Garden Therapy + Pollen Hell

FOOD

Well, I unintentionally fasted for 23 hours Sunday! I do find the longer I’m doing IF, the longer I can go without meals. This isn’t intentional – definitely not today – I just got busy and wasn’t hungry.

So – I only had one meal. It was really yummy though. Tofu, green beans, and Konjac noodles sautéed in coconut oil and topped with soy sauce in the last minute of cooking. Good stuff!

Other simple eats for the rest of the week. Mostly the same trend of OMAD (one meal a day). That’s a common IF thing, though again – it was unintentional. I made a big batch of Red curry tofu and veggie soup that I ate over a couple of days. I also made this awesome pressure cooker meal that had black beans and spices in the lower part, and then the rice cooked in a bowl inside at the same time. Came out great – kids loved it!

https://detoxinista.com/chipotle-burrito-bowls/

Quick break of tea and olives between planting and pressure cooking.

Morning coffee on a really nice day!

FITNESS

Well, I’ll be honest. I intended to run Sunday, I really did. But I ended up doing about 4 hours of yard/garden work – burned almost 900 calories doing it too!

Still thought about running, but it was almost 90, I was already a hot sweaty and mildly dehydrated mess, so decided no run. Not sorry, because it all looks amazing!

Monday and Tuesday I went running. Honestly, Wednesday and Thursday I did nothing. My new role has me working from 7am until at least 8pm, and I had no open blocks in the day to work one in. I need to find a new rhythm with my new hectic schedule!

LIFE

It’s been a good week. Sleep started out being really horrible in the week, but the last two nights haven’t been too bad.

On Sunday I got up, made coffee, sat down to read the news…and my new boss called. Not used to a Sunday morning work call, but that’s okay. Lot’s going on and lots to do, so I worked for a couple hours.

Then it was garden time! I got some soil/compost mix, and my newly (mostly) recovered son spread it all in the 2 gardens. One is a smaller herb garden and one a big enclosed one. I planted basil, Thai basil, lavender, and mint in the top row of the herb garden. On the bottom row, I planted seeds for microgreens, leaf lettuce, and spinach. My sister assures me that I can’t screw up spinach….I’m holding her to that!

 

In the big garden, I planted 2 each of kale, red bell peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, and Japanese eggplant, and one cherry tomato, cucumber, and zucchini.

I also briefly saw my girlfriend A – at a safe distance of course. She has friends sewing face masks, and brought me samples to take to my boss to see if they’re something we can use in our hospitals. And honestly, it was just really nice to see her for a few and chat.

After the garden stuff was done, I got out the pressure washer and got the entire back deck, enclosed porch and furniture, and siding done. Took me about an hour, but I’m SO happy. Not only is all the disgusting pollen gone – BUT ALL THE POLLEN IS GONE. And the winter dirt and leaves, etc.

Speaking of disgusting pollen – it’s finally undone me. It happens every spring, where I can’t wear contacts and glasses suck because they sit on my nose and make my sinuses hurt. Had a full blown allergy attack Sunday and Monday and all I wanted to do was pop out my eyeballs and scratch behind them. Ugh. But, it is temporary, and working from home, it’s not like I have to look cute! So me and my red itchy eyes will persevere in quarantine and not one will know (except you – you all know. But you won’t see!!!!)

The rest of the week has been a blur. My role is to run down unique ways to source supplies – like 3D printing, leveraging the community, etc. This week has been a crash course in supply chain logistics for sure – but I’m loving it. My faith in humanity is definitely being restored. Businesses who have to temporarily close are donating everything they can, sewing and quilting circles are making approved masks and isolation gowns. I’m proud of my company – we’re hiring people who are out of work to help specifically with the isolation gowns (made of unique materials – like big black trash bags). Seeing all the creativity to keep our staff and patient safe is making these 18+ hr days all worthwhile.

I actually left the house two days in a row (and will today too!). I drove an hour to pick up some 3D printed prototypes for face shields, N95 masks, nasopharyngeal swabs (critical shortage on that!). Yesterday I had to drop these things off, as well as the sewn masks A gave me, at the incident command center for approval or denial. Then late last night I got the isolation gowns – that I will take today.

Last night there was a Twitter thread to show your work from home office, so here’s mine!

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

I Prefer Sparkling Isolation

FOOD

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

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

FITNESS

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

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

LIFE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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…

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!