2019-09-28 Austin Day 1 – Chillin in 90 Degree Heat

Yesterday was a very chill day with fam and a mostly normal Friday routine. I’m on holiday but they still have work and kids that go to school and activities to manage.

In the morning I had a fair amount of time to walk and think and then when Rebecca hit her stopping point with work we took to the neighborhood streets to do more walking and catching up.

She took the afternoon off and we met up with our other friend at her house on Lake Travis. Technically, she explained, their house is on a wide channel of the river that forms the lake, but the channel is so wide, it doesn’t resemble a river at all. It’s an incredible view from their back patio and we sat and had a drink and just talked.

Then the three of us went to this place called “The Reserve” which is also on the “lake”, which is kind of like a resort/local club/pool with restaurants and a bar and pools for kids and adults and a lazy river. We walked the lazy river for a couple of hours, with more drinks when the bar opened up. With school back in session the place was practically deserted. Apparently this is the last weekend it will be open which seems incredible to me. It’s still so, so hot.. if I had a membership I would keep going there well into the fall. But I guess these temps are atypical this time of year even for Texas.

I got pretty tipsy by the time we were wrapping up the session at the pool and was just coasting with whatever was planned next. That turned out to be dinner back at the house with the kids and more chill conversation on the back patio after the sun went down.

There were no clouds and the sky was so clear. Both Saturn and Jupiter were in view but no Orion’s Belt or dipper I could see There was very little moon so there were more starts visible and being this south of town it’s approaching the darkness possible as you drive west in Nebraska. There’s the faint glow of a band across the sky and I know, it’s the light from clusters of stars We can’t see. You have to be so many miles away from civilization with no moon and clear skies, like in the Badlands, to see those stars.

To see a sky that is more stars than sky. The light of some of those stars are only echoes of light that used to exist. In the time it takes to travel to our eyes, the star may have met it’s last day. It’s such a wild thing to think about. And the perspective of that can shift your thinking. I know it changes mine.

I went to bed fairly early again, exhausted from the long day of relaxation and conversation. My head was actually pounding and I was afraid the pain of it would spill over into my sleep and the next day. Today, I’m going to try for a little less drinking and a little more of everything else. 🙂

XOXO, ❤️

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-31 Austin Day 3: Perfection

None of my exes live in Texas but now some of my best friends do. Steph moved to Texas about six months ago so now when I visit, we’ll likely be coordinating visits with her too. Still, Texas is big and they live south of Houston so in order to do that, some extra flying or driving by someone will be required. For this trip, they drove to Austin and we all converged in the house here.

Last night we went to a familiar winery which is connected to an Italian restaurant. It was a perfect night.

A perfect car ride out to the vineyard, complete with stops on the way to buy water bottles and mega-bucks lottery tickets. I don’t buy lottery tickets, but apparently the jackpot is like 300 million or something. They proposed that if any one of us wins we would spit the money 5 ways (me being the ever-present 5th wheel). I didn’t buy any tickets but they said I would get a cut anyway, just for being here.

I said I didn’t need 1/5th. I’d be happy if someone just paid for my masters degree. And perhaps my kids’ colllege.

I wouldn’t expect anything really, but having that immediate burden lifted would erase all remaining doubts that I was meant for this new path I’ve chosen.

The evening continued to be perfect as we rolled up to the counter in the wine tasting room. A flight of 6 wines with Steph and I swapping out one of the regular reds for a semi-sweet. I’m not a wine connoisseur and I know what I like and if there’s one rule in life, it’s that you should have what you like.

During the tasting, I caught Steph up on the scoop with JS and happily skipped all the chronological “dating” BS leading up to when we met. He’s already passed the initial scrutiny by Rebecca and her husband. That’s a good sign. Though they did say that with my lack of dating experience, my dating age is about 23 and I probably still have a lot to learn. They are probably right.

The perfection persisted as we got one final glass and headed outside to talk and wait for our table at the restaurant to be ready. We landed at a picnic table that just happened to have one of those giant Jenga set on it. Game on!

We played for a bit and the the epic game of the century happened between Rebecca and Steph. Each move more impossible than the last. By the end of it, we were all standing a safe distance away from the table and high-fiveing each other after each successful placement.

There was a photographer there taking pictures so you can look for us in next month <insert tourist magazine name here>. 😜

By the time our table was called I was quite buzzed and having the best time. Our dinner was, of course, also perfect. I don’t even have a favorite “place” let alone a favorite “entre” in my own city, but I have one here! Pork chops, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. If only I had a Trattoria Lisina back home.

Unlike the old days, we were home by 10:30 to relieve the babysitter and I was probably in bed asleep by 11pm. It’s more than fine by me.. it’s Perfect.

Today is “party” day. An elaborate but casual event has been planned and shortly we’ll be going out to do some last minute shopping for that.

Cheers to Friends and Perfect Vacation days!

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-30 Austin Day 2: Changes in Scenery

I’m now into my second day of enjoying everything this city now offers me. I say “now”, because as we get older, the scenery has changed.

I absolutely cherish how things are now. When I’m here, I’m family. We hang around and talk and eat. We go out for delicious meals also full of great conversation. The kids treat me like family and I’ve come to appreciate this family life as one that seems to me to be how things ought to be. It’s nothing like either my childhood nor the early years of my own children’s lives. I can’t change anything about all of that now, nor do I have a longing to dwell on it.

I just look at what is in front of me and embrace each moment as a gift. They are open with me about their struggles, which makes the way this household operates seem just that much more magical. They work together to work through things. Human beings together and committed to that togetherness, and always making the best choices they can for the sake of their children and their relationship.

It elicits a very compelling feeling within me. A deep desire to create the same thing in my own life. To bottle it up and take it home with me. A truly impossible task when one is missing the most key ingredients.

The other fairy dust in that bottle is sustainability over time. The agenda of things has changed here in Austin over time. Though I consider Rebecca one of my very best friends, the connection has an intriguing and ironic beginning. I’m from Iowa and so is her husband. We grew up in the same town.

In fact, we went to the same high school though I never really met him there. Our introduction came sometime after that as he was good friends with the man I would marry. He was a groomsman in my wedding. In essence, the start of that relationship is what ultimately (10 or so years later) led to the start of my relationship with Rebecca.

In those early years, the scenery in Austin was very different. We were all about 6th street and drinking and sitting on dueling pianos. We flipped pankaces at the theatre and she was Veronica and I was Betty. They handed us shots and we took them. When people talk about the good ole days, one might presume this is what they are referring to.

But for me, every change of scenery has been the best of times.

Ironically, they were married just as my marriage was falling apart. The Thursday before their wedding, I drank so much I put myself into a world of hurt and ended up missing out on their rehearsal day BBQ. I’ll always carry that as a heavy regret.

In the years that followed I continued my visits to Austin solo. I’ve been here over thanksgiving twice, because you’re supposed to spend holidays with family and they were always the best hostess and host ever.

I’ve made trips for baby showers and also trips “just because”. I’ve flown and driven and made that journey also alone and with other people. They (my Austin peeps) saw me through my divorce and then also my other relationships. They saw the start of things with Matt and were also there in the end. We have laughed and cried, so cliche, but true. They have been my sounding board for my deep life conundrums and always provided good, and honest, insight.

I try to come here twice a year now. Typically in the spring when winter weather back home has gone on too long and weather here is phenomenal and then again in the late fall, after their summer heat has subsided and winter is knocking on Nebraska’s door again. As I’ve said, it is an escape for me, to a home away from home.

Today more family is arriving and the scenery will change again. More people will invigorate the environment and the discussions will turn from being intimate, and take on a lighter, more surface level tone. Steph will be among the new guests, and I have not seen her since just after her and her husband moved from Nebraska to Texas. I’m quite looking forward to hearing about how things are with them now.

I’m not afraid of change. In fact, I often embrace it. I think I’ve always been this way and maybe that’s why I enjoy living where we have such distinct seasons. It might also be why I enjoy traveling and also life changes. Each change seems to be another step in the right direction. More so now than ever. I don’t really miss the good ole day’s because I know that today will be even better!

Cheers to Change,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-29 Austin Day 1: My Home Away from Home

I had a good “homecoming” yesterday as I was picked up from the airport and whisked to dinner straight away.

It was a nice time at a familiar place and it gave Rebecca and I a few hours, one on one, to catch up. She updated me on her stories and I pretty much went chronologically through my stuff. I had to tie a nice bow on the Simon chapter before opening the book on JS.

She’s very happy for me and said she could tell just by the way I talk how I was feeling about him and the situation. She said this was the first time she’s seen me like this and echoed what Sam said about a week ago about this being how it’s supposed to be.

She said that even if things don’t work out for some reason, at least now I have a baseline for comparison. In truth, with Simon I was constantly comparing things to the beginning of my relationship with Matt and that was telling in two ways..

1. I was hopeful and inclined to think there was some future for us or else I would not have been scrutinizing things against my last long term relationship.
2. I was feeling it was so different. With Matt we were very engaged with each other from the very beginning and actively sought out time to spend together. With Simon, he didn’t seem to care enough to make plans and it was all very casual and “whatever” and that was very revealing. In hindsite it should have been a bigger red flag.

In the end, one of the major issues was that he wasn’t that into me. That was actually the thing I utilized as a lead in to our “break up that wasn’t a break up” conversation. Of course there were other things, but one of the main things I added to my relationship “checklist” was that the other person had to like me and want to spend time with me at LEAST as much as I was. With JS, I have no doubts.

We have had a ton of communication and he is a planner like me and we both have been looking forward to the next meet up/date. He’s also coming up with some great ideas of things we can do in the future and I couldn’t be more pleased at both the thoughtfulness and the actual things he’s mentioned. It seems like forever away, but we are already planning on a day-trip to Madison County the second weekend of April. I suggested we pack a picnic lunch and he said he had the same thought. Lunch on one of the bridges of Madison County.. How romantic!

***

Anyway, I’ve settled into my usual routine here and am working this AM and had my morning workout already. I won’t get as many steps this week because of my change of scenery, but I’ll still try and get 10K per day. They have an elliptical machine, and it’s nice, but not what I am used to and my balance was off and it wasn’t as easy to type and “pedal” at the same time so I won’t be able to do that and blog like I normally would.

I’m switching gears now to try and get some more reading/writing done for school. Despite having a freak out last week, I’ve procrastinated once again. It’s like I can’t actually write these critical essays without being under some sort of pressure. It’s literally been about 4 days since I wrapped up the creative portion of my packet (which was originally due today), and now with the extra time, I haven’t even started an outline on the essays.

I also want to knock at least one out today so I can enjoy the time I have with my friends here without the unfinished work hanging over my head. The last thing I want to do as I roll into this weekend, for which there are lots of fun things planned, is have another freak out.

***

One last update which hopefully will not develop into a bigger story later on.. I woke up today with a swollen and sore lower lip where my incision was last Monday and spoke with the gal at my dentist office and they are calling in an antibiotic for me. It sucks to have to be dealing with this here and now. I thought when I went Monday, I was doing a good thing taking care of it before I left, now being away from home and having to start a round of antibiotics is less than ideal. Again, hopefully it gets better and not worse.

Tick-Tock-Tick-Tock,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-03-28 On the Move Again – Austin Bound

I skipped my morning workout today to make room for last minute, anxiety ridden, travel related stuff. This included checking the weather at my destination and adjusting what was in and out of my bags. I travel light, so I always worry I’m not going to have appropriate things when I land. I’ve learned my lesson with Austin before. It may be the start of spring, but by now, they are already wearing sandals shorts. I have a good mix of cool and warm weather things and layers, so it will be fine. That does not mean i can stop my brain from worrying. Stupid brain!

I stayed the night with JS last night so he could take me to the airport today. I’ve actually stayed over a few nights now and it’s been really great. I mean, it must be because he’s been promoted from being Bachelor #15 to JS!! I’m not going to SugarCookie coat this.. he’s incredible and I’m quite smitten. More on that coming soon I’m sure.

I can’t wait to tell my Austin peeps about all of it. My visits have become fairly predictable and routine. The day I arrive they pick me up at the airport and typically Rebecca and I do lunch together and then work the remainder of the afternoon. We do dinner with the fam one night, and another night they get a sitter and we all go out. It’s always a good balance of going out and staying in.

This time, however, it will be very different I have a feeling. I’m arriving late in the day so that will throw things off at the start. HL arrives on Thursday and Jeff and Steph on Friday. We’re all going Saturday AM to cheer on HL who is participating in the Austin Rattler cycle race.

That’s a lot of people to accommodate! But Rebecca doesn’t think it will be a problem at all. I’m glad I have a little time with her and their fam before other people start showing up.

I also need to really try and get some hours in on homework and work this time around too. It’s actually quite a conducive environment to work in. The house is quiet and I have my own space and I’m free from worry about all the usual stuff.. kids, house, etc. It’s amazing how much a change in scenery can impact a persons outlook.

I was in Austin last year when I decided to quit my job. My contemplative “nature walks” always open my eyes to the bigger picture in life. I sometimes get stuck on details, and the physical distance from my normal life helps me see things more clear. Of course talking through things with trusted friends helps a ton too.

I call them my Austin Advisory Counsel. We actually debated what sounded better, counsel or committee or board. What a bunch of nerds! 🤓 it ended up being the AAC, cuz then the C could be either. Haha!

I’ll be very interested to see what they have to say about JS after I describe him and how things are going. Rebecca’s husband is particularly critical of my relationships and usually has good questions and sense and input when it comes to these things. He was spot on about Simon on one very key point that I dismissed in my being so hopeful about things. Objectivity is priceless!

We’ll be landing soon and I’ve got more reading to do. Tomorrow, I’ll be coming to you live from Texas!

In Transit,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-09-17 Austin: The P.Terry’s Cheeseburger.. 3

Saturday morning we went to the soccer fields to watch Rebecca’s daughter play her very first soccer game ever. It was hot, and muggy, and the sun felt like it was burning our skin. And that was before it was even 11AM. When it was over, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat and the choice was a burger place I had never been to before.. how perfect.

P. Terry’s is apparently a local Austin chain and I’m not sure if it extends anywhere else outside the city limits. We did the drive through so I have no comment on the restaurant itself, but from the looks of it, I would have put it on par with a regular fast-food burger chain. I was pleasantly surprised that it exceeded my expectations.

I had a regular single cheeseburger which normally comes with lettuce, tomato, and special sauce but I elected to skip the lettuce. I was assured that the sauce was good, so I was ok sticking with that. I also added pickles.

When we arrived home, I dig right in and it was gone in about three minutes. I was apparently hungry. So hungry that I hardly took the time to savor it and really give a lot of thought to it, but I would not have devoured it so fast if it was not good.

Rebecca tells me that all the ingredients are fresh and that they cook your food when you order which is rare for a fast food place. If I was comparing it to other “drive-through” places, I would probably rate it higher, but my rating scale is all cheeseburger experiences from a wide variety of places ranging from basic to high-end. With that in mind, I’m giving it a 3. I concur with my friend, the special sauce was really good.

If I lived here, I would go back, but when I compare this cheeseburger to my home town “Runza” Cheeseburger, it was not as good. One of these days I’m going to have to pay Runza a visit again just so I can write about it. Hmmm.. maybe one day this week.

Enjoying Life, One Cheeseburger at a Time,
~Miss SugarCookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just a Few Bites Left,
~Miss SugarCookie