2017-08-12 Looking Forward

It’s good to have a plan. It’s good to have things to look forward to. An event or a meet up or a vacation in the future that you can think about and be excited about. I’m a planner by nature and I love having things to look forward to. That’s probably why I am always planning to meet people for lunches or daydreaming and scheming about my next road trip or vacation. From the moment Hawaii was a done deal, it has been a topic of discussion with people and a wonderful thing to be excited about. That happens in November and I bought those tickets last spring, so I will have enjoyed looking forward to that for like 6 months.

One thing that was great about my job was that it paid enough to support my travel habit. There are so many places I want to see and so many things that I want to do that as soon as I get back from one, I’m almost immediately thinking about what is next. The downside to the job thing is, well, only three weeks of paid vacation a year. Bummer. I’m also a fan of the long weekend, you know take a Friday and maybe even Monday too and take off for a road trip. I think my PTO balance at work was often hovering around zero. Whatever job I elect to have next, I would like more time off. Four weeks is not unheard of but five would be the bomb. That’s probably stretching it some.

I originally planned to take three months off of work. Well, three months where I was just going to get some serious R and R and not think about work at all and then potentially another three months looking for the “right” job. For the most part being off work has been great, but now that I am almost halfway through my first three and about a month past my big Pacific Northwest adventure, I am really starting to want to plan some more things with the time I have left.

I’m supposed to do a quick trip with my friend Denise to Beatrice to witness the Solar Eclipse on the 21st, but that will likely be a one day trip. The one day trip I took to that crappy water park in Grand Island was more of a spur of the moment thing and not super awesome. I need something more substantial. Yesterday I had texts with both my friend Rebecca in Austin and my Mom about potential trips.

It looks like we (my mom, the kids, and I) will be going to visit my brother in Colorado in October over the four day Columbus day weekend. That’s so far away still. I may be going to Austin mid September too. That will probably be decided here in the next couple of days. Rebecca also wants to plan a girls trip sometime in October or November so that will likely be awesome too. Then we are leading right into that first week of November when I will be on the island of Maui. So that’s all very excellent.

I’ve also been thinking I would like to get back to the Badlands this year. I love that place so much. That is one of the benefits of being in a relationship .. you have someone to experience things with. I don’t much mind traveling solo, but when you get to where you are going, eating all your meals and seeing cool things by yourself is just not the same. You see the most amazing sunrise and you look to your left and your right and don’t have anyone to say “wow, how cool is that” to. That’s a bummer. Still, it would be nice to get back there before my time runs out.

For the next few weeks I need to focus on getting the kids back to school and potentially doing a little soul searching about my future. That’s another kind of “looking forward” that I’ve intended for this time in my life. I should capitalize on that opportunity while I’m at home and waking up each and every wonderful day with the luxury of doing whatever it is I feel like.

I guess it’s time to do that now. I wonder what this day will bring.

Always Looking,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-29 Untraveled Roads

We traveled about two hours deeper into the heart of Nebraska to find a new place to play. We landed at the Island Oasis of Grand Island about 2:30PM. Shortly after that the kids disappeared. They dissolved into the wave pool and became one with the water. It’s 4:30 now and I’ve got my eyes trained on the slides and ropes and floats before me, but there is no sign of them. I give it another half an hour and then I might have to leave my perch and find them.

Being left to my mind with nothing else to occupy it has sparked quite a few beginnings. Quite a few wide roadways I could start down in search of a narrower, winding path to somewhere that matters more than this open road.

I’ve met someone recently that sparks my interest very much in multiple ways and I’m almost afraid to peek down such a beautiful side street. In the quiet of my present moment I’m standing by the streetlight that shins it’s soft warm glow on the entrance to that yet untraveled road. I grab the pole and swing round it slowly, letting the momentum of my body take me 360 degrees from where I started.

After one complete revolution I peer over my shoulder and impossibly there’s another street on the opposite side from where I’m standing. Another completely separate avenue of undiscovered possibilities. I wonder to myself how there could be two roads here at this juncture. I take a quick walk back across the wide Main Street to peer down the second road and see how far I can see. Not far.

The natural daylight is waning and the tiny street lamps along this stretch are no match for the darkness that’s growing. Still, what I can see appears lovely. Then I find myself turning my head from side to side to see each of the new roads I have discovered in turn. So different and yet equally as enticing and beautiful.

At the moment I’m quite content to just stand here and daydream about what my future travels might be like. In my head I’ve already wandered down the first road a little ways and stopped to smell a few of the blue wildflowers growing not far off the path. The air is filled with the scent of bread baking and there is a slight breeze brushing over my shoulders. It all feels positively amazing.

The other road is a little tougher to imagine but when I’m thinking about it, for some reason I’m filled with satisfaction and a sense that all is right with the world. There’s no sensory inputs, just intuition.

The sun is completely set now and such a chill has risen in the air that I can’t linger here any longer. I must return to reality and collect my things and go.

As if by magic or the sheer will of the universe to make my thought a reality, one of my children has re-appeared before me, emerged from the depths and she has also come to feel the same cold creeping in. She’s soaking wet and ready to leave. I’m sure I’ll have to go fetch the other myself, as he’s immune to the cold and will not probably notice for hours that the sun has gone down or that his belly is empty. That’s a true wanderer.

We turn and leave with smiles on our faces. As I exit the scene I can’t help but look back over my shoulder again and bid farewell to the two untraveled roads I have discovered. I know it will not be long before I’m back again.

Happy Daydreaming,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-16 PNW Day 6: Waking Up in Seattle

Last night we ended up stopping along I-5 North in Eugene Oregon at a lovely hotel, The Comfort Inn, which had an indoor pool and complimentary breakfast. Those are our two pre-requisites for an ideal stop. It’s actually the first place since the Holiday Inn Express a couple of days ago that was access to the room from inside the building. The Comfort Inn was probably the nicest place we have stayed this entire time, until last night.

We arrived about 6:30PM in Seattle and picked up my long time friend, Karla (AKA Princess KK), from her building and made our way to the Renaissance Marriott downtown. She had some bonus points that were about to expire and put us up in this lovely 24 story building for the next couple of days. She’s got a tiny apartment and a person already staying with her (on the floor) and three more people would probably make it beyond uncomfortable, so this worked out.

The four of us walked a few blocks last night to get pizza and then back to the hotel where the kids went back to the room and we sat in the Hotel bar for a few drinks. We talked for a couple of hours and she caught me up on her life and I caught her up on mine. It has been about two years since I have seen her and there have been a lot of changes for both of us.

She moved to Seattle just this year from San Diego to take a different job and I, well you know ended my five year relationship and quit my job. We still did not cover everything, but will probably go somewhere tonight to continue the conversation. We also began hatching a plan for another fun trip together in September, but that’s all tentative and super secret right now so that’s about all I can divulge at this time.

Today we are waking up on the 14th floor of the hotel and have big plans for the day. We are going to walk to get donuts and then on to her building so we can see her new place and her little dog Linus. After that we will walk to the Space Needle and Pike’s Place and the ferris wheel. Z wants to see and do all the cool things and all I really want is a Latte and a really good bowl of chowder. I’m super easy to please. C does not care about any of it and is just up for whatever (as long as there is a promise of more down time at the hotel later).

This is also the first time we are staying in the same place more than one night and don’t have to pack up our things and load them back into the car, so it will be nice to just get dressed and go. Which is what I am about to do right now.

Time to Scoot the Booty,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-14 PNW Day 4: I’ve Come a Long Way Baby…

… Literally. Yesterday I drove from Rockaway to Crescent City, Ca and what should have been a 6.5 hour drive took us 12 hours. We checked out of one motel at 11AM and checked into the next at 11PM. We made so many stops along the way. Some were good and some were bad, some were necessary and some were not. In the end, It was dark and I was sleepy and all I wanted to do was get to that dingy motel so I could sleep.

At dinner-time I got a craving for a cheeseburger and typed that into the GPS and ended up at a place called “Shake and Burger”. The service was the VERY WORST I have had in a long, long time. The burger was sub-par and the place was really kind of a dump. I’m not even going to dedicate an individual post to it because it was not even worthy (probably a 2 for the record – 1.5 if you factor in the service). I would have thought a place with “burger” in the name would hit at least a 3. Yowza.

Anyway, I did all that driving so I could wake up today and just zip down to the Redwood National Park and hike amongst the giant redwood trees. Sure enough, I was not one mile into the park on scenic 101 that I got that very goosebumps feeling that I get when something amazing is happening. I do love the Redwood forest. It’s just so awe-inspiring

I barely thought at all about the last time I was there, which was in 2012 with Matt. This is proof that either the Forests powers are just that strong or that I’m really starting to just be over him. Either way I have come a long way.

The plan was supposed to be that we would arrive in Seattle on Friday, but when we were still in California at about 2PM today, it was very clear that was not going to happen. I was already sick of driving after yesterday and could only take about 4 or 5 hours in the car today so we stopped in Eugene Oregon for the night. We will make it the rest of the way tomorrow.

On that note, I need a good night sleep to get me in better shape for tomorrow and the weekend. It is my turn to be solo in the bed (we’ve been taking turns sharing a bed).

Nighty-Night,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-12 PNW Day 2 (Part 2): Less is More

Today seems like it was a very full day, but we did not really do much. We woke up, had breakfast, packed up and drove west to the coast.

Once we hit the 101 it was time to do a little bit of sightseeing. We drove north on the highway to Oswald State Park. We parked in a roadside parking lot and hiked a very short distance through some woods to a beachy cove.

Earlier in the day I had packed us a picnic lunch but when we arrived, nobody was hungry. They were, however, in great need of some frolicking in the ocean. We were dressed for colder weather but that did not stop them from running straight into the water. At one point, I am pretty sure I saw my son about waste deep.

When left to their own imaginations, they are very good at making up games and things to do. I think they spent a good half an hour running a big floating board back and forth, throwing it as far as they could and then letting the waves wash it back up on the sand. They mounded up wet sand and dug pits in it. Every once in a while they briefly ran back to where I was sitting (on a log on dry sand), and then realizing how boring that was, ran back out again. By the time they did get hungry they were both soaking and covered in sand.

I fixed us sandwiches and we sat and talked for a bit. After that, all three of us proceeded to do a little rock hunting. That little bit comes from me and my propensity for collecting rocks. I’ve learned my lesson in the past that too big or too many does not travel well, so I look for small ones and limit myself to only the best. I have to subscribe to the notion that less is more in this case as I will have to carry whatever I collect for another 6 days.

In the end, we all had a pocket full and once again packed up our things to travel to our next destination. By this time, check-in at the motel would be open. There were no rooms left in Manzanita so I ended up booking in Rockaway. How appropriate.

We really only traveled a couple of hours today and pretty much spent the entire time just messing around. I think that’s OK though, because like collecting rocks, on some vacation days, less is also more. 🙂

Easy Does It,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-07-12 PNW Day 2: Headed for the West Coast

Today we will not miss the free breakfast at our hotel, the lovely Holiday Inn Express in Troutdale Oregon. After that, I am not sure if we will linger at all around this area or just head for the coast. I’d like to hang out at least long enough to miss morning traffic as we pass back through Portland. Perhaps there is another tourist-like thing to do around here.

I woke up early of course and have been spending these first few quiet moments alone writing and also posting things to social media. On one hand (and it is a very big hand), I absolutely loathe all things social media. I’ve hated Facebook for years and joined twitter in 2010 so I could be part of the cool kids club. Now I have both Instagram and Snapchat too. They all have their place and serve a specific purpose in my life and I spend as little time as possible to get out of all of it what I want. For this trip, it means posting pictures of the kids and I on vacation. I will admit I selfishly want other people to see what we are up to for various reasons.

I still don’t have a good plan for what is on the agenda today besides driving. Nor do I have a hotel booked for the night. I’m thinking Manzanita as it is one of my favorite coastal towns in Oregon (I’ve been twice before). I’ll check later to see if there is availability. It is Wednesday already and one of my goals this trip was to get down to Northern Cali to show the kids the Redwood Forest so I’m going to need to figure out the timing for that. Perhaps stay a day just west of Portland and travel south on Thursday? I guess we shall see.

Anyway, I might try and crawl back into bed for just a few more minutes before it’s time to wake up the crew.

The Adventure Continues,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-05-31 Decisions, Decisions

Good Decision – Going to Denver for the holiday weekend.
Bad Decision – Not checking the weather and packing the wrong clothes.
Good Decision – Walking everywhere downtown.
Bad Decision – Buying at $10 salad and a fancy salad place.
Good Decision – Bringing the bike with me.
Bad Decision – Not riding it. 😔
Good Decision – Going to Red Rocks for a concert, meeting some new people, and tailgating for the first time. (Tom Petty was awesome by the way.)
Bad Decision – Drinking way too much AND doing so the night before driving home across Colorado and Nebraska for 8 hours. I’ve never had to drive with a hangover before, and hopefully I never will again.

It was a quick trip, but a good one. I am glad to be back home and getting to sleep in my own bed tonight. I’ve got laundry to do and the kids are being dropped off in a little bit. I have to go into the office tomorrow morning and have a full day of meetings and work. I would say it is back to business as usual, but it probably will be nothing like that for the next four weeks.

This trip has been a good preamble for all the awesomeness to come. I’m sure I will have many more good and bad decisions in my near future.

Jury is Always Out,
~Miss SugarCookie