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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your holiday. Peace Out,
~Miss SugarCookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until Next Time,
~Miss SugarCookie

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

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

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

They are both great at injecting interest into a story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pease and love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-23 Take Back the City Tour: Day 7 and 8

Continuing my course corrections this week and I’m still feeling better than I have in a while. Yesterday I went to the dentist and according to their records I had not been in for a check up and cleaning for two years. That’s one example of how time can slip by and a person just doesn’t realize that they haven’t done what they should have done. Two years.. really?

The good news is that my teeth and gums are in great shape. There’s no evidence of what might be causing my random teeth sensitivity. The dentist, who I’ve had a longer relationship with than any other man, worked his magic in adjusting my bite so that a non load bearing tooth wasn’t taking the lions share of the force when I bite down. The jury is still out on if that will improve my situation.

Today the health check up train continues. I go in for a mammogram and I think I know how long it’s been since my last one but I could be surprised there too. For anyone who has not had this procedure before, I will say it’s a treat (I’m lying of course).

My aunt once described it like this…. lying sideways on the ground and having a heavy garage door repeatedly smash down on your boob. Only you are standing and there’s a person there to position your boob perfectly on the surface of the platform so the machine can get some good pics of your parts smashed as flat as they will go.

Yeah. Exciting times! But ruling out one more serious thing will ultimately lift even more weight off me.

To recap.. Last week I had a head CT that proved I did not have a brain tumor or bleeding on my brain. I had labs drawn to check for all sorts of other potential problems. My thyroid is normal, chemistry looks great, my hormones are within acceptable parameters, and I’m not pregnant. The nurse called yesterday and indicated that the hormone levels indicate I’m not going into menopause yet. I hadn’t even thought of that.

Menopause is like one of those things that feels like it should be far away. But maybe it’s not as far as I think. 🤷‍♀️

The only test that’s not back yet is the testosterone. Being female, one might think that’s not relevant, but it is. Low T in women can be a cause of fatigue, low sex drive, lack of focus. All the things that sound familiar to yours truly. I won’t go into the medical saga I went through in 2018 trying to get to the bottom of these chronic problems, but I will say, I’m very interested in the results.

For real, though, even if my primary objective has temporarily become getting clean with regard to substances I’ve been abusing, I feel like original issues will likely still be there. So getting free of benzodiazepines is step one. Cutting out alcohol is happening at the same time as is minimizing the caffeine.

It’s Day 8 and I have not had a drink. It has been no problem, as I predicted. The caffeine is a little tougher but I feel like I’m over the hump with that (maybe) and kind of shrugging the occasional cup of coffee. But all this does, in my estimation, is remove a few variables and hit a reset. I’m not focused on my eating habits (yet) and have not scratched the surface with regard to my exercise routine. As in, still doing the same things. Probably need a change up there too.

I feel like I’m not quite ready yet, you know.. baby steps. Make some adjustment, rebalance, reevaluate, and add something new in.

And so far, there’s no appearance of a Llama or an Ostrich in this story. But I feel like there’s about to be. I’m planning something that is sure to be more interesting than a daily rehash of my body and mind cleanse.

I’m outta time now though so that’s gonna have to wait till tomorrow. 🦙

Until Then,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-21 Take Back the City Tour: Days 5 – Summer Solstice Shack Simple

Yesterday I was able to break out of the new normal routine to get a nice balance of holding counsel with the frogs and the butterflies and dragonflies at a “shack simple” experience and also have a lovely catch up session with some friends.

The shack simple day was coordinated by a friend of mine, Michelle, and hosted by the naturalist school out somewhere near Waubonsie in Iowa and the guy who leads that organization/effort, Jack. I honestly don’t know exactly where we were because Michelle drove me and two other MFA friends out around 8:30. It’s somewhere near the Loess Hills scenic byway which is across the Missouri River and about an hour south of the metro area.

I’d never even heard of a “shack simple” before but apparently the concept has been around a while. In my interpretation, it’s kind of an escape from all the havoc of life to live a simple life for for a while. Someplace to get clean and re-connect with nature. Get back to basics and discover what is lost from spending too much time trapped in the gridlock.

This experience was just a taste. Just a lazy morning rolling over like an old hound, into the afternoon. I can see where by itself, one day isn’t quite enough. My mind is often so wound up, it takes a while to settle down and relax. Once we chatted for a bit and the concept and amenities were explained to us, he turned the 5 of us loose to wander around and find our own way.

I personally wandered around a little getting my bearings with the building and the path to the nearby pond. I was emotional and fidgety and restless and had anxiety that I wasn’t going to be able to settle down to get something out of the day. Within the first hour I found two isolated places where I just sat and thought about stuff and let the tears come. It was a nice release.

I’ve been holding so much inside. It just needed out.

When I walked down to the pond Jack was there with the other gal from the Naturalist School that I had not met before. I sat with my notebook poised for brilliance and my water bottle at a picnic table. I was ready and waiting for something to come to me. But sort of distracted by what the other folks were doing.

I engaged Jack in conversation, asking questions about the school and his experience. I got good intel on a few of the butterfly species we were seeing and what his connection is with the MFA program.

Did you know that you can tell a butterfly from a moth by looking at their antennae? Butterflies have a little ball at the end of their antennae and moths have more of a feather like antennae. I never knew that. It feels like something everyone should know.

Jack is a cool guy and I really dig the fact that he had a flip phone and didn’t even assume I had an email address. Technology makes it easier to communicate with people but it was so lovely to daydream for just a second about how life would be without all that. It really would be more simple. There’s a longing inside of me to return to that kind of life and the shack simple just highlighted that.

I truly never did settle down. I wandered back to the shelter and put my yoga mat down in the cool dark basement and did corpse pose for about 20 minutes. Cried again. It wasn’t really crying, though, just letting the emotions leave my body and the path they chose was tears. They gathered on the surface of my eyes and softly ran down the sides of my temples.

I focused on my breathing for a bit but I would hardly call it meditating.

After that I went back to the main level to get a snack from my daypack. Stepha was there and so we chatted for a bit. The last time I saw her it was January and we were at Res together. That was all pre-pandemic and the focus was on the semester ahead. It’s crazy to think about how much was crushed by the virus and how it’s not only changed our daily lives but also had a huge impact on our mental health.

People don’t talk about it much but I’m sure the Covid has put a lot of folks into a depression. I was in denial about that until this past week but now I’m more aware that that is what I’m experiencing. People need people and I miss people. I miss all my people and meetups and conversations. It’s my lifeline, you know, to a better life. It’s a key component and you take that away and it leaves a void.

And Zoom doesn’t cut it. I feel like Zoom actually makes it worse. But that’s probably because we spend all day on Zoom and the last thing we want is to sit on a screen longer looking at ourself or a picture of ourself. I think I’m gonna change my Zoom profile pic to one of my cats this week. I digress.

After that shack simple introduction we packed our belongings back into the car and headed back home. Arriving back at Michelle’s place, we walked to get Tacos and margaritas (water for yours truly cuz I’m still off the sauce for at least the rest of this month). We sat at a table outside in the shade and talked about all sorts of stuff.

That was the bonus plan. It was actually better to have conversations and really connect with people than it was being out alone in nature. I mean, nature is great but the real value is sharing it with people and making memories.


Today is the actual Summer Solstice so there’s a lot of daylight to work with. I’ve got some serious weeding to do in the garden and also some planning to do for my upcoming week. There will be dentist appointments, mammograms, and mini-Road trips— oh my!

I’m keeping a paper calendar to keep track of my ailments and meds. I’m planning to abstain from the alcohol and keep the caffeine to a minimum. I’m feeling the urge to make a to-do list for the remainder of June. That must mean I’m seriously on the mend!.. That’s good news!!

Time now to get on the Sunday Solstice Train.

With Peace and Love and Gratitude,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-19 Take Back the City Tour: Days 3 and 4 – Wrecking Myself and Checking Myself

All I can say now, folks, is don’t do what I did. This post may seem a touch hypocritical but I think as a whole, it kinda proves what I was saying on Day 2 about Western medicine and how the “quick fix” of taking a pill is not the right answer (or at least not the whole answer).

As day two of my substance “cleanse” progressed I experienced a pretty steady decline in the way I felt. Head ache, stomach ache, nausea, and by the time I was wrapping work, my ability to focus was almost non existent. I sank hopeless into the couch when Jim got home from work and told him I didn’t think I could wait until next week to see a doctor.

I held my head and leaned away from him, sobbing on a pillow. I told him I needed relief and I needed to know that there wasn’t something seriously wrong with me. I told him I was afraid I had cancer or a brain tumor or something and I think that got his attention. He scrambled to help and within about an hour I was booked for an appointment (next day) at 6:30 am with an internal med doc he knows pretty well. This guy was willing to see me before his regular shift started and honestly I did not care what time of day it was.. I felt dire.

It was such a relief. 6:30 is early to be out somewhere and so I went to bed fairly early. Still abstaining from the sleep aid meds, I had trouble falling asleep. Then I woke up at 1 and then 3. Both times my mind was racing. I was able to fall back asleep after the first wake up, but never fell back asleep after 3. And my head was pounding. I laid there until 5:15 when the alarm clock went off.

I got up and got dressed. I took my zombie self to the living room and laid back down there waiting for Jim. We drove separately to the appointment so he could go on to work after that.

By the time I arrived my condition had degraded so much I could barely walk. We put on our masks and made our way in the building. We were ushered past the reception desk to a room and I took a seat in the exam chair.

There were vitals taken as the Q and A started. It’s a good thing Jim was there because I could barely focus to answer the questions. I started feeling really nauseous but we got through enough history and current stuff to start to build a whole picture.

Nearing the end of that Jim had to leave to go to work and I was handed a clipboard with a few pages of q and A. I had trouble reading the questions and thinking about the answers. It was truly the worst feeling I’d had in a long time. A full blown migraine and I just wanted a dark quiet room. The pain was terrible.

I had a little more discussion with the doctor to listen to his explanation of what was happening and the suggested course of action. I said I understood but I was struggling so much, I’m sure I didn’t catch it all. He left me with the clip board and forms and a barf bag. I think they were expecting me to breeze through that but between the vomiting and lack of ability to read and check off checkboxes, I’m sure it took a while.

They got me all set up for a lab draw and also a head CT. It may sound ridiculous, but if you are worried you have a brain tumor or something, the anxiety can be daunting. I just wanted to rule out all the serious stuff (which also included a pregnancy test).

This post has already gotten long, and I’m not even to the important part. Good gravy! But here it is at last…

The current immediate problem I was having right then (and probably for the preceding 24 hours) was a crash. I was crashing out due to withdrawal from not taking any of the benzodiazepines. Like a bonafide drug addict episode. Wowza!

And here I thought I would probably get a headache from cutting out caffeine.
I never even stopped to think that these other meds might cause some issue if I stop taking them. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was when he said “you’re a few days in and can try to ride it out or you can give your body what it wants and we can put you on a program to slowly come off them.”

He assured me he’s had great success helping ween people off this stuff. And I knew right away that was the plan for me. And that once I was off it, we would work on the other chronic problems and get to the bottom of those too. He didn’t necessarily say “everything is connected”, which is my belief, but his words implied that and the more we talked, the more I was sure that this was the right guy for me.

He also looked at the answers from those forms and told me I scored in the range of depression. I totally rejected that idea right away, because I am typically not a depressed person. But after talking with Jim about it, short term depression brought on by circumstance is a thing too and that is probably part of what I am experiencing.

Anyhow. I had the labs and the head CT and urinalysis and was released to drive home. When I arrived, I immediately took a Xanax (that’s the hypocritical part) and slid back into the bed. It was 8am and I would have been satisfied to just sleep the day away just for some relief. I really didn’t care about work or anything else.

I slept about 2.5 hours and missed my morning meeting. I still had that headache but the stomach pain and nausea were subsiding. I worked for a couple of hours. I ate two pieces of toast successfully. It felt like a small victory.

Throughout the afternoon I worked a little and rested a little and did a few chores around the house. By the time Jim got home I was feeling quite a bit better, with my headache almost completely gone and he brought takeout for dinner which was amazing.

We sat on the couch for a little bit and I got him caught up on the conversations that I had with the doctor. Who had, incidentally, also called me in the afternoon to follow up and see how I was doing and also let me know that my head CT was normal and the first set of labs with thyroid and chemistry panel all came back looking great too. That’s a huge relief. He (the doc) Also let me know that I was not pregnant, and said “sorry about that”.. which I snickered a little out loud about.

Jim said that if he and I met 10 years ago he would’ve seriously tried to convince me to have another baby. That was sweet. I guess he’d been daydreaming about that a bit too. He said he thinks that would have brought our four kids together a little bit more. But nope. Doug (the cat we All adopted together) will have to do.

In that follow-up conversation with the doctor he also went over what we discussed in the office because he thought maybe I was not in the best state to remember everything that he said that morning. He laid out a detailed plan on how to slowly wean myself off of the medicines and get myself free of that shit.

He called those meds bad news. He said if taken sparingly they can provide some immediate benefit but that it is too common that people start taking them regularly and then become dependent. After a while they begin causing more problems than they solve.

It’s exactly what I was saying a couple days ago about the whole instant gratification with medication thing. And I truly didn’t realize how much I was taking until I stopped to quantify it. It’s pretty scary actually. I mean, I keep a good eye on most of my stats and can’t figure out why this one seemed unimportant.

Anyway, that’s a pretty long run down.. Lots to cover. We’ll see what today brings. I might not be able to meet all of my “cleanse” goals, but you know what they say sometimes..

“Two outta three ain’t bad.” I feel like I have a good plan and am still on the right track despite the fact that my 15 day tour has turned into a 12 week affair.

Welcome to the Jungle,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-17 Take Back the City Tour: Day 2

Today’s message: Permanent change is nether fast nor easy.

One of the problems with Western medicine is the notion that there can be quick fixes for most problems. Or that there’s a singular root cause of a problem which can be solved by taking a pill.

While I agree that some ills can be eased in short order with modern pharmacological methods, i would contend that the better way is to treat a person as a whole unit, mind and body. The solution to a problem has to be comprehensive and that it takes perseverance and patience.

It was another short night last night and I woke with a headache. It’s a problem, for sure, and at this point it feels like piling an old problem onto a new one. The waking up super early and not being able to fall back asleep is th he problem I tried to solve with the Xanax. Prescribed by my OB. The morning headache is also familiar and It might be because of the reduced caffeine. Or it could just be the result of where I am stuck at in my monthly cycle.

It stands to reason that if I’ve been masking problems with pills, then when I stop taking those pills the original issues will resurface. With that, I recognize that things may get worse before they get better. The short nights might suck and the headaches might be tough to deal with, but I’ve got to fight through with a healthier solution.

Easy to say on day 2 I suppose. Ask me again on day 15 or 34 or 102. The universe help me if I haven’t fixed this in that amount of time. Good gravy!

One of my friends suggested yesterday that I might be pregnant. Yeah. Nausea, light headedness, and the absence of the start of my period does sound suspect doesn’t it? Interestingly, that thought crossed my mind too but is just not possible, biologically speaking. What a Llama that would be in the SugarCookie story indeed!!

Thinking about that possibility for a hot minute was interesting though. Here I am, nearing the end of my time raising kids into adulthood. How would it be to start over. And with a different man by my side. A far better man. In some ways I could see it being such a wonderful experience and in others, I think it would be very much the same. Which isn’t to say worse, just a high likelihood that I would feel like a single parent a lot of the time because of Jim’s lack of free time. I could be wrong about that though. I will, of course, never know.

So if that’s not the Llama, what is? Yesterday I mentioned a road trip and after that had visions of taking my peeps to Colorado or the badlands. I wonder if the cabins at the badlands are open for business. That’s probably worth a little investigation.

I mentioned a road trip to Jim and he’s not really on board with that because of the risk. He’s very careful about telling me I can’t do things, but he does take a disapproving tone. I’m still not used to this part of being a couple. You know, sort of needing to agree on the right things to do all the time. I’m so used to doing whatever I want whenever I want.

Single SugarCookie might have jumped in the car and taken off already. Maybe. I can’t really say what I might have done with this pandemic if I was flying solo. 🤔

Well now. I did have the intention of writing a thoughtful post about health and making good choices and establishing better habits and I wandered around and never really got there. Oh well.

It’s almost 8 and I’m tired already and losing my motivation to take on another day. What choice do I have though? /deep sigh

I can do this. Real change takes time.
I can do this.
Time to do the day 2 thing,
~Miss SugarCookie