2017-12-15 Lions and Tigers and Boys.. Oh My

Yesterday was quite a strange day and full of expected and unexpected events. Most of it had to do with other people and most of those other people were men. Spoiler.. this one is on the long-ish side but the last bit at the end is super relevant to the story.

First, my ex-husband called me out of the blue while I was at the gym and interrupted my “flow” on the elliptical machine. We actually chatted for about 25 minutes and it ended up being a nice change up to my norm and it made that time pass faster.

He seemed to call for no reason, but I updated him on lots of things anyhow. Mostly stuff about the kids and my new job and coordinating things for the alterations in our schedules due to the Christmas holiday. It was a pleasant enough conversation, and in the end, when I asked him why he called he said something about Zoey and a text that came in while we were talking. I got the distinct impression he was deflecting the question, and then he had to get back to work.

Something is up, but I’ve learned not to question it or even give it a second thought because whatever it is, probably will not be that important and is likely not worth pressing on.

The second interaction was coffee with my other ex, Matt. He initiated meeting up and I requested coffee. He drove all the way to my end of town and we met at the Panera. He apparently wanted to just catch up. In my head I’d gone round and round all sorts of reasons he may want to meet and the thought even crossed my mind he might ask if I wanted to get back together.

Well, the thought crossed my mind, but I dismissed it. The conversation was mostly light, but did get a little more intense when we were talking about his grandma who is in pretty good physical health but whose mental capabilities are waning. I could not help but have empathy for him as the person who has the most contact with her and also sadness within me that comes from a place in the heart that remembers I used to call her grandma too. I still do really.

I had the courage to ask if he was still dating Lindsey, and he said that he is. Then he said a few things that seemed like puzzle pieces that didn’t quite fit and it felt much like Brian earlier when he dodged my question on why he had called. I didn’t press on it this time either, but for different reasons. Someone once told me “Don’t ask questions that you don’t really want the answers to.”

I held it together pretty good and pushed my feelings deep down as we exchanged stories. What do you do with a person you know so well? What do you do with a person you still have feelings for? What do you do when they can’t or won’t or don’t feel the same way? I know what to do. Smile and fake it.

That’s what I did. I said all that I needed to say before (last year) and that’s why I can be free from regret and not feel the urge to say anything more now. I can just acknowledge my feelings are still there and have a conversation and also make sure he knows how awesome my life is right now.

I let my happiness and positivity shine through and suppressed my continued grief about “us”. It wasn’t until I was in my car pulling out of the Panera parking lot that I released that beast and burst into tears. I cried all the way home. Sometimes, life is just rotten.

Later in the day I discovered via twitter that an old acquaintance from years ago was in town from Cali and so I jumped in my car to meet him at Aromas in Benson. My turn to drive across town.

Gabe and I were not that close. We frequented the same circles and had several mutual friends. I thought to myself that a quick Meetup would be good for me and he was all for it as he saw most of his peeps at a tech holiday party last night and was just hanging out today messing on the internet.

It was really great to catch up and he’s doing some super cool things at Philo. He also recently took some time off of work and we shared a lot of commonalities around that. In an hour we covered Work, relationships, and what life is like living in the heart of San Fran. I discovered that when he comes back to Nebraska he always has A Wendy’s cheeseburger which he does not have easy access to where he lives (he’s living the car free life).

Wendy’s .. really??! Gross!!! I held my opinion to myself. After an hour we parted ways and I jumped back in my car to head home and start dinner.

That brings me to my last interaction of the day.. Simon paying me a visit to join us for dinner and evening activities. Cooper let him in and he came upon me in the kitchen while my back was turned. When I turned around to greet him with a hug, I almost missed the dozen purple roses he brought.

I’m ashamed of my first thought. “Oh no.. cut flowers”. I don’t care for cut flowers and I think the gesture is a waste of money and a shame to sentence those beauties to an abbreviated life. I practiced my faking it for the second time in the day and smiled and thanked him and promptly stopped what I was doing to get a vase.

In truth, I did allow some emotion to show.. just enough that he would pick up on it and ask me about it. I told him I had a tough day and asked if we could talk more after dinner. And so we did.

I talked about meeting Matt for coffee and then recounted the events of 2016 so he had a good frame of reference to understand the gravity of my meetup and the depth of my emotions.

He listened and attempted to find relatable connections in his own life. Some relationship he had 20 years ago that left him feeling the same things years later. I appreciated him listening to me and I know he’s smart enough to pick up on the other connection. I left Matt because he could not commit to a future and I’m not about to be in a relationship with someone else who has the same limitation.

We did not talk about “us” much. There’s nothing really to talk about. The cut flowers say it all.

One might say “how was he to know not to bring you cut flowers?”. My response to that is so revealing…

If you are seeing a girl and you know she’s into writing and you know she writes poetry you ask her about it. This is not freaking rocket science.

If you ask her she’ll be overjoyed that you are interested and she’ll share her blog with you so you can read what she’s written. If you want to be supportive and show you care about her interests and feelings, you’ll visit the blog and read at least some of her writing.

In my case, anyone who does that would most certainly read the poem on my home page. It’s called Long Talks and Sidewalks and the post has been “sticky” at the top for about nine months now (which it isn’t anymore because I’m getting ready to post something new). The second line of the poem says “Don’t bring me cut flowers and expect me to smile and swoon”. And it goes on to explain why.

Even if one were to assume that this is just poetry and words and fluff, they should have the wherewithall to inquire further about it… if they care.

I don’t think all of this is unreasonable. If it’s unreasonable, please someone tell me. As it is, Simon and I have been seeing each other for five months and he knows about my affinity for poetry and that I have a blog but has never inquired beyond that. If he brought me flowers on a second date or something, that would be different, but it has been five months.

There could be lots of reasons for that, but I’ve taken so much interest in things he cares about, the fact that it’s very one-sided is a concern for me. Like I wrote a few days ago, I don’t need someone to be totally gaga about my passions, but an ounce of interest is absolutely required. I added that to the scale a while back. The presentation of flowers just solidified it. /sigh

I guess I’ll just keep skipping merrily along this yellow brick road with a keen eye looking out for more lions, tigers, and .. uh.. bears. 🐻 😉

There’s No Place Like Home,
~Miss SugarCookie


2017-12-14 The Nicest Rejection Ever

I’ve got too many emails in my personal in-box. I’m notorious for opening what’s important and ignoring the rest. Truly.

That little red badge on the app on my phone typically has 1000+ on it which, apparently, doesn’t really bother me like it bothers some people. I will go through every couple months and do mass deletes and get it back around about 400. At the same time I attempt to unsubscribe from things, but it really does not take long to creep up to quadruple digits again.

A few days ago I opened my gmail account from chrome on my laptiop and there were no less that 20 new messages (and that was only after about a half a day). As I quickly scanned the sender and subject there was one in particular that caught my eye. It was from “The Sun”.

“The Sun” is a literary publication that prints stories and poetry and about two months ago I submitted about five poems in line with their requested theme of “Love and Justice”.

I didn’t even hesitate long enough to let any excitement rise inside of me. I opened immediately and read “Thank you for your poetry submission ‘On Love and Justice’ but…”. What followed were words which amount to what is quite possibly the nicest rejection I’ve ever had.

I wonder if that was a form response they send to everyone or if a person actually typed that out just for me. Probably the former, but I’d have to submit to them again to know for sure.

If circumstances were different, and I had not been riding high on my job search success, it may have left me feeling disappointed and sad. As it was, though, I took it in stride and barely gave it another thought.

What I know about this sort of thing is that the rejection rate is high. Some people make hundreds of submissions and only a few, if any, get accepted. It truly is subjective and based on what they are looking for. With poetry, and creative writing in general, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.

This one didn’t work out but that’s ok. Now that I’ve done one, it will be easier to do more. I’m confident some of my work will be published at some point. I may not look for another target for a while though as I’m going to need to focus on school and my new job. Perhaps I’ll even spend some effort to clean up my email.

Ahhhh… Probably not. 😜

Perpetually Positive,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-13 Big News Today!

I’ve been unemployed for five and a half months. I’ve rested, rejuvenated, and rediscovered a sense of purpose for myself in this life.

As of today, December 13, I’m back on the payroll!.. Woo-hoooo!!

In the past month I began to get more serious about finding the right job for me. I had narrowed down my requirements and options. I did a little networking and opened my mind to different possibilities.

I passed my resume to a friend who passed it on to a company he does work for. In just a few short weeks, I had a series of conversations with the co-founders and they apparently liked what they saw and heard. Last week they indicated they were interested in hiring me for the role of Technical Writer. How perfect is that??!

If I took a short trip back in the past and revisited those times I wrote about what I was looking for in a company and a job, it would not take long to recognize this opportunity is spot on!

1. Remote work with flexible hours. ✅

2. Not more than 30 hours a week so I still have time for parenting and school. ✅

3. Great company with smart people and good culture (as verified by my friend). ✅

4. A wage that meets my needs. ✅

5. A job that utilizes my current skills AND is more focused on something I’m passionate about.. writing! ✅

What’s the down side? We’ll see. It’s a 4 month contract to start so it’s potentially not permanent. Still, it alleviates my concerns about the immediate future.

I was not sure how I would feel going back to work because I have enjoyed my time off so much. The truth is that I’m quite excited about it. I’m looking forward to working on something new and contributing to a team. I sent the signed contract in this morning and have my first official meeting today. Yes!

Living the Dream,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-12 How Do They Do It?

This past weekend I had an interview with the manager at my gym for a position as a front desk attendant. For those who don’t know, there’s typically a person who stands at the info desk near the entrance to the gym and is responsible for greeting people.

The other job responsibilities include, as I discovered Sunday, cleaning, running the cash register, and answering the phones. No sales, no membership discussion, and “no stress”. It really would be the perfect side gig for me to pick up a shift here or there for some extra spending cash. Right?! But there’s a catch. The pay.

“Minimum wage”, he says. “Our hands are tied on this one and it’s dictated by corporate”. When he said that I just smiled and nodded because that’s what you do in a job interview.

So what is minimum wage in Nebraska? Nine dollars an hour. NINE DOLLARS AN HOUR. What??

My first jobs in the 90’s were all minimum wage. One was a waitress which was 2.15 an hour plus tips. The others were 4.25 I think. When I moved to Nevada, I landed a gig at the Treasure Island Hotel that was 75 cents above the minimum which I believe was around 5 bucks an hour. That was 1993.

That means, boys and girls, that in 24 years, the minimum wage has only been raised by about 4 dollars. This varies from state to state, but not by much.

There is no way in Hell that this increase covers or matches the cost of living increases that have also happened in the last 20+ years. Plus, the government is also taking a much bigger cut for taxes than ever before. And don’t even get me started about the extra cost of healthcare.

I’ve done the calculations recently looking at tax brackets and figuring in things like social security and Medicare. It’s out of control. For a person making a 9 dollar an hour wage, about 20% is going to come right off the top, leaving about $7.20 for “take home”.

For someone working 50 hours a week, which they would have to do just to survive, it comes out to less than 20K a year. That’s just insanity.

The intent of minimum wage is supposed to be a wage a person can live on. It’s not intended to be a supplemental or student wage. A person entering the work force as an unskilled laborer should be able to pay for housing, transportation, and food. And perhaps that’s possible, but there is no way for anyone to save or plan ahead for emergencies or, god forbid, other things that increase their quality of life like vacations or entertainment.

It makes me wonder how people who earn minimum wage do that. It also makes me wonder how corporations get away with that as an offering or policy. I mean I know how and why they do it. The bottom line is King and as long as people accept it, they will keep doing it.

What I’m really asking is how do the people dictating these policies sleep at night? Do they have no conscience? Have they gone so far in their own life that they have forgotten what it’s like to be at the beginning? Perhaps they started from a place of privilege and have never been there at all. In any case, it’s sickening.

I’m fortunate enough to not have to live on minimum wage. I’ve come a long way myself, and truthfully did not realize this was a thing until I started looking into it.

This job at the gym would be perfect for me (if I had the spare hours, which I probably won’t). However, I can’t, in good conscience, work for a company that refuses to give what is probably 20% of their work force any more than the minimum. Shame on them.

The person I talked with on Sunday is supposed to call me today to let me know if they want to hire me. I’m ready.. “No thanks!”.

I’m Out,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-10 The Curse of the Logical Mind

There is no escaping reality. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Well.. I’ve tried enough to feel really shitty for a couple of days after drinking too much. That’s where I was last year in the weeks leading up to and following Christmas. I hit rock bottom and did not want to live anymore. I was not suicidal, but I remember thinking I just could not do it anymore. Something had to change.

What I am writing now is not about that, nor is it about my failed relationship with Matt or any of the details behind why I had to quit my job. I’ve gone round and round those topics so much, there is no need to repeat it. What it is about, is now, and how no matter how much I try to just hum merrily along to life’s sweet melody, there are tough things to face and facts that weigh heavy on my mind.

I’ve been enjoying a fair amount of success with just about everything I try, for a long time. One thing that seems to dodging me, has to do with relationships. More specifically, romantic relationships. This year I attempted to dip my toe into the dating pool and got in enough to realize how unpleasant the water is, and got right back out again. I did, however, find someone on my way out.

We met on July 23rd and it was very slow to start. In the month to follow, I only saw him a couple of times and a few of those took me way outside my comfort zone, but I kind of dug it. In September we started seeing each other more and by October I was staying over at his house some nights when I did not have the kids. That continued into November as I became more and more comfortable with things, and not worried as much about how he feels about me. The other thing that I realize more and more as time goes by is that he’s not right for me.

I’ve done so much soul searching, self-evaluation, and analysis of past relationships in the last couple of years, I think I have what I want and what I need from a partner pretty nailed down. I’m “in it to win it” so to speak. I want someone for the duration. The duration being.. the rest of my life. I need someone who wants and needs me, which one would think would be easy to find. I want a partner who I can challenge and who will challenge me so we can elevate each other and be better human beings. I want someone who wants to be active and healthy with me. I want someone who likes to travel and experience new things. I want someone who I can communicate with and who does not have issues with communication. Obviously I want to find a good person with a kind heart. There’s lots of fine print, but these are the general overarching qualities.

I don’t want to just completely dismiss the fine print, because we all know the devil lives in the details. Maybe those general things above are fairly easy to come by and can help me rule out certain people very easy on (if I ever decide to date again). The tricky part is determining if any of the details will also be a deal breaker. This is where my logical mind starts to wreck havoc on my thought processes. The problem (or curse) may not even be a logical one, but instead just my tendency to overthink things.

As of right now, my brain has started compiling a list of these details as far as Simon is concerned and most of them have little red flags attached. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of positives too, but how do they stack up against the other side? In a world ruled by balance, if the scales are tipped too far the wrong way, it’s hard to ignore.

If I were to start listing out some of these details one might think I was certifiably crazy, but I am who I am and I know what I am capable of overcoming and dealing with and what I am just not. I also know some things based on my historical relationships, and if those red flags present, then it’s for sure trouble, because it means it was something I could not get over.

  1. I don’t want to be cold. If the house is set below 70 degrees, ever, that’s not an environment I can be comfortable in.
  2. I don’t want to have to drive across town to see someone, and if I do, then they have to split that driving 50/50. In fact, it’s great if most things are 50/50. If I end up doing most things myself (including paying for things), then forget about it. (obviously more applicable if living together).
  3. I do fad-diets and go through cycles of eating and not eating certain things. I not only don’t want to be judged for this, but I also want to be supported. In this category is also my love for cheeseburgers. I love them. I can’t be dealing with a cheeseburger hater.
  4. I need someone who is interested in what I am doing. This is an extension of the thing I said above about wanting someone who wants and needs me. They don’t have to be interested in poetry or writing or gardening or whatever, but if it is something I’m doing, I want them to be interested in that and care enough to ask about it and talk about it.
  5. I can only compromise so far when it comes to my parenting style. I don’t know how much more I want to or need to change how things operate in my house. I’m all ears when it comes to advice, but I’m not going to start parenting differently. This is obviously bigger than a bread box, but becomes important when I start thinking about living with someone.

Thus far, my time with Simon has been good. He’s a good person with a unique and refreshing outlook on life. He’s a happy, positive person who is interested in health and well-being and staying active. We’ve had some great moments and I’ve grown as a person because of things we have done together. I’ve had instances where I felt such joy and the warm feeling of happiness inside.. and at least once where the words “I love you” almost slipped out of my mouth. However, I can’t help the slow methodical creeping of thoughts and those “red flag” instances piling up on one side of the scale.

The biggest thing at this point is his general approach to living. He wants to live in the moment and not think about the future. That, of course, is contrary to one of my biggest items.. the longevity of the relationship. If he’s never going to be thinking about the future, then there is no future for us. And if there is no future for us, then I’m not down for that. I spent five years of my life with the last guy, without a promise for a future, and I don’t intend to do that again.

So even without the temperature, distance, and parenting discrepancies, that’s the big thing. If somehow that changed, and he was suddenly wanting to plan a future and we started talking about that, the other things would come into play. There are elements in all five of the issues above that concern me.

The latest one happened yesterday when he made me a burger. He asked me if I wanted cheese and I said that I would defer to his taste on it since it was his masterpiece. He said he never eats cheese on a burger because it does not seem to have any benefit for pleasing the palate and that the two (burger and cheese) are really not meant to be paired for that reason. Now have you ever heard such blasphemy in all your days? I know I haven’t.

That was probably the last straw. Now I know I said you would think me crazy, and I does not hurt my feelings if you do, but this little nugget weighing on my mind, on top of all the others, just solidified what I already knew to be true but was in denial because I wanted so much for it to be just wonderful.

As with all things, timing is everything. It’s the holidays and we have plans coming up this weekend when his daughter gets back in town. I need to wait out the current PMS phase to see if my feelings will soften a bit, but I just can’t envision enough of a change in the dynamic to warrant some re-consideration.

I recognize my own failure in this process is my lack of communication which is partially due to a fear of rejection. I’ve been enjoying our time and did not want it to end so I’ve been mostly silent on all of this.. Including the cheeseburger comment yesterday. I need to be able to fix that. I’m just not sure how.

Just another problem my logical mind will most assuredly try to solve in its spare time (hopefully not while I am trying to sleep).

Enough for Now,
~Miss SugarCookie


2017-12-10 Like Plants Vs. Zombies – It’s About Time

A couple years ago Plants Vs. Zombies 2 came out and it was the long awaited, quite overdue sequel to the first game. That first game was something I had never played.

The truth is, I don’t play many video games and am not really into that sort of thing. I have a long history of having and sticking with my favorites.

Here’s the rundown…

In Jr. High we got an Atari 2600. It was mostly for my bro who amassed like 60 games from that time through the duration of us attending high school. I tried every game, but really only seriously played a few.

Joust – Which was fun and challenging and immensely easier than the arcade version (at the lower levels). I have a funny story about that game, but it’s too long so I’ll save it for another time.

Raiders of the Lost at Arc. This was one of the only “quest” games with a story that had a beginning and an end that we had. Once you solved it, there was no point in doing it again. Sometimes we would do it again just to see how fast we could solve it.

And my all time favorite Atari game.. Qberts Cubes. This was a spin off of the much more well known Qbert game which I actually hated. I was a rockstar at Qberts Cubes. I would sail through the lowest levels with ease and by the time I got to the harder stages, my brain was in sync with the muscle memory of every pattern and move I just kicked ass. I got in the zone on this game like other people memorized playing pac-man. It was most excellent. It was also the only game I could beat my brother at, so that probably boosted my motivation some. There’s another story about competition between us but that will have to wait too.

That was it for Atari. After high school my bro went away to college and I lost interest. I didn’t really get in on the inception of the Nintendo or Super Nintendo systems but I did end up investing in their Gameboy. I still have my first gen, black and white screen device that came with “Tetris” and it still works!

I had about half a dozen games but the only one that I played regularly was “Super Mario”. This, like “Raiders” was somewhat of a story. There were still levels and it was repetitive but there were boss fights and and a definite end to the game. I beat it too many times to count. Why it was still appealing after the first time, I don’t understand, but it was.

That phase of my life was still quite juvinile. Once I moved back to Omaha and got a “real” job, I dropped games completely. Then I went back to school to get my bachelors and then I had my babies and, well, time became a precious commodity. No more games.

Many, many years later when school was done, my kids were more independent, and I’d successfully navigated my divorce, I was re-introduced to hand held games in the form of apps on my IPod.

It was Rich who not only bought me my first IPod but also got me into Words with Friends and a puzzle game called Drop7. Other games came and were deleted quickly, but Drop7 had that “it” factor that kept me coming back for more.

When I started dating Matt, we went through a Candy Crush phase and that’s when I dropped Drop7. After that came and went, I didn’t find anything else that could capture my interest for a while. It was during those five years that Plants Vs. Zombies 2 came out, and though I was all about being on the green side, helping Dave re-find the perfect taco while thwarting the attacks of the relentless Zombies, I did not get very far before the levels just stressed me out. I didn’t like the speed-up and time constraint and if there is one thing I did not need of more of in my life, it was stress. I quickly let that one go.

This brings me both to the present day and my current game. Unlike all the others, I found this one on my own. I was at Starbucks and they had a free “app of the week” promo. One week it was this game called “Two Dots”. I downloaded it and have been hooked ever since.

Actually.. I don’t need to elaborate on this any further because I’ve already done that. My post from August 24th of this year gets down into the weeds a bit on it.


I’m currently on level 1140. There is no end to the levels or the game. It does not really get more difficult either, but the puzzles and challenges change all the time as they add different mechanics to the game. Maybe that’s the perfect combination for me. It’s easy enough to be enjoyable but challenging enough that my brain never gets bored. If only real life were like that.

My intention today was to go there.. to real life and finally hash through my current relationship woes. I’ve been putting it off for weeks now. However, now I’ve spent too much time reminiscing about video games and I need to get started with my day. I’ve got lots of stories to share, past and present, but there never seems to be enough time. Just like Plants Vs. Zombies.. It’s about time.

There’s Always Time for Tacos,
~Miss SugarCookie


2017-12-10 Where Did the Weekend Go?

I’ve definitely eaten too much this weekend… and almost none of it was healthy. I’m not sure, but I think my body is trying to gear up for new years resolutions by making me suffer through sugar craving and junk food rampages. The sick part about all that, is that it is kind of making me sick.

Yesterday I participated in Christmas Cookie Chaos, which is simply a bunch of girls getting together to make cookies for about seven hours. It’s all snacks and pizza and hot chocolate for party eats/drinks topped with trying about ten different batches of cookies while they were still fresh out of the oven. Sugar, and gluten, and butter, oh my! Today I tried a few, and honestly thought they were too sweet. The one I like the best was probably my own.. gluten free molasses cookies sprinkled with coconut sugar.

Perhaps if I feel sick enough, those cravings will go away?? I’ve already promised my sister we would do the whole 30 starting in January (after I return from my “retreat”. My body really needs that right now. I would start now, but I know the next few weeks is just going to be hell trying to pass up on all the holiday goodies. Usually I’m not one of those people who would make an excuse like that, but this time around, I’m pretty sure I would cave at the first sign of something tempting.

I did make it eight and a half days being gluten free. I know I can do this whole 30 thing, but for the whole 30 days, my whole heart has to be in it. I’m ok waiting.

Today I spent almost the entire day working on advent calendar fun stuff for the kids who are returning tomorrow after school. I took a break in the middle of the day to go visit Simon who needed my help with a few things at his house and had been promising me a burger (which he made himself).

At this point, it’s pretty late so anything else can wait until I am well rested and back in action tomorrow. I’ve already started my to-do list for the week, so I should be able to hit the ground running.

~Miss SugarCookie