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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My Life (mostly) in Pictures!

FOOD

It’s been a good few weeks on the food front.  D and I have pledged to go out to eat less, so that means more fun food at home!  And…since I do most of the cooking, they more or less eat what I eat!

Not that they’re complaining – heck, even D decided one evening to make dinner and whipped up an amazing tofu stir fry!  Other yumminess includes tacos, smoothies, salads, wraps, falafel burgers, squash, pasta, homemade breads and soymilk, and Indian food, just to name the highlights of the past weeks!

last night's multicultural dinner!  Homemade baked falafel patties with tzatziki sauce, served as a burger with lettuce, tomato, and onion, and a side of Italian garlic, spice, and oil pasta.  Don't judge...
last night’s multicultural dinner! Homemade baked falafel patties with tzatziki sauce, served as a burger with lettuce, tomato, and onion, and a side of Italian garlic, spice, and oil pasta. Don’t judge…
Taco Tuesday!
Taco Tuesday!
leftover taco filling makes it a taco BAS Wednesday
leftover taco filling makes it a taco BAS Wednesday

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kale, quinoa, butternut squash soup
kale, quinoa, butternut squash soup
D's delicious stir fry
D’s delicious stir fry

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roasted acorn...
roasted acorn…
to make a yummy sauce...
to make a yummy sauce…
for mac no cheese!
for mac no cheese!
salad dressing
salad dressing
Indian feast!  Garlic naan, tofu korma, Chana dal, and curry veggies
Indian feast! Garlic naan, tofu korma, Chana dal, and curry veggies
fresh bread and rolls for the week
fresh bread and rolls for the week

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rice pudding breakfast!  Leftover brown and wild rice simmered with soymilk, cinnamon, and a little maple syrup
rice pudding breakfast! Leftover brown and wild rice simmered with soymilk, cinnamon, and a little maple syrup
fresh soymilk
fresh soymilk
dual appliance cooking (rice cooker and slow cooker).  Secrets of a busy household!
dual appliance cooking (rice cooker and slow cooker). Secrets of a busy household!

FITNESS

Running and yoga – as usual!  Can’t complain though, they’re what’s most readily available to me.

D and I are talking about building a home gym over the course of the next few months.  We both want to workout, but finding the time (or the desire) to go to the gym just isn’t there.  All 3 kids really want this to, so for now we’re doing research and pricing and will go from there!

LIFE

Well 3 weeks of life is a LOT of life!  With that said, no major complaints or anything.  There have been a couple illnesses, but nothing tragic (thankfully).  Between work, school, and family, I’m pretty much never bored!

I got to see several classmates last week, which was just amazing.

(from left) AF, JN, me, SH, & JC
(from left) AF, JN, me, SH, & JC

My fluffy study buddy, always willing to “help” (aka…get in the way)…

VERY intent on that equation...
VERY intent on that equation…
at least it's R's homework this time
at least it’s R’s homework this time

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Random shots

LBM using his leaf blower to remove snow from his car
LBM using his leaf blower to remove snow from his car

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at a restaurant where we said goodbye to AC as she takes on a new job and adventure in another state!
at a restaurant where we said goodbye to AC as she takes on a new job and adventure in another state!

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she loves shoes....
she loves shoes….
one stray piece of paper on the floor, and she makes it a pillow...
one stray piece of paper on the floor, and she makes it a pillow…

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And finally, the morningpictures!

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My Kid is Part Penguin

FOOD

Okay, two weeks of eats.  I seriously can’t believe it’s been two weeks!  Needless to say…tons of good meals!

this dish was called am fog from this yummy place called Clementine's in Harrisonburg.  It represented the farm these mushrooms were grown on the mountain across the way.  On a risotto with asparagus, and I was in heaven!
this dish was called am fog from this yummy place called Clementine’s in Harrisonburg. It represented the farm these mushrooms were grown on the mountain across the way. On a risotto with asparagus, and I was in heaven!
vegan breakfast wrap from Yorgo's Bageldashery in Norfolk.  One of my very fav places.
vegan breakfast wrap from Yorgo’s Bageldashery in Norfolk. One of my very fav places.

Last Friday I made mushroom ragout with polenta and tofu.  This ragout dish is one of my favorites – takes about 2 1/2 hours, but is so worth it.

ragout ingredients.  Mushroom, carrots, bell peppers, celery.  So simple.
ragout ingredients. Mushroom, carrots, bell peppers, celery. So simple.
cook until juices run clear, add about 1 1/2 cups broth, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
cook until juices run clear, add about 1 1/2 cups broth, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
also made stuffed mushroom caps.  Vegan cream cheese, garlic, spices, and breadcrumbs.
also made stuffed mushroom caps. Vegan cream cheese, garlic, spices, and breadcrumbs.
pan cooking some seasoned tofu cutlets.
pan cooking some seasoned tofu cutlets.
not a great pic by any means, but it was still very good.
not a great pic by any means, but it was still very good.
so good, I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day!
so good, I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day!
my mother's day breakfast!  D is so cute...he doesn't know how to feed me (he tries, he really does), so he woke up early and drove out to Yorgo's for to buy breakfast!  And that's love right there, because we live a good 20-25 minutes away :)
my mother’s day breakfast! D is so cute…he doesn’t know how to feed me (he tries, he really does), so he woke up early and drove out to Yorgo’s for to buy breakfast! And that’s love right there, because we live a good 20-25 minutes away 🙂

Typical daily drinks.  Green juices and smoothies!

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Monday I decided to make Indian food.  Started the naan dough before work, and even got to use up some of my homemade soy yogurt.

using the mortar and pestle that D got for me at the Luray caverns last year.
using the mortar and pestle that D got for me at the Luray caverns last year.
homemade yogurt!  I let it incubate a long time because I love my yogurt tangy.  Perfect for curries.
homemade yogurt! I let it incubate a long time because I love my yogurt tangy. Perfect for curries.
homemade garlic naan.  Made 15 pieces.  I ate one, and there were none left after dinner.
homemade garlic naan. Made 15 pieces. I ate one, and there were none left after dinner.
dinner!  Herbed basmati rice, adzuki beans, potato curry, and cauliflower.
dinner! Herbed basmati rice, adzuki beans, potato curry, and cauliflower.

Makes this bowl of oatmeal seem boring….

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Tonight was dinner on the grill.  Eggplant, red onion, and bell pepper rings tossed in olive oil and then grilled – and then tossed again in hot sauce, tamari, and rice vinegar.  Served on a lavash with lettuce leaves, Dijon mustard, and balsamic vinegar.  Oh, and a side of grilled asparagus.  SO GOOD.

before the grill....
before the grill….
after (they shrink so much!).
after (they shrink so much!).
tonight's eats
tonight’s eats

Other miscellaneous foods from the past two weeks….

another grill night - veggie burgers and mixed veggies (potatoes and broccoli I think).
another grill night – veggie burgers and mixed veggies (potatoes and broccoli I think).
you know I need at least one tofu green curry....
you know I need at least one tofu green curry….this was my Mother’s Day dinner (after drying off from Ana)
another great breakfast from Yorgo's!  I love having meetings down there in the morning.  Tofu, vegan cheese, and tempeh bacon on an everything bagel.
another great breakfast from Yorgo’s! I love having meetings down there in the morning. Tofu “egg”, vegan cheese, and tempeh bacon on an everything bagel.
linguine with tons of fresh garlic, olive oil, and mixed veggies.
linguine with tons of fresh garlic, olive oil, and mixed veggies.
don't judge.  Realized I was out of hot dog buns after the Tofurky kielbasa was cooking.  So I cut it and stacked in on a hamburger bun!
don’t judge. Realized I was out of hot dog buns after the Tofurky kielbasa was cooking. So I cut it and stacked in on a hamburger bun!
tofu teriyaki
tofu teriyaki
edamame
edamame

 

FITNESS

Quite literally, the only workouts the past two weeks have been runs.  It’s all I’ve had time for.  Luckily, I’m pretty much okay with that!

LIFE

You know, I think time is a tricky thing.  It goes by so quickly when you’re not paying attention!  Two weeks is a long time between posts, and I’m sorry.  Between D working nights, me getting a ridiculous sinus/ear infection (completely lost my hearing in my left ear for almost 2 days – freaked me right the heck out), a last minute work trip, and regular life….it’s remarkable how fast the time flies.

Mother’s day was nice – though we should have checked the weather for that whole “tropical storm” thing.  Alas, we went to the theme park anyway, managed to get one roller coaster down – before the sky opened up and the storms hit!  Seriously though, it was still a great time.

me and D when the kids went for round 2 on the Griffon
me and D when the kids went for round 2 on the Griffon
all of us drenched.  Cracks me up how unamused A is, and that R's nose is flaring so much.  They're clearly annoyed at the rain.
all of us drenched. Cracks me up how unamused A is, and that R’s nose is flaring so much. They’re clearly annoyed at the rain and even more annoyed that we stopped for a selfie.

Miscellaneous pics…

hello mountains!!  One of the things I love about Virginia.  We have it all - beaches, mountains, forests, cities, swamps (okay, I don't like swamps, but we have them), and everything in between.
hello mountains!! One of the things I love about Virginia. We have it all – beaches, mountains, forests, cities, swamps (okay, I don’t like swamps, but we have them), and everything in between.
rub da belly!!!
rub da belly!!!
no words other than Ginny doesn't look so much like a kitty anymore
no words other than Ginny doesn’t look so much like a kitty anymore
the girls in the front window when I left yesterday
the girls in the front window when I left yesterday
Love 80's music.  Okay...not music like Whitney Houston or Tiffany...but fun stuff, like Roxy Music.
Love 80’s music. Okay…not music like Whitney Houston or Tiffany…but fun stuff, like Roxy Music.
still my favorite room in the house!
still my favorite room in the house!

Probably the most fun thing is the pool was opened on Monday.  It was supposed to be last Friday, but the pool people had a truck breakdown, and we didn’t get done.

So Monday it was this green jello-looking thing, and by today, my family (NOT me), actually went in.

me Tuesday evening lying in one of the lounge chairs and reading.  It was almost 90 and perfect.
me Tuesday evening lying in one of the lounge chairs and reading. It was almost 90 and perfect.
yesterday R spent over an hour cleaning the pool.  Kid is desperate to get it ready.
yesterday R spent over an hour cleaning the pool. Kid is desperate to get it ready.
D, M, and A all jumped in this evening wearing their clothes.  Keep in mind it was in the 60's.
D, M, and A all jumped in this evening wearing their clothes. Keep in mind it was in the 60’s.

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this is me....on the chair with a hot cup of tea and a blanket.  While they swam.
this is me….on the chair with a hot cup of tea, new cookbook, and a blanket. While they swam.
she couldn't wait anymore.....
she couldn’t wait anymore…..

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I want you all to keep in mind that our pool is not heated.  And that water was in the pool ALL WINTER LONG.  And R swam for about 20 minutes before I made her get out for fear of hypothermia…..

She is clearly part penguin.

And finally, the morning pictures!

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okay, this was today's, and it's freaking me out how grown up R looks....
okay, this was today’s, and it’s freaking me out how grown up R looks….

 

It’s the Little Things

FOOD

Everyone knows I love food.  Love cooking it, love eating it, and love making dishes for other people.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make this even more special.  Like my husband’s boss gifting me with several huge CSA hauls of hers that she just didn’t have time to go through.  Eggplant, shallots, TONS of greens, and all sorts of fun stuff.  It was a very sweet gesture, and I had tons of fun with it all.

Spicy eggplant with Indian spices and cilantro
Spicy eggplant with Indian spices and cilantro
plenty of leftovers of cumin basmati rice, red lentil dahl, and eggplant.  INDIAN FOOD FOR DAYS
plenty of leftovers of cumin basmati rice, red lentil dahl, and eggplant. INDIAN FOOD FOR DAYS

I was traveling all last weekend, and had some special meals whipped up, including this amazing Moroccan Vegetable Tagine, and the owner came and sat with me for awhile explaining how it was made, why he moved to the US, and how much I remind him of his little sister.  Again, a little thing, but created a  memorable evening for me.

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And today, my Dad called.  He’s a couple doors down from the best spice place on earth (The Spice House in Milwaukee), and he was just calling to see what I need from there (hello poultry seasoning and onion powder!).  Thoughtful thing to do.

FITNESS

It is no surprise that the past week or so has seen yoga and running as my workouts.  It’s actually been a struggle the last two weeks with finding (aka….MAKING)  time.  D has been on nights and I’ve been exhausted.  I don’t like to think I forget how much he does around here, but I think for awhile there I had.

It seems like I’m always freakishly busy doing one thing or another, and I forget that he does all the little things (and a lot of the big things too!).  He does special little things with the kids, and even with me.  Silly things like texting me pictures of flowers or being a sounding board as I’m trying to solve some problem or another.  A week with him on nights and us barely seeing each other, certainly reminded me of just how big those little things are.

Anyway, on the fitness front, I mostly went for shorter runs and did yoga at home.  On the weekends, I hit the studio, but not during the week.

LIFE

I’m happy to say that D is back on days again!  Although he’s still not successfully flipped his sleeping schedule back yet.

While he was on nights, I did the Halloween thing with the kids, tried to keep everything together for a week, and then went out of town for several days.  I did get to spend a day with A though, and that was definitely a fun day.  Lunch at our favorite Pho joint, Whole Foods, and a few hours at the mall rounded out a fun mother-daughter day.  I miss her, and while soup and shopping seems like a little thing, it was pretty big for me.

Spicy Pho for me!
Spicy Pho for me!

And for my favorite little thing….D’s morning pictures!  Every morning he snaps a selfie with R as he’s dropping her off to school.  Not a big deal at all, but when I tell people about it (or post their daily shot with #morningpicture), I realize how incredibly special it is.  When I’m traveling, I find myself flipping through week’s worth, and it always makes me smile.

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So there you have it.  Me coming to the realization that life’s best moments aren’t the big ones I keep planning for, but the little ones that happen around me every day.

Food, Pets, and Theme Parks. My Fav Kind of Week

FOOD

Well, a full week home and I’m back to my obsession with Indian flavors.  And tacos.  Next step?  Blending those obsessions…curry tacos?  Yeah…I’m down for that.  Stay tuned.

I made a big batch of a ginger/carrot soup on Sunday and had that for most lunches this week, along with granola bar leftovers, and fruits and veggies and salads.  Thai too during a working lunch that made me grateful to have a co-worker who also loves Thai food.  And perhaps it’s because I really want Fall to hurry up and get here, lots of oatmeal….which is weird because I don’t typically love oatmeal.

AC and I went out Tuesday night for tacos and drinks.
AC and I went out Tuesday night for tacos and drinks.
oatmeal made with flax milk, blueberries, and generous sprinkling of cinnamon!
oatmeal made with flax milk, blueberries, and generous sprinkling of cinnamon!
a very bad picture of a very good soup....
a very bad picture of a very good soup….
my spices came!  More Indian flavors....and a super spicy Sriracha powder!
my spices came! More Indian flavors….and a super spicy Sriracha powder!
just because it smelled SO good....dried Arbol peppers, sliced garlic, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, and ajiwan seeds sauteing before adding the chickpeas, tofu, and rice!
just because it smelled SO good….dried Arbol peppers, cinnamon stick, sliced garlic, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, and ajiwan seeds sauteing before adding the chickpeas, tofu, and rice!

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final dinner!  A nice kick of spice, but not too overpowering.
final dinner! A nice kick of spice, but not too overpowering.

FITNESS

Yoga…running…the usual.  Despite the hectic week, I did get in a few good workouts.  Two longer runs and two hot yoga classes and one yogaglo class here at home.  In my travels earlier this month, I had the opportunity to introduce two people to yogaglo.com, and hopefully have some new converts!  Seriously, for the price of a single drop-in class, you have unlimited classes for a month.  That’s just cool.

I’m still fretting for my lack of daily data though.  I admit, that when I got my first FitBit (the Force….of which I was one of the lucky ones who got skin burns from wearing it….and then the One, which was nice and tiny…but now somewhere lost in Charlottesville), I became addicted even more so than normal to my physical activity.  How many steps did I accomplish?  How do I rate among my friends who have them?  And if I’m lacking, how many more walks around the block before I’m back in the lead?

On top of this, my GPS sports watch sucks.  I have the Nike+ and while I loved it at first (it’s not bulky on my little wrists), Nike has totally stopped supporting it.  The bloody thing takes forever to connect to satellites before I start running (often leaving me pacing in my drive for a good 10 minutes), and the website…once a fun and interactive game…is now basic and rarely works.  I’ve been asking around on Facebook, and I think it’s time I switch back to a Garmin.

LIFE

It’s more or less been a good week.   Busy, yes, and glad to be back in the office, but also stressful for the early morning and long nights.  Also someone I care about suffered a medical emergency yesterday, and that’s been a concern for sure.  Not for me, but for her and her family.

AC and I were originally planning to hit up a hot yoga class together on Tuesday, but ended up going for tacos and drinks (beer for me, bourbon for her!).

I took R to Busch Garden’s last night for a kick off to the holiday weekend!  Just the two of us, and we did two loops through the park, rode a ton of rides, and enjoyed an incredibly beautiful evening.

in line for our first coaster of the evening!
in line for our first coaster of the evening!
looking WAY too comfortable on a motorcycle (granted, this is an arcade, but still....born in Milwaukee...Haley in her veins....I'm in trouble)
looking WAY too comfortable on a motorcycle (granted, this is an arcade, but still….born in Milwaukee…Haley in her veins….I’m in trouble)

Today I woke up early, did some reading, watched a movie, and finished up all the massive amounts of laundry a big family piles up during a week….most of this before the rest of my family stirred!

Ginny interrupting my reading.  Nothing new.
Ginny interrupting my reading. Nothing new.
Sammie at the vet, passed out on the floor from exhaustion after barking at everyone and every fur baby in the joint.
Sammie at the vet, passed out on the floor from exhaustion after barking at everyone and every fur baby in the joint.
Ginny napping on top of a shoe box on D's dresser.  I just couldn't NOT take this when I saw her paw on her cheek...
Ginny napping on top of a shoe box on D’s dresser. I just couldn’t NOT take this when I saw her paw on her cheek…

Tonight my son is having a LAN party (Local Area Network…an IT-geeky way of saying everyone brings their own computer, we hook them up to our network, and they play games like crazy all night long and eat junk food).

D is out at the Oceanfront taking sunset and star pics, and R and I are relaxing and having a quiet evening!

So yeah.  Really nice to be home, be with my family and friends, eat good food, and sleep in my own bed!

 

Blogger of the Year Award Goes To….

Not me! I know, and I'm sorry. Craptastic blogger lately, and I know it. Sad thing is, I think about blogging every day…and them the entire day gets away from me.

Not to whine or anything, but I've had 15 hr days, 3 days per week for the last month, and the days I'm am home before 10pm are me trying to make up to my family for not being there all those other days.

I'll get better, I promise. Blogs may be short and sweet (just like me!), but I do have a plan to get them back on track.

In the mean time, a brief update on the last few weeks.

Run, work, yoga, work, travel, work, study, work, cook, work, spend time with my family, work.

R turned 10! And A came home from college for the weekend to celebrate. She's kicking butt at school and I'm very proud of her. My son won the lead in the school play, and my husband has been picking up double duty due to my crazy schedule.

I went to WI for a very cool conference and have spent the weekend visiting my family. I go home tomorrow, and I can't wait.

I also will have a giveaway coming up (a sort of penance) as well as a review or two, so stay tuned for that!

Until then….I give you my highlights in pictures…