2018-07-13 Friday the 13th 😱

Don’t be scared.. nothing terrifying is going on – except .. MFA Residency starting!!! 😮🤔😃

Of course my period also started today cuz it wouldn’t be a party without THAT happening. Cramps worse than usual and I’m self medicating with ibuprofen and iced vanilla latte. In true procrastinator fashion I didn’t start packing until today. I mean, I did the laundry.. how long can it take to throw some things in a bag? The answer, if you are me and overthink everything, I’d about 2 hours.

Seriously. I was 90% done by 9am and THEN decided to make a list. Good grief. I couldn’t leave my house this morning anyway cuz I had to wait for Fed-ex to deliver a package that required signature. Equipment for work which was on my list to pack (not what I want, but necessary). Anyway, I’m now 98% packed including the work eq. and made it to the gym to get one last round in on MY elliptical before being AWOL for 10 days!! 😱

Don’t fret about that either, hopefully my gear-shifting will only provide more time and dedication to my primary purpose.. writing and POETRY! I’m NOT looking forward to the elliptical machine at the lodge, it’s a tough SOB, so daily posts written in my typical multi-tasking method are less likely.

Did I finish my to-do list before leaving? No. But that was expected and just as I predicted the priority things worked themselves out. Everything else can wait until I return. What doesn’t get done didn’t really need doing. Such is life.

Once this session at the gym is over, I’m loading up my car and heading out. I’m going the wrong direction first, to visit Jim before I head south to Nebraska City. He’s going to come down for a visit while I am there, but that won’t be for another week. It’s been a long time since we were apart for a whole week. I’m sure we’ll still talk regularly, but it’s just not quite the same.

Hopefully there won’t be any unexpected Friday the 13 shenanigans coming my way today so I can coast through the arrival, check-in, welcome session, and first dinner without too much trouble. “You hear that Universe? No funny business!!” 😜

Ready, Set, MFA!

~Miss SugarCookie

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2018-04-16 The Master Procrastinator Strikes Again

First and foremost.. holy hell!! Serious snow fall over the weekend. I don’t remember the last time it snowed on Tax day, but that’s exactly what happened.

My Saturday girls game day plans got postponed to next Saturday and I opted out of monthly wine night. Both were partially selfish as 1) I was still fairly under the weather and 2) I was hanging with JS and didn’t want to leave.

So instead we sat around on Saturday and watched the snowfall. On Sunday we had plans to visit Winterset Iowa and the famous “Bridges of Madison county”. We made the most of it despite the freezing temps. It’s being documented as the first road trip where we kissed “near” nearly every bridge.
How romantic. 😜

I say near because by the third bridge neither one of us wanted to get out of the car. We took pics from inside the car and tried to get the bridges in the background through the car windows. My toes were frozen and it was sloppy wet, muddy, and frankly a little unimpressive. I know these bridges were built in the 1800s, but they really look it. The covered structures were quite dilapidated and the insides were sadly littered with juvenile graffiti. At some point I’d like to see the movie that made the bridges famous. I bet they made them look awesome for that. I may never see the movie though. As huge of a hopeless romantic as I profess to be, I’ve never been much into romance novels or movies. Romantic comedy maybe, but mostly for the comedy.

In any case, I got some great pics of trees covered in snow and our first selfies and it kinda felt like we rewound time a little back to winter. Appropriate for a visit to Winterset I guess. We also had great conversations on the way out and back and when we arrived back home he cooked us dinner and then made us a fire and we finished off our weekend with a documentary about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. It turned out to be a really nice weekend.

I failed to collect Sunday stats because my fitbit battery ran out and I had taken it off at some point and didn’t have my charger. My charger is actually broken and to get it to charge I have to use a clip to hold it together so the connectors connect. I’ve been wanting to replace it for a while now, but they are pretty pricy. Actually I’ve wanted the Alta HR version since about the minute I bought mine (HR came out about 2 weeks after I bought the Alta I have, of course). It is on my list but I’ve been holding off to see how well I can stick to my new monthly budget. I’m pretty sure I forgot to wear it half of this past weekend and due to not feeling well, I am sure my stats were way down for the week anyway.

That trend continued this morning when I forgot again before going to the gym to grab it off the charger. The only thing worse than not getting the steps is getting steps and not getting credit for it. Ha!! I’m hoping that I can get back on top of my normal exercise routine this week. I’m almost fully recovered from he sickness that took over last week so it should be doable.

The other thing I did this weekend was start my taxes (yeah, I did just say start).

Hence the title of this blogpost.. “The Master Procrastinator.” Normally I try to get them done a few weeks in advance of the deadline, but this year has felt kinda crazy and it’s just never bubbled to the top of my list. Well, with the deadline looming, it is now at the very top of my list. It makes no sense for me to wait because I’ll probably be getting money back (I do every year), but it doesn’t stop me from procrastinating doing the actual paperwork. I also file electronically so I should even see my refund this week. Yay!

Well, I’m well into Monday now and it’s really time to tackle some work (and finish the taxes maybe), so I’d better get to it.

Happy Monday Peeps,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-30 Austin Day 2: Changes in Scenery

I’m now into my second day of enjoying everything this city now offers me. I say “now”, because as we get older, the scenery has changed.

I absolutely cherish how things are now. When I’m here, I’m family. We hang around and talk and eat. We go out for delicious meals also full of great conversation. The kids treat me like family and I’ve come to appreciate this family life as one that seems to me to be how things ought to be. It’s nothing like either my childhood nor the early years of my own children’s lives. I can’t change anything about all of that now, nor do I have a longing to dwell on it.

I just look at what is in front of me and embrace each moment as a gift. They are open with me about their struggles, which makes the way this household operates seem just that much more magical. They work together to work through things. Human beings together and committed to that togetherness, and always making the best choices they can for the sake of their children and their relationship.

It elicits a very compelling feeling within me. A deep desire to create the same thing in my own life. To bottle it up and take it home with me. A truly impossible task when one is missing the most key ingredients.

The other fairy dust in that bottle is sustainability over time. The agenda of things has changed here in Austin over time. Though I consider Rebecca one of my very best friends, the connection has an intriguing and ironic beginning. I’m from Iowa and so is her husband. We grew up in the same town.

In fact, we went to the same high school though I never really met him there. Our introduction came sometime after that as he was good friends with the man I would marry. He was a groomsman in my wedding. In essence, the start of that relationship is what ultimately (10 or so years later) led to the start of my relationship with Rebecca.

In those early years, the scenery in Austin was very different. We were all about 6th street and drinking and sitting on dueling pianos. We flipped pankaces at the theatre and she was Veronica and I was Betty. They handed us shots and we took them. When people talk about the good ole days, one might presume this is what they are referring to.

But for me, every change of scenery has been the best of times.

Ironically, they were married just as my marriage was falling apart. The Thursday before their wedding, I drank so much I put myself into a world of hurt and ended up missing out on their rehearsal day BBQ. I’ll always carry that as a heavy regret.

In the years that followed I continued my visits to Austin solo. I’ve been here over thanksgiving twice, because you’re supposed to spend holidays with family and they were always the best hostess and host ever.

I’ve made trips for baby showers and also trips “just because”. I’ve flown and driven and made that journey also alone and with other people. They (my Austin peeps) saw me through my divorce and then also my other relationships. They saw the start of things with Matt and were also there in the end. We have laughed and cried, so cliche, but true. They have been my sounding board for my deep life conundrums and always provided good, and honest, insight.

I try to come here twice a year now. Typically in the spring when winter weather back home has gone on too long and weather here is phenomenal and then again in the late fall, after their summer heat has subsided and winter is knocking on Nebraska’s door again. As I’ve said, it is an escape for me, to a home away from home.

Today more family is arriving and the scenery will change again. More people will invigorate the environment and the discussions will turn from being intimate, and take on a lighter, more surface level tone. Steph will be among the new guests, and I have not seen her since just after her and her husband moved from Nebraska to Texas. I’m quite looking forward to hearing about how things are with them now.

I’m not afraid of change. In fact, I often embrace it. I think I’ve always been this way and maybe that’s why I enjoy living where we have such distinct seasons. It might also be why I enjoy traveling and also life changes. Each change seems to be another step in the right direction. More so now than ever. I don’t really miss the good ole day’s because I know that today will be even better!

Cheers to Change,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-11-04 Maui Day 6, Return from Hana 🌅🚘🌅

Today started with the sunrise on the east coast and ended with the sunset on the west coast.

In truth, it was less about the trip back from Hana to Kihei and more just about feeling glad to be returning “home”. Our evening in Hana was good, but being on the east coast, once the sun went down it was dark and it was not long before the kids were just ready to retire to their beds (for Netflix and Youtube of course – what would we do without the internet??!).

As expected, I was really too tired to do much more writing or research, but did earmark a couple of sites I wanted to get to the next day. This included going past Hana and south down the coast to the Seven Sacred Pools at Oeh’o which would be another hour on the road there and back to Hana. Our checkout was 11AM and that means if we wanted any time at all to jump and play in the pools and waterfall we would have to leave early. Not a problem for me, I was going to get up to see the sunrise. Which I did.

It was actually the worst night sleep of the entire trip. I woke every hour or so and had terrible dreams. Once I woke at 2:30AM and found C was still awake and playing on his iPad. Teenagers! When my alarm went off at 6AM I was glad the night was over and ready to get up.

I got dressed in a hurry and not knowing what the best spot would be to watch the sunrise, I got in the car to head down the road. Hana beach has a huge land mass blocking the sunrise so I kept driving. A little further down the road there was a business with a parking lot that seemed like a good view of the horizon, but the scene was not very picturesque, so I kept going. I really wanted to get down to ocean level and watch from the beach and soon I found a turnout advertising bbq chicken (Huli Huli) and beach access, which ended up being perfect.

At 6:30AM, it was completely deserted so I had the coast to myself. The weather that morning was sketchy and the sky was filled with clouds so I wasn’t even sure I would be able to see anything. There was a break, however, and the scene that unfolded before me was a mix of clouds and rain in the distance and the sun popping up from behind the ocean horizon. Very peaceful.

I didn’t stay that long and as I turned to leave, the rain started coming down.. A sign of the day ahead.

I was able to coax the kids up early and we had breakfast and got ready to go with a quickness. They were excited to go to the beach and try out the boogie boards borrowed from the airbnb. We drove the half hour road to the Seven sacred pools where we learned the pools have been closed for swimming due to safety issues. Not only that, but the area is technically inside Haleakala National Park and they wanted to charge us 25 bucks to get in.

I knew this actually, but thought for sure that our 3 day pass (purchased 2 days ago) would still be good. I did not have my receipt with me but had pictures on my phone AND a link to my credit card charge on my phone proving I was there. They refused both, saying they could have been forged. What ridiculousness. I refused to pay so we turned around to go back to Hana. Two strikes on our morning.

Strike three was the timing and by the time we got back to Hana, it was time to check out (plus it was now pouring down rain again so no beach time either). We packed our things back in the car and headed back to highway 360.

On the drive, I intended to stop at several places, but nobody’s heart was in it. The rain put a damper on things and so did my being so over the intense driving. We passed turnout after turnout and mile marker after mile marker and just kept going. I drove all the way back to Ken’s place in Sunny Kihei. When we arrived, the kids found their spots again and I fell onto the couch and quickly fell asleep.

They woke me up about 4:30PM asking what we were going to do next. It was perfect timing to grab towels and boggle boards and head to Kama’ole beach park III, for swimming and sunset. It was a relatively cool evening and I pretty much stayed on the sand and watched the kids go out and be washed back in by the surf.. over and over and over again. We enjoyed a lovely sunset and then left to find dinner.

Of all the things we did in the last day and a half, I think they enjoyed the boogie boarding the most. I also enjoyed the relaxation of not having to drive and just being able to sit and do nothing. I could use an entire day like that I think. Perhaps tomorrow.

From sunrise to sunset, no matter what happens.. Life is good.

Puka ana i ka napoo ana o ka,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-11-03 Maui Day 5, The Hana Edition 🚘

Today we had our cake and we ate it too!

I have often said (and as recently as in the last couple of days) that life is about the journey and not necessarily about the destination. However, our day today proves that it can be BOTH.

When we woke up today the plan was to jump in the car and travel the Road to Hana. Similarly to all the other days of this vacation, we woke up when we woke up and spent a slow lazy morning relaxing, having breakfast, and preparing for the day.

Part of my morning routine has been to go through pics of the previous day, do some writing, and text people back home (morning is the best time because of the time difference). Today I actually called Simon and we chatted for a while. When I said I was considering renting a convertible for the drive to Hana today, he said “Go for it!” He also said “You should get a Mustang”.

Until that minute, it was just an idea I was toying with but he was so enthusiastic about it, I decided to search for rentals in Kihei as soon as I was off the phone. I actually found one and it was not nearly as expensive as I anticipated, so I went for it!

We didn’t really get outta town until about 11AM, which is par for this course, but it was not long until we were passing through Paia with the top down and the wind in our hair. Pretty soon, highway 36 became highway 360 and thats when the road gets really interesting and fun. Like the drive yesterday, it didn’t really seem that bad to me because of the conditioning I had going to the Nakalele blowhole. And this time, I was in a car that was built for speed and the curve of the road.

At first, we were trying to follow the guidebook which had suggestions for turnouts and secret places to stop and hike to see waterfalls, but about a quarter of the way, I abandoned that approach because I kept missing the mile markers and clues to stop. I don’t need to see some “secret” hideaway, I’m OK with stopping where everyone stops to see all the awesomeness that is completely obvious. And there was a lot of it.

There were cool things to see every couple of miles and cars stopped at a lot of them. Apparently a car stopped means there might be something worth seeing or doing because at one point, we randomly stopped at a fruit stand that had a vacant couple of spots where nobody was parked and within minutes, there were four cars beside us. Coincidence?! We stopped just to put on sunscreen. Ha!

Since the ocean was on the same side the entire drive, most of the turnouts were on that side and so not convenient for someone traveling east. As such, we didn’t stop at a ton of places and just tried to make a mental note to stop on the way back when the ocean-side turnouts would be easier. Be that as it may, we did still stop about a half a dozen times to see the view and take some snaps. We also stopped at a roadside stand called “Half Way to Hana” where C had his first taste of shave ice.. grape flavor.

After that he was amped on sugar and we were all in good spirits and we turned the tunes up and continued on the road. We arrived in Hana about 3:15PM and had to find a spot with cell service so I could get the instructions for our AirBnb. As such, we drove around the area for a bit and visited Haha Bay Beach and got our bearings for where things were in the town. There is not much to it.

Once we found and were into our Hana Home, the kids quickly took to the ping-pong table on the lanai. I let them play for a little bit before urging that we go grab food while the sun was still up. I brought some groceries, but it was mostly breakfast/lunch/snack type stuff and I felt the need for a well cooked meal. There are very few options in town for sit down restaurants and we opted to try the Hana Ranch Restaurant. It was slightly overpriced, but I paid just about as much as I did for dinner in Kihei last night. It actually would have been a lot cheaper, except C ordered a half rack of ribs (we are on vacation after all).

When dinner was over, we played outside for a bit and then I hit the local “market”. I took a pick of the price of milk. $12.49 for a gallon. Wowza!! I’m glad we didn’t really “need” anything.

Once we were back at “Home”, Z claimed her bed and C and I played a few more games of ping-pong (I won both). Of the dozen or so places we could have stayed, that was the thing that put this place over the top. It’s a longer walk to the beach, but the house and amenities are top notch. Right now, I’m typing from a desk area in the kitchen that overlooks the living area where the kids are also on their electronics. We are all pretty much ready for bed, but it’s only about 8PM.

I might do a little more research on the “Road” tomorrow so we can be prepared for things on the way back (but probably not 😉 ). We basically have all day to meander and play and like the rest of the days on Maui, I want to slow down and savor every moment. This might be a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am treating it as such.

Makemak Wau Keke,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-10-16 Home Sweet Home

I arrived home about 10:30PM, got most things put away, and have just now settled into bed. The kids stayed at Brian’s an extra night because of our delay so it is just me and the kitten here. She greeted me at the door and has been following me around ever since.

I’m glad to be home and looking forward to a good night sleep in my own bed. I know I have a whole host of things that need following up on tomorrow, but right now I am just exhausted and can’t even think about what I’m supposed to be doing this week. That drive across Nebraska – Ewwww. I will say Colorado is no better. It only starts to get interesting when you get close to Denver and Boulder.

I think I am done with road trips for a while and also vacations in general (after we return from Hawaii of course). I am going to coast through the rest of this year and the holidays and really not plan anything new. It’s likely I will have a job come January and probably will not have much vacation time anyway, so that will work out perfectly.

Anyway, I’m going to call it quits on this day now. Kitten and I are ready for lights out.

When, what, who?
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-10-16 Sometimes the Fates Decide

Late on Saturday my mom decided she wanted to drive home on Sunday instead of Monday so once Sunday breakfast was over we loaded up all of our stuff into the Jeep to get on the road out of town. However, the fates had different plans for us and decided we should stick around until Monday like we had originally planned.

We left my brothers house and did what people do when they are getting on the highway in that we stopped for gas. I insisted we make a second stop so I could get a latte. When we got back in the vehicle and turned it on, it started to idle heavily and when she tried to drive it, it went a couple of blocks in the parking lot and then just refused to go when she pushed on the gas. Then the check engine light started to flash.

So we had a very un-fun afternoon on the phone with emergency roadside assistance, getting tows, and discovering that she put diesel fuel in her tank by accident. So we had to get a second tow to a nearby Jeep dealership where the vehicle would stay until someone could take a look at it when they opened on Monday morning.

We went back to my brothers house and unloaded all of our stuff. I guess we were meant to stay in Colorado and should not have tried to change the plan. It was a beautiful afternoon and I walked from the first car place back to my brother’s house. After the dust on all that excitement settled, Lance came to take me to his place in downtown Denver where we walked some more on 6th street looking for a place to eat. We settled on Blue Sushi, which is one of my favorites.

After that he and I went back to his place and talked more and watched TV. I took an Uber back home to my brothers as Lance and I had both been drinking all evening. I came home to a mostly quiet house and proceeded to settle back into my spot on the couch in the basement. I’m really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, hopefully tonight.

The service department at the Jeep dealership has confirmed there was minimal damage to the vehicle (very lucky) and they should be able to flush it out and get us back on the road by about 2PM today. At this point my mom and I are both super anxious to get home even though we were not originally going to be leaving until today anyway.

It’s another beautiful day out right now (sunny and 60 degrees) and I’m going to take a walk and enjoy that to pass the time while I wait. I wish I had my bike here. Next time, I will totally bring that so I can ride the trails.

Happy Monday,
~Miss SugarCookie