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!

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!

Is There a Nurse in the House?!?

FOOD

I wish I had more exciting stuff to report. I’m dabbling with intermittent fasting – not fully committed, but have read some interesting research. To be honest, I used to be very anti IF and thought it was just a way people starved themselves. But, after doing research and the impact on insulin, insulin resistance (which I have), cortisol (which I have too much of), decided to give it a go. Overall not too terrible, but it means no fun breakfasts and smoothies to share!

I do find myself not being overly hungry. Don’t know if it’s IF (though apparently that’s common) or stress (also present!), but I’ve had a lot of salads with tofu and soups.

Actually a take on vegan butter chicken, but with tofu instead of my usual soy curls, and cauliflower rice. Came out SO yummy.

After A’s graduation (more on that below!), we all stopped at our normal Mexican spot – mainly because they have a vegan menu and really good margaritas! I didn’t eat much, and as usual, I forgot my leftovers.

There was Thai food too. Two good ones (one lunch with a co-worker who is also vegan!), and one by myself. One was really horrific – a place in VB I’d never been before and will never go again.

Blurry, but you know what it is! What it always is!
Seriously the worst. Ordered the veggie spring roll – they gave me chicken. Ordered steamed tofu (not a fan of fried), they brought fried and said that’s just how they do it. And the flavor was gross anyway.
From my fav place near my house

Had two pizzas too! The first was on Friday night when my guy and I went to our wine bar. Got the beet-za (beet juice in the crust and beets on the pizza) with a cashew cheese. Really tasty. Saturday we all met for brunch at the spot my guy’s son works as they just started carrying vegan pizza on a cauliflower crust. Good stuff and was also my dinner that night.

Peppercini, tomatoes, and pineapple

FITNESS

Well, I’ve mainly been getting my running game back on! I love the HIIT classes and need to figure out how to do both, but I’ve missed running and hadn’t done it regularly since late summer/early fall.

I am certainly motivated to run as my guy has started to! Even though he’s more than a foot taller than me and his long legs will trounce me, it’s still fun talking about training together. So, I’ve been running 3 mi per day, 6 days per week for the past week and a half. I am thinking of doing 2x per day workouts. HIIT and runs – just need to figure out which in the morning and which after work. While running at home in the morning would be easier, going to HIIT gives me time to drink and digest my coffee before working out! The downside it having to get ready for work at the gym.

LIFE

Well, life has been busy! Last week work was steady but not crazy. This week is crazy.

BUT – the highlight of the week was my baby girl graduating from nursing school!! I’m so incredibly proud of her – she busted her butt working and in school and it’s amazing to see her achieve her dreams.

For those not familiar, the ritual with nursing graduations is called a pinning ceremony.
A and her hubby J

After the pinning ceremony, we went for tacos and margaritas – at A’s request for months leading up to it!

Friday was busy at work, and then date night with my boyfriend. Wine night and then back to his place. Saturday I went home, worked out, then got cleaned up and the kids and I and J met up with my guy and his youngest, and one of A’s best friends for brunch.

Sunday was research and writing all day. Like 14 hours straight! BUT – all my edits are done and turned in. Hopefully there won’t be many more rounds of edits needed and I can head to IRB.

Today is Super Tuesday and we in Virginia vote our primaries. I got up, did that, went for a run, and then cleaned up. It was a work from home day with the exception of a networking meeting at Starbucks. I really wanted to try their new Golden Drink – which is a pineapple, ginger, turmeric, coconut milk concoction. So I did a mobile order because I needed to set up for a webex meeting just before my networking meeting and didn’t have a ton of time. I got there and the barista asked what I ordered – said it was mobile. She said it didn’t come through, asked me what it was and made me on. 10 seconds later another barista shouted my name and put my drink in the mobile order spot. So – ended up with 2 for the price of 1. And you know what – yummy! Also, my networking meeting was awesome. It was with a venture capital/emerging tech scout. Great conversation for sure, and who knows where that will lead!

Well this is a new one, but much appreciated! I’m getting tired of the texts from candidates, so a call is even worse

Otherwise, so far been a good week. Had a coffee meeting yesterday with a grad student interested in identifying pain points in healthcare that could potentially use a technology solution. Smart guy and I’m hooking him up with a couple coworkers.

Today was really nice, and the floofs were loving the open door and sunshine!

I’m supposed to be going to Orlando next week for a conference and some fun, but at this point not sure it’ll happen. With the COVID-19 outbreak and fears, many organizations are canceling travel for their people, and many events are being canceled. While this event hasn’t been canceled yet, it still is possible. And while my firm hasn’t canceled travel yet, that’s possible too. I’ll be bummed because I love Florida and that week is pretty special for a couple reasons, but also wouldn’t blame anyone if it did get canceled. I’ll just be out the $ already spent on Disney tix!

Oh Honey, Who Hurt You?

FOOD

Been nice being home for the past week! Eats have been pretty typical while home. Salads, stir fry, rice and veggies, oatmeal, soup, and smoothies.

My fav red Thai curry soup with white sweet potato

I also made three batches of homemade soymilk. One is a soy/oat/date blend which came out way thicker than I wanted. Will play with that and reduce the amount of oats next time. One super thick batch (double the soybeans) in order to make homemade yogurt (my first time making it from homemade milk), and a batch of normal everyday soymilk. Really happy all around.

A few meals out with my guy too. One was a Tex-Mex place we’ve liked, though it appears the quality (both of service and food) have been declining. Sad since they’ve only been open a year or so.

Fajita bowl with Impossible burger chopped into it

One of our fav brunch spots where I get the hummus lettuce wraps and sorbet mimosa!

And grilled cheese (vegan for me of course!) and fried pickles after a movie date.

FITNESS

A run and some kickboxing when I got home from Chicago. I’m banned from working out now until cleared by my doctor. More on that later.

LIFE

So I got home late Friday evening and immediately went to bed. The rest of the week has been pretty darned eventful.

A brunch date, a wine bar date, two movies, and lunch date were definitely the highlights. Included a total of three coffee shop stops as well as a wander through the Old Beach farmers market (very bougie). All packed into about 3 days!

We do love being regulars here. They know what we like. Saw us come in and the sommelier runs into the back to bring this out, having saved a bottle knowing we’d like it – and we did!

Charlie’s Angles and Joker were the movies. One was fun. One was disturbing. A coffee shop near me, one closer to his place, and one near the farmers market.

Between the rest rooms at our brunch spot

From Three Ships coffee spot

Monday night I met up with an old co-worker (he left the company 8 years ago!). He’s become involved in the start-up world and has recently joined our local angel investor group. I happen to know them, so it was fun to reconnect. We met for a glass of wine and just caught up and made some plans for future business collaboration. I’m going to be a guest on his podcast and he sent me a book, which is one of my favorite types of gifts!

Tuesday was not a fun day. So back in August I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on my left cheek. Small, but had to come off. Good news is it’s not the super scary type of skin cancer (that’s melanoma). This one is usually caused by some bad sun exposure from sometimes decades earlier. But it has scared me into being more diligent about sun screen than I really ever have been (here’s your PSA kids – WEAR SUNSCREEN EVEN IF YOU DON’T BURN EASILY). Due to my crazy travel schedule, I really needed to wait until I knew I could arrange being home for a few weeks to heal. Hence the surgeries (yes two) on Tuesday. My girlfriend AJ picked me up and was my chauffeur and friend for the day. Step one was to the dermatology surgery office. That involved torture by Christmas music, needles to the face, discussions of temporary blindness, and the eventually excising of the cancer. Then they patched me up and sent me to the waiting room with AJ to kill an hour while they went to verify they got it all. They did, so then we had a few hours to kill before going to the facial plastic surgeon to sew me up and minimize scaring. That one was low-key horrific. Much more painful and invasive and numbed half my face – including my teeth! But, he was great and from my hometown of Milwaukee, which was fun, even though I really couldn’t speak once they got going (he had a resident).

I was offered stronger meds than Motrin and Tylenol, but I refused. Didn’t end up needing them anyway. Sore, but tolerable. Can’t really get it wet, can’t workout, etc.

The rule was to keep the bandage on 24-48 hours. I made it 24 hours and 30 minutes. I sleep on my stomach and the bandage started bunching. Drove me crazy!

By Thursday, I was totally stir crazy and needed to get out of the house. I was out of tofu, so I figured a quick trip to the grocery was needed. So here I am wandering around the store, and a woman comes up to me, puts her hand on my shoulder, and says “oh honey, who hurt you?”. UM… CANCER HURT ME. At first I was a little taken aback by someone approaching me like that (I have a black eye and stitches going down my cheek – so I did look a hot mess), but since it’s really restored my faith in humanity. She cared enough to make sure I was okay, and if I wasn’t – not sure what she’d have done – but it still warms my heart. We chuckled when I explained it to her.

That was early. The black eye and swelling got MUCH more impressive…

Since I couldn’t take a shower and get my face wet, it was definitely bath fun. I’m a huge fan of bath bombs, and my youngest bought me a ton of great spooky ones for my birthday! Luna really enjoys bath time too.

So – that was my week – plus quite a bit of time on my doctoral research stuff. Great times and not so great times, but in the end, I can’t complain. No more cancer. Fun with my love. Caught up at work. Research humming along. Seriously no complaints.

New throw blanket is VERY much Luna approved

She enjoys when I change the sheets. Even though she gets in the way

Flight Club

FOOD

Mixed bag of home and road eats this past week. I was home for four days, and then back to Chicago for a few.

I made a butternut squash sauce for pasta.

I swear, there’s a baker under that mound of green beans and chickpeas!

Brunch Sunday with the boyfriend – my typical wrap.

Lunch on Monday was with a co-worker and I had a veggie burger

Tuesday late lunch/early dinner was with my sister and mom. My sister and I split an Impossible burger. She had never had one before, and hadn’t had a hamburger in 30 years, so it was a fun treat! They’re very filling, so splitting that an an app was just fine.

Chicago eats were a mixed bag this time. I was “captive” and the vegan eats were slim pickings, at least until the last day. So I picked up stuff at Starbucks or had oatmeal in my room. No lunch for 2 days, and I think I can’t look at another Clif Bar for awhile…

FITNESS

Spin class, runs, and yoga while I was home.

LIFE

Well, been busy for sure. Last weekend was fairly low key. Spent most of it at home with the kids and doing all the home front fun stuff like cleaning and grocery shopping.

Sunday was brunch with my boyfriend and hanging out at his place a bit.

Love the fire pits at our fav brunch spot

Monday was work and then shopping the veteran’s day sales! Then packing for a morning flight to Chicago.

Tuesday morning I hopped a flight to Chicago and then headed up to Milwaukee, where I picked my sister up from work. We then went to her house and then to pick up our mom for lunch. All told it was nice.

Though – on Monday Wisconsin got a ton of snow and I may have been a bit worried about the roads. Texted C from the airport to validate the roads were ok. She then went to social media to publicly shame me. Brat sister.

Picked up C, after some directionally challenged moments, and were on our way!

After lunch, spent some time at her house visiting my niece, nephew, and brother in law. Then it was back to Chicago.

View from my room did not suck

By the way, if you don’t have WTForecast, you’re missing out. It makes crap weather at least funny.

Lots of very informative meetings and presentations for 3 days I have been in Chicago. Got to meet up with several people I’ve met over the years in the innovation space, and met a few cool new ones. One of the new people I met actually used to work with one of my girlfriends back in DC. We took a selfie and sent it to her. Small world.

Wednesday night I couldn’t join the party because I had class, but that was ok. I joined it last night at a place called Flight Club. NOT Fight Club, which made me completely reevaluate my expectations of the night! It’s a nightclub with darts. I played. I largely sucked. But had a great time.

And now, I’m airport bound and ready to be home with NO work travels for about a month! I’m quite excited 🙂

Until then, random pics for your enjoyment.

M and I made Vesper’s to celebrate watching Casino Royale. They were WAY too boozy, so basically turned them into Cosmos

Totally forgot about this building in Milwaukee that has ladybugs on the side.

My munchkins went out to dinner together last night.