2020-10-13 Pepperoni Pizza = Strange Dreams 🍕➡️😱

It’s been previously verified that if I eat pepperoni pizza too close to bed time, strange dreams will disturb my sleep.

Last night was no exception. Though I would hardly call the dreams strange or disturbing, it was certainly odd for so many men from my past to pay me a visit in the same night.

Saying “so many” makes it sound like a lot. And that’s just not the case. But when you’ve only “dated” a few people, more than half feels like a lot.

I mean, I married my first boyfriend when I was 19 and we were married for 17 years so that’s a healthy chunk of my life and also when most people are meeting lots of potential partners and sowing their wild oats.

Fast forward to about 6 months after my divorce was final and I got on Match. I went on a few dates with a few guys but had no idea who I was and what I was looking for. I ended up seeing this one guy for a hot minute (six months). It was my first friends with benefits relationship. But I thought we had a potential future together so it broke my heart when he found someone else. (Thanks for all the good times and poetry Vis 😋).

Then there was Matt. My “big love.” We were crazy for each other. Until the sun came out, and burned off all that god-dammed dewy-eyed newness (paraphrasing the only viable poem that came out of those 5 years). Yeah. 5 years. Good grief. 🙄

Then there was JTA, another good friend who I knew from the first time he told me we weren’t right for each other that there would never be an “us.” He’s one of those that visited me last night. Just before I woke up. Probably talking about moving away and how this town is not the right place for him. If you think I’m a broken record, talk to that guy for 10 years and realize that it could be much worse.

Still, I’ve got a special place in my heart for him and all the time we spent together. I would not say he helped me through my rough patch so much as he was just reliably there. More reliable than most people in my life at the time. So I’m grateful. 🥰

After that I got back in the dating game and went out in my fair share of first dates. Even a few second dates. I dabbled in a few one-time stands and even started seeing a guy pretty regularly, for about 5 months. Again I thought we had potential.. until I started to lose interest. The day I told him I wanted to call it quits was the day I found out “we” were also never really dating. WTF people??!!

Sprinkled in all that were a few good times with my friend HL. Again, according to my well established MO, I did have thoughts there could be something more there. The main limiting factor was the distance between us. He doesn’t live in Omaha so we only saw each other on trips elsewhere. He was another one of the dudes to show up in my pizza induced dreams last night.

Then I met Jim of course and that was that. The Universe help me, I hope that’s it. I really think it is. And he didn’t need to show up in my dreams last night cuz he was sleeping right beside me. 💕

Removing the “one and done” instances, that adds up to about 6 dudes I’ve had feelings for. I guess two out of 6 is not a lot after all. I stand corrected.

I suppose the most disturbing part of the dreams I had was the fact that Jim was absent. And I had this uneasy guilty feeling about hanging out with these other dudes, even though I have no recollection of the actual going’s-on.

Whelp.. I didn’t intend to rehash my entire (un) romantic history, but there you go.

It’s almost mid-month and I have once again not done all the things I said I was going to do in October.

What I did do (that was not a part of my plan) was spend time putting together a poetry manuscript for sending out to potential publishers. I ran across a familiar name in Submittable and the deadline is October 18. And I’d rather be working on my writing than almost anything else. So that happened.

A friend of mine agreed to give it a good once over for editing and I was able to send it to her last night.

Today my set list includes GLR catch up and other various house chores. Oh, and I promised to help my darling daughter with her photography homework. Which translates loosely to needing a shower so I can be photo ready.

What’s not in the cards for today is eating more pizza. Nope. Not because of the crazy dreams, mind you. But because it’s Taco Tuesday. 🌮🌮🌮

Peace and Love Ya’ll,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-12 Deno’s Mountain Bistro Steak-burger 4.0 🍔

What’s the criteria for a 4.5 on a 5 point scale?

A well seasoned patty cooked to perfection (which translates to cooked as requested by the person ordering it).

A toasted bun is a must.

Don’t skimp on the cheese. (Or sauce If that’s part of the deal.)

Other toppings as desired, also prepared according to advertised specifications. And also not so much that it overpowers the taste of the burger.

Everything is hot and fresh, looks great and tastes juicy and delicious.

That’s it. That’s a solid 4.5 cheeseburger. That’s what Deno’s mountain bistro, in Winter Park Colorado, has to offer (almost).

They did all the aforementioned things great! It was also impressive as a to-go order as packaging everything for take-away can be tricky. The bun can get soggy and toppings intended to be crisp like lettuce, tomato, and pickle can go limp. Nobody likes limp lettuce yo. but they left the top bun on the side inside the container which worked well.

Notice however that I gave the burger a 4.0 and not 4.5. It was downgraded slightly due to the fact that I ordered it medium and it came out pink all the way through, teetering on red in the middle. I also feel like they did skimp on the cheese (and sauce) a bit. The sauce was delish and it’s a good thing Jim got his on the side cuz I ended up using that as a dipper.

I’m really on the fence about fries being a part of the total equation, but then I realize while it’s tough to keep a burger from losing something in transport, it’s truly impossible with fries in a closed container. They go soft and soggy in their own heat. I think Deno’s fries might have been good, but after spending time inside the package, they were not good.

Perhaps they absorbed the moisture from the steaming burger. Taking one for the team, as it were. If that’s the case. Good job fries!

So that answers one of the questions I posed yesterday but did not have time to elaborate on during our 9 hour drive home.

What were the other questions?…

Yes, we did the hot tub working but it refused to get any hotter than 99 so it was kind of a bummer. Especially since it was so chilly out. Still, we must have soaked and chatted for like an hour. As we sat there, the sky cleared a bit and we could see the stars.

Living inside the city, you forget just how many stars are out there. It was really neat.

And yes… I did down some more margs through that hot tub session. But not sure what time I went to bed. Fitbit says I fell asleep at 10:30 MST, which is actually 11:30 CST, so super late based on current SugarCookie standards. 😜

So I gave Deno’s a 4 out of 5 and described how to hit 4.5. Which invites the question.. what is the criteria for a 5.0?

5 is perfection.
Perfection is elusive.
And reserved for like the best burger you had in your life.

The hunt continues….
~Miss SugarCookie

Featured Image photo was lifted off yelp. Fairly certain it was taken by the business owner.

2020-10-11 Winter Park Getaway Day 2: Aclimation and Viewpoint

I woke before the sun again today. 5AM I think. I’m afflicted with the inability to sleep.. in. I mean, I’ve been able to, in the early days of my life and in more recent years if I’ve taken something to help me sleep. But not now. And certainly not here, in a bed that is far away from my own. It’s ok though. It gives me quiet time, with my own thoughts and time to write and wonder about things.

The difference between waking up early yesterday and today is that today I don’t have a headache to contend with. It means my body is acclimating to the altitude here. I mean, I certainly indulged in the same evening activities as the night before (and perhaps more so) and I feel great!

Our air-b-and-b is on the side of a steep hill. To make the most of the space the town has to offer, buildings are constructed more vertically. This one is 3 stories. A basement that walks out the back of the condo to a covered patio where the hot tub is. A main floor that has a garage at street level in the front and living and dining areas with lots of windows in the back that have a great view of the surrounding foothills. Are they foothills here or mountains? I am not sure.

The master bedroom and bath are up another flight of stairs on the second story. With this setup, a person starts to pay attention to where they leave something and when they might need it next. Going up those two flights of stairs reminds me I’m in Colorado. Which is to say, I can’t make it all with one go. I’ve got to stop in the middle to catch my breath. How sad is that?

It’s probably partially due to my age and partially due to the fact that I’m just not acclimated to the altitude here. We went on another hike yesterday and opted to go on one tagged as “easy.” Easy for a flatlander translates to moderate. Moderate translates to difficult. Difficult translates to, “you gonna die if you go on this hike yo.” So one has to do the conversion before making a decision.

The hike we chose yesterday was called “Viewpoint.” It was about a 40 minute drive north from Winter Park to the trailhead. The opposite direction of the hike we went the day before. We drove the now somewhat familiar road of highway 40 to highway 34 which leads through Rocky Mountain National Park to Estes Park. The turnout for the road that leads to the trailhead was just shy of the entrance to RMNP. Which, in case you did not know, you have to have a reservation to visit these days. Crazy times!

Highway 34 on this side of the park hugs Grand Lake which I had not been to before. It’s massive (compared to lakes I’m used to). The hike was on a trail that was well established but, like the one the day before, there was not another human in sight. It was all walking and no climbing and we wound our way gently through a young grove of pine trees that had sprung up to replace what appeared to be a burned out section of forest.

This is kind of what I was talking about yesterday. This is evidence that nature just takes care of itself. There is no way humans planted the hundreds of adolescent pine trees we walked through. It’s just a part of the cycle of forest life. The aspens were pretty sparse on the trail and most were about done for the season, but every once and awhile there were pops of yellow and gold that looked incredible against a backdrop of green and brown.

The undergrowth in the area were fine shades of yellow and gold and red as well. We were just in awe of the colors. And the top of the trail was like a little mini-peak with a 360 view of the area. RMNP to the north/northeast and the valley of Grand Lake/Grand County to the west and south, with mountains rising up in every direction.

There were a few fallen logs situated just so at the top of the trail which made a lovely spot for sitting and looking out (and maybe having a puff or two of Colorado’s finest, if you are into that sort of thing). We spied on a red tail hawk in a nearby tree (whose presence was made known to us because of the screech he issued forth). We watched him until he took flight and soared away in quite a majestic fashion.

The hike back down was lovely too. The sun was kind of getting low in the sky and the way it hit the trees and the adjacent hillside caused the colors to pop. The shadows cast by the trees across the path felt like we were getting to witness something special. A rare treat.

Just about the time we were back at the trailhead and getting in our car, we were reminded we had not eaten since breakfast. I’d already professed that it would be a good day for cheeseburgers. The only renaming question was where.

Though truth be told.. I’d already researched where and my mind was made up. I had our call in order for Randy’s Irish Pub ready to go as soon as we were closer to home base. But then my call could not be completed as the receiver was busy.

I called a second time and then a third from Jim’s phone. No dice. We decided to just get back to the condo and decide from there what to do. Passing by Randy’s, the parking lot was empty. Go figure.

Would I be denied a cheeseburger on vacation? Would we get that hot tub working? Would round 2 with the perfect margaritas land me in bed again by 9pm?

Answers to all this and more in part two of day two… coming to a SugarCookie blog near you soon (gotta get rolling on the road).

Until then, peace and love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-10 Winter Park Getaway Day 1: It Can Be Whatever You Want

I’m waking up on my second day here in Winter Park Colorado— before the sun and with a fairly healthy headache. It might be a hangover, you know, because at this altitude it only takes a few cocktails to affect a person. Despite reminding each other numerous times last night, we still did not alter our intake of perfect margaritas. But wait, there’s a lot more to the story of our day than just that. Rewind.

After a lovely breakfast yesterday I took my sweet time showering and getting ready for a day out exploring while Jim did research on good hiking trails nearby. That was our first objective of the day, to get the body moving and get lost a little bit in the wilderness. He picked a great little spot that was at a turn-off on mile marker 241 on highway 40, about 10 miles back the way we came in.

It was perfect for several reasons. First, there was a larger turn-off on mile marker 240, just one mile before the one we wanted which had a ton of cars. The perfect carrot for all the wanna-be hikers in the area. So I think most people stopped there. But we went the extra mile to the other turn-off that only had two other cars. The description of the hike in the book that Jim found on the ottoman in the living room of our air-b-n-b (Hiking Grand County Colorado), describes the hike as moderate. The name of it is “Current Creek Loop.”

There’s a description in the book too, on which way to go and where on the trail, but good luck with that. We followed the creek up the hill, on the right side as instructed but with no markings, and no discernible trail, completely lost it near the first junction where we were to “take a right at the ’t’.” We were not sure we were at a T but went right anyhow. It sort of felt like just traipsing off into the wilderness with no clue where to go. But that was OK. We were not really there to follow directions, we just wanted to get the heart pumping and enjoy the sights and sounds.

Lemme tell you, after less than 24 hours, the lung of the Nebraska traveler is no where near ready for the lack of oxygen that hiking causes. That was OK too, though, as we were in no hurry to get anywhere. I mean, the hike promised an aqueduct and a pond at various points, but we had all day and nowhere else to be. That’s the best part of being out here. Freedom.

So we kept going right up the side of the mountain— due north, past a boulder field and through the trees (where the supposed pond would be), but all we found was more slope, boulders, and trees. Each time we went further up, it looked as though we were on the right track but then we would get to the top to find more of the same. We climbed pretty high and I daresay we turned the moderate hike into a more difficult one, but we’re pretty inexperienced so we don’t even know the difference. At a few points it was pretty steep, but for the most part, not really that treacherous.

Finally we declared a final time, “get to the top of this ridge and then that’s it. If there’s no pond, it will be time to turn back.” Surprise, surprise, there was no pond, but the view was pretty badass. And somehow it felt as though we were in the right spot because the top of that ridge line had a trail that looked as though it had been blazed by human beings. We had traveled almost due north to get to that spot so I was sure all we had to do was go due south to get back. But Jim had other ideas. He wanted to walk the ridgline for a bit.

We did that for a while, until I started getting antsy about having gone too far in the “wrong” direction. At that point we began gradually to descent on a path of least resistance. The way we descended was completely different and there were large clearings with only grasses. That looked like a nice flat area to walk across, but the ground was mush. My guess is that perhaps that was the pond at one point and it had grown over with grass since that book was printed. In any case, there was no crossing that so we went around it.

Down and down, meeting up again with the stream and following that back to the trailhead. I’m not sure how long we were out there, but we never saw another person the entire time, which was glorious. The same two other cars were there at the turnout when we arrived back. I took a ton of snaps and coaxed Jim into taking a few couples selfies along the way. It was a good hike.

It was also good to get back in the car and head back toward Winter Park. By then, I had worked up quite an appetite. Neither of us were in the mood to cook so we hunted for takeout instead. I wanted a cheeseburger and Jim wanted tacos. There’s lots of options here which is nice. The place we got take out from was in Fraser and it was called “Azteca” (you can guess who got their way on that one). Doesn’t matter, food cooked by someone else is always delicious.

It was actually the perfect compliment to the margaritas we were planning to have. That has kind of been our thing lately. The margs. We’ve perfected our recipe and brought all the necessary supplies with us— glasses, marg salt, limes, a jigger, simply lime, and of course, the tequila (Patron Silver).

So we nommed on our Mexican food and sipped our drinks and chatted about what else might be in store for our day. With the goal being R and R, we had no plans to leave anywhere else that afternoon/evening. And the less we were exposed to other people and potential virus, the better. Our options were hot tub or Netflix. I brought a deck of cards hoping to entice Jim into playing something with me. I miss playing cards, but I don’t know too many two person games.

We ended up watching one show, which was terrible. And so sipped some more. Then we tried warming the hot tub up, but were unsuccessful, so we sipped some more. I showed Jim a game of solitaire I played when I was a kid and he said it looked like I was making the rules up as I went along. Then we sipped some more until we sauntered up to the bedroom to crash hard.

Which brings me back to the beginning and the lovely hangover I’ve tried very hard to type my way out of this morning. I did pause briefly to take a picture of the sunrise. I imagine with all the fires in the area, the smoke has made for some neat sunrises. Sometimes I think that the main problem with fires isn’t the fires themselves, but the human beings that feel inclined to stop them. Yes, lives are at stake, so they have to try, but forest fires are natures way of cleansing the land. Right? I dunno, perhaps I just heard that somewhere and want to use that to profess that we should just leave it alone and let nature takes its course.

I digress.

Not sure what today has in store for us. We’re for sure going to fiddle with the hot tub some more to see if we can get that working. Soaking in 99 degree water sounds very relaxing. Maybe we’ll go for another hike. Maybe I’ll try reading one of the many books I brought with me. Maybe we’ll just lay around all day doing nothing but chat. For sure I’ll insist on finding a place that serves cheeseburgers.

It’s nice— the fact that it can be whatever we want. We just need to decide what that is.

Cheers to All That (and a bag of chips),
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-16 Take Back the City Tour: Day 1

Day 1 and I’m feeling good about my decision yesterday to make some changes. No sleep meds last night and it was a rough start to the night, but eventually sleep came to me. I slept until just past 5 and that was quite nice.

I’m also going to ween myself off caffeine. This I’m fairly certain I can’t do “cold turkey” like cutting out the Xanax and Lorazepam. I’m gonna start by not taking any caffeine as a supplement in the AM. I might still sip a coffee. I might need to do that to avoid a withdrawal headache. Or at least that’s what I’m sure I will tell myself when I start jonesing for a cup. Sometimes it takes baby steps though, you know?

The trifecta for this tour is the abstaining from alcohol. Historically that’s been easier than the caffeine. I think with the lack of Meetups and happy hours, it will likely be the case this time too. We’ll see.

So the goal here in the next couple of weeks is to sort of cleanse my body and rid myself of substances that might be contributing to my feeling so unwell all the time. And knowing that everything is connected, I’m hoping it also improves my mental health and mood. I’ve been down too much and I’m getting so tired of that. Literally.

This goal by itself is kinda boring though. Don’t you think? I mean a cleanse all by itself is just so basic bitch. What this story needs is a camel, or a llama, or an Ostrich. So what’s that look like?

One of Jim’s suggestions yesterday was to get some good cardio during the day. I did 2.4 miles on the exercise bike at a rigorous pace. Felt like crap but I gotta not give up too easy. I suppose I’ll give that another go sometime today. Get the heart pumping a little. But does that cardio infusion qualify as an Ostrich? I don’t think so. What I need is something really interesting. Like a poem-a-day or a bonafide road-trip or, at the very least, some daily change up in the normal routine.

I’ll have to think on that and see what materializes. 🤔

That’s it then. Time to cut and run.
I sure hope the good motivational vibes I’m feeling this morning last.

Cheers to Change,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-05-29 “Everything’s cool as long as I’m getting thinner”

That title is a line from the Lily Allen song appropriately titled “The Fear”. Half of the lyrics are about life and mass consumption and the way we seek after fortune and how society is all fucked up. The other half is confessional. It’s Admitting to confusion and not knowing what’s real and feeling taken over by “the fear”.

Every morning for a good long while, the first thing I do after getting out of bed and going pee is strip naked and get on the scale. And each time the number is lower than the day before I say to myself “everything’s cool as long as I’m getting thinner”. I can’t escape that line repeating in my head in the same way that I can’t escape my negative body image or my struggle with having an eating disorder.

I don’t talk about it much and very few people know. You know, anyone who reads this blog (which is like 2 people and about 384 WordPress bots), and my ex husband, and my current husband and Vis and Matt and Josh. Not my sisters or my mom or my girlfriends. That’s curious, you know. Just the men in my life.

It’s a clue, I suppose. But a clue to what? My continued struggle. Is it because I was conditioned and broken by my ex to be this way? Yes, I blame him and can’t escape seeking the kind of body image he held in such high regard. It’s ok for me to blame him and society and the standards that I took so much to heart that I repeatedly put my finger down my throat after so many binge sessions.

And not just binge sessions, but snacks and regular and reasonably portioned meals. I’m going to stop the backstory there. Rehashing history is not my aim today I wrote a lot of that out a while back after reading “Wasted” my Marya Hornbacher. May 6, 2019 is when that was posted.

I know that because I recently read a blog post from a friend of mine who was addressing her own issues head on and giving advice. It was a fantastic post an I know how hard it is to get it all down and share it. It was really well written and great advice. She’s one of the gals in the MFA program I’m in and we both participate in a writing group on Tuesday nights.

The other women in the group gave her great feedback and all I could say was “this is a great post, and asking if it was a first draft”. I wanted so badly to reach out to her and talk about it more, but didn’t. I couldn’t. I thought about quite a bit in the days to follow and am obviously still thinking about it. I still want to, but I’m afraid.

Why can’t I trust that we can talk about it and support each other? Why do I feel so alone with this struggle? Why do I step on the scale every fucking day, letting that number dictating the mood for the start of my day. Like the song says “I’m taken over by the fear”.

I’m afraid that if I say something to my girlfriends they will look at my thin body and be upset with me. That they will just say, you’re just so tiny and have nothing to worry about. But that’s not what I need. I honestly don’t know what I need though. That’s the truth at the heart of the matter.

I guess maybe my fear comes from the possibility of being rejected or dismissed. In my heart I don’t think that is the reception I would get if I tried to talk about with these women but that does alleviate my fear. With matters of the heart, things are often irrational. It’s just a rock and a hard place and I’m stuck between.

I confessed on May 6, 2019 that I had tried purging again after being “clean” for a good long while. And after, I knew it was a mistake and felt really shitty. It hasn’t happened again. It’s just sickening to think about actually.

But somehow all the stress in my life right now has triggered the re-release of the ugly beast that takes over my brain and makes me want to lose weight. It never really goes away, mind you, but most of the time it’s a passing thought I push down.

What’s the thought? Well.. if I can just lose about 5 pounds, I’ll be happier. That it will make my life better. It’s so dumb. But now the beast is in the drivers seat and I find myself eating less and less and going hungry sometimes and not eating. And then stepping on that scale and finding satisfaction when it’s a little less than the day before.

When I got married in February, my dress was a size 4. I weighed about 120 pounds. This morning, I weighed 114.0. One part of my brain says, thats enough already and another part of my brain thinks that 113 would be better so I have more of a buffer in case I want to indulge a little over the weekend.

I’m walking right now, and I’m hungry. And I’m thinking about what I’m going to allow myself to have today. It’s Friday. It’s that weekend coming up and I went to the grocery today. I bought stuff to make strawberry pie. I’m thinking about what I might sacrifice so that I can eat pie. How fucked up is that?!

I just can’t continue to write this. Writing it makes it clear how ridiculous I’m being. I need to take charge and fix it. I want to talk to my friends. I need to talk to someone. I need to push back against “the fear”. Everything is not cool.. if I keep getting thinner.

Searching for peace,
~Miss SugarCookie

If you’re interested in more of that backstory. Here’s my post from 2019:

https://theorganicsugarcookie.com/2019/05/06/2019-05-06-reading-wasted/

2020-05-24 Sushi Sunday Anyone? 🍣

We had a glorious thunderstorm last night (apparently) and I woke at the end of that, happy to hear the rain as I’ve done some planting of annuals in pots the last week or so and every day it rains is a day I don’t have to. Thanks Universe!

I also went back to sleep after both my 3am and 5am wake ups.. with no meds. That’s pretty glorious too. I was able to get a collective 8 hours which is rare and also really necessary to get that restoration I was talking about yesterday.

It’s apparently going to be a pretty rainy day out today too. Perfect for getting stuff done inside. This includes work work, work on the lit mag website (which is supposed to go live today), and probably getting in another episode of Picard before our one month trial of whatever the streaming service that show is on runs out. I think that ends on the 26th so if watch 1 episode a day, we’ll get to the end (we don’t watch a lot of TV).

Truth is, I have a hard time watching TV anymore because I always start to feel like I’m wasting time. It has to be a really good show. Picard has been good, but not quite great, even for Trek fans, so we’ll see.

I woke up this AM and one of the first thoughts in my head was that Sushi sounds good. Sunday’s used to be my day to treat myself to that. It also used to be my day to check on my stats. I haven’t had/done either in a while. The stats thing is just kind of depressing and I gave myself a big ole pass on it because of the pandemic but that’s just a sorry excuse.

There is, however, no excuse for skipping out on the Sushi Sunday experience. I might just have to right that wrong today.

Of course, we had been on serious lockdown because of the pandemic for a while and that included take out. Those restrictions have eased up a bit lately and we’ve treated ourselves. (I’ve probably treated myself a little more than we agreed upon, bending that “minimalistic” approach we agreed upon). 🤷‍♀️

After yesterday I think my veg garden is all in. I finally found that Anaheim pepper plant I’ve been looking for and the pumpkin seeds are in, which is probably too late to have actual pumpkins ready in October. Some varieties take 120 days. I’ll have to look at the seed packets.

My grape iris are in full bloom now which is late for them because they typically pop in early May and are amazing by Mother’s Day. I would cut some and put them in a vase in the kitchen but Doug, the resident plant destroyer, would probably just munch them. Maybe I’ll do that anyway.

We’ll see.

Peace and love and sushi, 🍱
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-02-19 Back to Basics with an Unexpected Twist

Dear Diary… How I have missed you so! It’s been several moons since we had any quality time together and I’m starting to feel anxious and nervous about our relationship. My biggest fear is that in my absence, you have started reading other people. Please say it isn’t so!.. /gasp /swoon

But seriously, since I started this blog 3 years ago, I don’t think I’ve ever been as absent from posting as I have been these past few weeks. It isn’t that I haven’t had a lot to write about. In fact, it is the exact opposite. So much so, that when I do put fingers to keyboard, I don’t even know where to begin. Kinda like right now.

First of all, my right ovary feels like it’s gonna burst at its seams. If ovaries had seams that is. In the wide world of everything SugarCookie, that is not where I expected my mind to be, but, alas, there it is. I’ve had many, many years to get to know my body well and don’t need an app to tell me I’m ovulating (though the Fitbit app does that now!). It’s true.

Last night I was so uncomfortable, I could not wait to change out of street clothes and into my pajamas. For a hot minute I thought I might be on the verge of some flair-up of my PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Little cysts that form on the edges of the ovaries caused by hormonal issues. It’s a condition that I’ve lived with my entire adult life, starting with a fun little trip to the ER when I was about 18 when one of the cysts became so enlarged that it did burst. As far as I can remember anyway.

It could be I was just a wuss and couldn’t deal with the pain. I dunno, it was a long time ago. All I know is they prescribe birth control pills to squash the problem, which doesn’t really fix anything, it only masks whatever is causing the hormone imbalance by introducing more hormones at different times in the monthly cycle.

I don’t learn this until like 8 or 9 years later after I’ve been pumping estrogen and progesterone into my body for too long. This is one of the things that bothers me about medical treatment in the United States. The default is to prescribe a pill without really getting to the heart of whatever is the matter.

As an IT person who worked at a hospital for a long time, I’ve seen the registration and scheduling systems showing all those 5 / 10 minute time slots where the pcp is supposed to sweep into the room, learn what they need to learn, and provide answers and a solution. And people are generally conditioned to be ok with that. They just want to get that script and get on with their day.

Can’t sleep? We’ll give you ambien or Xanax.

Have aches and pains? Here’s a Muscle relaxer or prescription pain killer (though they are getting better about this one),

Have a hormonal imbalance? Here’s a birth control pill.

If I wasn’t just a kid and knew enough to do my own research I would certainly have refused that garbage. To be fair, at that time google had not been invented yet and it might even be that what I would learn years later was still in medical speculation and not widely accepted. It does take 20+ years for new information and treatments to filter down to standard practice.

The answer, for me, was working to take steps to rebalance my hormones. Believe it or not, it starts with eating healthy and getting more exercise. Everything is connected, you know and learning that part of my problem stemmed from my family history of diabetes was eye opening. It was through testing for fertility issues that certain facts were brought to light.

Once I had a diagnosis all I had to do was dive into research on that. I became obsessed with scrolling through chat boards and blog posts and medical articles. I found other people who were trying things and being offered alternative solutions with positive results.

One of the doctors I went to was an IVF specialist and that was the norm. I’m the one who suggested trying Metformin (glucophage) first. It’s a medication they give to diabetics. My dad takes it. He actually laughed when I told him I was taking it for infertility. He asked if he was at risk for getting pregnant. Ha!

Laugh all you want, but it worked. Of course I also started watching what I ate too. My diet had been crap up to that point and getting the fat and sugar and fast food in check, I am sure was also key. Between the Met and diet changes, my hormones started behaving properly again and I began ovulating again. Within about 6 months, I became pregnant. And I would never take birth control again!

As for this current discomfort, it’s probably just my bodies way of getting my attention, reminding me to get back on track with diet and exercise. I’ve recently been distracted with other priorities and strayed quite a ways away from my normal routine. That’s a good case for getting back on the daily treadmill/blog sessions. It’s a win-win-win.

Wow. That’s a huge tangent from where I thought this would go today. I guess that’s just where my mind wanted to go. 🤷‍♀️

Lots going on today. I’ve got my first official sesh with my MFA mentor this semester and I’m expecting a serious conversation that’s not very positive. I just have a lot of revision work to do and need to focus on details that I’ve been glossing over for too long.

In a way, this attention to detail and tightening my poems is exactly what I need (plus probably a kick in the butt to actually do the work), but it’s tough not to have high expectations for encouragement and support. Especially after my experience last semester which was so positive and productive and left me feeling fantastic about the direction of my writing.

I wonder how anyone can deliver a tough message and at the same time keep it from being discouraging. We’ll see.

Well, my friends, my hour here is more than over and I feel so much better than when I started. Like I said, it’s a win-win-win.

Cheers to Happy Hormones and Taking Control of your Health!

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-02-16 Cake V Cake, the post Honeymoon Tasting 🍰

Right now, this very minute I am taste testing two slices of two week old wedding cake, cold, right out of the refrigerator.

In this corner we have Hy-Vee Red Velvet, the apparent Fan Favorite after the groundhog didn’t see his shadow on Sunday February 2nd this year.

And in this corner we have Wheatfields unnamed and unrated Chocolate Cake, the last minute contender when Lindas Fudge Cake from the Cheesecake Factory was a no-show for the event.

Let’s dive in and see how they do…

“It’s tough to hold up under this pressure, Bob.. I mean, it has been a whole two weeks and these to have been locked up in air tight container since the first round.

“That’s right, Jim.. but the temperature and conditions have elongated their staying power.

“You’re right Bob.. Should we take a closer look and see how they did”

“Sure thing Jim.. Let’s go”…

…The chocolate has dried out a lot and you have to get a good bit of frosting in each bite or it’s just dry and hard. That being said, it is chocolate and I think even the most stale chocolate cake can get by just fine, cuz, chocolate!!

The red velvet, however, still retains some of its fluffy qualities and the cheesecake frosting is just the perfect compliment to it. It has lost a little of it’s flavor flair since the unveiling two weeks ago.

Who’s gonna take away today’s prize? Tune in tomorrow and I’ll fill you in on all the sticky crumby details then.

Mahalo,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-07-30 NYC Day 5 – A Girl and Her Limits

Nothing like trying to remember exactly what life was like 48 hours and 1,241 miles ago, especially when traveling has created a haze around everything. Where was I at again? Oh yeah, New York City. It was a Monday in the year 2019 and I was just a girl traveling with her family and trying to do every last damn thing… which pushed me to my limit.

Our first stop that Monday was to the new One World Trade Center. The time was 9:30AM. We had tickets to go up to the observation deck on the 102nd floor and experience NYC from the highest point in the city. From there, you can walk 365 degrees around and see for miles in all directions. Their slogan, “See Forever” feels spot on. You can see to the edges of earth where it starts to curve under. The advertised “experience” included a bunch of electronic nonsense — iPads, video clips, and interactive displays. As if being shot up 100 floors in less than 45 seconds and pondering life from such a height wasn’t good enough. Guess I’m just a simple girl.

The second stop of the day was a short walk from the new trade center. It was the memorial site and museum for the original buildings that were destroyed on 9/11. All of the 16 acres of land where the original seven buildings stood has been reconfigured into new buildings, a green space, and a memorial and museum. We did a 1 hour guided tour and also walked around the area above ground where the twin towers stood.

Those two locations have now been transformed into a pair of water features where the water descends into the middle past where the eye can see and the stone on the perimeter of the pools has the names of all persons who lost their lives etched in it. That was quite touching and the tour even more so. Our guide did a great job walking us through the museum and relaying information about the day, the towers, the structural collapse of the buildings, stories of people involved in escaping, rescue, recovery, and clean up in the months to follow.

I learned a great deal of new information and was moved to tears watching video of the bringing down and “laying to rest” one of the great concrete columns. The city has done a fantastic job with the space and it was time well spent.

Our third stop of the day, and last ticketed attraction, was the cruise out to the Statue of Liberty and trek up inside the statue. This was also memorable, but for very different reasons. This, “pilgrimage”, if you will, is a thing that most tourists who visit NYC do. An icon of the city and of our nations history, it is one of the most toured sites in the country. There were hundreds upon hundreds of people piling onto the cruise ships which departed about every 20 minutes. It was a massive moving crowd of human bodies on and off and through three different airport like security checkpoints. If they were going for the “huddled masses” effect, they were successful.

We had also not eaten since breakfast (and some of us don’t eat breakfast) so we also had the pleasure of being packed into the food court for what was arguably the worst cheeseburger I have ever had. Let’s make that official – Crown Cafe Cheeseburger, a solid 1 (terrible) on a 5 point scale. TO be fair, Jim had the “New York burger” and said it was delicious. There were lots of cooks on the grill and perhaps our line cook was having an off day. To make matters worse, our tickets to go up in the statue were for 3PM and we were pressed for time and had to eat in about 5 minutes.

We gobbled the food, headed for the statue at a good clip, and then proceeded to climb the 215 steps that are inside the pedestal of the statue. Bear in mind, by this time of the day the heat was at its peak and there was a heat advisory on the island. I got to the top of the pedestal, quite winded, where you can walk outside and look. I took my time walking around and would have taken longer, but the rest of the crew were impatient to go up to the crown. They only allow a few folks a day up there and we bought our tickets months ago.

They let us through the roped-off section to the stairs that led up into the top of the pedestal where the statue is secured to the base. That is as far as I got. The next stairs to climb were a tight spiral that wound around the center of the statue. When I say tight, I mean narrow and steep, and confining. Once you commit to going up, there is no going back down. You have to get all the way to the top before you can descend down the other side of the spiral. I got about 20 steps up and a panic came over me. I felt trapped and hot and dizzy and nauseous. I went back down those 20 steps and waited at that level, alone, while the rest of our crew went up and came back down.

That is the first time in my life I was not able to do something because of a panic. I’ve been afraid of things before – rollercoasters, public speaking, driving up and around cliffs on mountainsides, scuba diving, snorkeling – and at no time have I ever let that fear get the best of me. It’s just all in the head, you know. You have to push past it and things always turn out just fine. This was different though. This felt less like a mental block and more like an actual physical limitation. As I stood there alone I briefly tried to talk myself into heading up and then, upon realizing it was not going to happen, I instead tried to reason out why my body was reacting the way it was.

All I could think is that it must have been the perfect storm to create such a commotion inside. The heat, the emotional draining from seeing the 911 memorial, the being packed on a rocky boat, the pounding food into an empty stomach, the physical exhaustion from climbing the first set of stairs, the lack of a break in-between hikes around the island and up. All of these things culminated in my having a meltdown at the base of the steps that led up to the crown. All these things were responsible, I told myself, and not just a simple fear of being trapped. It couldn’t be just that. I sat down and wept. It was the second time I cried that day and would not be the last.

When Jim and the kids came back down, we all descended the rest of the stairs together and once back inside the air-conditioned lower level, both Jim and Z took me aside separately to ask me what happened. I still couldn’t say anything more than “I just couldn’t do it”. Z put her arm around me and gave me a light squeeze. Then Jim did the same. That’s when the tears came again. I just wanted to be done, and magically transported back to the apartment, back to a cool place to rest. There was no magic, of course and It would take about 2 more hot, sweaty, physically and emotionally draining hours to get back home.

***

That evening would be our last in the City. I didn’t want to waste it and was quite sick of “vendor and cafe” food. The area we were located is called “Hells Kitchen” which is named partially because the area is so densely packed with exceptional restaurants. We had only been at a sit down place twice the entire trip and that was a damn shame. It was mostly easier to satisfy the kids needs by eating a quick slice a pizza or hot dog or hamburger on the go.

So after our recovery Jim and I went out to a real restaurant, just him and I. I wanted to go to the “Hell’s Kitchen” restaurant which was literally less than a block from our apartment. It was Mexican food and a margarita sounded like the perfect refreshing start of the evening. It was.

We had a great meal and got a buzz on over our tacos and nachos. It felt like a normal night out at home. It also gave me the pep I needed to venture out, one last time, to Times Square with Z. Everyone else was over it, but realizing that it was our last opportunity, we went for it.

Jim stayed back with the boys so it was a girls only night out. We hit the Disney store and one of a dozen “I ❤️ NYC” souvenir stores. We stopped in at the McDonald’s to get her fries and a soda, “dinner of champions” in the heart of Manhattan. We sat at a table between the streets and giant electronic billboards. We caught some more Pokémon and laughed a lot and then wandered back, carefully avoiding the group of mini-mouses and other cartoon characters. It was a great night and a good end to our Big adventure in the Big Apple.

There’s more to write (and remember) as always. Words that go forever and curve under the edges of the earth. But even the longest day has to end sometime and this one is quickly fading into the haze.

Next Stop.. Nebraska!

~Miss SugarCookie