JEFSWYF (and why she makes me sad)


As usual, the week after traveling means I’m digging my kitchen even more than normal. Of course I did get tofu green curry (several times!), some salad bar salads (loved the Whole Foods one since they also had tofu eggless salad, and the typical daily green smoothies. Otherwise we had one big Indian food night (talking 7 dishes!) and one night was homemade pizzas!


Oh yes, it’s nice to be home! Several runs and even got in a hot yoga class (man, how I miss those). Crazy schedule should be easing up for a few weeks anyway, so hopefully more yoga coming.

When I’m doing one of my longer runs, I always end up in my old neighborhood. There’s a minivan parked in front of a home that has the license plate JEFSWYF and while it used to annoy me, now it just makes me sad. Now – I don’t know who Jeff’s wife is, but I wonder if SHE knows who she is. Hear me out – it makes me sad when I hear people – especially women – who define themselves in terms of others instead of themselves. Yes, she’s clearly a wife, but that’s a role, not an identity. Based on the minivan, I’m sure she’s a mother too, and I would imagine a wonderful one. But that’s also a role and not an identity. And I realize I’m judging this woman based on her license plate, but I have known women like this in my life. Who introduce themselves in terms of their husbands instead of themselves. I’d rather know about YOU. What do you like, what makes you happy, where did you go to school, what are your views and opinions on things. And I have to say when I see license plates like that, it does make me feel a little sorry for that person. It may be unwarranted, but I’d rather see a plate that says something other than their role in a relationship. Maybe it’s because most of the women I know – my friends, family, and co-workers – are all kick-ass, educated, intelligent, and strong, that I get sad when I see a woman who may not be. I want to grab her and tell her she’s worthwhile of being her OWN person too! (Ok, rant done)


Been a pretty good week since getting back from Vegas. It took nearly the entire time for my skin to recover tho. Ugh – dessert air and dry skin suck.

Back to some of the regularly scheduled programming, including Cribbage Club! And in last week’s edition, the student surpassed the master! Okay, it wasn’t by much, but still. I’ll have to make sure he doesn’t make a habit of it 😉

Thursday night was a night in eating Indian food. I made 7 dishes, which was probably too many, but it’s fun. My eldest had a guest come down from Canada for a long weekend, and after some drama which included a lost phone and a trip to the phone store to get it replaced, it ended up being a pretty chill and nice night.

On Friday I hit up the movies to see Tomb Raider! I remember when the first one came out – my eldest was 5 and I took her to the drive in just to see it. It was really one of the first times I remember a totally kick ass female character, and was glad A would see it.

Saturday was my 2nd fav holiday (after Halloween)! It was mostly a night in making homemade pizzas, playing Exploding Kittens, and watching movies. Went out briefly, but was just as happy to chill at home.

Sunday was the regional robotics competition that my youngest R is in! She had a great time and it was a ton of fun to see the robot wars and how incredibly talented these future engineers are. They’re all so supportive and honestly – silly. Between major rounds there was the tendency to bust out into some serious group dances.

Then it was back to work and normal routines! Oh, except one thing. I FINISHED THE FIRST TERM OF MY DOCTORAL PROGRAM THIS WEEKEND!!! WOO. Next term starts April 9, so a few weeks to chill and read my trashy vampire books before getting down to business once again.

Hope you’re all having an amazing week too!

Vegas, Baby!


Aside from whipping up an awesome Indian meal late last week (garlic naan, tofu korma, & cumin basmati), most my meals have been in Vegas since last Saturday. I did grab a lot of cold pressed juices this week, though failed to take pics of them. There’s a place at our hotel (Palazzo) called The Juice Farm. My fav was the beet, orange, ginger, parsley, collard one. Beets are great for the liver, and since Vegas is NOT great for the liver, the juices were a must! I tend to gravitate towards Asian food, and while I didn’t snap enough pics of the yummy eats – they really were yummy. Veggie sushi, edamame, green curry, roasted eggplant, congee, sake, and tofu bibimbap.


Runs last week is it. This week was mostly a ton of walking, both on the conference room floor and of course on the Vegas Strip.


VEGAS BABY! But I’m pretty sure you already knew that 😉

Before I tell you WHY I’m here, let me tell you how I got here! So – the east coast was hit with a nor’easter that grounded thousands of flights for days. While it had passed by Saturday (barely), some flights were still affected. Funny enough, 3 of my co-workers flew a different airline and left on time. My flight – on Delta – was supposed to leave at the same time – but was delayed 2 hrs (the plane coming was late). So first the ticket agent tells me I’ll have to spend the night in Atlanta. Okay, not the end of the world. I have a girlfriend there that I would love to see, so if that was the case, I’d just call E and crash with her! But then….the ticket agent says “well, I can get you there tonight, but it’s going to be ugly”. Um okay. Define ugly. Norfolk – Atlanta – Kansas City – Salt Lake City – Vegas. Huh. Okaaaaay. Since I have nothing better to do, why not?? So I proceeded on a cross country adventure. They smartly put my luggage on a flight heading to Vegas from Atlanta that had no seats on it, but rather than risk losing my bag with so many hops, my bag made it to Vegas before I did. However….it did get there pretty much the same time my colleagues arrived, so they grabbed it for me and took it with them so I could just cab straight to the hotel! They’re the best. And honestly, Delta did great. The delays were not their fault, they still got me to my destination in one piece, and I was upgraded to comfort + or First Class when it was available and gave me Sky Priority so I’d board really early. Longest layover was in Atlanta, where I found a spot to hang out and charge my stuff!

Me and several co-workers were there for a conference – (HIMSS – the largest healthcare IT conference). Overall, it was a really great conference. Since accepting a new role with a focus on innovation and start-ups, coming to it this year was a totally different experience. Typically I’m meeting with vendors I already had, or those in the space where I was investigating new technologies for my customers. This time it was attending the Innovation Symposium, meeting with institutions who are or have built a similar program to what I’m working on. Looking at and meeting with small start-ups to identify potential opportunities. It can be an overwhelming show for sure, but I really did enjoy it and learned a ton this week.

And you can’t come to Vegas for a week and NOT have fun too! Three of my girlfriends flew in to spend part of the week together. The four of us had traveled to Vegas before several years ago (for AC’s bday), so it was like getting the band back together again!

Also on a total fluke, my cousin was here for one day for her job! She and I hadn’t seen each other since our Grandma passed away 9 years ago. We grew up in WI, but I moved to VA and she moved to CO – both within a few months of each other 14 years ago, and none of our travels to visit family overlapped except for the funeral. We had lunch and caught up, and were just happy to be able to connect.

Otherwise it was a little bit of gambling (okay, one night where I played blackjack down in Old Vegas), lots of walking, chilling out, and a show.

And of course, there’s the obligatory Kuma and Ginny pics!

Okay friends, about to head to the airport for my journey home. I’m definitely ready for my own bed, a full night’s sleep (I hope), and the ability to focus on all the school work I’m currently behind on!

A Busy (and Tasty) Week, and a Sad Farewell


Well, it was another week of typical eats, but with a few stand out meals out. There were tacos, potato tacos (where I put taco fillings on a baked spud), smoothies, salads, a deconstructed veggie burger, curries, stir-fries, tofu scramble, and this amazing quinoa/portobello/veggie dish!


What a chaotic week! Not one single yoga class fit my schedule. So – it was runs and home gym workouts!


Last Friday we said our final farewell to Bumble. Such an amazing, quirky, and loving girl she was. A little over 18, she had a long life and brought a lot of joy to my family. We all miss her.

On Saturday I hosted a surprise bday party for a friend and her husband (who is one of my bowling buddies!). I made tons of tacos (hence all the taco leftovers), and the garage was converted into beer pong central. It was a fun time, and K really was surprised.

Also went to see Black Panther this week, which was just amazing. Beautiful visually, great story, well acted, but mainly I believe this movie will be historical for what it’s doing to lessen the “white washing” of Hollywood.

Did happy hour with a good friend of mine who is going through a divorce on what would have been her anniversary. We drank, hugged, and had a good time.

Spent a lovely day out and about yesterday in gorgeous weather with someone special. Shopped, walked, and stopped at a tavern to watch some sport fun. I’m just going to say – I don’t get curling! Also, UVA kicked butt against Pitt, so that’s awesome.

Today was another amazing day. 80 degrees! Called for a run and then fun at the beach with the two youngest and the pups. M brought his long board to skate down the boardwalk, while R and I walked along the beach with Kuma. Then we stopped for a bite before going home. Also did typical Sunday stuff like meal plan, make a grocery list, go grocery shopping, and cook.

Of course there was also normal life stuff, like studying and chilling with the family. This will be a crazy and intense week too. I need to work ahead a week for school since I’m out for a work conference, which means I’ll have no time at all next week. So yeah. There’s that!

Falling Down the Mountain

Queue Jane’s Addiction here! And yes, while the lyrics are “coming down he mountain”, my experience was more about falling…


Strangely enough, I don’t actually have that many pictures of my grub. I had a brief work trip and a long weekend ski trip, so there aren’t really any shots from that. But it’s been typical fare. Smoothies, salads, soups, oatmeal, curries, tacos, and pizza (okay, pizza isn’t that common for me, but it was a lunch out with JG at a local spot that has vegan cheese!)

I wish I had pics of the taco night. 14 of us in a rental house for the weekend, and taco night was the bomb! I made my awesome black beans and a big batch of rice. OPR made her tacos and everyone was happy with dinner that night!


Well, I was sick for a solid week, so that fully sucked. Nasty viral thingy where I just couldn’t get my fever down. It was so strange because I didn’t have any other real symptoms.

I would say skiing counted, but I’m pretty sure all I did was fall, so probably not!

Once I was back home, it was nearly my normal routine again. Runs & workouts in my home gym/garage. I was hoping to hit up some hot yoga, but thus far my week has been too chaotic to make any of the classes. It’s not looking like it’ll ease up until Sunday at this point.


Well, I was only in the office for 3 days before heading out on a long weekend trip. A bunch of us rented a house and went skiing. 14 in the end (was supposed to be 16, but stomach flu sidelined a couple!). It was still awesome. All I can say is thank goodness for helmets! Without them, I’m pretty sure my kids would be in the ICU advising the doctors that yes, I am an organ donor. Skiing is most definitely NOT my jam. Turns out stopping is pretty difficult! I suppose starting with lessons would’ve been a good plan. Alas…next time…

And it certainly wasn’t all skiing. There was plenty of drinking and hot tubbing and even hit up a comedy club (which was actually a total riot).

Got home Sunday evening and hung with the kids, did laundry, and did some studying. Thankfully I had nothing on that front since I did it all early so I wouldn’t have to worry about it on our trip. Sunday was really about organizing the week ahead.

The Sunday prior, R got to spend a day being mentored by a NASA engineer! He volunteers at the school robotics team, and has been working closely with R on her areas. He has a home workshop he invited her to – and me as well since no mother in their right mind is going to let their daughter spend a day in a workshop with a stranger. He was very understanding of that and had brought it up as well. So I sat at his table saw and studied with R and he first used some CAD software and than began machining some parts for the project. She looked like she was at Disney, she was so happy!

Other than that, it’s been a pretty good week so far, with one exception. Our beloved cat Bumble (who is 18) is in kidney failure, and working with the vet, there is no longer anything we can do for her. We will be saying goodbye to her tomorrow, and it’s heartbreaking.

So not to end on a sad note, here are some random pics. I’m sure I’ll have a ton of Bumble in my next post…

Thriving on Chaos (as usual)


What a chaotic few weeks! Getting back into the swing of school, work, family, social life balance seems to always lead to more meals out, which is never my first choice. Don’t get me wrong – I do love to go out to eat for sure – but I really prefer to make good and healthy meals for the kids and me.

Smoothies are still my favorite for breakfast, and lots of salads, soups, curries, and of course tacos for everything else!


Same as always – runs and hot yoga and some workouts in the garage! We had more snow, so that meant a lot of indoor workouts – which are my least favorite.

Unfortunately, I got sick last Monday, and while I’m managing as long as I keep my fever down (been a huge pain to have a persistent fever), I’m still not up for runs. So, gentle yoga at home and daily meditation and it’s all helping.


It’s certainly been a busy couple of weeks, but that’s nothing new. On the home front, R has gotten really involved in her high school’s robotics club, and is there pretty much every night and Saturday. They have a big competition coming up, and she’s really loving it. Her mentor is a NASA engineer and she’s learning so much and loving every minute of it.

School is really intense, but that’s okay. I do really enjoy it though. I picked up this wonderful book called Deep Work by Cal Newport, and it’s really given me an edge I think on obtaining that hyper focus I need to do well in school and build this new program at work. He goes into detail in how our deeply connected world has led to a inability of people to “go deep” in concentration and therefore production of meaningful work. After all, how can I write publishable papers and build professional program frameworks if I’m checking Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram 50 times per day? (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my social media, but it does provide a next-level distraction that I can do without). I have a long way to go before fully implementing all the techniques I’m learning, but it’s been really impactful so far. I first heard about it on the MentorBox podcast (I’m a MentorBox member), and was so intrigued, I picked up the audio book. I’m now thinking I need a print copy as well! I don’t do that for many books – usually the audio is fine – but this is one I feel I’d like to have for a quick review time and again. I plan to check it out at the library first to see if there’s anything in there I’m not getting from the audio book (like some physical examples he discusses). Anyway – if you have any interest in professional development and increasing productivity – especially as a knowledge-worker – I highly recommend it.

Work is getting more and more interesting as we progress through our restructuring and I work on building this new division. The good thing is I have very loose direction, so I get to build it the way I think it should be – rather than following a prescribed set of expectations. I’ve always enjoyed that freedom to be creative with my work, and to base my ideas off of research and best practice in varying industries. It’ll be slow going for awhile – which is fine – since we all still have “day jobs” until the restructure is done. But it’s still be fun to get into.

I was in Chicago this past week for a few days. Was supposed to be Wednesday – Sunday (today), but ended up coming home Friday due to expected inclement weather in Chicago. I was bummed because I was supposed to visit family Friday afternoon-Sunday morning. Fortunately, I know I’ll be back there in May at least, so will make an extended trip to visit family and friends back home.

Other than that, I’m enjoying time with my munchkins as well as an active social life. Excited that this will be a short week as I head out of town on a little get away with about 15 of my friends! I guess that means it’s time to get back to the books so I can get all my school work done before mini-vacay starts!

All told, I have an incredibly busy life, and I love it. I’ve always known I can’t sit still, and certainly couldn’t just do nothing all day. Some may say I take it to the other extreme – on the go constantly. And there may be some truth to that, but I can’t imagine it any other way. I do take “breaks” to slow down a little bit, but must admit, I love living in my world of barely controlled chaos!

A couple friends and I went to an 80’s event at a local bar. I certainly went all out in my outfit (leggings, tutu, side pony, lace gloves, etc). Sadly not all did. But that’s okay, it was a good time anyway!

Also did a day trip to Richmond for some serious fun, which included a couple Cideries and meeting up with friends. My favorite, shockingly, was a jalapeño lime cider at a place called Busky’s. SO good.

GET ME OUTTA HERE (aka – Cabin Fever Stinks)


Well, this week has been a fun little challenge of “can’t go outside, so whip up fun stuff with what you have in the house!”. Thankfully, I always have tons of different veggies, rice, tofu, beans, not to mention what’s in the big chest freezer in the garage, and about a billion spices. No one will go hungry nor get bored just because we’re snowed in. We might get majorly stir crazy…but no one will starve!

Despite it being insanely cold, I still do my morning smoothies. Had a vanilla mint theme going on most of this week. Vanilla Vega powder, Ripple Pea Milk (my new total favorite thing), spinach, peppermint extract, and ice.

I’ve also made a ton of different ramen-esque dishes too. Also went out to lunch (before snowmageddon hit) for a yummy vegan ramen too!I decided to try a different method for making my soy yogurt. For years I’ve used the Euro Cuisine yogurt maker. And it still works great. But it makes 7 small jars. Which is fine, but I use it in cooking so much, that it’s sort of a pain to measure out. Yes…first world problem. But see, I have an Instant Pot – have had it for a bit now – and it has this lovely yogurt function. Was high time to try it out. And it did NOT disappoint! Oh…and I also discovered this yumminess called Noatmeal! It’s a grain-free oatmeal dish made with hemp seeds, chia seeds, and coconut. I added a ton of cinnamon. Yum! Works as an ONO (overnight oat) dish too.I made several batches of my tofu eggless salad. My fav way of eating it is on a big bed of greens. This was my lunch most days.Also whipped up a few tofu curry dishes. My fav one was a red coconut curry with tofu, cabbage, onions, and riced cauliflower.For snacks – kale chips! One of the things I love for my air fryer. I used to dehydrate them (LOVE my dehydrator), but I tend to like instant gratification, so 5 min in the air fryer for crispy chips is the bomb.And of course we did a big comfort food night. BBQ tofu, sweet cornbread, mashers, and soy/garlic mushrooms. All told, a week of most excellent eats!


Well if you haven’t figured it out – we got snow. And not just a little bit – but a boat load of it. Over 5 days ago. And the roads still aren’t passible. Runs have been out – which sucks. But, thank goodness for the home gym! Weights and kickboxing and yoga for the week. All good, but I’m itching to run outside. Hell – I’d even take a dreadmill right now if I could just get out of my driveway.


Despite the intense cabin fever the past 5 days, it’s been a good week or so. The night before snowzilla visited us, I got to catch up with a good friend of mine at a local spot downtown. We had yummy wine, mixed drinks, tapas, but mostly, just great company.I got my hair done about a week or so ago too. I get a lot of blonde in my hair in the summer, but my normal color is auburn. So my hair was really looking two-toned and making me nuts. So, enter my stylist (who I love), and we decided just to make me a redhead! It’s kind of fun, though is taking some getting used to.I have literally been in the house since Wednesday afternoon of LAST week. That’s right. I managed to be at work (in the office) ONE DAY since the holidays ended. Why? Snow. I mean, I grew up in Wisconsin, so I find this slightly embarrassing, that a foot of snow in SE Virginia shuts us down for a solid week! And honestly, if the temps stay at 20-something, we just may be stranded indefinitely. Fortunately, it’ll be 70 by Friday and Mother Nature will thaw us out. But seriously. It’s ridiculous. Schools are canceled, and pretty much everyone works from home if they can (thankfully I can). And even when you shovel your own drive, the city doesn’t plow anything but main arteries, so I can’t even get out of my neighborhood. You thought I was going bonkers in my last post. It’s been the better part of 2+ weeks now! ARGH. And on top of it, I just bought a new car and I really wanna drive it ;)So, I’ve spent a lot of time chilling by the fireplace. Often with the Kuma bear. On a fun note, my doctoral program started! Technically today was the first day, but all the materials were released on Friday – so I got a TON done over the weekend. Guess being snowed in = forced study time. It’s all good though. I do love learning. I have my desk set up with multiple devices so I can easily read and take notes and do research seamlessly. I also finally set up the Echo Dot I won back in October at a meeting in Tampa. It’s pretty groovy. She plays classical while I study, and Depeche Mode radio while I cook. She tells me dumb jokes and is overall pretty entertaining.So that’s about it. The black bean and sweet potato enchiladas are about to come out of the oven, then it’ll be grub time and then back to studying!Hope everyone else out there isn’t held captive in their home (even though it’s warm, clean, with plenty of food). A girl needs to get out once in awhile!