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…

Social Distancing for the Win! #flattenthecurve!!

FOOD

Well hell! I feel like the apocalypse hit since my last post. If you’re like most people (and you should be or you kinda suck), you’re home and not going out to eat very often.

Prior to hard core quarantine, I did have one Thai meal out and one Whole Foods salad bar salad. Otherwise all the eats, naturally, have been at home. Lots of salads, soups, and easy eats.

I do love making tofu eggless salad as a topper – lots of protein and no need for dressing
Soy burls made in my Ninja Foodi – the recipe was supposed to be a “beef” stew, but the curls absorbed all the liquid! Yummy on cauliflower rice and topped with cabbage and hot sauce
A vegan carrot cake I made for my eldest to take to her fellow 3rd shift ED workers as a thank you for all they’re doing!

FITNESS

Well, obviously no gym nor hot yoga workouts. But that’s okay – I’ve been running a lot. I also used my spin bike a few times – in the free trial period of Rouvy, which is really neat. You can ride virtual races or courses all over the world. You can even build your own workout. My hot yoga studio made the decision to close (before it was mandated) and they moved to Zoom streaming classes. I haven’t done one yet, but plan to. Yesterday was the first one, but I was in a meeting.

LIFE

Well heck, where to begin?! On the school front, no news. I turned in my latest revision to my academic mentor nearly 2 weeks ago. She approved it and sent it on to committee for review. I haven’t heard anything back yet and the term ends tomorrow. Honestly, I’m quite irritated – because the next term doesn’t start until April 13th, and I am not allowed to work with anyone over the break. So even if they come back with no revisions (unlikely), I still couldn’t apply for IRB. Argh.

On the work front, I’m fortunate to have the type of role where I work from home a ton anyway, so this isn’t really a huge issue for me. No real reason to go into the office for me anyway. Only major change is no work related travel.

In the early stages of COVID, I did manage to do some grocery shopping. It is crazy to me what people hoard and how bare this shelves were. Thankfully I was able to get tofu, plenty of frozen veggies, and a nice 25 lb bag of flour so we’ll never run out of bread or baked goods!

This is the Walgreens near my house. Thankfully I was only there for dental floss!

I’ve actually watched a couple movies and some TV. I watched Avatar and Frozen II (how cool Disney added it to Disney+ 3 mo early!), and the live action Aladdin. I’m still watching True Blood and a couple episodes of You based on a recommendation. And of course reading, both fiction and nonfiction.

Tuesday night – Saint Patrick’s and my 2nd favorite holiday – The Dropkick Murphys performed a 2 hour live concert from an empty sound stage! I had wine and watched the whole thing – they were great and energetic even though they couldn’t see their audience. It was fun to see the chat of people all around the world tuning in. I had shared the link and several people I knew also watched. So cool for the to do.

Of course the floofs are thrilled to have all their people around!

Kuma turned 4 last week Wednesday!

So I hope everyone is doing their part and staying the heck home if it’s a possibility for you. Play games, FaceTime and text with friends and family, stay active, get creative, and #flattenthecurve! Social distancing won’t kill you or your loved ones – but COVID could!

Whiskey Squares

FOOD

I certainly had a few good eats this past week. I made a big batch of my spicy tofu soup and had that spread out over a few days.

And while I forgot to take a picture, a Thai lunch date with my boyfriend.

I was in DC for a few days, which included one where my girlfriend LS and I went to Equinox. They have a lot of vegan options, and we split the caramelized cauliflower with pistachios, capers, and golden raisins, and for my main dish, I had the pan roasted Japanese eggplant. Everything was amazing!

Last night I stayed at my guys house and he made his homemade spaghetti. Smelling it cooking all day was really awesome, and tasted amazing. Mine with Gardein crumbles. I also had that for breakfast today.

FITNESS

Went to the gym Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before work for the HIIT program. Hate to call it a class since you can come in anytime – it’s a daily curated workout (sort of like a WOD) in a special area of the gym. It’s 15 stations, with 3 1/2 minutes spent at each station in a combo of working and resting.

I get this each Sunday to show what the week will look like. I like how every day varies
So I wear a heart rate monitor, and while I try to hit at least 500, I really prefer to get closer to 700. I often do when I workout in the evening, so I’m going to have to see if it’s just me adjusting to morning workouts or something else. But still, 578 isn’t bad!

LIFE

Been a busy and excellent week. Since our kids didn’t have school on Monday, I ended up spending Sunday night at my guys house. Dinner, a couple movies (Instant Family – which was really cute, and I can’t for the life of me remember the other one!). In the morning we went to our respective gyms and then to work!

About that gym fun. I WAY over packed, and the little locker could barely take it. I had my work clothes plus the ones I wore on Sunday to his house. Obviously I wore my workout clothes to the gym. I had towels, toiletries, my Dyson hair wrap, and my flat iron. Makeup. Etc. In the end, I decided to just put my hair up in a bun and head to the office.

Tuesday was the gym and then a jam packed meeting day. I packed better though and left my purse in the trunk of my car. Before I went to bed on Monday, I straightened my hair, so just needed some dry shampoo after my Tuesday morning workout and could then wear my hair down.

Wednesday was also the gym and then to the office. Not such a busy day, which meant a quick happy hour with my guy. We went to a wine spot (not our typical one) because it was closer to where he needed to be. Wine was not great, but the time was. Then I was off to a happy hour at a new co-working space downtown. Which meant a cooler full of beer (I went with Stella Artois). And then a decision to hit a local bar for some whiskey drinks. The bartender had fun making up stuff for us, and it was all yummy.

Thursday was NOT a gym morning. I went to work, realized I accidentally stole a credit card from my drinking buddy, had lunch with my guy, returned the card, and headed home to pick up my car rental.

My original plan was to drive to DC early Friday morning to get to my 10 am coffee meeting. However – it started snowing, and so I decided to go up to DC Thursday evening instead. In the end, I probably didn’t need to. I couldn’t navigated the roads, but around here you never know. Virginia Beach didn’t get much, but Suffolk got quite a bit. I didn’t want to risk it. So, I hit the road just after 3 and met up with my old doctoral cohort for a few cocktails (they have their residency this weekend – same one I had in Atlanta back in October).

Me and SJ

My coffee meeting got moved up to 9 in Herndon, and that was a great time as always. Another Darden alum I met last year, and we’ve been keeping in touch as careers, etc, develop.

I had lunch with my girlfriend LS. We’ve known each other for ages – met through my best friend AC. I hadn’t seen her in the past few trips I’ve made to DC, so definitely wanted to rectify that. She picked Equinox for lunch (fairly close to the White House), and then we walked over to a liquor store around the corner. I’ve been on the hunt for this Japanese Whisky called Nikka from the Barrel. Can’t buy it in VA anymore, but thought DC may have it. The place was amazing, and while they didn’t have what I wanted, he did give us a tasting and I picked one that was really close. I also got a bottle of Mezcal for my guy, and a nice tequila (NOT mezcal) for my house.

LS has also been wanting to be a whiskey fan, so we spent some time at lunch reading about bourbon, whiskey, whisky, and all the differences. What we finally came to the conclusion of is all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. Sort of like every square is a rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square.

Then it was off to a happy hour to finally meet in person a woman I was helping with her start-up. She used to work for my company, but in the DC area. She worked for a hospital president I know well and is in a new role, and asked me to help her out. We’ve had calls and emails and LinkedIn messages, but finally got to meet in person. She’s lovely and I really liked meeting her. Unfortunately, her little one was sick, and not 15 minutes into our wine, her parents called and asked her to come get the baby. Oh well. It was still nice

That did give me time to get my hair done though! In my haste to pack to avoid snowmageddon, I forgot my hair dryer and any hair product. Hence my hair in a bun, once again. But I had a fairly important dinner coming up, and across from the wine spot in Clarendon was a blow out bar – so in I went and had my hair blown out. Overall excellent experience and well worth it.

Then it was off to Jaleo in Crystal City to meet my new academic advisor. She’s the one who is really getting me close to the finish line, and I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to meet her in person. I felt it important to have at least a little bit of a relationship, and her being in DC for the residency was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I am SO glad I did too! She’s lovely. We spent 3 hours eating tapas, drinking sangria, and talking – almost none of it about school. We had similar up bringing, and after talking through other things, feel we may have divorced the same man 🤣. She’s also a world traveler (more so than me) and speaks French! We talked about start-up ideas we each have and how we can help each other with those endeavors after I graduate, and overall just had a wonderful time and connection. I’m grateful she’s in my corner as I head towards the end of this doctoral journey.

Since I saw the crew the night before, I didn’t feel like meeting them all at the bar again, so I headed to my hotel and to bed.

The next morning though, I went back to where the residency was in order to meet my mentee. I signed up through my university to be a mentor, and was partnered with a lovely woman who immigrated to the US from Africa a few years ago, and currently is in banking in Arizona. Similar to me, she’s been doubling and sometimes tripling up on classes to get done as quickly as possible. We speak, text, and email regularly, and it was wonderful to meet her for coffee before her classes started at 8. It also gave me time to say goodbye to my other friends and professors before hitting the road home!

I got to my boyfriend’s house around 1 (had to stop at the grocery for some dinner items!). We watched a couple episodes of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – eh. And then started on Hunters – which I really liked. Just before dinner, his brother came over, and we all ate and watched Guess Who, which I had never actually finished watching before – and it’s cute. Then it was time to watch basketball and go to bed.

This morning was coffee then going home to do wash, clean, grocery shop, and organize for the week ahead!

One of my fav mugs from my guy. Drinking tea while working on my research.
Kuma being very toasty and lazy on A’s electric blanket Thursday
My best friend’s husband sent us this. It’s true – I’m a bit hyper organized and LOVE project management.
The British crack me up. This headline would not fly in the US…
This is me.

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To Good…

FOOD

Wednesday dinner was at my boyfriend’s house. He grilled me some delicious Beyond Meat brats! Ate mine with kraut and mustard and a side of potatoes and a salad.

Thursday we met up for lunch – Thai Green Tofu Curry which also became my dinner.

Friday I had lunch at PF Chang’s with IBM. I didn’t take a picture (that’d look strange), but had the steamed Buddha’s Feast, which is tofu, broccoli, asparagus, and carrots.

I haven’t been having breakfast lately. Sometimes a smoothie or some fruit if I’m hungry, but lately I really haven’t been overly hungry. I’m sure it’s just a phase 🤣

FITNESS

HIIT classes, which I totally love. They’ve added a kickboxing station, which is probably my very favorite intense exercise if I had to pick one.

Also did some spin at home. Still need yoga…

LIFE

Meetings on Wednesday and then over to the guys house for some chill time and dinner.

While in my office Wednesday, I get a text from R asking me a question. She’s a junior in HS and has an Econ class. Her teacher isn’t always right – or not right enough – in some of the things he says, so she often asks me as a sort of fact check. I mean come ON, he teaches the Laffer Curve like it’s a legit thing! Anyway….

I feel like I should take over the class sometimes…

So Thursday I did a thing…

To frame it a bit – I’ve always been interested in volunteering, and I have done some minor things here and there (like a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, etc), but nothing very specific. More the past few years, I’ve wanted to focus in my community. So, an opportunity came up and I accepted a nomination to sit on the Human Services Advisory Board in my city! The role of the board is to draft policies and programs that address the most vulnerable – children, those with special needs, and the aging populations – and then advice the city council.

So Thursday morning was my swearing in ceremony. I’m really excited to roll my sleeves up and get busy. Right now, it’s about familiarizing myself with the various laws and programs and doing the necessary training. Then diving into our next board meeting in early March. I sincerely hope that I can do good things for my community.

And to celebrate – I went to a movie! Saw Bad Boys For Life (loved it). Got there early and enjoyed an orange crush and some reading.

Then I went home and eventually took Kuma to get R from robotics.

Today was work and then cocktails with my guy before heading home.

And while earlier in the week was Oreogate. Mid week was Doritogate! Seriously – I got the monster Sam’s Club sized bags on Saturday. Wednesday – gone….no one has fessed up to it, though I’m pretty sure I know the culprit. And it isn’t the dog.

Boston Adventures!

FOOD

Well, it was all restaurant and travel eats over the long weekend as R and I were in Boston.

Friday night was a salad I forgot to snap a pic of. Very yummy though – reminiscent of a wedge salad, but a vegan version.

Saturday brunch I had an arugula salad and mint tea before our adventures began.

Dinner was around 315 and was a veggie burger and spring rolls at the museum.

Sunday we went to brunch in Salem at a place called Flying Saucer Pizza. They have a huge vegan menu. I got baked cauliflower and vegan Mac. They were only ok so only had a few bites of each.

For dinner, we went to Lee’s Burgers on the recommendation of my son M. When he as 15 he went to boston with my now ex-husband to go to PAX East. They stopped and he has amazing memories and really wanted us to go. So we did. I had a Beyond burger patty on a salad.

Monday it was time to head home. Only eats was a veggie sub from Subway. Ate half for lunch and the other half for dinner.

Not overly exciting, but wasn’t bad either. Glad to be home to my kitchen though!

FITNESS

None other than the walking R and I did over the weekend. Hitting up the gym today after work though.

LIFE

Well, R and I spent the long weekend in Boston! Our plans (as we thought of anyway) were as follows:

  • Freedom Trail hike – about 2 miles and covers 16 historical sites
  • Deadmou5 concert on Saturday
  • Tim Burton trivia and wandering in Salem on Sunday

We got into town late on Friday, so it was just eating and in the hotel.

Saturday was a ton of fun, though only 1 of the 3 planned things ended up happening!

After brunch in the hotel we went to the Museum of Science, where we stayed for 5 hours. We went into the butterfly exhibit, which was neat. Lots of pretty butterflies roaming around. We hit up all the exhibits in the “blue” wing, including a really cool show on lightening. Towards the end, we did the Explore the Universe presentation in the planetarium, which was really cool. That ended and the place was closing, so we missed all the “green” wing exhibits, but still had a blast.

So. Deadmou5. That show was at the House of Blues on Saturday. I bought tickets several days before we went. Here’s the thing. I didn’t read the fine print – it’s an 18+ show. So, I figure I’ll take my 16 yr old to Sephora and ask them to make her look 18! However – while she was getting ready for the day, I called and there’s a 100% ID check to get in. I said we traveled from VA and she forgot hers – was told too bad. Dang.

So we shifted our plans and went to the Celtics game! It was her first NBA game (honestly, only my 4th – the other 3 were provided by vendors). We had a really good time.

It snowed Saturday night, which was kind of fun.

Sunday we drove up to Salem for the Tim Burton Trivia event – which was a total blast. We came in 6th out of 13th. Not awesome, but pretty respectable. Our final score was 100. The lowest team was 22, and the top was 118. But most important, we had such a fun time. Then we wandered around Salem for a bit, and went back to the hotel where we watched both Alice in Wonderland movies and then largely packed up.

Sunday we had a private tour of the Amazon Robotics facility! Our very dear friend MM (who retired from the Navy last summer), started working for Amazon in November, and he’s in charge of automation of their supply chain. Being hyper supportive of R’s robotics activities and her desire to study engineering, he hooked this up for her. He also happened to be flying in for 2 days of meetings, and got there not long after our tour ended, so we waited so we could see him before hitting the road. She was flying so high after that, it was great.

So the drive up was totally uneventful, and other than one minor 20 minute backup in Connecticut due to an accident, it was smooth sailing. Not so on the way home. Beginning in Connecticut and through NY, traffic was shite. A combo of major sun glare and craptastic traffic, we were delayed nearly 3 hours and didn’t get home until midnight. We chatted a lot about robotics, mythology, space, and a few other topics though, so the drive still flew by. All told, we had an amazing weekend!

She missed me 😊