Tag Archives: Fantastic Friends

Happy, Healthy, and Sad, all at the same time….

FOOD

Hey kids!  I’m excited that I’m consistently every two weeks of blogging at this point 🙂  I swear – I graduate in spring, and blogging will be more regular!  Excited about the next evolution I have in mind.  Stay tuned!  You’ll learn more about that in June!!!

For now, my eats have been largely homemade and quick.  Yes, I do bulk cooking on Sunday’s, but I also have learned the value of quick eats when time gets away from you.  So baked spuds with some beans and cabbage is as good for me as anything else!

Here are quick shots of smoothies, salads, baked spuds, and various other whole food fun!

FITNESS

Okay, I’ve got to admit that I’m fully into Beach Body right now.  Yes, I like my runs, but seriously.  Kickboxing.  No equipment needed, but I get to beat the crap out of whatever my mind dreams up.  And I’m pretty imaginative 🙂

They have a program called Core de Force which is basically MMA, and I really dig it.

LIFE

Hmm.  2 weeks of updates, huh?  So – biggest news is I’ve actually been home!  🙂

As far as I can tell, that’ll be the case until mid-May (ish).  Then again, I always say that, and I’m usually full of you-know-what.  But, for what it’s worth, I don’t plan to travel anywhere until May 19th when I head into graduation weekend!

I’ve been home about 3 weeks, and it’s been awesome.   All my time has been spent at work, studying, or hanging out with my family.  We’ve done some movie marathons and have had overall good times.

My oldest (who seriously is almost 22) had the flu last week.  I’ve never seen someone so sick (and that’s saying a lot because I work in healthcare).  After 2 trips to the ER and a confirmed influenza diagnosis, she actually let us take her home to take care of her.

not quite fun in the ER! D and A waiting to be seen…

Not to intentionally rain on any parade, but…

A friend of my family passed away Sunday evening.  Her name was D, and she fought a valiant fight against breast cancer for 10 years.  Beautiful, fun, sweet, and incredibly kind, my whole family will miss her.  She kept her husband (and our friend) D grounded, and as much as we will miss her, all our energy is for him right now. She is at peace and an amazing spirit, and the rest of us will go on because if we didn’t, she’d find a way to come kick our butts!

So with that, I’m going to leave you with pics of my family (furry, and other), and all I can wish is you tell the people who mean the most to you that you love them.  Because – no matter our differences, I love you all.

 

~Crissie

so – the fun thing of regular morning pictures is having YEARS of them! On top, 5 yrs ago. Bottom, this week 🙂

These were the morning pictures.  Of course…there is more 🙂

I was trying to study and Kuma would have NOTHING to do with that…

seriously. How can you not love them?

she likes it when I workout – especially push-ups

long walk in the rain!

me and Bumble chilling out!

no amount of blankets is enough for Kuma bear

Friday was Kuma’s birthday!!! Birthday Bear!

Ginny not caring that I’m trying to study…while sleeping on my breakfast!

taking mama to work…

fireplace puppy

And whatever else was in my feed!

made me giggle

went to the Chrysler Art Museum on Sunday and saw this. As a big fan of the movie El Dorado, I was excited to know the movie scene was based on something from history (no matter how horrible).

one of the exhibits – and looking at Alexander Platz…I was there in September. I saw 3 exhibits that were in places I’ve physically been (Paris, Berlin, and China), and it mean so much more to me than I thought it would

 

Misadventures of a Delhi Market Trip

FOOD

I admit to not having many more food pics to share from India.  My second week there I got quite sick with “Delhi Belly”.  To be honest, it may be a very long time before I want to eat Indian food again!  More than a week later, and I’m still not 100%.  Since getting home it’s been super small meals – usually a smoothie for breakfast and a salad for lunch.  Haven’t been eating dinner.  Partly I think because my sleep is so off and I’m jet lagging hardcore.

there were a few days where I couldn't eat anything at all.  On the 4th day - I had some tomato/veg broth and plain rice.

there were a few days where I couldn’t eat anything at all. On the 4th day – I had some tomato/veg broth and plain rice.

I arrived home Sunday evening, and we were out of some of our basic groceries – and my creamy base for smoothies – bananas.  So on my way to work Monday morning, I picked up an acai green smoothie!

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After stopping at the market on my way home Monday, I was able to whip up my own smoothie this morning!  Orange, banana, pineapple, strawberry, and spinach.

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Lunch was a BAS (Big Ass Salad for newbies).  Taco style!  Romaine, iceberg, onion, cilantro, tofu, black beans, cucumber, and salsa.  Thank you Moe’s!!!

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FITNESS

I went for a run before work this morning.  Actually – my sleep is all jacked up, so I was awake at 3:30am.  After spending 45 min trying to fall back asleep, I gave up and threw on my running clothes.  I put on a pot of java and took off.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel after not running for a few weeks and not eating much, but it was honestly fantastic.  Not sure I can make this early morning thing a habit, but I dug it this morning.

LIFE

Other than getting sick as crazy, the rest of the week was good.  We have great speakers and classes as always, but mostly it was just amazing to be with my classmates.  We don’t physically see each other except during these residencies, and I truly dig them all.

The last day, however, saw some Delhi misadventures that are funny to think about now.  It goes like this…

6 people set off to walk to a market.  Success!  Those same 6 break up into 2 Uber’s to find their way to an Old Delhi Spice Market.  This is where our heroes take an interesting turn….

BF and I were wondering if seeing dogs in clothes was a way to mark them as belonging to someone vs strays!

BF and I were wondering if seeing dogs in clothes was a way to mark them as belonging to someone vs strays!

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In Uber 1 (my uber), driver turns the wrong way down an alley.  We’re blocked in (people and cows on all sides!) and some start banging on the car.  The driver gets out, and my anxiety level starts to notch up just a bit!  Eventually, he comes back, everyone rallies around to clear the way so our driver can back out of the alley.

We get close (ish) to the market (none of us in the car actually know where we are), and traffic is so crappy he kicks us out and tells us to walk.  We have a vague idea of direction (actually, BF seemed to have an innate sense of how to get there), and off we go.  We find it, and the “spice market” is actually blocks and blocks of small shops selling tubs/bins of spices, beans, and pastas.  Lot’s of street food vendors too, and it was fun to watch.

We actually manage to find our other 3 friends (thank goodness for WhatsApp and Google Maps!) and start walking together.  We got to stop and watch a shopkeeper toss bananas in the air just to be swooped up and eaten by the baboons!

We decide that it’s time to head back.  Based on craptastic traffic and our hotel checkout time – we needed to go.  Finding a way out (i.e. – cab, etc.) started to prove impossible.  So…NS (who speaks Hindi, thank goodness!) negotiates with a gentleman to carry the 6 of us in his electric scooter/cart thing.  We are quite the spectacle as we’re all piled in something made for 4, and start bouncing down the street.  About 6 blocks later – the front tire pops, and we’re on foot once more.

After a few blocks, NS negotiates with 2 tuk tuk (auto rickshaw) drivers to ferry us back to the hotel.  We’re back in groups of three, and I think our drivers believed they were in some kind of Nascar/Death Race/Bumper Car mash-up.   When not stuck in traffic, we’re literally flying down the roads.  Keep in mind that there are very few traffic lights or signs, and it’s a “first come gets the right of way” type of environment.  And lanes are optional.

Anyway…as we’re entering a round about, JC starts yelling at me “DON’T LOOK LEFT, DON’T LOOK LEFT, HOLY S&^$”.  Of course I’m sitting on the far left and anything coming at us (which was everything from busses, trucks, cars, rickshaws, and cows) would smash right into me.  Our little rickshaw would be toast!

As we were stuck in traffic, all manner of people walked up to ask for money.  One was a particularly tenacious and hilarious little girl who kept trying to reach into JC’s inner coat pocket.

We make it back to the hotel, and EA, JC, and I immediately burst into cheers and applause.  The driver seemed both surprised and pleased.  I guess he’s not usually celebrated for getting his passengers to their destination alive…

My flight left that night.  15 hours from Delhi to Jersey.  7 hour layover there.  Then home – just to be diverted during our decent due to a disabled plane on the ground blocking the runway.  We went to Richmond, refueled, then headed home.  Finally.

I was back to work immediately the next morning, and I admit that I’m struggling with jet lag for the first time.  I’m falling asleep between 5-8, and up around 3-4.  Then feel like a zombie (other than the whole brain eating thing) by 1.  Alas, it can’t last forever!

So, just a few other miscellaneous pictures before I try to stay awake another few hours before going to bed!

one of the days I couldn't get out of bed and sent D a "feel sorry for me" selfie

one of the days I couldn’t get out of bed and sent D a “feel sorry for me” selfie

watched several movies that day.  This popped up after every commercial.  It was spoken in a highly dramatic voice.

watched several movies that day. This popped up after every commercial. It was spoken in a highly dramatic voice.

last day of class!

last day of class!

hell no.  My cats love me.

hell no. My cats love me.

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scarf shop in the hotel where more than a few of us picked up some beautiful scarves.

scarf shop in the hotel where more than a few of us picked up some beautiful scarves.

in the Delhi airport

in the Delhi airport

in the Jersey airport

in the Jersey airport

missed these two so much

missed these two so much

 

Namaste from India!

FOOD

Just a few short days after my last post, I was on my way for a 2 week stay in India!  While I have managed to find plenty of eats, the “vegan” concept is still a bit foreign.  I usually get offers of boiled veggies, fish, and chicken.  Still – it hasn’t been all that challenging considering the plentiful vegetables and legumes!

congee with fresh ginger

congee with fresh ginger

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yes - nice hotel :)

yes – nice hotel 🙂

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LOVE the guava especially!

LOVE the guava especially!

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salad w/hummus as a dressing has become a total favorite

salad w/hummus as a dressing has become a total favorite

FITNESS

Yoga every day!  I certainly went for runs before heading to India, but haven’t since I’ve been here.  The air quality is such that I wouldn’t go outside anyway – even with a group, and our crazy long days in residency leave me little desire to do hard cardio.  So – every morning has been yoga and it’s been great.

LIFE

Well – I’m in India!  This is the last of my non-US residencies, and I have one more of those (in April) before graduating in May!

I arrived in Mumbai in New Year’s Eve.  Despite being awake for about 38 hours, I still hit up the NYE bash at the Opium Den bar in the hotel with several of my classmates.  Many others went to Dubai to stay with a classmate and ring in the new year.

I spent a week in Mumbai and, like much of what I’m seeing of India, it’s a study in contrasts.  There are those who are very well off (2-3% of Indian’s are wealthy by international standards – and that’s a LOT of people, considering there are 1.2 billion people.  That means there are more wealthy in India than the total population of Australia!), a rising middle class, and some abjectly poor.  And you can see it all in a very short radius.

Mumbai has heavy British influences, though with an Indian spice.  I found much of it quite pretty.

view from my room - the Arabian Sea and the Mumbai skyline

view from my room – the Arabian Sea and the Mumbai skyline

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my class in front of the Gateway to India

my class in front of the Gateway to India

beautiful train station

beautiful train station

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yep - that's a guy with a really big gun....

yep – that’s a guy with a really big gun….

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a women's co-op we visited.  founded more than 50 yrs ago, the goal is to employ women to help them provide for their families while still getting to stay home.

a women’s co-op we visited. founded more than 50 yrs ago, the goal is to employ women to help them provide for their families while still getting to stay home.

one of the Mumbai slums

one of the Mumbai slums

a gift from the co-op

a gift from the co-op

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We left Mumbai after a week, flew to Delhi, and then took a 6 hour bus ride to Agra.  It took 3 hours to get from the airport to the highway because traffic is so horrible – and it’s always this bad.

view from the front of the bus :(

view from the front of the bus 😦

We rolled into Agra quite late, checked into our rooms, and went to bed.  We had to be in the lobby by 6am to get to the Taj Mahal before it opened – hoping to see a sunrise, but it was foggy (or smoggy).

in my Agra hotel room.  Do not distrub me!!!

in my Agra hotel room. Do not distrub me!!!

tried to call the front desk to ask about my Wi-Fi - but didn't know how!  Tried 0, but no answer.  Oh well.  Just went to sleep instead.

tried to call the front desk to ask about my Wi-Fi – but didn’t know how! Tried 0, but no answer. Oh well. Just went to sleep instead.

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lots of baboons!  They like to steal things from people - especially food.

lots of baboons! They like to steal things from people – especially food.

this one won a little battle with a friend over the ownership of this bottle

this one won a little battle with a friend over the ownership of this bottle

From there we went back to the hotel for breakfast, then off to the Agra fort.  That was amazing!

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built to protect a palace, it was a total maze.  Designed that way in part to confuse incoming troops, but mostly to stop stampeding elephants

built to protect a palace, it was a total maze. Designed that way in part to confuse incoming troops, but mostly to stop stampeding elephants

Then it was lunch, and finally to a market and temple.  That particular trip was completely chaotic, but like nothing else I’ve seen.

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Then it was to the train station, back to Delhi, into a new hotel, a reception (which I admit I skipped so I could shower!), and then back to business today.

While here, I’m definitely embracing a different wardrobe!

on the way down to class this morning

on the way down to class this morning

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Tonight I’m off to have dinner with a co-worker’s family!  He’s from Delhi, and his mom and sister are making me dinner.  SO excited!

On the non-India front, I promised pics of the finish painted guest room.  Plus I can’t leave you without a few fluff balls and morning pictures!

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she loves laundry day

she loves laundry day

seeing Rogue One the night before I left for India

seeing Rogue One the night before I left for India

M and Kuma passed out on the sofa!

M and Kuma passed out on the sofa!

me as I landed in Mumbai

me as I landed in Mumbai

me and two of my awesome classmates

me and two of my awesome classmates

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Still Here – Promise!

Okay, last post was about Halloween.  I swear, I’m still kicking.  Just been – uncontrolled chaos!  I normally refer to my life as barely controlled chaos, but even I can admit it’s gone overboard!

Not going to try and do a 2 month update.  Many trips have ensued, family, school, work, friends, fun, tears, frustration, and an appreciation for life.

FOOD

I haven’t spent nearly enough time in my kitchen, and not making nearly enough of my super healthy eats!  Too much eating out or no eating at all, and I’m certainly feeling it.

But there were a few highlights!  One of them, is I got a new appliance!  An Air Fryer.  I picked up the GoWise on sale on Amazon, and it’s been a lot of fun to play with.  Kids love it, and it’s fun to have that fried food without added fats – which just end up hurting my stomach.

red lentil soup

red lentil soup

green curry.  of course!

green curry. of course!

tuna-less chickpea salad

tuna-less chickpea salad

butternut squash soup

butternut squash soup

a BAS with roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, and tons of raw veg underneath - topped with a yummy lemon/maple/tahini dressing

a BAS with roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, and tons of raw veg underneath – topped with a yummy lemon/maple/tahini dressing

air fried tofu, roasted maple carrots, and air fried french fries.

air fried tofu, roasted maple carrots, and air fried French fries.

Dijon tofu alfredo with veggies

Dijon tofu alfredo with veggies

air fried falafel

air fried falafel

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cream of broccoli soup

cream of broccoli soup

tempeh taco salad with pickled radish and onion

tempeh taco salad with pickled radish and onion

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air fried tofu stir fry

air fried tofu stir fry

ranch kale chips from the air fryer!

ranch kale chips from the air fryer!

 

FITNESS

A few runs per week is about what I’ve been able to sustain.  One kickboxing session too.  Longest one was an 8 miler when I was staying with my sister on Thanksgiving weekend.

apparently this run was a little more difficult

post kickboxing – which kicked my butt

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a lovely Christmas morning run!  It was 50 and sunny and perfect

a lovely Christmas morning run! It was 50 and sunny and perfect

LIFE

I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my sister and her family and seeing my mom.  She’s now out of the hospital and hopefully on her way to a long, strong, and healthy life.

The week after Thanksgiving I was in Chicago for a week for a conference.  It was a great show, but the best part was staying with my best friend – who moved to New Orleans nearly a year ago!

I’ve been back home for about 3 weeks, and it’s been quite hectic between work, school, and prepping for the Christmas holiday.

Last weekend D took Kuma to the mountains for a long weekend, so it was mostly just R and me (M worked all weekend).  We watched movies, painted (pics of that later) and I studied.  All of us were sick for a few days this past week too, which sucked.  D had it the longest – pretty much a full week – and he’s still stuffy.

But last night for Christmas Eve A and her boyfriend came over and we had a blast.  Red beans and rice for dinner, movies, jammies, and board games!  I went to bed just after midnight, and left the rest of them playing card games!

And as she’s done since she was little – A woke us up stupid early for presents.  From there, it was our big breakfast tradition, cleaning, and lazing about.  I actually started packing for my India trip!  I NEVER pack early, so this is a major thing 🙂

Anyway, will leave you with a few fun pics!  Hope you’re all having a wonderful family if you celebrate, and if not – just an all around fantastic weekend.

~Crissie

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that look when you pick up all the cat toys so you can vacuum

that look when you pick up all the cat toys so you can vacuum

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road trip Kuma!

road trip Kuma!

hide and seek Kuma!

hide and seek Kuma!

R out on M and R's boat in early November (it was a really nice day)

R out on M and R’s boat in early November (it was a really nice day)

at an artisan fair in Chicago

at an artisan fair in Chicago

saw this in a European lotion store.  Made me giggle.

saw this in a European lotion store. Made me giggle.

a lovely gift from a friend/classmate.

a lovely gift from a friend/classmate.

almost snuggling!

almost snuggling!

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3000 Miles Later…

This is going to be a quick preamble because I don’t know how to actually write about things like this.  On October 16th, my father passed away very suddenly.  With my mom in the hospital for several months, it hit my family even harder than anticipated.  I don’t really have a lot to say other than my sister and I (and our extended family) are reeling right now, but still trying to keep life and the future in the most positive light we can.  Rest well Dad.  Love you.  Miss you.

this is a little over a year old - last time he came to visit me in VA.

this is a little over a year old – last time he came to visit me in VA

FOOD

So it may seem silly to continue with my “regular scheduled blog programming” in light of the bombshell above.  But….my Dad would likely be really pissed if any of us stopped our lives because he decided it was time to go.  So…here I go.  Onward the way I think he’d want me to.

I was only home for a week from my work trip before heading back home to WI from VA, so food pics were a little limited.  Also – not doing much cooking (nor eating) the past week+, so this will be a little lack luster.

last night in WI - out to dinner with my sister, niece, and nephew.

last night in WI – out to dinner with my sister, niece, and nephew.

tofu and veg curry at Beans & Barley in WI.

tofu and veg curry at Beans & Barley in WI.

our black bean dip app

our black bean dip app

a road trip dish in Toledo.  Bleh, but I needed to eat

a road trip dish in Toledo. Bleh, but I needed to eat

road trip salad

road trip salad

Tofu and veggie tacos with my cousin

Tofu and veggie tacos with my cousin

baked a pumpkin pie this eve

baked a pumpkin pie this eve

Tofurky, roasted maple sweet potatoes, and balsamic brussels.  Glad to be home.

Tofurky, roasted maple sweet potatoes, and balsamic brussels. Glad to be home.

FITNESS

Ha.  Sorry – nothing to report here.  Lot’s of cleaning, packing, moving and things like that.  No runs.  No yoga.  No bike rides.  No time.

LIFE

The past week and a half has been all about my mom and my sister.  D held down the fort (like he always does) back home in VA.

My bday was the 19th, and that’s the morning I packed up my mini-van (hello…I have 3 kids.  What did you think I drive?!) and started the long drive to WI.  Not the best birthday ever, but not too terrible either.  I spent it with myself, my thoughts, and the occasional blasting stereo (hey, no judging.  My mini-van can totally rock out).  I think I really needed it – to get through all the sad/angry thoughts before I was actually around other people.  I stopped in Toledo, had a drink, dinner, and watched the debates.

Some of my travel tunes!  As a bday present, D got me Sirius radio so I didn’t get stuck with crap tunes on the drive!

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I stayed in WI a little over a week, and left on Friday mid-morning.  I stopped in Cleveland with enough time to study (I had class Sat morning) before going to sleep.  I hit the road in the morning and stopped at a travel plaza with free Wi-Fi to connect to class.  It was touch and go, and I kept losing connection.  I eventually gave up and hit the road again.  As usual, DC traffic sucked, but I made it home by 730 last night.  3000 miles later and with a heavy heart, but also positive experiences with my sister and her kids, my mom, my cousin SP (who’s an incredibly special woman), and the love of family, I came back to my home in VA and the amazing love and support of my family and friends here.

I spent it snuggled on the couch with D.  Then slept in today, grocery shopped, and told stories about my Dad.

Good night everyone.  Be back soon.

Much love,

Crissie

Misc pics of the week…

borrowed a pair of my sister's socks.  Didn't know they had instructions until about 12 hrs later!  Ooops....

borrowed a pair of my sister’s socks. Didn’t know they had instructions until about 12 hrs later! Ooops….

study spot in Cleveland

study spot in Cleveland

the boys decorating the front yard for my fav holiday!

the boys decorating the front yard for my fav holiday!

skyline in Chicago as I headed out Friday afternoon

skyline in Chicago as I headed out Friday afternoon

me in Cleveland after a day of driving

me in Cleveland after a day of driving

D looking incredibly gorgeous that week!

D looking incredibly gorgeous that week!

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my baby got glasses!

my baby got glasses!

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Bumble in a box!

Bumble in a box!

Kuma busted digging in the back yard

Kuma busted digging in the back yard

bday flowers from AC

bday flowers from AC

condolence flowers from JG

condolence flowers from JG

my and my big sis

my and my big sis

Atomic records in Milwaukee!  SO many memories of this place

Atomic records in Milwaukee! SO many memories of this place

my mom when she was 19.

my mom when she was 19.

R all grown up last weekend!

R looking all grown up last weekend!

Kuma discovering the delight of the fireplace

Kuma discovering the delight of the fireplace

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passed out pups

passed out pups

me an R at dinner the night before my bday

me an R at dinner the night before my bday

Golf, School, and a Hurricane (and not the yummy NOLA drinks either!)

FOOD

Not as many pictures as normal, but there are a few!  I was out of town for work to support a project, so didn’t always get my green smoothies – but I did typically have a breakfast salad from the Whole Foods bar on my way into work in the mornings!

Green smoothie (of course!)  This was actually a lunchtime one.

Green smoothie (of course!) This was actually a lunchtime one.

my dinner with E on Saturday night

my dinner with E on Saturday night

my morning juice when traveling

my morning juice when traveling

breakfast BAS

breakfast BAS

and another

and another

white bean vegan chili from my hotel restaurant

white bean vegan chili from my hotel restaurant

Tofu green curry.  Not the best I've ever had...

Tofu green curry. Not the best I’ve ever had…

yummy java from Shenandoah Joe's!

yummy java from Shenandoah Joe’s!

a toasty tofurky sammich with a side of grilled broccoli and mushrooms

a toasty tofurky sammich with a side of grilled broccoli and mushrooms

last night's dinner!  RM made an amazing vegan chili (and had vegan sour cream too!).  Didn't take a pic of the mushroom appetizer because I ate them all...

last night’s dinner! RM made an amazing vegan chili (and had vegan sour cream too!). Didn’t take a pic of the mushroom appetizer because I ate them all…

roasted garlic!  Just because it's awesome in a lot of things (and this is destined for a winter squash alfredo)

roasted garlic! Just because it’s awesome in a lot of things (and this is destined for a winter squash alfredo)

One quick recipe for a simple mid-exam meal!  When I’m really low on free time, I have to admit that I get even more grateful for having pretty much every kitchen appliance out there.  This one was a simple rice cooker dish.  Throw it all in and then eat when it’s done!

  • 1 cup rice (doesn’t matter the type – I wanted brown, but am apparently out and used Arborio instead)
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. ground ginger root
  • 2 tbsp. red Thai curry powder (here’s the one I use)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3-4 cups whatever frozen veg you have (today, I used peas and green beans)
  • 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas
it's got kick from the Thai spice, and is creamy and filling and awesome

it’s got kick from the Thai spice, and is creamy and filling and awesome

FITNESS

I went for a few runs, a bike ride, an online yoga class in my hotel room, and golf!

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Yes – it was the once a year charity golf event!  Both D and I want to actually play regularly, but I need to graduate first.  There’s so little free time as it is, so starting something new just isn’t in the cards for me.  Still – we had a blast (playing with our usual couple!) and I was literally sore for days!

at least we can DRESS like golfers!

at least we can DRESS like golfers!

LIFE

Big surprise – it’s been a wild week and a half!

First off, it’s Term 4 (of 6) exam time from Oct 7-22, so if possible, I’m even more head down and buried in my studies.  This also means I only have 2 terms left!!  WOO.  I have 5 courses per term, and each course typically has a 5 hr. exam.  There was an exception with one being a bit shorter.

Last Friday was golf, so that was an all day event.  Saturday morning I hit the road for work.  I got to see JN twice and have dinner with EA the night I arrived!  They’re both classmates.

me an EA!

me an EA!

Work took up all day every day until I went home.

Oh – and there was that pesky hurricane.  D’s car got water in the engine and my entire neighborhood was flooded.  D and the kids handled it all very well while I was dry up in the mountains.

that's my driveway and front yard!

that’s my driveway and front yard!

dude kayaking through the street

dude kayaking through the street

view from my front yard

view from my front yard

blackmail photo for later.  The storm was so crazy on Saturday night and R was a bit freaked out by the trees blowing outside her window, that she crawled in with D on my side of the bed.

blackmail photo for later. The storm was so crazy on Saturday night and R was a bit freaked out by the trees blowing outside her window, that she crawled in with D on my side of the bed.

Friday night (last night) was working on a group submission for one final (which also incorporated a significant amount of French wine, puppies, and a fire pit).

Today I took 10 hours worth of exams.  I’m surprisingly NOT as brain dead as I thought I would – though I am going to head to bed soon!

Tomorrow I’m taking what I think may be my toughest exam.  I doubt I’ll sit for more than one, so I will take my remaining final Monday night.  It gets me done 5 days early (which is nice so I can start to prep for next term), but mainly my goal is to not have any exams hanging over my head come my birthday on Wednesday,

Other than that – typical pics of cats, Kuma, the Morning Pictures, and any other random pics snapped!

Ginny jumped in my briefcase

Ginny jumped in my briefcase

and then decided that sleeping on my study materials was more comfy.  Shocker.

and then decided that sleeping on my study materials was more comfy. Shocker.

I took Kuma shopping!  We needed cat and dog food.  And of course like any shopping trip with a toddler, we ended up in the toy section...

I took Kuma shopping! We needed cat and dog food. And of course like any shopping trip with a toddler, we ended up in the toy section…

Spooky Puppy Toy!  It lights up in the ball when thrown.

Spooky Puppy Toy! It lights up in the ball when thrown.

spooky bone.  New kong.  Spoiled pups.

spooky bone. New kong. Spoiled pups.

that tongue...

that tongue…

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Gin knocking over the basket of laundry

Gin knocking over the basket of laundry

the many shots of Kuma napping on or by me when studying yesterday

the many shots of Kuma napping on or by me when studying yesterday

no clue what was happening here, other than D was cleaning the garage once the water receded.

no clue what was happening here, other than D was cleaning the garage once the water receded.

hanging in a box of stuff I'm sending to my niece

hanging in a box of stuff I’m sending to my niece

Morning Pictures

with big bro!  D and I had to be to the golf course, so M took her :)

with big bro! D and I had to be to the golf course, so M took her 🙂

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Kuma tagging along

Kuma tagging along

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Random shots

picked up new shoes at the Converse store at the outlet mall!

picked up new shoes at the Converse store at the outlet mall!

silly good morning pic sent to D while I was away

silly good morning pic sent to D while I was away

me, JG and RM last night

me, JG and RM last night

 

 

Au Revoir, Paris! Guten Tag, Berlin!

FOOD

All I can say is – I’m definitely not traveling for the eats.  Ugh.  Vegan options here are just too heavy for the way I’d like to eat.  Honestly, my best meals are makeshift eats from the local market, and I find myself eating very little otherwise.  And I’m getting kind of sick of bananas.  But alas – I can’t complain because the trip has been awesome.

One thing I love the French for is a yummy Dijon beet salad.   Germany has yet to impress me much, but it’s early yet 🙂

do love me some ginger ale!

do love me some ginger ale!

best meal! Grocery store eats are just fine with me

best meal! Grocery store eats are just fine with me

closest thing to a veg juice I could find. Quite good though!

closest thing to a veg juice I could find. Quite good though!

I love that Dijon mustard is a regular condiment with the salt & pepper!

I love that Dijon mustard is a regular condiment with the salt & pepper!

more beets!

more beets!

my entree at the Eiffel Tower!

my entrée at the Eiffel Tower!

my last morning, took off to a little cafe down the road from my hotel to enjoy some quiet and coffee

my last morning, took off to a little café down the road from my hotel to enjoy some quiet and coffee

Starbucks in Berlin!

Starbucks in Berlin!  Because it’s universal

today's lunch. Okay, but too heavy. Rice pilaf, roasted onion, and cabbage.

today’s lunch. Okay, but too heavy. Rice pilaf, roasted onion, and cabbage.

One of the grocery stores I went to (we actually did a case about them a year ago!)

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FITNESS

A couple short runs (1 outside, 2 on the hotel treadmill) and some in-room yoga.  And hiked up a ton of the Eiffel Tower, so there’s that…

ran through this park one morning. Had to snap this pic because I GO TO HIS UNIVERSITY!!!

ran through this park one morning. Had to snap this pic because I GO TO HIS UNIVERSITY!!!

I am excited that I found a hot yoga studio just down the block from my hotel here in Berlin.  It’ll be interesting because I don’t know diddly about the German language, but I figure I’ve been doing yoga long enough that I’ll be able to follow along just fine!

LIFE

Okay, busy few days!!  I may just tell it in pictures!

Disneyland Paris headquarters, where we spent the afternoon with their Investor Relations dept and VP of Marketing!

Disneyland Paris headquarters, where we spent the afternoon with their Investor Relations dept and VP of Marketing!

and after...another bit of fun in the park

and after…another bit of fun in the park

me and J after the parade!

me and J after the parade!

walking back to the hotel

walking back to the hotel

Thursday night was spent at the Eiffel Tower, including having dinner at one of the restaurants.  We then went to the very top (a combo of a TON of stairs and elevators that move in a diagonal), and had just an incredible view.

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goofy face, and my "photobomber" is actually one of my classmates, MS!

goofy face, and my “photo bomber” is actually one of my classmates, MS!

 

restaurant menu

restaurant menu

not photobombing this time...

not photobombing this time…

The Seine and the city!

The Seine and the city!

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After our last class in Paris Friday, and we celebrated with a lovely champagne lunch.

me and B and champagne!

me and B and champagne!

Then, me, NS (HUGE Liverpool fan), and WB left the group to hit up a local bar called Lush to watch the Chelsea v. Liverpool game.  Being the ONLY one in a Chelsea shirt (and only 1 of 2 supporters in the place), it was a bit unfriendly at first.  That vanished quickly when they realized I was a good sport.  The evening was a blast, and we hung out for a long time talking politics with the locals!  (They find our situation in the US both hilarious and troubling…pretty much like the rest of us to!).  Beyond that, I met some wonderful people, exchanged contact info, and hope to come back soon!  (and actually have Chelsea win…).

yum!

yum!

pre-Lush bar shot (WB, me, NS)

pre-Lush bar shot (WB, me, NS)

my forehead, but basically meant to be a shot of the bar where everyone just stands and watches the game!

my forehead, but basically meant to be a shot of the bar where everyone just stands and watches the game!

on the metro back!

on the metro back!

By the way, NS sang annoying Liverpool songs at me for 2 days.  I figure he ought to enjoy it now, because despite Liverpool’s win, Chelsea is still beating them in the EPL standings….

Did pick up a magazine for those rare non-school reading moments…

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Yesterday was traveling to Berlin (flight was delayed), but the hotel is freaking amazing!  Oh – did I mention that during my stay in Paris a Saudi royal Princess was at my hotel with her entourage?  Yeah – there’s that.  And the Berlin digs are even better!

setting up camp at the airport in Paris to get some studying done before our flight.

setting up camp at the airport in Paris to get some studying done before our flight.

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Of course D is at home holding down the fort.  I missed R’s 13th bday 😦  However, A and M went to her school and took her for lunch in a little picnic – and then Skyped me so we could sing and I could see them.  The 6 hr. time difference is probably the worst so far in being able to talk to my family regularly.

fell asleep 12, woke up 13!

fell asleep 12, woke up 13!

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me taking a pic of my laptop when we all skyped!

me taking a pic of my laptop when we all skyped!

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2 days of morning pictures!

2 days of morning pictures!

So goodnight from Berlin!

Breaking My Vitamix (and Surviving)

FOOD

Okay, so I had a food related tragedy this week.  I have a chest freezer in the garage where I keep my frozen stuff (duh, that’s what a deep freeze is for).  Anyway, I had just put my water and my chocolate Vega powder into my Vitamix container and was walking into the garage to get my frozen fruit to add (like I do EVERY morning – though it’s not always chocolate), and when I set it down, I ended up dropping it and CRACKING my Vitamix container.  Seriously – I about became apoplectic.  I mean really – barely a day has gone by since I bought the thing 9 years ago that I haven’t used it.  And those were typically just days I’m not home!  After cursing heavily at mopping up the gooey chocolate mess, it hit me. No Vitamix.  No bitchin green smoothies and dressings and soups whipped up in a snap.  OMG.

Luckily, I have my Tribest personal blender, which does a great job.  Not always smooth on the greens the way my vita is, but if I skip adding the kale, it does a great job.  So – made my Choco banana pineapple smoothie (sans greens) anyway, and then ordered a new canister.  Which will be here Wednesday.  Anticipation is KILLING me.

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Otherwise I’ve had salads, stir-fry veggies on potatoes, green tofu curry (of course – perhaps more than once.  Okay, definitely more than once), and other simple eats.

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FITNESS

Runs and Rides!  Switching off every other day, though not today.  Thought about a bike ride, got wrapped up in work and studies, and suddenly it’s almost bed time!

one of my rides

one of my rides

one of my runs!

one of my runs!

LIFE

Well, I’ve been back home about a week.  And I leave for Paris next week.  Crazy how time flied, but I’m honestly not ready!

Last week was work and studies, doing wash, and getting ready for back to school fun for R.

just before dialing into my class last Thursday - clearly it was too early for either Kuma or Ginny to be anything but chill

just before dialing into my class last Thursday – clearly it was too early for either Kuma or Ginny to be anything but chill

D woke up on Saturday feeling like hell, and is just starting to feel better today.  He felt pretty well for a few hours, but is back to feeling run down.  Some crazy virus that causes a killer headache and general weakness/exhaustion.  He seems to be on the mend though, so that’s great!

A new grocery opened up near me (and yes, that’s actually a big deal in my world)!  It’s pretty good – similar to a Wegman’s, but not quite as cool.  Good hippie food section and, most importantly, fresh produce looks great.  They have a few specialty items I typically have to pick up at Whole Foods (like my toothpaste), so that’s pretty awesome.  And yes I’ve already been twice since I got back last week.

This weekend my friend/classmate’s baby girl turned 2 and R and I went to her party yesterday.  I’ve never seen a 2 year old eat cake so daintily before!  Totally adorable.  Was a beautiful day, and the part was in the park, so it was perfect.

This week is all about being sure I’m set up at work to disappear for 2 1/2 weeks on my European adventure (Paris, Berlin, & a brief pit stop in Helsinki on the way home).  It’s also about trying to work ahead in school so the residency doesn’t completely flatten me.  But either way I have the Louvre, Eiffel Tower dinner (twice), Disneyland Paris, and a soccer match in Berlin to look forward to!

Oh, and Chelsea is doing well so far this season!  3 wins (of 3 games) and currently 2nd ranked in the league.  Don’t get me wrong though – it’s quite early, and last year they tanked something fierce, so we’ll see.  Conte is fun as a coach and I love his awesome emotional outbursts.

he just happens to be my fav player

he just happens to be my fav player

Oh, and I have to likely call off my complete hatred of Manchester United.  Chelsea’s old coach (Jose Mourinho) is now their coach, and I absolutely love that man.  So…good on Man U.  Hope you do okay this season (but never better than my Blues!).

Sorry to get all soccer on everyone.  Back to regularly scheduled posts of pets and general life fun.

it was International Dog day last Friday, which for Kuma meant International Nap Day.

it was International Dog day last Friday, which for Kuma meant International Nap Day.

staying in the office late to get some studying done

staying in the office late to get some studying done

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selfie at the Oceanfront after a hair appt.

selfie at the Oceanfront after a hair appt.

 

 

 

Food from a Box

FOOD

Most of the eats this week are typical; smoothies, salads, etc.  We did get to shake it up a bit though and try something new!

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when you're at the office at 630, a chocolate smoothie for breakfast is necessary

when you’re at the office at 630, a chocolate smoothie for breakfast is necessary

A co-worker of my husband’s gave us a coupon code to check out Hello Fresh for free.  So we did!  It’s a program that drop ships meals in a box.  You can choose the # of people being fed and the type of food.  Naturally I chose the veggie box, and I whipped up the first of three meals last night.

I chose the mushroom primavera dish because my daughter is a huge ‘shroom fan, and I thought that if any of these dishes were going to fly, it would be this one.  Absolutely everything necessary to make this dish was in a little box, which was certainly convenient.

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I whipped it up in about 20 minutes by following the recipe card.  And while it was fun – the flavors were only “okay” according to my family.  Also, the meals are vegetarian, not vegan, so I’m sure we lost some of the intended flavor since I didn’t have vegan sour cream nor parm on hand.

So the verdict is – if you have a lot of extra money lying around and don’t mind having to insert your own vegan version of dairy ingredients – go for it.  If it helps busy people eat out of a box of fresh food vs a box of mac n cheese – go for it.  But – if you like to cook and control your own ingredients, it’s a waste of money.

FITNESS

So I’m not an early riser.  And I don’t like staying up all night either (though I’d opt for that over an early alarm any day!).  So my preference is usually to work out during what amounts to the hottest time of the day.  Not awesome.  I went on one run earlier this week and the pounding headache after was a sign of the heat.

So yesterday and today I went for bike rides!  Yes, it was over 100 degrees, but since you pretty much build your own wind, it doesn’t suck.  I miss riding – it’s one of my very fav things to do.  Thing is, in my area of Tidewater there are no safe places to pedal.  And I have a road bike (though I’m eyeing a new hybrid), so I can’t hit the trails.  I need paved surfaces.

Yesterday I went to the Great Dismal Swamp Canal Trail – which is fully paved.  Normally it’s teeming with people, but due to the heat, it was dead.  I came across maybe 4 other people the entire time I was there.  No bears though (that’s a common sighting), because they were smart enough to stay out of the heat!

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Today I went in loops in my neighborhood.  None of the roads in my section of town have shoulders and most don’t have sidewalks.  But, traffic is light and residential streets are the safest I’m going to get.

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It does look like my back tire needs a new inner tube, so D is going to fix that for me later tonight.

LIFE

The best part of this week was getting to meet my friends baby boy!  Baby J is two weeks old and is the cutest squeakiest little man.  J is one of my classmates who also happens to live close by, so the catching up was a ton of fun and nice to do outside of our residencies.

D and baby J got into a little bit of a staring contest!  J won :)

D and baby J got into a little bit of a staring contest! J won 🙂

No complaints about Life, work, nor school – they’re all keeping me plenty busy!

my eldest A came home for the day and eve on Wed, and Kuma was thrilled.  Kept running back and forth to give all 3 kids a chance to play with her.

my eldest A came home for the day and eve on Wed, and Kuma was thrilled. Kept running back and forth to give all 3 kids a chance to play with her.

Ginny in her happy place (face first in a smelly shoe)

Ginny in her happy place (face first in a smelly shoe)

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that face!

that face!

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Today we took R back to camp!  Yep – we signed her up at the relative last minute for a second week since she had so much fun earlier this summer.  Seriously, this is her third year going, and we should’ve just booked two weeks to begin with!

This coming week is going to be a bit more hectic than normal.  Monday and Tuesday I have meetings from 8am – 7pm.  And I plan to stay late in the office both days to get as much studying done as possible, as I’m flying out a 6am on Wednesday for a 5 day trip to WI, and I’m not sure how much studying I’m actually going to get done.  I have a few big deadlines for assignments and proposals that I have to nail before I go.

So – hope you have a great week!

 

Sunday Living Up to It’s Name!

FOOD

Mostly simple eats like smoothies, stir fries, and salads.  Shocker, right?  But when I want to make a salad a little heartier, I like to add grains and beans too.  Early in the week I made a simple bulgur wheat salad to add to my greens instead of a dressing.  SO good.  It would be easy to sub the bulgur for quinoa or rice – pretty much any grain you’d like.

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Crissie’s Simple Bulgur Salad Topper

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 2 cups water or veggie broth
  • 4 ounce can sliced black olives
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 diced red onion
  • 1 diced bell pepper (I used an orange one)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  • Bring the water/broth to a boil.  Add the bulgur wheat, stir, cover, and move off the burner for 20 minutes
  • Blend the olive oil, dijon mustard, and rice vinegar into a dressing
  • Toss everything into a bowl

Smoothie Selfies!

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no judging that I’m in my bathrobe here. Just sayin…

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And tonight’s simple dinner of simmered tofu in a seasoned broth, spaghetti squash, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and brussel sprouts.

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FITNESS

We’ve finally dipped below triple-digits and I could run while the sun was actually shining!

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LIFE

The week started out hectic due to nutty storms stranding D half-way home from his weekend away.  Otherwise a relatively normal week of work and school and family.

This past weekend was mixed.  I was supposed to visit J and meet baby J on Saturday!  Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling well so we’ve had to reschedule.

Sunday, however I woke up with the headache gone and the day lived up to it’s sunshiny name!  D and I went boating with M and R.  In all the years I’ve lived in the Virginia Beach area, this was the first time.  Totally crazy, and awesome.  Of course not getting a boat some day is on the to-do list.

me & R

me & R

M & R

M & R

me and D

me and D

Kuma is a bit of a nut job lately, but still cute.  She goes through freakish bouts of energy and she can be a holy terror.  And then she’s snuggly, smart, and funny.  My favorite is how much she looks at me like I’m nuts when I get up in the morning.  I reach for her to take her downstairs with me, and most days she just inches closer to D and turns her head away to tell me it’s clearly too early to be bothered.

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But of course, yesterday was International Cat Day, so….

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Ginny getting worshiped from atop a trashcan...

Ginny getting worshiped from atop a trashcan…