Please Can I Go Home Now?

FOOD

I’m realizing that I don’t have a lot of food pics from the past week. I was home for a few days, and then back on the road to Milwaukee and Chicago.

Sushi with my guy

We had a couple annoyingly chilly days, so a spicy tofu and veg soup was perfect

Couple oatmeal dishes. One at home, and one at my sister’s in WI.

Dinner with my sister and cousin. They had vegan meatballs!

Always Thai and smoothies!

Brunch with my mom was a simple spinach salad and a basmati and carrot pilaf

The best meal by far was with a friend of mine who lives in NYC, but was in Chicago the same time as me! We hit up Vegan Plate for an all vegan Thai restaurant. Drunken noodles with soy chicken and a fish-less dish. The drunken noodles were insane! Then it was to Paulie Gee’s for some dessert! They not only have vegan pizza, but they carry the delicious baked yummies from Pie Pie My Darling! I had the carrot cake and vanilla ice cream. D had the chocolate cake. Needless to say – beyond stuffed!

The rest of my meals were provided by the conference I attended. They did a good job of having vegan snacks and my dinner last night at the Chicago Cultural Center was amazing too!

FITNESS

Runs at home, one of which ended in the rain. My hotel in Chicago had a Peloton room, so I had cycling workouts! So thrilled by that. Otherwise yoga.

Actually excited to take my guy to a yoga class this Saturday.

LIFE

Well, as usual BUSY BUSY BUSY.

Got home from Dallas on Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday was work and also my eldest cabbage’s birthday! Yep, A turned 23! Crazy. Didn’t get to celebrate much as she had to work and had school.

Thursday was also the final orchestra performance of the school year. As usual, R and her classmates sounded wonderful.

Friday was work, packing, and then chilling out. Saturday morning I hit the road again! Spent Saturday night at my sister’s. Dinner out, then a movie (Molly’s Game – it was really good). Sunday was a crazy, but fun board game with my sister, nephew, and niece. We all died. Then brunch with mom, tea with S (who I think it’s been about 9 years since I’ve seen!). Then down to Chicago to study and write a ton of papers.

Mon-today was conference stuff – which was really good. Probably one of my favorites. I think it helped that I got to meet and talk to Andy Slavitt about an impassioned topic for me (and him) – mental health care in the Medicaid population. I’m considering this topic for my doctoral research. I have a few other ideas I’m investigating too – I have until October to decide. But anyway, if there was ever an Andy Slavitt fan club, I imagine I’d be the president!

Tonight I fly home, and I’m SO ready to see the people I love and sleep in my own bed!

On a fun note (ish – it doesn’t start out fun, but bear with me)….I suck at sleeping. I’ve had insomnia issues for almost 15 years. I’m a lot better than I was, but still struggle with it. Coupled with being a freakishly light sleeper, I rarely sleep soundly. In an effort to help, my guy got me a white noise maker. We had stayed with friends a few weeks ago, and they had one and I slept great! So, I used it all this week, and I have to say – it was miraculous. I slept so well. Crazy for this tiny little disc thingy.

And of course, miscellaneous pics from the week! And while it’s been great, can I please just go home now??

Peanuts Suck Less Than They Used To

FOOD

It’s been a mixed bag of at-home meals and dining out. Nothing really new there to be honest. Did have one quick trip to Dallas, which is always yummy 🙂

Smoothies always rule!

As the weather warms up (and it’s FINALLY warming up!), plenty of salads! (Pay no heed to the butter – it wasn’t mine! )

Last time I was in Dallas (last October) we went to a restaurant called Mesa Mayo. OMG. The food was amaze balls, but so were the margaritas. I fell in love with the Serrano Berry. My travel partner in crime loved the avocado one, but since I’m allergic to avocados, I could not partake. However, being in Dallas earlier this week, I sure as HELL went and got my Serrano Berry! And studied at the same time 🙂

Last night I went out to dinner with my girl JG from grad school! She took me to a place called True Kitchen. She picked it due to the great selection of vegan eats for me. I had an amazing cucumber Tom Collins, a tempeh, lettuce, and tomato sammich, kale salad, and sweet potato hash. And we shared a hummus plate. SO GOOD.

I also tried Poke for the first time at a place called Low Key Poke. And while I was recently told it was a Hawaiian tuna dish, this place described themselves to me as “Chipotle for sushi”! So, I had the green tea rice, tofu with a soy and sriracha sauce, and tons of veggies. It was really yummy and spicy!

Other misc eats!

Like this awesome seitan gyro wrap! Recipe is from Zsu Dever’s book Vegan Bowls. Only I made it as a wrap instead. Kids love it, and it’s supper tasty. Enough for leftovers for the oldest cabbage to take to work.

FITNESS

The hellacious coughing finally stopped around Sunday/Monday. Until then, it was just the walking, yoga, and some strength training – as long as it didn’t set off coughing fits.

Otherwise I ran in the hotel gym. Felt good to run – and even though I hate the dreadmill, I hate not running for 2 weeks even more!

LIFE

Been a very busy and awesome week. Last Wednesday my kids booked me for a massage in a salt room at a local place called Green Leaf and Pebble Tea Spa in Virginia Beach. It was incredible. 60 minute massage and they give you an extra 30 in the room to do whatever you want – nap, meditate, etc. I mostly just laid there enjoying the peace, but had to get pics too! My sinuses were a mess, but being in that room helped so much. I picked eucalyptus as my aromatherapy addition just for that reason too. And of course it’s a tea spa, so I had tea too! Licorice – and it was killer. I don’t like black licorice, but they gave me a sample and I was hooked. So tasty!

I had some dryer issues (basically, had to hire a chimney sweep to clean out the ducts. Who knew?). So while I had to wait a week for them to come, I did have to hit up the laundry mat one time. It actually ended up being kinda cool. Aside from not being cheap ($2.50 per wash!), they had WiFi, and I was able to get 4 loads of laundry done in an hour, study, and do a webex. That, my friends, is multi-tasking!

Thursday I had a happy hour/dinner with a colleague from IBM. Of course I had to take her down to the Oceanfront of beautiful Virginia Beach! She’s from Pennsylvania and had never been down this way before. It did start to rain just as we were leaving.

On Friday, R had a really big appointment. For those long-time readers, I’ve chronicled the last 16 months of her working on something called OIT – Oral ImmunoTherapy – which is a protocol to help build immunity to food allergies. R has a life threatening allergy to peanuts, and additional allergies to several tree nuts. Well, after 16 months, it was time for her food challenge! She had been eating 3 peanut M&M’s for the past 7 months. The food challenge basically goes like this – eat 5 grams of peanut butter, wait a half hour, eat 10 grams, wait another half hour, eat 15 grams. If all goes well, that’s a pass, and she’s safe to eat peanut stuff freely. Though to maintain immunity, she would have to eat something with peanuts everyday.

First of all – R HATES the taste of peanuts. Watching her every day eat her dose, it looks like she’s being tortured. She opted for peanut butter and saltine crackers.

Well, about 8 minutes into her first dose, she started to have a reaction. Sore throat and some itchiness. When it didn’t resolve (it can often be caused by anxiety), and she was monitored the entire time – her breathing and vitals, etc – they gave her prednisone and Benadryl to resolve her symptoms. We hung out another hour and change and then went home.

So – she didn’t pass the food challenge. And as discouraging as that is, it’s still incredible progress! That dose just 18 months ago could’ve been deadly. So, we have a choice to make. Keep doing the dose, slightly higher (at 4 peanut M&M’s) and then try the challenge again in 4-6 months, or just stay at the 4 peanut M&M’s indefinitely. At this point, she’s cleared to fly in terms of peanut exposure – what she’s eating daily is way more than any accidental exposure she’d face – and leave it at that. If she has no desire to free eat peanuts and peanut containing foods, then mission accomplished. We haven’t made a final decision on that yet, and technically we have 4-6 months before we need to. So for now, peanuts still suck – but they suck less than they used to.

Before we left the hospital, she did have her blood drawn to retest her for treenuts. Sometimes they can be outgrown, and her severity to treenuts was MUCH less than peanuts. So if she’s clear there, she’s clear to fly! That was her big goal. And especially now with her Dad living on the other coast, it really is important so she can visit him.

Saturday was a really fun day. R had an adjudicated orchestra competition up in Williamsburg. After their performance (which include schools all over VA and NC), all the kids went to Busch Gardens for the day! They played amazingly well and won first place for High School orchestra! In between activities, I parked myself and studied. And had a cider too…

After getting home Friday eve, it was a quick shower and then going out with my guy. I was leaving the next day and wouldn’t see him for a bit. We went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Norfolk then for drinks. Good times and then back home!

Sunday was coffee on the back deck, packing, studying, chilling with the kids (ones who were awake anyway!), and then eventually heading to the airport for a late afternoon flight. It was direct, so I got into Dallas at a pretty reasonable time.

Then it was work and then spending time with JG! We went to the movies – of which I entirely blame her for picking something shitty! We saw I Feel Pretty. Apparently she didn’t look at IMDB ratings. I did. I had low expectations. She was sadly more disappointed I think!

Then there’s random pics of the fluffs. Like Kuma who really just wants to sleep. All the time. And Ginny who can get comfortable in what looks like uncomfortable positions.

I also had a little extra time yesterday, so got a mani and pedi and went from reds/burgundies, to pinks! Ready for summer! Helps that on Monday the pool was opened and will be swim ready early next week! Perfect timing as the weather really heats up.

Chill Week with a Side of Coughing

FOOD

Home for a whole week! Actually, I’m home for two full weeks before hitting the road again (Dallas and Chicago coming up!).

Split pea soup in the instant pot!

Brown rice, lentils, and spices with coconut milk in the rice cooker

Tofu noodle bowl with pineapple and edamame

Out for a working lunch – love it when I get to pick the place! I do have a soft spot for a good falafel

Of course tofu green curry

Creamy mushroom stroganoff

Smoothies (always)

A brunch date – eggplant, beet, and roasted bell pepper salad with fresh squeezed OJ mimosa

Seitan gyro wrap

FITNESS

Do massive coughing fits count for ab work?? Seriously, been a rough week. Can’t run, but once I wasn’t feeling like death, I have been walking. Gentle yoga at home and some easy upper body weight training as long as it didn’t trigger any coughing fits.

LIFE

Well, as usual for spring, my allergies turn into something menacing. It’s been a long 9 days of it already. I’ve kicked most of the bad parts (sore throat, major headaches, low grade fever, ear ache), but am still a little stuffy and this damned cough won’t go away! Finished my round of antibiotics yesterday, so hopefully this will all go away soon!

Other than that, been a pretty chill week. Lots of work and school work mainly, and evenings with the munchkins. Saturday I took R for her haircut. Our salon is down at the beach, so of course I had to bring Kuma! She was welcome in the salon, but after her saying hi to everyone, we went outside and sat at a table. She charmed the tourists and I studied until R was done.

Me napping instead of studying!

Went out for a little bit on Sunday for a brunch date. Otherwise it’s been a very tame week! The most exciting part is my daughter started nursing school yesterday! All while working nights in the ER. So proud of her!