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

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2017-03-05 Saint Louis – Day 4, The Trainwreck Cheeseburger.. 2.5

When I was going through my difficult time last year, the phrase I used to describe it was “trainwrecked”. It worked in lots of different ways. I was “trainwrecked”. I was in “trainwreck” mode or sometimes I was actively in a state of “trainwrecking”. I guess you could say that was trying to make light of the situation to try and balance out everything else I was feeling.

Well, one of the previous days when Josh and I were searching for our next meal, the list included a place that he had forgotten about.. the Trainwreck Saloon. When we saw that, we knew we had to go. Knowing it was a bar and would most certainly have a nice selection of cheeseburgers, was just icing on the cake.

We headed there straight after our Forest Park walk and i really did not look at any other parts of the menu besides the burger section. Josh ordered the triple cheese and I opted for the cheddar bacon made with Bison meat. The waitress talked me into the broccoli-cauliflower salad and he had sweet potato fries. What started out as something magical where the universe was once again giving me exactly what I needed, ended up as a set of big fat checkmarks in the “lessons learned” category. The sad part about that, was these were all things I know already.

– When going to a new place, get the baseline burger with cheese. Not too fancy. In doing this you will avoid anything going wrong with something the restaurant is trying to do which might alter the experience in a negative way. I went for the Bison, when I should have stuck with delicious cow.
– If there is something special, which isn’t normal terminology – question it. In this case it was “soft cheddar” cheese. I didn’t think anything of it, but the cheese was just not to my liking at all. The taste was OK, but the texture was not appealing at all.
– Never, ever, under any circumstances order a side that is not French fries. Sorry for the double negative. Let me make it perfectly clear.. Always Order French Fries. Done. And yes, the side is a part of the total experience and it matters.

I admit I didn’t follow my own rules on this one, but I was just trying to allow serendipity to keep working her magic on this trip. However, even without my mistakes, the experience would have probably been just average.

The bun was an average bun that may have been multi-grain or perhaps had some sesame on it, but I could not tell. It was not toasted, and I prefer a toasted bun. The server did not ask me how I wanted my burger cooked, which was very odd for a place that advertises good burgers. Fortunately for me, medium is the standard and that is what I typically will order. As I stated, the cheese flavor was ok, but it was gooey and chunky and kind of pasty and really dripped all over the place. The bison was also OK, but I have definitely had better. And yes, shame on me, but the broccoli-cauliflower salad was actually not good at all so I am not sure what the server meant when she said it was “the best”. It was like they cut a few raw veggies and tossed it in watered down mayo. Not a lot of flavor. All things considered, I would go 2.5 out of 5 on this Cheeseburger experience.

I did manage to get not one or two, but three bites from Josh’s burger which was a quite a cut above my own. If things were flipped, I’d probably have gone perhaps as high as 3.5 on it. In the end, I was just pouty that his was better than mine and I carried that with me as we headed back to Ademir’s place to say good-bye.

We rested for just a few minutes there before packing the rest of the things in the car. By that time, the day had already gotten long and the sun was on the verge of setting. I was not really looking forward to a 7 hour drive back home and having not had the best sleep in a couple of days, I knew it might get rough.

I did OK until I hit the Iowa border and that’s when I started to get very sleepy and kind of punchy. When I got to Josh’s place I helped him unload and thanked him for being my tour guide and showing me his home away from home. I got a little emotional (or a little more than a little emotional) and then had to kind of take off in a hurry. It was also 2AM and we were both in desperate need of sleep.

A very good trip indeed. Hard to pick a favorite moment, or five. I would definitely go again, given the opportunity.

Home again, home again,
Miss SugarCookie

2017-03-02 Miss SugarCookie Live from Saint Louis

Yesterday after work I jumped in the car and drove to Saint Louis because.. why not. 😃
I’ll be working from here for the next couple of days and then on my off hours seeing everything and eating everything I possibly can until I leave on Sunday. It’s one of the perks of being able to work from anywhere. Anywhere there is internet that is.

I’ve never been to Saint Louis before so it should be quite an adventure. My tour guide is Josh and he’s already given me the rundown on all his favorite places to eat and I trust that as a result I will also get to see some cool different parts of the city. If the weather is good, we will also get plenty of activity outside including Tennis. So that should be really stellar as well.

I woke up about half an hour ago and could not go back to sleep. I’m on an air mattress in Josh’s friend, Ademir’s basement. Once I was awake my mind immediately began to race about all the stuff going on and I knew there would be no more sleep in my future today. Too much excitement and energy to keep a girl down. I absolutely love road trips.

The drive yesterday was good. I had such a wide swing of feels along the way, and the 7 hour trip seemed to go by really fast so that was also good. We jammed out to some good tunes and had just the right amount of snacks on the way, not to mention a dinner stop for a Cheeseburger as I wouldn’t have it any other way. Quite honestly I can’t believe I have been blogging for over a month now and have not dedicated a post yet to one of the most important things in my life – the Cheeseburger. I know I have been promised a lot of good food on this adventure, but my one request was to have “the best Cheeseburger in town”. Once that happens, I’m sure it will be documented appropriately.

On the drive I also had time to think and in the quiet spaces in my mind there were, as there always are, lots of thoughts about my life. I was thinking about living in the moment and enjoying each day for what it has to offer. I was thinking about the future and how I’m just so free now to choose to do whatever I want. More so than ever before. I had sparks of inspiration about things that I wanted to write. Of course I was driving so I knew I would not being able to capitalize on those sparks and they would slip away, never to be captured. This phenomenon used to bother me, but over time I have come to accept that what dreams may come and what words may blossom in the mind are fleeting and sometimes the act of waking up and living means sacrificing capturing those thoughts. Life is about balance, after all. and some times are times for writing and others are meant to be lived.

The next four days are going to be all about that. I want to squeeze all the life I can out of this adventure and also take time to memorialize some of the moments. We’ll just have to wait and see how well I can pull it off.

Let’s Get this Party Started,
Miss SugarCookie