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

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2017-10-14 A Full Day of Coloradoing

Today I was up early (before the sun) and had first breakfast in the solitude of my brother’s kitchen. Then when everyone else got up, he cooked us breakfast so I ate again. We waited a little bit after that before heading out for our hike because there was a pretty good fog covering the area. When it finally cleared (and mom was ready to go) we headed out in the direction of Boulder.

We went for a hike at a place called Halls Ranch. We took a moderate trail with some elevation that had lots of boulders and rocks on the path. We were nearly the only ones on foot as most people were traversing the trail on mountain bikes. It was very impressive to watch some of these people navigate over the really rugged terrain. I bet Simon would have really dug it. The hike was about 5 miles round trip, but at the top/end of the trail, we were not really as high as you could go so my bro decided we could leave the trail and go the rest of the way up to check out the view from the top. Our mom stayed below on a bench.

It was not that tough for me to follow him up, but my socks and shoes got covered in these little spikey sticker things. They tortured me the entire hike back down. The view from the top wasn’t really that great. Half way back down the trail and I very much lost enthusiasm and was just ready to be done. Alas, what goes up, must come down.

After the hike we drove back into Boulder for lunch. We had empanadas and I believe that was the name of the place. My brother’s office is in Boulder so he’s there all the time and knows all the places to have lunch. It was good.

When we got back to his house I was wiped out and ready for a nap. I am not sure how long I slept but when I woke, the sun was already going down. I drove my mom to a place she wanted to go shopping and I wandered around the store for a bit. I still only got 16K steps today which isn’t even as much as I have been getting on a regular day back home. I miss my routine and my gym and my Jazzercise.

Both my brother’s kids are in high school and they had their homecoming dance tonight. So the parents dropped the kids off at school and then the four of us went out for dinner. I’m super tired again now and feel like I have ate a ton of food and not gotten enough activity to make up for it.

My mom has decided we would just drive home tomorrow so a good night sleep is in order for us to be in the car all day again. I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tomorrow for sure.

Tired Typing,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-09-17 Austin Day 4: Sunday Wake Up

I woke up at 6AM at the conclusion of a dream I was having about a situation of injustice surrounding a child who did not have a voice of their own to defend what was happening to them. I had been trying tirelessly for hours to plead with the people around him or her to open their eyes and see the truth and to change something about what was happening.

As with most dreams, it was all very vague. Some child, some people, some situation, but no specifics for me to latch onto. It was just a strong frustrating feeling inside that I could lobby and lobby and just be dismissed by the powers that be. In the end, I conceded. I looked sympathetically at the child and allowed my heart to trust that it would all be OK and to let go of my need to fix whatever it was. The emotion I had was one of peace and also relief.

That kind of faith is very hard to come by, but when you achieve it, it can be very powerful. This was just a dream, but the emotions are real and the fact that when I woke it lingered long enough in my brain for me to feel the significance of it must mean something. I can take it for what it was or I can try and think of a deeper meaning as it applies to my life. Either way, it’s already fading away and will be lost in the commotion of the waking world as I rise and begin my day.

Yesterday was another full and fulfilling day indeed. Last night myself and Rebecca and one of her good friends took an Uber to a winery that is next door to an italian restaurant and had a lovely evening. I think the name of the winery was Duchman and I’ve been there once before with Jeremy and Rebecca.

We did a wine tasting first, which is about the right amount of wine for me, and just talked about whatever topics came up. Some were stories of the past and some were things that are happening right now in our lives. This is probably the third or fourth time I’ve chatted with her friend so between the three of us, it was very easy.

After the tasting, we all ordered a glass of our favorite and sat outside on picnic tables as the sun went down. It was a beautiful evening. Not too hot and there was a cool breeze and something about looking out across a field of grapes from under the shade of a big gnarly tree somehow made me feel like I was in Italy even though I have never been. I would like to go someday.

From there we went inside the restaurant and continued our conversations and proceeded to have the best meal. I had three options in mind for my entire and the waiter was not wrong about the choice he helped me settle on. I had the pork chop with the roasted Brussels sprouts and it was so delicious. If I was rating it the way I always rate my cheeseburgers, it would be 4.5, about as high as they get. At times like those, my only regret is that I can’t eat more to enjoy more. I kind of feel that way about my trips here sometimes. They are so short and sweet. I have to enjoy every minute because I know it goes fast.

After dinner we got an Uber back home and I’m not ashamed to be with a crew of ladies that are done with a Saturday evening out by 9. We did sit around the kitchen island talking a bit longer, but I was probably in bed by 10:30. The evening was good, the day was good, and this whole trip has been good.

Today is Sunday and later this afternoon I am traveling back home. It’s been shorter than usual trip but satisfying in so many ways. I may have one more Austin post in me yet, but for now, I’m just going to try and enjoy the time I have left.

Just a Few Bites Left,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-09-15 Austin Day 2: Connections and Perspective

Yesterday I met with Jill and Jason and met their little darlings for the first time. They are friends of mine who I know because of Matt and that’s a story that repeats as people come together and break apart. New friendships are formed, others fade away. I wrote a poem last valentines day about that. When I explained the story of how I know them to Rebecca and Jeremy last night, she reminded me that’s how we met, many years ago.

I consider Rebecca one of my dearest friends and I only know her because she and Jeremy met. Jeremy and I went to the same high-school (different years), but never really knew each other. He was in my brothers grade and also Brian, my ex-husbad. When Brian and I got married, he was one of the groomsmen in the wedding. To this day, people still say that was one of the best wedding receptions ever. I guess good food, great people, and an open bar will do that.

Meeting with Jill was good and it was good to see how their lives have evolved since I saw them last. That was years ago, when Matt and I came down for a visit over Thanksgiving. We stayed at their little apartment and participated in their thanksgiving festivities. That was before they were married, bought a house, and had two beautiful daughters. Life changes. That’s what’s supposed to happen. The more I see it around me, the more I see people doing what they really want to be doing, the more I know I’ve made the right choices.

Seeing her with the kids and how happy she is and hearing her talk about being a stay-at-home mom and loving it does wonders for me. Seeing the two of them go through the bedtime routine, just as I have watched Jer and Rebecca go through the bedtime routine validates what I already know.. that is they way it is supposed to work, with partners in life. Each half of the duo has their role and no matter what it is they do their part and share equally in responsibility and also the joy that comes from each day. These people have it figured out and it will never be perfect, because that’s not the way of life, but it’s pretty damn good.

I try not to think back at when my kids were that age and I did not feel like I had an equal partner. I try not to think about how I wish it could have been that way and how things may have turned out differently if Brian had just been a little less selfish. There are, of course, two sides to the story and from his perspective I’m sure it was different, but it does not matter. It doesn’t do me any good to dwell on the past. However it does do me lots of good to share in these moments with these people that I care about and know that it can work and that figuring things out together as life changes is key.

This morning I’m just a free-agent doing some of the things I love to do when I’ve got alone time here. Writing, working out, walking on the walking path, and thinking. Rebecca is working a half day and when lunchtime gets here we are going to take off for the afternoon. She’s always so good at planning things. I feel so taken care of here it’s like the best getaway a person could ask for.

Not having to worry about work is one thing, but when I am at home I still have a world of responsibilities that need my attention. When I am here, I can let go of that and just enjoy my time. That, coupled with the fact that they always eat really well and are very balanced between work and play time, makes this really feel like the best place to rejuvenate and gain different perspectives on some of the things going on in my life that I may not see otherwise.

The perspectives I get here are all positive and these people I love who welcome me into their homes so easily, no matter how we were first connected, are priceless.

Time to Hit the Trail,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-09-14 To Austin!

Despite getting up ridiculously early, I’m in really good spirits. I’m headed for my home away from home. I’m headed to rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation with my Texas Bestie, Rebecca, and her lively crew.

This is my second trip this year, the first being in mid-May. At that time I probably wrote all there is to know about why I love my visits to Rebecca’s house, so some things in the days to come will probably be repeats. I would offer my apologies in advance but as of a few days ago, I’m not going to be doing that so much anymore.

This will be more of an abbreviated trip than some in the past. At times, I would come early in the week and just work from their home and then stay over the weekend too. This time, I’m arriving Thursday and departing Sunday so less than four days total.

I elected to fly United this time. My choice is really mostly driven by price and they had the best deals at the time of booking. The traveling has been uneventful. I’m on the second flight now and have three seats across to myself. Unfortunately this is a short fight and not enough time to truly get into writing about anything.

Today I am going to depart from my normal MO in another way and visit a second set of friends I have in Austin, Jill and Jason. After Rebecca and I have lunch she will be dropping me off at their house to hang out for the afternoon and then have dinner with them. It’s been several years since I have seen them so I am looking forward to that too.

The voice from beyond is telling me that it is time to wrap up. I’m sure there will be more good stuff from Austin to come…

Cheers,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-21 What I Would Do for Totality.. Apparently

Be up over 36 hours straight.
Suffer through a migraine.
Suffer through a terrible hotel stay.
Have the worst “free” hotel breakfast ever.
Hours of waiting (this part wasn’t so bad before the eclipse because we were with friends).
Stupid paper glasses (ok, now I’m just being a whiny bitch).
Lack of proper nutrition (my fault for not being more prepared).
Cramps and bleeding (sorry, now I’m going all TMI).
AND.. A one and a half hour drive home that took THREE hours.

But we were there, at the fairgrounds by Beatrice Nebraska right on the line of totality for 2 minutes of a total eclipse of the sun. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty freaking awesome. I was cheering and jumping up and down. It was also cool to watch the moon as it passed in front of the sun for an hour before, with the glasses of course.

We had off and on thick clouds so it was never a guarantee we were going to get to see anything. Just seeing the partial was really cool. When we all got to take the glasses off and the sky was mostly dark except for a 360 degree of “sunset” on the horizon, that was amazing. We even saw stars in the sky. What a sight. Despite all my hardships, I am glad that I went.

Despite all my anxiety and indecision leading up to it, I am glad I went. I’m glad I got to take the kids and that they got to experience this once, maybe twice in a lifetime event.

And now, I’m glad that it is over and I am back home in my own room in my own bed. It’s only 7PM, but I daresay I will not be able to stay up very much longer.

Totality Wiped Out,
~Miss SugarCookie

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