcoming assignment and what I might submit to the school spring “contest”. More on that to come.

It’s already Thursday and feels like a Tuesday. Losing a half a day sucks, but it’s part of being human. I woke up early today despite going to sleep close to midnight. I woke refreshed and ready to jump into this day. I hit the gym early and might even jump back into school Work before starting Work Work when I get home. Wonder of wonders.

Like the weather here.. wait a day and things will change. Sometimes, change comes from within. Unlike the weather it’s a choice. I choose to make the most of my Thursday!

Doing ALL the stuff,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-04-03 A Critique of the Critical Essay

I’ve done a lot of forced writing in the last week. By forced I mean writing that I wouldn’t normally do.

Poetry comes easy.. and when it happens I always enjoy it. I rarely pick a topic and say to myself, I’m gonna write about that this time.

Journaling usually comes easy. I just start by having some thoughts (and of course I have an endless supply) and start steaming. There are times I sit down to write about my life and times and come up empty, but it’s rare.

The point of assigning critical essays as a part of the MFA curriculum serves a couple different purposes. The main reason they give is that any practice writing is sharpening a persons skills. That’s true! It’s part of what I think I’m getting out of journaling every day.

Of course there’s almost zero feedback on journaling so there is no measure if it’s actually making me better.

A secondary purpose for critical essays, especially for me (but it applies to everyone), is that it shows what I’ve learned in my studies. If I successfully analyze a poem or provide a very insightful comparison, that means I’m learning. Hey, that’s the point of school. My uphill battle coming into this is that I’ve got a lot to learn. I have the challenge of reading, comprehension, and then the task of applying that to the other poetry and poets assigned. It’s a lot.

Most people in the program probably got their undergraduate degree in fine arts, English, ir something along that same line. They came in with so much more knowledge than I did. I’m that comp-sci nerd that hasn’t had any literature classes. The last class I had that’s somewhat related was English Comp 2 like 20 years ago.

When I originally submitted my application, I was worried they would not accept me for that reason. Well, that and the fact that I don’t have a clearly defined reason for wanting to be in the program or life goal that is associated. I don’t really want to be a teacher or anything like that. On the surface it appears that I’m doing it just because. I’m not, but it’s tough to articulate.

In truth, I wonder if they accepted my application because enrollment is down. I wish I knew how they did decide. I often worry that I’m just a fraud. When I wrote out my goals for the semester I actually included that. One of my goals was to defraud myself. Externally? Internally? 🤷‍♀️ Both would be nice.

Anyway, this week I struggled with my critical essays. In part I think this is because I set a high bar early in the semester and I want to, like the high jumper, inch that up each time and continue to clear it.

The other reason is that I’ve not been particularly “inspired” to write these essays this month. I continue to enjoy Creeley and now Glück and even Langan, but I just want to read and enjoy. They have inspired me to write poetry but I haven’t really wanted to put more of a critical eye into any of it or connect the dots with my theoretical texts.

That’s another reason the essays is good.. it forces us to write despite obstacles and challenges. If we can do that, then hell, we can write anytime about anything. That’s real talent!

I reached out to my mentor for some suggestions and he came back with a few very specific topics, which was helpful. I still struggled to write those though. I felt very much like I was just restating the obvious and not being critical in any way. I hope it’s still ok.

I’m submitting to him today and he’s going to provide feedback by the 7th. I guess I’ll know the answer after that.

After that, I’ll probably go into hybernation again with the essays. I suppose as long as I continue reading and perhaps taking notes about possible topics, then when packet 4 is looming I’ll be in good shape to write for that.

Time to do Tuesday,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-26 Monday Mustard…

… or Catch Up!😉

Yesterday turned out to be so strange and atypical.

In the morning I cried and mourned the loss of a friend.

I’m the afternoon I stared out the window at the rain and reminisced about having pancakes on Sunday mornings with my father when I was a child.. and wrote a poem about it.

In the evening I laughed over some things I was reading from a book I picked up at Jackson street.

As I retired to my bed, I did a pretty good job forgiving myself for not working on school. I might regret that as this week gets rolling, but whatever.

But hey.. since I read and wrote poetry, that should count for something right??! (It doesn’t when I’ve got assignments to finish. Errr, ummm, start 😜).

I’m struggling to pick something to write about for my critical essays. I think there are lots of topics I could write about in a contemplative sense, but critically?? I just don’t know. I should contact my mentor, because that’s what he’s there for. I don’t know why I worry about communicating with him. I’m paying for it and he’s getting paid for it. I should utilize that resource.

<Insert brief departure here so I can email my mentor>.

Ok, now that that is done, back to .. what was I going to write next? Oh yes, catching up and recording Stats. The thing in my life that’s become a constant and a grounding factor to pulse check my health and maintain balance. Cheers to that!..

Steps: 15k average on the nose.

Sleep: 7 hours 4 minutes average.

Jazzercise Claases: 3

Work: 22 Hours

School: Well.. picking up again now.

Relationship Status: Still dating Bachelor #15. Three weeks now, a new record, YAY! 😊

This week I’m flying to Austin to visit the crew there. Totes excited about that. It’s always a great time and very therapeutic and rejuvenating.

The future still looks bright! 😎

Time to go catch up on other things, including a trip to the dentist again. I’ve never gone this much since I was a kid. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have dental insurance. Strupid Murphy’s Law.

Later Gaters,

~Miss SugarCookie