Car Clerk Zombies In Seattle

What a few days!! This will be a quick post as I sit in Chaco Canyon Organic cafe in Seattle’s University District drinking my Green Goddess juice and noshing on my green lentil grain bowl. Both very delicious and the perfect meal after some crazy days this week.

D took me to the airport around 530 pm to begin my journey to Seattle. I was feeling a lot better and packed plenty of tissue and sanitary wipes!

My plane boarded and took off on time and was actually a really nice flight. I landed in Minneapolis around 9pm central time. I chatted with D and the kids for a few, and said goodnight.

I had an hour before my next flight, so I took a seat at the bar, ordered a glass of wine, and had a nice conversation with a lady who was also traveling to Seattle. We eventually boarded our flight and took off on time once again.

This time my travel neighbors were a little irritating. I was next to a woman and her 20 yr old daughter who chewed her gum so loudly I wanted to make her spit it out! I eventually popped on my headphones and watched the rest of the Game of Throne episodes that I had. I LOVE that show! Then I stared watching a movie until it was time to land. Even though we didn’t land until 1139pm PST (230am for my Eastern blood), I still was feeling pretty good.

I got my bag with no problems, and than meandered to the late our rental car counter. That took me forever and the line was wicked long. I waited about 45 min, and then they claimed they couldn’t find a car for me (tho I had a reservation). Of course they were attempting to upsell, and when I said I didn’t want the VW convertible unless they were throwing it in for free, they remarkably found my little compact car.

While I was waiting, the clerk kept trying to radio one of the car people on the back to identify which car would be mine. For several attempts, no one answered. I’m in a relatively snarky mood at this point, so I say to the clerk, “I saw this movie….no one answers and you go to check on them to find them all turned to zombies and you become their latest snack. Whatever you do, DON’T go looking for your lost co workers lest you become either dinner or the undead.”. This brought about a 10 min discussion with the clerk about zombies and zombie movies. But I did get my car 🙂

I got to my hotel/compound around 1am local time. I was so over tired, that it was after 230 PST when I fell asleep. My phone started going off way too early…but ended up working all morning helping manage the Irene crisis preparations back home.

I spent the rest of the day and evening with an old friend and got to do some brief site seeing. I was back to my hotel by 1130pm and went promptly to bed. I was anticipating sleeping late, but was up by 6. I suppose my body felt like it was 9 am and I HAD slept in! So I called D to see how the hurricane prep was going. Originally he was planning on leaving town this afternoon and taking the kids to Richmond. He’s apparently changed his mind. No one we know is evacuating except friends and colleagues in North Carolina. Even one of our nursing homes is being evacuated today. And that’s only 30 min from where I live. While I’m not happy, I do trust him and his ability to keep the kids safe. I’m just scared. So please…take a minute to say a quick prayer/blessing/positive thought for the people in Irene’s wake for safety.

After waking early, I decided to hit up a vegan cafe, where I am now, and enjoy some great local fare. And now that I’m done eating, I’m going to explore for another hour or so, and then head to Portland to get Vida VeganCon rolling!

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Fever Delirium, Earthquakes, and Hurricanes

Not doing the FOOD & FITNESS thing today…I’m sick, haven’t eaten much, and have not worked out.  So there’s THAT brief summary!  😉

LIFE

Dear Lord, my life is never dull.  Not that I’m complaining too much – but sometimes…dull would be nice.  Not often, but one or two days a year.  That’s really all I’m asking for.

It has been an interesting couple of days.  I knew I was feeling a little off on Sunday, but I figured it was either my new multi-vitamin making me dizzy (it’s happened before), or my swim was a little too hard and I didn’t properly re-fuel after.  By Monday evening though, I knew something else was cooking.  I felt more or less okay, just stuffy.  I did my neti pot thing and hoped I nipped that.

Oh boy, it’s amazing what can happen overnight when one sleeps.  I woke up yesterday morning felling like someone filled my head with cotton.  Heavy, wet, and dark green cotton.  It’s funny how you just know when something has progressed past your ability to fix it.  I knew that I had a sinus infection.  Quite probably an ear infection too, considering how much my right ear hurt.  My head was throbbing, my throat was sore, and I was more than a little pissed off about it.

This happens to me like clockwork once a year – usually when the weather changes.  And each year I am forced to wait the prescribed 7-10 days to be sure it isn’t a viral thing (doctors appropriately are reluctant to prescribe antibiotics), and then once that time has passed and I’m now sicker than crap, I get the antibiotics and feel better 3-5 days later.  So each year I get a royally bad sinus and ear infection that lasts about 2 weeks.  With my trip starting tonight, there was absolutely no way I was going to do that.

So I called my Dr office and found she couldn’t get me in.  I went into Urgent Care prepared to explain my long history of sinus infections and battle the doctor for antibiotics.  Protest with a sit-in in the exam room if necessary.  But no need!  The doctor was great.  She looked in my ear and nose, knew right away it was an infection, and prescribed me a 3-day antibiotic that I took as soon as I could, about an hour later.  Woo hoo…here’s hoping I’m ALL better before the conference starts on Friday.

On a side note, I was downtown when the earth started to move under my feet.  Literally!  VA had an earthquake centered about 38 miles outside of Richmond.  We certainly felt it here in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area, and in much further reaches of the country.  I read that the earth’s crust in this coast is pretty smooth (all things considering), so the waves can travel happily over hundreds of miles, explaining why all along the eastern seaboard it was felt.  The worse part was the cell service being offline for about a half hour afterwards.  We all recovered just fine and are now talking about the great quake of 2011.

While the possible violence of mother nature is absolutely nothing to joke about, we are gearing up for another blow that will possibly hit us in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Hurricane Irene is plowing her way through the Bahamas today and is on track to hit the Carolinas on Saturday, and my area of Hampton Roads on Sunday.  We’re normally pretty secure as we’re a bit protected by being more inland than our North Carolina neighbors.  What we typically experience are the outer bands of major storms, lots of rain and some flooding, but nothing like a direct hit.  It’s said that we get hit maybe 1 in every 10 years.

The last hurricane to hit Hampton Roads was Hurricane Isabel in Sept. 2003.  That hit us as a Category 1, and caused $1.85 billion in damages.  People were without power, gas, and running water for days, not to mention the flooding of tunnels.  It happened 3 1/2 months before my family moved to the area, and I was hoping to never have to live through it.  It’s now 8 years later, and Irene is predicted to be a Cat 3 when/if it hits.  We’re doing the best we can to prepare, and I can say I’m honestly worried.  I’ll be honest too, that I’m not thrilled with the coincidence that both of these deadly ladies have names beginning with “I”.

Well enough of the doomsday talk!  Let’s just hope Irene decides to take a severe right turn soon, and putter out over the ocean without harming anyone.

I was supposed to get my nails done last evening.  I was downtown for work and ready to head to the spa when I really started not feeling well.  Thank goodness I work for a hospital, right?  103 fever.  Just lovely.  So, I called the spa to cancel (sorry for everyone that has to see me this weekend with chipped fingernails!  The toes still look good though).

I was freezing the entire drive home.  I rolled up the windows, no AC, and darned near turned the heat on.  I stumbled into the front door and I don’t really remember the drive home, and was on a mission to warm up.  Right after I went upstairs to put on fleece jammies and a sweatshirt, I grabbed my pillow and went outside into the warm VA sun to lie in my yard on a lawn chair in an effort to warm up.  Once my Tylenol kicked in, so did my common sense.  I imagine I made a heck of a sight for any neighbors who happened to look in my yard.  It’s nearly 90 degrees, and here I am in a hoodie and sweat pants curled up on a lawn chair with my dog’s head on my lap.

Most of the rest of the evening was spent in bed watching a TON of TV.  And on several conference calls dealing with a system crisis at work.  I kept the Tylenol and motrin onboard to keep any fevers down, so at least I’d be coherent to my co-workers.  I managed to sleep well both the last two nights.  I think my body knows it needs the rest.

Today has been a lot of work, scrambling to get our production issues under control as well as prepping for any IT system issues as a result of Irene.  And I stopped at the grocery to buy them out of bottled water….just in case!

I also finally finished (ish) packing this morning.  My suitcase is ready, and most of my carry on!  The trip is going to be a bit crazy – I’m not scheduled to land until midnight in Seattle – which is 3am my time.  Which means by the time I get my luggage, my car, and get to my hotel, I’ll have been up nearly 24 hours.  While being sick.  Should be an adventure!

my suitcase. with plenty of extra room to bring back fun things!
my awesome carry on bag!
key carry on items. My Kindle, my iPad, and my magazine. Magazine required for when I can't use electronics during take off and landing!

I will spend tomorrow and part of Friday in Seattle before heading down to the conference that afternoon!  There are a ton of amazing things scheduled, from cooking demos, round table discussions, podcasting workshop (I’m going to that one!  Watch out…may end up with a blog, a vlog, and a podcast by the time I leave!), and even a dressy fundraiser.  Little black dress and heels are packed!  I plan to do a lot of blogging while I’m gone as well as frequent Twitter updates during the con.  If you’re on Twitter, follow the trend #VidaVeganCon to catch everyone’s highlights!

It’s The Final Countdown!

only two more days and I’ll be on a plane to Seattle and then down to Portland for the Vida Vegan Con Conference!!!!  Woo hoo 🙂

FOOD

I eventually got hungry last night, so I made up some leftover lentil salad wraps.  I had a batch of leftover lentils, and yesterday morning I made a quick marinade of Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil and poured it over the leftovers, and stuck it back in the fridge.

Normally, I just use romaine lettuce leaves as my wraps, but I was feeling inventive, so I added the rice paper.  The extra added bonus is that they went from messy to portable finger food!  I love rice paper….

how I normally eat this
enter the awesome rice paper....dampen to make soft....insert your ingredients...
and it's a wrap baby!
easy to make...easier to eat!

This morning was a cup of coffee, a mini bagel with Tofutti cream cheese, and the other half of the banana from yesterday afternoon.  I wasn’t very hungry, but had to eat something before my marathon meeting day started.

I ate a Coconut milk yogurt for lunch.  And tea.

Dinner was a part of a Moe’s salad.  After running errands with the kids, we stopped at Moe’s to pick up dinner.  I wasn’t planning on getting anything, but when the manager saw me, he remembered me and exactly what I order every time I’m there (and I haven’t been there in months!).  I didn’t have to heart to say no, so I ended up ordering a salad.  I think I OD’d on Moe’s when I was training for the Chicago marathon.  After each of my Saturday long runs, I seemed to crave that exact salad – which would explain why he remembered me.  I was there at least once a week for 4 months.

LIFE

I was feeling a bit better last night, and ended up sleeping pretty well (even though it took me forever to FALL asleep…I actually STAYED asleep).

I woke up early this morning and took a shower before D was up.  I made breakfast for R and I, lunches for D, R, and I, and then got ready for work.  D has it easy in the mornings 🙂

I was feeling a little off today, but mostly seemed fine.  I notice that when I’m really focused on something (like work), I tend to ignore the aches, pains, and general icky feelings.

I went through my billion meetings and then got a call from R’s old grade school (she’s moving up to the next school for 3rd-5th graders), and they needed me to come in today to pick up her Epi-Pens and Benadryl, or they were going to throw them away.

So, in an hour between meetings, I left the office, got to her school, picked up her meds, and then went home to finish my meeting afternoon (they were all online meetings or conference calls).  Those lasted until 530.

After work, I took the kids to the art supply store so A could pick up materials for her summer project for art school.  I intended to hit up Target and the bank too, but was feeling really poopy, so we just stopped at Moe’s and went home.

Most of this evening has been spent working, playing with my iPad, and thinking about packing – and feeling sorry for myself that I seem to be getting sick.  I’m really upset, and hope this passes before Wednesday evening when my flight takes off!  I can’t have any ill moments at Vida Vegan Con!

I’m stuffy and my head is pounding.  I busted out the neti pot, had quite a bit of success, and have been drinking Emergen-C and tea all evening.  And now…I’m going to stop blogging so I can get another good night’s sleep and kick this bug in the butt!

I Feel Like a Swimming Beast!!

Okay, so I’m writing this on my iPad for practice, and I haven’t figured out how to format my type yet (like holding and italicizing)…Bear with me as I try to figure this out!

FOOD

I should have known something wasn’t right when I woke up this morning. I had my java first, as always, and then I just didn’t feel hungry. I knew I should eat though, so I heated up some leftover butternut squash soup with quinoa. I had about 6 bites and stopped.

Before my workout around noon, I had half of a banana. I wasn’t hungry then either, but knew I should have something before exercising.

About 20 min after my workout I was feeling a little hungry, but nothing sounded good and the hunger soon passed. An hour or so later I ate a quick Boca burger because I knew intellectually I needed to eat.

It’s not dinner time yet, but the way I’m feeling now, I may end up skipping that.

FITNESS

I knew I wanted to swim today. I was thinking of maybe going to another warm yoga class too. By the time I left for the Y I was feeling pretty bleh. I was hoping that a good swim would energize me, and it did…while I was in the pool.

I actually had a great swim. I swam 2100 yds over the course on 1 hr and 9 minutes. I did several drills with breast stroke (my weakest) and backstroke too. Now that swimming is one of the few workouts I can do without hurting my back, it needs to be more well rounded and not just going freestyle as fast as I can!

I enjoyed the swim a lot, which is just as important to me. I tend to avoid things I don’t like 🙂

LIFE

I actually slept quite well last night. I was grateful for that! I got up around 730, made coffee, and plopped in front of the TV. No one else stirred until after 10, the slackers!

Last night R broke my book light, so one item on my to do list today was to get another one! After my swim I went to Barnes and Noble to get a new light and a couple magazines for the flight (well….the portions of the flight where you can’t use electronics, so no iPad, iPod, iPhone, or Kindle…the horror!). Then a quick stop at the grocery, and then home.

I’ve been playing with my iPad since I got home, and finally admitting that I don’t feel well. I hope I’m not catching whatever D has because he’s been miserable since Friday night. I can’t afford to get sick right now, not with the big trip coming up this week!

So I’m going to go take a nap and hope I can shake off this icky feeling.

Going to try and insert a picture here too….just something goofy with R.

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I Got to Be a Pigeon Today!

FOOD

I was up earlier than everyone else (as usual), so I had a couple of cups of coffee while first reading some more blog posts, and then while watching the last recorded episode of Hell’s Kitchen.  It was perfect timing when R came downstairs as the show ended, she could watch cartoons, and I could start making breakfast.

First up today was a smoothie.  My latest favorite of watermelon, banana, and frozen strawberries.  My bananas are turning fast, and so right now they’re only good for smoothies or baking – and barely for smoothies.

smoothie!!!

A half hour later, I had a mini bagel with tofutti cream cheese.  I wanted something a little more substantial than just the smoothie, since I was going to be gone for a few hours.

For lunch I made a creamy butternut squash soup.  I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do, only knowing that I had some cubed up butternut squash I picked up on sale at the grocery yesterday, and wanted to do something with that.  I’ve made a few apple and butternut squash soups in the past, but I really wanted to go for something creamier.  I decided on a butternut squash/coconut milk concoction.  It came out very tasty and I was pleased with it.  I made up a batch of savory quinoa (using vegetable broth instead of water), and put about 1/3 cup in the bottom of my bowl to make the soup a hearty meal.

squash in my micro steamer heading for the microwave
onion, garlic, and the quinoa before I rinsed it
I rarely have straight broth on hand, so I use some Penzy's vegetable base mixed with water.
my whole wheat flour
spices!

my lunch, with a little extra cinnamon on top

I’ve started using Living Cookbook 2011 to build my personal recipes (and capture the ones I read online that I love!), so now I can include nutritional calculations too!

Crissie’s Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Eat plain, or serve over quinoa or rice for a heartier dish.  I like to use the So Delicious Vanilla flavored coconut milk if I have it on hand.  Regular coconut milk would work great too.

3 cups butternut squash chunks
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 small onion — chopped
3 cloves garlic — finely chopped
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Steam butternut squash in the microwave for 7 minutes to soften.  Could also be roasted at 450 for 20 minutes if coated lightly in olive oil first.

2. Sauté onion and garlic on medium heat in a non-stick pan or one slightly sprayed with oil until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

VITAMIX/HIGHPOWERED BLENDER DIRECTIONS

1. Place broth and flour in vitamix and blend, starting on low, and then on high for about 4 minutes.  This will heat up the broth.

2. Add onion mixture and squash.  Blend until smooth, about 15-30 seconds.

3. Add spices and coconut milk, blend for another 15 seconds.

STOVE TOP DIRECTIONS

1. After the onion mixture is completed, add the flour to the pan and stir to combine.

2. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and slowly add the broth, stirring constantly.

3. Add the coconut milk, and stir until thick, about one minute.  Turn the heat up if you need to.  My gas stove gets touchy, and I often have to put it to high when making a white gravy – which this essentially is.

4. Add butternut squash and either blend with a hand blender, or put in batches (carefully, as it will be very hot) into a normal blender.

5. Add spices, and stir.

Servings: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 152.05
Total Fat 4.53g
Total Carbohydrates 26.44g
Fiber 3.72g
Sugar 3.08g
Protein 3.7g

I wasn’t very hungry for a while, and snaked on some pita chips with avocado hummus around 630pm.  I suppose that ended up being my dinner!

FITNESS

I went to the best yoga class today!  I wanted to go to a hot or warm class, as it tends to be more challenging, and I felt the heat would be great for my muscles and especially penetrate my back.

So I went to a 315pm class at my local hot yoga studio, Chesapeake Hot Yoga.  I went to their Light & Warm class – I didn’t want to push it TOO hard after all!

I spoke to the instructor just before hand and let her know about my back injury.  She asked several questions about where the pain is, what caused it, what treatments have I had, and wanted to be sure I saw a doctor.  The owner was there along with another instructor.  She gave me some tips before class started, mostly about listening to my body, not going into camel pose or anything with a deep back bend, going to child’s pose whenever I felt my back was being taxed too much, etc.  Common sense things.

Anyway, I went into the room at about 310.  I usually like to be 10-15 minutes early for a hot or warm class so I can lie down and get accustomed to the heat.

There was only one other girl in the class (hot yoga decreases in popularity around here when the temps get hot – I asked!), and she told us this was her first ever yoga class!  How cool.

Anyway, the instructor came in about 5 minutes late, but had a piece of paper with her.  As soon as class started, I knew that she had conferred with the owner and the other instructor about poses that would be good specifically for me.  The entire class was perfect.  The poses she had us doing were challenging, but none were stressful on my back.  They were mostly hip opening poses and back stretching.  Not once during that hour of class did I feel any pain whatsoever – at least not from my back.  I struggled though the balance poses – especially Warrior 3 – but I ALWAYS struggle with those!  I’ve always hated Warrior 3….

We did do my favorite ever pose though – pigeon.  It was towards the end of class when I was very warmed up and feeling limber, and I was able to get deep into it, so it felt great.

After class was over, Melanie (the instructor) went through a few poses she thought would be good for me to do at home once or twice a day.  Namely, Rabbit pose, which I’d never done before.  We also talked about injuries in general and her past history with them.  She also had injuries and found she couldn’t go back to running, though she’s currently in the best shape of her life.  She could see that I’m struggling with not running, and could relate, though I refuse to think my running days are over.  I can admit they are “suspended”, but I can’t imagine giving it up permanently.  I’m sort of in running Lent right now.  I’m giving it up for awhile in order to heal.  And to deepen my intense appreciation of having a body that CAN be physical.  It’s just acting cranky and self-absorbed right now.

LIFE

I had a mixed bag with sleep again last night.  D wasn’t feeling so well (not Crohn’s pains…just regular malaise feelings), so he went to bed around 9.  I was in the middle of a blog post (which takes me nearly an hour!) plus reading all my new ones, so I wasn’t ready quite yet.

I went to bed around 1030 and read my latest book for a bit.  I was asleep by 11.  I was smart enough to put ear plugs in as soon as I started reading so at least snoring wouldn’t wake me.  Alas…I was up by 130 anyway and tossed and turned most of the rest of the night.  I didn’t lie awake for a long time like I did the other night.  Last night I would fall right back to sleep, but I woke every 20-30 minutes, even if only for a minute.  I’ve felt okay today though, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.  Not sleeping well seems much more catastrophic at the time!

D was clearly not feeling well today.  He’s been running a low-grade fever and feeling horrible.  Again – not Crohn’s related – but if he isn’t careful about eating and taking his meds, being sick can bring on a flare up.  Thank goodness he has me to nag the crap out of him to remind him to take his meds.

D and Bumble spent most of the day on the couch (though Bumble doesn't look like she could possibly be comfortable)
speaking of Bumble...she puts her toys in her food dish. And then roots around them to get to her food. Silly kitty. And pay no heed to the bad banana - its destined for some bread tomorrow.

After breakfast, I took R to gymnastics, and then we went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond in search of a doughnut pan.  I didn’t find them.  My original intent was to make an upside down dinner tonight (when we have breakfast for dinner) replete with vegan doughnuts (Oh She Glows kept writing about them, and now I need some).  The biggest reason I didn’t is because D loves those big breakfast meals so much – and he’s too sick to enjoy them.  So it’s going to wait until tomorrow.

she's the one crouched down just getting on the beam. They practiced walking backwards and sideways and my normally silly girl was oh so serious

I brought my laptop to gymnastics so I could finally catch up on the blog reading.  It was D’s idea and absolutely brilliant.

The afternoon was spent making soup, and then getting some work done.  Then it was off to yoga and then to the Apple store!  I am now the proud owner of an iPad 2!!!  D and I were talking today about what a pain in the butt it would be to drag my laptop to the vegan bloggers conference next week, and discussed what a brilliant idea an iPad would be.  So…I got my birthday gift 2 months early.  And it’s cool.  I’m still playing with it, but it seems (as by evidenced by my last mini-post), that I can use it for all my blogging adventures while away next week.  It’s also fully integrated at work, so that’s a huge bonus for me.

After I got home it was really all about playing with the new toy…which is probably why I didn’t actually make myself any dinner 🙂

And now…I’m going to go play some more!