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 😊

Au Revoir 2019, Bonjour 2020!

FOOD

Been a pretty good week. Not a lot of food, but what I did eat was yummy!

Bruch with my baby was delicious. Vegan burrito and festive drinks.

Grapes for dinner at Busch Gardens.

Morningstar Farms vegan chicken strips with greenbeans (I was hungry and this was fast).

Tofu green curry (of course)

Kitchen Sink Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 block tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 can green beans
  • 1 package frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1 sweet potato peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp red curry powder or paste (I use the Spice House powder)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Directions:

  • Throw everything in your pressure cooker (I used my Ninja Foodi)
  • High for 6 minutes. Natural release for 10.

It was really, really yummy! Makes 4 servings.

Family Mexican dinner night out – vegan bowl and margaritas!

Today was an Eastern Shore lunch date for a Beyond burger and beer flight (of which 1 I just couldn’t stomach – so he drank it for me!).

FITNESS

4 gym days for that HIIT class and 2 runs.

I really do dig this class. But saying it’s a class isn’t exactly accurate. It is a daily curated workout where there are 15 stations. You exercise 3 rounds at each station, and each round is 1 minute. There’s a timer that indicates when a round starts and ends (there’s a 20 second rest period after each round) Each day is a different focus. Like yesterday was arms and back. Today was full body and core. There’s almost always a trainer or two wandering around to motivate and correct. There are also videos for each station to show the moves, so when I’m there and there isn’t a trainer (like today), I’m not lost.

So – here was today:

10 minute warm-up on the rower.

  1. Sit in a V position in front of weighted ropes and, using your core, flip the ropes over your legs.
  2. Using a TRX suspension trainer, put your feet in them, and then walk into an inverted V as many times as possible before the buzzer rings.
  3. Leg raises on an inverted incline
  4. Skierg (love this thing. It’s essentially a standing rower – more to mimic cross country ski motions with your arms than any leg work)
  5. Walking dumbbell lunches
  6. Pulley rope pull. This one you sit and imagine tug of war, but the rope is silicone and going through a pulley to put tension on it.
  7. Barbell squat + overhead press
  8. Rower
  9. Hard to explain this one – you hold dumbbells overhead – but in an X shape. Then touch elbow to opposite knee. It was awkward and I felt highly uncoordinated!
  10. Cybex Arc Trainer on a forward incline
  11. Combo move of dumbbell curls to overhead press while stepping up on a box and doing a knee raise
  12. V sit ups while sitting on a 1/2 bosu ball
  13. Cybex Arc trainer upright (not forward incline)
  14. While lying back, raise legs and move in a half circle to one side, back, and then the other
  15. Oblique crunches

Total circuit takes 45 minutes plus whatever warm up. You wear a HR monitor that displays on the screen to let you know how you’re working. Today I was feeling slow, but still burned 612 calories, so despite the struggle, it was still awesome.

I also like that it changes every day. I don’t do well with monotony.

LIFE

It’s been a really nice and mostly lazy week.

Thursday my guy and I hit up our wine bar and I stayed at his place, and then we had brunch in the morning.

Friday was cleaning and mostly hanging around the house. Oh, and an emergency vet visit because Kuma got into A’s stocking and ate chocolate! She’s fine, and after getting home, we snuggled on my bed watching Star Wars.

Did visit the guy for a bit that evening and finished the last Star Wars movie in the series before the new one.

Saturday was The Rise of Skywalker! I actually really liked it. I was never a big Star Wars fan (I was always Star Trek over Star Wars), but having just watched them all in the previous week, I had a good appreciation of it. Stayed over again.

A very hippie book was recommended to me, and I promised I’d read it, so I glad I got it at the library (and didn’t spend any $ on it). I’m trying, but I can honestly tell you I am not really digging it. But I’ll finish it because I did make a promise. But ugh. Sunday morning was wonderful and lazy – coffee and reading on the sofa with my bf. Then home.

Sunday afternoon R and I hit up Busch Gardens for arcade fun and Christmas Town. Honestly, the lights were beautiful. It always does blow me away.

Was hoping for an air hockey rematch battle, but it was busted

Monday it was really warm out – so it was run fun and I honestly can’t recall what else 😳. Grocery shopping probably.

Tuesday I went to see my good friend M, who is moving to Nashville this weekend. Going to miss him and his wife very much, but I have friends all over the world I manage to see on occasion, and I have no doubt we’ll visit M&R over the years.

Then it was time to hit up the outlet mall with R to spend some gift cards and then meet up with all the fam, minus my eldest, for NYE dinner.

We went home, I rented a movie, and was in bed by 1030!

2019 really flew by. It was mostly a good year, but I’m not sad to see it go. The past decade has been really eventful! Obtained 2 degrees (and the majority of a 3rd), raised a family, got divorced, made some of the most amazing friends a girl could have, traveled the world, lost my Dad, discovered what drives me and makes me passionate, found love, and, more than anything, realize just how much I like me. Will I always strive to be a better person? Absolutely. But by and large, I like who I am as a person, what I stand for, my independence and strength, and who I surround myself with.

So 2020 is here – now what? For me, big focus is on graduating with my doctorate. No reason I can’t finish this year – just means a lot of work (not like that’s anything new – but this is now all self guided research and writing). It’s really exciting! And then focusing on what to do with it, which I’ve certainly been giving a lot of thought to.

One thing I will occasionally do is take on a “project food”. My dad always said that if you don’t like something you eat, it is because it wasn’t prepared in a way you like. I took that to heart, and over the years, I’ll tackle a food I didn’t like, but make myself try it and prepare it in various ways over a year. If I still hate it, then I know I at least tried. I’ve done this with blueberries (used to hate them unless in a muffin), beets, and mushrooms. Mushrooms I say are a partial success. I like portobellos, but that’s about it. This year’s project food – WHISKEY!

Yes, I know it’s not a food, but if you’ve read recent posts, you know I’m pretty obsessed with becoming a whiskey drinker. My eldest and son-in-law even bought me a nice bottle for Christmas. And I picked up one recommended by my best friend too. So – I’m not sure how it’ll go – I’ve always disliked it – but I’m going to give it a shot! Wish me luck.

First attempt….

Random pics from the week that don’t fit anywhere else!

Not bad, considering most my free time is spent on school! I love to read, and while I do a blend of professional and fiction books – I know there’s more fiction in here than non!

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

Thanksgiving, Lazy Days, and Chess Wars

FOOD

The food highlight of the week has certainly been Thanksgiving. I made a Celebration Roast (I couldn’t find Tofurky anywhere this year, so when with the Field Roast brand – I didn’t like it nearly as much), green bean casserole with a homemade creamy mushroom soup, stuffing, mashers, mushroom gravy, tofu pot pie, fresh bread, cranberry/orange/cinnamon sauce, and pumpkin pie.

Other eats this week included smoothies, oatmeal, a bizarre meal with two of my kids, an Impossible Whopper, and plenty of leftovers.

I very much appreciate BK having these. But tbh, it just sits SO heavy. I think my stomach hurt until the next day…

Eggplant and as a side I picked asparagus. Not realizing it didn’t automatically come with pasta. I choose poorly – it was a strange combo of flavors that was not awesome

FITNESS

I was cleared on Monday at a post-op appt to work out again. I ran Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and just finished a cardio spin workout in my garage. Feels good to move.

LIFE

Well the week started with me getting my stitches removed. Doc came into my room 50 minutes after my appt time and asked how I was. “Annoyed” was my response. He was taken aback a bit, but just because he’s a doctor, doesn’t mean my time is less valuable. It really did screw up some of my schedule, but is what it is. But it is annoying. Anyway, stitches are out and the bruising is really fading. I have some gel I need to use for the next 3 months that will hopefully minimize scarring and help it heal normally. If not, then laser treatment, but so far I think it’s looking pretty good.

I worked from home and, admittedly, didn’t do a whole lot school wise. Guess I just needed a mental break.

Tuesday everyone played chess. M and I played an online Game Pigeon version. That evening, R played M and beat him. A played the winner (R) and beat her. Then A wanted to play M. While that happened the next day…this thread ensued first. This is how my children fight….

Wednesday R, M, and I went out for a very late lunch (around 230). After cleaning much of the day, really didn’t want to cook!

Thursday was Thanksgiving, so I spent the day cooking (R had done the cleaning the day before). It was my kids, a couple of M’s friends, my boyfriend, and his boys. It was a nice time – I do enjoy having a full house.

Friday was literally the laziest day I may have ever had. Ever. Kuma and I sat on the sofa and watched two episodes of Mandalorian. Then R and I (and a lazy Kuma) watched Finding Dory. I folded some wash, and then watched several NCIS episodes upstairs with Kuma and Luna. I can’t remember the last time I watched that much TV in a month, much less a day! It was kind of nice, though I did feel like a bum.

Yesterday and today the plans I had fell through, so it’s been fairly low key. Went to see Knives Out with two of the munchkins yesterday – it was SO good. Did a bit of school work and finished a really good audiobook. Today has so far been a workout and starting on school stuff. Imagine I’ll do my weekly meal plan, shop if I need to, and do some bulk cooking for the week.

Book I’m currently reading

Got this for my bday from my boyfriend. It’s cute – he said he liked to get silly things that make me think of him. And I do – every time I use this cup. It’s normally just black, until I pour tea or coffee into it and the album cover comes up. I love it.

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