2019-09-27 Austin Day 0 – Arriving Home

This morning I woke up in one of my favorite places. My bedroom in the corner of the house of my Texas bestie. It really does feel great to be home. It’s not my home of course but you know what they say, about home and the heart. Such truth.

My friends’ home has been my home for 10+ years. They were preparing to get married as my marriage was falling apart in 2009. They have offered me sanctuary at every turn. The divorce, the rebuilding of my life as a single mom, the stops and starts in the dating world, the high of meeting Matt, and the heartbreak as that too fell apart. Then round two of dating again.. and what a horrible thing dating has become. Why does it feel like there’s nothing redeeming about it?! Except, of course, that impossible needle in a haystack of finding a special someone. And now, my friends are gathering to celebrate that! Life is good.

Last night Rebecca picked me up from the airport and we immediately went to dinner, just the two of us, to start getting caught up. I know she’s my people because we both came with this thought in our heads we need a list so we don’t miss talking about anything. Yup.

So that was great, and we we went to one of our places, District Kitchen, where I had my Bison burger and whatever new thing is on the cocktail menu. We got through a few topics there and then continued back at the house with a desert cocktail and winding down on the back patio. In bed by like 10pm, cuz that’s where we are at. This might be my weekend away to stay up late, etc. but she’s got routine and little ones and life has requirements.

This morning I’m doing the elliptical thing and gathering some thoughts. One thing I’m grateful for here is just a break in my own crazy routine and getting a few things done which are important but never bubble to top priority.

After this session, she has a whole day planned for us and it sounds amazing. Temps here are record highs (100s) and it reminds me when I was in Colorado in June and it was freezing and snowing. The routine of the Earth, too, is off it’s rails.

She warned me ahead of time “don’t bring jeans or you might die”. Ha! So it’s sun dresses and shorts and tank tops. I’m all for extending summer a little more. I’m never really ready for fall.

That it for this session. Time to go find the sun.

Cheers to Day 1,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-08-20 How Much is Enough?

How many things can I cross off my list? How many things do I need to cross off to feel as if I’m doing enough? That I’ve done enough? Enough for what?

To earn my keep here?

To feel like I’ve actually accomplished something substantial and worthwhile?

To earn some reward or rest or treating myself to something selfish?

Don’t get me wrong, I spend plenty of time on selfish pursuits. But if the joy is not in them, then there must be something wrong. Right?

Between yesterday and today I’ve crossed almost every task I’ve written down. All but 1, and I have it in my mind to get that done before Friday. Roll into the weekend easy.

Sometime today I talked myself out of throwing a “dog days of summer” party on Saturday and that released me from the responsibility of doing about 4 things on my list, including extending invitations for the shindig. I told Jim at lunch and he said he was not surprised about that. I procrastinated the invites and that means I was still very much on the fence about it.

I got the idea after our last party which was, as it always is, a family affair and it was about 25 relatives from his side and a big fat zero from mine. Nothing like feeling like I’m alone on an island, albeit a beautiful one. I decided we would have a party and invite friends instead. But, as I said, I drug my feet on it until it seemed more a chore than anything else. Cleaning and preparing for guests and such involves a level of effort I just lost the heart to take on.

I’m supposed to go wedding dress shopping again tonight and my heart is not in that either. Whatever. I’m just feeling unsatisfied and I’m not sure how to fix it, and it’s only Tuesday.

And while we are on the subject of me being a spoiled brat and not satisfied with anything with nothing real to complain about.. my arm hurts. Damn it, it sucks to get old.

Jim just says “call the ortho”. That’s right. Get a shot, take a pill, rub some creme on it. So you say you are exhausted every day by 10am and not sleeping? Here’s a prescription for Xanax and we can try again with that hormone replacement therapy.

We can drain that HSA that nobody is contributing to anymore and we’ll worry about the fact that the kids still don’t have health insurance when it hits bottom. But all that will be fixed next February when I get married. Because that’s a reason to get married. What about Love?

Maybe I’m just not feeling very loved and appreciated. Maybe I’m not giving enough to get some back. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough.

Again, I ask, how much is enough?

Well this is certainly enough of this blog post. All this complaining.. ain’t nobody got time for that.

Peace and love,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-06-07 The One About Marriage – Part 1

It’s been about 9 and a half months since my love proposed to me. It was a beautiful setting, the green space outside of the location we met for the first time. It was a warm day and though the sun was shining, there were isolated showers. He started giving what sounded like a speech and I just knew what was coming. In truth, I’d had suspicion that it was going to be soon and even told my daughter early in the day I was nervous about my date that night. It was my birthday and he insisted on taking me out, just the two of us, which isn’t particularly odd for a birthday dinner, but like I said, I just had a feeling.

He ended his little speech (which I don’t remember anything about because of my nerves) and got down on one knee and took the box out of his pocket and held it up to me and asked if I would marry him. Of course I said yes, it was the perfect moment. Then the sky opened up and it began to to pour. We hugged and kissed and I grabbed his hand so we could go inside for a celebratory glass of wine (our first meetup was at a wine bar).

It was sweet and simple and perfect. We were outside and there were not any people around. It was just us.

Since then we have talked about getting married about 10 times. That’s about once a month if one does the math. That’s not a lot.

The first time was when we drove to Minnesota last fall and that’s when we agreed we wanted to have a celebration with close friends and family and not a destination wedding. Our parents, except for my mom, don’t travel anymore and destination weddings are too expensive for the guests anyway.

The second and third time was mostly talking about the possible dates and the guest list. Neither one of us want a “big” wedding so we decided something smaller and more modest would be better. He suggested we get married on our one year anniversary and I sort of snorted what I was drinking out of my nose at the time and then proceeded to have an internal mini freak out. I calmly said “I think that’s too soon”.

Then we talked about summer and weather and a ceremony outside. Then I came up with the idea of getting married on February 2nd, 2020. That, folks, is a stellar day as it is a bonafied numeric palindrome – 02022020 (no matter what continent you are on)!! He said “I love it”. So that was it, the date was set.

And it was delightfully far enough in the future that I could forget all about it for a good little while. And so I did.

Every once and a while the subject came up and something else was more pressing. It was the holidays and then the move and then the sale of my house and then it was just work and kids and too much to do always. Now here it is, June and less than 8 months until that perfect date and I’m done with work and the kids are out of school and I’ve got no excuses not to start planning.

We talked briefly about it again and I cleaned out a few boxes in my closet and found an empty notebook to take notes in. I googled venues in Omaha and made a short list of a few places that looked nice.

I made a few calls and left awkward voicemails and also sent a few emails. We’re “Just checking availability” and not really doing any serious planning. That’s what I tell myself when I feel my pulse quicken thinking about all of it.

Now my calls and emails are being returned. A couple of the places are not available on that date and the next step will be to schedule tours of the rest. Oh gawd. “Tours”??!! That sounds so serious. Eeeek. I’m also looking at price breakdowns and that alone is enough for me to throw my hands up in surrender. It’s all just impossibly.. impossible.

Just this amount of “planning” has caused my eye to start twitching again. I want to celebrate this important time in our lives but I don’t want a grand, elaborate, expensive, look-at-us, sort of thing. He doesn’t either.

All of this and I haven’t even touched the actual subject of marriage. This is all just fluff, you know, next to the fact that on that day, the second day of February in the year 2020, I will be saying vows and committing the rest of my life to this one person. I mean, he’s amazing and all of that but the rest of my life is a long fucking time. I have a healthy amount of anxiety about the wedding but the idea of marriage literally terrifies me.

I’ve had almost 10 months to think about it and work through my issues and the reasons why I might be feeling this way, but I’ve been avoiding it. I’ve procrastinated thinking or writing or talking about it at any length with anyone, myself included. It’s probably about time I approach the conversation with him and let him help me through it. He’s been so great about so many different situations I’ve been challenged with or troubled by since like day-1, so why should this be any different??

Anyway, we have a (mostly) kid free weekend this weekend and it will be the perfect time for some good conversations. I can’t let myself repeat past mistakes and keep it all inside. Communication is key here. And, as a matter of fact, it’s one of the most important components in a successful marriage. I’d better make an effort to keep a good thing good now. It’s a long way till “death do us part”. Oh Gawd. Vows!!!!

Let’s call this little post part 1 of a series and if I can commit to that, I’m accountable to write part 2, which means I have to have the content to have something to write about.. right!?!!

Here Comes the Weekend,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-05-12 Chicago and The Road Home

Our stay here was brief and as uneventful as it could be given the circumstances. My “mystery” sickness is better this morning and I forced down a bowl of oatmeal to prove it. If I had to guess what the hell happened yesterday I would say that it was a mix of a bad migraine and some lingering effects of air travel/dehydration/and 3 glasses of red wine that did me in. I swear the older I get the less I can drink without feeling like complete garbage. The glasses were tiny though, so it could not have been just that alone.

In any case, that ruined my entire day yesterday and the only thing on the agenda this morning is a quick stop back at the John Handkock building for another appointment and then picking up our rental car to get the heck out of this town. I’ll be driving and am really hoping that, despite the fact that it is mothers day, the traffic will not be nearly as dense as it was Friday when we made our way from the airport to downtown. (fingers crossed).

The plan this morning is to make a bee line straight back home… Iowa is a pretty enough state (more beautiful than Nebraska in my opinion), but it is very similar and there is only so much rolling farmland one can wonder at before searching for something more interesting to keep the brain occupied.

I sent my mother the obligatory “happy mothers day” text already. She’s in Colorado with my brother and niece whose high school graduation was this weekend. My dad (her grandpa) didn’t make the trip, of course. That kind of stuff just doesn’t seem important to him. He has three fairly successful children and four grandchildren who are on their own path to being independent and successful but he doesn’t seem to care. Its so odd to me.

I’m proud of every little accomplishment that my kids have and can’t for the life of me figure out what that man values in life. He dotes on his step great grandchildren as if they were his own and I’m constantly struggling with anger rising in my thought when he mentions it. I should be happy that those kids whose broken lives have a solid family they can turn to in time of need, but I can’t help but feel jealous that they are being given something I felt I should have had, and if not me, then most certainly my children. I know he values a greeting card, which seems stupid and wasteful to me. If I visit (because a visit in person is way more valuable than a stupid card) we chat and he pulls out all the cards he got from other people to show me. It’s a shitty tactic. How the hell is that supposed to make me feel. Sometimes when I think about it too much I get sort of angry and then I have to try to calm myself and let it go. It’s this internal dance I do just to maintain some form of relationship with the man.

My kids don’t really have relationships with their grandparents, interestingly, similarly to me not having one with mine. I have some vague family memories of good times (and bad) and that’s about it.

I guess that’s why I always think about mothers day as one of those hallmark holidays (like valentines day) that someone made up just to commercialize sentiments and make money. I don’t fancy buying cards or spending money on throw-away trinkets or even cut flowers that are just going to die. For what? To show someone how much you mean to them? No, I’d rather just say it in words – If I feel it anyway. Sometimes I don’t say it, and shame on me.

One year I was in Austin over mothers day and forgot it was mothers day and then when I was reminded (because Rebecca has kids and they were celebrating) I called my mom. She cried on the phone. “Dustin is in Colorado and Linsday and Jamie are both working and you are in Texas, nobody cares about me.”

“Well I care don’t I, and I called”. I said and then in a softer tone “Everyone has very busy lives and we all love you, and you know that. It’s just one day of the year, and we’ll have lots more days we can get together.” That helped I think but then I had to agree to go to lunch with her when I got back, which I did. It’s fine. It’s just the way she is. Emotional and self centered.

I don’t expect anything from my kids today. I’ve told them as much many times in the past. When I see them (which I won’t today), I’ll want hugs and conversation. That’s it. Nothing special. My daughter being the gifted and thoughtful girl she is has gone above and beyond in the past with putting together special surprises all on her own. I’m overjoyed that she wants to do those things when she knows its not necessary. One year I had the best mothers day gift a mom could ever dream of from here and it was very elaborate and spanned an entire year of our life. It was a gift that kept on giving, all the time. I may have written about it in the past but don’t recall right now.

They are with their dad today as I drive home from Chicago and I will likely not see them until tomorrow after school. Maybe I will get a text from them today and maybe I won’t. No matter.

Pretty soon now it will be time to pack up and walk to get our rental car. Next Stop.. Iowa and the Road Home.

Goodbye 900 Dewitt,

Hope we never meet again!

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-05-09 PMS and Bad Poetry

About a week ago I was freaking out because my Fitbit was reporting that my period was like 5 days late. Crazy thoughts go through one’s mind in times like that. I found myself thinking about what it would be like to start over. Another bundle of joy, diapers, Halloween costume creations, and 18 more years before THAT bouncing baby would be where my Z is now – trying to decide what colleges to apply for.

I have no doubt it would be a better parenting experience because now I have a true partner in life. I would be a stay at home mom and I’ve learned so much that I feel I would do a much better job. Still, the idea really threw me. Just before I got to the point of running to Walgreens to get a pee-stick (pregnancy test), I realized that last month my period started when I was in Barcelona and I forgot to record it in my Fitbit. Sure enough when I corrected that it adjusted my calendar and told me I was going to get my period in like 5 days. I was suddenly washed in relief. That’s very telling. I’m 45 and can’t be birthing no babies now.

That was about a week ago and sure enough I have not started yet. My cycle is naturally just a few days longer than the average of 28 days. I always expect to start a few days after Fitbit says I should. The programming isn’t smart enough to learn from past months, so it always needs tweaking. Stupid technology!

All of this just to get to the point where I come clean about the seriousness of my PMS. Some months are worse than others and I never know what kind of thoughts will surface. In the last 6 months, with all the big changes in my life I’ve often been pulled down by an undertow of doubt.

“What the hell am I doing?” Is an oft ast question during these days. How can I possibly be giving up my independence and putting my kids through this life drama, all for a relationship. I’m not my Mother. That’s the kinda shit she did and I vowed never to be like her. I grew up with divorced parents who were dating, moving, getting married, divorced, and moving again. They were absorbed in all their adulting and I was invisible. I was the quiet one, not social or a troublemaker or overly emotional like my siblings. I demanded zero attention and so that’s what I got. I digress.

When I got divorced my kids were still young. I found my way out of that situation because I was backed in a corner and had flipped into survival mode. When you can’t breathe, you do what you have to. At least that’s what I told myself anyway. Once I was free I made an internal promise to myself to not put my children what I went through, and to always place their interests first.

I suppose that’s why I had issues with any relationships I found myself in. I dated a little bit but my mind was terrified of anything that may have a “future” attached. My heart fell easy my mind was always backing away going “nope, not doing that”. I seemed to always fall in with guys that were “safe”.

Vis was safe because he claimed I “was not the one for him”, still, we dated until he found someone else and broke my heart. Yeah, he broke my heart first by chasing a girl who was bat-shit crazy and I befriended her just to try and stay conected. Probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done. (BTW… 👋🏻 Hi.. I hope all is well!).

Josh was a person I turned to both during my separation and divorce with Brian and my break-up with Matt. He was safe because I “wasn’t his type” and “not his destiny”. That was Joshua – Always so dramatic. I would say we also dated but he would probably deny that. He never really broke my heart, but instead just angered me past the point of no return with his approach to life. I was ok just being friends but he always felt the need to remind me about Najah or a girl at our Gym named Emily that he called “Code Red” or some other girl he met on OK Cupid, always someone else on the side. Eventually I just threw my hands up and said “whatever dude”. I knew I deserved better than a life with a person like that.

There were a few others I had brief spins with but I tell you the second I saw a certain look in their eyes, I began to panic. It’s fucked up to say the more they were “interested” in me the faster I bolted. It may just be that I had good sense of what I was looking for and knew what they just weren’t it.

If I’m honest with myself, it’s probably one of the reasons that Matt was perfect and also why things didn’t work out with him. He was into me but not in any hurry to plan for the future. I claimed he was the one that was “commitment phobic” (which he is), but I was too. We were committed enough to let 5 years pass and never make plans for “the future”. We never moved in together and in the end we were so paralyzed we could not even talk about “us”.

Somewhere along the way I grew to want more and to start planning and he just never caught up. I told myself it was better that way, break ties and just cruise through the last years of my kids living at home and then “maybe” look for something more after that. That way I would for sure honor that promise I made to myself about putting my kids first. It was for the best.

Except the Universe had other plans. Enter Jim stage right. On March 3rd 2018 my world changed. Things happened really fast, and it was surprising how open I was to all that rapid-fire change. It was everything I had previously been against, yet, I found myself saying “yes” to everything and having lots of serious conversations about the future. Was I just ready? Was I just so confident about him being the one for me? He is an amazing person and perhaps I was afraid of putting the brakes on for fear that that would make him pull away.

It has been really great and I didn’t want to screw things up. My friend Sam told me not to worry if it goes fast, just “go with it” she said. And that’s what I’ve done. Now it’s like a year later and we live in his house and talk about the future all the time (except for that wedding planning thing). It’s only a few days a month that I feel red flags and my mind wanders to places that are filled with doubt. Stupid PMS. I think about living in this grand house and all the stuff in it and how that’s not me. I think about how I’ve abandoned my career and now sometimes feel “trapped”, like I can’t leave without permission. It’s quite mad actually, since I now have the freedom to truly dive into school and my writing free from worry about all the financial things.

It’s not just the house and all the stuff (though that is the biggest part). There are other troubling thoughts swimming in my brain. Last night I could simply not quiet my mind about the house thing and in my heightened state of feeling swallowed by the situation I wrote a really bad poem about our respective houses and the experience of trying to fit all my things into his house. It’s a truly terrible poem, but I had to get what I was thinking out somehow – set the words free on paper and smooth my mind. Yeah, that happened, and I sort of felt better afterward. Then I descended to the living room from the room that is my office, which incidentally houses my old office furniture and bedroom furniture and all the plants I had in the room above my garage. We watched an episode of “The Handmaids Tale” and then went to bed.

No flow yet this morning (because I know you wanted to know that) and I’m back refereeing this internal struggle about my life, liberty, and pursuit of that “ever elusive” happiness.

I don’t care what people say.

The Struggle is Real,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-03-28 Life Is Long

With each step I take on this new path of life that I have found myself on, I find that I’m becoming more and more convinced that I’ve made the right choices. The path I’m talking about is one where I’m making my creative pursuits and passions in life a priority and letting my “career” take a back seat and just letting it be a job.

Last night I had a Meetup with my sister who is turning 30 this week. We talked about her career and life and also my daughters future as she is at the precipice of making some big life decisions. My sister got her undergrad and has always worked hard at every job and now is in a good spot at a good company that she loves. She’s finally to the point of having flexibility and freedom to add some new things into her set list. She talked about taking classes at UNO and I’m like “yes!”

I said “life is long” and you have to do what makes you feel full and happy. If you run the daily grind day in and day out without embracing new experiences opportunities to learn, you will lose years of your life. “Years”. Do you know what it feels like to look back at your life and see so many wasted years?! It fucking sucks!! Regret is a nefarious beast and it will haunt you for all the rest of your days.

That might sound exaggerated but it’s not. That’s how it feels. So now when I talk with people about it I’m an advocate for just “going for it”, whatever IT is. Of course everyone has to travel their own path and most of the time they have to learn their own lessons, but it never hurts to nudge and be supportive. I’ve been round and round my own head about my darling daughter and what lies ahead of her. HS graduation is coming up quick and I want to see her make good choices. What that looks like exactly is not easy to sort out.

She wants to go to a 4 year school but beyond that it’s all fuzzy. I guess it’s a place to start, and if she’s like my sister, she can just get her undergrad and then figure it out as she goes. It worked for her. My path was very different and though I’m left with regret, there’s no reason I can’t continue on the path I’m on now and make the most of the time I have left. Cheeses, that sort of sounds like time is running out.. which it is, but like I said “life is long”. And I have half a life left to do the right things.

I’m still figuring out what exactly that looks like but I know I’m on the right track. I’m learning a lot from my MFA program, and it’s altered the way I approach my writing. I can’t predict if I will pursue publishing more or use my degree to get a different job that is more aligned with my passions. Those were never among the goals when I started. At the time I just needed to make a change and had a desire to become more educated about writing, the writers life, Poetry as an expressive art form, and frankly to just exist among like minded people that have also committed to the path. Yeah, that last bit is key!

It’s the people, relationships, and conversations that are the most valuable. My Poetry may never be the same again, but it’s just the product of my efforts. My life is the real work of art and the people we choose to spend our time with have the biggest impact on shaping that.

My little sister also mentioned the decision to be at peace with letting certain people drift out of her life. That she’s narrowed her crew to those that matter and, once again, she seems more wise about life at 30 than I was. I guess we all take our own time to learn life’s important lessons. We can’t spend too much time thinking about that as it would just be more time wasted. We have today to do with what we want and as long as we keep moving forward on the path, I’m confident that will serve us well.

Thank You, Happy, More Please,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-03-13 Leaps of Faith

Yesterday turned out to be a good day despite all of the anxiety that I am feeling around things going on with work and with my house. After I wrote out what I was feeling about the upcoming conversation I’m going to have with my boss (or bosses ) about my involvement in various projects I felt better and that was followed by a day where I really only did a minimum amount of work for the “dreaded” project.

Instead my time was spent on the “other” project and also taking care of business for my house. I went to the title company office and signed about a gazillion papers releasing the property. It was a bitter-sweet moment. I was alone, a single girl who has built a life and made great choices. I bought that house on my own. Not that I have anything to prove to anyone, but my dedication and commitment to working and pursuing more has paid off. I did that on my own and hopefully it’s a good example for my children.

Yes, I tried hard for too long to be everything for everyone and learned the lesson of what that can do to a person the hard way. The changes in my status over the years, both professionally and with relationships, are a result of choices I had some control over. I own that. I hope my kids can see that too and that ultimately I had to make “course corrections”, because we have to be in control of our own fate. Though I know they will have to learn their own lessons in life and that, at times, it will be tough. That’s just life.

Now I’m “giving up” that single life and autonomy for a new adventure. I’m beginning a life as one half of a team… the best, most supportive team. We will make decisions together and he’s accepted me and my children and all the nuances that come with that and I have accepted him and his burdens as well. In turns, we will take care of each other. I always say that you can’t predict what will happen tomorrow, but I suspect it’s going to be pretty fucking great.

As a single person who has been treated poorly in relationships and suffered through divorce and come out of all of that successful – financially secure, happy, and healthy, it takes a great measure of trust to give up independence. I’m not going to sugar-coat this next bit. This “leap of faith” was made so much easier by virtue of the fact that it means I don’t have to try so hard anymore for that financial security.

The burden of monthly bills is being lifted and now I will have more freedom to chose what work I do (or don’t do). That’s what makes the conversation I’m having with my bosses this week possible. If I was dependent on that paycheck, I would be stuck. Yes, I could always quit and get a new job, but that’s a tough road too. Now I can be bold and tell them what I want and need and if they don’t agree, I can exit. How that story will turn out remains to be seen, but it will be soon.

Obviously other factors for this path I am on now are required… Jim is awesome and crazy about me. He’s a thoughtful, hard working person and has been so supportive of all my choices already. From School to work to issues with my Ex, he’s listened and offered advice. All of that makes me more confident about selling my house and surrendering that independence.

As of yesterday, that’s a done deal. I’m in it now and that’s what people mean when they vow “for better or worse”. It sounds a lot like marriage and even though we are not there yet, it’s tougher to go through all the emotional strain of moving and negotiating house sales and making sure the kids are good and blending our families in daily life than it is to stand in front of some people and say some vows. Well physically doing the standing and vowing will be easy but the actual life-long commitment part maybe not so much.

I’ve got a whole other post about marriage brewing but I’m not “there” yet with it. One big thing at a time. Last month it was the move and settling in, this month it’s the house, and next is the job sitch. I’ll tackle “wedding planning” at some point but I gotta slow the roll or end up with emotional overload.

Today aside from one meeting I have with my financial advisor, I’ve got no other plans.. well aside from work to do on my “dreaded” project. I’ve continued to be focused on the project I worked on over the weekend to finish the second iteration of our deliverable and still “owe” about 16 hours of work to my main project. If I work 5 or 6 hours in it for the next three days, I should roll into the weekend all good.

It will be my first weekend without the kids in like 5 weeks and what I need is a lot of QT with my sweetie and some nice R and R. I’m really looking forward to that.

Time now to go “earn” that.

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie