Category Archives: Uncategorized

Food, Fun, & Fundraising

FOOD

Eats for the past week have included leftover stuffed pumpkin, orange beets (in color and flavor!), green curry tofu, and vegan pizza!  It was nice to spend part of last Sunday in the kitchen preparing for the week.  Life feels so much more balanced when I do that!

pressure cooked orange beets!  I totally love these things.

pressure cooked orange beets! I totally love these things.

oatmeal with blueberries and cinnamon

oatmeal with blueberries and cinnamon

PHO

PHO

green curry tofu

green curry tofu

a Bolivian vegan burrito thingy

a Bolivian vegan burrito thingy

a vegan slice of pizza

a vegan slice of pizza

Taco Tuesday!  Very simple - refried beans with veggies

Taco Tuesday! Very simple – refried beans with veggies

FITNESS

Yoga and running!  Temps are dropping, so that’s been very nice.  When running, it’s certainly more comfortable when it’s not super hot outside.  Same with hot yoga – if it’s chilly, it feels that much more amazing to step into a heated room.  Going back out into a cooler evening also feels good after sweating it out for an hour or so!

Today my entire family did a 5K!  This is the second birthday in a row where I started my day with a race.  I guess that means my birthday won’t fall on a weekend again in many years :)

M, A, and me at the 5K this morning.  It was a bit windy, but an otherwise wonderful morning.

M, A, and me at the 5K this morning. It was a bit windy, but an otherwise wonderful morning.

Today’s 5K was a fundraiser for the Virginia Beach SPCA.  I wanted to do this to honor our recently lost Sammie and Tonks, and of course to raise money for the animals.  We raised a total of $220, so I’m quite proud of that!

LIFE

It’s been a really good week.  Work has been great, and everyone in the family is doing well.  A is recovering from mono quite well and the rest of us have managed to stay relatively healthy (allergies aside)!

D surprised me with two massages this week!  One was Tuesday evening and one couples massage late on Friday night.  Such a sweet guy.  It’s a shame the one of Friday was awful!  Both of the therapists we had were terrible, and I definitely will never go back there again.  It was still a sweet thought though!

Other than bad massages, the weekend has been great.  D and I went out to an Irish place for appetizers and a few drinks.  Saturday I got my haircut and then D and I went out with AC and JC for a bday celebration.  Drinks at their yacht club, pics by the water, then out for Bolivian food.

me taking a pic of D being the evening's photographer!

me taking a pic of D being the evening’s photographer!

sunset at the yacht club

sunset at the yacht club

Saturday morning as I was heading to get my hair cut

Saturday morning as I was heading to get my hair cut

me, D, JC, and AC

me, D, JC, and AC

selfie!

selfie!

me and AC.

me and AC.

Today was the 5K and then lunch and then relaxing!  My birthday dinner tonight is in the works, and I’m excited.  Tofurky, roasted acorn squash, portabello mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and brussel sprouts!

Oh, and in honor of Chelsea winning YET AGAIN yesterday, I’ve decided I want this room….

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Peace & Strength

FOOD

I won’t fib.  My whole food veganism  has been put to the test lately.  Not the veganism part (not even a little bit!), but the fresh whole food part.  Developing food allergies as an adult sucks, and I have been particularly afraid of any raw food since my hospital visit nearly a month ago.  For me, that means cooked foods only – and some processed ones too.  I haven’t had a green smoothie in nearly a month, much less a salad!

Today I decided enough is enough.  I cannot be afraid of the food I’ve eaten for 40+ years anymore.  A new food allergy can pop up anytime, but OAS is rarely deadly – more of a mouth tingling annoying/scary thing.  I now have epi pens on me constantly, as well as a bottle of benedryl.

So today marked the re-entry of green smoothies.  I’m happy to announce that I didn’t stop breathing once during the drinking of said smoothie.  And while my ears itched a bit (which has likely nothing at all to do with my breakfast and everything to do with the crazy weather changes), I was nonetheless thrilled.

Breakfast in bed on a Sunday morning!  Flax milk, mixed frozen fruit, 1/3 of a banana, and lots of spinach.

Breakfast in bed on a Sunday morning! Flax milk, mixed frozen fruit, 1/3 of a banana, and lots of spinach.

And here are the remaining eats of the past week or so.

always a safe bet!  Tofu green curry.  This is courtesy of a place down the street from my office.  I like the ones with eggplant more, but the flavors here are amazing.

always a safe bet! Tofu green curry. This is courtesy of a place down the street from my office. I like the ones with eggplant more, but the flavors here are amazing.

baked potato with black beans and a small amount of shredded cabbage.  My first raw food attempt since mid-Sept.

baked potato with black beans and a small amount of shredded cabbage. My first raw food attempt since mid-Sept.

a beautiful salad I made at Whole Foods.  I ate the beets, but nothing else.  Still freaked a little at this point.

a beautiful salad I made at Whole Foods. I ate the beets, but nothing else. Still freaked a little at this point about eating any raw veggies.

Ruby Tuesday's!  Can't complain that they make eating vegan easy.  Roasted spaghetti squash, plain baked spud, and steamed broccoli.

Ruby Tuesday’s! Can’t complain that they make eating vegan easy. Roasted spaghetti squash, plain baked spud, and steamed broccoli.

in an attempt to reclaim smoothies, decided to check this out.  I have a package in my office now for those moments I'm hungry, but can't get to a normal meal.  Surprisingly tasty mixed with plain water, and held me over for hours.

in an attempt to reclaim smoothies, decided to check this out. I have a package in my office now for those moments I’m hungry, but can’t get to a normal meal. Surprisingly tasty mixed with plain water, and held me over for hours.

went to a lovely restaurant in Virginia Beach - that is NOT a veggie place.  They still made me a wonderful meal, and this was the salad course of roasted beets.

went to a lovely restaurant in Virginia Beach – that is NOT a veggie place. They still made me a wonderful meal, and this was the salad course of roasted beets.

my main dish at Terrapin's - a vegan mushroom and celery risotto.  YUM!

my main dish at Terrapin’s – a vegan mushroom and celery risotto. YUM!

post-yoga lunch at Whole Foods today.  Butternut squash posole.

post-yoga lunch at Whole Foods today. Butternut squash posole.

bulk cooking for the week included a Tamarind Chickpea dish!  I plan to serve over basmati with a small salad for weekday lunches.

bulk cooking for the week included a Tamarind Chickpea dish! I plan to serve over basmati with a small salad for weekday lunches.

a sugar pumpkin stuffed with a hominy/tomatillo stew!  This is currently in the oven as a main star of tonight's dinner.  I love cooling temps :)

a sugar pumpkin stuffed with a hominy/tomatillo stew! This is currently in the oven as a main star of tonight’s dinner. I love cooling temps :)

Irish oats with tons of cinnamon and a 6 oz container of So Delicious blueberry coconut milk yogurt.

Irish oats with tons of cinnamon and a 6 oz container of So Delicious blueberry coconut milk yogurt.

FITNESS

Most of the last week has seen me with a nasty head cold and upper respiratory cold – so I hadn’t been doing much of anything other than some gentle yoga.

Thankfully, by the time Saturday rolled around, I was feeling mostly myself!  I went for a run yesterday – the first in nearly a week and a half – and while I overestimated my capability, it was still awesome.  The first mile and a half felt normal, but I definitely started noticing some wheezing right around mile 2.  I eased up my pace, took a few walk breaks, and managed back home around the 4 mile mark.  I wish it had felt stronger, but I think I went out too hard initially, and expected too much.

Today I went back to my hot yoga routine.  I seriously can’t articulate how amazing yoga is for me.  It’s been about 13 years since I first started doing yoga, and I still feel like the newby in class.  Today, as always, the instructor asks you to pick an intention for class.  How the instructor asks varies by teacher, but today I was asked to remind myself why I was there.  The intention was to focus on me – and not someone else (what I often do).  I had a few cycles of breath to think about it, and what draws me back time and time again is the ability to find peace during class.  Not because it’s not challenging – because it is – but because I find that hour to be the only time when I can shut the outside world out.  The only hour when I stop thinking about my to-do list, work, family, and life in general.  The only hour where I find the peace to be in the moment I’m in, without analyzing the past and planning the future.  Where I can be in the present moment and that’s enough.  I envy people who find that easily (like my husband), but I don’t.  I’ve never figured out how to shut off my brain, so that hour of yoga is a balm to me that I have a hard time articulating.

In addition, I do hot yoga predominately, so aside from the mental vacation that provides me, it’s also something I do (and why I was drawn to it in the first place), to make my body strong.  So it took me little time at all to set today’s intention.  For peace and strength.  That’s why I do this.

LIFE

My oldest A went back to university last Sunday – against my better judgement.  She was so worried about missing classes, and as much as her mom I wanted to keep her home until she felt 100%, I couldn’t deny her going back to keep up with her studies.

She had a setback the next day (long story of bad care, screwed up medication doses, and the need for antibiotics), but by Tuesday afternoon she was feeling well.

I also had a Dr appointment this past week.  The allergies, swelling throat freaking me out, and the fact that I have my physical this time per year was why I went.  Good news is my blood pressure is still awesome, as it mostly everything else.  However, having the diminished swallowing capacity and throat thing has now led for my doctor to order an upper GI scope.  She initially told me I needed a barium (and AC kindly contacted the vendors to make sure they’re vegan…they are), but apparently she’s changed her mind on what test to do.  I’m not looking forward to the test, but perhaps getting to understand why my throat keeps swelling – not enough to affect breathing -but enough to freak me out!

So my family was supposed to go camping this weekend.  Due to illnesses and sketchy weather, we decided to put it off.  I have hence found out that if I successfully manage to camp for more than one night in my backyard, AC is screwed.  Her husband JC will tell her that if I can do it, so can she (because I definitely don’t like nature, bugs, nor lack of running water and bar).  So for AC, if no other reason, I had to stay safely ensconced in my house all weekend long!

Friday night was out with AC and a friend of hers visiting from her hometown in TN.  We hung out a bit and then went to dinner, which was very nice.  Saturday was family time, and today was yoga, shopping, and prepping for the week.  I didn’t realize how much I needed a low-key weekend.

On the majorly positive side, I’m going home for Thanksgiving!  By home, I mean my hometown in Wisconsin.  I happen to be going to a conference in Chicago that starts the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so it worked out very well.  Thanksgiving with my sister and her family and my parents is something I haven’t experienced in 11 years (and is my sister’s fav holiday!).  And Saturday night, it’s party-time with my cousins!  A few drinks and catching up sounds like a perfect holiday weekend to me.

So with that, I leave you for a bit and hope you’ve all had a great weekend too!

Hitting the Gym & Turning My House Into a Petri Dish

FOOD

Food has predominately been simple the past week or so.  I’m still a little leery of raw foods, so I’ve been avoiding them.  Which actually pisses me off a great deal, because I love raw fruits and vegetables.  I’m assuming when allergy season is over, my dietary habits can get back to normal.

Until then, my meals have consisted of several soups (butternut squash is my fav!), lentils and rice, Venezuelan black beans and rice, and cooked veggies.

Mujadarrah.  A fancy way of saying simple lentils, rice, and crispy onions.  Truthfully though, it's one of my fav simple meals - especially doused with hot sauce.

Mujadarrah. A fancy way of saying simple lentils, rice, and crispy onions. Truthfully though, it’s one of my fav simple meals – especially doused with hot sauce.

black bean and rice night!  I love when the entire meal can be made in a rice cooker and pressure cooker!

black bean and rice night! I love when the entire meal can be made in a rice cooker and pressure cooker!

quinoa, frozen berries, and vanilla coconut milk yogurt

quinoa, frozen berries, and vanilla coconut milk yogurt

butternut squash bisque!  Had it a lot this past week.  Sometimes plain, sometimes with added quinoa or rice for more oomph.

butternut squash bisque! Had it a lot this past week. Sometimes plain, sometimes with added quinoa or rice for more oomph.

I did try a smoothie.  Tongue got tingly after 2 sips, so I stopped.  Ugh.

I did try a smoothie. Tongue got tingly after 2 sips, so I stopped. Ugh.

roasted cauliflower and cherry tomatoes

roasted cauliflower and cherry tomatoes

Thai edamame - with toasted coconut and lime

Thai edamame – with toasted coconut and lime

roasted asparagus

roasted asparagus

FITNESS

Lots of workouts the past week or so!  I’ve gone to the gym 2x per week to workout with a small group doing strength training.  5am workouts aren’t the most fun, but it’s nice to get it done and to do so with others.  I’m usually a solitary exerciser, but when it comes to strength training, groups are better for me.

Even more exciting than going to the gym is the formation of a No Meat Athlete running group here in Virginia Beach!  For those that don’t know, Matt from No Meat Athlete has been a great source of information and motivation for me and many other veggie based runners.  I was really excited that this sanctioned group started, and getting active with other veg head runners is fun.

LIFE

In a word.  Sick.  Hectic too, but that’s nothing new.  My oldest, A, is home from University with a nasty case of mono!  I fell so horrible – never seen her so incredibly sick.  D and I couldn’t let her stew in a dorm room, so she’s home.  Frankly, she doesn’t seem much better, and I know she’s worried about her classes.  I’m more worried about her health.  Mono can take 1-2 months to recover from, and that just sucks.  So right now my house is a bit of a petri dish!

I am also sick at the moment, though not like A.  This time of year I seem to always get allergies gone bad (sounds like a bad B movie, right?!).  What starts out as an itchy throat and sniffles turns into a full fledged sinus, ear, and respiratory infection.  For me, the itchy and swollen throat (which is a freaky feeling) has been going on for 2 weeks.   The past few days, it’s escalated into the nasty stuff.  I have a Dr appt on Tuesday in case it doesn’t run it’s course by then.

Other than illness, the past week has been quite busy and fun.  D went to Iowa for his High School reunion and had a blast.  While he was gone, I took my kids and one of R’s friends out of town for the weekend to hit up the Virginia State Fair and spend the weekend in a hotel.  I grew up living just a mile or two from the Wisconsin State Fair, and I have nothing but the best memories of that.  I had’t been to a fair in over 10 years, so really wanted to check it out.  Honestly, we didn’t stay very long.  Not for lack of wanting to, but A wasn’t feeling hot – which at the time we thought was just exhaustion because she worked the night before – but in retrospect was mono.  And her going on all the Midway rides with R and N probably didn’t help!

M, A, R, and N in front of a Virginia Grown veggie stand at the Fair!

M, A, R, and N in front of a Virginia Grown veggie stand at the Fair!

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So, we really only did rides and left.  A bit disappointing for me (I really wanted to see the animals), but there’s always next year.

D got home from his trip and immediately had to start working nights to support a go-live.  It always throws the rhythm of our life when one of us has to do that!

This weekend is also pretty booked.  The young one has her first swim meet of the season and I have a vegan drinks meet up tonight (that I hope I’m well enough to attend).  Tomorrow will be typical prep for the week ahead, and resting as much as possible before heading back to work on Monday!

silly girl at team practice this week

silly girl at team practice this week

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Killer Food and a Fundraiser

FOOD

The past few days have been simple foods – even though one tried to kill me!

A very obnoxious story, but I have something called Oral Allergy Syndrome (read here – it’s relatively fascinating as much as it is annoying/scary), which essentially takes my severe environmental allergies and makes me occasionally allergic to raw foods that are somehow related.  In the past two years I’ve developed allergies to apples, peaches, cherries, sugar snap peas….and now avocados.  Seriously.  Freaking avocados…I’m crushed.  Guacamole is a food group, after all.

On Monday I made a delicious meal of red lentil soup, fresh bread with coconut butter spread, and a massaged kale salad (which included avocado).  My lips were tingling, and after some Benedryl and a walk, I felt fine.

it really was fantastic...and will make again, but just skip the avocado.

it really was fantastic…and will make again, but just skip the avocado.

Tuesday, I made a green smoothie that had a small amount of avocado in it (along with coconut water, pineapple, spinach, and hemp seeds).  Again, a very small amount of tingle, took no Benedryl, and then worked for the day with no ill effects.  By this time, I figured everything is in my head, my mouth really didn’t tingle after meals, and I’m crazy.  After all, I haven’t developed a new food allergy for over a year, and eating nothing out of the ordinary.

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Then yesterday happened.  An hour before a planned hot yoga class, I had one of my favorite meals.  Sprouted grain toast topped with sliced avocado and fresh cracked pepper.  Within 5 minutes I had blisters all over my lips and tongue.  Not hives…angry and ugly blisters.  I took two Benedryl, waited an hour, started having a hard time swallowing, so hopped it to the Emergency Dept.  So now…avocado is off the menu.  And I’m pissed.

hard to believe something so innocent looking (and yummy) is plotting my demise

hard to believe something so innocent looking (and yummy) is plotting my demise

My one allergy-free meal I am sharing is something I made on Wednesday for dinner!  In honor of the Scottish vote for independence occurring the next day, I made an Irish meal of Colcannon (using red cabbage, because it’s what I had) and mushroom gravy.  While I realize it’s an Irish dish and not a Scottish one, per se, I wasn’t about to eat Haggis.

comfort food at it's finest!  And ridiculously healthy and I can eat this pretty much every day.  Both recipes courtesy of Happy Herbivore!

comfort food at it’s finest! And ridiculously healthy and I can eat this pretty much every day. Both recipes courtesy of Happy Herbivore!

FITNESS

In the past few days I’ve hit up a few hot yoga classes, both regular and vinyasa (that was an accident, but I survived it!).  Also several runs.

I did miss my Friday night yoga, but I had a good excuse.  My run today wasn’t perfect – not as much energy as usual (I blame the Benedryl and Prednisone), but still was happy to shake that off.

Temps are dropping to standard fall fare around here (mid to high 70’s), which is my favorite season and weather – especially for running!

And I’m happy to say my new Garmin is exceeding my expectations.  It connects to the satellites even in my house, and I’m pairing it with a heart rate monitor as well.  Yay data!

LIFE

It’s admittedly been a tough week in our house.  Losing Sammie on Monday has definitely been hard, and while we all will say we’re happy for her that she didn’t suffer a lingering illness, it still leaves a major hole.  I find it being the little things – like having FedEx deliver a box and the house being silent (she barked at everyone!), and not sweeping the house every day (we have wood floors and she shed…a LOT), and not seeing her sweet face in the window when I pull into the driveway, and not sneaking her the crust of my bread after dinner or a bit of the mashed potatoes from Wednesday’s night’s colcannon feast.  She really did love mashed potatoes…

Not all the feelings have been sad ones, and we’ve made a point to remark on all the wonder and love she was full of.

Allow me to segue a bit (it’ll make sense in a minute).  I was commenting to D today after my run that I haven’t run a race in ages.  The last one was with HF back in May/June, but we mainly walked the 4 miler Run Like a Girl race.  So as I was looking online for upcoming races, I came across one that I knew I had to do.  When I brought it up to D, he decided he…and the kids…want to do it too.

The Virginia Beach SPCA is hosting a 5K and fundraiser ON MY BIRTHDAY next month.  If that doesn’t scream “fated” nothing does.  So…my family has registered for this event and I’ve created a fundraising page.  This is to honor Sammie and Tonks (our kitty who passed in June from Feline Leukemia) and to help the SPCA raise money so all furry friends can find forever homes.  If you have the inclination, here is our fundraising page.  Just click on the link and it will open.  Any donations are welcome and appreciated.

In other family news, D was given a media pass to the airshow this weekend, and got some amazing shots of the Blue Angels and other feats of fighter jets.  I’m so proud of him – he really networks and puts himself out there to pursue his passion.  I do hope we’re in the position some day to let him do that as a career.  He’s so very talented!

looking cute and ready to spend the day in the media tents and taking pics of pilots, planes, and sky divers!

looking cute and ready to spend the day in the media tents and taking pics of pilots, planes, and sky divers!

my sister got R a Dr. Who Monopoly game for her birthday!  Big Dr. Who fans, and this has gotten quite a workout already.

my sister got R a Dr. Who Monopoly game for her birthday! Big Dr. Who fans, and this has gotten quite a workout already.

morning picture!

morning picture!

another morning picture!

another morning picture!

I love this one of R peeking her face between us.

I love this one of R peeking her face between us.

being serenaded by my young one as she plays A Song for Christine!

being serenaded by my young one as she plays A Song for Christine!

sitting in the backyard trying to read as Bumble cuddles in my lap.

sitting in the backyard trying to read as Bumble cuddles in my lap.

and finally...the view of the beach as HF and I had lunch today.  It was too chilly/windy to stay outside, but it was quite beautiful.

and finally…the view of the beach as HF and I had lunch today. It was too chilly/windy to stay outside, but it was quite beautiful.

 

Happiness & Heartache

FOOD

For R’s 11th birthday on Saturday we had a bit of a change of plans.  Crazy storms meant staying home, and she elected Italian for dinner!

the vegan portion of the birthday meal!  Meatless balls from Happy Herbivore (FANTASTIC) over pasta with sauteed onions, veggies, Italian seasoning, and Gremolata Olive Oil.

the vegan portion of the birthday meal! Meatless balls from Happy Herbivore (FANTASTIC) over pasta with sauteed onions, veggies, Italian seasoning, and Gremolata Olive Oil.

And cake (of course).  We always do homemade cakes, and this years was her very favorite strawberry cake!

CAKE!!!

CAKE!!!

cut funny because the birthday girl really wanted to eat the B....

cut funny because the birthday girl really wanted to eat the B….

FITNESS

I was able to get a run in on Saturday before the storms hit.  It was a very sticky and muggy run, but still a good one!

LIFE

Saturday was my little one’s birthday!  Hard to believe she’s 11.  It was a great day, though quite low key (we’re low key kinda people).  We went out to breakfast and then did presents.  The original plan was to hit up Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens, but the storms waylaid that idea.  So we stayed home, played games, and watched Divergent (which I enjoyed very much!).

D did all the shopping this year.  He didn't go overboard or anything...

D did all the shopping this year. He didn’t go overboard or anything…

Ginny turning one of the boxes into a nest!

Ginny turning one of the boxes into a nest!

R loving her brand new gaming laptop!  I think A and M are a little jealous :)

R loving her brand new gaming laptop! I think A and M are a little jealous :)

Yesterday D drove A back to college, and after getting some work done, I took R up to Busch Gardens!  It was a beautiful day, so we thought we’d spent some time at one of our favorite places.  D met up with us there, and while we didn’t stay too long – it was a school night – still managed to get in two roller coasters and one VERY scary haunted house!

waiting in line for a roller coaster

waiting in line for a roller coaster

D and R :)

D and R :)

me and R being very scared inside a haunted house

me and R being very scared inside a haunted house

R getting a photo op with the headless woman

R getting a photo op with the headless woman

However, I do have some sad news too.  My 12 year old Sammie is no longer with us.  She was diagnosed with a massive liver tumor about two weeks ago, and due to it’s placement and her age, there was nothing they could do.  We decided that when her quality of life began to suffer, that we would let her go.  Last night she threw up violently, and has since not eaten nor had any water and couldn’t stand or walk with ease.  She also had a fever.  Her normally perky behavior and wagging tail were gone.  We took her to the vet this morning at 830 am, where we were told that there was nothing we could do, that she had taken a sudden turn, and as a family, we decided it was time to let her rest.

D stayed with her through it all, and said she just went to sleep – unafraid and in no pain.  So goodbye and goodnight sweet Sammie.  While our hearts ache for losing you, I’m happy that you picked my family to love and care for these past 12 years.  I love you.

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It Turns Out I Take a Lot of Pictures….

FOOD

Okay, another two week blogging break, so it will be a ton of pics of some of the things I ate!

Clearly it’s no surprise to see smoothies and juices!

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And non smoothie things too!

the Berkeley Pizza at Z Pizza

the Berkeley Pizza at Z Pizza

Whole Foods salad bar (can never go wrong here)

Whole Foods salad bar (can never go wrong here)

our for Mexican food with D - sangria, big ass beer, and fun times!

our for Mexican food with D – sangria, big ass beer, and fun times!

lentil cake on tabbouleh with roasted veggies and tahini sauce

lentil cake on tabbouleh with roasted veggies and tahini sauce

Tofu PHO!!!  One of my fav things ever

Tofu PHO!!! One of my fav things ever

spring rolls - with A photoboming the shot

spring rolls – with A photoboming the shot

HALAWA!!  Currently my very fav dessert.  Happens to be vegan and gluten free too, but holy cow.  I want this all the time.

HALAWA!! Currently my very fav dessert. Happens to be vegan and gluten free too, but holy cow. I want this all the time.

grilled dinner fun with LC and family!  Tofurky beer brats, mac no cheese, spicy black bean and rice salad, and grilled veg!

grilled dinner fun with LC and family! Tofurky beer brats, mac no cheese, spicy black bean and rice salad, and grilled veg!

more grilled fun from earlier in the week.  Mushrooms, broccoli, and corn.

more grilled fun from earlier in the week. Mushrooms, broccoli, and corn.

had to share - available at Total Wine at least.  cheap $10 bottle of wine, but incredibly tasty!

had to share – available at Total Wine at least. cheap $10 bottle of wine, but incredibly tasty!

FITNESS

Well, I finally did it.  I went ahead and bought a new GPS watch.  After much research, I decided on the Garmin 220.  So far, I love it.  It connects to the HR monitor and the satellites super quick, it’s not bulky on my little wrists, and the data transfer process is quick.  I’m not the biggest fan of Garmin Connect’s website, but it’s not bad.  I’ve heard there are some 3rd party sites that are really good, and when I find the time, I may check those out.

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Aside from enjoying several runs in the past two weeks, I’ve also hit up several hot yoga classes.

LIFE

Well, it’s been, as always, busy in our family.  Between school starting up again, work, and swim team practice, we’re all running around like crazy.  None of us has much in the way of downtime, but that’s OK.

Last weekend, LC (and her husband LC, sons L and N) came over for an evening of games, movies, grilling, and hanging out.  It was a great night.

Yesterday I went to pick A up from college and spent the morning visiting with my friend HF and her little man D.  We only had a couple hours, but it was awesome.

Today is R’s birthday!!!  More about that later, but needless to say, this weekend is all about her :)

D & A at breakfast this morning

D & A at breakfast this morning

Bumble always holds D's hand at night before bed

Bumble always holds D’s hand at night before bed

she can jump over a wall and into the shower....but has no way out.

she can jump over a wall and into the shower….but has no way out.

Bumble's fav place to relax when I'm reading

Bumble’s fav place to relax when I’m reading

Laundry prison!

Laundry prison!

morningpicture!

morningpicture!

another morning picture

another morning picture

brat cat deciding I can't fold the laundry because she wants to sleep there

brat cat deciding I can’t fold the laundry because she wants to sleep there

(pay no mind to the laundry that needs to be put away) - but it's one of the rare moments where Ginny not only sits still, but actually snuggles too.

(pay no mind to the laundry that needs to be put away) – but it’s one of the rare moments where Ginny not only sits still, but actually snuggles too.

Food, Pets, and Theme Parks. My Fav Kind of Week

FOOD

Well, a full week home and I’m back to my obsession with Indian flavors.  And tacos.  Next step?  Blending those obsessions…curry tacos?  Yeah…I’m down for that.  Stay tuned.

I made a big batch of a ginger/carrot soup on Sunday and had that for most lunches this week, along with granola bar leftovers, and fruits and veggies and salads.  Thai too during a working lunch that made me grateful to have a co-worker who also loves Thai food.  And perhaps it’s because I really want Fall to hurry up and get here, lots of oatmeal….which is weird because I don’t typically love oatmeal.

AC and I went out Tuesday night for tacos and drinks.

AC and I went out Tuesday night for tacos and drinks.

oatmeal made with flax milk, blueberries, and generous sprinkling of cinnamon!

oatmeal made with flax milk, blueberries, and generous sprinkling of cinnamon!

a very bad picture of a very good soup....

a very bad picture of a very good soup….

my spices came!  More Indian flavors....and a super spicy Sriracha powder!

my spices came! More Indian flavors….and a super spicy Sriracha powder!

just because it smelled SO good....dried Arbol peppers, sliced garlic, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, and ajiwan seeds sauteing before adding the chickpeas, tofu, and rice!

just because it smelled SO good….dried Arbol peppers, cinnamon stick, sliced garlic, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, and ajiwan seeds sauteing before adding the chickpeas, tofu, and rice!

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final dinner!  A nice kick of spice, but not too overpowering.

final dinner! A nice kick of spice, but not too overpowering.

FITNESS

Yoga…running…the usual.  Despite the hectic week, I did get in a few good workouts.  Two longer runs and two hot yoga classes and one yogaglo class here at home.  In my travels earlier this month, I had the opportunity to introduce two people to yogaglo.com, and hopefully have some new converts!  Seriously, for the price of a single drop-in class, you have unlimited classes for a month.  That’s just cool.

I’m still fretting for my lack of daily data though.  I admit, that when I got my first FitBit (the Force….of which I was one of the lucky ones who got skin burns from wearing it….and then the One, which was nice and tiny…but now somewhere lost in Charlottesville), I became addicted even more so than normal to my physical activity.  How many steps did I accomplish?  How do I rate among my friends who have them?  And if I’m lacking, how many more walks around the block before I’m back in the lead?

On top of this, my GPS sports watch sucks.  I have the Nike+ and while I loved it at first (it’s not bulky on my little wrists), Nike has totally stopped supporting it.  The bloody thing takes forever to connect to satellites before I start running (often leaving me pacing in my drive for a good 10 minutes), and the website…once a fun and interactive game…is now basic and rarely works.  I’ve been asking around on Facebook, and I think it’s time I switch back to a Garmin.

LIFE

It’s more or less been a good week.   Busy, yes, and glad to be back in the office, but also stressful for the early morning and long nights.  Also someone I care about suffered a medical emergency yesterday, and that’s been a concern for sure.  Not for me, but for her and her family.

AC and I were originally planning to hit up a hot yoga class together on Tuesday, but ended up going for tacos and drinks (beer for me, bourbon for her!).

I took R to Busch Garden’s last night for a kick off to the holiday weekend!  Just the two of us, and we did two loops through the park, rode a ton of rides, and enjoyed an incredibly beautiful evening.

in line for our first coaster of the evening!

in line for our first coaster of the evening!

looking WAY too comfortable on a motorcycle (granted, this is an arcade, but still....born in Milwaukee...Haley in her veins....I'm in trouble)

looking WAY too comfortable on a motorcycle (granted, this is an arcade, but still….born in Milwaukee…Haley in her veins….I’m in trouble)

Today I woke up early, did some reading, watched a movie, and finished up all the massive amounts of laundry a big family piles up during a week….most of this before the rest of my family stirred!

Ginny interrupting my reading.  Nothing new.

Ginny interrupting my reading. Nothing new.

Sammie at the vet, passed out on the floor from exhaustion after barking at everyone and every fur baby in the joint.

Sammie at the vet, passed out on the floor from exhaustion after barking at everyone and every fur baby in the joint.

Ginny napping on top of a shoe box on D's dresser.  I just couldn't NOT take this when I saw her paw on her cheek...

Ginny napping on top of a shoe box on D’s dresser. I just couldn’t NOT take this when I saw her paw on her cheek…

Tonight my son is having a LAN party (Local Area Network…an IT-geeky way of saying everyone brings their own computer, we hook them up to our network, and they play games like crazy all night long and eat junk food).

D is out at the Oceanfront taking sunset and star pics, and R and I are relaxing and having a quiet evening!

So yeah.  Really nice to be home, be with my family and friends, eat good food, and sleep in my own bed!

 

There’s No Place Like Home!

FOOD

I’m not even going to go into the rest of the travel foods.  Most were simple – oatmeal and fruit breakfasts at the hotels, salad lunch and dinners, and one disastrous Thai food meal where I got violently sick 10 minutes afterwards.

The fun part is coming home and being back in my very own kitchen!  Below are the highlights since I got home!

spinach, mint, banana, and raw cacao smoothie

spinach, mint, banana, and raw cacao smoothie

homemade granola bars that have been a huge hit with the family

homemade granola bars that have been a huge hit with the family

salad cup tacos!  Simple romaine leaves with refried beans, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and hot sauce

salad cup tacos! Simple romaine leaves with refried beans, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and hot sauce

my fave quick-pickled spicy cucs.  Sesame oil, crushed red pepper, rice vinegar, and a small amount of sugar.

my fave quick-pickled spicy cucs. Sesame oil, crushed red pepper, rice vinegar, and a small amount of sugar.

Happy Herbivore's cabbage soup.

Happy Herbivore’s cabbage soup.

oatmeal with a boat load of cinnamon!

oatmeal with a boat load of cinnamon!

Pan roasted cauliflower with Indian spices (mustard seed, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and turmeric) with some chickpeas over basmati rice.

Pan roasted cauliflower with Indian spices (mustard seed, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and turmeric) with some chickpeas over basmati rice.

FITNESS

Since getting home, I’ve gone to one hot vinyasa class (which was one of the most challenging classes I’ve had in a long time….) and also went for a very steamy run.  Crazy, but I found the long run in the hot and humid weather with sweat stinging my eyes easier than the 60 minute flow class.  I guess it’s not that crazy – yoga is not as easy as people often think!

LIFE

I am incredibly happy to be home.  The work travels were good, don’t get me wrong, but two weeks in hotels and away from my family is just too much.  I have no idea how traveling consultants do it – would completely drive me nuts.  The only up side was I went to bed ridiculously early most nights and read about 4-5 novels.  Oh, I also got my nails done and had a massage one night.  That was cool.

D and the kids did a great job of keeping down the fort while I was away.  Summer is winding to a close, A is back at university, and R and M are trying to do as little as possible while they still can before their school starts up!

For me, it’s been grocery shopping and laundry, reading and relaxing at home.  We were supposed to get together with friends tonight for some grilling and fun at our place, but LC isn’t feeling well, and early this afternoon I got socked with a nasty sudden-onset head cold.  It’s a bummer, but we’ve rescheduled and the fun will commence then!

A local yoga studio has been hosting an Ayurveda workshop and consultations this weekend.  Here’s a definition if you don’t know what it is! I went last night, and it was wonderful.  I’ve always been interested in ancient medicine (especially over conventional drugs when it can be effective), and this was not disappointing at all.  I’ve done a lot of reading about Ayurveda over the years, but meeting and talking with a practitioner surpassed all my ideas of what it would be like.  She gave me some recommendations that I plan to take very much to heart (especially in areas of insomnia, hives/stress, etc).

D went out to our local Pride Fest last night and today to support the LGBT community as well as take pictures, so I’ve barely seen him so far this weekend.  M is spending time with friends since being gone all summer as a counselor, and R and I have been lazing about.  Life gets back to normal next week (work, swim team, school stuff) and I really am looking forward to it!

while trying to read a magazine, Ginny jumped right on top of it.  She has absolutely no sense of when NOT to crawl in your lap...and especially loves sitting on any reading materials.  Just ask my Dad - when he was here and would read the morning paper, that's exactly when Ginny decided his lap was where she needed to be....

while trying to read a magazine, Ginny jumped right on top of it. She has absolutely no sense of when NOT to crawl in your lap…and especially loves sitting on any reading materials. Just ask my Dad – when he was here and would read the morning paper, that’s exactly when Ginny decided his lap was where she needed to be….

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman with a Rental Car and Flat Tire…

FOOD

Before I get into the drama that inspired the post, I will have to say I’ve had some INCREDIBLE meals in the past several days!  I’m only going to go into detail about two of them, but in addition to those, I’ve had some great salads, soups, and curry.  Pics will follow.

Friday night, LS and I went to Elizabeth’s Gone Raw in DC!  I have wanted to go there for years, but it seems I’m rarely in DC on a Friday night (they are only open on Friday nights!).  They do a 6 course raw and vegan tasting menu, and we opted for the wine pairings as well.  Oh, and everything came from one of three farms in the VA and PA areas.  Truly farm-to-table.

I know it's geeky, but couldn't help taking a pic of the sign out front!

I know it’s geeky, but couldn’t help taking a pic of the sign out front!

the organic wine and beer list at the bar as I awaited LS's arrival

the organic wine and beer list at the bar as I awaited LS’s arrival

bottomless kale chips.  I seriously don't care who you are or what you THINK you know about kale, but these are simply amazing.

bottomless kale chips. I seriously don’t care who you are or what you THINK you know about kale, but these are simply amazing.

our menu!

our menu!

Amuse course - a chilled curry zucchini soup with golden raisins.

Amuse course – a chilled curry zucchini soup with golden raisins.

Starter course - a sunflower sprout Caesar salad.

Starter course – a sunflower sprout Caesar salad.

Appetizer of beet tartare with a sunny side up "quail egg" which is a dehydrated yellow cherry tomato and a circle of vegan cheese.

Appetizer of beet tartare with a sunny side up “quail egg” which is a dehydrated yellow cherry tomato and a circle of vegan cheese.

Intermezzo - this dish is an apple and celery sorbet.  LS had this, but due to my apple allergy, they brought me something different.

Intermezzo – this dish is an apple and celery sorbet. LS had this, but due to my apple allergy, they brought me something different.

my intermezzo - a watermelon and hibiscus sorbet.

my intermezzo – a watermelon and hibiscus sorbet.

the Entree - which even our waitress described as "stupid good".  A tomato and morel risotto made from VA grown green papaya and a squash blossom stuffed with a ridiculous wild garlic and cashew creme.

the Entree – which even our waitress described as “stupid good”. A tomato and morel risotto made from VA grown green papaya and a squash blossom stuffed with a ridiculous wild garlic and cashew creme.

finally, the Dessert course.  A three layered dish of chocolate ganache, jungle peanuts, and a date and maple layer, topped with a cappuccino and cinnamon foam.

finally, the Dessert course. A three layered dish of chocolate ganache, jungle peanuts, and a date and maple layer, topped with a cappuccino and cinnamon foam.

Last night I was in Charlottesville looking for a place to eat and wandered into Parallel 38. It’s a fun little place I literally stumbled upon.  Their entire concept is that all their dishes, and most edible food, is grown along the earth’s 38th parallel.  This includes Spain, Italy, Greece, Napa California, and our own Charlottesville, Virginia.  It’s a Mediterranean tapas restaurant, and they also had a vegan menu, which made me very happy!

my menu from Parallel 38

my menu from Parallel 38

beet and arugula salad with a champagne foam dressing

beet and arugula salad with a champagne foam dressing

 

tabbouleh

tabbouleh

citrus Yukon gold potatoes that I think are the best thing I ate all week.  And that's saying something.

citrus Yukon gold potatoes that I think are the best thing I ate all week. And that’s saying something.

Miscellaneous eats of the week!

today's breakfast salad Ala Whole Foods

today’s breakfast salad Ala Whole Foods

soy latte

soy latte

green juice

green juice

hotel breakfast

hotel breakfast

this crazy sangria margarita thing that was surprisingly good

this crazy sangria margarita thing that was surprisingly good

another breakfast salad, this one from Wegman's

another breakfast salad, this one from Wegman’s

tofu green curry with eggplant.  It was too oily for my liking

tofu green curry with eggplant. It was too oily for my liking

Tom Ka soup - that was ridiculously good

Tom Ka soup – that was ridiculously good

FITNESS

My workouts of the week have consisted mostly of dread mill runs and Yogaglo classes in my hotel.  Today, however, was different!

I actually was able to make it to a yoga studio and take a regular class.  The only hot yoga studio that C-Ville has is a Bikram one, and I’m not a fan (too militaristic for my tastes – no mind/body connection) so I opted for a vinyasa “lite” class at a little studio called Opal.  I thought it was cute that the name of the class was Over Easy.  It wasn’t overly challenging as far as the pace went, but we certainly got into some deep poses that left me feeling the effects the rest of the day.  Good effects, but definite reminders that I need some more hip openers in my life!

Oh, and I got to use my brand new Manduka yoga mat for the first time, so that was totally awesome!

LIFE

Well, what can I say?  It’s been busy.  I was in Maryland from Saturday-Wednesday.  On Wednesday morning, I went to the southern suburbs of DC until Saturday.  Early Saturday, I left to meet my husband and daughters to move A into her dorm, and then I went to Charlottesville, where I will be until this Tuesday.  Then it’s off to Harrisonburg from Tuesday until Friday, when I can finally go home.  I’ve only slept in my own bed once in the past two weeks, and I’m really ready to get back!  (first week was an air mattress, then it’ll be two weeks in hotels by the time I’m home again).

All this chaos aside, it’s been really good and productive on this trip.  The conference was good, and the DC trip was highly informative and is laying the groundwork for a project we’re starting.  The next week will be more of the same for that.  I’ve gotten to travel with some very cool people – both personally and professionally – and I am not disappointed in any of it, other than I wish I was home.

M came home from camp today for the final time this summer (unless he goes back for Labor Day weekend – which they’ve asked him to do!) and A is moved back on campus for the start of her sophomore year.

On the morning I left Maryland for Virginia, I made it much faster than I anticipated!  I stopped for a quick breakfast before heading to work, and texted D.  So if you’re a new reader – D does a great job of planning my meals when I’m away.  Especially when I dine with consultants, I don’t always have a say in where we go – so he calls, talks to chefs and the restaurant staff, to be sure I have a good vegan meal, and not just a collection of crappy side dishes.  Below is a transcript of our conversations….where I accidentally typed RAT instead of EAT….

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When D and I first met, I had a pair of purple Doc Marten’s with shoe laces from my college roomie’s mom that say US Customs.  1-800-Be-Alert.  The first thing D said to me upon meeting was “because the world needs more Lerts”.  I took this pic of the helo pad on Wednesday and texted it to him – because the world needs more Lerts.

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So Friday morning, I woke up really early with the intent to catch a 6 am hot yoga class in the area I was staying.  I’m all set, and go out to the hotel parking lot to find…..a flat tire on my rental car!

Last Saturday when I picked up said car from Enterprise, the tire pressure indicator light was on.  The clerk at Enterprise assured me this was a glitch, as the auto shop they use checked everything repeatedly and there was nothing wrong with the tires.  Yeah.  Liars.

So anyway, it’s 540 am, I have a flat tire, and am supposed to be to the hospital by 9.  The car rental place doesn’t open until 9, so I hit the stupid treadmill, get ready for work, and wait to call them.  By 9, I am freakishly annoyed.  I get the clerk on the phone – who happens to be the same person who gave me the cursed car to begin with.  I promptly instruct her that I need a NEW car…now…because I have meetings to get to.

I get a call back that none of the Enterprise locations in my area are being helpful, and the store manager feels that it would be faster if I could just get the car fixed.  And by the way, do I know how to change a tire?  Short answer – yes.  My answer – no way in hell am I changing a tire on a rental…and end up getting accused of dinging or denting someone.  And to be honest, it’s been so long since I’ve changed a tire, I didn’t want to risk it!  So….roadside assistance is called and I’m assured I’ll be on the road by 930.  Yeah.  Liars.

Roadside assistance shows up at 11 am, and I get the donut on the car.  I’m then instructed to drive to a place in the middle of nowhere called All Tune and Lube to get the tire fixed.  The store manager is waiting and I’ll be on my way in no time.  Yeah.  Liars.

After an hour of waiting, I ask what’s going on.  Turns out the tire cannot be fixed – it must be replaced and Enterprise has to authorize the expense.  They’re working on it, but it’ll likely be several hours before a tire can be located and brought to this location.  By now I’ve contacted everyone I work with to apologize profusely.  It’s noon, and I’m pissed off and hungry.

After another half hour, I call Enterprise – who hasn’t actually gotten a call from the tire shop.  They insist that the tire shop will have it under control.  I officially lose it.  I tell them I don’t care what they need to do, but they will get me in a new damned car in the next 20 minutes or all hell was going to break loose.  I’m in a strange city, alone, in the middle of no where, missing work, and HUNGRY.  Hell hath no fury…..

A very FBI-esque black suburban picks me up 15 minutes later, takes me to an Enterprise location and puts me in a snazzy new car.  It was a lot of drama to get there, I’m incredibly annoyed.  My entire day was shot, I missed yoga, had to run on a dread mill, and was half starved (okay, that parts a mild exaggeration), missed all my meetings, all to end up in a new car…which is what I had asked for to begin with.

At least I had dinner in the city with LS that night.  It made up for it totally!

After meeting my family to move A into her dorm yesterday, I drove up to Charlottesville, took a nap, and then went to the movies.  Saw Hercules…mainly because I’m a sucker for anything mythology based and I like the Rock.  It was only ok, but the last 10 minutes and closing credits made up for everything it lacked.

And today was a quite day in C-Ville.  Yoga, walk around the downtown pedestrian mall where I took pics of the community chalkboard and sat in a cafe outside to read and grab a late lunch.  Now I’m in my room, doing laundry, and wondering how early I can go to bed :)

And that, my friends, was my weekend.  Hope you all had one that was awesome, and with slightly less drama!

Road Trippin with Custom Vegan Eats & Drinks!

FOOD

Well, I’m back on the road again!  I swear, it’s been a crazy year for this.  This trip is two weeks, so there won’t be any homemade meals being posted.

That’s not to say I won’t have good food though!  As much as possible, I hope to choose where I dine and keep my grub healthy and simple.

I arrived to the National Harbor on Saturday evening, and dinner was with some colleagues at a place called the Cadillac Ranch.  As you can imagine, not a vegan-friendly restaurant.  Even had a mechanical bull.  I was able to get a shredded cabbage salad that wasn’t too bad.  The Rock n Roll Kool Aid was fantastic though.

Yesterday though, was just amazing.  A company from California that I’m working with is here, and asked me to recommend a local DC restaurant.  The first that came to mind was Art and Soul!  If you recall from this post, I went there back in May to a custom vegan feast!  D had contacted them to make me a special early Mother’s Day meal, and they totally knocked it out of the park.  This time, it wasn’t just me.  It was one of my co-workers plus four people from this California company.  And while I’m the only vegan of the group (and they again, killed it!), absolutely everyone loved their meals.  From the appetizers to the main courses, desserts, and custom drinks, everyone was raving when we left.  So Chef Art….you have some new fans who will definitely be checking you out whenever in town!

a baby greens salad with watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, and a sherry vinaigrette

a baby greens salad with watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, and a sherry vinaigrette

an amazing vegan tomato risotto

an amazing vegan tomato risotto

three flavors of sorbet!  The pink one was my fav - strawberry lemon.  The darker purple was blackberry (also good), and the dark pink one was a super tart raspberry.

three flavors of sorbet! The pink one was my fav – strawberry lemon. The darker purple was blackberry (also good), and the dark pink one was a super tart raspberry.

a vegan version of a drink that JW had.  A few different vodka's and chambourd and it was just amazing.

a vegan version of a drink that JW had. A few different vodka’s and chambourd and it was just amazing.

Today I hit up a very early dinner (like 4 pm) because I intend to be asleep by 8.  It’s been a rough day, and I’m beat.  I stopped by a local Thai place, and while I loved the soup and the flavor of the green curry, I was annoyed that the tofu was fried.

Tom Ka soup is one of my favorites!

Tom Ka soup is one of my favorites!

again, loved the flavor, but the tofu was not only fried, but they were huge pieces and that took away from meal too.

again, loved the flavor, but the tofu was not only fried, but they were huge pieces and that took away from meal too.

FITNESS

Yoga in my hotel room and a day spent hiking around DC is about the extent of my workouts since Friday.  I was hoping to get a run in today, but it just wasn’t in the cards.  If it rains tomorrow (and its supposed to), I’ll just hit up the hotel gym, but I’d much rather run outside in the harbor area to soak in the beautiful surroundings.

The closest yoga studios are in Alexandria, which isn’t walking distance for me, so that’s a totally bummer.  As always though, I hit up Yogaglo when I can’t make it to a class.

LIFE

Last week was mostly quiet and easy going.  My parents were visiting and I took  the week off from work.  They left Friday afternoon and I spent most of the day cleaning, grocery shopping, and packing.

Saturday I drove M back up to camp!  He is working the final week of summer camp, and was really excited to be back.  I then had about 5 hours of driving in order to get to the DC area after dropping him off.

view from my hotel room.

view from my hotel room.

Yesterday I took one of my CA colleagues to the National Mall where we spent a few hours admiring the monuments (which never gets old…no matter how much time I spend here!), and then it was time to clean up, see a lecture being put on by another colleague, and then the dinner of dreams at Art and Soul.

Washington Monument!  The plan is to take a nighttime tour inside tomorrow night!

Washington Monument! The plan is to take a nighttime tour inside tomorrow night!

we stopped to listen to a group of men singing next to the WWII monument

we stopped to listen to a group of men singing next to the WWII monument

Korean War Memorial.  An absolute favorite of mine.

Korean War Memorial. An absolute favorite of mine.

Today was full blown conference fun and then a solo walk through the harbor and an early dinner.  And now….I’m lying in my hotel in my jammies, watching cable, and wondering how soon I can go to bed!

from my walk through the harbor.

from my walk through the harbor.