2018-09-10 Sisterhood of the Traveling Skirts

Pants are for chumps. If you could just wake up and throw on like one article of clothing and a pair of shoes you would too. That’s the beauty of dresses and not having to think too much about anything at 4AM. 4AM — when most of the world is sleeping — the airport is already unnaturally alive with the buzz of caffeinated humans and the smell of pizza. Somebody please tell me why pizza smells so good in the airport at 5AM. If I was at home right now, the smell of food would probably make me feel nauseated. Scratch that.. if I was home now, I’d still be asleep. Hopefully.

Not today though. Today I’m on the move again. It’s the highly anticipated girls trip to a tropical destination where we are gonna drink and eat and be lazy by a pool or ocean or perhaps at a spa. It will be four whole days and nights free of being chef and taxi and maid. And as an added bonus, because I don’t live in the same city as my Texas besties, we get to do it all together, catching up on life.

I’m pretty excited about it or at least I will be once I get past the initial anxiety of traveling. I’ve just boarded the plane and I’m sure the day will take a turn for the better once these two flights are over and done with. Flying — the necessary evil of a travel addict. I would not truly classify myself as an addict as this favorite past-time of mine isn’t really hurting anyone. Well, except maybe my bank account. 😉

That’s it for now. Next stop.. Houston!

Cheers,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-06-24 A Farewell to the Florida Keys

Writing quite a bit after the fact now and somehow the days and dates aren’t adding up. In total we had four full days in Key West and one day on the front and back side of that dedicated to mostly travel. The day after our sight-seeing day when we visited the Hemminway house, we took a Jet-ski tour all the way around the island. Gulf side, to the Atlantic, and back again. It was another great experience and another opportunity to overcome my fear of the water. In truth, the JetSki wasn’t nearly as terrifying as snorkeling because you are above water the entire time AND in control of your own equipment. Plus we had life jackets, so even though we ventured out to deep waters, I never really felt that fear of drowning.

That afternoon it was a different story. We went to fort Zachary Tailor which has one of the few beaches on the island and we tried to swim out to snorkel around some rock formations. We didn’t have flippers to swim and got three quarters of the way and had to turn back. I could not do it and Jim agreed with me. There was more current at that location than the beach at the Dry Tortugas and the water was deep and I simply didn’t have the energy or skills to get there. He said later he would not have been able to make it either even if I wasn’t there, which made me feel a little better. Instead, we ended up trolling around some rocks closer to shore but didn’t really see much.

That evening we walked around Duval street a bit more, but nothing seemed very appealing so we called it off early. The next day would be another long travel day home and I knew it would be better to be well rested for that than to party it up on Saturday night.

Sure enough, we were up early on Sunday and got packed up to leave. We had one more stop/excursion planned for noon up north in Key Largo to hit before heading on to the Miami airport. The drive back up highway 1 was pretty un-eventful and the tour was a relaxing one. Two hours on a pontoon boat exploring the canals of Key Largo and the southern tip of the everglades with its Mangrove trees. We saw a manatee and It came right up to the boat to get a drink of fresh water from a jug they had me pour out over the side. That was really cool. The whole area was fascinating and you could tell the tour-guide/boat driver had been doing that for a long time.

We had a little bit of a dialogue about the prices for the lots and the houses and its incredible how expensive it is. Houses along these canals going for 2-5 million dollars. I can’t even imagine. What’s even more fascinating is that this area of the country gets just wrecked with hurricanes and it’s got to be incredibly expensive to insure those lots/houses. I can’t imagine living there. It was a great place to visit, but I can definitely rule out ever wanting to move to a place like that.

When the tour was over we stayed in Key Largo for lunch at the Sundowner bar and restaurant. I had my second cheeseburger of the trip and it was not as good as the first.

The rest of the trip home was uneventful. It just seemed to take forever. You know when you are traveling to a place, there’s lots of excitement and anticipation and it doesn’t seem that bad. Traveling home is a whole different story. You are worn out, sad that it’s over but looking forward to being home. Every step of the way is blah. Packing, Driving to the airport, returning the rental car, waiting for your flight, yada-yadda. It’s all just blah! We didn’t land until after 10PM so by the time we arrived home, I was ready for sleep.

It was quite an amazing trip and will go down in my books as one of the best vacations I have ever been on. 99.5% of the credit for that goes to my love, for planning everything and being amazing in every single way!

For this one I’m going out in true Miss SugarCookie style and ending with a Keys top 10 list for posterity. In no particular order…

1. Snorkling at the Dry Tortugas/Fort Jefferson.. Holding hands with my sweetie.

2. Riding in the cockpit of a seaplane.

3. Giving a Manatee a drink of fresh water off the side of a boat.

4. The Garbos Cheeseburger experience.

5. Watching sunset from Mallory Square… followed by the street performance of ridiculous Reece.

6. Getting that Jetski to 71km per hour out on the open water.

7. Touring the Hemminway house.

8. Walking up and down Duval street holding hands and stopping into random bars for a cold drink.

9. Sitting on the patio of our condo lazily watching the water, storms, and lizards.

10. Having this whole trip be a surprise and getting to spend so much QT with my new best friend.

And with that, it’s Time to wave Goodbye to the Keys..

Peace and Love Until Next Time,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-06-22 Key West Day 3

Just when you thought it couldn’t get better, it does. Here I am again on my newest favorite elliptical machine facing the ocean thinking about my day yesterday.

We’ve had a steady set of planned activities but it hasn’t felt like we ha e been rushed at all. Waking up in the AM feeling good (perhaps a little hung over), but not needing to jump out of bed right away for any reason. It’s been a great balance of excursions and R and R.

Yesterday was the piece de resistance thus far. A sea-plane ride out to the Dry Tortuga National Park. Arguably one of the most difficult to get to and therefore least visited National Park in the US. If you ever looked at a map of southern Florida, you would think that Key West was as far as one could go, but in fact it is not. It’s just where the highway ends.

About 9:45 AM we boarded a plane with 8 passenger seats (plus two more in the cockpit) and took off from Key West International Airport and glided a cool 500 feet above the water and tiny uninhabited islands until we arrived at our destination, Fort Jefferson. We landed on the water. That’s what makes a sea plane a sea plane, it can take off and land from water or a runway. It was super cool, and surprisingly a really smooth ride from start to finish. We landed near a beach at the north side of the island and departed into sand.

At the island there’s two main attractions, good snorkeling around the outside of the fort and touring the fort itself. The structure is massive. They said it was the largest brick structure in the Westen Hemisphere and can be seen from space like the Great Wall Of China. Three stories high and circular in totality. The interior of the structure was large enough for rooms and hallways and of course the inside a wide expanse of land. Built for strategic Naval positioning but most often used to house prisoners. Such interesting history.

Our first order of business after arrival however was to get to the snorkeling. I could do a whole post about that and since we are going again today (somewhere else of course), I think I’ll save that for later. Needless to say, with my fear of drowning, it was quite the experience for me.

The whole excursion, plane ride included took about 4 hours. It was just enough because the Florida heat and sun is unforgiving. On the way back, the pilot asked us if one of us wanted to sit in the cockpit. My answer.. “Hellz yes!!”. It was icing on a delicious cake.

I saw so many sea turtles out in the ocean. JS saw more than that, dolphins and Rays, but that’s probably because I don’t j ow what I’m looking at. Or what to look for.

When we arrived back at the condo we were wiped out and laid around napping for a few hours. Just enough of a rest to recharge and eat bedore heading out to find drinks and watch the sunset from “sunset pier”. There were literally thousands of people gathered there to also witness it. The pier is hopping with bars and shops and restaurants. After sunset we stopped to watch a steer performer… ridiculous Reece. Then we wandered around more and eventually decided to call it a night.

It was another amazing day and like I said, hard to top. We have a more chill day planned for today with no absolute scheduled activities. More snorkeling, visiting a few Key West sites, and whatever else we can find…

Live from Paradise,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-06-21 Key West Day 2

We’ve already done so much here I can hardly believe we’re only in the middle of day 2. Yesterday we went on a glass bottom boat tour around the see and it was about 45 minutes out, 30 tooling around out on the aqua water and 45 back. What can I say about Florida so far?… it’s hot and the sun is brutal.

When we arrived back at port we walked around that very touristy part of town and stopped in a few places to have a drink. One of those places was Captain Tony’s which had live music and hundreds of dollar bills stapled to the walls and ceiling (it also had a bunch of bras hanging from the ceiling too). We sat for a bit and talked and then moved on down the street. I’m not much for shopping so just walking around and talking was nice. We It’s a very interesting area with lots of rich history. In the evening we had dinner reservations for a really nice place.

We had crab cakes and oysters for apps and I had rated my crab cake at lunch the day before at a six out of 10. This one was a solid 8. It’s about the crab and the way it is prepared, but also about the sauce. A good sauce can elevate any dish a few points and is absolutely necessary to hit the top. Cheeseburgers might be my main jam, but crab cakes are on my top three list. If I go somewhere they have these things, I’m commanded internally to order them. The third thing on that list is a Reuben sandwich. If I ever go somewhere and they have all three, then I know I am in trouble.

The name of this place was Prime – and I knew JS would be getting the surf and turf and I didn’t really feel the need to have a steak also so I elected to have order the pork chop with mashed potatoes instead. Again it was the sauce that made it what it was. At dinner we had more great conversation and I ended getting a little teary confessing my feelings. Not that the alcohol had anything to do with that but I had had a few more drinks with dinner and they were not made for a lightweight like me. I know he feels the same as me because I can see it in his eyes. He reciprocated my affections and we finished our meal and walked hand in hand around the docks. It was wonderful. Everything with him has been wonderful. He has gone above and beyond to make this trip really special and has done a great job planning everything.

When we got back to our condo, I was still really tipsy and insisted that we get in our swim suits and head out to the pool. We grabbed another cold drink from the fridge and did just that. By this time, the sun was long set and it was dark save for the lights around the pool area. We were the only ones around and swam back and forth for a little bit. I suppose I was just trying to get the most out of the day as I could, because that’s just who I am. I didn’t want the day to end. I know I will never have an opportunity to re-live the day, so I didn’t want to waste a minute.

I don’t even know what time it was when we decided to head back inside, but it eventually seemed like the right thing to do. Of course we had a little bit of sexy time and then both fell fast asleep for the night after that. A very full day indeed.

Today has already topped yesterday which is tough to imagine. I definitely intend to write all about it because I never want to forget all the things, but we are soon to be headed out to explore a different area of town soon.

Loving Every Minute,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-06-18 Destination Unknown

I’ve been waking up super early the last week or so. It’s actually an advantage when it comes to all these early-ass flights I’m booked on. 4:30am wakeup to make it to the airport.. no problem. Tomorrow trip number 2 starts with a 6:30 flight and I’m just about ready.

I’ll have had a break of two days in between touching down and taking off again. My trip to Nashville was really great and a good balance of work and play. I got to see Broadway and had a drink at the Honkey Tonk. We walked down to the river and chilled for a while on a 4th floor patio overlooking the scene. It was great food, however, I was slightly disappointed I never had a Nashville Cheeseburger. Wherever I end up next, I’m gonna get my fix.

By This time tomorrow my destination will be revealed. Based on various clues, my guess is somewhere on the East Coast. I’ve got a growing list of people who I’m supposed to inform when I find out.

Here is what I know…

1. I don’t need a passport.

2. Its “oceanic”. (That has to mean in the Coast right?).

3. The temps will be in the 80’s all week.

4. Its not on the same Latitude as Nebraska. (That could be anywhere).

5. It has been mentioned (that could be anywhere too, cuz I’ve thrown out a lot of guesses).

That’s it. That’s what I have to go on. That’s why I’m saying East coast but not sure where. I’d welcome any guesses! 😉

I’m getting totally excited to being swept away to some unknown place. Honestly, I don’t care where it is. I love my kids and my job and my life here, but balance is important and I need some major QT with just my sweetie. We could be just anywhere and as long as we have all day and night to just do whatever it will be wonderful. I’m looking forward to (hopefully) sleeping in and laying around relaxing and probably doing some sight seeing and exploring of the area.

Going on our first trip together feels like it should be some sort of a test, especially since travel is kind of important to me. Do we travel well together? But for some reason I’m not thinking about it like that at all. I have a level of confidence about it that makes me feel warm and happy inside. I mean, I must have a pretty good level of trust to let another person take the wheel and take me somewhere unknown. I’m ok with letting that happen, which says a lot coming from someone who is used to being in control.

What I am still responsible for at this point is wrapping up Work and packing my bags. True to form, I’ve got my checklist. Today all I have to do is execute. I’m not sure when I’ll have a chance to write more, so this is basically that cliffhanger ending with no promise when the next episode will be coming out. Whenever that is though, all will be revealed.

Cheers to Adventure!

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-06-14 Next Stop Nashville!

For a while now I’ve been mostly “everything is awesome… life is amazing… blah-blah-woof-woof”. It’s really nice to be a part of this repeating record, especially given what I’ve been through to get here. It doesn’t make for very exciting writing though. I mean, day after day of the same routine gets boring to write (and most certainly to read too), so today I’m happy to be reporting live from the airspace just above Iowa.

Yes, it’s leg #1 of my two-week, whirlwind travel burst across the US. In total, I’ll be on 12 flights in the next two weeks. Today is the start of it. As I said I’m up in the air now and will be landing in Chicago in about an hour. Then it’s up again and back down at my first destination which just happens to be Nashville!!

I’ve never been but I’ve had a couple people tell me it’s a great city. Though I will only be there for 2 and a half days, I’m going to get to experience a couple really great things. Dinner out at a great place with live music tonight, co-working downtown with my Work peeps tomorrow, and out on a boat on a lake on Saturday. Winning!!

I will be meeting my boss(es) in person for the first time today. That’s pretty nerve racking but I’m sure it will be fine. I just have to keep telling myself that like a tiny little pep-talk until the moment arrives. My anxiety about this sort of thing never gets better but history has repeated itself so many times. I feel it, but the moment arrives and the social autopilot takes over and, Walaa!, everything goes just fine.

The most insane part of it is that I worry what my hair looks like, and clothes and how they might judge me. I professed a while back that I was coasting into “don’t care” mode about what other people think, and in general, that’s still true. However, these people are signing my paychecks (virtually speaking), so there’s still a fairly significant desire to make a great first impression.

I brought one of my favorite business casual dresses to change into at the Chicago airport so I can arrive looking the part. One of the other consultants who lives in Nashville is picking me and another person up at the airport so I’ll have to have my A-game on from the start. Considering this trip is supposed to be a retreat, half of what we are doing is social and “fun”, so I have to be prepared for that too.

For that reason, I brought my “dress to impress” dress to wear to dinner tonight. I swear, if I’m wearing that dress, it doesn’t matter what kind of a hair day I’m having or what I say. All I have to do is show up and just Coast through whatever the event is. Yeah, the dress is THAT powerful. Its like Popeye’s spinach. Most assuredly that’s all in my head, but whatever.

Tomorrow we are going to the office downtown and I guess they are having a photographer come in to take headshots of everyone to put on the web sight. Whoa! That sounds serious. Again, whatever. It just means I had to also pack a suit. My professional wardrobe has dwindled quite a bit in the last 6 years, but I still have one nice (relatively new) outfit for job interviews and funerals. That sounds so bad, but it’s true. In my everyday life I will NEVER wear that stuff again. If I went for a job and going to an office wearing business attire was part of the deal, my response to that is “no thanks”. Actually, if I can swing it, I will never go into an office again.

This new remote worker lifestyle is IT for me (minus any regular travel). Now that I’m becoming a “Cloud Guru”, it’s almost a guarantee because that is the whole point of the cloud and cloud computing. You can be anywhere in the world and log on and do your thing, run your business, spin up new servers, or run serverless. Yeah, you heard it here first folks.. server-less computing is the new black!

Anyway.. I’m feeling the plane doing a slight decline and I’m guessing my time here is almost up. The next time I write will likely be from Nashville.

On the Move Again,

~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