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

2018-04-03 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

2018-03-24 Law Of Attraction and the Gift Of Time

You know that some people subscribe to the theory that all you have to do is send thoughts about what you want and what you need out into the Universe at large and that opens the door to make those things possible. If I had to put this into actual terms people have come to agree on, it would be the “Law of Attraction”. There’s a wiki page on it so I know there must be just a few people who at least agree that this concept is worth trying to define.

I can’t say I believe in this, but there’s compelling evidence in that positive thinking begets positive thinking and that negativity, too, is a communicable thing. I wrote about this about a hundred years ago and that was published in my office newsletter (back in the good ole days at the Hospital).

It must have been something I thought was pretty good because I posted it on my blog. A quick re-read, and its probably more worthy of someone’s time than this is.

Let’s Get Happy Together

But I still have a point to make…

Two days ago I started freaking out about my schoolwork. I had a mini-meltdown and though in hindsight I was probably exaggerating a smidge in my head, the angst and stress were very real. I didn’t specifically request that I be given more time, but believe me when I say I wished very distinctly for it.

And what, can you guess, I found in my email a short time after that?!.. A message from mentor stating that he will be out of the country and will not be able to get to my packet until he returns and suggesting I delay sending it by a week. WHAT?! Are you freaking serious?!!! (I did a, not so silent, happy dance in my kitchen when I read that).

Ask and you shall receive. Or so “they” say. Like I’ve said before, I’m a realist and a skeptic too, but a growing list of evidence is hard to ignore.

Time is a gift. Last year I bawled my eyes out at the conclusion of JohnnyDepp’s sequel to Alice in Wonderland. That was the message from the movie and a realization that you have to cherish every minute here and now, and not waste it caused my heart to ache.

Now that I’ve been given this gift, I’m going to make the most of it. This brief reprieve has eased my mind and allowed me to regain my focus. Last night I happily worked on revisions and this morning I successfully typed in all the hand written notes and first drafts from the past month. The next step is to select what to submit and start thinking about what I need to communicate.

I also finished part 1 of 2 in one of my texts and have, for now, put the critical essays on the back burner. I’ve actually written some poetry about a few of the concepts I’m collecting, but I’m sure that’s not what they had in mind when they made critical essays a part of the curriculum. 😜

As always, balance is key and the extra time also means I don’t have to sacrifice QT with the kids or sleep or exercise or my newly blooming relationship. That makes me happy. I just hope the Universe is not planning any unpleasant surprises for April Fools day.

No Time to Waste,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-23 Friday Freakout

Yesterday the sun came out finally and the temps went up enough the kids and I had our first trampoline session of the year.

It was also admittedly a struggle to choose that over sitting down to read or write given my state of mind due to my self inflicted situation, which is another looming deadline and being even farther behind than I have in past situations.

It shouldn’t be a struggle, it should be a no brainer. The kids want to spend time with me outside and it was a beautiful day. What is life if it’s not living for those moments. And my days like this are numbered. I don’t ever want to sacrifice another minute with my kids for school or Work or anything really. Pretty soon the’ll be grown and gone and the work will still be there waiting for me.

We jumped until the sun went down. It was glorious.

I accomplished very little last night. Our cat jumped the fence and didn’t come back right away like she normally would. By 10pm, we were all freaking out about that and nobody was able to do a thing.

By the time she returned, it was too late to do anything but go to bed.

I tried to read, unsuccessfully, and consequently, I’m already behind on the master plan I put together yesterday for completing my March packet for the MFA program. Do I double up today? Is that even possible? What can I sacrifice to catch up? I don’t have answers, only more questions.

Yesterday I was freaking out about it and perhaps the goal today is to NOT repeat that and just dig in and make progress. I should change the title of this post to “Friday UN-Freakout”.

Well, those books are not going to read themselves…

Getting a Grip,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-22 Easier Said Than Done

I’m completely stuck and and have to start here. It’s 2 in the afternoon and I’m so frazzled and unfocussed I can’t tell you which way is north. Of course I know north is at the back of my house, but I’m talking about “true north”. Yesterday, all my good intentions starting schoolwork were derailed by being online for one work thing and then having one thing leading directly to another until before I knew it, the kids were arriving home and demanding my attention.

One of the benefits of working from home, is being here when they get here and I can thoughtfully remember, by now, that as soon as that happens, my attention will be pulled away from whatever it is I am doing. This is why I am looking at the clock on the laptop in front of me and literally freaking out that I’ve accomplished nothing today.

Yesterday I was still of the mindset that I could balance all things and it will all work out. “Shift things a little to the left, and ‘Waa-laa’, everything gets done”. I was going to block out some hours in the mornings to work on school and then back off of work a bit to ease my burden. But I guess that’s not what real life had in mind for me. No.

So yesterday ended being a fail for my new “approach” and the reality of my new job is that when something needs doing, it’s generally “right now”. That’s kinda like my old job. It would be a fly-by and all of a sudden the priorities have shifted and the new shiny thing would be #1. It’s slightly different now, in that I don’t have a dozen other priorities, but what I do have that I did not before is the obligation of school.

I’ve committed myself to that. The semester is half over, and I’m not about to sacrifice my standards for my writing, critical essays, or anything I might need to produce to feel like I’m successfully well above par on all of it. I’m committed, but pretty soon I’m going to need to be committed if I keep procrastinating to the last minute and then have to scramble to get it all done. I’m literally driving myself mad with this. It’s partially because I know better and I should have learned my lesson by now that “slow and steady wins the race”.

I’m sure pulling off some successful assignments in the past with minutes to spare has not helped. I’ve tricked my brain into thinking its not a big deal. Like childbirth, you know it hurts like hell, but you don’t really remember until the labor pains start and you go “oh shit, now what have I done”. For real.

Anyway, the thing that is different today is that I happened to look at the student schedule for assignments due. For the love of all the gluten-free crackers in the universe, it’s March 28. That’s six fucking days away. So instead of being “easy breezy beautiful cover girl” today, I’m being a lunatic running around, stress eating, and freaking out about not being able to focus on anything.

Even before I looked at the schedule, I decided that since my plan for yesterday didn’t work at all, I was going to completely change things up today. I skipped the gym and instead hit the dunkin donuts for a macchiato. After that, I came home and finished taping off my dining room to paint (as if THAT is a priority). Then I wanted to get through an hour of training videos before we had our morning call. That’s about the time I looked at the semester schedule. Then I had my “oh shit” moment.

I immediately tried to organize the dates and what I need to get done each day between now and the 28th to hit that deadline. I did that last time, but I’m not sure I ever stuck to it, but it helped write it all down to release it from my brain anyway. I then tried to focus on the training videos, but only got about half way through the first one before it was time for the morning meeting. After that, no surprise I had actual work that needed to get done today so I worked for an hour.

The next thing after that was a trip to the bookstore. I needed to find a few new things to add to my list and hopefully something that I will 1) Be able to read through in the next week and 2) That will inspire me to write something new, which I have done very little of this month. I acquired four new (old) books and returned home for lunch.

Hey did I mention the stress eating. Since I started my little freak out, I have pretty much been eating non-stop. Every time I sit down to try and focus on something, I think I have to have a snack with me…. Aaaannnnd, most of them are not super healthy.

Just a little bit ago I tried to sit down and read from one of my assigned texts, but felt very sleepy. That’s when I looked at the clock and realized there was just a short time before the kids come home and then all bets are off and I have to go MOM for a while.

I don’t really have a conclusion, you know, this one is completely unfiltered SugarCookie not knowing what to do next. I feel slightly better having ranted a little bit and now if I accomplish NOTHING else today, at least I will have blogged. Two-birds-one-stone stuff. Don’t even get me started on my step count for the day. All that is totally going on the back-burner while I figure out this situation.

It’s now like half an hour before the kids get home and I’m going to see if I can shut down and re-boot my brain. I gotta get in gear. I’ve got to figure out how to get everything done. I’ve got to find my “true north” and let that be the way. There is no other way.

The Only Direction is Forward,
~Miss SugarCookie