Monthly Archives: March 2011

Something Wrong With The World Today (not just the words to an Aerosmith song!)

FOOD

My alarm actually went off this morning at 7, and up I woke.  D was wonderful to set the coffee pot before we went to bed, so between my alarm and that wonderful smell of hot coffee, getting up wasn’t difficult.

I knew I had a workout ahead of me, and wanted a good and hearty breakfast.  I decided oatmeal was in order!  I cooked a serving (1/2 cup oats, 1 1/2 cups water) in the microwave, then sliced up an overripe banana into it, sprinkled some cinnamon, mashed it and yum!

Post workout I reheated another bowl of the tofu spicy soup and ate that.  And a spicy Bloody Mary 🙂

I spent some of the afternoon catching up on blog reading and flipping through cookbooks and decided a nice BBQ tempeh burger would be great for dinner.  Of course that meant making vegan slaw too.  And then I wanted to make green tea sushi rice, so my dinner plans were born!  Normally I wouldn’t do rice as a side with a burger, but it’s what sounded good and I rolled with it.  The entire meal was amazing and was exactly what I was craving.

Tempeh Burger

Inspired By 1000 Vegan Recipes

*I took a package of tempeh and cut it into rectangles
*Bring a saucepan of water to a low boil, pop the tempeh in there, and simmer for a half hour
*Heat some olive oil in a pan over medium heat, and cook the tempeh 5 minutes on each side until brown
*cover with whatever BBQ sauce you love
*put a lid on the pan, and simmer for 15 minutes

I served it on a pita with some guacamole, sliced onions, and a vegan slaw (just chopped cabbage and leftover slaw dressing from Love, Veggies, and Yoga.

fresh from the package – this is a grain based tempeh

simmering away…not necessary per se, but gives it a different texture

SLAW (good on just about anything!)

browning the tempeh

Green Tea Rice

*I made 3 cups of jasmine green tea
*put it in the rice cooker with 1.5 cups rinsed sushi rice
*turned it on the Sushi Setting

I had green tea rice for the first time in DC a few weeks ago at Java Green.  I’ve been a little obsessed with it since and thought I’d try to make it.  It was good – more powerful green tea taste than the restaurant had (maybe because I used jasmine tea), but it was really good!

FITNESS

I spent some time packing my “tri bag” last night. I was worried about the weather so I threw in a long sleeve technical shirt and a jacket just in case. And a towel, and 2 pairs of socks, and baby powder, and a wash cloth (to wipe the mud off my feet). Then I packed another bag of swim stuff, warm and dry clothes, tons of layers, and towels so I could thaw in the Y showers. I guess it was more than I needed, but I had no idea what to expect today!
I guess it was a blessing that I didn’t get up for the Fat Frogs ride yesterday, and guilt drove me to do all 3 workouts.  Today the weather was very ugly, so we had our swim as scheduled, but the two other workouts (the bike and run that was supposed to be after the swim, and the brick we were going to do this afternoon) were both canceled.  W decided that getting us sick a week before the race was probably not in our best interest (and the possibility of falling in the rain on slick roads in Smithfield).

We all started gathering at the Y at about 830 this morning.  We did an in depth clinic on race day tips and transitions and rules again, and then lined up to mimic the swim as it will be on race day.  We lined up by 100yd time, one person told us when to get into the pool lane, and another timed us in 15 second intervals to start.

As expected, there was some crowding at the wall and some passing, but everyone did great. We got a good sense of what race day will look like. Both the AM and the PM Y teams were there, so it was nice to meet people I hadn’t gotten to before, and the cheering and camaraderie were amazing. 

As for the swim itself, I struggled with regulating my breathing the entire time.  I’m not sure if it was nerves (afraid of holding up the person behind me) or what, but I never really hit that groove where I feel I could swim for hours.  I hope I can work that out before next weekend!

I was chatting on Facebook with my cousin today, and it turns out she’s going back home for a Tri this year with her husband!  That’s so cool, and I wish I could be there at the same time to cheer her on (my younger cousin – her sister – may do it too).  I’ll have to make sure everyone else takes lots of pictures.  My plan is still to do one next summer back home. 

D and I were talking about this today, and he said “I still think we should go to San Fran and do the one there” (he was just in SF visiting his brother last month and learned about it – I guess it’s the oldest Tri in the country).  I got excited and said “WE”??  Like he’s going to do it with me!  Ah….no.  He meant “we” as in we’d all go…but he and the kids would just watch and cheer.  Jerk.  Got my hopes up and everything…

Tomorrow is supposed to be ugly weather too, but we’re still scheduled to do a brick.  Should be interesting!

LIFE

If I thought about it too hard (and I sometimes do), I get shocked by all the things I find “wrong” in the world.  One of them really hit me today though, and it really got me thinking.  First I was sad, and then almost angry, and then guilty.  There’s this perception out there that to eat healthily, one must spend a fortune.  I was at the store picking up some essentials (dog food, bread, avocados…), and had a long time to spend in line waiting for my turn.  Of course I’m looking around (aka…nosey), and start seeing what’s in people’s carts.  Don’t get me wrong – I buy junk food too.  Everyone loves cookies, or chips, or fried food on occasion.  I could never imagine those being the only things in my grocery cart though, so when I see that – especially when there are kids in tow – it breaks my heart.  I know there’s a growing movement to educate the public on healthy food options and petitions to get healthy meals at schools (they subscribe to this belief too – fried chicken “nuggets”, burgers, and fries are cheaper than smarter choices), but I worry that it’s just not enough.  A bag of beans and a bag of rice – both of which can create tasty, filling, and balanced meals – can feed a family for days for pennies.  But we still hit the Dollar Menu at the drive-thru when times are tough.

I felt sad because our children only learn from the example we set – and it’s hard to “unlearn” a lifetime of bad habits.  Then I felt angry, like we’ve become lazy as a society, and no longer spend the time preparing balanced meals.  I know that when I eat junk food too much, I feel awful…and to think we have children in our country who don’t know what it’s like to feel truly good because this is how they eat all the time.   And then guilt – really…who the heck am I to sit in judgement of what other people do or don’t do?  Maybe they think they’re giving healthy and balanced meals – I certainly know people who eat things that they feel is healthy for them, but I don’t.  I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist.  And then I realized – that most people aren’t!  And most people are trying to work, raise families, AND do all the cooking, cleaning, errand running, etc.  Most days, I’m lucky if I have 15 minutes to sit still.  Sometimes quick is the only option, and most healthy food (other than a salad) isn’t “quick”.  I usually get around that by spending my free time on weekends cooking mass quantities to sustain me throughout my hectic week.  Then again – cooking is relaxing and enjoyable to me – and it’s torture for others.  So again – the guilt of the initial judgement I felt this afternoon at the store made me feel ashamed of myself.  We all try to do our best, but many are making their best decisions based on bad information.

So what do we need to do to 1-raise awareness and 2-encourage the demand for junk food to go down and healthy food to go up, so we can balance out the cost of groceries.  I don’t know that I have a good answer – but I’m certainly going to start doing some research on that.  There are a lot of good movements out there.  It just has to be important to get the recognition it needs.  Well….I admit I’d rather lose sleep thinking about this than work!

Whew…that was probably as exhausting to read as it was to write.  On a totally different note….

I’m contemplating taking my Vita Mix on vacation with me in 2 weeks.  Probably strange to most people, but R and I are staying in a 1 bedroom condo with a full kitchen….I’m thinking it’s not necessarily a BAD idea!  Oh, and she has started “packing”.  Meaning….piling things she wants to take in the corner of her room.  When she’s not looking, I take things out of the pile and put them away.  Like 20 books, her Lego’s, 15 outfits (we’ll be gone 5 days), all her stuffed animals, etc.  It’s cute how excited she’s getting though.

D decided he was going to be Mr. Fix-It today.  The kid’s bathroom has 2 sections.  1 is the shower, cabinet, and toilet, and 1 is the sink, cabinets, and mirror.  The lights in the section with the sink and mirror haven’t worked in a while now (not TOO big a deal because the light from the toilet/shower area illuminates just fine when all the doors are open.  Still…D got a wild hair to fix it today, and he did!  I think he was going a bit stir crazy, but I’m certainly not complaining.  Neither are the kids who now have light! 

A few months ago, D started watching Dr. Who with the kids.  It’s become their “father and kid” activity, and they all get really excited about it.  D used to watch the old ones with his dad growing up, so it’s special for him too.  Since they’re in the living room watching an episode, I’m going to sneak upstairs and spend some quiet time with my Kindle!  Hope you all had a great and relaxing weekend!

The Key to Unstressing Is To Be Freakishly Busy!

FOOD

It was cold this morning.  I was really hoping this winter thing was done, but no….psycho Virginia weather strikes again.  Because it was cold, I wanted something that would warm me up for breakfast.  So after I had my obligatory cup of plain black coffee (half the grounds were the Trader Joe’s mocha coffee, half cheapo-Folgers), I decided to make some spicy tofu soup!

I pressed the tofu a few days ago, diced it, and stuck it in a whipped up marinade.  I wish I had written it down, because it was awesome!  I imagine that I’m going to spend the next year attempting (and failing) to recreate it!  Anyway, back to the soup.  It’s a nice stand by I started making a few years ago, and I still love it.  Here’s how it typically goes…

Spicy Tofu Soup

1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
whatever veggies I have lying around (today was frozen peas)
1 block of tofu, pressed and diced.  (today was the first time I used marinated tofu – it’s not necessary as long as it’s pressed)
2 cups veggie broth
1/2 cup diced tomatoes (fresh, canned…doesn’t matter.  Today I used canned with chili peppers)
hot sauce (I typically use Siracha, but was out and used Texas Pete)
red pepper flakes – if I’m feeling particularly spicy (I was not today)

Saute the onions, garlic, bell peppers, and tofu in a non-stick pan (or use a little olive oil) until the tofu starts browning on all sides.  Stir every few minutes.

Add tomatoes, hot sauce and pepper flakes (if using) for another minute.  Then add veggie broth and whatever veggies you have lying around (I’ve used broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, artichokes, cabbage – doesn’t really matter.

Simmer until everything is warmed through.  Makes about 3-4 bowls of soup.  I’ve throw in leftover cooked rice or quinoa too.  The nice thing about this soup is how versatile and forgiving it is.  It’ll take just about anything and still taste wonderful.

onions, garlic, bell peppers, and tofu in the pan!

simmering away

steamy and yummy hot soup!

Everyone else got pancakes.  I was up so much earlier, that I couldn’t wait…and it’s not like anyone else in my family would eat spicy soup for breakfast!

After my morning workout I snacked on some spicy raw cracker sticks.  They were REALLY good!  Before my afternoon workout, I wanted something hearty, but not spicy for lunch – but something that didn’t require too much prep and time since I was hungry.  I decided on a baked potato (with Earth Balance butter and Tofutti “better than sour cream” vegan sour cream) and 6 Trader Joe tofu nuggets with BBQ sauce.  It was quick, healthy (ish), and filling.

Dinner, though, was so much fun, it’s ridiculous!  I asked R this morning what she wanted for dinner (while we were soaking in the hot tub!).  She starts to answer with things she thinks I want to hear (she initially said rolls and asparagus…).  I finally looked at her and asked what she really WANTED, and her answer was quesadillas.  Okay!  Quesadillas for dinner!  I stopped at the grocery to pick things up (quesadillas have so many possibilities!).  I was walking around and ended up buying a quesadilla maker.  I know it’s cheesy – I can just as easily make them on the stove – but I rolled with it anyway.

I made a totally yummy one for my dinner.  I sauteed some red onion and diced bell pepper and layered it with refried beans (fat free and vegan of course), cilantro, and guacamole.  After a mere 4 minutes in the quesadilla maker, it was scored and ready to go!  I added lettuce, mango salsa, vegan sour cream, and hot sauce.  It was SO good!  D ate two, and the kids each ate one.  I had my own little Mexican restaurant, right in my kitchen!

the contents of my quesadilla innards…

right before it gets into the press

and after!  I forgot how cool finger food is…

FITNESS

I didn’t actually intend on swimming today.  I’m sore from last night’s swim (in a good way…not an injured way), so I figured I’d just bike today as planned.  Alas…best laid plans….

R had her regularly scheduled swim lessons at 1030.  D was feeling pretty rough this morning, so I planned to take her.  Well…I can’t exactly go to the pool and NOT swim, so I decided to work on trying to regulate my breathing a little bit to prep for next weekend.  That’s my biggest worry with the swim portion of the tri – getting winded and not hitting my groove (which usually takes me 75-100 yds to do).  I also wanted to time myself to get an idea of how long 12 lengths would take me.  So I went into the pool, thought I hit my stop watch on my Timex, and started to swim.  After 300, I looked at my stop watch.  It said 10:40.  So at first I thought it took me 10 minutes and 40 seconds to swim it.  Then I look closer and realize that was the time, and my stopwatch hadn’t been started (user error).  So R’s class starts about 1030 (usually a couple minutes later as the previous class wraps up).  So best guess, it took me somewhere between 7-10 minutes to swim it. 

After her class and my swim (after the 300, I just kept going at a steady pace until her class was almost over – about 35 lengths in all).  We swam in the warmer pool for a few minutes and then hung out in the hot tub to warm up!

Since I missed it, I knew I had to bike today.  I then got the bug in my brain that I should do a brick this afternoon – even though I’m doing TWO tomorrow (weather pending).  So about a half hour after my lunch, I threw the bike in the back of the van and headed off to the paved trail to bike 10 miles and then immediately run 3. 

I picked up new yankz laces last weekend that let me slide my shoes on, pull a loop, and tighten my laces without actually having to tie them.  During the tri clinic at Fat Frogs a couple weeks ago, these were brought up as being really convenient – since it’s tough to get out of a pool soaking wet and freezing and adrenaline pumping and be expected to have the manual dexterity to lace shoes.  I figured it would be good to practice with them in advance, so D put them in my shoes and I used them today.  They worked like a charm!

I got to the trail, parked, took my bike out, put my clip shoes on, and took off.  5 miles down, and 5 back.  It was cold and I was dressed in running tights (since they’re long), bike shorts (for the padded butt), a long sleeve technical turtleneck, a t-shirt, a jacket, gloves, and a headband to cover my ears under my helmet.  It was mostly enough for the ride.  The first mile was rough as the muscles in my legs warmed up, but otherwise it was pretty good.  There was a pretty strong headwind on the way back, but not enough to actually piss me off.

I got back to the van, put my bike in, switched out the shoes, and left for the run.  It took me about 2 minutes to transition.  The first 1/2 mile felt totally wrong (noodle legs), but then I was mostly okay.  It was slow going and it felt like I was running through pea soup, but I worked it out, went a mile and a half back down the trail, turned around, and headed back. 

someday I’ll get a bike rack…especially if my kids ever want to be in the van at the same time as my bike!

entrance to the trail.  It’s all paved…and not many braved the 40 degree, overcast, and rainy day

I got back to my van, took my running shoes off and put my cushy slip on sandals (yes..with socks) on.  Then I went shopping.  I imagine my outfit was curious to most people who saw me, but I really didn’t care.  I may not feel like an athlete, but I sure as hell look like one!

In all honesty, while I didn’t intend it, I’m glad I did the workouts today that I did.  I did each leg of the Tri in it’s entirety (and then some on the swim).  If I can do that – I can do them in a row, right?  That’s my thought plan, and I’m sticking with it.

We have two team workouts tomorrow.  The first is a mini-Tri.  The Y is letting us in 2 hrs before they open to do the swim and then we’re going to do an abbreviated bike and run to mimic what it’s like to transition in a race between the three.  Of course, this is weather pending.  Tomorrow is supposed to be worse than today – cold, wet, and maybe even snow!

The afternoon (at 430pm) is another brick on the Smithfield course.  Bike then run.  Again – weather pending.  If I’m not ready after tomorrow…I won’t be ready in time. 

LIFE

Not much to really report.  Pretty much all of my day was spent working out, getting ready to work out, or getting cleaned up from working out!  Of course there was a bit of shopping and cooking, and I even finished my latest book, but the best thing about today is that I was so focused on the workouts – I didn’t feel a lick of the stress that’s been dogging me (of course now that I say that out loud, it’s back).

I chatted with my sister for a bit and really just enjoyed my day.  I’m thinking tomorrow will be much like today – too busy to really think.  I welcome it to be honest.

But for now…my hubby wants to watch a movie.  It’s almost 9, so I had better go and do that before I fall asleep, forget to set my alarm, and miss my Tri practice tomorrow!  W will KILL me if I do that….

Turns Out I Have More Than One Speed Setting

FOOD

I didn’t get to really cook today, but I did get to eat my food, which just made me feel good and healthy and energetic overall.  Breakfast was a cup of coffee and some reheated rice/lentil/veggie/red curry.  I love spicy food in the morning!  Mid morning, I had yet another kale salad with pickled radish/onions from last week, avocado hummus, olive oil spray, and lemon juice.  I just can’t articulate how very awesome this salad is.  The key is to have the kale marinate in the olive oil and lemon juice for a bit I think, but whatever it is, it tastes great and makes me feel amazing.  I’ve read other people’s blogs about starting to crave certain really healthy foods, and I think I’m craving kale!  I can’t believe I had never had it before a couple months ago.  Lunch was a black bean and rice wrap that really hit the spot.  I will admit, that I’ve been lacking on dinner the past few days.  In fact…I haven’t eaten dinner for the past 3 nights.  I know it’s not good, but my day gets so hectic (work, working out, making the rest of my family dinner), that by the time it’s time that I can eat, it’s after 8pm, and I figure it’s a waste of time (and I never sleep on a full belly).  I made a piece of gluten free toast with sunflower bread about an hour before my workout.  Not exactly a meal, I know…..

Before work today, I made a batch of cupcakes.  They cooled all day, and after work, R frosted them.  Of course I took a picture when she WASN’T looking…and then wanted to pose for some of them.  She’s a total ham….

when she didn’t know I was taking a picture…

she staged this as an “action shot”…

…and finally acknowledging the camera!

FITNESS

I had two workouts today, and boy oh boy, did I need them!  I think I’ve been pretty vocal about how stressed I have been lately – in an unhealthy way.  I think a little stress sometimes is good, but too much for too long is terrible for you.  Anyway, I knew I had hit a breaking point today, and the ONLY thing I wanted to do was run.  So I did!  I did 5K around my neighborhood in the afternoon.  It felt great (even though I was overdressed), and my stress pretty much melted right off.

I’ve been noticing lately that my Garmin isn’t reflecting the correct time.  It usually says something between 530 and 730pm – no matter what time of day I’m out and about.  I finally figured it out today – it was showing what that specific day’s sunset time is!  I had no clue my watch even HAD that feature, and I couldn’t figure out how to change it.  It’s been driving me crazy…to the point I thought my watch was broken (nothing like being out for an hour run and NOT see the time change on my watch!).  Enter D, the wonder husband who figured out how to fix it. 

This evening was the team’s swim workout.  It was wonderful and I felt really good.  I’ve always joked that when W has “tempo”, “fast”, “slow” as the speeds we’re supposed to do, that I only have one speed.  I’m the same no matter which section of the workout I’m on.  This evening, however, I learned that I truly do have more than one speed setting!  On the “fast” laps, I pushed it and went faster than I did on the “slow” or “warm up and cool down” laps.  I still struggle with the first 100 yds – my breathing is erratic and I feel winded.  Once I’m past that, I can keep swimming for a long time, but that initial warm up is touch.  I’m worried what that will mean in the Tri next weekend – how do you warm up for a swim race when the swim is the first thing?  Will I get past that winded/erratic breathing to get through the race okay?  I certainly hope so.

LIFE

Today’s first meeting was at 730am.  It was better than it could have been, but had it’s sticky moments too.  Oh well, most of my day was peppered with moments just like this!

It’s been tough watching D feel miserable the past week.  The Crohn’s pains have completely subsided – and they did within a couple of days (fastest flare up recovery ever!).  The problem is the two meds they put him on make him terribly sick.  He’s nauseated, exhausted, and has a taste in his mouth reminiscent of sucking on a tin can constantly.  Food tastes terrible, and he looks, frankly, like crap.  He hates it that I notice, but it breaks my heart I can’t fix it.  I’m amazed he even takes his meds knowing how they make him feel. 

Not much else to report today.  I got a lot of work done, which is good, but I have a ton more I need to get together in pretty short order. 

I have recognized that I’ve let my crazy schedule sort of take over my life.  I know sometimes that’s necessary in all things we do – we push the crazy hours and take on more than we should for a period of time.  What I’ve missed out on (and this sounds funny, I know), is keeping up on reading my favorite blogs and Twitter updates.  Today I decided that it’s not something I want to give up anymore, and it’s been fun spending an hour or so catching up.  I know it may sound weird, but sometimes it’s the little things that make you happy.  I know no other vegan’s at all, and the one’s I do “know” are in the blog and twitter world.  It makes me feel connected to people who are in some ways like me…and I’ve missed it.

On a happy note, my pups has been quite happy lately.  The kids have been walking her every night (thanks to a harness…she’d walk them otherwise), and she’s just as happy as ever.  We’ve started giving her a joint supplement twice per day to see if that helps her arthritis.  We’ll know in a few weeks.  D was lounging on the green room couch last night rubbing her belly for a long time.  Sam’s back leg was going like thumper!

Travel, Bad Wine, and Bob

This post is yet another “catch up post” that will not follow my regularly scheduled format.  I’m too stressed out for that much advanced planning 🙂  Instead, this will be a sort of free-flowing thought type of post, hope you don’t mind!

I pulled the pictures off my phone of taking Sammie to and from her spa day on Saturday.  I couldn’t get her to look at me on the way there – it was nice and the window was open.  It was funny having my 75lb dog in the bug though.  She took up more space than I did!  We used the van for the ride back home.

The past several days have been a blur.  I went up to the DC area Sunday for several days for work.  I left Sunday afternoon around 1230, but not until I made an awesome salad with my leftover tempeh taco stuff, spinach, avocado, pickled radish and onion, and some other veggies I had lying around.  It was huge and took me 2 hrs to eat.  That’s okay though because it kept me full all day…which was a good thing because a usual 3 hr drive took a little over 5.  Stupid traffic.

super salad

I finally checked into the hotel, and discovered my dinner plans were shot because my friend was stuck an hour behind in the same traffic I had been.  I decided to go to Wegman’s (one of the coolest grocery stores ever) and had myself a little adventure.

First I wanted to eat.  I was understandably hungry by this time and maybe just a wee cranky.  I went to their buffet and picked up something.

Then I wandered around looking (and picking up) quite a few things.  I have a good friend with a slight cheese obsession.  This grocery has about 6 aisles of cheese, so I texted her about it – she asked me to take pictures of the Brie section and send them.  So I’m walking around with my iPhone taking pictures in the grocery store of the olive and hummus bar (yes I know…amazing.  Two of my favorite things in a self service BAR), the fresh mozz aisle, and the brie aisle.  As I’m doing so, some cheese nazi comes up to me to tell me I am not allowed to take pictures of the food.  Really??  It’s not like I was at the Opera or something….strange cheese lady.  Alas, it was too late and I sent S the pictures.

brie.  this is where the crazy cheese lady jumped out at me

hummus and olive bar.  so.  cool.

mozz

I picked up some avocado hummus, some chips that are actually MADE out of hummus, a few vegan/nut free/gluten free chocolate bars, and a bottle of wine.  I was all proud I remembered my wine key…but the bottle I bought was a screw top!  It was the free sample wine, so I thought my initial thimble sized sample was good.  I was SO wrong.  It was gross….

unneccesary wine key, bad wine, and classy hotel cup

Anyway, went back to my hotel room, turned on ABC Family which was playing Harry Potter, caught up on some emails, ironed my clothes, and felll asleep reading.  For the first time in several weeks, I slept really, really well.

The next morning I woke up early, took my time puttering around, and hit the road for a 715am meeting.  After a long afternoon of meetings, my two team members that were up with me and I went to Wegman’s for lunch!

 I did get some playtime in too with a couple team mates when we took the train to Chinatown Monday evening to hit up Fado’s Irish Pub.  It was a great time, and a much needed decompression from the stresses of late.  We started with some bloody mary’s, beer, a jaeger bomb (for my friend), and a couple bottles of wine.  We drank, talked, and overall had a really good time.  We were there pretty early into happy hour, when I noticed a little old man come in.  He sat in the corner by himself, ate, and had a drink.  He was wearing what looked like an American Legion or Knights of Columbus hat with pins and blazer.   I very much wanted to meet him and hear his story, so we bought him a drink.  He came over and sat with us, and I think I had one of the most fun conversations that I’ve had in a long time!  He was visiting from Minnesota and was there with a group to meet with the legislature to discuss Veteran’s benefits.  We talked about wars, growing up in the Midwest, his kids and grand kids, being part of the American Legion, and his thoughts on what’s happening in my home state of Wisconsin politically.  We debated and disagreed and overall, had a wonderful time.  The girls and I eventually hit the train back to where we were staying. 

thought it was cool that the Starbucks sign was also in Chinese

no, this wasn’t all mine….just one of the bloody mary’s was

The next couple days were more meetings, squeezing in workouts when I could, and then travelling back home for more work and meetings and overall craziness.  Next week, it’s travel time again, this time to the bottom of North Carolina for 3 days.  Should be interesting – I have to give three presentations (with my CIO, the VP of strategy, the Physician VP of IT…and me) to their Board of Directors, Hospital Leadership Group, and the entire Medical Staff.  I am slightly prepared…but have a ton more to do. 

Finally being in my own home today, I made a few things this morning food-wise.  The biggest thing that gets to me when I have to travel is the food.  I hate eating out for so many days in a row.  My stomach doesn’t like it when my food isn’t very fresh, and I don’t like having to always be so picky and demanding when I’m out!  Thankfully DC has no shortage of vegan food options, but still.  Breakfast was a smoothie with a scoop of Chocolate Vega.  I don’t add supplements to my food very often – I feel I get plenty with the way I eat.  But after traveling that many days and eating out or on the run, my body felt like it needed it.

I threw together a rice cooker dish as soon as I woke up so it would be ready before I left for work.  Brown rice, mixed veggies, coconut milk, lentils, and red Thai Curry powder from my dad’s spice kit.  I have to order some more of that soon…

I also threw together a quick salad to take with me too that was so yummy.  I forgot to take a picture because I ate it before I realized I didn’t take one!  It was kale sprayed with olive oil, lemon juice, pickled radish and onion, spinach, and a big spoonful of the avocado hummus.  Holy.  Cow.  In fact…I think that’s what I’m going to have for dinner tonight too!  I’m totally craving veggies – probably because other than salads, I’ve been lacking them the past couple days.

I have a little over a week until my Triathlon and I’m totally scared.  I’m pretty convinced I’m going to die or something tragic, and that I am in no way ready.  While I think I’m getting in all my workouts, I’ve had to miss many of the group ones due to work or other obligations that have popped up.  I’m going to do my best, finish it (if it kills me), and figure out how to get really good at them so I can do another one.

So I’m going to make a salad and maybe read until I go to bed.  Here’s hoping I keep sleeping well again!

Yes, Someone Truly Can Function on Almost No Sleep for 4 Days. Just Not Well…

FOOD

The past few days have been so hectic, I haven’t really cooked since the tempeh tacos the other night.  Thursday morning was some leftover butternut squash pasta.  I’m glad I made 8 servings of that on Monday, because I’ve been living on it most of the week.  I went and grabbed a double shot iced soy latte at one point too because I couldn’t think anymore (very little sleep the past week).

Of course, Thursday was Saint Patrick’s Day, so I definitely had to celebrate with some black and tans with friends and colleagues.  Probably not the brightest idea considering how tired I was, but it was an also much needed break from crazy work hours.  I also had a half of a portabella wrap for lunch, and some tofu for dinner. 

Friday I had Chinese food for breakfast.  Hey, I didn’t sleep the night before, and really….I’d have eaten it for breakfast anyway!  I got to meet D for lunch, and it was such a beautiful day (85 degrees!), that we ate outside.  We went to Bravo’s Italian.  Italian is usually a good bet, but there really wasn’t much for me there.  I ordered a salad, and it came covered in cheese (even though it wasn’t listed on the menu as having cheese).  D’s fries also came with cheese sprinkled all over them – again – no indication on the menu.  I have to say, I’m annoyed.  It’s not that people don’t have free will and the right to eat cheese.  Quite the contrary – I really don’t care what other people do.  But when it comes to food, full disclosure people!  I have what I would consider self-imposed dietary “restrictions”.  I suppose I “could” eat cheese, I just “choose” not to.  But what if I were allergic?  Considering that lactose allergies are pretty common place, doesn’t a restaurant owe it to their customers to fully disclose things like that?  I think of my daughter and her nut allergy.  What if some restaurant decided not to mention it had peanuts and she stopped breathing because she ate it not knowing better?  Yep…Bravo’s is getting a letter from me!



my sweetie


By Friday evening I was pretty deliriously tired.  I took M and R to dinner because we were on one side of town, and D took A somewhere else, because they were on a different side of town!  I picked Italian again – almost always a hit.  This time, it was a place that we’ve been before called La Bella’s.  Most people dress fairly nicely when dining there, though I’ve seen people in t-shirts and running gear too.  They also have an Italian grocery attached, and I often pick up canoli there for D and the kids. 

I realize that I get overly sensitive when I’m exhausted.  I’m sure that’s totally normal, but I swear, I wasn’t over reacting this time!  The food was great; it always is.  The service was horrible this time!  Our waiter was snooty as all get out, and treated me very shabbily.  Granted, I was wearing a t-shirt and jeans and was dining with just me and two of my kids, but he truly treated me like garbage.  He brought me a glass of water, but never asked if I wanted anything else.  He talked down to me and the kids, wouldn’t make eye contact, and was just nasty when he did decide to grace us with his presence.  If you remember the movie Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts gets snubbed at a Rodeo Drive store because she didn’t “look” like she could shop there, and she tells them what a “huge” mistake they made as she’s walking out the door flashing Richard Gere’s American Express gold card….it was a little like that. 

I was texting with D, and he was asking how dinner was and I told him.  He called the restaurant, spoke to the manager (I had no idea until I had left he did that), and she promised to make it right.  Well…she didn’t.  Never saw her and our bill was $75.  For me and two kids.  Anyway, I only left a 10% tip…which was generous all things considered (I spent several years as a waitress…I know what good service should be).  I did buy canoli on the way out though!

vegan gnocchi.  fabulous

Breakfast this morning was two toasted slices of gluten free bread with sunflower seed butter.  And coffee.  I didn’t make a pot of coffee, and I didn’t want straight espresso, so I made an iced mocha of sorts.  I usually make a cup of espresso and put steamed vanilla soy milk in it.  Well…I’ve been out of vanilla soy milk for several days, but I had chocolate!  I decided to try that and it wasn’t bad.

Lunch was a black bean burger with avocado slices, mustard, lettuce, and red onion.  Dinner hasn’t happened yet, and it may not.  I may go to bed shortly just because I can!

FITNESS

The past few days I’ve either been at work or sleeping (or trying to sleep).  I missed the team swim last night because of both work and exhaustion, which made me sad because I love swimming.  Alas….I’m doing that in the morning.  I need to get my 300m and 800m times and send them to coach.

I did get do go on a 21 mile bike ride this morning with Fat Frogs.  This isn’t the Tri Club, but the bike shop’s weekly ride.  Several of the Tri Club goes, but it’s a much bigger “everyone welcome” ride.  We got rained on the first 5 miles, and L and I joked that we were biking just past my subdivision and should just go to my house and have coffee.  It was tempting!  But after the first 5 miles, the rain stopped, we dried out, and kept going.  Unfortunately, it was super windy.  It was up to 25 mph winds, and some of the legs were either head on, or trying not to get blown over from the sides.  J, L, and I rode together at C pace, and some of it was quite the balancing act just trying to stay upright in the winds.  The average pace was 15mph, but there were moments in the head wind where 10mph was barely happening.

Tomorrow morning will be a run and then probably a swim.  I want to go see the Shamrock marathon and half-marathon runners at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront too if time and parking permit.

LIFE

Well, life has been full of long work hours and lack of sleep for the most part.  It’ll probably be a couple of weeks before things stable out completely, but it is what it is.  I’m lucky to work with a strong group of people who can fully handle what’s going on!

Thursday I had to go up to Hampton for a meeting.  I never know what tunnel traffic is going to be like, so I left earlier than I probably needed to.  I got up there in plenty of time, and swung by a Target to pick up kitty litter (and coffee…they all have Starbuck’s inside now).  I tend to park out in the sticks because I have depth perception and parking issues (I drive a mini-van).  Anyway, I am parked quite far from the entrance, and I come out to my vehicle and see this!

I talked in a post last week about people not returning their shopping carts being a huge pet peeve of mine.  Well…he’s one of the reasons why!  I’m sure the jerk didn’t intend to scratch my car…but he/she did.  Really…if you use a cart…PUT IT BACK.  Or don’t use a cart.

My oldest daughter wore a pretty green Asian style dress on Thursday.  She even tried smiling for the picture 🙂

I have a thing for antenna balls.  I have them for every holiday.  Saint Patty’s is NO exception!!!

Not much else has been going on to be truthful.  Most of the past 96 hrs have been spent working.  I have to go to DC tomorrow afternoon for 2 days.  I don’t mind going, but the timing is pretty bad.  I have 2 weeks until the Tri, am scared to death, and am going to miss a team ride on Monday.  I’m thinking of taking my bike to DC, but looking at the weather, it’s supposed to rain.  I may just be using the hotel’s treadmill for a couple days.  Ick.  I guess we’ll see!

For Japan With Love. Bloggers Day of Silence. Supporting ShelterBox.

For Japan With Love. Bloggers Day of Silence. Supporting ShelterBox.

The original post can be found here.  Please consider doing what you can to help the people of Japan.

http://www.forjapanwithlove.com/

The devastation in Japan since the earthquake has been overwhelming – Shelterbox USA is there to help. That’s why bloggers from all over the web are joining in a day of silence for Japan.






We all want to help, and we’ve all come to learn that even a small effort can make a big difference. That is why I’m joining in a day of silence For Japan With Love. The point of this day of silence is to raise awareness for ShelterBox, a fabulous non-profit with an innovative idea of distributing “Shelter Boxes” to crisis areas.






And remember: You don’t need to donate money to help! If you can’t donate yourself – please retweet/facebook this blogpost in hopes that someone who can donate will see it. Learn more about this project…






ShelterBox USA. I did my research and Shelter Box has the same CharityNavigator.org rating as Red Cross. Actually Shelter Box is 2 points higher. So if you want to donate, you can feel good about your donation.






The Shelter Boxes are like survival picnic baskets of sorts equipped with shelter (modern tent), a wood-burning stove, blankets, tools, even coloring books and crayons for the kids – and more. They allow families in need to feel more self-sufficient until they can get their lives back. Certainly an effort I can get behind.






Really, I am so impressed by the Shelter Box company. Visit their site and check out all that they do. The #ForJapanWithLove donation pages is here.






At 9am today the fabulous folks who organized this day of silence have raised $28,000+ .. lets see how high we can get that number.






From the official donation page: “ShelterBox provide emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world who are affected by disasters at the time when they need it the most. Each large green ShelterBox is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items. A whole box costs $1,000 (US), so we’re hoping to raise enough to send 5 boxes.”






And a big thank you to Utterly Engaged and Ever Ours blogs for organizing this day – which has been recognized in numerous media outlets now including Martha Stewart Weddings.






And again – even if you can’t donate yourself – please retweet and facebook this blogpost in hopes that someone who can donate will see it.






The day of blogging silence is so that we can all talk about Japan. Just as one of my blog goals is to try and bring a voice to animals in need who have none – right now Japan is crippled and voiceless as well. A voice is a powerful thing.






http://www.forjapanwithlove.com/

What’s Crazy? Giving Your Bike a Flat Tire So You Can Practice Changing It…

FOOD

Good food days!  It’s always nice when I have leftovers available, and as hectic as the past two days have been, that’s a really good thing too!

The coffee D made on Monday morning was icky.  I’ve been using coupons and buying whatever is on sale for the most part.  We used to be total coffee snobs (hello…we lived near Seattle in the late-90’s!).  When we moved from WA to WI in 1999, I remember going to the mall and buying a raspberry mocha from Gloria Jean’s Coffee Beans (were no Starbucks there – though frankly only the tourists in Seattle ever went to Starbucks).  They used chocolate milk, and it tasted like NyQuil.  As soon as we got home, D ordered me a cheap espresso machine from QVC so I could make my own!  When we bought coffee, it was only whole bean, and we’d often make custom blends.  My favorite was an Italian coffee, and we’d sometimes even order it!  We’re so not like that anymore!  My coffee consumption has gone down a ton, and we’ve pretty much become a Foldger’s family.  Still…if nice coffee is on sale, I’ll pick it up as a “treat”.  Well…apparently my expensive coffee taste buds no longer exist, because the stuff on Monday was not good.  I think because I drink black coffee, it’s impossible for me to mask the bad flavors with sweeteners and creamer.  Anyway, D noticed I didn’t like it and actually dumped it and made a new pot so I could have my single daily cup of joe.  He’s such a thoughtful guy!

I had to run out the door on Tuesday to get downtown for the day, so I threw together a breakfast salad to eat once I was there.  I have these containers called Fit N Fresh.  I’ve had them for years, and they’re totally awesome.  They sell them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Target.  Anyway, they all have little snap in ice packs, so if I’m taking food where I don’t have access to a fridge (or don’t want to use the communal office fridge because they’re gross), these are perfect.  The kids use them all the time for school lunches (I don’t believe in using baggies or disposable packaging whenever possible), so they can take things like pasta or lettuce salads, sushi, or anything they want to keep chilled.  Anyway (excuse my rambling..I have a strange love for Tupperware and similar products), I threw together an awesome breakfast of fresh spinach, tofu eggless salad, the raw spiralized salad I made on Monday, and some sprouted lentils.  Again, totally full for hours.

An aerial view of my container!
my breakfast salad (notice it’s stuck between a laptop and a normal keyboard…yep…that busy!

Lunch was some reheated butternut squash mac and “un” cheese between conference calls.  Also very tasty and filling.  It’s a good thing too, since I frankly didn’t have time for lunch.  I brought an apple and a banana with me too in case I got the munchies…which I didn’t (was too busy…and full!).  On the car ride home stuck in craptastic traffic at 530, I ate my banana.  By the time I got home, figured out dinner for D and the kids, I had just enough time to drink a glass of chocolate soy milk (I had a sweet tooth) before running out the door just before 7.  I was a little hungry when I finally got home just after 9, but I certainly wasn’t going to eat that late…I’d never have fallen asleep.  Is it just me?  I can’t sleep if I have much food in my belly.

Breakfast this morning was a fresh juice smoothie.  I used the Vitamix instead of the juicer (I was looking for something filling…and honestly the Vitamix takes 45 seconds to clean, where the juicer has to be dismantled and put through the dishwasher!).  I didn’t add any water, so it was thick.  Just fresh pineapple, two peeled mandarin oranges, and fresh sliced mango.  It was really good and quite filling. 

I snacked on some baked lentil chips from Trader Joe’s.  I like my salty snacks, and with being gluten free – at least for Lent – I needed to go shopping and stock up on some alternatives!  These were actually really good (notice I said ‘were’…yes…they are now gone!), and quite frankly, pretty low calorie and very low in fat.  They were simply salt and pepper, and I was surprised by the spiciness.  If you have a TJ’s near you, I’d highly suggest them!

Lunch was a lentil and rice pilaf.  I’ll be honest – it wasn’t one I made from scratch.  It was the boxed Near East brand, and I didn’t like it too well.  I ate a little (with a ton of hot sauce) and decided I wasn’t hungry enough to eat any more.  I was also too busy to get anything else, so I finished it and went about my day.

Dinner tonight was totally awesome.  I made tempeh taco’s with a pickled radish slaw from a great site.  I actually made the radish slaw on Monday so it could pickle for a few days.  I didn’t realize I didn’t have OJ until it was mostly made, so I substituted a peach, mango, orange juice I DID have.  It did impart a different flavor, but no less awesome.

The tacos had a touch of spice from the chili powder (I used Ancho chili powder because it was what I had on hand), and I topped it with the slaw, chopped cilantro, onion, tomato, lettuce, and avocado.  Holy yummy.  I only have leftovers because I was going to run an hour later and couldn’t be TOO full.  I want to eat them all, but I may have to use my leftovers to give to friends and lure them into the awesomeness that is vegan eating!  Or…I can just email them the recipe and keep it all to myself.  That sounds good too.

this is what the tempeh packaging typically looks like.  In a regular grocery, it’s usually in the produce section on the hippie shelf
this is what it looks like right when you take it out of the package.  Don’t be scared – it’s SUPPOSED to look like that.  It’s not moldy or rotten or anything.
so I cubed it up, tossed it with the spices on the recipe (olive oil, cumin, garlic, chili powder, OJ, etc) and sauteed it up until nicely golden brown
all the toppings to decorate my tacos!  In the mason jar is the pickled radish and onion slaw.  I’m totally going to use that on everything for a while…until I can make more.  yeah for me, yet another way I find I can like radishes!
the finished product on some fresh corn tortillas.  I debated using romaine lettuce cups, but wanted the good carbs for my run.

FITNESS

Tuesday’s are normally run days for me, but instead it was Tri Club clinic night!  W held a clinic for us newbies to go over race day and transitions and to make us practice changing flat tires.

He told us to come with our front bike tires and two tire levers.  I felt like a moron – but I didn’t know what a tire lever was!  Apparently when everyone else uses butter knives or screwdrivers to take the rubber off the tire…there are actually TOOLS for that!  I am now the proud owner of a couple tire levers ($3 for 3 of them…can’t really complain about that…but it’s going into my running total of just how expensive this tri sport thing is!).  I also couldn’t figure out how to get my bike tire off (don’t laugh…I know my Dad is cringing right now reading this).  I was worried I was going to break something when D and I couldn’t just pop it off….so I put my bike in the van, went to the shop a couple minutes early, and A came out and showed me how to take it off. 

W, his wife M (who is in our club and a very awesome triathlete), and the morning Tri Club coach P proceeded to scare the crap out of us for over an hour with “tips” and “rules” about race day and transitions.  So essentially….

*forget your helmet.  Disqualified.
*forget your race number.  Disqualified.
*have anyone touch you or help you in any way.  Disqualified.
*anyone lends aid to you when you get a flat tire.  Disqualified.  (this ain’t no charity ride…no help wagons here my friends!  Do it yourself, or quit.)
*have a family member or crowd supporter hand you a bottle of water.  Disqualified.
*sneeze.  Disqualified (just kidding.  checking to see if you were paying attention).

Then there was the discussion of socks or no socks.  When you run from the water to the transition area with hundreds of other wet people to get your bike, you always get muddy.  Do you put socks on, or not?  M doesn’t do socks, W does – but with baby powder.  And P demonstrated how you roll them down in the set up, so when you’re feet are wet and muddy, you can easily put socks on your filthy feet.

Oh and the Tri is April 2nd.  April is a schizophrenic month in Virginia.  It could be 80.  It could be 30.  Regardless…I get out of the pool soaking wet and half naked and have to bike in whatever whether God has thrown at me and try not to get pneumonia.  Does this sound fun yet?

At this point, I’m freaked out.  The whole concept of what I’ve gotten myself into has now wormed it’s way into my head and is playing mental games with me.  I’m not ready.  I’m not in shape enough.  I’m going to die doing this.  Things like that bouncing around in my noggin.

I was IMing and emailing with my husband today about my total mental breakdown on the subject of the possibility of actually doing this and living to try and do it again, and he sent me this little nugget of wisdom.  “So what?  does it really matter if you’re not a Kenyan ultra uber super de-duper mega marathon triathlon sprinter pole vaulter triple jumper first place finishing star athlete?  You’re doing this for you.”  Truer words have never been spoken (or…emailed as the case may be).  Thanks baby.  My head is still screwed up on this…but this helped.

After he scared us, he made us practice fixing our flat tires.  Twice.  So we had to let all the air out, take out the inner tube, inflate it a bit with our mouths to give it shape, but it back in, put the rubber back on, and pump it up.  And learn how to use CO2 cartridges since there aren’t random tire pumps on the side of the road.  Though that would be cool.  Did I mention we had to do it twice?  I got to use my groovy new tire levers at least.  And found out I need to get a wedge bag for my saddle with all the necessary supplies to self service during the race should I get a flat.  Add THAT to the running total….

I finally started taking some pictures.  At one point, M took my camera and took a couple of me. 

my coach is wearing the brown shirt.  P, the morning club coach is the one standing, but leaning over in the grey shirt on the left.
This is L.  She’s very cool, and has done this before.  Always has encouraging things to say when things get tough
this is me!  Using my cool tire lever 🙂

I got home later than planned (W talks a lot…our 1 hr clinic turned into almost 2!).  It was a great use of time though.  I feel a bit better prepared.

Today I went swimming right after work.  Not a ton, just a 750 yd swim.  It was good, but I had a hard time focusing.  Due to major work problems, my pager and phone were going off like crazy, and I was worried about missing something vital (oh, like a call from a VP….again).  I stayed in long enough to get 15 laps done, and hopped out.

It’s was also Tri Club run night.  About a 6ish miler in our regular loop…half or so at race pace, a quarter either warming up or cooling down, and another quarter at tempo.  Yeah…I made it about 3/4 of a mile when my phone rang.  It sucked, but I had to head back and leave.  Duty called I guess.  So tomorrow – which is normally my rest day – will be a run day so I can make up for today.  If I have the energy, I may try and do two runs tomorrow.  One to make up for yesterday, and one for today.  We’ll see.  I hate morning runs.

LIFE

Do you ever have days where you think you’re surrounded by people who just try to go out of their way to make life difficult for you?  Yeah.  Me too.

So I try not to whine about work things much, because in the end, I really and truly love what I do and where I do it.  I have the world’s coolest boss, I get trusted to do the job I want to do the way I want to do it, my customers are great people who do their best to save peoples lives every single day (and I try to give them the technology tools to help them do that), and my team is the coolest ever of hardworking, dedicated, and smart people.  I certainly cannot complain about that.

But this week.  I’m in total chaos.  First – we have a new hospital near DC.  I have until October to bring my systems live at their hospital.  Yeah – all looks good.  Plenty of money budgeted for the one I have to take…until the vendor tells me…oh, your hardware can’t handle it and it should be replaced.  Hello, unbdugeted project.  No problem, I have to do this, not exactly optional, so my boss (coolest boss ever, remember?), gets me the money.  Not cheap either.  Nice!  But not until my vendor tries to sell me the Cadillac when all I need right now is a pinto.  I’ll buy the Cadillac NEXT year when I can budget for it.  That took most of my energy for a few days, but seems to be going okay for now….

Oh, and this system has no test system – only production (I haven’t had this system for very long…only about 3 months).  So what does my coolest boss do?  Get’s me the money.  Unbudgeted.

And my newest inherited system?  Crashed.  Three times.  TODAY.  Political nightmare this one has been.  This is a case of it being a REALLY old system (like 8 years old, never been upgraded) and no one was willing to invest the money they needed to to keep it rolling.  So what has my boss done?  Give me nearly a blank check to get it fixed the way I think it needs to be done so it’ll work well for my customers.  Again…unbudgeted.  And it isn’t going to be cheap.  Coolest Boss Ever.  But at some point, they’re going to figure out I’m too expensive to keep around!

Then I have another vendor on a new project quote me one thing – and then tell me (5 months later), that it’ll cost that….times 7…if I REALLY want to do the project we asked for…7 months ago.  Can I tell ya…same vendor as the other project.  Ugh.  That’s fun news to break…”sorry boss….this isn’t a $1.5 million dollar project….more like add an additional $300k and we can do what we were told we could last summer).  Yep.  That’ll fly well.  I know they’re just doing their jobs too..but today they are my scapegoats.  Tomorrow is another day.

So here I am whining about the job I love.  But I’m not.  It’s not the job that’s upsetting at all…quite the opposite actually.  Just a frustrating few weeks/months that will somehow work itself out like it always does because of the people I have the honor of working with.  Helps to have the Coolest Boss Ever.  So when I see the light at the end of the tunnel and realize a bit too late that it’s an oncoming train…she’ll be there to pull me out of the way just before I get squished.

On other notes….my plans for the rest of the week and through the weekend are pretty crazy too!  I have a dentist appt tomorrow, it’s Irish day tomorrow – my second favorite holiday and reason alone to celebrate somehow…typically with green beer, Sammie has a vet appt on Friday for vaccinations and for “getting old”, Friday night is Tri Club swim trials, Saturday is a group ride to raise money to support Red Cross Japan (which I haven’t mentioned on my blog because I try to keep my writing light hearted and goofy…and I am absolutely horrified and worried about Japan and what they’re facing…and can’t really convey it appropriately here), then swim again (this time while R has her lessons), stop at the Shamrock sports expo, cheer on some runners, and then head to DC for a couple days of meetings and general chaos.  Oh, and I got suckered into stopping by my friend’s house on Friday morning before work to give her cat his meds!  (she’s going camping to celebrate her hubby’s bday).  So…I imagine that with all of those activities, some of the stories I have to tell will be more interesting than my work drama!

Oh….and my turtle!  I almost forgot!  So D “rescued” a baby turtle near his office back in November.  Up until fairly recently, I’ve constantly worried that he’s been on the verge of death (never seen him eat, never really see him move from his fake shrub).  The last few weeks, he’s been a swimming fool though, and seems to be doing well.  I actually caught him sunning himself on his rock today, and was so excited I took pictures.  So goodnight, and here’s Kiko!

Bras Aren’t Pockets

FOOD

Sunday was pretty much a cereal day.  At least for two of my meals it was!  Breakfast was some cereal, vanilla soymilk, and half a banana.  And a cup of coffee of course.  I was in a hurry to get out of the house and just didn’t feel like preparing anything.

Around lunch time I made some tofu eggless salad that was really good.  I toasted a couple slices of a gluten free bread I picked up at Trader Joe’s and made open faced sandwhiches (I get more eggless salad that way!).  That was my pre-workout meal.  I can’t really guage it’s effectiveness since I didn’t eat close enough to the workout though.

basic recipe with veganaise, dry mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish, salt, and pepper.  Can’t really go wrong!
lunch.  the bread slices are really tiny!

For dinner I was really hungry.  I ate the rest of the “pineapple stir fry” from Saturday, but was still hungry.  Hence my second bowl of cereal for the day (sans banana).

This morning I made tofu eggless salad cups for breakfast and sprinkled them with sprouted lentils for some crunch.  I think it was a better use of my calories, and just as filling as when I used the bread. 

Lunch was a macaroni and “un” cheese recipe I found as a link on one of the blogs I follow regularly.  The sauce is made with butternut squash, I skipped the bread crumbs, and I used brown rice noodles.  It was good (though needed salt) and very filling. 

I doubled the recipe so I’d have plenty for leftovers this week
I’m sorry…but doesn’t it just look awesome????  Who needs cheese?!

I’ve been going a little crazy with my spiralizer today.  I spiralized carrots, zucchini, and apple!  I tossed all that with some cabbage and pumpkin seeds, and a dressing of veganaise, stevia, dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar (would have added horseradish if I had any) based off of Love, Veggies, and Yoga’s recipe.  Averie has many posts where she uses this versatile sauce and adds different things to it.  Very yummy, and it’ll definitely be a staple!!  After letting it marinate most of the afternoon, I put a dollop on top of some baby spinach leaves, and that was dinner.  Really, really good. 

vegan slaw dressing.  It made quite a bit, so I’ll have plenty over the next week or so
my salad with my spiralized fruit and veggies!

Oh, and I ate a clif bar before the bike ride tonight.  I was in a hurry, hungry, and it’s always done well for me before a workout.

FITNESS

Yesterday was a practice brick on the Smithfield course.  We all met up at the bike shop at 315pm and caravaned the hour drive to Smithfield.  It was a lot harder (and shorter) than I thought it would be.  First the harder part.  Hills.  Nothing like the hills in WI (which I haven’t biked in a LONG time), but still way more than we have where I live in VA.   I was constantly afraid of falling because it was my first ride clipped into my pedals, but I didn’t, so that’s good!  It was tough, but I got through.  I also thought it was 14 miles for some reason, but it’s only 10.  Good thing too.

The run was really hard after.  Unlike last week where running right after biking felt great – yesterday it didn’t.  My legs were rubber and I never hit a stride, which scares me.  I also fell (looking ahead of me instead of down at the big pile of branches and the ditch), and twisted my ankle a bit.  Felt more foolish than anything else.  So I didn’t fall while clipped into my bike going up hills – but I fell while running on a pretty flat surface.  Yeah….I got the irony of that one too.

The good news is that it was a beautiful day.  Upper 60’s, sunny, but more windy than I’d like.  Well, honestly I’d have loved NO wind, but that’s sort of impossible.  Anyway, I wore a sports bra, tank top, and tri shorts.  I’m all proud of myself that I looked athlete-ish, when I realized….I have no pockets.  And no little bags on my bike.  So what’s a girl to do with her keys, and Gu, and piece of paper that explains the routes???  Stick it in her bra, that’s what.  I’m sure it was hilarious as I was trying to find my key so I could stick my bike in the back of the van and grab my running shoes, or when I was hunting for the Gu at the end of the bike ride and before the run.  Everyone had a chuckle out of it and showed me their tiny little bags to store stuff like that.  It’s a darned good thing that my bras are pretty industrial strength..or I’d have been in trouble.  My hubby is awesome though…on the way home from work today, he stopped at Fat Frogs and bought me a little bag!

Tonight was our Tri club ride night.  So far, all of our rides have been either in a spin room or on trainers at the shop.  Tonight, though, was our first outdoor ride!  We were originally going to do a shop ride on the trainers, but after seeing our performance on the course last night, W wanted us to ride outside.  I can tell you that I most definitely needed that myself.  We all met up around 615pm and took off about 15 or so minutes later.  K and I stayed together since we’re pretty much at the same pace, and W rode most of the way with us too.  Much of my group are really great at this, and many have been doing it a long time.  They’re always encouraging of us newby back of the packers though, which does wonders when you’re only halfway through into a head wind and feel like giving up.

We went 13 miles total.  W would have liked us to do more, but we ran out of light.  Most of us finished just as the sun was setting and it was getting dark (for those who remember this growing up – street lights were on, so I should have been home!).  A few of us were hanging out where we had parked and were talking, when we realized two of our club members weren’t back yet.  It was WAY after full dark, and we were getting a bit worried.  They showed up about 10 minutes later laughing they had gotten lost.  Good thing B had a phone and used her GPS to find her their way back. 

Oh, and I used my new little bag to store my ID and my car key!!!  In the future..going to put my phone in it too.

Tomorrow we have a club clinic where W will walk us through the process of transitions during the race.  Like – where do I put my stuff between the different legs of the race?  What are the rules (like if you don’t have your helmet on when you leave the transition area, you get disqualified – important things like that).  I’m looking forward to it.

LIFE

The past couple of days have been mostly peaceful.  Well, except for today!  I didn’t sleep last night (D’s fault…he kept snoring and waking me up).  One of the kids was running a fever last night and stayed home today – so I did as well.  I’m fortunate to often have the option of conference calls and webex’s most of the time if I need to, and today was one of those days.  Between 4 meetings and scrambling around making sure my daughter was okay and cooking, it was busy and I didn’t get out of my jammies until after 5pm.

Saturday and Sunday were both beautiful, and my dog spent most of it outside sunning herself.  I’m getting worried about her.  I’m not handling her aging well.  I’ve noticed in the past two months that she’s not hearing as well (a car would drive by, and she’d bark her head off….now, she rarely notices unless someone rings the bell).  She’d always know when I was coming home and be at the window as my car drove up.  Not anymore.  She isn’t usually aware I’m home until I open the door.  Her eyes are a little cloudy, and she moves a little slower.  She’s still a puppy at heart, but as a Yellow Lab almost 9, I know she’s getting up there.  I just don’t like it.

Sammie on the back deck.  I’d have opened the screen, but I didn’t want her to move and ruin my shot!

R was playing with Playdoh this weekend.  The rules are she has to play in the kitchen and pick up after herself.  She decided to make a play doh version of me.  Very close likeness, if I do say so myself.

my play doh clone
without any promting, she grabbed the broom and started sweeping when she was done.  This was before she noticed I was watching…
…and after.  She’s a total ham…

This weekend is the Shamrock marathon weekend in Virginia Beach.  It’s the first year I haven’t done it since 2005 (the year after we moved here) and I’m kind of sad about that.  I’m still going to the Expo (I LOVE expos) and I’m planning to go down and cheer people on.  The crowds make the race, so if I’m not running it, I want to be cheering people on.  I know a bunch of people doing the half and a couple doing the full, so the least I can do is go down, drink some green beer, and root people on.  I know what it’s like to be dragging and have some random stranger in the crowd say something that makes me pick it up a bit.  It’ll be nice to be that someone for someone else for once.

Jellybean Hangovers Suck

FOOD

I can’t complain too much on the food front the past few days.  I got to have Thai food twice (both lunches….one with a friend because we needed to escape a bit, and one was a working/meeting lunch, but still very nice).  Besides, Tofu Green Curry twice in one week can rarely be a bad thing.

I made quite a few things – thanks to my Living Cookbook 2011.  It’s so easy to put recipes from blogs or magazines in it, that I’ve been actually able to make a bunch of yummy things. 

Allow me to illustrate!

From Love, Veggies, and Yoga comes the Cheezy Vegetable Bake!  Not much could be easier, and I highly recommend it for a quick meal that you can make with ingredients on hand.  For mine, I used 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped carrots, chopped broccoli, a can of Amy’s No Chicken Noodle soup (vegan of course), some spicy sesame salad sprinkle from the spice kit from my dad, and some nutritional yeast to give it that cheesy flavor.  Put it all together, bake it, and done! 

right after coming out of the oven
I’m a fan of a few of the Amy’s products when I’m in a hurry



dinner!



I also made an awesome raw breakfast Tuesday night for Wednesday morning.  I had a ridiculously early morning meeting (7am), and figured this was the perfect time to try one I’ve been looking at.  I didn’t take pictures because I ate it during the meeting (and while I’m totally cool whipping out the camera at a restaurant or friends house to snap pics of my meals….not so much at a 7am meeting with a bunch of cardiologists as I’m trying to keep a low profile – everyone hates IT people!).
Anyway, it’s from Oh She Glows, and it’s a chocolate banana oatmeal chia seed concoction that is absolute heaven.  I of course used vanilla soy milk instead of almond milk since we’re a nut free house.  It was so tasty and filling and satisfying that I can’t wait to make this a regular thing.  The fun thing is you just mix everything together the night before, and you have instant breakfast in the morning!
Breakfast this morning was a cup of coffee and then a raw avocado soup.  I know it may sound weird, but it was really good.  I put a cup of water, a peeled and pitted avocado, a garlic clove, some crushed red pepper, and lemon juice into the Vitamix and blended until smooth.  I topped it with some red onion and sliced cherry tomatoes.  It was really tasty, and I got the recipe from a raw food cookbook I picked up a few weeks ago and love.
I know it isn’t pretty…but it was really good!  Maybe a bit too spicy for a breakfast meal if you just woke up, but I was up an hour or two before I had it, so I was good!
At lunch time, R and I were at the mall, and I got to have my favorite Veggie Pho soup – loaded with rice noodles, broccoli, scallions, cabbage, and carrots. 
I made a juice as a snack after R and I got home.  Green apple, carrot, ginger, mango, pineapple, spinach, and orange in the juicer – not Vitamix.  Super yummy.
Dinner was a raw food extravaganza.  I didn’t wake up today planning for it to be a mostly raw day, but it just ended up that way.  I’m excited that it may be becoming a more natural alternative.  I’ll never go fully raw (I love my coffee, beans, and tofu too much), but I still love having raw meals too.   I ordered a sprializer from Amazon earlier in the week (so I can make noodles from veggies!).  It came today, so I just HAD to make zucchini noodles!  I marinated those and some tomatoes in a marinade of olive oil, tamari (soy sauce), and lemon juice for 2-3 hours.  It softened the zucchini and they tasted like al dente noodles.  Absolutely amazing!
my fun new sprializer
spiralized zucchini “noodles”
I also whipped out my dehydrator to make the pineapple “stir-fry” from the Raw on $10 a Day (or Less!) blog.  I was HIGHLY impressed.  I have a cheap-o dehydrator and it still did an awesome job.  Of course I had to use my new spiralizer on the carrots, but otherwise I just chopped up the veggies, tossed in the sauce, and put on the dehydrator try for about 2.5 hrs.  It was a little warmed and the veggies and pineapple had a soft but crunchy taste to them.  The marinade made the meal – especially since I’m such a balsamic vinegar fan.  The only thing I think I’ll do next time is reduce the amount of agave nectar.  It was a touch too sweet for me.
FITNESS
This week was all about rearranging the schedule.  I ran at home on Tuesday, and got 4 miles in.  I wasn’t going to, but I realized on Monday (thanks to a Tri club team mate), that Wednesday was Ash Wednesday and I was going to miss the Tri Club run.  It was rainy and crappy out, so I ran on the treadmill.  Not my favorite, but at least I have that option.
I missed the Friday swim club due to some drama with my son (long story….but working itself out.  He can’t be perfect ALL the time I guess).  I did go to the pool this morning though to get my workout in.  1000 yds in 25 minutes.  R’s swim class is a half hour, so I wanted to swim while she did.  Then we played in the other pool for a bit (somehow, I always end up being the horse that swims her around on my back).  She went on the slide, and then we hung out in the hot tub before showering up.
I am doing the Tri club’s brick workout tomorrow on the Smithfield course (the triathlon course) tomorrow.  We’re doing the course’s bike and run.  I’m nervous, but excited too (Smithfield has hills…which we do NOT where I live…too close to the ocean I guess).  I didn’t do the Fat Frogs group ride today because I want to be not sore for tomorrow.  I did, however, finally get clip shoes and pedals!  I put my bike up on the trainer this evening, practiced getting into and out of my pedals (I’m totally scared of falling), and cycled while watching Miami Vice on my computer in the green room (called such because of the wall colors and my lack of imagination otherwise).  I’m going to do a few laps in my neighborhood in the morning to practice on the road before the brick tomorrow.



my cool new shoes



don’t mind the mess.  This is the office/guest room.  Only room downstairs with carpet, so that’s where I cycle at home.

I have to say that I love Fat Frogs.  R and I went there after the mall, and they totally hooked me up.  They didn’t try to sell me the most expensive brands (like somewhere else I checked out did), and walked me through what was appropriate (and least expensive) for an entry level cyclist.  Then they put the pedals on my bike, put my bike up on their mount, and had me practice until I knew what I was doing.  W (my coach) was there (it’s his shop) and made some adjustments so the springs in the pedals where what they should be.  I ended up spending less on the shoes and pedals combined than I would have on just shoes at the other place.  Yeah Fat Frogs!!!
LIFE
A quick note on Lent.  Most people know that Lent started this past week.  The past few years, I haven’t given up anything, but rather tried working on what I think are my character flaws.  This year, I am doing both.  I’ve given up gluten (something I’ve always wanted to do, but never managed to stick with), and am working on improving my tolerance and understanding (it’s really so I can cope better at work more than anything else- the source of a lot of my stress is related to that – but it’s a good thing to work on regardless).
I was at the grocery a couple of days ago, passed by the Easter candy section, and ended up picking up a couple bags of jelly beans. Now…I’m NOT a candy eater most of the time, and I avoid sugar pretty regularly. Unfortunately, my stress level is the worst it’s been in a long time, and I found I absolutely NEEDED jellybeans as soon as I saw them. Yeah…I apparently forgot to tell my body about the sugar influx, and it didn’t react well at all. I ate jelly beans. Loved them all…and then couldn’t feel well for hours! I think I brushed my teeth 3 times, and finally just curled up in bed and drank as much water and I could trying to flush the nasty sugar out. Ick.  Jellybean hangover.

I wish I could say life has calmed down the past week or so.  It hasn’t.  I can’t remember when I’ve sustained this high of a stress level for this long.  It’s starting to take it’s toll on me, and I’m just counting down the days until vacation.
Speaking of vacations…..I’m an idiot.  Remember how I mentioned that R and I are taking a mommy-and-me trip to Disney World in April??  Well, I booked the trip this past Monday.  I got a killer deal on a two bedroom Sheraton Condo a half a mile from the Disney compound (about $370 for 5 days).  There’s a full kitchen and plenty of space (R told me to bring my juicer, which I thought was cute).  Anyway, a week or so ago I had looked at my calendar to confirm my days off, etc, and booked the trip accordingly.  I was meeting with my boss on Tuesday morning, and it turns out she’s taking her kids (and a friend each) to Disney during spring break too!  Cool….(her daughter is 16, and could watch R while my boss and I met at the hotel bar for a drink, right???).  My boss tells me the dates she’s going – and it’s the week after I am.  Bummer.  I guess my city has a different spring break than hers.  Strange, but not impossible.  Yeah.  Not really.  I went home and checked the school calendar….I had blocked the wrong week off!  Of course the trip is pretty much non-refundable, so I’m going to Disney a week earlier than I should be….which means R gets to take 3 unplanned days off of school.   Oops.
I did get a nice break on Thursday though.  3 of my girlfriends and I went out for drinks after work, and it was really nice.  I think we all needed it (A’s husband went out of town this week, S’s cat has been sick – but he seems on the mend, and L needed a break just like I did).  We spent about 4 hours chatting, eating, and having a couple of beers.  Yeah for girlfriends when life gets tough.
D hasn’t been feeling well, and we realized early this week that he’s in the beginning stages of a Crohn’s flare up.  He’s been good about his meds, but bad on his eating habits and stress levels.  He had 5 go-lives in 2 weeks, worked a lot of crazy hours, and he’s finding that the sheer physical stress can trigger a flare up.  He called his doctor who put him on the “flare up meds” yesterday.  Unfortunately, the treatment is as horrific as the disease is, and the meds make him sick.  The next couple of weeks will be rough for him (and the kids and I…we hate seeing him so uncomfortable), but hopefully it’ll be over soon.  He has to stick to soft foods and zero fiber until he’s better (fiber can cause bowel obstructions – and emergency surgery). 
On that note…going to leave you all with a funny picture.  D made tuna melt sandwiches for him and the kids the other night when I got home late.  Our cat, Bumble, gets wonky when tuna is opened, and I found out that D leaves the cans for her.  She REALLY loves that…..

Brick By Brick

FOOD

Today was a mixed bag on the food front.  It’s not that I ate badly, I just didn’t do any cooking (for myself), so it didn’t feel like my food was as healthy as it could be.

I was in a rush this morning, so after my coffee I had some lentil soup.  Before you get all excited that they were leftovers.  They weren’t.  Amen for Progresso when I don’t have time.  I had the 99% fat free lentil soup, which is decent enough and will do in a pinch.  I didn’t even have time for fresh juice this morning (sad).

Due to a bad morning and the fact that I can’t drink mid-day, I treated myself to some Thai food for lunch between meetings.  Just me, my Kindle, and some tofu green curry.  Yum! 

Dinner had to be light and easy before my workout.  I tried something new.  Nothing stellar on the culinary scale by any means.  Toasted rye bread with vegan mayo and vegan cheese.  Basically and old favorite of mine – toasty cheese sandwich.  It was tasty, but I wouldn’t necessarily go with that as a pre-workout standard.

FITNESS

This was actually the highlight of my day.  Monday’s are spin days, and we now do our spin classes on our trainers at Fat Frogs.  I was all excited because I finally have a trainer!  I got there a couple minutes early, and much of the class was already set up.  A (nice kid who works up at the shop) helped me get set up and made sure everything was properly aligned.  The trainers are actually freakishly easy to use.  That does NOT mean they make your workouts easy.  Quite the contrary!  In case you’re even a little curious here’s the link my trainer.  It’s nice, good for beginners, and I got a discount, so I can’t complain!

W put us through our paces with a solid 30 minute ride from hell.  We were pretty consistently at a high pace, and not much rest for the wicked.  We also immediately did a run.  So ta-da!!!!!  MY FIRST BRICK WORKOUT.  The last time I tried running right after biking, I thought I was going to fall down.  This time, it actually felt great.  W is screaming at us to get out of the shop and on the road (I think he was mimicking the race day transitions needing to be fast).  Maybe he just likes to yell, which is entirely possible.

We ran a 2.5 mile loop, and it was a nice run.  The temps were in the 50’s, but after having just sweat a ton, it didn’t feel cold.  Surprisingly, my legs actually worked.  The last time I tried doing this, I nearly fell over, so this is a bonus.  I biked, I ran, and I didn’t fall!  And while I’m still dead last, I felt great the entire time.  2 of the girls actually came back out to look for me as I was just getting back.  It was a sweet gesture, and I love how everyone really tries to look out for one another.

Tomorrow is a run day, but we’ll see since I had an unanticipated run day today.  I shouldn’t count it and still go, or at the very least, do something.  Maybe I’ll do yoga or swim or strength train.  Or, I could stop avoiding it, and just run.

LIFE

Life was a bit crazy today.  Do you ever have one of those moments that just totally throw you off your groove for the rest of the day?  That happened to me today.  I went to my first meeting this morning.  It’s an hour and a half work group, so I’m all set up, I have my tablet, my notebook, and my phone all ready to go.  I decided to follow the heard (big mistake) and grab a cup of coffee.  Now mind you – I had already had my cup of the day and certainly didn’t need anymore – but that didn’t stop me even a little bit.

I drank a sip or two of the coffee, and decided that nope….I really didn’t want it.  As soon as the meeting was over, I started grabbing my stuff to pack up.  At one point, I was balancing way too many things, and ended up dumping my now cold, but full cup of coffee all down my pants and part of my shirt.  I had to go home, change, and then get the other clothes to the dry cleaners.  Hence the Thai food mid-day.  That gave me just enough time to take 2 of my meetings on my cell, and then hit the restaurant.  It was exactly the mid-day destress I needed.  I read more of my new book, which I’m very much enjoying, eating good food, and not being bothered by anyone for the most part. 

After that, I went to my last meeting of the day which is always one of my favorites. It’s with one of our hospital administrators and she and I get along very well, so I love having my meetings with her. Then that was it for the day.  Headed home to get some critical things done, whip up dinner for the hubs and munchkins, and then ran out the door to workout like a crazy girl.

I have an early morning meeting the next two days, which is going to suck.  At least tomorrow’s meetings don’t end too terribly late, so I’ll still be back home at a reasonable time.

Oh, and today is my sister in law’s birthday.  Happy B Day Bridge!!!  I miss you.