A Very Merry Time Indeed

FOOD

Friday I had a smoothie in my office for breakfast and a solo Thai lunch. Dinner was awesome though – the wine bar my guy and I go to now has a plant based menu section! Several months ago, the chef decided to be vegan for a month, just to see what it was like for me (which is epically cool). First, I hear he loves eating vegan – which is awesome. But even more so is the new menu, and I had the vegan po boy for dinner Saturday night (as did my meat eating friend I was there with), and it was delicious!

Other eats include brunch with my boyfriend, salads, beans and rice, and of course Christmas dinner of Tofurkey, mashers, corn, stuffing, mushroom gravy, and a bunch of other dishes I just didn’t get to.

FITNESS

Gym on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday for the HIIT class. And yesterday was my traditional Christmas run. I’ve done it 11 out of 12 years – missed last year because I was in WI and it was snowy and cold and ewww.

I rolled my ankle Saturday night – nothing fun, literally just stepping off a curb. But it was too sore on Sunday to do anything. It was swollen and I was worried I sprained it, but by Monday it was still sore, but I felt comfortable hitting the gym. I just modified any moves that required jumping. To be honest, it is still slightly sore, but it was fine for my run yesterday and I’m heading to the gym in a few where I expect it’ll be fine also.

LIFE

It was nice to be in the office on Friday and Monday. After work Friday, I went out with friends to celebrate the end of another term and that I am officially ABD! That means “all but dissertation”. Essentially, I’m done with classes and my focus shifts to research, analysis, publication, and graduation! My girlfriend I went out with is also in my program and knows just how hard I’ve worked to get to this point faster than anyone has before. So she and her husband treated me to a wonderful night of wine, food, and fun.

I was there about 30 min before S and A arrived. So Alex the bartender – who knows what we love to drink – kept giving me short pours of new things to try

This – was disgusting. Couldn’t even finish the sample, it was so bad.

A turmeric whiskey sour. Was quite good, though I let A finish it because I can’t really mix wine and booze

Saturday I spent the afternoon and night with my boyfriend. We ran some errands and then went to our fav Cape Charles’ spots for cider and cocktails (see now why I stumbled off the curb 🤦🏻‍♀️?).

The next morning was brunch at one of our 2 regular spots and then it was off to run errands on my way home.

Monday was in the office again, then the gym and more errands. I had to pick up some groceries and went to the store near my house. It was a madhouse, and the line looked more like a theme park rollercoaster line than a grocery store!

So Christmas. Normally one of my least favorite holidays – ever since I was a kid. This year was actually really nice. On Christmas Eve, the tradition in my family is to open pajamas and a game, and whoever wins the game gets to choose breakfast in the morning (which means I shop for what 5 people like for breakfast because you never know who the winner will be!).

My son in law spent it with us, and he ended up winning the game. I didn’t play because I was cooking – but it was fun to watch them.

Christmas morning was also nice. Coffee first, then gifts, breakfast, and my run. After cleaning up from breakfast, I put out appetizers and a Bloody Mary bar to snack on until dinner.

We spent the day at home. My boyfriend came over for a few hours and we did his gifts too. I got a Google WiFi mesh that he installed and it’s amazing!

I love maps and globes. Several weeks ago my youngest asked me where I’ve always wanted to go. Without hesitation – Morocco. She got me a framed 1800’s era map of Morocco – in French! I love love love it. I also got a book and a travel cord organizer from my sister, another framed print from my son, flavored vinegar and olive oil and a bottle of Bulleit from my daughter and son-in-law, and an Amazon gift card from my mom. Though honestly – it was less about the what (which was all lovely), and more about the who. I got to be with the people closest to me and have a great day.

What my travel cord “bag” looks like now – so what C got me really is perfect!

Only downside yesterday was the holiday light plan. We went to the Merry Mile, which is at the Virginia Beach oceanfront – you drive on the boardwalk of the beach and see the lights that are there, usually driving under them. It’s about 30 minutes away, and we wait in the long line of cars….to find out its cash only. THE WEBSITE DIDN’T SAY THAT. The kids didn’t want to hunt down an atm and then get back in line, so we went home instead.

Okay, Star Wars. To be honest, I have always been more of a Star Trek fan, but with the series concluding, I want to brush up on the series, so I’ve been working on watching them all in a lead up to going to see the finale on Saturday with my son, boyfriend, and his eldest. I never even saw them all, so it has been a fun education. Thus far, I have watched 5 of them.

And other miscellaneous shots of the week!

Thanksgiving, Lazy Days, and Chess Wars

FOOD

The food highlight of the week has certainly been Thanksgiving. I made a Celebration Roast (I couldn’t find Tofurky anywhere this year, so when with the Field Roast brand – I didn’t like it nearly as much), green bean casserole with a homemade creamy mushroom soup, stuffing, mashers, mushroom gravy, tofu pot pie, fresh bread, cranberry/orange/cinnamon sauce, and pumpkin pie.

Other eats this week included smoothies, oatmeal, a bizarre meal with two of my kids, an Impossible Whopper, and plenty of leftovers.

I very much appreciate BK having these. But tbh, it just sits SO heavy. I think my stomach hurt until the next day…

Eggplant and as a side I picked asparagus. Not realizing it didn’t automatically come with pasta. I choose poorly – it was a strange combo of flavors that was not awesome

FITNESS

I was cleared on Monday at a post-op appt to work out again. I ran Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and just finished a cardio spin workout in my garage. Feels good to move.

LIFE

Well the week started with me getting my stitches removed. Doc came into my room 50 minutes after my appt time and asked how I was. “Annoyed” was my response. He was taken aback a bit, but just because he’s a doctor, doesn’t mean my time is less valuable. It really did screw up some of my schedule, but is what it is. But it is annoying. Anyway, stitches are out and the bruising is really fading. I have some gel I need to use for the next 3 months that will hopefully minimize scarring and help it heal normally. If not, then laser treatment, but so far I think it’s looking pretty good.

I worked from home and, admittedly, didn’t do a whole lot school wise. Guess I just needed a mental break.

Tuesday everyone played chess. M and I played an online Game Pigeon version. That evening, R played M and beat him. A played the winner (R) and beat her. Then A wanted to play M. While that happened the next day…this thread ensued first. This is how my children fight….

Wednesday R, M, and I went out for a very late lunch (around 230). After cleaning much of the day, really didn’t want to cook!

Thursday was Thanksgiving, so I spent the day cooking (R had done the cleaning the day before). It was my kids, a couple of M’s friends, my boyfriend, and his boys. It was a nice time – I do enjoy having a full house.

Friday was literally the laziest day I may have ever had. Ever. Kuma and I sat on the sofa and watched two episodes of Mandalorian. Then R and I (and a lazy Kuma) watched Finding Dory. I folded some wash, and then watched several NCIS episodes upstairs with Kuma and Luna. I can’t remember the last time I watched that much TV in a month, much less a day! It was kind of nice, though I did feel like a bum.

Yesterday and today the plans I had fell through, so it’s been fairly low key. Went to see Knives Out with two of the munchkins yesterday – it was SO good. Did a bit of school work and finished a really good audiobook. Today has so far been a workout and starting on school stuff. Imagine I’ll do my weekly meal plan, shop if I need to, and do some bulk cooking for the week.

Book I’m currently reading

Got this for my bday from my boyfriend. It’s cute – he said he liked to get silly things that make me think of him. And I do – every time I use this cup. It’s normally just black, until I pour tea or coffee into it and the album cover comes up. I love it.

Summon a Demon….or Meditate

FOOD

I actually don’t have a ton of food pics, oddly enough. Since my last post, it’s been a mix of eating in, eating out, and traveling.

Last of the lentil soup and vegan andouille!
Used Postmates from my fav Thai place. It was a disaster! But Luna loved the rice…

Breakfast date fun!

A vegan chocolate martini, and I was in literal heaven
Oh wait…THIS was the last of the lentil soup and andouille sausage!
Grilled tofu marinated in lime juice, chili paste, soy sauce, and water. So amazing.

Work lunch
Baby girl turned 16! Mug cake!

Carrot, orange, ginger, and beet juice

Family birthday lunch celebration
His and hers Bloody Mary’s!

Honestly love this stuff – especially while traveling. Tastes really good – which is shocking compared to most I’ve tried (and choked down)
Today’s Thai lunch date dish

FITNESS

Mostly runs and yoga. Another garage spin class too, which is always fun!

LIFE

It has been relatively quiet. The term ended, though I’m not actually using the break to chill this time. I’m done with all my coursework, and with my research topic approved, I have a ton of work to do before I can even begin research. Right now my focus is on writing my literature review – something I want to have completed in the next 6 weeks. That goal is highly aggressive, but I am confident I’ll hit it.

Most importantly, my baby girl turned 16! We had a low key evening at home on her birthday, which meant a dinner of her choosing and cake and presents. The next day we met up with my boyfriend and his youngest for lunch before the kids and I headed off to opening night of Howl-O-Scream for spooky fun! It is definitely a tradition for us, and we had a great time. Dole whip and screams for everyone! 🎃👻👹

Kids went on a ride I did not like (claustrophobic and don’t like the VR headsets), so I had a cider and read while waiting

One day my boyfriend and I spent the day together and had a great time. It involved a gallery, a new coffee shop, breakfast, and yummy cocktails, among other things. We also went out for brunch the day before I left for Boston.

Speaking of my trip to Boston – what a travel mess. Flight delays, missed connections, unsuccessful stand-by flights meant I got in many hours later than I was supposed to and missed the first day of meetings. Oh well. Second day I was met with cheers and hugs, so that was fun.

It was only an overnighter, so went home the next day – and had a flight delay! Irrelevant though since I had plenty of time to make my connection and got home the same time I would’ve anyway.

I’m home for the rest of the week before heading out of town Mon-Wed next week. So begins a very busy travel schedule for me through most of the rest of the year. Alas. All about that hustle!

For a pup who doesn’t like to swim, this is as close to the pool as she gets!

Beware Parallelogram Season

FOOD

It’s been a lazy week, to be honest. I had bulk cooked so much last weekend, that we ate a lot of leftovers.

Tuesday I made baked Mac no cheese, which is always a family fav.

Luna was a fan too

Also diced up the homemade andouille sausage and put it into lentil soup to make it even heartier.

Lunch one day MAY have been popcorn and a pina colada at the movies 🙂

And there was toast, and smoothies, and pasta, and soups, and salads.

Quinoa with fresh blueberries and cinnamon

Made a big batch of slow cooker minestrone with gluten free pasta

I used to love egg salad when I was a kid. I do love my tofu egg-less salad more tho! Especially topped on a BAS

I had one lunch date with the guy, but didn’t take a pic. We shared some edamame and I had tofu pad Thai. This was my fortune though!

FITNESS

A couple runs, weights in the garage, a spin class also in the garage, and I finally checked out the BodyPump class I’ve been meaning to try. I liked it – will let you know tomorrow how sore I may or may not be as a result!

LIFE

This has been much more low key than usual. And honestly, not sure how I feel about that.

I had the majority of last week off. I was supposed to go to DC for the DC United game with a girlfriend and a military vet related event, but life and Dorian got in the way, so I didn’t go. BUT, I kept the days off to focus on school stuff and general reading, so that was highly productive. I also went to the movies solo one day to see Angel Has Fallen. I love this series and enjoyed this most recent one too.

A gift from NS in Kenya! Adding it to my list of fun things to read

Back to school for the young one went off without a hitch. All going well so far, though it was only a 3 day week because schools were canceled in advance of Dorian on Friday.

Dorian wasn’t a major event. Some power flickers and unreliable internet, and some yard and pool clean up, but we were lucky. There was flooding and downed trees all over – just not in my neighborhood!

The weekend I stayed home and did housework and school work and grocery shopping and other fun prepping for the week.

I decided yesterday that I wanted to learn more to do with Alexa than play music, the news, and check the weather (oh, and how many days until Halloween!). So I started playing with Drop In, and my sister “called” on it! It was fun. R and I chatted with her and my niece and nephew. Totally cool. She and I also spent significant time sending each other Trump related memes this weekend. All told, good times.

Yesterday was a mini spa day for me and the wee one. She got a haircut, and I got a facial. Fun stuff.

Post haircut R!

We have a family group chat with me and my kids and my guy and BS. Silly stuff ensues. This was my recent contribution.

This week should be busy, but not horrible. It’s the last week of the term, so I have ten tons of writing to do. But can’t complain. I’m getting closer and closer to being done!

Studying outside the day before Dorian visited

Post shower snuggles

My cousin in Scotland posted. Love it.
Too early in the morning for her to get up

Sent this to the eldest last night during her ED shift. She claims she will actually say this…

Jambo Friends!!

FOOD

What a busy week! Mostly excellent on the food front too.

Of course smoothies, salads, and my sunbutter/banana sprouted grain toast. But I also had a vegan houseguest for the past 4 days, so that was fun too!

I made a big batch of rice and lentil stuffed bell peppers for the week.

Thursday I made red beans with vegan andouille sausage, rice, and corn bread. Forgot to snap a pic of it tho!

For a BBQ party on Friday I made a big batch of pasta salad and a southwestern spicy rice salad that both went over well.

Saturday morning NS (my friend and guest visiting all the way from Kenya!) and I went to Yorgo’s Bageldashery where I shared my fav quick vegan breakfast – the Peterman wrap – and some fresh juices.

Sunday morning a bunch of us grabbed brunch at Bay Local where we split a hummus appetizer and a hummus/veg lettuce wrap. He also had avocado toast – which I skipped due to the whole allergy crap.

Sunday night I made orange “chicken” with soy curls. It was amazing if I do say so myself.

Smoothies this morning, and then a last lunch outing before taking NS to the airport. We went to Orapax because they have a huge vegan menu. We got a pizza to split as an appetizer (it wasn’t awesome), the Athenian “chicken” wrap to split (which was very good), and the Mediterranean Beyond Meat burger (which was ok), rosemary fries, and Greek potatoes. Holy stuffed, Batman. The beyond meat burger was a request because it is not available in Kenya. Neither of us were thrilled with it, so at least he knows he’s not missing out!

FITNESS

Gentle yoga and that’s it. It seemed to be getting better, and then over the weekend it sucked. Ugh. I’m literally to the point where I’m just going to go for a run and if I make it without wanting to cry, I’m good.

LIFE

Well, the week started off really busy. I had to get all my work AND school work done by mid-day Thursday. That meant a few late nights and early mornings and zero free time, but it was worth it fully.

Thursday evening NS arrived! One of our good friends was retiring from the Navy after more than 24 years of service (plus his naval academy years) and the masses were gathering. NS came as a surprise – and it was priceless. He and I had been planning for several months, and it was just perfect.

Thursday evening was quiet at home. My boyfriend and BS came over (they met NS in Florida last year) and them, NS, and two of mine hung out for a bit. Not late since NS had just traveled for 30 odd hours to get here, but it was still awesome.

Friday was the retirement ceremony, a ship tour (which I skipped – been there, stationed on them!), then swimming and drinks at my house until going to MM (our naval retiree honoree) for the BBQ with 60+ people. We got home around midnight and crashed.

My girl touring the ship with my friends

Saturday was a beach day followed by a sunset dolphin watching cruise – and there were TONS of dolphins. No awesome shots because the ride wasn’t smooth, but it really was awesome. I skipped the after party (I was wiped), but NS got to hang a bit longer and just uber’d back to my house.

If you look really closely, you can see dolphins

Sunday was brunch with some of the crew and then NS and I went grocery shopping then back to my house where we watched two of my fav veggie documentaries. NS has been pretty much a lifelong vegetarian, but went vegan at the beginning of the year (and LOVES it). We did a lot of Amazon prime shopping for things he can’t easily get back home and just spent a lot of time talking about changing how he cooks, etc. It was really fun to share what I’ve learned after the long time I’ve been vegan.

Sunday night was just dinner with me, NS, and all 3 of my kids. It was a ton of fun and hilarious and I loved that NS could share what a typical crazy dinner in my house is like. Lots of stories, jokes, music, and laughter.

Today was low key. We had our coffee on the back porch and talked – like we had every morning he was here. It is my favorite part of the morning – just sitting outside early and drinking coffee. He brought me two bags of coffee from Kenya, so we definitely indulged in that (the “right” way in a French press and not the drip maker!).

Our friend BR came over with 3 of his kids to visit for a while. Then it was off to lunch and then the airport to say goodbye – for now. I’m really hoping to take R and go visit next spring. Will depend on a few things of course, but I really want to see Kenya.

So – this is why I’ve been a bit absent this last week. It’s been a very busy and wonderful time, and I cannot get over how lucky I am to have so many great friends in my life.

Back to business this week, but with an incredibly happy heart.

Crissie the Dessert Fairy 🧚‍♀️

FOOD

It has been a really good week, and I was better than I have been in months on meal prep. Helps that I’m actually home and didn’t have classes, but still. Yay me.

Lots of smoothies.

I don’t use my Tribest personal blender often enough – but my Vitamix was dirty from making cake batter. I forget how good this little thing is – as long as I skip the greens

And I’m a huge fan of this quinoa bowl with a splash of coconut milk, blueberries, bananas, and sunflower seed butter.

Any longtime reader knows of my love of Ezekiel toast with sun butter and sliced bananas!

Since I had made a big batch of quinoa, I also had a black bean salad.

And some chickpea “fakin-tuna salad” wraps too.

Wednesday night my boyfriend and I and 3 of our kids went out to eat and I had pasta arrabbiata that I ate for dinner again later in the week.

Friday I had popcorn and dole whip – I know – not the healthiest, but I was at a theme park…

Saturday my guy and I went out and we shared a hummus platter and then I got a vegan chicken parm. Not the greatest presentation, but it was yummy – though the veggie side looked like a sad afterthought. Definitely more than I could eat, so took the leftovers back to his place for lunch the next day…which I forgot about 🤦🏻‍♀️

This morning we went out for breakfast. I had the tofu scramble, vegan sausages, dry toast, and grits. Ate about 1/2 again, but it was tasty. Their Bloody Mary, on the other hand, was NOT tasty. Tomato juice and sake. Eww….

FITNESS

Yoga, and not every day either. It’s killing me how badly I want to go for a run. Ugh. Stupid back.

LIFE

Overall, quite an excellent week. Tuesday I had my doctor’s appt for my back. Basically – she thinks the muscles have just seized up so badly, nothing is helping (ie – Motrin), and it is not resolving on its own. She put me on prednisone and flexeril. Though I have not taken the latter because it makes me loopy and I have no time for that. However, after being admonished yesterday by the guy, I guess I’ll take it maybe around bedtime. Though I don’t like the idea of being out of it then either – what if something happens and I’m too loopy to deal with it? Ugh. Stupid back.

Wednesday morning I had my labs drawn (figure I may as well get all my normal yearly labs done). Let’s just say when I got to the office the admin had to get me the first aid kit since I was still bleeding. Nothing the phlebotomist did wrong, I tend to have a low platelet count for some reason.

Thursday was the 4th of July, and the guy and his youngest came over for some grilling and pool time. It was really nice. They left early though, and I was in bed by 930!

Friday I stopped at my guys house in the morning briefly for another cake delivery (apparently the youngest didn’t get enough the last time – or maybe any, I’m not sure if the other 2 ate it all or not!). I’m starting to feel like the dessert fairy, though that’s okay. They’re worth it.

My coursework opened, and I got that organized. It’s going to be a busy term, but I’m looking forward to it. Last term before it’s strictly just research & writing until graduation.

In the afternoon around 3, R and I went to Busch Gardens to have fun and watch fireworks. Apparently the 2 days of only taking half of my meds didn’t work as well as I had thought they were. A few hours in and I was starting to hurt. Pushed through, but perhaps it was a bit premature to hike around for hours and ride rollercoasters! But the fireworks were beautiful and the company wonderful and made it all worthwhile.

Funny though, we got home late – around 1130 – and I notice the bathroom door in my bedroom is closed. Odd. I open it…to find this….M apparently was having fun home alone 🙂

Saturday morning was a nail appointment and then a couples massage, dinner, and then an afternoon of drinks and walking around and ogling at sailboats. Quite the awesome day.

This morning we woke early and went to breakfast. Then I studied a bit until the match started. It was tense, but awesome to see the US take another World Cup! Then it was time to go, hit up the store, and grab my eldest from the airport!

Sent this to my sister – who is a law librarian. 🤣🤣