Monthly Archives: April 2011

Allergies, Dinner Fun, and a Birthday Wish to a Beautiful Girl

FOOD

Breakfast was coffee and a smoothie as predicted.  Soy milk, frozen banana, blueberries, strawberries, and chocolate Vega powder, and I was set for the morning. 

I made lentils this morning for a marinated lentil salad from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen so they could marinate all day while I was at work.  It’s a super easy recipe, cooking lentils in veggie broth with onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, and then marinating them in olive oil, red wine vinegar, spices, and dijon mustard. 

Lunch was a mish mash of whatever I could get my hands on between meetings.  Not the best; bad lettuce salad, almost bad banana, crackers…things like that.  I should have packed a lunch, but I didn’t and was left to piece together something less than thrilling or healthy.  Bad planning on my part.

Dinner, however, totally made up for that.  A friend of mine came over (she brought the wine, I cooked the food!).  I put the marinated lentils into lettuce cups (butter lettuce, radicchio, and Belgian endive) as well as making a big regular salad.  I also made eggplant gratin in a tomato-orange sauce (also from the above named Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen cookbook), lasagna, and homemade Italian bread.  Dinner was very yummy, and we had a good time sitting around and chatting.  I now have plenty of leftovers, and that’s always a good thing!

onion, eggplant, carrot, orange, tomato, onion, garlic, and fresh basil

roasted eggplant slices

tomato orange sauce

eggplant gratin!  (before it was cooked)

bread dough rising

fresh Italian bread

the dinner spread

marinated lentil salad cups!

post-cooking eggplant gratin

salad

my plate

dinner!!!

LIFE

Today was a really hectic and exhausting day.  It started at 125 am with a wicked allergy attack, where I wanted to claw my eyes out.  I tossed around for about an hour before I started checking my email.  Probably not the smartest thing, but I was going out of my mind.  It’s hard to think rationally at that time of day…

Around 330am, I started thinking I needed to do something.  I couldn’t take Benedryl, or I’d never wake up in the morning for work.  I didn’t want to take Sudafed, or I’d be wide awake (though I already was wide awake, and if I had been thinking clearly, would have figured no allergies and awake was better than allergy attack and awake.  Alas….). 

By 430, I finally fell asleep..only to have my alarm go off 10 minutes early at 550am!  I was annoyed.  I stayed in bed for 10 more minutes (even tho I was up), and then got into the shower, cussing pretty much the entire time.

I walked into my 9am this morning and the first thing my boss says is “you better not be sick”.  I assured her it was just allergy hell and other than being tired, I was fine.  I ran into one of my co-worker doctors, who proceeded to advise me on what to take (Claritin and to get a steroid nasal spray).  I haven’t used my Neti pot in a while, and I know that would help too. 

After work, I went to the grocery and picked up the rest I needed for dinner, went home, and starting cooking.  AT came over around 530, and we ate, drank, and chatted until almost 9.  It was a great night.

D stopped at the home improvement store on the way home and picked up some sweet basil, Greek oregano, and stevia for one of my containers (which had been empty), so I can have an herb garden.  I’m very excited about that!

So while today started off rough, it ended well.  Most of my day was in meetings or conference calls, but I also got to have an amazing evening with a friend, good food, good wine, and a very relaxing evening.

I do want to mention in closing that today is my gorgeous nieces 7th birthday!  I can’t believe how old she is or how big she’s gotten.  I moved to VA 3 months before she was born, and while I love living here, I think the biggest regret I have is that my niece (and now 3 1/2 yr old nephew) live so far away.  My kids and I are photographs and stories my sister tells them.  My 7 year old doesn’t get the chance to play with her cousin of virtually the same age.  My almost 16 year old doesn’t get roped into babysitting ALL the kids so mom and dad and aunt and uncle can go out to dinner.  While I miss my whole family, that makes me the saddest.  So happy birthday beautiful little M.  I love you.  And I miss you.

Meetings, Swimming, and Sushi. Not Bad for a Tuesday

FOOD

I have come to the conclusion that there are not four seasons in Virginia.  We have the time of year that requires a heater, and the time of year that requires an air conditioner.  The “times” of the year that fall in between can be counted in hours rather than months.  I love it here…but I’d like a stretch of a few weeks each year where I can just have the windows open and have it be comfortable.

Warmer weather requires different eating than hotter weather.  Hot days mean no oven.  I’m thinking this is the perfect time of year to keep working on incorporating more raw foods into my life.  Goodness knows I don’t want to be in the kitchen with the oven on when it’s 92 degrees outside and my AC is trying to be sure the temp inside the house is livable….

As such, I didn’t spend much time in the kitchen today.  Never mind that I was just too busy…it was also just too hot!

Breakfast was cereal and vanilla soy milk and coffee.  Unoriginal to be sure, but seemed to do the job just fine.  I also made an apple/carrot/orange juice (still haven’t gone shopping), and had that on the way into work this morning.

Lunch was reheated dinner from yesterday; brown veggie rice with tomato veggie soup and fresh cilantro!  I also had about a quarter of a cup of a raw spicy seed mix I picked up at Heritage a few weeks ago.  I can’t believe it took me so long to open the package.  The stuff is awesome.

I munched on half of a Clif bar about a half hour before my workout.  My bananas have turned, or I’d have had those.  They are heading into the freezer before bed tonight, and will likely make their way into a smoothie in the morning.  With the increase in warm weather also seems to come the increase in morning smoothies.  It’s a little like having ice cream for breakfast!

Dinner was at Haru Sushi with AT.  I had a bowl of miso soup (the best in town), and a some cucumber and avocado rolls.  And some Cabernet.  Yummy dinner and great company.  Can’t beat it.

FITNESS

Today ended up just being a swim day instead of swim and run.  AC couldn’t make it for our run this evening at 5, so I just did the scheduled swim.

I got ahold of a friend of mine who I did the Tri with, AT, and we made plans to hit the pool after work.  I had my swimplan workout, and we more or less stuck to it.  I’m not sure exactly how far we swam, but we’d do 100 yds…chat for a minute…do 50…chat…repeat for about 40 minutes.  We probably should have done more swimming and less talking (who knew swimming could be a social sport??), but we haven’t seen each other in a few weeks, and it was more fun catching up.

With the hot season seeming to be in full swing, I really need to do something about this morning workout thing.  I’ve been wanting to do it, but just haven’t figured it out (nor really wanted to give up my 6am wake time for anything earlier unless under severe circumstances).  I’ve decided that I should start setting my alarm for 10 minutes early every 5-6 days or so, until I can get up early enough to workout.  Yeah.  We’ll see how that goes.  It’s that or go back to working out at 10pm once summer is in full swing.

LIFE

Only two meetings today, so bonus for me!  One of them was almost 3 hrs long though, so that ate up a ton of my day, but I still have the happy post-vacation thing going on, so I can’t complain.  The afternoon meeting was a wee more stressful, but not because of anyone I work with.  We’re just at a frustrating point in our project, and have more than a few roadblocks.  This is where “bitchy-Crissie” has a tendency to show herself.

After work, swimming, and dinner, it was time to come home, hang out, and do some cleaning.  I got my room, the kitchen, and the dining room floors cleaned, which is a huge accomplishment on a weeknight.  I’m prepping the house for the house cleaners!  I know…needs to be relatively clean and organized before I’ll have strangers in it. 

D had his tests today, and he’s feeling pretty icky.  We expected that since the barium has to find it’s way OUT of his system too.  He had to drink the nasty stuff, and then have Xrays taken of his digestive system every 30 minutes until the barium was through.  We obviously don’t know the results yet, but the radiologist mentioned that he was “having a hard time” getting the barium to D’s lower intestine.  Not sure if that means a fistula or what, but hopefully we’ll find out soon.

So I’m off to go get work and school lunches for tomorrow ready and then comfort D, who’s stretched out on the bed watching TV and feeling miserable.  Hopefully this will all “pass” by morning since he has to go to work.

Driving to Run Feels Dumb

FOOD

Today has been a good food day.  I ate well, and definitely feel great.  I’ve nearly purged myself from the on-the-road eating from vacation, and feel back to normal again!

Breakfast was Kashi whole grain cereal with lots of cinnamon and some vanilla soy milk.  I forgot to take a picture 😦  Of course I had my standard cup of black coffee as well.

Speaking of coffee – a friend of mine posted on facebook today that coffee drinkers should beware – prices are going to go up.  Makes me glad I gave up my snobby coffee bean habit for Foldgers!

For lunch I made the same wrap I did the other day – hummus, cabbage, onion, cucumber, and this time I added some sweet pickle relish too for something different. 

Snack was some celery and hummus.  It’s funny – when R and I were on our FL trip, I had picked up some pre-cut celery to munch on in the van.  She had gone into the cooler to grab some water and look for other snacks when she asked if I wanted “those green stick things” to eat.

I had another snack after my workout – a fresh juice of apple, orange, and carrot.  Time to go produce shopping….

Dinner was a brown rice and veggie combo served on top of some homemade tomato and veggie soup.  Oh – and with some fresh cilantro to serve it with FROM MY CONTAINER GARDEN!!!!  Woo hoo!

For the rice dish, it was simply adding some peas and chopped orange bell pepper to some toasted brown rice while it was cooking.  The soup was tomatoes, onion, peppers, celery, and garlic simmered in a veggie broth with spices, simmered, added soy milk that had been mixed with a bit of flour, simmered, then lemon juice and some sweetener.  Top with fresh cilantro, and serve!  I certainly made enough to last a few meals, which is always good.  Of course I had a glass of red wine with it too!

My sprouts are also done.  I started them on Thursday, and they were in the sun today.  Yeah – something else to put on my wraps, in my salads, and anywhere else I can think of!

FITNESS

Today I did some running hill repeats.  The workout was to run a mile to warm up, run up and down a hill 5 times, and then run another mile.  Okay, cool.  Only problem, NO HILLS.  I live in an area that literally has almost no hills at all.  I know of two – one in Virginia Beach that is near the shop where I trained for the Shamrock last year (Final Kick Sports), and one in Norfolk.  So what did I do?  Drove 17 miles from work to Virginia Beach to run up their hill.  The crappy part is the hill is almost a half a mile up, so my hill repeats turned into one heck of a bigger workout than I anticipated – and it was really warm out.  I felt kind of like a moron driving somewhere just to find a hill to run up.  As much as I don’t like the dreadmill – I may have to use it more often to simulate the hills that just don’t exist here.

I also did a very short series of exercises when I got home – chair lifts, dead lifts, hip adductions and abductions.  Nothing big, but I have to start getting into the habit of some type of strength training. 

Tomorrow I’m swimming and, if it’s not raining, running with my friend AC after work.  I hope it’s not raining!

LIFE

Today was life back to routine, and it ended up being a good day.  I still have the post vacation feel-good vibes going on, and even a day back at the office didn’t ruin that!

I originally had a day jam packed with meetings, but by a happy twist of fate, three of them were canceled!  I ended up having several hours to play catch up, and while I’m not totally there, I feel good about what I was able to accomplish. 

I even got to spend a good 20 minutes doing my weekly plan (it’s a Franklin Covey thing), and have at least one goal in each category for the week.  It’s actually something I’ve tried to do for several years now (not always successfully), but the objective is to take on one big goal per week for each role you have.  So for work – my goal is to clean up emails.  As a mom, it’s to schedule the eye dr and dentist appts for the kids, as an athlete, to get my 6 days of scheduled workouts completed (on time – and to schedule them if needed).  Things like that.

I went from 950 unread emails to just under 200!  Granted – it was mostly deleting garbage emails, but still.  It felt good to watch the number go down!  My team brought me up to speed on the past two weeks, and feel like things are moving along well.  So yeah for that!  They’re an awesome bunch, which is the only reason I really was “off” when I was on vacation.

I only have meetings in the first half of the day tomorrow, so I get to have a good 4 hrs of office blocked time to keep working towards getting all caught up.

On an unrelated note – I picked up a Groupon that I’m totally excited about!  I paid $50 for 3 hrs of housekeeping, so Spring Cleaning…here (someone else) comes!  I’m totally excited, and that’s another goal of mine for this week to get it scheduled.  D and I have decided to finally bite the bullet and get regular housekeeping services.  It’s pretty much the only thing we argue about, and it gets to be so overwhelming sometimes, that it’s just not worth the stress.  Granted – we’ve been talking about this for 2 years, but now that I have that Groupon and really am going to have someone come in, I think it’s more likely to become a regularly scheduled activity.

D has a big series of radiology tests tomorrow that will take pretty much all day.  It’s not because of a current flare up or anything, so that’s good.  It’s been 3 years since he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, so his doctor ordered this small bowel series to see how his insides are doing.  It’s a highly unpleasant test (drinking barium, and spending 5 hrs or so in a radiology room getting xrays taken), and extremely boring.  One good thing – he’s taking my Kindle and will finally start catching up on the book series we’ve been reading (I’ve read all 5, he’s read one).  It’s one of my typical vampire, werewolf, farie books.  Nice twist though – the main character is a Native American coyote shapeshifter who happens to be a mechanic and gets into all sorts of trouble.  Fun and quick reads with absolutely no basis at all in reality.  Just what I love!

Lazy Days are Gone Again (big sigh…)

FOOD

Most of my food adventures have been making juices.  I’ve been making at least 2 per day all week long, and totally loving the creations.  Most have been fruit juices, there’s been one all-veggie juice, and a few have been fruit/veg blends.  Here are a couple samplings…

old faithful from the Vitamix…spicy garden tomato whole food juice!  Tomato, spinach, carrot, onion, bell pepper, habanero hot sauce, ice, and vegan Worcestershire sauce.  Think uber- bloody mary mix without the vodka (though that could be a fun addition as well).

pineapple, pear, and lime through the juicer

cantaloupe, apple, mint


There have been a few more too, like apple/orange/carrot, apple/watermelon/mint (digging the mint thing), spinach/blueberry/apple/orange/mango.
Lunch one day was a simple wrap with hummus, cabbage, onion, and cucumber.  This is another dish that I have a tendency to make and load up with whatever I have on hand.
I’ve had a few other things too.  I made a tofu dish for dinner on Thursday night that was pretty good.
Tofu Stir Fry
1 brick tofu, pressed and cubed (I love my Tofu Xpress for this….)
1 head broccoli, cut into flowerettes
1/2 red onion, cut into large pieces
8 ish small red potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
5-6 dashes liquid smoke
I toss all the ingredients in a bowl and let it marinate for a few hours.  Heat up a large wok-sized pan (or a veggie grill basket if doing on the grill).  Saute until the tofu starts turning golden brown.  I usually cover for 5-6 minutes to steam the veggies also.
It’s a very simple stand-by recipe that can lend itself to the addition of many different veggies.  I’ve made it with zucchini, cauliflower, even okra.  The marinade changes – from red wine vinegar to balsamic, or the addition of something spicy.

served over brown basmati rice

For lunch on Friday, I met up with a good friend for Thai.  We were actually planning on going to Quenna’s raw vegan restaurant (I’ve been craving it lately), but when we got there, we found that they were closed for spring break week.  Bummer. We went down the street to a Thai place in Ward’s Corner area of town.  It was okay.  Not the best Thai though, and that was disappointing.  They fried the tofu in their fresh and steamed spring rolls – which decreased the health factor and frankly – changed the flavor to one I didn’t really like.  The green curry was nicely spicy, but otherwise only so-so.  What mattered most was the company, and L and I got to catch up after not seeing each other for a few weeks.

R really wanted pancakes for breakfast, so I made her some special ones….

…she was thrilled.  I know…totally cheesy that I have a pancake/egg mold in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head.  What can I say.  I love Disney.

Breakfast today was the same as Friday – a savory miso-quinoa-cauliflower dish.  Nothing complicated – just replaced the 2 cups of water with 2 cups of miso soup, 1 cup of rinsed quinoa, and a cup or two of frozen cauliflower.  Very filling and was a pre-workout meal twice – and both times gave great energy.

not pretty, but very tasty

Lunch today was a salad at Busch gardens, and dinner a bean and veggie burrito with vegan sour cream and hot sauce!

FITNESS

I went on several runs this week, including this morning, but the highlight was the swim on Friday morning.  I printed out a 1200yd swim workout from Swim Plan and hit the pool.  The whole thing felt great, and I’ve missed the water a lot. 

I also bought a new bike helmet.  The night before the Tri earlier in the month, I found a pretty large crack on the front of my helmet.  I put my race sticker over it (bad, I know – but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been allowed to race).  Now that I have a new (and pretty groovy) helmet, I can finally hit the road again!

I’m pretty set on a Tri up in Richmond in July called Pink Power.  It’s a women’s only Tri, and from what I’ve heard, it’s a lot of fun.  It’s also really hilly….but I think I’ll survive.

LIFE

This week was mostly about catching up.  At home, with friends, some work, and making the most of my time off.

I had lunch with a friend, goofed off with the kids, a girls night out on Friday (that ended with one spending the night – which was fun to have a girl’s pajama evening – while D slept on the pull out sofa!), a n 80’s themed bachelorette party on Saturday night, and a family Easter Busch Garden’s trip today!

I feel energized and ready to get back to work.  I will leave you all with some pictures from the week!

My container plants have really grown a ton since I planted them a couple weeks ago.  I’m excited that this may actually work!

D and R watching a 3D movie the other day….Journey to the Center of the Earth

bachelorette party!!

soaking wet after a water ride at Busch Gardens

Vaca Recap, Juicing Madness, and Happy Times!!!

FOOD
I love just about everything about travelling.  I love the excitement of getting there, the thrill of wherever it is I am, and even the trip back home.  The only thing difficult about this last trip was the food.  Normally I don’t have an issue if I’m travelling alone, but considering this trip was with my 7 year old – who is not a vegan and also has severe nut allergies – our dining options were a wee bit uninspired.
Breakfasts for me were mostly fruit, and lunches and dinners typically some variation of a salad of some sort.  I missed my food at home; fresh juices, soups, grains, etc.
I will say, though, that I do love the food at Epcot.  Since the biggest draw for me is the World Showcase, it’s always fun to see the food/beverages/shopping/cultural highlights of each nation represented.  Really – who on earth would want to get the hot dogs and hamburgers from America, when you can get stir fry, falafel, empanadas, tacos, sushi, crepes, etc from all of the other nations?
R and I got home Sunday afternoon, and D went out to the grocery to pick up some essentials for me.  There were no fresh fruits in the house, and very little veggies.  I was craving anything wholesome, so he went and raided the produce section for me!  He thought after my sunny vacation, I might like tropical fresh juices, so in addition to the regular staples of apples, bananas, strawberries, bell peppers, and spinach, he also brought me a fresh pineapple, mango, and papaya!
Needless to say….Monday morning’s fresh juice was tropical indeed!
strawberry, pineapple, apple, mango, and papaya

fresh from the juicer, and so yummy
For lunch, I made a rice cooker meal of brown basmati rice, coconut milk, chickpeas, ginger, and a citrus spice blend in the kit from my Dad.  Very tasty with a slight spice to it.  It’s a favorite recipe of mine from Love, Veggies, and Yoga.  I use this as a base recipe all the time and usually throw in tons of veggies.  This time, I just followed the recipe and it was delicious.
I got a present from my husband – an upgraded juicer!  I’m so excited.  It’s super powerful and pretty.  I made an awesome juice this morning of carrots, ginger, apple, orange, and celery.  It was a bright orange and yummy.  I also have to say that I felt pretty amazing all morning too!  Later in the morning, I munched on a banana while planning my next juice.

After working out, I was craving yet another juice – but this time a spicy vegetable one.  Since I don’t want my Vitamix to feel left out, I made this juice a whole foods juice instead.  This recipe actually came with my blender and it’s a favorite of mine – The Garden Cocktail.  2 organic tomatoes, a handful of spinach, big chunks of red bell pepper, onion, and carrot.  I also put in vegan Worcestershire sauce and some habanero hot sauce.  Sometimes I add lemon or lime or avocado depending on what I have and what sounds good.

Lunch today was an addicting sweet potato and bean burrito!  I’m not exactly sure where I got the recipe (magazine or cookbook), but I’ve had it for a few years.  It’s pretty simple, and very good.
Highly Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos
2 baked sweet potatoes
1 can kidney beans, mashed (I use dark red and ‘mashed’ them in the food processor)
1/2 onion chopped
2 gloves minced garlic
1.5 tbsp chili powder (I used the Hot Chili Powder from my Dad)
1 tsp cumin
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
pinch of mustard (I used dry this time)
1 cup water
10 tortilla shells of any type (I had regular flour ones on hand from our recent Quesadilla obsessions)
Saute the onion and garlic until tender.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until heated through.
Put about 1/2 cup of filling on each tortilla, wrap up into a burrito, and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.
FITNESS
My workouts all week while I was gone were either in our resort or hoofing it at multiple theme parks.  I am on the lookout for my next race though.  Not sure what it’ll be (a run or a tri), but I’m looking forward to working towards it!
I do have to give a mention to my friend AT who ran in the Boston Marathon yesterday!!  Woo hoo – she did amazing.  Definitely something to celebrate when she gets back to town.
Today I went for a nice run in the middle of the sunshine, and it felt great (if not hot!).  The kids stayed home (they’re on spring break) and cleaned the house.  R asked before I left if I’d take her running when I got back (and was cooled off).  I said yes, and when I got home, this is what I saw!  Not sure where she got the 80’s headband thing from though. Can’t say no to that 🙂
LIFE
Life the past week has been very nice.  R and I had a great time on our trip.  To recap a bit since my last post….
Friday we went to Epcot.  While there are some fun things for kids (and it’s all geared more towards being educational), I think Epcot is more for adults.  That became apparent pretty early after we entered the World Showcase area.  R was getting bored, and I could tell.  Enter Kim Possible!  The park has this cool interactive crime solving “game” that the kids do in several countries.  They’re issued special cell phones, and are sent on missions.  Each mission takes about a half hour, and lead the “spies” through a series of clues to defeat each bad guy.  Trust me, my description is not doing it justice.  We’d get a clue to find a case with a map of Mexico in Mexico, get there, push a button on the cell phone, and then something cool would happen – like a talking guitar coming out of the wall to give us instructions to the next clue.  R was getting SO into it, and it was wonderful and fun, and made Epcot a place as fun for a kid as it is an adult.  We had to hide from henchmen and monkey ninjas, uncover clues in hidden places, and ultimately save the world from things like “The Procrastinator Ray” in France, the missile launch in Mexico, the mind control pretzels in Germany….you get the idea.
hiding from the monkey ninjas while getting instructions on the next clue
Epcot is having their annual flower and garden festival, and it’s pretty amazing.  All the Disney characters come to life in plant form!  We took a ton of pictures, but here is just a sample.
Each country had a full blown garden that was indicative of that culture.  That was really wonderful.  I liked the one in America since it wasn’t just flowers, but really focused on the growing of food.  R wanted me to take a picture of her pointing at some growing bell peppers since we have some planted at home.  I also really liked one particular sign that was on display as well!

Saturday was R’s choice, and she picked going back to Seaworld.  Really, the only reason was to make us go on the Journey to Atlantis 5 more times.  And to feed the sting rays again.  After that she declared herself “ready to go” and we hit the road to come home.
We stopped for the night in Florence, SC.  We could have gone farther, but there were some freakishly bad storms in NC and VA right in our path.  It’s a good thing we stopped too.  Not an hour from where we were, parts of NC were just destroyed.  We drove through Benson, NC on the way home, and we could see devastation everywhere.  At home in VA there were a few tornadoes as well, though D and the kids were safe and just dealing with high winds and flickering power.  We were lucky. 
Sunday evening was a lazy day.  Monday I took the kids to play mini golf.  D was going to take A and M out of town over the weekend, but with the weather and some work he had to finish, they didn’t get to.  I didn’t want the older kids to be disappointed in not getting to do something fun while R and I were away, so golfing we went! 

Today has been spent mostly cleaning.  The kids are having friends over to do backyard movie night, and I’m making Indian food!
While our little vacation was absolutely wonderful….it’s really nice to be home.

Magical Vacation So Far!

FOOD

Tuesday evening before heading back to our condo and settling in, R and I went to a local Walgreen’s to pick up essentials – coffee filters, bottled water, and cereal (she picked cookie crisp!).  So breakfast on Wednesday morning on the deck was coffee and a banana for me, and cookie crisp for R.

Lunch was enjoyed at Sea World.  There frankly wasn’t diddly there for me to eat.  I ended up having an ear of corn and some watermelon.  I had a whole foods energy bar in my bag, so that probably saved me from being hungry all day.

We left Sea World around 6pm, went back to the rooms, and relaxed for a bit.  We then went out to a local Super Target to get some MORE essentials (fruit, frozen boca chik’n nuggets, ice cream, veggies and hummus, and wine).  We decided to dine in at the room, and I have to say – the fake chik’n nuggets were exactly what I needed!  Mega tofu protein and I felt pretty normal again.

Thursday breakfast was coffee and nuggets again.  And a banana.  R had cereal, milk, and a banana.  For lunch, we went to Olive Garden, and enjoyed some pasta before heading to Disney World.

I have to say, there is a distinct difference in offerings between theme parks, that’s for certain!  Sea World is still very much pizza, popcorn, chicken, and beer.  I don’t think they understand or cater to at all someone with different eating habits.  R was happy, but I was mostly just disappointed.  

Disney World was a far cry different.  I had read that they were doing quite a bit to cater to people with different dietary habits, be them self imposed like me (no one MADE me be vegan), to medically necessary like R (she certainly didn’t choose to have severe nut allergies).  I certainly saw it for myself yesterday.  One of the first things R really wanted when we got there around  130pm was an ice cream sandwich in the shape of Mickey’s head.  We went to the cart, and I asked to see the ingredients.  I was expecting a funny look, and then have the man behind the cart pick one out of the freezer for me to read.  Instead he pulled out a laminated binder, and before I could even look at anything, he informed me that one of the products contains nuts, but they were all processed in facilities that handle’s nuts.  Most people who don’t live with or around a nut allergy don’t understand how important that last part is as well, so I has extremely impressed and pleased with their knowledge of the products and the potential impact it could have.  R was upset, but knew that I had a small container of vanilla ice cream in the freezer back at the resort just for her.

As for me, when we went to get dinner, I was very pleasantly surprised to find a vegan hummus, veggie, and black bean flat bread on the menu.  This wasn’t one of the sit down restaurants either, where I would expect more options.  This was a food cart in Frontierland that only had 3 meal options – one being veggie.  So I got to have a good meal that felt balanced.  Yeah Disney!  My only complaint – not a single place to buy a beer.  I mean – I know that it’s family friendly and all….but I’m used to Sea World/Busch Gardens where there’s a beer cart every 50 ft!  Alas.

We got back to the hotel room around 10pm, R had some ice cream, and I had some wine!!! 

FITNESS

The past two mornings I have opted for yoga rather than the workout videos I brought with me.  It seems to balance me better.  After spending several hours a day swimming with R and then many more hours walking around theme parks, yoga just felt right.  I found some great lessons online, and did about 30 minutes yesterday morning and 20 today.  Top that off with some abdominal work, and I feel pretty darned good!

At Super Target the other night, we also picked up some pool toys.  We got inner tubes, dive sticks, and a football.  Thursday morning we were one of the first at the big pool, and played for nearly 2 hrs the different games R made up.  They usually involved me having to close my eyes and find things hidden on the bottom of the pool.

LIFE

Our vacation so far has been a lot of fun.  Wednesday was Sea World.  We have the Platinum passes for Busch Gardens since we live so close to one, and that lets us get in free to any of the Busch parks – which Sea World is, so whenever we come to FL, we always go there!  It’s been a year and a half since R went last, so we were both looking forward to it.  She’s a bit older now (7 1/2) and I think more likely to remember this trip.

We arrived around 1030 am and stayed until 6. 

We posed for our picture with Shamu (D wanted to be sure at least a couple of pictures had me in them too).  I don’t think R could hug him any harder!

We went all over the park, but I think her favorite thing was the Journey to Atlantis ride.  It’s a water ride/roller coaster, and she made me go on it all day!  I was soaked.  It was mostly a good thing because it was hot out and getting wet helped cool us off.  She also did bungee/trampoline jumping, paddle boats, and pretty much all of the attractions.

R isn’t too compatible with long term heat exposure, so by 6, she was a wilted little flower, and we decided to head out. 

Thursday I think we played things much smarter.  Rather than go to Disney World early, we went later and stayed later.  We arrived around 130pm and stayed until 930.  While we did have some pretty hot weather for a few hours, it really subsided by 5ish, and the late afternoon and evening was very comfortable.  We spent the morning swimming and relaxing before hitting the park.

The park wasn’t nearly as crowded as I was anticipating, and we didn’t wait more than 20 minutes for any ride.  She got to go on her first “real” roller coaster (which she’s been anxious to do since she was 3).  She’s a little dare devil, with no fear of anything.  We did about 20 other attractions, picked up some toys and gifts, and basically just had an amazing day together.  Her only complaint was It’s a Small World ride.  She said it was boring and WAY too baby-ish.  Obviously the little speed demon in her would not tolerate such a sedate attraction.

We got back to the rooms, got into jammies, and relaxed.  When we went into the bedroom, we found that the housekeeper had arranged all her stuffed animals in a ledge over the bed.  R was tickled over it.  While R settled into bed, I worked on uploading pictures to Picassa and Facebook, and doing a couple loads of wash.  All told, it was a lovely and magical day.

Today we’re going to do things similarly.  It’s almost 9am and she’s still asleep, but once she gets up, we’ll eat, go swimming, relax for a bit, and then head to Epcot in the later part of the afternoon.  I have to say – this is the one I’m looking forward to the most.  Epcot is my very favorite theme park, and I think R will absolutely love it too.

12 Hrs of Driving in 2 Days, and I’m Still Sane (more or less)

FOOD

One of the best things about road trips is the snacks.  R and I packed a snack bag and cooler full of fun things.  I’m upset I forgot one thing though – my baked tofu cubes.  I always try to travel with them because they’re so filling and healthy.  I started craving them after a few handfuls of wheat thins last night on the drive.  I also wish I had celery.  Strange…10 years ago a road trip would have meant all junkie food for me.  My, how times (and tastes) have changed.

Morning was some very watered down hotel coffee and a banana.  Sometime during the drive, I had some more wheat thins.  Nothing specific for lunch, but dinner was awesome!  We went to one of my favorite restaurants in Orlando in Downtown Disney – Portabello’s.  I had a chef created pasta dish of tubular pasta, roasted tomatoes, bell peppers, and chili peppers.  R had a whole wheat pizza.  And a salad because I was craving some greens.  Oh – and they have the best pre-meal basket of rolls and a head of roasted garlic with olive oil.  I pretty much eat the garlic with my fork.

FITNESS

Really?  Today was about mental fitness.  I spent from 8am-430pm driving, so there wasn’t much opportunity to actually workout.  We did do a little swimming and wandering around Downtown Disney if that counts!

LIFE

Yesterday after work, R and I hit the road for our trip to Orlando.  We left at 530pm, and made it to Lumberton, NC by 9ish (that was the planned distance for last night).  The hotel was alright.  It would have been better if we weren’t on the first floor and listening to traffic noises all night, but R slept fine, which was what mattered most.

We woke up around 7, both took quick showers, and then hit the road.  We made 3 very brief stops for either gas, bathrooms, or coffee (for me of course).  She either watched movies, read, or napped the entire way.  We were lucky we had good traffic and pretty good weather – some rain, but nothing terrible. 

We got to our resort right about 430.  Wow – LOVE it.  We are staying in a timeshare condo, and our place has a whirlpool tub, which I think makes R happier than just about anything else.  It has a full kitchen, living room, and is in a gated community.  Not bad for $250 for the week.

We got our luggage in, and then went for a quick swim in one of the pools.  After 20-30 minutes or so, we went back, showered, and headed to Downtown Disney for some dinner and shopping.  R made a dinosaur build-a-bear and picked up some new Pooh Bears, which makes her happy!  I got a couple golf balls and a Grumpy practice putter so I can work on putting at home (which I really stink at).  I am bound and determined to get out golfing this spring – and hopefully will drag my husband with me!

making her build-a-bear teradon

she collects squished pennies

R in front of a cool Lego loch ness monster!

trying on silly hats

the little pooh bear ball just kills me it’s so cute….

So that’s it for tonight.  I’m beat!  Tomorrow is more Orlando fun!

Running and Transvestites (not running FROM transvestites though)

FOOD

I’ve had a lot of good food in the past 5 days, though I can’t remember it all!  Here are the ones I did take pictures of though 🙂






spiralized zucchini with the rest of the pickled radishes and onions.  I let it sit a few hours to make the zucchini tender, and it was AWESOME.



veggie tacos! 

I was at a work-related event on Thursday, and they had a separate veggie menu.  I’m not exactly sure why they just don’t add the veggie options to the regular menu – like they’re embarrassed or something that some “weird veggie hippie” is going to come into their German beer haus and order (gasp) TOFU.  Anyway – it was good (though strange to have tacos served with french fries).  Blue corn tortillas, flour tortilla, snow peas, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and avocado.
D and I went out to lunch on Friday and I got a black bean burger with lots of guacamole and pico de gallo.  I managed to eat about half of it, took the rest home, and had that for dinner before going to a party.
By Saturday I wanted something wholesome.  I made Irish oatmeal for breakfast, and as soon as it was done cooking, I added a cup of frozen blueberries and a mashed up overripe banana.  It made entirely too much, but was very tasty!
Lunch on Sunday was totally yummy.  I roasted some big portabella mushroom caps in rice wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and minced garlic.  Then put it on a sandwich thin with Veganaise, cabbage, avocado, and onion.  Yum Yum Yum!

FITNESS
This week the only activity I did was run.  It’s not that I didn’t want to do anything else – it’s just I ran out of time!  I know – lousy excuse.  Here’s the thing – I spent the past 4 months training so hard, that I had to decline most of the weekday outings and invitations with my friends.  I had planned to make this week to catch up with those I’ve spent little time with, and that’s exactly what I did.
Because of that – and some really CRAP weather, my only workouts were running.  But I will say – I had some of the best runs this week.  The one on Saturday was particularly enjoyable.  It was in the low 60’s, sunny, little to no wind, and I think I smiled for 4 miles.
This coming week should be interesting.  I’m going to be out of town with my youngest, so can’t use the fitness center at the gym.  I’m bringing my laptop and some workout DVDs, so it’ll be interesting to see if I’m actually going to do it, or just hike it around theme parks 12 hrs per day for 5 days.  I’ll have my pedometer (part of my iPod) and my Bodybugg to check on what that does for me!
LIFE
So I mentioned the spending time with friends bit.  It was really nice.  We had a Girl’s Wine Night on Wednesday, and as usual D dropped me off and picked me up.  It was fun catching up with everyone, and I think we all had a really nice time.
Thursday was a vendor-sponsored event at a local restaurant.  That was also nice.  I got to see my friend’s wife, who I haven’t seen in a long time.  She’s had a heck of a year, so it was wonderful to see her.
Friday was a couple of things.  My friend AC (I have too many A’s in my life!) and I went to an antique show and then grabbed a quick beer.  I have been on the lookout for end tables for my bedroom.  My dressers were my parents from when they were first married (circa 1970), and my bed is about 7 years old.  I didn’t care if the tables matched or not – because as AC says…if nothing matches, it ALL matches.  Anyway, every furniture store (even IKEA) that I checked out had ridiculous prices, so I haven’t picked one up.  I was so excited to find a good table that fits well in my room, has drawers (so my husband can stop leaving everything either on the floor or under the bed), and was under $100.  I brought it home, D hauled it in, and it looks great between my bed, the dresser, and right under the window (makes the cat happy too since she can now get into the window).
Friday later evening was a jewelry party at another friend’s house.  I’ve missed the last two parties she’s had due to my Tri club training calendar, and just couldn’t miss another one.  S came and picked me up, and we went to C’s house.  After giving her husband a bottle of gin (I pretty much drank his last bottle last time I was there….good times), I proceeded to have C and F put as much jewelry on me as they could (I don’t exactly accessorize).  I ended up buying two necklaces.
Saturday afternoon was a wedding shower for my dear friend D who’s getting married at the end of the month.  I also had to return a bunch of shorts I bought R that were too big, and while I was at the shower, D took her back out shopping for new shorts (she outgrew all hers, and needed some for our trip).
Saturday night D and I went out for some alone fun at a local bar, had a late dinner, and a couple pitchers of beer.  We had a GREAT time.  We debated the merits of some music….such as this fun conversation as Life in the Fast Lane from the Eagles was one.
D: “The Eagles suck.”
Me: “I love the Eagles!”
D: “every time I hear Hotel California I want to scream.  Stupid song…and way too long.”
Me: “this coming from the man who listens to Phish”  (their songs are an hour long!)
D: “The Eagles were the adult contemporary of their time”
Me: “are you saying The Eagles are the John Tesh of the 70’s?”
D: “YES!!!”
We also debated the “awkward” phase of music in the 80’s when certain songs came on – like Journey or something.  And then there was the older guy making out with what looked like a transvestite at the bar that was 20 years younger.  I think he gave her a tonsillectomy while we were sitting there and I had a hard time not hitting them with a beer bottle and telling them to get a room.  Really??  Didn’t think adults did that (and this guy was easily in his late 50’s).  Our waitress said they’re a weekly fixture making out at the bar.  Not going there on a Saturday night ever again!  And I have to say – this wasn’t a club or anything.  It was a local sports bar….took my Dad there the last time he was here!  He probably would have said something to them 🙂
Sunday was running last minute errands (like getting my nails done!), going to the library in hopes of getting some audio books, laundry, road trip snack shopping, and packing.  I’m really looking forward to this trip with R.  She’s at a fun age to love and remember the trip.  You all can bet that the next week of blog updates will be pictures of us with Mickey Ears.





Adrenaline Crash

FOOD

I woke up ridiculously early on Sunday (456am).  The only nice thing is that I had several hours of quiet time before anyone other than Sammie was stirring.  I made some coffee, watched recorded episodes of CSI, and ate some fruit.  I really wanted to make a juice (either in the juicer or the Vitamix) but didn’t want the noise waking everyone else up.  Around 9am, I made a big pan of popcorn on the stove.  Oh my, I was happy!  I used to feel badly when I ate popcorn (it’s forbidden for D with his Crohn’s, and I know how much he misses it), but after a year of him telling me to not worry about it, I finally caved and started eating it again.

I made a run to Sam’s club, and among other things, picked up tons of spinach, apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, avocados, and mushrooms.  Just the essentials, really 🙂

Sunday evening  I made a lentil chowder recipe that’s just awesome.  It was loaded with butternut squash, celery, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and potatoes.  Very stew-like in it’s consistency, and just yummy.  It’s from the Candle Cafe cookbook, so it’s not like it was going to be anything other than fabulous anyway!

Monday I did have fresh juice, which was wonderful.  For lunch, I made an awesome dish from Oh She Glow’s blog called 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta.  The only real difference I made was to add some frozen mixed veggies into the water when the pasta was cooking (I used whole wheat rotini).  For the avocado sauce, I did add some water to make it creamier.  It was SO good.  Dinner was reheated lentil stew.

Tuesday breakfast a big smoothie of mango, banana, strawberry, and spinach.  Lunch was a big salad, and dinner was sushi with D at Haru. 

while not particularly pretty…it’s really tasty

spinach, kale, brown rice, onion, radishes, celery, lemon juice, olive oil, and avocado hummus

avocado maki rolls and cucumber maki rolls

I also started a raw salad to marinate in the fridge overnight for lunch Wed.  Two spiralized zucchini, the remaining pickled radish and onion and vinaigrette, and some cucumber.  I’m looking forward to having this for lunch today!

Breakfast today??  Lentils.  It’s funny – I don’t get sick of a food I make.  I can eat it every day until it’s gone.

FITNESS

So since the Tri on Saturday, I’ve been a bit exhausted.  D is guessing I’m on an adrenaline crash – that I spent so much time and energy working towards (or getting worked up about) the Tri, that now that it’s over and I survived, that I’ve “come down” and all I want to do is sleep!

I was supposed to go cycling with the team on Monday, but just didn’t have it it me.  I spent several days barely able to keep awake, and while I had the motivation, I really didn’t have the energy.  And strangely – my butt muscles were KILLING me.  I’m not sure what caused that (it wasn’t the same discomfort from biking), but it felt like I had done a million squats or something.  It hurt to sit down!

Tuesday I went for a 4 mi run in the morning.  The weather was ugly – extremely windy and rainy – but otherwise it felt good to get out and move. 

Tonight is the Tri Club’s group run, but I won’t be able to make it.  If I have time, I may try to do a run, or maybe pop my bike up on the trainer.  Goodness knows that I need to work on my brick’s!

LIFE

I’ve spent the past few days trying to relax.  It’s been pretty nice, actually.

I really wanted to have a garden this year, but just didn’t prep in time.  I decided that I could do some container gardens though, and when I went to Sam’s club, I picked up a big container and some potting soil.  Then I went to Home Depot, and went a little crazy.  I will admit – I am going to try the Topsy turvey tomato and hot pepper plants!  I also have a big pot with red bell peppers and cilantro, and an herb garden with basil, chives, thyme, and rosemary.  I really hope this works!

R and I spent about 2 hrs getting everything together for the planting, and getting everything together.  It was fun, and we were filthy.

hot peppers on the left, tomatoes on the right!

strawberries

bell peppers and cilantro

Sammie keeping watch

After the planting fun, it was time to enjoy a glass or two of wine while the kids walked the pups.  Pay no attention to how badly my son needs a haircut.  That’s coming very soon!

So I have a little pet peeve with my husband.  He has a tendency to either leave kitchen cabinets open – or to not close them completely.  Drives me absolutely bonkers.  Well, A had a headache and went into the cabinet where we keep Tylenol, sudaphed, etc.  She also did not close the cabinet entirelyy, and I made a comment as I was heading up the stairs.  When I came back down, this is what I saw….

Monday was a very relaxing evening.  I made dinner, read, had a beer with a good friend, and went to bed early.  Should have cycled, but really just wanted to sleep!

Tuesday was absolutely wonderful!  D scheduled couples massages for 8pm, so we went for sushi and then to the massage.  It was probably the best massage ever.  We both just felt so relaxed, that we left at 9, got home, and went to bed (and slept great!).

Today is jam packed full of meetings, the kids are all off school, and it’s girls wine night at 5!  Hopefully the relaxation of yesterday keeps going all day today!

I’m a Triathlete Baby!!!

FITNESS

We’re shaking things up a bit this post!  Normally I do food first, but I’m so excited about the Tri today, that I have to do Fitness first. 

This morning I woke at 545am.  I slept well, and felt great when I woke up.  I took a quick shower, and dressed in my (already laid out) tri suit and outer layers.  I spent some time poking around a bit to make sure I had everything I needed, and left at 7am.

I picked A up (friend from the Tri club), and we headed down together to Smithfield.  She had coffee for the both of us, bagels, bananas, bottles of water, and Clif Bars!  I was so excited, and not at all nervous.

We got to the parking area, ate our bagels, and took our time getting our bikes and gear into the transition area.  We were lucky that the weather was looking good – sunny and high 50’s.  Perfect racing weather. 

A’s and my bikes in the back of the van

We are assigned racks based on race number.  6 bikes go per rack, and there is a limited space to set up your gear.  Based on the weather, I wasn’t sure if I was going to need my windbreaker or not, so I left it in my bag, but on top.  I put the towel out, an extra wash cloth to wipe of my muddy feed, my two sets of shoes, rolled down socks full of baby powder (and a spare set if needed).  The helmet was fastened to my bike, and my glasses in the helmet.  My race number was on my belt for the run, and I was as ready as I was going to get.

my bike on the rack, and ready to go!

my shoes on the grey towel – and the black bag.  No fancy crate for my stuff!

I got a good corner spot on the rack – makes it easier to get out of transition.  Yeah for being super early!

We went to the area where we get our race numbers written in big black marker on our arms and legs, and our age (at what we will be at the end of this year) on one calf.  Then we went back to the van, ate bananas, drank water, and chatted until about 930.  Then we headed BACK to the transition area (it was closing at 945), double checked our gear, and then went into the locker room to put the essentials into a locker (phones, keys, sweat shirts, etc).  I ate half of the Clif Bar, and then we paced around.

There were about 500 participants, and quite a few kids.  It was really neat to see (kids as young as 10…and older adults that were 74+).  All I kept thinking was that I was going to get SMOKED by a bunch of kids.  No worries though…that’s actually pretty cool!

The race started at 10am, but individual start times are based on anticipated swim time, so my kick off in the pool wasn’t until 11:22:00 (we’re really timed every 10 seconds).  D was on his way down with the kids, as were my friends A and L (with their little ones) to cheer me on.  It meant so much that they were all there.

D and the kids were there by 1030am, and we all walked around to get oriented to the locations, my anticipated durations so they could time being at the right spot at the right time, and to just enjoy the 45 minutes before I had to go line up.  One of my oldest daughter’s best friends was there – turns out I bought my bike from her step-mom.  Talk about a small world!  They hung out for a bit, which was nice for both of them too.

at this point I was still excited and not yet nauseated

my two youngest…R and her big brother M!

By 1050am, I was nervous as all get out.  I felt light headed for a minute and just completely panicked.  I think I was worried most about the swim and holding people up who were behind me.  By the time I started lining up in the pool, I wanted to throw up. 

almost up!  Admittedly looking slightly hysterical….

Once I was in the water, I was fine.  I felt focused and pretty strong.  I was held up a few times by slower swimmers, but mostly I felt really good about it (especially since I didn’t start any log jams in the water!).  I did make a mistake though.  There is a ladder right at the end of the pool.  I followed the girl in front of me right to the ladder and out the pool (I was on her tail the entire time, but she wouldn’t let me pass her).  What I realized after the race was…I didn’t touch the far wall.  I’m anticipating a time penalty for that once the race times are posted.  Ugh.

What the pool swim looked like

After the swim (took about 7 min 41 sec), I ran out into the transition area to get my windbreaker on, my socks and shoes, helmet and glasses, and run to the start line for the bike portion.  I was totally happy at this point, especially when I heard my name being cheered by my own little support team.

running to my bike after the swim
getting on the bike gear

laughing with the girl next to me after D yelled “GO CRISSIE” and I yelled “THANKS BABY”

running out of the transition area with my bike

I got to the bike start, got on, got clipped in, and started going.  It wasn’t too cold, but it was REALLY windy.  Most of the ride was windy, but I was okay.  The first mile was really working the kinks out of my legs, but then I felt great.  There was no point in the bike where I wasn’t having a good time.  Even the hills and the wind didn’t bug me.  I felt like I was flying, and just owned the whole leg.  I ended up finishing this portion about 8 min faster than I thought I would.  Woo hoo for the bike!

I got off the bike, didn’t fall, and got back into the transition area to re-rack my bike, get my gear off, and get into my running shoes.  Then it was off for the run portion.

I quite obviously didn’t do quite enough bricks.  It took me nearly a mile to get my running legs working, and it wasn’t a fun mile, let me tell you.  I managed to get through it though, and crossed the finish line happy and giggling.  Can’t ask for much more than that.

So there it is.  My first Triathlon adventure.  And ya know what?  I loved every second of it (except maybe that first mile of running).  And I cannot WAIT to do more!  Oh and you know what’s even cooler??  My KIDS want to do them now too! 

beginning of the run.  That’s M running up to me with a video camera. 

heading out…

…and heading back in!

DONE!!!

me and A right after the race

R, me, D, A, and M.  And a cool sign!  I was SO glad they were there

FOOD

Okay, back to normal order!  I had to travel for a little more than half the week, so I don’t have a history of all the food!

I’m still a fan of “all things quesadilla”, and one for lunch on Tuesday!  Tuesday evening was a wine night outing with A (not Tri Club A – my other friend A).  We went out in downtown Norfolk for 1/2 off wine, had a bottle (or two), and some food.  I ordered their vegan winter squash soup and some sweet potato fries.  They were both very good.  We hung out until they pretty much locked up around us (1045 ish) and then headed home.  It was a really nice time. 



sauteed some onion, bell pepper, and mushroom



refried beans, sauteed veggies, and some spices; cumin, garlic, oregano, and crushed red pepper

after the quesadilla maker!  Added some sliced avocado on each piece.  SO yummy!

winter squash soup

sweet potato fries.  And a nice Pinot Grigio 🙂

Wednesday morning was a smoothie (cranberry, apple, banana, and strawberry).   It was SO tart, that I poured it back into my Vitamix, added some liquid stevia (about 4 drops) and a bunch of cinnamon.  Re blend, and enjoy! 

Dinner on Wednesday evening was with a couple of the guys from the hospital in NC that I’m working with.  We went to a place called the Ruddy Ducks, and I had a cup of tomato soup, a salad, and some beer!  Another nice time.

beer in a mason jar!

Breakfast on Thursday was a bagel, banana, and coffee at Paneras.  I didn’t eat lunch (I was presenting and can’t eat before hand).  K snatched a banana for me from the cafeteria and I did eat that around 4.

Dinner was very late – about 830pm.  I was out with 3 VP’s from work (we were all at the hospital down there presenting).  I had about 1/3 of a salad.  I should have been hungrier – and I was much earlier – but I think I’m not used to eating quite that late, and didn’t want to fill up too much before going to bed.

Breakfast was a banana as I hit the road, and Subway when I was half way home.  Dinner was awesome though! D and I took the kids out to dinner at Fabbrizi’s Ristorante.  They even have a vegetarian section, which was wonderful.  I had the Vegetali Trifolati, which was a vegan dish (we checked) made with a white wine garlic sauce, sauteed veggies (onion, peppers, pea pods, and mushrooms), and pasta.  It was so very yummy.  First time we’d ever been there – and won’t be the last!

After the Tri today, D took the kids home, and A (the one I raced with – not the good friend that came to see me off) and I went out for sushi and red wine.  I had cucumber and avocado rolls, miso soup, and edamame.  And Pinot Noir too!  Her boyfriend is in Africa, and D had been wrangling the kids at the race site all day and wanted to go home, so it was a nice little get away to celebrate our accomplishment.

LIFE

Yet another crazy week.  Work Monday and Tuesday and briefly Wednesday morning.  Picked up the rental car, drove the 4 hours down in NC for my work trip.  Got to the hotel (same one as last time I went down), but had a totally horrific experience.  Of course – this is me we’re talking about and things like this ALWAYS end up happening to me.

The hotel is under construction.  Okay, I get that.  Need to renovate to keep the customers coming.  I was bummed that the fitness center was closed – I brought my running gear, but since it poured the entire time I was there, running outside was a no-go.  No fitness center in the hotel meant running inside was a no-go too.  No Y’s nor Bally’s there, so I was pretty much hosed on the run-front. 

The entire first floor was torn up, and the check in desk was now the inside of one of the hotel rooms.  Not their fault though, so no worries.  I had to wait about 15 minutes before finding out if my room was ready.  I was informed multiple times that they were sold out all week. 

I get to my room – and it stinks!  It’s a smoking room (didn’t know those still existed).  I call down to switch rooms and am told too bad – nothing else open or coming open.  Then I was informed that my company’s Travel Services rep was told only smoking was available and she told the hotel “oh well, she’ll just have to deal with it”.  Had I been given an option, I would have declined the work pre-paid hotel room and made my own arrangements (and submitted for reimbursement of course).  The hotel tried being understanding – sent a near empty bottle of Febreeze and an ozone fan. 

I had a really hard time sleeping both days I was there because it smelled.  Even though they tried cleaning the room, people on the floor smoked so my room always stunk.  I noticed that they must not wash the carpet often, because my feet were dirty, and when I figured that out and wore socks, those were filthy too.  I was really happy to check out of that place, and you can be SURE that Travel Services at work will be hearing from my on Monday…

After a morning meeting, I hit the road around 10 for the drive home.  Darla must have been in a bad mood, because she took me some strange and convoluted way back home and it took me 5 hrs!  I went through Ahoskie, NC, Gates, VA, and through the side and downtown streets of Suffolk – all WAY out of the way from where I should have been.  Not sure what I did to piss her off, but she got her revenge.  Oh – if you’re a new reader and haven’t figured it out – Darla is my GPS unit.

I got home with enough time to unpack my suitcase.  I was totally mortified at the smell – my running shoes, my suits, my heels – all stunk!  I’m getting a voodoo doll for Travel Services….and they’ll get my cleaning bill too!

Shortly after getting home, it was time to leave again to pick up A (Tri Club friend), and head the hour drive to Smithfield to pick up our race packets.  By the time I was done for the evening, I had driven over 7 hrs Friday.  Oy. 

From there it was dinner, running A (daughter) over to the movie theater to meet up with her friends, and then back home so I could get all my gear ready.  I put my race bibs on my bike and belt, and the sticker on my helmet.  I packed my 2 bags (one for the transition area, one for after if I was cold and needed more towels, soap, clothes, etc).  Then it was bed, reading, and getting a good night’s sleep!

After the Tri and sushi today, I took a shower, scrubbed off the marker to the best of my ability, put my jammies on, and am just going to spend the rest of the day relaxing.  And possibly having a quesadilla…