2021-02-27 Three Days Rolled into One

Yesterday felt like two or three days long. Waking up just past two and milling about in the middle of the night and eventually meeting with the normal morning routine felt like day 1. Day 2 was going to a yoga class and returning home to house chores and a bunch of stuff for the GLR well into the afternoon. Then an unexpected thing happened that altered the trajectory of the day and threw me immediately into a third full day.

In short we scrambled to get our act together enough to make an impromptu road trip to Kansas City. 3 hours to get where we were going. 1 hour to “take care of business” and 3 hours home. When my head hit the pillow at 11pm last night I was asleep almost immediately. Waking up this morning, it feels like it was all a dream. Strange. 

The “business” was the purchase of a new car for Jim. We’ve had repeated trouble with the vehicle he drives (as in stranded twice in the last couple weeks) and that’s just not something he’s keen on happening again. Though we likely have the problem with the Jeep (2001) fixed now, the “experiment” of buying old cars has lost its appeal. He just wanted something that would be reliable. 

Shortly after I moved in with him I gifted my daughter who was 17 at the time my car. It’s a 2012 Prius-C. I also had a “fun” car which was an impulse buy sometime after my divorce. That was a 2004 RX8 which was fun, when it ran. But it was non-operational more than it was operational and taking up a garage space so we sold it. That left me with no car of my own except for the one Jim was leasing when I met him. A Mercedes. It was a great car but I’m just not a Mercedes kind of girl so when the lease was up, I elected to get a Hyundai Kona. It’s a cute little hatchback with all wheel drive when I need it. And I love it.

But Jim was driving old cars. Ones purchased outright with the thought that it would be more economical to just fix them when they break down. In theory this was a good plan, until the breakdowns threw a wrench in this day and that day and pretty quickly he got fed up and started looking for a newer option. He did a lot of research and picked out what he wanted, including options, but there were no cars in the Omaha metro area meeting the specs. So he’s been keeping an eye on surrounding areas, which apparently includes KC. 

Finding that yesterday, he snagged it right up. And they refused to hold it for us overnight to Saturday, hence the impromptu road trip on a Friday afternoon. This of course meant that I had to drive home by myself. You can see how being awake since the early morning that day coupled with no real rest during the day would equate to a big problem driving solo for three hours in the dark at 8pm. It was tough.

We had to stop several times just so I could snap out of my sleepy haze. I could tell Jim felt really terrible, but was also pumping with excitement about his new car. It was cute and annoying at the same time… all the text messages (hands free with apple car play) kept me going but also became irritating because I just wanted to be left alone. When I say that little trip felt like a whole day, I’m not kidding.

He actually felt so bad about it he elected to sleep in a different room last night so that his heavy breathing/snoring would not keep me awake. As a consequence, I slept for about 7.5 hours which was glorious.

I didn’t get out of bed until 8am and that too was amazing. Now I’m walking and working on recovery. Recovery from living those three days as well as the week of hell I put my body through with exercise classes. I’m taking this day as a rest day and going to let my aching muscles heal a little bit. No weights and no heavy cardio. Just walking. 

Having my afternoon and evening hijacked yesterday meant I didn’t get to some of my Friday chores. I didn’t finish washing and drying laundry or the cat grooming or scooping litter boxes. So these are on the agenda today instead. Other than that, I’m gonna take it easy.

I’m thinking about my attempt this week to roll back the calendar to 2006 and formulating thoughts about that little experiment but I think I’ve written enough about cars and stuff so that’s gonna have to wait. 

With that, I’m gonna quit early and get to all that relaxing I’ve promised myself. 

Happy Caturday, 🐱

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-11 A Quick Trip on the Memory Train

I’m walking. I’m walking. I’ve got nothing today. A full set list of stuff to get done today while I’m stranded at home. Jeep won’t start again and is parked at Jim’s office. He took my car to work today. 

It’s ok because it’s the first day of my period (cuz I know you wanted to know that 😜) and typically the heaviest day and the cramping-est day and probably would veto running errands around town anyhow. Been there done that anyway so…. meh. 

It just means I have all day to get stuff done around the house. Does that mean I will? Prolly not. 🤷‍♀️

I told you I had nothing to say today. Why you still reading? 

Guess it’s time to check my email and see what’s going on in Paris this morning…

It just happens to be a ride on a train. Fascinating. 

***

What I can say is that from down here, among the abandoned strappy black heels and patent leather pumps, I’ll never know for certain who triumphed over whom, which depends strictly on the definition of the word triumph. 

At times, for her own amusement, the Universe leads our memories astray but the outcome remains the same. Regardless of city streets riddled with contradictions, the street sign replaced a hundred times still runs parallel to the horizon, where the sun continues to rise in snowflake fashion every single day. 

I might have been sitting across from an Afgani woman on the Eurostar that one time too. Based on the year it might have been the same woman. But the advice I had been given was to not make eye contact so I’ll never know for certain. 

I just stared down at my shoes, thinking about how my stupid American wardrobe made me stick out like a sore thumb and and a target for all those shifty pick-pockets loitering near the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre and Notre Damme. I couldn’t have heard your conversation over the voices arguing about pairing a red trench coat with black leggings anyhow. I’d made so many mistakes.

Just then they rolled a cart of sweet treats by our train cabin and I was further distracted by chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, which hadn’t been invented yet. That was the moment the thread of the story fell to the ground and I went down on my hands and knees to hunt for it. 

***

I would say this would make more sense if a person read the triggering poem:

A Celebration

by Iman Mersal

Paris Review Issue no. 197 (Summer 2011)

But I doubt it.. as it doesn’t even help me decipher the message. And I’m the one who wrote it. Near as I can tell is that it’s an alternate take on the same subject as is in my poem, Left Brain Poet, with the references to memory and the flaws of our fragile human brains.

The actual details of my ride on the Eurostar are sadly long gone. The only solid memory is how incredibly different the French countryside appeared as we emerged from the Chunnel. Like I’d traveled through a portal of space AND time and ended up on a different planet. It was bright and beautiful and green which was so different than the dark, dreary greys and blues of London. 

I suppose the bit about the clothing is accurate too, though not a memory from the train. It actually pestered me enough for several days early on that trip that I spent half a day shopping on Oxford street. By the time my day-trip to Paris arrived, my “American-ness” was thoroughly camouflaged (as long as I didn’t open my mouth). 

Still hard to believe I went to England, Ireland, and Paris for two weeks all by myself in 2010. It was shortly after my divorce was final and I think I wanted to prove to everyone that I was finally free and could do whatever the fuck I wanted. That included visiting Stonehenge AND getting robbed in Dublin. Dublin.. don’t get me started on how much I hated Dublin. I mean, by then I was over traveling alone and let’s be real, once you see Paris and London, Dublin is a Dump.

I said don’t get me started didn’t I? Why are you still reading??!! 

In any case, my grand memories of that trip become even more grand as time passes and the truth of it all may be becoming mired by so many retellings. 

Maybe that’s the point and has nothing at all to do with what this morning’s poem from the Paris Review was all about. 🤷‍♀️ Such is the Way. In any case, I’m grateful for the opportunity to have lived those moments and to reminisce about them now. Thanks for reading.

With Much Love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-01 Oklahoma Adventure Day 2, 3, 4, and 5…

Oklahoma? Been there, done that. 

But hold-up. It’s not really over until there’s a recap. Normally I’d take this day by day, but now that I’m home, I’ve quickly slid into a position where I don’t have time and my desire to rehash wanes. So friends, this rapid fire set of highlights is gonna be it.

Day 2 (Tuesday): Lots of exploring the area by car and getting our bearings as well as a 2nd and final trip to the store for supplies. These “supplies” were mostly to satisfy my sudden craving for mimosas to have at breakfast and Jim wanting to find a place that sells test strips to test the hot tub water chemical balance. As it turns out champagne and OJ are much easier to find than pool supplies in the middle of Nowhere Oklahoma.

I took a few snaps of cool places we hiked but most of the day was unremarkable. We retreated to our cabin relatively early for frozen pizza, margaritas, hot tub time, and just messing around. I was pretty tipsy by the time it was time to tune into an event via zoom where my friend T was reading from a story of hers. And I don’t remember much after that except that it was a good time.

Day 3 (Wednesday): We were up early and the sunrise was unremarkable. I made us breakfast and poured myself a lovely mimosa which was a great way to start our Backroad Adventure day.

We rented a Jeep for the day and went deep into the forest on roads not legal for most vehicles. January is off season so there were no other souls on the trails. And once we got the hang of driving the terrain, which was rocket and muddy and riddled with giant puddles, it was a ton of fun. The Jeep quickly became covered in mud and we began to hit the puddles at a pretty good clip to see how big of a splash we could make.

One of the trails led up to the top of a mountain that overlooks Broken Bow Lake. The view was incredible and pictures don’t do it justice.

The second trail we selected was farther south and went almost all the way down to the lake so we were able to stop there, have our packed lunch, and hike down to the lake. The view was not as good from that angle but it was great for hunting rocks.

After returning the Jeep, our evening was pretty much a repeat of the previous night. Dinner, drinks, hot tub, etc etc.

Dinner was takeout from a restaurant called The Hochatown Saloon. I had a cheeseburger of course which I would rate as a 4.25 but the fries were terrible. Jim’s food was excellent and we both agreed it was the best takeout we’ve had the entire pandemic.

That night we attempted a campfire but it was too cold and the wood was too wet. It burned just long enough for me to roast 3 marshmallows. The night was more tame than the previous one because my notes say that we settled in and watched a movie, Two Popes. I would not have remembered that if I hadn’t taken notes, but it was a good movie. Ha!

Day 4 (Thursday): Another “free” day with no scheduled activities planned. We once again drove Beavers Bend State Park loop looking for places to get out and hike and found a few excellent spots.

We ended up on a road that led back to the main road we had just left and felt like we were stuck in a time loop, crossing the same bridge multiple times. Or perhaps it was just too much mimosa.

It’s a little sad how fast time slipped away. Before we knew it, sun was going down again. The sunsets were pretty unremarkable on the trip, but this one was the best yet, with a bit of pink in the sky, which we saw from the car as we were getting takeout for dinner.

I had a cheeseburger from a different place in Hochatown, Abendigo’s. It was a solid 4.0 and the fries were really quite good for a takeout situation.

It was another chill evening with a little hot tub time and a movie. This time it was “Catch Me if You Can.” I think we both were over the repeating evening routine and missing home and began making plans for leaving on Friday instead of Saturday.

Day 5 (Friday): The morning activity became packing to leave. We planned to take off just after the horse trail ride we had booked for early afternoon.

That was a two hour ride where we explored the wilderness again from both high and low vantage points and had a new Miss SugarCookie first.. Crossing a river on a horse! When our guide ahead went into the river I was like “whelp, I guess this is happening.” All terror of crossing a moving body of water aside, it was neat. Yeah “neat” is the best word I can find. Both of our horses were on the short side so our feet got soaked and were subsequently a bit chilly.

As I said, our plan was to skip town after that so as soon as we got back, we had a quick bite to eat, a final walk of the grounds, and then loaded up the car.

We selected Pittsburg Kansas as our stopping point for the night. And that was it. After that it was all just driving. 

We arrived home on Saturday about 2pm and the cats were happy to see us. 

I think we were both glad to be home and have most of the rest of the weekend to relax and enjoy just being at home with nothing that needed doing. 

There’s not a lot more I want to write about for highlights but I think that that there were one or two other noteworthy items… despite the area being more beautiful than I expected, there was a huge trash problem. The amount of garbage on the side of the road everywhere we went was disturbing. We went through 6 states on the trip and Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Arkansas didn’t seem to have a problem but rural Missouri was not good and Oklahoma was the worst. 

Jim was somewhat smitten with the area and said he would be inclined to return again sometime but I just could not look past the trash. With as many cool places as there are to visit in the world, I can’t see ever going back.

Oklahoma? Ok… NOW I can finally say I’ve been there and done that.

On to the Next Thing, 💃💃💃

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-30 Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

From Oklahoma to Omaha to pet some fat cats. We’re home again, home again, just like that.

AKA Oklahoma Adventure Day 6. The last leg home. A day no pictures will be taken. A day of driving highways in Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa in the rain. A day where the highlight is arriving home and having the cats excited to see us. They are not starving save for attention. Darling daughter was here to take care of them while we were away but doesn’t give them the same attention we do.

She was apparently hanging out in the living room until we arrived and then she quickly disappeared to her room. No chat about the week, just hi and bye. Ok. 

I’m pretty much unpacked now but seriously beat. I thought I could walk the treadmill but after being in the car for a 10 hour stretch (split in two with an overnight stay in Pittsburgh Kansas) and also a 2 hour horse trail ride yesterday, my body is begging for some couch time. Who knew riding a horse would make a person sore like this? 

I’ve been on horse rides before but not with this amount of trotting. My horse yesterday broke into a trot every time the horse in front of her did. Her name was Bella, and she seemed ok with the ride while we were moving but every time we stopped she pulled at the reins and tried to nip backwards like she was trying to bite me. More on that tomorrow, maybe, if I feel inclined to walk and rehash more of my Oklahoma adventure.

I mean, the last I wrote was after day 1. For a trip that was supposed to partially for rest and relaxation, we didn’t seem to have enough time for me to have any solo R and R or time for writing. Which became a bit of a problem the last couple of days, but hashing that’s not in the cards for today either. 

It seems this is the end of today’s trail as well. Perhaps if I had a good nap, I could bounce back, but that’s probably unlikely. 

After 6 nights away I’m really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. That, my friends is sure to be the highlight of my Saturday night.

Glad to be home,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-26 Oklahoma Adventure Day 1

It’s amazing how when you have all the time in the world it can take just as long to get where you are going than it would if you were rushed. I would have thought that with the head start on travel, we would reach our cabin near Hochatown Oklahoma by early afternoon, but with all the “meandering” and what my grandpa would call “slow-poking,” we still didn’t arrive until just before sunset. 

We were hoping for a sunset (or sunrise) view from the cabin. We had no way of knowing ahead of time as the pictures on AirB-N-B were not forthcoming and neither was the description. The cabin is situated on a hillside near the top of a ridge, so the view IS pretty spectacular, however it’s also nestled between a series of hills and as rays of sunshine disappeared from the canyon below, we could not see where the sun was. The drive here was twisting and turning and by the time we arrived, we had no idea which way north was. In any case, it all became clear this AM when the sun came up directly out our bedroom window which faces the canyon. The sky was very clear this morning so it was completely unremarkable. It’s going to be a good day. 

But hold-up, I’m not quite done with yesterday yet. 

As I was walking on the treadmill yesterday and daydreaming about the HIE free breakfast, marveling at the rain, I had almost completely forgotten it was a pandemic. That’s pretty incredible. It’s somewhat become the focus all the time so to not think about it for a while was good. I was, however, brought back to reality when I left the exercise room at the hotel and went to partake of said breakfast. There were no scrambled eggs or bacon or cinnamon rolls or orange juice. There was just a woman behind a makeshift desk who promptly asked me if I wanted a breakfast sandwich. Jimmy Dean sausage, egg, and cheese to-go sandwiches from a hotplate was the only hot selection. Pre-packaged muffins were the only other item besides little boxes of cereal or oatmeal. The juice machine only had cranberry and the refrigerator only had 2% white milk or chocolate and a slim selection of yogurt. I chose the hot sandwich and sat and listened to songs on my iPhone and stared out the window. The sandwich was gross. I hate sausage and the cheese was nasty. I ate it anyway, hungry and not wanting to waste the food. Whatever. 

Congratulations. That last very long paragraph was brought to you by a girl who is hungry and jonesing for some really good food. When I packed food to cook here, I underpacked this time. I still brought all the stuff I would need to make Jim meals for his delicate stomach, but not so much myself. The last place we stayed had a full pantry of supplies and so I half expected the same here. Not so much. They have coffee grounds for the coffee maker and that is it (well, and a salt and pepper shaker). No oil to cook with or sugar for the coffee or anything else. I’ve already made a list in case we decide to find a grocery store today. 

Wait, though, brain. My brain keeps wanting to wander to today and I haven’t really even gotten to the rest of yesterday yet.

I haven’t yet talked about the really cool drive through Arkansas or Ouachita National Forest. I haven’t yet talked about driving through Missouri or into Oklahoma. Some parts were pretty and it was neat to see the landscape change from what we are used to in Nebraska. Other parts of the drive were disheartening as there were stretches of road with so much trash I could not believe it.

An hour north of our final destination and we pulled off the side of the road on a scenic turn-out to see the view from the top of the ridge we were on and there was so much trash in the ditch by the turn-out I was disgusted. I had to zoom in on the ridge in the distance and valley below in order to get a picture without the trash. Human beings are so dumb.

Finally we zeroed in on the area we were staying and followed the step by step directions to get to our “secluded” cabin in the woods. There are lots of cabins in the area, some are pretty close by but it still feels very private. We unpacked the car and it was a lovely 67 degrees out still so we spent some time outside enjoying the view (with freshly made margaritas of course).

We drank and talked, played music and danced around the Cabin to the vacation playlist Jim created. He got the Roku set up on the TV and made sure that was working for the “R and R” part of our week. The hot tub was cold when we arrived but we had turned it on right away and when it got to 100 degrees it was time to try it out. The sky was completely dark and the stars were out. By then the moon had disappeared from the view from the back deck so we just sat and talked there too. I don’t even remember what we talked about.

After that the night became a little fuzzy. I had only had a few drinks but the day had been sooooo long and the night before was a short one, so I slid into the bed to go to sleep. Sort of anti-climatic for our first night of vacation, but it was only Monday and we have all week. 

I’m excited to get outside today and explore. There’s a creekbed just below us on the property line and not too far away there are some good hiking trails. I don’t think we have any activities planned for today. Just exploring the area. It’s 46 degrees out now. The high will be mid-fifties and it looks like it will be a bright sunny day. That’s a whole heck of a lot better than the drifted in mess back in Omaha. I’ll take it. 

Cheers to Day 2,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-25 Waking Up in Nevada 💃☔️

Yesterday when I talked about gettin outta town, I really didn’t think I would be waking up today in Nevada!! 

The original plan? To have the car loaded and ready to jet at 5:30am. Drive for 9 hours, see the sunrise from I-29 south, and reach our destination in Oklahoma by 4 or 5pm. 

Then about 5Pm yesterday our phones started blowing up with winter storm warning notices and cancellations. First it was our kids’ schools and we thought, “here we go again.” Then it was other random places that we might frequent. Then it was our city trash service notifying that the schedule was being modified with a day delay this week due to the weather. And then it was the whole city of Papillion. An automated message from the freaking mayor that the city was declaring an emergency. Holy crap? Is this it? Is it the end times? 

Of course it is. I mean, I’ve just gotten everything I ever wanted so the end of the world was inevitable. 😜

Whatever. I was en route to drop my son off at his dad’s house when Jim called and said they closed his office too and he was being advised to drive tonight and not wait for the morning. So as soon as I got home, it was scramble time. I had a myriad of tasks that were not done yet. I finished the things on my list while Jim did research on how far to drive and where to stay. 

We we’re on the road and headed for Nevada Missouri by 8:30PM. 

So here I am. Walking on a treadmill at the Nevada Holiday Inn Express staring out the window at a rainy morning and excited about the thought of having a free breakfast and taking a long hot shower before getting on the road again. 

The rain looks glorious and the sun is up just enough that it’s starting to get light out there. Jim just sent me a screenshot of the winter storm which is depicted as a white mass across much of the Midwest from Denver Colorado to Kansas City, lead up front with some wicked rain storms stretching all the way to the Carolinas and the Atlantic Ocean. That’s a massive weather system Yo!!

If I don’t see a single flake I’ll be a happy girl. The temp here will not dip below freezing and fo sho we’ll be outta town headed farther south within an hour or two. In fact I just checked and the temp for our destination and it is already 64 so the only “weather” we’ll see today is this lovely, amazing rain. ☔️ 

Leaving in a bit of a rush, there were bound to be a few items we intended to bring but forgot. I don’t have my water bottle which will be necessary if we do any hiking and the Roku was left behind too. Since our whole plan for the week was to balance outdoor activities with binge watching movies and TV, we plan to hit the wal-Mart on our way out of the area. I wonder if Nevada has a Wal-Mat? 

Nevada??!! Ha! As we rolled in last night I was cracking jokes about the Vegas Strip. Nevada has historically been bad for me, but this little town seems all right. I mean, as a HIE fan girl, what’s not to love?

Cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, bacon, orange juice and coffee here I come!

3 states down, 3 to go, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-24 On the Eve of Adventure

We had snow yesterday and it looks like it was a precursor to the winter storm headed our way tomorrow. The perfect time to get the fuck out of dodge. We’re skipping town just as the fun will be starting tomorrow at 6am. I’m just hoping things don’t get too bad for my daughters sake. 

The early start is perfect for me and for once I won’t be chastised for wanting to go to bed at 9pm. We’re planning on having everything ready to go today so we can wake up and roll out. I’m excited to see sunrise from I-29. I told Jim this morning we should charge and bring the good camera. Of course I’m thinking of last minute things I’d like to get from the grocery store. Of course. 

I have a busy day planned for myself today. Lots to hurry up and do in order for us to be able to disconnect for a week. Just getting the house in order and hopefully in nice shape to come home to is a big task. I’m grateful we have several responsible kids teetering on adulthood to care for the animals in our absence. I will miss the kids and the cats but am looking forward to 5 glorious days of not having to scoop litter boxes or feed fish. Hooooray!

I love road trips. Our route will actually take us through 6 states. Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. If I know Jim (and I do) he’ll want to dip into Texas too since we’ll be so close. I’ve only ever driven south through to Texas, never stopped in OK before to look around but I guess it’s really beautiful where we are going.

It’s a true statement that if there was no pandemic we probably would not choose Oklahoma or Arkansas. So this adventure was totally inspired by our inability to fly and a deep desire to get away.

I’m excited about some of the fun activities planned this week and after the cold and snow, highs in the 50s will probably feel great! The high when we arrive tomorrow is supposed to be 66! Yowza that looks amazing. 

My mind is wandering. 

Wandering away to activities of the day. 

To Monday and Tuesday. 

To fire pits and hot tubs and Sunrises. 

Wednesday and Thursday. 

Jeep rides exploring new territory. 

Binge watching movies cuddled close. 

Reading and writing, walking and talking. 

Friday Horseback trails and trotting. 

Laughing through Late breakfasts. 

Snacks and snuggles and sunsets. 

Toasting to year 1 and all the years to come. 

Keepin’ it Frosty,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-23 Up and Down, Round and Round

It’s been a strange week and I’m very much looking forward to shifting gears. The focus this weekend is on vacation prep. That’s right.. I said vacation. 

It’s still too sketch to fly so we basically put a pin in Omaha and did a radial circle around it with a driving distance of  10 hours max. Our first bit of research landed us in South Dakota and we’re both so hungry for getting away that it actually seemed like a viable option. We booked an air b n b near Deadwood. Two days later we had issues with the rental contract and both did a facepalm… South Dakota in January?!! WTF were we thinking??!! Who goes NORTH in Winter?? 🤦🏼‍♀️ 

We were able to get out of that deal without issue and quickly turned our attention to the opposite side of the circle—south to Oklahoma and Arkansas.

With our second attempt to zero in on a destination that would be “off the grid” enough to disconnect from normal life but still have comfort with amenities to get some good R and R, we landed on Broken Bow Oklahoma. Well, near Broken Bow anyhow. 

For 30 years of my life I’ve had to do all the vacation planning. Let me tell you, it’s really easy to get used to someone else taking control. It’s just one of the many reasons I love my husband. He’s incredible for a lot of reasons. The excellent vacation planning is just one thing. 

The vacation is partially to celebrate our one year anniversary. And what a year it has been. Natural disasters, the BLM movement hitting another climax, a nail-biting election cycle, and.. oh yeah.. a global pandemic bringing humanity to its knees. My friend Rebecca said if we weathered this ok in our first year, we can survive anything. I sure hope so. 

Other things on my agenda this weekend besides laundry and cleaning and packing include trying to catch up on my GLR tasks that always seem to be falling behind. With the strange week that has been very up and down and round and round, it seems that some of those tasks fell to the “I will do that tomorrow” list. I’m also in a holding pattern on a few things that have started to become sources of irritation. Namely the contest that we’ve been waiting to announce since the beginning of January. In truth, when we originally planned it, the window for submissions was supposed to open on December 15th.

Now it’s nearing the end of January and we still don’t have all the content needed on all four judges to round out the lineup. It would be strange to have bio and pictures for two of the judges and not the other two. I also have other growing concerns but nothing worth writing through right now. Or at least not on a Saturday before vacation.

In any case, lots to do today and no time like now to get on it! 

Cheers to Caturday! 🐱

~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