I Prefer Sparkling Isolation

FOOD

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

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

FITNESS

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

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

LIFE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whiskey and Goats

FOOD

Whew 2 weeks! So crazy how time flies.

Eats have been typical. I made a few soups, definitely some curry happening too. Okay a LOT of Thai food the past two weeks. #notsorry

I had a quick overnight work trip, and dinner out in the downtown Charlottesville area. Delicious brussel sprout salad and a butternut squash farro salad. Apparently this is a table service place where people share – but since I was the only vegan I really wasn’t sharing any of the other dishes, but I did share what I ordered.

This morning I had brunch with my boyfriend – an Acai berry bowl that was delicious.

For lunch, hung out with LC – and it’s been nearly a year since we saw each other. She has been eating vegan for about a month, so we hit up The Bumbling Bee. It’s an all vegan spot in Virginia Beach. I would definitely classify the offerings as comfort food. Burgers, chicken sandwiches, reubens, mac and cheese, etc. I got the Irishman corned beef – turns out it was a sammich and not a stew (which is what I thought I was getting) and a side of mac. L got a bacon chicken ranch burger with fries. We got an order of cauliflower wings.

Unfortunately, my food came out a good 10 minutes before the rest. The cauliflower was supposed to be an appetizer. Oh well. The cauliflower wasn’t bad – but could only really eat one. The mac was not great, so I didn’t eat it. The sammich was pretty good and I had a little more than half. L said her sammich was really great.

All told – I wasn’t really impressed. I appreciate an all vegan spot – I really do – and maybe what I ordered just wasn’t the best (though the server said the Irishman was her second favorite thing and I just can’t see that). The food is also really heavy – so not something I could eat regularly anyway.

FITNESS

More of the same – though more runs than gym just because of time. In some pretty dire need of yoga though.

LIFE

Been a busy two weeks. Last week was short in the office. Off Monday due to MLK day and R and I coming back from Boston. In the office on Tuesday and Wednesday, then in a class Thursday and Friday. The class is a start-up/entrepreneur course for Active Duty, Reservists, and Vets. It was really good and found out about a ton of resources I didn’t even know I had.

Saturday was a benefit for my friend’s nonprofit organization – Military Mobility. M and I went to support that for a few ours, then I stopped at my bf’s house to watch a movie and then go home.

Monday was a normal work day. Tuesday was one meeting and then on the road to Charlottesville. Had a work dinner and then meetings and lunch the next day and home by 4. Thursday was a normal work day, and that night my guy and I went out and I stayed at his place.

Friday I worked from home in the morning before another class, and then cocktails after with my friend AM (who was one of the teachers of the class). As school winds down, I really do want to focus on my start-up or 2 that I have percolating in my brain for the last year or so.

Saturday was the gym, a quick visit to see my guy, then tons of errands. My youngest had plans last night to go ice skating with a boy who is a hockey player. So I took her and picked her up, and in between went to my office to work on my dissertation. Long story, but Grammarly has a file size limit, and mine is too big. The Mac version doesn’t have the Word plugin, but the Windows one does. Had to hit the office for that, but I got it done, so that felt great!

This morning was brunch with bf and then lunch with LC, and now laundry, cooking, cleaning, packing, and writing. I head to Chicago tomorrow for a few days – but I’m excited because I’ll get to spend my sister’s birthday with her Wednesday evening!

Oh – quick update on this year’s “project food” – whiskey. It’s going quite well! So I stared with the Wiki page in how to drink it – which meant neat, possibly with a dropper of water, or on ice. That didn’t work so well for me. What has worked well, though, are mixed drinks! I’m enjoying Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, New York Sour (which is a whiskey sour with red wine tossed in for fun), and have had a couple others as well. At my work dinner, my dining companion is a big Japanese whiskey drinker, so I got introduced to that, and was quite pleased. So we’ll see!

Other random fun pics

It’s like Luna doesn’t think Kuma should be left alone because she does silly things like sleep in ridiculously awkward positions.

So my eldest makes these exact faces! Especially the one on the bottom right. Which is the exact face she made when she found out about the boy taking R ice skating….

A spot my bf and I like in Charlottesville. Haven’t been in ages though!

A Very Merry Time Indeed

FOOD

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

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

FITNESS

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

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

LIFE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And other miscellaneous shots of the week!

Is That a Chardonnay in Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Happy to See Me

FOOD

One morning last week (Wednesday, I think) I made oatmeal and put a scoop of protein powder in it. I’ve done this before and it was fine, but this was just nasty. I choked it down but wish I hadn’t!

I had Ezekiel toast with sunbutter two days. No other breakfasts in the past few days.

I haven’t had much of an appetite since Friday morning, and honestly – haven’t eaten much. W was not happy with that, so we went out to Fancy Radish in DC and shared a few plate. Still couldn’t eat much, but did have a bite or two of everything.

FITNESS

Worked out every day last week, either a run, a spin, or a strength training session. Saturday I was in DC and did a ton of walking. I do wish I had packed workout clothes. A run in the city would’ve been perfect. Today we’ll see. Could probably use a run or a hot yoga class honestly, but I just got home from a weekend away and am not sure yet.

LIFE

Been a fairly rough week, but it is what it is. Friday I headed up to DC for a weekend and holiday party with friends. It was a much needed weekend.

Friday I wandered around Old Town Alexandria for a couple hours. I was planning to stop at this one wine shop, but it was closed. Stopped at the Majestic for a glass of wine and reading before heading over to W’s house.

W and I hung out at his place for a bit, then walked the couple blocks to Fancy Radish for dinner. Then back to his place for a few hours, then back to my hotel.

Saturday morning was a little rough, but then I met up with A to grab coffee and watch the Scottish Day parade. It was awesome, I can’t believe I didn’t get any shots of the tons of dogs in tartan in the parade! But it was a really great time.

My girl A taking pics!

After the parade, I walked to the metro and went to the Natural History museum for a bit. Then back to my hotel. I was supposed to meet up with friends for the parade of boats with Christmas lights, but I dozed off. Did make it in plenty of time for the party though, which was really nice. There were about 15 or so of us. Grad school buds and their other halves mostly.

For the past several years, my friend D and I pick on Chardonnay drinkers. It goes back to an experience with an ex-girlfriend of his, and has turned into a bit of a running joke. So he got to the party, came over to give me a hug, and pulled out a bottle of Chardonnay! It was hilarious. Obviously left for other party guests if anyone wanted it.

Just the Darden classmates!

This morning I woke up and drove home! Got home about an hour and a half ago. Not sure what the rest of my day will look like, though likely cleaning, some cooking, school work, and maybe a movie.

Trying to see if I can like bourbon. A and K happened to pour a class of Pappy van Winkle – a $700 bottle – and I only had a tiny sip, but it wasn’t bad!

Picking the wee one up from robotics

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

Still a Whiskey Conspiracy and Doctoral Fun

FOOD

Still been on the road since my last post. I had another day in Vegas and the highlight for sure was dinner at the speakeasy Beauty & Essex.

My last morning I found a açaí bowl that I ate just before my last meeting of the conference! Though it was with DB, who is one of my favorites.

Then it was off to Atlanta until today (I’m sitting in the airport killing time and waiting to go home!). It was my doctoral residency so most food was in the hotel. Breakfast was oatmeal, lunch was whatever they had – typically a salad, though one day was much more dynamic. Dinner one day was with K and I had the vegan grit bowl. Second day was with K and our advisor Dr. J, and I had the red and white quinoa bowl with tofu.

Saturday I got out of the hotel and hit up ATL with my girlfriend E. Stopped at the Wrecking Bar first for some flights of in house brews, then The Porter for a Beyond burger and their signature salt and vinegar popcorn (which is totally worth the hype!).

FITNESS

In Vegas I walked. In ATL, I did yoga and my daily burn app. Nothing fancy, but hell, 10 days on the road and I’m thrilled with what I managed!

LIFE

Oh hell, where to start? Left the HLTH conference in Vegas energized and excited, but nervous too. Excited about all that’s going on in the space to truly disrupt my industry. Nervous because the disrupters are the outsiders – and that can be a problem for those entities that aren’t willing to adapt. The next 5-10 years will be really fun to watch.

I got to my Atlanta hotel around midnight on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. The trip is for my very final residency in my doctoral program. I will admit, the experienced was mixed. There are only 2 of us left from our initial cohort (me and K), and while we all keep in touch with the original crew, we are a bit on our own.

This trip was supposed to focus on specific skills to aid in the research process. K and I are both done with all coursework, etc, so what we really have coming up is IRB approval, research, writing, and (hopefully) graduate. So this trip was to focus on tactical skills to get to graduation – like interviewing, site permissions, and going over all the detailed elements we need to know. And while we got some of that, our professor (and there were only 5 of us in total, K and I in the lead cohort with Strategy & Innovation, and 3 others who are behind us in various areas of Leadership and HR), liked way too much to pontificate on things that were entirely irrelevant. All told, it was valuable, but not nearly as much as it could/should have been. I mean really….making us work on creating a mission statement on how we are the “leaders of our own dissertation project”? UGH. All that aside, I got enough to where I’m super jazzed to get going. I submit to IRB at the end of this month, which is totally insane. There is a distinct chance that I start my research before Christmas. It moves up my timetable somewhat, but I’m still so very excited!

Thursday night after class K and I grabbed drinks (SHE DRINKS WHISKEY AND I SWEAR IT’S A CONSPIRACY) and dinner, and it was to bed pretty early.

Friday night after class we had dinner (and a fair amount of very good wine) with our current mentor.

Saturday night after class was all about time with E (WHO ALSO LIKES WHISKEY). Also my youngest R did a cybersecurity scavenger hunt thing at a local community college and got second place!

And today was class and then off to the airport to wait relatively patiently for my flight. And people watch. And I desperately wanna give this woman a makeover…

And while this entire trip has been very productive, I am beyond ready to get home to the ones I love!

Other fun stuff for your viewing pleasure.

Getting prepped to hand out candy on halloween!