Can You Be Stressed and Not Know It?

FOOD

Not a lot of food pics, to be honest. I had smoothies yesterday and today. Both the same – 1 cup coconut milk (the carton drink, not the canned) in unsweetened vanilla, 1 scoop vanilla protein power (using up the last of my Everyday 365 powder from Whole Foods), 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp MCT oil, and ice. It’s literally one of the most delicious things ever.

I had a BAS again yesterday topped with a ton of tofu eggless salad. Super tasty and filling.

I know I mentioned previously that I started Intermittent Fasting back in mid-January. I have a condition called PCOS that causes insulin resistance. I had certainly heard of IF and even believed for a lot time that it was extreme and unhealthy. I have since changed my tune after doing a ton of reading and research (the academic kind, not the Facebook/YouTube kind). Truly, it has been remarkable for me. My goal is 18 hrs of fasting, but lately I’ve been at or over 20 hrs per day. I’ve noticed several benefits for me – certainly weight loss (20 lbs so far), but also truly understanding hunger signals, more diligence on WHAT I’m eating, and honestly – more energy.

FITNESS

Yesterday I went for a run after my last meeting of the day. It was sunny and in the 60’s.

Today I started with a 9mi hike at False Cape State Park and Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. I actually didn’t explore the park, as it is inaccessible by car (hike, tram, or boat only – and trams aren’t running and I have no boat – yet!). I did the 4 mile hike TO the park, and then turned around. I had done a mile at the refuge, and it was stunning. Also went on a side Dune trail on my way to the park. I brought headphones, but didn’t use them.

It was actually chilly and foggy when I set out. It was 65 at home when I left, but only 55 when I got there. I was very underdressed, though it warmed up a lot by the time I was done. I packed sunscreen when I should’ve had a jacket!

After I was home for maybe an hour (had my smoothie), decided I also wanted to run. By then, it was 82 (though my watch says 85), and off I went for 3 sweaty miles. I definitely needed more water!

LIFE

So the only odd thing (other than quarantine) in the past few weeks is how poorly I’m sleeping. I find it odd because I don’t feel stressed out. I’m eating well, exercising, meditating, being productive, working, etc. So the poor sleep is really puzzling. My friend said that everyone deals with stress differently, and maybe he’s right. Maybe I’m stressed and don’t know it? Is that possible? Anyway – really hope this no-sleep silliness ends ASAP.

Yesterday was a typical day. Wake, coffee, Kuma, news, work. Then at some break in my day, workout, shower, and either work more, or do something else. Last night it was make dinner, practice French, and go to bed. Early, but that was no good.

Part of my practice!

Today has mainly been hiking and running. Then I showered and went on the pack deck. I meditated, did some reading, then decided to get this blog done before its time to make dinner!

Book, water, and olives for a snack!

The best news though – is M has been fever free for 24 hours and is out of quarantine! Still need to keep an eye because he’s having a bit of chest tightness.

Tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer, so I’m thinking some garden work and pressure washing the deck. Pollen is really bad (my allergies and related headaches have kicked in). Otherwise, I’ll wing it for the day!

My COVID Routine

FOOD

Well, we’re out of cookies, and that’s a tragedy I will rectify this evening. I did make a loaf of bread already tho!

In the mean time I’ve had smoothies, several bowls of spicy tofu soup, a BAS (Big Ass Salad) for the newbies, and even made some chocolate chia pudding!

Honestly, the green beans were too long – but they were frozen, so I found myself eating them with my fingers
Super simple. Coconut milk, chia seeds, and cocoa powder. I sprinkled in some stevia too
Topped with my tofu eggless salad

FITNESS

Ran yesterday and today. It was raining yesterday and there was a lull in it, so I thought I’d risk it. Bad move, as I was 2mi from home when the rain restarted. Oops! That second 2 miles were faster than usual tho 😜

I’m a big fan of audiobooks when I run. I’m re-listening to one from many years ago – Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison.

Was a bummer because I had to wait to shower – got home in time for some meetings, so 2 hours later, I was cold and still kinda damp.

Today, however, was 60 and sunny and wonderful. Another 2 hrs before I could shower, but that’s okay. I do love the ability to run mid-day. I very much prefer it over mornings!

Today’s audiobook was Harry Potter on Overdrive courtesy of my library. I don’t normally listen to two fiction books at the same time, but I forgot I had reserved this, and it became available last night.

LIFE

Well, I can honestly say I don’t mind the at-home life. I’m productive, largely stay busy, and get to spend time with my kids! Well, except M who is still in quarantine and I only see him when I refill his water, tea, or bring him eats. But, his fever when he woke this morning was under triple digits, so I’m hoping that’s a good sign!

Yesterday was really busy work-wise, which isn’t a bad thing at all. I’m lucky that most of what I do is pretty groovy. I was supposed to have a legislative affairs subcommittee meeting, but we had to cancel as the city hasn’t given us directions on virtual meetings. This is related to the Freedom of Information Act and the need to publicize when we have meetings so the public can attend. I contend we can still do that with virtual meetings – just publish the link. But ultimately the City has to decide, so until then, we wait.

Girls were being silly last night. R was on the spin bike, and A just walked up behind her and snatched her and carried her through the house and tossed her on the sofa. To demonstrate her dominance over her “little” sister who is actually taller than both A and me!

Today was less work meetings, which meant more time to get some stuff done! In particular a Proforma for a joint venture I’m working on.

I did get some great news at work today, and at least temporarily, I get to work with/for my literal favorite person. With all the COVID craziness, we are being approached by many vendors, companies, and communities offering to help us. I’m going to be filtering through everything and hopefully start matching opportunities with needs within our health system and community. Even my daughter’s robotics team is offering up their 3D printer to help us. I absolutely love how communities really come together when we need it.

So I have been working from home since March 6th, so I am wrapping up my 3rd week. The week of the 9th was only because I was supposed to be at a conference and I had no office based meetings.

I’m getting into a social distancing groove, and I cannot complain. I work, I workout, meditate, walk Kuma, read the news (a LOT – but always start with WSJ, CNN, and a local one now – that’s new – and then Google News, & Twitter), I usually watch one episode of a show (I’m just not capable of watching lots of TV at once unless I’m sick). I practice my French for at least 20 minutes, but sometimes longer. I cook, clean, and do laundry. Soon will be time to plant and the garden is almost ready for it. And I read, a combination of fiction and nonfiction. Right now, I’m re-reading the Lean Startup as it has practical ramifications for my work. My fiction book I just downloaded the other day (I have Kindle Unlimited which has a huge selection of “free” books you check out). Infernal Magic is the book, and I was reading that when I went to bed last night. I also text a lot with friends as we all check in on each other and keep each other sane.

I am fortunate to have a job that is conducive to working from home, and one that is not interrupted by the COVID requirements. I realize how very lucky I am and am trying to do things locally to help those that aren’t as lucky. I know it’s not enough, but donations to the Food Bank of SE Virginia, buying gift cards from some favorite places, and will likely start doing the curbside to-go for some fav spots so they stay in business and weather this as much as they are able. Curious – how are you doing??

I can’t believe she’s at all comfy

I Prefer Sparkling Isolation

FOOD

Eats have been fairly similar, despite having MUCH more time on my hands than normal. My produce delivery last Friday forgot all my greens, and they were supposed to come back by last night and hadn’t. I called and it’s supposed to be today. It’s 530pm and I’m not holding out hope. I just miss salads!

Beyond Meat crumbles, cauliflower rice, spices, green beans. Boring – should’ve made a sauce for it – but filling.
Konjac noodles, tofu, broccoli, splash of coconut milk, ginger and hot curry powder

FITNESS

Went for a run yesterday. Haven’t worked out today yet, but it’s a toss up between a spin or yoga. My friend O recommended two of her favorite yoga YouTubers, so I’m leaning towards that. My hot yoga studio is streaming classes 2x per day, but so far they have been when I’m in meetings.

It was chilly and misting, and not my best run ever – but I was really annoyed and frustrated, and the point of my run was to burn that off. And I did, so yay!

LIFE

Well, like many states, the guidance has been evolving. Most recently (yesterday), schools are closed through the rest of the academic year. I am not surprised at all. My school district has not been well prepared for this, however, and I think it’ll be a bit before there’s consistency in education. One of the neighboring cities seems to have it on point though, so hopefully mine will take some lessons from them! But two of R’s teachers (eng and chem) have their act together, so at least there’s that.

My work is so conducive to remote life, that virtually nothing has changed for me. I spend quite a bit of time working from home on the regular, and I tend to prefer it.

One thing I’m liking about this new normal is I’ve talked to several friends in the past few days – where we’re all normally so busy that we’ll text occasionally, and that’s it. O and I spoke at length yesterday about life, changes in our lives, work, health (she should be a fitness model, I’m telling ya!), politics, and careers. I realized as we talked how much I miss her and how I have no excuses to not talking to her more often.

Today J called to give me some life updates of his own, which are exciting and I’m super stoked for him – and humbled that I was the person he thought to call and talk about it with. We chatted for a bit, but didn’t want to catch up TOO much because we have a long overdue happy hour 🙂

Lots of texting too. A and I at length today. JN a few times over the past few days. H and my sister, and even my ex who is quarantined due to an autoimmune condition he has. All told, good to catch up with people.

I did something today that I hadn’t done in 20 years. I printed off the Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle! Luna loved the actual printing. It took me awhile. I guessed 5 without help – and 3 were actually right! R got one. And the interwebs helped with the rest!

Don’t know that I’ll do them daily, but it was nice – both to kill time and to work my brain and learn some new vocabulary!

M is still sick – day 6 of running a fever and coughing. Hard not to be worried, but he’s staying hydrated and even eating some, though not a ton. He manages to stay in good spirits, though he has always been like that!

When not working, I’ve been reading a lot, which is nice. Some TV or movies now and then, but mostly spending a lot of time just reflecting on life. What I want. What makes me happy. What in my life doesn’t make me happy or add value. And, while not making any permanent decisions, certainly entertaining ideas for my future and that of my family. All good things. Felt a little selfish at first, but realize it is okay to prioritize myself (not something I’ve ever been good at!)

On interesting note – is how the approach to COVID-19 seems to be divided so much along political ideologies. Those advocating with the public health lens lean democrat, and you can see that clearly in the news with the states that are taking more stringent measures. Those advocating with an economic lens lean republican, and the red states are easing restrictions – if any are in place to begin with. I truly see both sides of the argument, I do, but as someone who has been in healthcare her entire adult life, is a self-proscribed bleeding heart, and who certainly is a liberal democrat, I definitely believe the right thing to do is to prevent – at all costs – a point of no return with our healthcare systems ability to treat patients. Reading reports of what amounts to battlefield triage in Italy where people on vents are being taken off if they’re over a certain age in order to provide care for younger infected people. I know as a care provider, I would never want to have to make that decision – so for the love of all things – STAY HOME. This is when we need our government to work together to ease the economic burden while the rest of us listen to the healthcare experts. (Sermon over, thank you for tuning in).

Don’t appreciate Apple judging me for my quarantine uptick in screen time!

Staying Safe and Busy with the New Normal

FOOD

There’s never a shortage of food in my house, thankfully, so plenty of meals to make. Smoothies, soups, stir-fries, and snacking on cucumbers and olives mostly.

Konjac “noodles”, tofu, and green beans all tossed in soy sauce
An orange/vanilla smoothie with coconut milk. SO good
Tofu, broccoli, and Konjac noodles in a coconut curry base
Probably my very fav way to snack on cucs. Tossed with apple cider vinegar, a little bit of toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes. Sit about 10 minutes, but good for a couple days.
Tofu eggless salad

I’ve been using the Konjac noodles quite a lot lately. I’ve always passed by them at the grocery, but decided to give them a try and I’m enjoying them. I have RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and gluten can be very bad for it – or any inflammatory condition. As a vegan, I already don’t eat most of the inflammation causing foods (red meat and dairy), and I do try to limit my gluten intake. I’m “gluten-lite”, but I do absolutely LOVE pasta. So – trying alternatives isn’t a bad thing for me.

FITNESS

Thursday afternoon I went to a local state park for a hike. I was getting a little stir crazy and it was a gorgeous 85 degree day. Experts are saying hikes and walks are fine as long as you’re not near people. And man – it was perfect. Only did 3 miles, but no headphones and just walking and enjoying being outside. Only saw a few people, though as I was leaving, the line to get into the park was longer than I had ever seen it.

Other workouts included more spin and running and yoga. I brought my spin bike in from the garage yesterday. I got in a long session by watching the Mandalorian and a bit of You.

Today I decided to go for a run. A bit chilly – low 50’s, but sunny and wonderful. I saw several people out walking and everyone was quick to smile and wave at each other. I will say, that is one thing I’m noticing and fully on board with in the midst of all the chaos and concerns about COVID-19, and that’s most people seem to have more love and compassion for each other (crazy TP hoarder aside), and I hope that’s something that sticks around.

LIFE

Well, it’s only been a few days, and like most of the world, I’m staying home other than a quick grocery trip and that hike.

My eldest two work at one of our local hospitals, so they don’t get the option to just stay home the way I and my youngest do. A works nights in the ED, and her new routine is to come in through the garage, take off her scrubs and put them in a bag for laundry, wrap in a towel and go straight to a shower before going to bed.

My son, sadly, has gotten sick. He had a potential exposure, though no confirmation. Thursday afternoon – while I was actually out on my hike – he started running a fever and developed a cough. He has NOT developed the shortness of breath that is common with COVID, however, so I do not think that is what he has. My daughter says there’s an uptick in Flu B, and his symptoms match that. No way of knowing for certain – he wouldn’t be eligible for testing anyway – but he’s still fully quarantined in his bedroom to keep everyone else healthy. The girls moved all their stuff into my bathroom, so M has his room and his own bathroom and that’s it. I bring him water, tea, and food when he can stomach it.

Last night my friend and I had a makeshift Netflix Party. If didn’t know – Netflix developed a Chrome extension that allows people in multiple places to watch Netflix together. Very cool actually. But that requires using your computer and we didn’t want to do that. So we just hit play and pause at the same time and watched a disaster movie – 2012. It was fun.

Other things this weekend – when we had really hot weather – was sitting on the back porch enjoying a book and a glass of wine

On Friday – the last possible day – I finally got some direction for school stuff, so now I have that to keep me busy as well. On top of that I’ve been trying to have at least some structure to my days. Morning coffee and Kuma time, as always. Meditation, work (if it’s a work day), cooking, cleaning, reading – both fiction and nonfiction, working out, reading or watching something in French, and watching a movie or a show. Honestly, short of not going out and about (gym, friends, shopping, work travel), not much in my life is really changed! The new normal is the safest one for now.

She REALLY misses M…

Social Distancing for the Win! #flattenthecurve!!

FOOD

Well hell! I feel like the apocalypse hit since my last post. If you’re like most people (and you should be or you kinda suck), you’re home and not going out to eat very often.

Prior to hard core quarantine, I did have one Thai meal out and one Whole Foods salad bar salad. Otherwise all the eats, naturally, have been at home. Lots of salads, soups, and easy eats.

I do love making tofu eggless salad as a topper – lots of protein and no need for dressing
Soy burls made in my Ninja Foodi – the recipe was supposed to be a “beef” stew, but the curls absorbed all the liquid! Yummy on cauliflower rice and topped with cabbage and hot sauce
A vegan carrot cake I made for my eldest to take to her fellow 3rd shift ED workers as a thank you for all they’re doing!

FITNESS

Well, obviously no gym nor hot yoga workouts. But that’s okay – I’ve been running a lot. I also used my spin bike a few times – in the free trial period of Rouvy, which is really neat. You can ride virtual races or courses all over the world. You can even build your own workout. My hot yoga studio made the decision to close (before it was mandated) and they moved to Zoom streaming classes. I haven’t done one yet, but plan to. Yesterday was the first one, but I was in a meeting.

LIFE

Well heck, where to begin?! On the school front, no news. I turned in my latest revision to my academic mentor nearly 2 weeks ago. She approved it and sent it on to committee for review. I haven’t heard anything back yet and the term ends tomorrow. Honestly, I’m quite irritated – because the next term doesn’t start until April 13th, and I am not allowed to work with anyone over the break. So even if they come back with no revisions (unlikely), I still couldn’t apply for IRB. Argh.

On the work front, I’m fortunate to have the type of role where I work from home a ton anyway, so this isn’t really a huge issue for me. No real reason to go into the office for me anyway. Only major change is no work related travel.

In the early stages of COVID, I did manage to do some grocery shopping. It is crazy to me what people hoard and how bare this shelves were. Thankfully I was able to get tofu, plenty of frozen veggies, and a nice 25 lb bag of flour so we’ll never run out of bread or baked goods!

This is the Walgreens near my house. Thankfully I was only there for dental floss!

I’ve actually watched a couple movies and some TV. I watched Avatar and Frozen II (how cool Disney added it to Disney+ 3 mo early!), and the live action Aladdin. I’m still watching True Blood and a couple episodes of You based on a recommendation. And of course reading, both fiction and nonfiction.

Tuesday night – Saint Patrick’s and my 2nd favorite holiday – The Dropkick Murphys performed a 2 hour live concert from an empty sound stage! I had wine and watched the whole thing – they were great and energetic even though they couldn’t see their audience. It was fun to see the chat of people all around the world tuning in. I had shared the link and several people I knew also watched. So cool for the to do.

Of course the floofs are thrilled to have all their people around!

Kuma turned 4 last week Wednesday!

So I hope everyone is doing their part and staying the heck home if it’s a possibility for you. Play games, FaceTime and text with friends and family, stay active, get creative, and #flattenthecurve! Social distancing won’t kill you or your loved ones – but COVID could!

Solo Date Night for the Win

FOOD

Went to a local Italian restaurant for a work dinner last Wednesday. I hadn’t been there in 14 years, but I remember them having the absolute best broccoli ever. So we got the table a side order of it (I had a yummy pasta dish), and everyone agreed – still the best broccoli!

Literally broccoli magic

I made a yummy Dijon “pasta” Alfredo with shirataki noodles and broccoli. The Alfredo is literally silken tofu, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard. SO good.

A simple Beyond Meat Brat for a quick meal

Friday night I went on a solo date (more on that later), and stopped at a spot downtown for some wine and plantains

Snacks at the robotics competition included fresh berries

Yesterday I stopped for Thai. And – wait for it – I did NOT get Tofu Green Curry! Instead I got some coconut curry soup with tofu and some steamed tofu rolls (though I couldn’t finish them)

Today I had a work lunch – Greek salad, but since it was with a vendor, I didn’t take a picture 😂. For dinner I made a tofu stir fry with cubed tofu and Konjac noodles in coconut oil and finished with low-sodium soy sauce. Not fancy, but very tasty.

FITNESS

Runs rule the day! Also some spinning, HIIT, and I’m back at hot yoga! it’s been too long, and I’ve signed up for a challenge at my old studio that should have me there at least 3x per week for a month. My stress has been sky high – and anxiety too – which I never get – so that was telling me I needed to get my butt back on the mat. That said – I forgot how incredibly butt kicking it is!

LIFE

As usual, busy – but not freakishly so.

I forgot to mention in my last post two cool things. One was – went to my first Advisory Board meeting! In case you missed it, I’ve accepted a volunteer appointment on the Human Services Board in my city – we advise the city council on matters concerning youth, elderly, and special needs.

The other cool thing is I went to my very first alumni event from my undergrad. It was a wine and app event held at a store – local start up called the Hamilton Perkins Collection – from another ODU grad. They make sustainable bags, but do cool stuff like provide the bags for Coachella this year. I met the founder about 3 years ago in the local start-up community, so it is so cool to see them have a store. He also roped me into being on his podcast in 2 weeks 😳.

Last week was pretty chill actually. Friday I had no plans, my eldest was working, my middle had plans with his friends, and my youngest was on her way to a robotics event out of town. So – solo date night! First I got my nails done, and then I decided to go to a play, and it was so good! It’s called The Play That goes Wrong. It’s basically a play within a play, and it was absolutely hilarious. I splurged for the “Stage Left” lounge before hand for cocktails and apps. https://broadwaygoeswrong.com. The evening itself was wonderful. I had my Kindle to read while at the restaurant and the lounge, and just enjoyed the time alone. I foresee many more of these in my future as my school load lessens.

I got home much later than I’m used to – and was unamused that Kuma took my spot. She’s cute though, so there’s that at least.

Saturday morning I drove up to Richmond where R was having her robotics competition. I didn’t go Friday since there were no spectator events – it’s the kids in the pits putting their bots together. M came up too. They did well, though didn’t advance past the day and a half of qualification rounds. My girlfriend H came on Sunday, along with her husband and their two kids. It was a lot of fun and the kids all did great.

That’s our bot!

Saturday night M and I went out – first to Buskey’s for some cider and chess, and then to Fat Dragon for Chinese food. R stays with her team at a separate hotel.

I won one (because M as helping me) and he won one (because he stopped helping me), but it was a ton of fun!

The past few weeks have been stressful and leaving me feeling pretty anxious often. Personal stuff. The good news is some decisions have been made, and while sad, it is the right decision and the anxiety is gone now. Time will tell, but all I can do is move forward and enjoy life as it comes!

On an exciting front, I submitted my very final edits for my doctoral work (pre-research), and they have been approved! Going through final review now, and if that’s approved, off to IRB! With any luck, I’ll be starting my research by April, if not the last week in March!

So the conference I was supposed to go to in Orlando did end up getting canceled. Definitely bummed, but also was the right call. No one needs to be traveling during all this COVID-19 uncertainly. That said though – I’m working from home this week. Too much going on emotionally to feel productive in the office, and a very light meeting schedule since I was supposed to be away. Definitely getting a lot of good work done at home though.