2020-07-04 Cheers to New Poetry and Spending Quality Time this 4th of July 🌟

I’m leading with the poem I wrote yesterday instead of including it as an afterthought at the end. The tag line? “Look Ma, it’s a Love Poem!!”

Driving Toward Sunset on July 2nd

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I had two good virtual catch up sessions with friends, I attended a poetry workshop where I learned something and wrote a poem, and also managed to not do a lot of work and focus on doing things that made me feel satisfied.

And I took a shower.. super bonus plan!!

Of the aforementioned things I would say that the most noteworthy was the poem. I can count on one hand the number of poems I’ve written since February. It was so satisfying to not only write it, but immediately apply what I learned in the workshop to find the right form.

The workshop was with Paul Tram and it was one of the more educational workshops I’ve attended. Many have great topics and prompts, but we actually evaluated a poem and he revealed all it had to offer. We then took that formula and wrote our own.

Even more noteworthy than that was the fact that I wrote a love poem!! I mean I’ve written hundreds of poems but love poems are rare among them. For whatever reason, being in love or loving someone does not inspire words within me typically. I’m more inclined to write about life when my heart is breaking, when I’m down and struggling (except in a pandemic when I apparently can’t put more than two stanzas together).

I’m extremely grateful for the workshop and the day off and.. not to be dismissed.. my love who has been on my mind quite a bit tough he’s only been “out of town” for about 36 hours. We’re planning to go on a bike ride today.

Now I’ve got quite a backstory about my history with 4th of July—too much to go into detail here, But I will say I’ve had my share of ups and downs and steps backwards and forwards in the last 10 to 12 years. I’m really looking forward to establishing new traditions and re-shaping old ones.

The poem probably says it best, though.

I’m going to close with that today. I was up early and am feeling hungry and ready to dive into my chores so the house is in good order for Jim’s return and for the activities we have planned for the day.

Wishing all a safe and satisfying day.
Thanks for reading,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-03 Yes, Person I’ve Never Met, I’m Judging You 😷

I almost wrote this post a few weeks ago after I had to make a trip to the pool supply store to get out pool water tested to make sure the chemicals were safe and balanced for swimming.

Most of the trips I make outside the house are to get groceries or pick up prescriptions. The occasional quick trip into the hardware store, putting my mask on like a good human each time (though the pharmacy has a drive through so that’s nice).

It’s difficult not to observe the other humans and their choices. I’m naturally a pretty judgmental person. In a non-pandemic world, I would be scanning the crowds and throwing side eyes at people’s choices of clothing and hairstyle. I know, I know, “do not judge, lest you be judged”, but I’m only human. Now with the pandemic, all bets are off.

I don’t care if you’re wearing your pajamas or slippers in the grocery store, but if you’re not wearing a mask. I’m judging you. I can’t escape it.

And as a person who does make these regular trips outside of my household, I can’t help but detect trends and have my finger on the pulse of the attitude of the people. It’s definitely shifted in the last month with the easing of restrictions.

A month ago, almost everyone at the grocery store was wearing a mask and now it’s about 50/50. I haven’t been to the hardware store in a while, but the last time I went masks were still required. However I’ve also noticed a rise in people not wearing masks correctly. It doesn’t do anyone any good to wear a mask over your mouth when your nose is still hanging out. It defeats the purpose, why wear a mask at all? Good grief!

Circling back to the pool store, at the time everyone in the grocery store was wearing a mask. So when I put my mask on and went into the pool store I was shocked to find that none of the customers nor the employees were wearing masks. I felt like I was walking into a bizarro world where the pandemic did not exist. What the hell?!

My next over-arching thought was that all these people who have pools are too pretentious or assuming and thinking that they are above wearing a mask for some reason. No, the fact that you have a pool at your house does not eliminate the possibility that you’re going to get the virus. Just because you have a business with a pool or a house with a pool and probably have money does not mean that you are not also vulnerable. I was actually disgusted by that thought process. And there I was among them.

Now I’m not saying I’ve made the best choices all along either. I did have a meet up with friends a few weeks ago where we were outside most of the time and 6 feet apart most of the time and not wearing our masks. Again, I am only human too.

Yesterday, I had the need to go to a few different stores for items for the Fourth of July and was once again irritated by the fact that almost no one was wearing a mask. I was wearing mine, but in the minority. I also happen to drive by several businesses with glass fronts and saw lots of tables full of people inside enjoying a meal or a drink. Not a lot of social distancing going on there.

Every single day this week the news has been full of the fact that positive cases are on the rise, hospitalizations are on the rise, resources are beginning to get scarce again, especially in a few of the more popular and densely populated states. California Florida Texas… All hotbeds of activity for this virus.

My daughters high school graduation was canceled and rescheduled three times. And the latest date that has been on the calendar for a few weeks now is August 2. If the trend continues that will be called off completely. A week after that she supposed to move into her dorm room at college. How on earth can those things happen if People keep ignoring the fact that the virus is still spreading and will likely not be contained until there’s an approved vaccination that’s widely available.

One last note on this… I heard a bit of a narrative on the news this morning that asked the question, “how would all of this be different if you could actually see the virus? What if there were outward physical symptoms that you could see or that the virus was big enough that you could detect when it was exiting someone’s body through their breath and falling to the ground?”

I think about this and imagine little grey particles with tufts of red fuzz floating in the air and slowly dropping to the ground. I imagine seeing someone standing in the grocery store, contemplating what type of hamburger buns to buy with the covid emerging out their mouth with their every breath and landing on those plastic wrappers. They pick one and put it in their cart and then change their mind and put it back. The packages in the store are covered in virus until the grey and red spots start to fade away.

People would be wearing masks, I am sure of it. They would be more inclined to because the inherent risk of not wearing one would be more obvious. I mean, almost everyone who gets into a car puts their seatbelt on. 1.) We have seen what has happened when you don’t wear a seatbelt, either in video or in real life. 2.) in many, many states it’s the law.

So why can’t we just enforce it with the law? Law enforcement is to serve and protect. I know that there’s been a lot of negative press about the police lately and for good reason, but law enforcement is still necessary and it might help if we had some local laws that people had to abide by or suffer some penalty. At the very least, business that just followed the rules and also enforced the wearing of masks. Again, just my opinion.

And as a collective group, we are only as good as our lowest common denominator. But people don’t seem to care and there appears to be a lot of low denominators out there. Yeah.. I’m looking at you complete stranger in the checkout line in front of me at the Whole Foods. The life you save by wearing a mask could be your own, or your moms, or someones child. Don’t be that asymptomatic virus shedder galavanting around town without a mask!! Just don’t.

Yes, I know this post is very preachy and very judge-y. My opinions are my own of course. But I just wish that people would realize that their choice not to wear a mask affects more than just themselves.

OK, that’s probably enough of a frustrated-human-sugar-cookie rant for one day. But I had to vent for a minute and that’s kinda what this blog is for (sometimes).

Enjoy your holiday. Peace Out,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-02 Between last night and today 🌙 … ☀️

Last night, as I neared the end of my day, my brain was full of all kinds of things to say. I felt happy and satisfied and looking forward to today and this holiday weekend and the rest of this summer. I should have gotten out my notebook and put pen to paper. I should have tried to capture the fine details of those moments. I didn’t.

Instead, I opted to just cruise through my evening enjoying the feeling. I opted to take a drive with Jim and watch a show and go to bed early.

And today I can’t remember what I was thinking. Whatever it was has dissolved into the abyss. I’m tired from not sleeping well and no longer excited about the day. My list already seems too long and unmanageable. I’ve got all day to get stuff done but just don’t want to do any of it.

Something happened between last night and today and isn’t that strange? Probably not.

My kids are at their Dad’s for the holiday and Jim is taking his boys camping for a few days too. So I’m going to be solo most of the next 48 hours. Last night I was inspired by the prospect of doing my own thing for a couple of days. And today, I’m already feeling kinda alone.

Maybe that’s the cause of my mood shift? Or maybe it’s the realization that even though I’m alone, I still have a ton of things to get done and will not really even have a choice of what to do.

It could also be this string of depressing songs that are coming up in my iPhone shuffle this morning. 🤷‍♀️

Life is strange and mysterious. And, that’s just about all I have to say about things today.

Peace,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-01 Change is Sometimes Neither Fast Nor Easy

About 16 days ago I decided I had enough of feeling shitty every freaking day and set out on a mission to figure it out and turn things around. i decided the first step was to do a substance cleanse and get my body free of chemicals that alter my mood, help me sleep or calm my anxiety. I was all-in and knew it was what needed to happen.

I vowed that I would cut that shit out for 15 days and then re-evaluate to see how I was feeling and add other mods into my routine. Give myself an uptick in good behaviors like hydration and eating more fruits and veg. But I found out pretty quickly that i couldn’t just make a declaration and it would magically come to pass.

Day 2 I felt like garbage and by day 3 I was throwing my hands up in the air in despair. I honestly didn’t know I was suffering withdrawal until I saw a physician and heard his assessment. That day was one of the worst I’ve ever had. And the relief I felt when I gave in and took a Xanax and went back to bed was all the proof I needed that he was right.

So instead of cold turkey, I’m taking it slow and reducing my dose in small increments. The prescribed plan is like 12 weeks but I’ve been working the numbers and charting my dose and symptoms and think I can do it it 8. That’s still a lot longer than the 2 weeks I was originally hoping for.

I’ve also not been able to cut out caffeine. But I’ve been charting my headaches too and have minimized my daily intake quite a bit. Like I said, it’s been about 16 days since I stomped my foot and declared these changes, and I have successfully reduced the caffeine to about 1 cup of coffee a day. It feels like a win to me.

Of course the third part of my substance trifecta was alcohol. I haven’t had a sip since June 13. It’s been the easiest part of my plan by far. I think the first time I really missed it was when I returned from Colorado and Jim suggested we have a few drinks while I fill him in on the details of my trip. I declined (but still spent a fair bit of talking about everything Z and I saw and did).

Despite the change-up In the master plan and slowing some things down considerably, I can still feel an improvement in my health. I feel better waking up in the morning and am not dreading the day like I was. I’m starting to be excited again about the things going on in my life instead of feeling so burdened by responsibility.

And I am actually sleeping better even though I’m not taking as much of the Lorazepam as I was. That’s freaking incredible. I’m just now rolling into week 3 of my 8 week plan but already looking forward to the day when I’m done-done with that shit!

All of this validates that change is sometimes neither fast or easy. But it’s always good to have goals and measures so you can keep track of how it’s going.

Also not to be dismissed is the need for a llama in the story. Something interesting, something to look forward to, something that’s providing internal satisfaction.. feeding the soul.

The llama in my “Take Back the City Tour” was the road trip I took with my daughter. It was very restorative to disconnect from work and get a change in scenery for a few days. The mental health variable in the grand equation of overall health is so important. Everything is connected!

Today is the first day of the second half of 2020. We are half a year into what will probably go down in history as one of the most trying years of the century. No human can escape the impact of the pandemic. No person in America is isolated from events that are changing the climate of our country.. politically, socially, economically.

There too, change is painful and a struggle. It’s a large scale example of what neither fast nor easy looks like. But as I have hope that I can find peace and health for myself, so too do I have hope that we as a society can take steps toward positive change.

I don’t have any answers but I know that “cold turkey” is not the Way.

I digress. I’m officially calling today the end of my “Tour” and will return now, somewhat, to my regularly scheduled programming. I’ll still be on the lookout for the next Llama or Ostrich. Everyone should make time for that!

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-01 Change is Sometimes Neither Fast Nor Easy

About 16 days ago I decided I had enough of feeling shitty every freaking day and set out on a mission to figure it out and turn things around. i decided the first step was to do a substance cleanse and get my body free of chemicals that alter my mood, help me sleep or calm my anxiety. I was all-in and knew it was what needed to happen.

I vowed that I would cut that shit out for 15 days and then re-evaluate to see how I was feeling and add other mods into my routine. Give myself an uptick in good behaviors like hydration and eating more fruits and veg. But I found out pretty quickly that i couldn’t just make a declaration and it would magically come to pass.

Day 2 I felt like garbage and by day 3 I was throwing my hands up in the air in despair. I honestly didn’t know I was suffering withdrawal until I saw a physician and heard his assessment. That day was one of the worst I’ve ever had. And the relief I felt when I gave in and took a Xanax and went back to bed was all the proof I needed that he was right.

So instead of cold turkey, I’m taking it slow and reducing my dose in small increments. The prescribed plan is like 12 weeks but I’ve been working the numbers and charting my dose and symptoms and think I can do it it 8. That’s still a lot longer than the 2 weeks I was originally hoping for.

I’ve also not been able to cut out caffeine. But I’ve been charting my headaches too and have minimized my daily intake quite a bit. Like I said, it’s been about 16 days since I stomped my foot and declared these changes, and I have successfully reduced the caffeine to about 1 cup of coffee a day. It feels like a win to me.

Of course the third part of my substance trifecta was alcohol. I haven’t had a sip since June 13. It’s been the easiest part of my plan by far. I think the first time I really missed it was when I returned from Colorado and Jim suggested we have a few drinks while I fill him in on the details of my trip. I declined (but still spent a fair bit of talking about everything Z and I saw and did).

Despite the change-up In the master plan and slowing some things down considerably, I can still feel an improvement in my health. I feel better waking up in the morning and am not dreading the day like I was. I’m starting to be excited again about the things going on in my life instead of feeling so burdened by responsibility.

And I am actually sleeping better even though I’m not taking as much of the Lorazepam as I was. That’s freaking incredible. I’m just now rolling into week 3 of my 8 week plan but already looking forward to the day when I’m done-done with that shit!

All of this validates that change is sometimes neither fast or easy. But it’s always good to have goals and measures so you can keep track of how it’s going.

Also not to be dismissed is the need for a llama in the story. Something interesting, something to look forward to, something that’s providing internal satisfaction.. feeding the soul.

The llama in my “Take Back the City Tour” was the road trip I took with my daughter. It was very restorative to disconnect from work and get a change in scenery for a few days. The mental health variable in the grand equation of overall health is so important. Everything is connected!

Today is the first day of the second half of 2020. We are half a year into what will probably go down in history as one of the most trying years of the century. No human can escape the impact of the pandemic. No person in America is isolated from events that are changing the climate of our country.. politically, socially, economically.

There too, change is painful and a struggle. It’s a large scale example of what neither fast nor easy looks like. But as I have hope that I can find peace and health for myself, so too do I have hope that we as a society can take steps toward positive change.

I don’t have any answers but I know that “cold turkey” is not the Way.

I digress. I’m officially calling today the end of my “Tour” and will return now, somewhat, to my regularly scheduled programming. I’ll still be on the lookout for the next Llama or Ostrich. Everyone should make time for that!

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-30 Take Back the City Tour: Day 15 Colorado Wrap Up

We arrived home from our Colorado road trip late afternoon Sunday. It’s now Tuesday. That’s what happens. And.. if I don’t take the time To reflect reflected on our trip, it will start to slip away…

At the very least, I’d like to capture the highlights so I don’t forget them. Pictures are worth a thousand words, as they say, so maybe that’s the way….

Day 1 (Wednesday): We get one the road about 2PM and drive straight through to Denver with just a few stops for restrooms, gas, food AND a stop in Kearny to visit my friend Tre who I haven’t seen since the wedding. That was definitely my highlight of the day. Z was so grumpy the whole way, which is not something I’m typically want to remember, but the emotions we both had were part of the overall experience.

We arrived in Denver at about 11 and after 2 failed stops at gas stations (hunting for Ben and Jerry’s) we gave up and went to my sisters apartment. We chatted briefly and then crashed out in her spare bedroom.

Day 2 (Thursday): We had take out brunch in the park with my sister before she had to go to work. Z was still tired and grumpy after that so I let her go back to sleep while I caught up on emails on the couch with the two cats.

When we finally got moving we drove south to Colorado Springs where we had reservations to stay the night at Glen Eyrie Castle. We explored the castle and the grounds and then headed out to resume our quest for Ben and Jerry’s and visit Cheyenne canyon.

The quest took us on a bit of a detour and we ended up at the great Wolf Lodge which presumably has a Ben & Jerry’s inside but it was closed because of the pandemic. It took two more stops but we finally found the coveted ice cream darling daughter was craving at a 7-Eleven. Huzzah!! She had her ice cream while we drove to Cheyenne canyon and proceeded to explore that whole area. By car.

Most of the stops were too packed with people and, being weary about social distancing, we opted to stay in the car most of the way at the canyon. We finally got out at the top and walked on a dirt road along the Ridgeline.

After that we made our way back to the Castle for the evening. It was great to take a shower and just relax and chat. Z did her own thing and I spent time mostly researching activities for us to do. Not sure what time I fell asleep.

Day 3 (Friday): We had a lazy morning once again and didn’t get moving until about eleven. That’s when we checked out and made our way to the Academy Riding Stables where we embarked on a 2 hour horseback ride. It was a tour up and around the garden of the gods and as hot as it was, it was a great choice. I would not have wanted to hike through there on foot.

Riding the horses was fun (a favorite activity of my Z) and it helped us keep our distance from the people. We were at the back of the line and several times hung way back so we could engage the horses to trot and catch up. It was a good little refresher, but boy were we both sore that night!

After that we drove through Manatu Springs and elected not to get out of the car (almost no one wearing masks) and also skipped the drive up Pikes peak (we have both been up to the top on previous trips) and were sort of just driving around looking for a good cell signal so we could figure out what to do.

Just about that time a healthy storm started to roll in and so we drove back to Colorado Springs proper and got a room at a Holiday Inn express. I would say we waited out the storm there, but we did get hungry for dinner so we ventured out in the pouring rain in search of fast food.

There is no Del taco in Omaha so I jumped at the chance to get that fix and my pudding pie had one of her favorites—raising canes (3 finger combo with extra crispy fries, toast buttered on both sides, and a Dr Pepper with light ice (she’s so high maintenance!) 😜

We had a pretty chill evening in the hotel and watched a B movie from the bed. Then she did her own thing again while I again researched activities for us to do the next day. Once I had a solid plan, I crashed out. Not sure how long she was awake after that but she sure likes to stay up late and sleep in.

Day 4 (Saturday): Surprise, surprise.. we get a late checkout again! 😏 After packing everything into the car AGAIN, we drove another hour south west to hit the Royal Gorge. Despite the pandemic the place was packed! Again, it felt like the wild Wild West with very few people wearing masks, and it was quite annoying how disrespectful people were getting too close in the queue to get inside the park.

The bridge is super cool and it was crazy windy. We struggled to get good pictures because the hair situation was just bonkers. I think it was a combination of factors but most the attractions were closed. No gondola ride, no theatre, no sky-coaster (though we did see that run at least once while we were up at the top of the hill on the opposite side of the bridge.

It actually worked out perfectly because we had just enough time to explore around before jumping back in the car to hit our scheduled Zip-line adventure.

It was 9 lines through the Colorado high desert outside of Canyon City. A really great hike and the Zip-lining was super fun. It’s the kind of thing Z is really into. She likes thrill rides. She asked me at one point if I would go skydiving with her. Uhhhhh, “maybe” I said and then dropped that topic like a hot potato.

After the zip line we were both super hungry and about an hour plus away from real civilization. I mean there were places to eat in canyon city but again, it did not look like they had any rules in place for protecting customers so we opted to drive back to Colorado city and get food from A Texas roadhouse.

My original plan was to drive home on Saturday but it was super late in the day so we just had to plan to go as far as we could and then stop again one more night. The way things work out, Sterling was not far enough for us and Ogallala had no rooms at my preferred hotel. So we ended up driving all the way to North Platte and arrived there around 2 AM. Yikes!

Day 5 (Sunday): waking up in North Platte was actually nice, knowing that we only had about four hours to get home. We drove most of the way through but took a detour in Lincoln so we could drive around University of Nebraska campus where Z it’s going to be a freshman in the fall. She wanted to see where all the dorm rooms were and get a first look at what’s in her future.

From there, home is only about 45 minutes away. Which is really good for so many reasons.

Arriving back home was a relief! It was a good trip but, you know, it always feels great to be in your own space again and sleep in your own bed (and spend time with those you have been missing while away).

I think the time together was super valuable and the time away was great for our mental health, even if I’m paying the price now trying to catch up on work (not to mention the inherent risks in so much exposure outside the home).

Wowza! That was a long session on the treadmill. I’m already at 10k steps today!! Definitely enough for now.

What a way to End June 2020!
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-27 Take Back the City Tour: Day 🤷‍♀️ Health Check

Somewhere along the way I’ve gotten messed up on what day it is. That happens when you miss accounting some days and double up on others. What I have been keeping track of on my handy-dandy paper calendar is the following:

  • What my Lorazepam dose is
  • What week it is in my plan to come down off that evil drug
  • How much caffeine I’m having
  • What time my nasty head symptoms present each day
  • And if I wake with a headache

As always, my sleep and my steps get recorded by my FitBit but I’m not watching that too closely for any connections. Perhaps I should, given the inherent connections, but I’m just focusing on how I feel, mind and body, and the chemicals I’m ingesting.

The abstinence from alcohol has been easy-peasy. I don’t really miss it. I think that when I’m done with this initial cleanse, I can just keep that up, except for the occasional happy hour. I’m also wearing my reading glasses more reliably than I was before and that’s probably helping too.

My original plan was to go for 15 days cutting the benzodiazepines, caffeine, and alcohol. My plan was thwarted on like day or 3 when I experienced a crash from withdrawal. At that point i saw a physician, had some tests, and got put on a better plan. Now it’s been another week and a few days and I’m following the prescribed plan as best as I can.

Even with the change in plans, I’m already feeling a ton better than I was two weeks ago. I’d go so far as to say I’m rediscovering what healthy feels like. I’ve been here before so I know what healthy feels like.

The strange thing is, I don’t know when I lost it (the healthy feeling) or why. In 2017 I was a wreck and had to take drastic action to put myself right again. So when did it slip out of my grasp again?

I mean, I’m in a great relationship. My kids are doing well, I get regular exercise and do several things for myself to feed my need for interaction and to flex the creative part of my brain.

Was it just too much change too fast? Moving, marriage, integration of households? Is it my job.. Too much stress? Could it be the pandemic and all the chaos and uncertainty in the world? Could it be politics and the divided shambles America has become? The constant dose of insanity and stupidity from our president. Can we get a step down plan for that hot mess too?

And how is it that in 2020, cops are still killing black people? And that the vicious cycle only perpetuates itself. And then here we are again, nearing the end of June and the daily news is waxing once again with the pandemic and politics. These serious and impactful events that shape our lives get swept under other news du-jour.

Sometimes I say everything is connected. Most of the time I’m talking about internally. Like the body and mind and soul. But it’s bigger than me. It’s all the external stimulus too. The ecosystem of the earth, the economy of the world, social and political constructs of civilization. It’s everything from the dwindling numbers of honeybees and the escalating conflicts between north and South Korea.

It’s a person making a choice to not to wear a mask in public.

It’s a parent who doesn’t teach their child about what’s right and wrong, or talk to them about current events, or lay down the law when they make mistakes. Or worse yet, teach them through their bad behaviors that lack compassion and sensibility. It’s kinda hard to witness. It’s also hard to hold inside and hold my tongue. But it’s complicated.

I’m not perfect and I’ve made mistakes and part of my angst, which I am sure contributes to my health, is the worry that I’m not doing all I should be.

This is probably enough wandering for one Saturday. I’ve got my sweet daughter sleeping in a room three floors above me in this hotel in the middle of Colorado and it’s time to make my words meet my own actions. We’ve got a fairly solid plan for today and my goal is to satisfy the thrill seeker inside her. So it’s off to the Royal Gorge we go!

Until Next Time,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-26 Take Back the City Tour: Day 12.944 – Enjoying the Moment

Today is almost over. The more time my daughter and I spend alone together, the more we come to understand each other better. I mean, we live together but sometimes, we are too busy just getting through each day that we don’t even really talk and that’s a shame. Tonight she told me she was not prepared for this trip because she didn’t think I was serious about going. She thought it was just a passing thought and now here we are, 3rd night of a Colorado road-trip. Guess I was serious. We both wanted this Llama in our respective stories and as day turns into night, we realize we did not just want the Llama—we NEEDED it.

Now that adequate sleep has been had and the restoration is in full swing, we are finally getting to the good conversations. I mean, sometimes I talk and talk and it ends up feeling like a one sided story or a mom lecture, but now, it’s a two way street. She’s talking and coming out of her shell a little bit. I’ve learned some things about her in the past couple days that I did not know before. I think maybe it is because I’ve been open and freely sharing stories from my life so she’s opening up too.

We’ve also veered into some uncomfortable territory today and it’s good to have a dialogue where I can just listen to what she thinks and feels and knows about herself and life in general. It won’t be long until we are packing her up for her college dorm. It won’t be long until she starts to experience some new things and I want to make sure she’s prepared. Or as prepared as one can be for life, since it is often unexpected. I won’t be able to just pop up to her room when she texts “mama, I need you.”

I dunno. I kinda want to memorialize this moment. Her and I sharing a bed at a Holiday Inn Express in North Colorado Springs. Flipping through random cable channels, watching the end of Aquaman and lamenting about what a bad show it is. And deciding to go out in the pouring rain to get dinner in our pajamas. And just a little bit ago, we were huddled together researching potential adventures for tomorrow. It’s just nice to be in this moment.

Of course that moment has passed and now she’s resumed her typical teenage before-bed-screen-time with her peeps and I’m.. well.. doing this. It’s past 10PM now and we did indeed find some cool things to do for tomorrow so I’d better get to sleep.

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-26 Take Back the City Tour: Day 12 – The Quest for Ben and Jerry’s

My daughter and I have different styles for vacations and road trips. Or perhaps years of experience has shaped my style into being more rigid and regimented. At this juncture, I think it’s important to note that sometimes life is better when you let go of what you have learned and just accept the day as it comes. It’s better to be free of expectation. It’s better to not care that time is short and even though you want to get the most out of life that you can, it’s not great to try and do too much. It is, in a way, freedom, to be on a road trip and sleep until 1PM and give your body the restoration it is craving.

It is my way to try and pack a day full of activities and sites. To worry about how long it takes to get from here to there and to always be on-time. It is my way to get frustrated if there is not a solid plan and what I am learning from my daughter is that sometimes the best memories happen when there is no plan and you just go with the flow of the moment.

Yes, I researched all kinds of things to do in Colorado Springs. We had a nice visit with my sister yesterday and took a brunch out to a park and sat on blankets in the shade. She gave me all kinds of suggestions on where to go from there and when we had to pack up and get going (because she had to go to work), we went back to her apartment and I started preparing to leave.

Z, on the other hand, laid back down in the bed and proceeded to fall asleep. 10AM and she crashed out in the spare bed in my sisters spare bedroom and there I was, rushing to get on with the day. I let her sleep. She was so grumpy the day before on our drive and I kind of knew it was what she needed. I probably should have followed suit and climbed back into the bed too but I knew I would just lay there thinking about stuff.

Instead, I did a bit of this and that on my laptop. Responded to emails. Had a work call. Accepted another call directly from my PM and did just enough to feel good about where things were at. I’m behind schedule on a task and, in prioritizing this trip, knew it was not going to get done by the time they wanted it to be done. It is atypical for me, and I struggle with the balance on a daily basis, but it is necessary.

Anyway, once she did wake up, we really had no plan for the day other than to make our way south to Colorado Springs. We had booked a room at a castle (of all places) and only had a little list in our heads of where else we could go. It was really hot out, and hiking seemed very unappealing. Hiking, in general is unappealing for my pudding pie. She’d rather just drive and watch the scenery from the car and maybe every once and a while get out and take a snap.

One of the things she’s been craving is Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. We had stopped at two gas stations thus far looking for those little single serving containers (which generally contain 2.5 servings). One was a Circle K and the Other was a Loves. We did not meet with success on those tries.

Once we got to Colorado Springs it was time to check into our Castle and so we did that after which we wandered around the grounds with a little map looking for the points of interest: the rose garden, the eagles nest, and the trust course. The scenery here at Glen Erie Castle is pretty cool, but those points of interest were quite underwhelming. With the Garden of the Gods a short car ride away, it felt like folly to spend any more time at all here. So we jumped in the car to head out again.

But she did not want to go to the garden of the gods. She said she wanted to do that tomorrow. We decided to go to Cheyenne Canyon instead. But the quest for Icre Cream took priority. No, Haagendaz was not an option, and nether was whatever generic brand each gas station was sporting. We googled “Ben and Jerry’s” and found one on the map that was 20 minutes north. So we headed that way.

When we arrived at the sprawling plaza of eateries, dentist offices, liquor stores and movie theaters there was no Ben and Jerries to be found. Google maps wanted us to go down a parking lot road that was completely closed off and the giant building before us turned out to be a Great Wolf Lodge (closed due to the pandemic). The whole lot was vacant. Near as we could guess, the Ben and Jerries was inside the GWL and so we were foiled again.

We stopped at a nearby Kum and Go and had no luck there either. Then across the way we spotted a Sinclair gas station and as we crossed the main thoroughfare, the 7-eleven came into focus. We stopped in and much to my surprise – Waaalaaa – there it was. The freezer with a great selection of Ben and Jerry’s. I was doing a little happy dance inside because this would make her so satisfied. She grabbed her “Brownie Chunk” (and a set of plastic spoons), and we made away like bandits with our treasure.

Now, now we could finally, at 6PM hit some scenery that Colorado Springs is known for. We drove to and up Cheyenne Canyon. We stopped at one of the more popular stops with a waterfall and watched for a bit as other human beings passed by and frolicked around the water. She does not like crowds and either do I. We would have walked up and around the falls but there were too many people and there was very little social distancing going on (let alone masks). It felt very inconsiderate.

We drove to the top of the canyon and parked at another lot there and walked a wide gravel and dirt trail for about 30 minutes. It was nice just to walk and talk and I would say that was more important than the scenery. I took a few pics but the best ones were of her. I discovered in telling to her that these scenic adventures don’t do much for her unless there are animals involved.

She was excited to tell me about a time she saw a bear in Yellowstone with her dad and once when there was an Elk right outside her tent and even a Giant horse fly they thought had a huge stinger and a couple of silk worms that hitched a ride from A to B on one of their trips.

Yesterday we saw a female deer in town, and a wild turkey, and several species of birds we had not seem before. We saw a pretty good sized lizard in the rose garden at the castle and she named him “Joe”.

I said “oh, Joe. That’s my new internal medicine doctor. What a coincidence!”. We both laughed.

Right now as I type this, she is still sleeping. I could not sleep much past 6 and now it is almost 8. I wandered out of the room and got ice water from the machine down the hall. I wandered into an area labeled as private because the sign said “Great Hall” and I kind of wanted to know what a “Great Hall” looked like. It was big, and kind of ornate, but maybe like the rest of this castle, a little over promised and under-delivered.

I’m going to wrap now and check to see if breakfast is open yet. It’s included with our stay but a “grab and go” kind of a situation”. I’d really like to have a coffee. I know part of my substance cleanse includes minimizing caffeine but I’m going to give myself a little wiggle room on that for a few days.

First it was 2 out of 3 aint bad and now it’s 1 out of 3 is good enough. I’m in the final 3rd of this “Take Back the City tour” as of today and will be looking to finish out this month feeling better mentally and physically than when I started.

I am doing the very best that I can and that is all I can ask of myself at this point.

Cheers to Another Day of Unplanned Adventure,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-25 Take Back the City Tour: Day 9 and 10 – Look!.. A Llama

What do llamas and road trips across Nebraska have in common?…

They are both great at injecting interest into a story.

Yesterday was a mighty long, but satisfying day. I woke up in my own bed as usual and did the morning routine but there was no time for the treadmill as I had to make quick work to both get my chores done and pack up a bag for a much needed getaway.

I did work for an hour or two AND I had a Telehealth visit with my son and his endocrinologist before my daughter and I loaded up the car with snacks and supplies and skipped town. The goal was to slice our way west straight through the middle of Nebraska and be in Denver Colorado before the end of the day.

Yes we brought a set of masks (which we decorated with sharpies the night before) and a healthy supply of hand sanitizer so we could try and keep ourselves and other safe along the way. It did not take long to realize that the trip was not only good for a change of scenery, but will likely do wonders for our mental health (well mine anyway). I miss road trips and visiting people. I miss people in general.

On the up-side, we were plugged in to Zs phone and got to listen to her playlist as we made our way on I-80 and did not hesitate to indulge in all things road trip. You know, munching on chips and popcorn in the car, having too much sugar by way of soda and coffee, and gratuitous stops along the way just because.

One of the stops was in Kearny Nebraska where I met up with a friend of mine, Tre, where we sat at a patio outside and caught up a little on life in general. I have not seen her since my wedding in February and honestly, 1 hour is not enough time to really catch up. I’m a huggie person and I wanted to hug her so badly. I abstained at first but when we parted ways, I just couldn’t help it (we were being good and wearing our masks).

That’s a real shitty part of this Coronavirus is the lack of human contact. You don’t realize how much it means to you until you miss it. I can’t imagine living alone. I’m so grateful to have Jim and the kids and I just need to remember that.

On the downside of this road trip is the expectation I have of how things will be with my daughter. It is rare for us to get to spend this much time alone and my hope is that we would talk and talk and start to get into conversations that are both helpful and necessary right before she embarks on this next adventure of her life. In about 6 weeks she’s moving into a dorm room and so our days of summer are numbered.

I was frustrated that she was in a grumpy mood to start with and tired and all she wanted to do was sit on her phone and communicate with her long-distance friends. I kept trying to engage her in conversation but she was annoyed with that and just wanted to not talk. What am I supposed to do with that?

As we crossed the border from Nebraska into Colorado the sun started going down and I could see a massive mess of clouds in the distance. The road twisted and turned and this mass of clouds switched sides of the road and eventually we were swallowed in it. There was no sunset to be had. Nearing the outskirts of Denver, there was a break in the clouds an I saw several really cool sky to ground lightning strikes cut through the sliver of daylight that was left. I tried to get her to look up from her phone and watch with me, but she wouldn’t have it. It made me feel very alone.

Part of the fun of road trips is making memories with people and I could not help but have high expectations. I thought about taking her phone away today, but then I’m the mean mom and not the cool mom. Tough to know what the right thing to do is.

We arrived in Denver at my sisters apartment about 10:30MT (which is actually 11:30PM for us). We chatted for a bit and then snuggled into the bed in her spare bedroom. I crashed hard and slept ok until about 6AM.

Now it’s 7:45 and I’m alone in the living room with the cats on the couch. There is no wifi that I can connect to so posting this will have to happen later. It’s probably a good thing that there is no wifi or I would be tempted to try and get some work done. What is wrong with my stupid brain?

In a little bit, folks will start getting up and we plan to go to breakfast at some place my sister knows that has a patio overlooking a lake. That sounds lovely. She has to work today and there’s no reason to overstay our welcome so we’ll be moving south to Colorado Springs this afternoon. I have not done much research about what we could do there, but I hear there is just a ton of outdoor places to explore. Where can you go when you want to stay away from crowds of people but also get to see cool stuff? That’s the question.

I’m trying hard to embrace my substance cleanse and also let go of worry about work, and the kids, and the virus. I’m still holding a great deal of anxiety inside and I can feel it. Now that the Llama of my story has made an appearance, I’m going to see what I can get out of it.

I need to release myself, forgive myself, and be good to myself. That’s part of the big picture of living a healthy and satisfying life, you know?
Time now to see of my darling daughter is waking up yet.

Pease and love,
~Miss SugarCookie