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

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2018-01-01 Ringing In My Ears

It must be New Years, because there’s ringing in my ears. It’s a nice departure from all those songs that are always stuck in my head. Truth.

As I comb through some of my poetry to decide what’s good, bad, worthy, worth giving another look, or just plain ready for the “X-file”, I’m noticing more than just a couple of times I mention music. More specifically having a song stuck in my head or a song that reminds me of a particular feeling or moment in my life. I think that’s pretty common, but why does it seem important enough to keep bubbling up?

I don’t have the answer, of course, or I would not be asking the question. I’ve got lots of questions, as always, and never as many answers. At least today, as a new year breaks the horizon and starts to rise, I have the answer to the cliffhanger question that has been stirring all week and hit its apex yesterday. The question was who my mentor will be this semester.

Now I know, and am quite pleased about the result. In all honesty, I’m not sure there would have been a bad pairing, Just different. Still, I think that my mentor is ideal for me and where I am in my “writing life” right now.

If there’s one thing I’ve had to come to terms with very quickly this week is just how green I am. I really want to impress people but there’s no way to get around a question when it’s asked.

“So who do you like to read? Who are your favorites?”. I’ve been asked this question by one person or another at least four times. The first time was the first night at dinner, I just fumbled and in a very round-about way replied something that indicated that I don’t know. Epic fail.

The second and third times I formulated a little better of an answer which also indicated that I didn’t have any but with some context of my history and the fact that I’ve never studied literature or poetry. That’s no excuse of course, but it made me feel a little better and at least I was being honest.

Then I started leading with that honesty bit. I think by that time I had come to terms with just how truly uneducated I am about fine arts. For the love of god, one of the lecturers asked the question today in class about free verse and I had no clue what the answer was. I’m in a masters program for poetry and that’s something I should know.

I’ve taken so many secret little notes for things I need to look up later. I know in a few short weeks our first assignments will be due and I’m scared as hell I won’t be able to process everything from residency AND do a quality job on that.

On the brighter side, I’ve written about 3 new poems and have fodder for about a dozen more. I can’t even begin to describe how fantastic that is (except I just did).

Maybe the next time someone asks who I like, I should just look them straight in the eye and say REM, Cake, One Republic, Fall Out Bot, And Blue October. That will give them a tiny window into my brain.

Tomorrow is the day for student readings. I’m going last. That’s probably a mistake, but it is what it is and like everything else, it WILL be ok.

Keep On Ringing, Keep On Singing.

Happy New Year!

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-11-15 I’m Ready.. Let’s Go!

Yesterday I woke up uninspired and unmotivated and today I woke up energized and ready to take on the world. I could spend a while pontificating on why that is but I might not get very far.

I had relatively the same amount of sleep. I Went to bed at the roughly the same time. I had the same sort of day ahead. What’s the difference. Was it something I ate? Hormones? Quality of sleep? A three quarter moon on a Thursday? What’s the deally-o, yo?

See.. No answers, just more questions. Time to move on.

Right now I’m back on my elliptical at the gym jamming to random tunes on shuffle. I mean really random. No playlist, no station, no genre.. just me saying to the universe, “Give me what you got baby. I can take it”. So far I’ve had Pink, Maroon Five, Train, Chicago (which I elected to skip), Daft Punk, Phil Collins, and now Alanis.

Interesting mix. I wonder what message the Universe is trying to send me. I could go on a tangent about this too but, again, I know for a fact that ends in more questions instead of answers.

I feel like I’m becoming a master at typing on my phone while elliptical-ing. Speaking of masters, I’m embarking on yet ANOTHER new endeavor today. I’m going to an informational orientation on becoming a master gardener.

It’s a program offered by the county and from what I understand involves classes and community service hours. It’s actually a collaboration between both Sarpy and Douglas counties. The meeting is at the library in my area. I think they start “classes” soon-ish and then when spring comes round, they have assignments around town assisting with gardens in “public” spaces. That’s all just educated guessing though.

This is another area of interest of mine I’ve been putting off for years. And there is no more room for “putting off” in my life. The time is here. The time is now. I’m ready.. Let’s do this!

Perhaps this meeting is the reason I’m more pumped for the day. Perhaps, but does it also explain why my outlook on the future is so positive today as opposed to yesterday when I was freaking out about my job situation? Nope.. I don’t think so. 🤔

It’s most certainly all connected though. There is not one single person, event, or thought that is not connected in some way. This is why I can trust the Universe to control my “shuffle”. I guess that’s my version of faith. No matter what the unanswered questions are.. it’s going to work out!

On that note, I’m now jamming to Fall Out Boy, “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race”. How appropriate (and one of my favs!). That’s my cue to cut it.

Let’s Go!

~Miss Sugarcookie

2017-10-09 Multitasking to the Tune of Change

It’s Monday morning. Fall is in the air and it feels like change is quickly approaching my life. I’m back at the gym this morning writing from the elliptical machine. I’m somehow really digging this dynamic… feeling productive in two areas at once AND writing makes an hour of cardio go by super fast. I’m also getting good at typing from my phone. I wonder how this might be different if I was trying it at home.

This weekend I created a new playlist for fall and so my workout this morning is all Silversun Pickups, Lincoln Park, Dorothy, Live, The Pretty Reckless, and RadioHead. A good mix of older stuff and new. I also threw David Ford partly because the album I have is all good but mostly for the one song that I absolutely get pumped about every time I hear it.. “Go To Hell”. 
In fact, I can’t just listen to it once. When it comes up I typically listen to it two or three times. It’s great like “I Will Survuve” in that it leaves me saying “Fuck Yeah” every time. 
I need more of that. I think this is why doing this morning gym routine is important to me. It gets me pumped for the day. Whatever I end up doing I’m hoping it works with this. If I could find something that’s like 4 hours a day starting at noon, that would be ideal. If I can get someone to pay my about 100 bucks an hour for those 20 hours, well I’d be set. It’s nice to think about but probably not realistic. 
I’m also not going to be able to pull that much coin unless I’m doing HL7 and I’m so over that. Really. If I was all out of options, I most certainly would, but it’s time to go forward with something new. 
No word yet on my MFA application. I’m going to call another connection today about a technical writing position, which might just be the right mix of applying my technical background and doing more of what I want to be doing. Even if it’s not creative writing, it gets me more practice (and a paycheck). 
Done with cardio now and time for a few weights…
When They Come For Me I’ll Be Gone.

~Miss Sugarcookie

2017-09-29 Let the Matchbox Immersion Begin

T-minus 7 days until Matchbox 20 comes to sing all their songs for me. I know most are thinking that they are coming to play a concert for a bunch of people, which there is some truth to but the real motivation behind their visit is to get an audience with me. You see, they have been huge fans of mine since way back and though our lives have really taken us in different directions, they book Omaha as much as they can so we can spend some QT together. For real yo.

As is my custom, which has been happening for as long as I have been attending concerts for all my fans, I take some time ahead of the visits to prepare. When I say prepare, I’m referring to the practice of jamming out to whatever music is headed in my direction. I’m very much a mainstream gal with an affinity for the following genres (according to my iTunes library):

Pop and Rock (a solid majority)
Alternative, Alt Rock, Alt Punk, and Punk (really who decides what is what?)
Dance, Elctronica, Hip-Hop, and Hip-Hop Rap (loosely translates to white boy rap).
Indie and Indie Rock, and Post Grunge (thanks to Cake)
Soft Rock, Soul, and World (WTF is World? One album – my beloved Snow Patrol)

So as the story goes, a girl buys tickets to see a show, and then as the show approaches, she drowns herself in all her favorite tunes by that band. Historically this has included many, many days and nights listening to One Republic, Sara Barrels, Cake, John Mayer, Cake, Snow Patrol, Bare Naked Ladies, Sheryl Crow, Blues Traveler, Counting Crows, Bush, Cake, and now Matchbox 20. Yes I have been to see Cake 3 times. They are my biggest fan.

I own about 4 Matchbox 20 albums, and one single that I absolutely love, “She’s So Mean”. This equates to 42 songs and about 3 hours of continuous play. I also have a couple of things from Rob Thomas without the band, but I’m not including any of that in the current set list because I don’t think there’s going to be a cross-over. I’m on my second rotation through. It’s marvelous!

I’m really looking forward to the show next week and it’s good to have things to look forward to. I’m going to start being a lot busier real soon now because of lots of things ramping up so it will be important for me to maintain a good balance and continue to do all these things that I get so much satisfaction from.

I’m sure they are looking forward to seeing me too. 😛

Be Yourself or Someone Like You,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-11 Who Am I?

Today I dug a trench in my back yard and it’s almost ready for me to start doing the brick work. I also went for a bike ride and discovered where/how the Patio trail connects with the Keystone trail, so that 4th of July mystery has been solved. After that I took a nap and then went to Jazzercise which was closely followed by a walk at the high school track. It was a very full day indeed. Most of it, I spent alone.

Spending the day alone means lots of music in my ears and lots of thinking. I came to two conclusions…

The first is that I am really sick of the music on my phone and need some sort of introduction to something new. I don’t know if that means using a new app or something or just hanging out with different people who have different tastes.

The second is that it is sometimes difficult to define ones self. Who am I? If you take away my children, my job, my friends and family, and any ties to some partner in life, what am I left with? What do I like? As a person who is historically both a people pleaser and the most easy going/amiable to any plan, I’ve always gone with the flow. I’ve always done what other people have wanted me to do. When I am left alone, as I am now,  completely alone, who am I?

Today I chose a bike ride and some other exercise. I chose to work in my yard and ignore cleaning my house. I chose to write instead of read and I chose to be outside instead of inside. So is that who I am? What else is there? If someone were to ask me if there was anything in the world I could do what would it be? I don’t think I know. Does anyone know the answer to this for themselves? Does anyone really know who they are as a person or are we defined by our jobs and relationships?

I intend to find out who I am without my job, but I don’t want to separate myself from relationships because that’s my lifeline. That’s my safety net. As much as I feel over-burdened by my responsibilities to maintain my relationships sometimes, I would simply not know what to do without them. I would be lost and at risk of falling through without a net and potentially suffering some dire consequences.

OK, true confession time. It’s 9PM on a Friday and I’m all alone and getting ready for bed. I had two glasses of wine with my dinner of leftovers and am a little bit buzzed from that (yes, two glasses and that’s it). I’m about ready to go to bed for the night and tomorrow I am going to wake up and have all the same choices I had today. Will I chose the same things or try something new? Will I connect with people or remain alone for the day? Will I hang my hat on waiting for something to happen to me or will I go out and MAKE something happen. I don’t know. I don’t think I will know until tomorrow gets here and I’m right in the middle of it.

I guess if you really want to know, you will have to click back tomorrow and find out. Oh, now how is that for suspense? Haha!

Until Tomorrow. Gnight,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-06-25 Full of Life

Yesterday was so jam packed with stuff that I barely had a minute to figure out how to get to the next thing let alone capture the one that had just happened. I wanted to, though, because there were several things that just felt so profound and were very inspiring. I could try to do a rundown of all of it now but it probably would not do it justice. Sometimes when the moment has passed, it has passed and trying to recount it just isn’t the same.

Perhaps I just list it (now that the secret about my list making is out in the open) and see where things go from there…

– I woke up at 6 (after about 4.5 hours of sleep)
– Jazzercise at 8:30
– I worked in my yard and started cleaning out and organizing my shed.
– Stopped at 10:30 so I could clean up to go downtown.
– I arrived at Kaneko at 11:30 for a writing workshop. That was two hours.
– 2 PM I arrived back home and was just physically and mentally exhausted, so I took a nap
– Woke up around 3:30 and decided to finish what I started with the shed.
– 5:PM back inside to clean up again and drive to Benson.
– Met Sam at 6PM at 1912 for a drink on the rooftop patio.
– 7:30 We wander into the concert area.
– We basically chatted and drank until the show started around 10.
– 11:30 PM the concert ended and I went home and promptly fell asleep.

That was a pretty full day.

The two best parts were the workshop and hanging out with Sam (my now former co-worker) in Benson. The concert was OK. I really like the band Blue October but the album I was really into was from back in 2008 or 2009 or something and they only played two songs from that. The rest of the songs were newer and though they were somewhat familiar, and good, it wasn’t the same.

For me, going to a live music show is about being one with the music in it’s purest form. Letting that thing you are so familiar with flow through you. You sway and sing along. You jump-jump and sing along. You hold your hands up in the air and sing along. It’s just not as good when you can’t sing along. That’s my bad though, when I used to seek out concerts, I would emerge myself in all the music for weeks before, but this time I didn’t do that. Quite honestly I have not had time.. which is a result of all the other things in my life. It is something I intend to remedy. Unless I find something else, the next concert is in October, and of course now I will have plenty of time to “prepare”. 😃

Anyway, despite my slight disappointment with the concert, it was great because it gave Sam and I like four hours to talk about so much. We have not had much of an opportunity to catch up lately. She’s got a lot going on and of course we had my situations to hash over. I need to try and make a point to keep in touch with people that I’ve worked with. I really value the connections I have made and need to make an effort to not let them fade away just because I won’t be seeing them every week.

The most impactful thing that I experienced yesterday was during the writing workshop at Kaneko. I’ll have to spend a little more time on that topic later though, because it’s time to get ready to head out to Jazzercise now.

And so It Begins Again,
~Miss SugarCookie