Can You Be Stressed and Not Know It?

FOOD

Not a lot of food pics, to be honest. I had smoothies yesterday and today. Both the same – 1 cup coconut milk (the carton drink, not the canned) in unsweetened vanilla, 1 scoop vanilla protein power (using up the last of my Everyday 365 powder from Whole Foods), 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tbsp MCT oil, and ice. It’s literally one of the most delicious things ever.

I had a BAS again yesterday topped with a ton of tofu eggless salad. Super tasty and filling.

I know I mentioned previously that I started Intermittent Fasting back in mid-January. I have a condition called PCOS that causes insulin resistance. I had certainly heard of IF and even believed for a lot time that it was extreme and unhealthy. I have since changed my tune after doing a ton of reading and research (the academic kind, not the Facebook/YouTube kind). Truly, it has been remarkable for me. My goal is 18 hrs of fasting, but lately I’ve been at or over 20 hrs per day. I’ve noticed several benefits for me – certainly weight loss (20 lbs so far), but also truly understanding hunger signals, more diligence on WHAT I’m eating, and honestly – more energy.

FITNESS

Yesterday I went for a run after my last meeting of the day. It was sunny and in the 60’s.

Today I started with a 9mi hike at False Cape State Park and Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. I actually didn’t explore the park, as it is inaccessible by car (hike, tram, or boat only – and trams aren’t running and I have no boat – yet!). I did the 4 mile hike TO the park, and then turned around. I had done a mile at the refuge, and it was stunning. Also went on a side Dune trail on my way to the park. I brought headphones, but didn’t use them.

It was actually chilly and foggy when I set out. It was 65 at home when I left, but only 55 when I got there. I was very underdressed, though it warmed up a lot by the time I was done. I packed sunscreen when I should’ve had a jacket!

After I was home for maybe an hour (had my smoothie), decided I also wanted to run. By then, it was 82 (though my watch says 85), and off I went for 3 sweaty miles. I definitely needed more water!

LIFE

So the only odd thing (other than quarantine) in the past few weeks is how poorly I’m sleeping. I find it odd because I don’t feel stressed out. I’m eating well, exercising, meditating, being productive, working, etc. So the poor sleep is really puzzling. My friend said that everyone deals with stress differently, and maybe he’s right. Maybe I’m stressed and don’t know it? Is that possible? Anyway – really hope this no-sleep silliness ends ASAP.

Yesterday was a typical day. Wake, coffee, Kuma, news, work. Then at some break in my day, workout, shower, and either work more, or do something else. Last night it was make dinner, practice French, and go to bed. Early, but that was no good.

Part of my practice!

Today has mainly been hiking and running. Then I showered and went on the pack deck. I meditated, did some reading, then decided to get this blog done before its time to make dinner!

Book, water, and olives for a snack!

The best news though – is M has been fever free for 24 hours and is out of quarantine! Still need to keep an eye because he’s having a bit of chest tightness.

Tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer, so I’m thinking some garden work and pressure washing the deck. Pollen is really bad (my allergies and related headaches have kicked in). Otherwise, I’ll wing it for the day!

My COVID Routine

FOOD

Well, we’re out of cookies, and that’s a tragedy I will rectify this evening. I did make a loaf of bread already tho!

In the mean time I’ve had smoothies, several bowls of spicy tofu soup, a BAS (Big Ass Salad) for the newbies, and even made some chocolate chia pudding!

Honestly, the green beans were too long – but they were frozen, so I found myself eating them with my fingers
Super simple. Coconut milk, chia seeds, and cocoa powder. I sprinkled in some stevia too
Topped with my tofu eggless salad

FITNESS

Ran yesterday and today. It was raining yesterday and there was a lull in it, so I thought I’d risk it. Bad move, as I was 2mi from home when the rain restarted. Oops! That second 2 miles were faster than usual tho 😜

I’m a big fan of audiobooks when I run. I’m re-listening to one from many years ago – Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison.

Was a bummer because I had to wait to shower – got home in time for some meetings, so 2 hours later, I was cold and still kinda damp.

Today, however, was 60 and sunny and wonderful. Another 2 hrs before I could shower, but that’s okay. I do love the ability to run mid-day. I very much prefer it over mornings!

Today’s audiobook was Harry Potter on Overdrive courtesy of my library. I don’t normally listen to two fiction books at the same time, but I forgot I had reserved this, and it became available last night.

LIFE

Well, I can honestly say I don’t mind the at-home life. I’m productive, largely stay busy, and get to spend time with my kids! Well, except M who is still in quarantine and I only see him when I refill his water, tea, or bring him eats. But, his fever when he woke this morning was under triple digits, so I’m hoping that’s a good sign!

Yesterday was really busy work-wise, which isn’t a bad thing at all. I’m lucky that most of what I do is pretty groovy. I was supposed to have a legislative affairs subcommittee meeting, but we had to cancel as the city hasn’t given us directions on virtual meetings. This is related to the Freedom of Information Act and the need to publicize when we have meetings so the public can attend. I contend we can still do that with virtual meetings – just publish the link. But ultimately the City has to decide, so until then, we wait.

Girls were being silly last night. R was on the spin bike, and A just walked up behind her and snatched her and carried her through the house and tossed her on the sofa. To demonstrate her dominance over her “little” sister who is actually taller than both A and me!

Today was less work meetings, which meant more time to get some stuff done! In particular a Proforma for a joint venture I’m working on.

I did get some great news at work today, and at least temporarily, I get to work with/for my literal favorite person. With all the COVID craziness, we are being approached by many vendors, companies, and communities offering to help us. I’m going to be filtering through everything and hopefully start matching opportunities with needs within our health system and community. Even my daughter’s robotics team is offering up their 3D printer to help us. I absolutely love how communities really come together when we need it.

So I have been working from home since March 6th, so I am wrapping up my 3rd week. The week of the 9th was only because I was supposed to be at a conference and I had no office based meetings.

I’m getting into a social distancing groove, and I cannot complain. I work, I workout, meditate, walk Kuma, read the news (a LOT – but always start with WSJ, CNN, and a local one now – that’s new – and then Google News, & Twitter), I usually watch one episode of a show (I’m just not capable of watching lots of TV at once unless I’m sick). I practice my French for at least 20 minutes, but sometimes longer. I cook, clean, and do laundry. Soon will be time to plant and the garden is almost ready for it. And I read, a combination of fiction and nonfiction. Right now, I’m re-reading the Lean Startup as it has practical ramifications for my work. My fiction book I just downloaded the other day (I have Kindle Unlimited which has a huge selection of “free” books you check out). Infernal Magic is the book, and I was reading that when I went to bed last night. I also text a lot with friends as we all check in on each other and keep each other sane.

I am fortunate to have a job that is conducive to working from home, and one that is not interrupted by the COVID requirements. I realize how very lucky I am and am trying to do things locally to help those that aren’t as lucky. I know it’s not enough, but donations to the Food Bank of SE Virginia, buying gift cards from some favorite places, and will likely start doing the curbside to-go for some fav spots so they stay in business and weather this as much as they are able. Curious – how are you doing??

I can’t believe she’s at all comfy

Staying Safe and Busy with the New Normal

FOOD

There’s never a shortage of food in my house, thankfully, so plenty of meals to make. Smoothies, soups, stir-fries, and snacking on cucumbers and olives mostly.

Konjac “noodles”, tofu, and green beans all tossed in soy sauce
An orange/vanilla smoothie with coconut milk. SO good
Tofu, broccoli, and Konjac noodles in a coconut curry base
Probably my very fav way to snack on cucs. Tossed with apple cider vinegar, a little bit of toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes. Sit about 10 minutes, but good for a couple days.
Tofu eggless salad

I’ve been using the Konjac noodles quite a lot lately. I’ve always passed by them at the grocery, but decided to give them a try and I’m enjoying them. I have RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and gluten can be very bad for it – or any inflammatory condition. As a vegan, I already don’t eat most of the inflammation causing foods (red meat and dairy), and I do try to limit my gluten intake. I’m “gluten-lite”, but I do absolutely LOVE pasta. So – trying alternatives isn’t a bad thing for me.

FITNESS

Thursday afternoon I went to a local state park for a hike. I was getting a little stir crazy and it was a gorgeous 85 degree day. Experts are saying hikes and walks are fine as long as you’re not near people. And man – it was perfect. Only did 3 miles, but no headphones and just walking and enjoying being outside. Only saw a few people, though as I was leaving, the line to get into the park was longer than I had ever seen it.

Other workouts included more spin and running and yoga. I brought my spin bike in from the garage yesterday. I got in a long session by watching the Mandalorian and a bit of You.

Today I decided to go for a run. A bit chilly – low 50’s, but sunny and wonderful. I saw several people out walking and everyone was quick to smile and wave at each other. I will say, that is one thing I’m noticing and fully on board with in the midst of all the chaos and concerns about COVID-19, and that’s most people seem to have more love and compassion for each other (crazy TP hoarder aside), and I hope that’s something that sticks around.

LIFE

Well, it’s only been a few days, and like most of the world, I’m staying home other than a quick grocery trip and that hike.

My eldest two work at one of our local hospitals, so they don’t get the option to just stay home the way I and my youngest do. A works nights in the ED, and her new routine is to come in through the garage, take off her scrubs and put them in a bag for laundry, wrap in a towel and go straight to a shower before going to bed.

My son, sadly, has gotten sick. He had a potential exposure, though no confirmation. Thursday afternoon – while I was actually out on my hike – he started running a fever and developed a cough. He has NOT developed the shortness of breath that is common with COVID, however, so I do not think that is what he has. My daughter says there’s an uptick in Flu B, and his symptoms match that. No way of knowing for certain – he wouldn’t be eligible for testing anyway – but he’s still fully quarantined in his bedroom to keep everyone else healthy. The girls moved all their stuff into my bathroom, so M has his room and his own bathroom and that’s it. I bring him water, tea, and food when he can stomach it.

Last night my friend and I had a makeshift Netflix Party. If didn’t know – Netflix developed a Chrome extension that allows people in multiple places to watch Netflix together. Very cool actually. But that requires using your computer and we didn’t want to do that. So we just hit play and pause at the same time and watched a disaster movie – 2012. It was fun.

Other things this weekend – when we had really hot weather – was sitting on the back porch enjoying a book and a glass of wine

On Friday – the last possible day – I finally got some direction for school stuff, so now I have that to keep me busy as well. On top of that I’ve been trying to have at least some structure to my days. Morning coffee and Kuma time, as always. Meditation, work (if it’s a work day), cooking, cleaning, reading – both fiction and nonfiction, working out, reading or watching something in French, and watching a movie or a show. Honestly, short of not going out and about (gym, friends, shopping, work travel), not much in my life is really changed! The new normal is the safest one for now.

She REALLY misses M…

Please Don’t Make It Weird

FOOD

I’ll be honest, for the past week and a half or so, I haven’t had much of an appetite, so most of my eats have been boring, or I’ll have something and only eat a little bit of it. Oh well. Not like I’m going to starve or anything!

The past few days have been smoothies, tea, spicy tofu soup, popcorn, tofu eggless salad, Thai one day, and stir fry on a lunch date.

FITNESS

Went to the gym every day this week – more of that HIIT class I’m digging. It always starts out on the rower and then the weighted ropes – though what you do with them changes from day to day. Some days it’s alternating arms, some it’s both arms, some there’s a squat or jumping jack in between. Basically there are 15 stations, and you spend 3 minutes at each. Depending on the focus (like today was shoulders and back), the exercises vary, though there’s always some rowing and elliptical/glider thingy. The time flies, and I really like that about it. And it torches a ton – 400-600 calories each workout. Can’t complain about that!

Also got a long run in. Been stressed a lot lately – this is helping tremendously!

LIFE

Relatively quiet week. I didn’t go to NY, but still did those meetings, just remotely. R was out of school half the week. Her fever finally broke, and while she’s still coughing and feeling a bit run down, she’s light years better than she was. She missed her orchestra concert on Tuesday – which really crushed her – but she couldn’t go. Not only because of school policy, but she honestly just wouldn’t have had the stamina.

I was on my way home from the gym and sent the kids a text to walk the dog. The following ensued. M was playing a league of legends match, and A, well, apparently she had no pants…

I got a new sign for the front door. We did have one of those stickers from Home Depot, but it blew away (to be fair, I never stuck it on anything – just taped it).

Today was a productive and lazy day. Had to exchange something at the store, I worked out and showered, wrapped presents, baked a loaf of bread, washed the “pneumonia blankets” (aka, the ones R snuggled up under while she was sick), meditated, read, worked, but mostly feel like I did very little. Strange.

Tomorrow is back to the office though! Not sad about that, actually.

For my fellow French speakers. I try to watch something on Netflix or read something in French fairly regularly (though not regularly enough) just to keep the skill up. Saw this and about fell over laughing.

Floof snuggling while I read this evening.

Brunch Shenanigans

FOOD

Lots of good eats this week!

My smoothies this week were the lazy kind I pick up at Tropical Smoothie Cafe on the way to work.

I actually made a real meal one morning though, and it was tasty. Tempeh and potato has with onions, peppers, and tomatoes. Topped with tons of hot sauce!

Also an oldie, but goodie! Whole wheat toast with sunflower seed bread and sliced bananas.

Homemade soy yogurt snack.

BBQ tofu and cornbread!

Noodles with pasta and a simple coconut curry sauce.

And of course some tofu green curry on a lunch date with my boyfriend.

Soup for days (and days and days and…days). I made what is still my favorite soup ever. A double batch in the Ninja IQ yielded 26 cups! SO tasty!

I finally checked out Mesob’s Ethiopian in Virginia Beach. WOW. So good and I literally can’t wait to go back. I had the vegetarian plater (though everything is vegan), with Shiro Wot, cabbage and carrots, green beans and carrots, and the house salad with injera bread. I really wanted the Mesir Wot (I LOVE that dish), but they were upfront that it’d take 20 minutes to make that and I just didn’t have time. I have all the ingredients at home, so I should probably try my hand at making it.

Also had a Moe’s salad one day, and then out with my guy – first at one of our favorite wine bars and then dinner at One Fish Two Fish where I had a yummy rosemary gin martini and a delicious off menu vegan dish of spiralized veggies in a spicy tomato sauce.

Yesterday was a big family brunch event. Literally my boyfriend and I, all our kids, and my son’s girlfriend. It was a 2 hr wait, but that was fine. We went to The Bee and the Biscuit and the kids played Uno and we all sat around fire pits (all those over 21 had drinks – which was 5 and that was a HELL of a bar bill, but worth it). Then we went in and had yummy food.

Same wrap I got last time: black bean, potato, spinach, roasted corn, tomatoes. And a side of fruit

FITNESS

Went for 2 runs and then also checked out a new class called Regymen. It’s essentially the Y’s version of Orange Theory. I wore a heart rate monitor and cycled between 3 “stations”. One is treadmills, one is skiers and rowers, and one weights and bikes. There are display monitors around the room so you know what your heart rate is and in what zone you are. It also displays calories burned. In the end I torched 604 calories. Loved the workout. There was perhaps a period where I could’ve thrown up, but that’s ok. Worth it, and I’ll totally go back. Who doesn’t like a workout that makes you wanna cry?

Also did 2 yoga classes. One at the gym, one streaming at home.

LIFE

Pretty typical week. Work, school, family during the week, and fun (and school and cleaning and grocery shopping) on the weekend! I’ve meditated every day, usually in the morning, but if I’m too rushed (or didn’t wake up in my house), I do it later in the day.

On the work front, I hit my 15 year anniversary at my job. I got to pick from a catalog of gifts and got a 4 person tent. Will come in handy when R and I try our hand at camping in a few months! We had that one class at REI and there are a few more there and with a local hikers group I want to do first.

I stopped at a local wine spot while waiting for R to finish up at a school thing.

Not normally a white drinker, but I do love French wine and this was really tasty.

Yeah, I’m short. Feet didn’t touch the ground!

Brunch shenanigans! I LOVE what they do with the outside space to make the wait worth it. Tables, fire pits, a bar, blankets, and a room of games.

Smoke in their eyes made for a goofy shot- but all were warm

After brunch I went home for a bit, then over to my guys house for the night. We watched basketball and a show and had a pretty chill night. After the brunch fun, it was nice to just curl up on the sofa and chill.

And of course the fluffs.

About to get swallowed up by that bush

New morning coffee routine! These two hang out every morning

MY YEAR OF LESS

Ugh. I seriously have sucked paying attention. Which sucks, because I was doing SO well until the holidays. I do have a plan to get back on track – which is basically to reduce going out and only shop when I have a plan.

Fiesta Time!

FOOD

Okay, it’s only been a few days, but one of those consisted of about 6 hours of cooking and I think I should get some type of award for that.

And the fact that I can write such a long sentence with very little punctuation and it’s still grammatically correct, but that’s a whole different story.

But, we shall go in order…

I had oatmeal Friday morning. No smoothie though (was out of a few ingredients).

I also started pre-cooking for the Saturday party by making my spicy green sauce and homemade seitan for the arroz non pollo.

Friday night a stop at one of our fav wine bars and then dinner out with my love having a strange lemon pasta thing that was odd, but tasty.

Saturday morning he, his young one, and I went to brunch. Portobello bagel with hummus, fruit, and a tropical mimosa followed.

Saturday we had a Latin dinner party! I made black bean and sweet potato tamales, 2 empanadas (one corn, one a TVP-based “beef” taco), cheezy arepas, slaw, and the arroz non pollo (a rice, veggie, tomato, and seitan dish). My guy made the plantains, which were killer.

Sunday naturally started off with a cleansing smoothie after the feasts of the night before. Lunch was leftovers. For dinner we went to cinema cafe. I had popcorn and fruit punch….

This morning I threw a batch of Spanish rice into the rice cooker while getting ready for work (ran out of the arroz non pollo). Threw a couple empanadas on it for my work lunch. Breakfast was a banana and coffee.

Dinner was mac no cheese!

FITNESS

Weather was odd, so I did get a run in, but also did some spinning on my bike in the garage. Never got to the gym…

LIFE

Probably one of the coolest things was having the downstairs powder room finished! They did an amazing job.

With school being done until Jan 7th, I’ve been reading for fun. Always my paranormal fun stuff, but also been reading a lot of nonfiction. Currently loving Where Good Ideas Come From and re-reading The Lean Startup and Blue Ocean Strategy.

Also upped my meditation game in the mornings, which has been nice.

Friday night I spent at my guy’s house. Saturday we went to breakfast, toured a local island we like, and then hit up a tienda before he took me home so I could get cooking for the masses!

Saturday was the Latin Fiesta dinner party! All told, there were 13 of us. A combination of my friends, my kids and their friends, my boyfriend, and his son. The living room was a major video game battle zone while the “adults” hung out in the dining room drinking and talking.

Extra props to my friend MM who brought and made these yummy peppermint drinks! Whipped vodka, peppermint vodka, coconut cream, and grenadine. YUM.

Oh, and MM and his wife RM brought Kuma the BEST gift. It’s a bucket of popcorn with 3 popcorn balls that come out. She loves it. She pulls out the popcorn balls and drops them at my feet one by one. I throw them, then the bucket (which she whips back and forth to “kill” while bringing it back). Then I stuff the popcorn balls back into the bucket, and we do this until she tires out. It’s so much fun.

M gave snuggles AND snacks. Kuma is in love…

Sunday ended up being super chill. I admittedly got freakishly bored, but persevered. The evening ended with going to see Mortal Engines with my youngest, my middle, and his girlfriend. Oldest couldn’t come because she started her new job as an ED Tech! In less than a year she finishes nursing school – so excited for her to move into a clinical role.

Today Kuma didn’t want to get up (neither did I really), but eventually she did, and then it was a Monday at the office.

Tonight has been cooking, cleaning, blogging, and reading!

MY YEAR OF LESS

Seriously no updates. I’m feeling pretty self-conscious about that honestly. But that’s the point of blogging – to have a written account and accountability, and I have literally failed since November. Due to holiday’s, I’m not sure it was entirely avoidable, but I’m absolutely positive I could’ve done better. And I will….