I Forgot How to Watch TV

FOOD

Hard to believe I’ve been home for two straight weeks! Other than an overnighter in Richmond visiting my girlfriend H.

That means, lots of home cooking! Breakfasts were usually oatmeal or a smoothie. I did have tofu scramble two days in a row though! One morning at Food for Thought in Williamsburg on the way up to Richmond, and one at Shore Dogs in Richmond. I was feeling quite spoiled!

I also learned to grill! Well, ish. I’m still starting out, but I got a gas grill and the first attempt was quite the success! Buffalo tempeh, corn on the cob, potatoes, and portabello mushrooms.

Also made a few different chilis and soups. Up at H’s house we made a sweet potato/black bean chili and cornbread. So yummy! H was excited to use a fancy new pan.

Other chilis!

During spring break I had some special guests over, and while they were working hard outside, I made lunch! Pineapple/tofu stir fry, pizza, and chocolate chip cookies!

It got a little cold for a few days, which was perfect for BBQ tofu, mashers, mushroom gravy, sweet carrots, and my favorite kale salad with oil-free lemon tahini dressing and some homemade sangria.

Also had some yummy meals out.

FITNESS

Sadly, still haven’t gotten to yoga, but there have been plenty of runs!

LIFE

Overall, been a great two weeks. Spring break week I worked from home most of the week. The best part though, is I have a garden! I’ve had a small herb garden for years, but have always wanted a large enclosed one. The one time I tried to grow veggies, the local critters got their fill while we had almost nothing.

It was built over two days, and I’m forever grateful to the little construction team that made it happen.

The trip to Richmond was really nice. We stopped at my fav cidery up there – Buskey’s. Seriously, the jalapeño lime is amazing! The manager made us Bloody Mary’s with their organic vegan Bloody Mary mix, and it was so tasty.

Then we went to H and C’s house where we made dinner and hung out at talked all night. B was visiting from Seattle, and he came by too. I hadn’t seen him in 5 yrs, so that was really cool.

I took R to the movies yesterday to see Tomb Raider. Actually the second time I’ve seen it, but I really liked it and I knew she’d totally love it.

Last night was really lovely out, so we went boating with M and R. We cruised around for awhile and then pulled into a spot for dinner and drinks. Then it was back to my house to hang out with my son and his girlfriend.

Otherwise, normal life! Cribbage club, work, wacky pets, and lots and lots of studying! This week was particularly intense on the school front. I worked ahead a lot, so I was able to knock out all the papers fairly early in the week, with finishing the biggest one today. So I found my Sunday late afternoon with me being bored. House was clean, food prepped for dinner, and I needed a mental break from school stuff. After an hour of reading the news and chatting with the kids, I actually turned on the TV. I don’t have anything against TV, I know I used to watch it, but the past 6 yrs or so saw a significant decline in it – mainly because of school and work and family and social lives. After deciding I didn’t want the commitment of a movie, I threw on How to Get Away With Murder and decided to blog and start dinner 🙂 I guess I forgot how to watch TV!

Wild Week of Travels!

FOOD

Well, it’s been a week and only one night home, so lots of meals out!

I had an amazing meal at Q Restaurant in Chinatown, Boston (no pics – sorry!), but it was a General Tso’s Tofu that was divine.

Also met up with my good friend AF for Indian one night at Kashmir’s in Boston. We split some somosas, and I also had the vegetable korma, which was yummy.

My one night home saw me making my fav soup – it’s a Thai red curry sweet potato soup with rice and kale (with leftovers for 2 the next day). That morning was also a breakfast at a local spot – Portobello mushroom and hummus bagel with fruit. Really, really good.

Thursday evening was hitting the road again, and we had a really simple dinner at the hotel – mine was just rice and roasted veggies. And some vodka cranberries too 😉

The next night we discovered the joy of a place called Busboys and Poets! OMG. Great place for anyone who may have mixed company (vegans + omnis) – tons of yummy vegan eats and certainly a selection of non vegan ones too. We got the crispy Brussel sprouts and coconut tofu bites as appetizers. I also got Korean BBQ “beef” sammich with Asian slaw and a side of tabbouleh. WOW.

So good, we grabbed R and went back the next day for lunch. I had the tempeh panini, tabbouleh (I’m a fan), and a 2 bean harira soup. Now, if they’d just open up in my area! Apparently it’s a small chain in the DC and MD area.

This morning back home was my go-to simple breakfast – especially when I need to go grocery shopping! Oatmeal topped with cinnamon and coconut milk yogurt.

The afternoon was some apps and drinks after hiking. For me – monster cucumber slices with hummus! They gave pita rounds too, but I don’t really eat those, so they ended up bringing double the cucs!

FITNESS

Lots and lots of walking! And today I swapped out a planned hot yoga class (which I need terribly – my hips are SO tight), for a hike instead since it’s such a gorgeous day! Left my phone in the car though, so no pics. But it was an amazing day. Can’t wait for a bit more sustainable days of good weather to start to see blossoms.

LIFE

The rest of my trip to Boston was great. I got to see AF, who currently lives there (his wife is a professor), which was great. Fortunately got to see him and his wife LF on the ski trip in Feb, and will see them again in late April. AF had just flown in from New York and literally met me at the restaurant with carry on in tow!

I will say that Boston was really cold, but I managed to survive ;). Also – they have way too few Starbucks. Apparently Dunkin Donuts is their thing – but other than really not liking their coffee, it’s not a healthy spot I ever go to. It was literally in the airport on my way home before I finally got to one! I know – first world problems – but a girl cannot survive on hotel java alone!

The conference – from the Economist magazine – was amazing. It was there Healthcare Forum 2018, and with Boston being the global hub of life sciences, it really was incredible. The panels, topics, and people were all very exciting, and it was totally worth it.

I flew home the next day, landed around 4, did wash, made soup, and packed for a long weekend away! R’s team advanced to the robotics championships, which was held in MD. She had to be at school at 3am for the bus, and while I had meetings I had to attend on Thursday (being the ONLY day in the office for nearly a week), I headed up after. Rolled into town around 8, which really wasn’t bad.

The competition was so much fun, and the kids did wonderfully. They didn’t advance past the qualifying rounds, but still – what they accomplished was quite impressive. We walked through the pits, and some of these teams have sponsors like NASA, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Deloitte, etc. We were honestly sitting among the future engineers of the world, and it was really inspiring.

Yesterday we drove back home and eventually got to bed around 1130. I seriously slept like a rock until about 9am!

Today was a hike and then chilling at the waterfront having some apps and drinks and watching boats go by. Pretty perfect day!

I’m really looking forward to this week. It’s spring break, and I’ll be working from home for all but tomorrow. R has tennis camp (she’s stoked), and it’ll be me mostly cleaning house and yard and gardening!

Hope you’ve had a great holiday if you celebrate it, and a lovely weekend regardless! Until then – misc pics from the week! Some in Boston, some home, and some in between!

IKEA gets it!

On the Road Again (to Beantown!)

FOOD

Well, been a combo of homemade eats and travel eats, which is becoming more and more normal it seems. It was a chilly week so there were more oatmeal mornings and less green smoothies, but above all, nourishing and healthy starts to my day. Also a burrito, homemade tofu/potato tacos, a quinoa salad, Vietnamese salad (one of my current favs), veg soups, and a really great dinner out, which included vegan chik’n! But the best had to be a strawberry/coconut milk drink my son made for me at Sbux!

FITNESS

No time for yoga this week, but plenty of runs, which are always awesome. I’m hoping to hit up a hot yoga studio in Boston if I can find the time. Otherwise, will stick to runs.

LIFE

Overall, been an excellent week. It started with Tuesday’s cribbage club, and me retaking the lead. I would’ve taken a pic (seriously, I kicked his ass!), but he took the pegs out before I could. Sore loser 😉

Thursday was time with friends. Went to M&R’s house and we had a taco bar! It included me making my tofu/potato tacos at their house. Started marinading them before work, and then just stir fried them up! Wine, fire pit, cupcakes, and good friends – excellent time, as always.

Friday was another lovely evening out. Went to a local spot in Virginia Beach – 5 star Yelp rating with over 300 reviews – and man, I know why! Not only was the food (and drinks) amazing, but it was just a lovely place. The chef/owner came out to every table to talk – I made a point of thanking him for having a hearty vegan dish (I’m often relegated to side dishes – we were at a seafood place), and he told us his wife and daughter are vegetarians, so he knows how important it is. Then we struck up a conversation with this older couple seated by us when I heard the gentleman say he was from Boston (and had HIGH expectations for good seafood). Well, I was heading there the next day, and asked for advice. 30 minutes later, the chef/owner came back, laughed, and said “I treat everyone like family – you guys are taking too long, time to get out!” All while laughing. It was funny.

Saturday was my flight to Boston in the morning, solo dinner, and then a trip to the theater (by myself – which I love to do). I saw The Irish and How They Got That Way at the Boston Stage Company. It was an interesting show/musical – 6 cast members who talked and sang about the history of the Irish, but mainly about the Irish in America, how they got here, and how they were treated. The singing was wonderful, and some of the songs were poignant and some were funny (like No Irish Need Apply – though it was about a rough time in Irish-American history). Overall, I really enjoyed it and learned something along the way.

Today was the Fine Arts Museum and a trip to Chinatown. The museum is great, and I spent most of the day there. They had a Chihuly installation – and he’s my very favorite glass artist. Ever. I’ve been all over the country and seen his work, so it was a pleasant surprise to find one there! Then it was back to the hotel to watch some March Madness and have a light dinner.

I’m really excited to see friends for dinner tomorrow night. Also excited for the reason why I’m here (the main one, anyway). The Economist – one of my fav magazines for ages – is having a Healthcare forum in Cambridge that I’ll be a part of. I’m sure I’ll be tweeting the heck out of that!

This weekend, R also had her regional robotics competition! M (older brother) and others went to go cheer her on. While they were not a finalist, they DID advance to the championships next weekend! She’s so excited and I’m so proud of her.

Finally, just some normal goofy misc pics

JEFSWYF (and why she makes me sad)

FOOD

As usual, the week after traveling means I’m digging my kitchen even more than normal. Of course I did get tofu green curry (several times!), some salad bar salads (loved the Whole Foods one since they also had tofu eggless salad, and the typical daily green smoothies. Otherwise we had one big Indian food night (talking 7 dishes!) and one night was homemade pizzas!

FITNESS

Oh yes, it’s nice to be home! Several runs and even got in a hot yoga class (man, how I miss those). Crazy schedule should be easing up for a few weeks anyway, so hopefully more yoga coming.

When I’m doing one of my longer runs, I always end up in my old neighborhood. There’s a minivan parked in front of a home that has the license plate JEFSWYF and while it used to annoy me, now it just makes me sad. Now – I don’t know who Jeff’s wife is, but I wonder if SHE knows who she is. Hear me out – it makes me sad when I hear people – especially women – who define themselves in terms of others instead of themselves. Yes, she’s clearly a wife, but that’s a role, not an identity. Based on the minivan, I’m sure she’s a mother too, and I would imagine a wonderful one. But that’s also a role and not an identity. And I realize I’m judging this woman based on her license plate, but I have known women like this in my life. Who introduce themselves in terms of their husbands instead of themselves. I’d rather know about YOU. What do you like, what makes you happy, where did you go to school, what are your views and opinions on things. And I have to say when I see license plates like that, it does make me feel a little sorry for that person. It may be unwarranted, but I’d rather see a plate that says something other than their role in a relationship. Maybe it’s because most of the women I know – my friends, family, and co-workers – are all kick-ass, educated, intelligent, and strong, that I get sad when I see a woman who may not be. I want to grab her and tell her she’s worthwhile of being her OWN person too! (Ok, rant done)

LIFE

Been a pretty good week since getting back from Vegas. It took nearly the entire time for my skin to recover tho. Ugh – dessert air and dry skin suck.

Back to some of the regularly scheduled programming, including Cribbage Club! And in last week’s edition, the student surpassed the master! Okay, it wasn’t by much, but still. I’ll have to make sure he doesn’t make a habit of it 😉

Thursday night was a night in eating Indian food. I made 7 dishes, which was probably too many, but it’s fun. My eldest had a guest come down from Canada for a long weekend, and after some drama which included a lost phone and a trip to the phone store to get it replaced, it ended up being a pretty chill and nice night.

On Friday I hit up the movies to see Tomb Raider! I remember when the first one came out – my eldest was 5 and I took her to the drive in just to see it. It was really one of the first times I remember a totally kick ass female character, and was glad A would see it.

Saturday was my 2nd fav holiday (after Halloween)! It was mostly a night in making homemade pizzas, playing Exploding Kittens, and watching movies. Went out briefly, but was just as happy to chill at home.

Sunday was the regional robotics competition that my youngest R is in! She had a great time and it was a ton of fun to see the robot wars and how incredibly talented these future engineers are. They’re all so supportive and honestly – silly. Between major rounds there was the tendency to bust out into some serious group dances.

Then it was back to work and normal routines! Oh, except one thing. I FINISHED THE FIRST TERM OF MY DOCTORAL PROGRAM THIS WEEKEND!!! WOO. Next term starts April 9, so a few weeks to chill and read my trashy vampire books before getting down to business once again.

Hope you’re all having an amazing week too!

A Busy (and Tasty) Week, and a Sad Farewell

FOOD

Well, it was another week of typical eats, but with a few stand out meals out. There were tacos, potato tacos (where I put taco fillings on a baked spud), smoothies, salads, a deconstructed veggie burger, curries, stir-fries, tofu scramble, and this amazing quinoa/portobello/veggie dish!

FITNESS

What a chaotic week! Not one single yoga class fit my schedule. So – it was runs and home gym workouts!

LIFE

Last Friday we said our final farewell to Bumble. Such an amazing, quirky, and loving girl she was. A little over 18, she had a long life and brought a lot of joy to my family. We all miss her.

On Saturday I hosted a surprise bday party for a friend and her husband (who is one of my bowling buddies!). I made tons of tacos (hence all the taco leftovers), and the garage was converted into beer pong central. It was a fun time, and K really was surprised.

Also went to see Black Panther this week, which was just amazing. Beautiful visually, great story, well acted, but mainly I believe this movie will be historical for what it’s doing to lessen the “white washing” of Hollywood.

Did happy hour with a good friend of mine who is going through a divorce on what would have been her anniversary. We drank, hugged, and had a good time.

Spent a lovely day out and about yesterday in gorgeous weather with someone special. Shopped, walked, and stopped at a tavern to watch some sport fun. I’m just going to say – I don’t get curling! Also, UVA kicked butt against Pitt, so that’s awesome.

Today was another amazing day. 80 degrees! Called for a run and then fun at the beach with the two youngest and the pups. M brought his long board to skate down the boardwalk, while R and I walked along the beach with Kuma. Then we stopped for a bite before going home. Also did typical Sunday stuff like meal plan, make a grocery list, go grocery shopping, and cook.

Of course there was also normal life stuff, like studying and chilling with the family. This will be a crazy and intense week too. I need to work ahead a week for school since I’m out for a work conference, which means I’ll have no time at all next week. So yeah. There’s that!

Thriving on Chaos (as usual)

FOOD

What a chaotic few weeks! Getting back into the swing of school, work, family, social life balance seems to always lead to more meals out, which is never my first choice. Don’t get me wrong – I do love to go out to eat for sure – but I really prefer to make good and healthy meals for the kids and me.

Smoothies are still my favorite for breakfast, and lots of salads, soups, curries, and of course tacos for everything else!

FITNESS

Same as always – runs and hot yoga and some workouts in the garage! We had more snow, so that meant a lot of indoor workouts – which are my least favorite.

Unfortunately, I got sick last Monday, and while I’m managing as long as I keep my fever down (been a huge pain to have a persistent fever), I’m still not up for runs. So, gentle yoga at home and daily meditation and it’s all helping.

LIFE

It’s certainly been a busy couple of weeks, but that’s nothing new. On the home front, R has gotten really involved in her high school’s robotics club, and is there pretty much every night and Saturday. They have a big competition coming up, and she’s really loving it. Her mentor is a NASA engineer and she’s learning so much and loving every minute of it.

School is really intense, but that’s okay. I do really enjoy it though. I picked up this wonderful book called Deep Work by Cal Newport, and it’s really given me an edge I think on obtaining that hyper focus I need to do well in school and build this new program at work. He goes into detail in how our deeply connected world has led to a inability of people to “go deep” in concentration and therefore production of meaningful work. After all, how can I write publishable papers and build professional program frameworks if I’m checking Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram 50 times per day? (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my social media, but it does provide a next-level distraction that I can do without). I have a long way to go before fully implementing all the techniques I’m learning, but it’s been really impactful so far. I first heard about it on the MentorBox podcast (I’m a MentorBox member), and was so intrigued, I picked up the audio book. I’m now thinking I need a print copy as well! I don’t do that for many books – usually the audio is fine – but this is one I feel I’d like to have for a quick review time and again. I plan to check it out at the library first to see if there’s anything in there I’m not getting from the audio book (like some physical examples he discusses). Anyway – if you have any interest in professional development and increasing productivity – especially as a knowledge-worker – I highly recommend it.

Work is getting more and more interesting as we progress through our restructuring and I work on building this new division. The good thing is I have very loose direction, so I get to build it the way I think it should be – rather than following a prescribed set of expectations. I’ve always enjoyed that freedom to be creative with my work, and to base my ideas off of research and best practice in varying industries. It’ll be slow going for awhile – which is fine – since we all still have “day jobs” until the restructure is done. But it’s still be fun to get into.

I was in Chicago this past week for a few days. Was supposed to be Wednesday – Sunday (today), but ended up coming home Friday due to expected inclement weather in Chicago. I was bummed because I was supposed to visit family Friday afternoon-Sunday morning. Fortunately, I know I’ll be back there in May at least, so will make an extended trip to visit family and friends back home.

Other than that, I’m enjoying time with my munchkins as well as an active social life. Excited that this will be a short week as I head out of town on a little get away with about 15 of my friends! I guess that means it’s time to get back to the books so I can get all my school work done before mini-vacay starts!

All told, I have an incredibly busy life, and I love it. I’ve always known I can’t sit still, and certainly couldn’t just do nothing all day. Some may say I take it to the other extreme – on the go constantly. And there may be some truth to that, but I can’t imagine it any other way. I do take “breaks” to slow down a little bit, but must admit, I love living in my world of barely controlled chaos!

A couple friends and I went to an 80’s event at a local bar. I certainly went all out in my outfit (leggings, tutu, side pony, lace gloves, etc). Sadly not all did. But that’s okay, it was a good time anyway!

Also did a day trip to Richmond for some serious fun, which included a couple Cideries and meeting up with friends. My favorite, shockingly, was a jalapeño lime cider at a place called Busky’s. SO good.