Thriving on Chaos (as usual)

FOOD

What a chaotic few weeks! Getting back into the swing of school, work, family, social life balance seems to always lead to more meals out, which is never my first choice. Don’t get me wrong – I do love to go out to eat for sure – but I really prefer to make good and healthy meals for the kids and me.

Smoothies are still my favorite for breakfast, and lots of salads, soups, curries, and of course tacos for everything else!

FITNESS

Same as always – runs and hot yoga and some workouts in the garage! We had more snow, so that meant a lot of indoor workouts – which are my least favorite.

Unfortunately, I got sick last Monday, and while I’m managing as long as I keep my fever down (been a huge pain to have a persistent fever), I’m still not up for runs. So, gentle yoga at home and daily meditation and it’s all helping.

LIFE

It’s certainly been a busy couple of weeks, but that’s nothing new. On the home front, R has gotten really involved in her high school’s robotics club, and is there pretty much every night and Saturday. They have a big competition coming up, and she’s really loving it. Her mentor is a NASA engineer and she’s learning so much and loving every minute of it.

School is really intense, but that’s okay. I do really enjoy it though. I picked up this wonderful book called Deep Work by Cal Newport, and it’s really given me an edge I think on obtaining that hyper focus I need to do well in school and build this new program at work. He goes into detail in how our deeply connected world has led to a inability of people to “go deep” in concentration and therefore production of meaningful work. After all, how can I write publishable papers and build professional program frameworks if I’m checking Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram 50 times per day? (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my social media, but it does provide a next-level distraction that I can do without). I have a long way to go before fully implementing all the techniques I’m learning, but it’s been really impactful so far. I first heard about it on the MentorBox podcast (I’m a MentorBox member), and was so intrigued, I picked up the audio book. I’m now thinking I need a print copy as well! I don’t do that for many books – usually the audio is fine – but this is one I feel I’d like to have for a quick review time and again. I plan to check it out at the library first to see if there’s anything in there I’m not getting from the audio book (like some physical examples he discusses). Anyway – if you have any interest in professional development and increasing productivity – especially as a knowledge-worker – I highly recommend it.

Work is getting more and more interesting as we progress through our restructuring and I work on building this new division. The good thing is I have very loose direction, so I get to build it the way I think it should be – rather than following a prescribed set of expectations. I’ve always enjoyed that freedom to be creative with my work, and to base my ideas off of research and best practice in varying industries. It’ll be slow going for awhile – which is fine – since we all still have “day jobs” until the restructure is done. But it’s still be fun to get into.

I was in Chicago this past week for a few days. Was supposed to be Wednesday – Sunday (today), but ended up coming home Friday due to expected inclement weather in Chicago. I was bummed because I was supposed to visit family Friday afternoon-Sunday morning. Fortunately, I know I’ll be back there in May at least, so will make an extended trip to visit family and friends back home.

Other than that, I’m enjoying time with my munchkins as well as an active social life. Excited that this will be a short week as I head out of town on a little get away with about 15 of my friends! I guess that means it’s time to get back to the books so I can get all my school work done before mini-vacay starts!

All told, I have an incredibly busy life, and I love it. I’ve always known I can’t sit still, and certainly couldn’t just do nothing all day. Some may say I take it to the other extreme – on the go constantly. And there may be some truth to that, but I can’t imagine it any other way. I do take “breaks” to slow down a little bit, but must admit, I love living in my world of barely controlled chaos!

A couple friends and I went to an 80’s event at a local bar. I certainly went all out in my outfit (leggings, tutu, side pony, lace gloves, etc). Sadly not all did. But that’s okay, it was a good time anyway!

Also did a day trip to Richmond for some serious fun, which included a couple Cideries and meeting up with friends. My favorite, shockingly, was a jalapeño lime cider at a place called Busky’s. SO good.

GET ME OUTTA HERE (aka – Cabin Fever Stinks)

FOOD

Well, this week has been a fun little challenge of “can’t go outside, so whip up fun stuff with what you have in the house!”. Thankfully, I always have tons of different veggies, rice, tofu, beans, not to mention what’s in the big chest freezer in the garage, and about a billion spices. No one will go hungry nor get bored just because we’re snowed in. We might get majorly stir crazy…but no one will starve!

Despite it being insanely cold, I still do my morning smoothies. Had a vanilla mint theme going on most of this week. Vanilla Vega powder, Ripple Pea Milk (my new total favorite thing), spinach, peppermint extract, and ice.

I’ve also made a ton of different ramen-esque dishes too. Also went out to lunch (before snowmageddon hit) for a yummy vegan ramen too!I decided to try a different method for making my soy yogurt. For years I’ve used the Euro Cuisine yogurt maker. And it still works great. But it makes 7 small jars. Which is fine, but I use it in cooking so much, that it’s sort of a pain to measure out. Yes…first world problem. But see, I have an Instant Pot – have had it for a bit now – and it has this lovely yogurt function. Was high time to try it out. And it did NOT disappoint! Oh…and I also discovered this yumminess called Noatmeal! It’s a grain-free oatmeal dish made with hemp seeds, chia seeds, and coconut. I added a ton of cinnamon. Yum! Works as an ONO (overnight oat) dish too.I made several batches of my tofu eggless salad. My fav way of eating it is on a big bed of greens. This was my lunch most days.Also whipped up a few tofu curry dishes. My fav one was a red coconut curry with tofu, cabbage, onions, and riced cauliflower.For snacks – kale chips! One of the things I love for my air fryer. I used to dehydrate them (LOVE my dehydrator), but I tend to like instant gratification, so 5 min in the air fryer for crispy chips is the bomb.And of course we did a big comfort food night. BBQ tofu, sweet cornbread, mashers, and soy/garlic mushrooms. All told, a week of most excellent eats!

FITNESS

Well if you haven’t figured it out – we got snow. And not just a little bit – but a boat load of it. Over 5 days ago. And the roads still aren’t passible. Runs have been out – which sucks. But, thank goodness for the home gym! Weights and kickboxing and yoga for the week. All good, but I’m itching to run outside. Hell – I’d even take a dreadmill right now if I could just get out of my driveway.

LIFE

Despite the intense cabin fever the past 5 days, it’s been a good week or so. The night before snowzilla visited us, I got to catch up with a good friend of mine at a local spot downtown. We had yummy wine, mixed drinks, tapas, but mostly, just great company.I got my hair done about a week or so ago too. I get a lot of blonde in my hair in the summer, but my normal color is auburn. So my hair was really looking two-toned and making me nuts. So, enter my stylist (who I love), and we decided just to make me a redhead! It’s kind of fun, though is taking some getting used to.I have literally been in the house since Wednesday afternoon of LAST week. That’s right. I managed to be at work (in the office) ONE DAY since the holidays ended. Why? Snow. I mean, I grew up in Wisconsin, so I find this slightly embarrassing, that a foot of snow in SE Virginia shuts us down for a solid week! And honestly, if the temps stay at 20-something, we just may be stranded indefinitely. Fortunately, it’ll be 70 by Friday and Mother Nature will thaw us out. But seriously. It’s ridiculous. Schools are canceled, and pretty much everyone works from home if they can (thankfully I can). And even when you shovel your own drive, the city doesn’t plow anything but main arteries, so I can’t even get out of my neighborhood. You thought I was going bonkers in my last post. It’s been the better part of 2+ weeks now! ARGH. And on top of it, I just bought a new car and I really wanna drive it ;)So, I’ve spent a lot of time chilling by the fireplace. Often with the Kuma bear. On a fun note, my doctoral program started! Technically today was the first day, but all the materials were released on Friday – so I got a TON done over the weekend. Guess being snowed in = forced study time. It’s all good though. I do love learning. I have my desk set up with multiple devices so I can easily read and take notes and do research seamlessly. I also finally set up the Echo Dot I won back in October at a meeting in Tampa. It’s pretty groovy. She plays classical while I study, and Depeche Mode radio while I cook. She tells me dumb jokes and is overall pretty entertaining.So that’s about it. The black bean and sweet potato enchiladas are about to come out of the oven, then it’ll be grub time and then back to studying!Hope everyone else out there isn’t held captive in their home (even though it’s warm, clean, with plenty of food). A girl needs to get out once in awhile!

Too Much Time Off Leads to Excess Cooking & Working Out

FOOD

The past week and a half have been pretty yummy, I must say. I get so excited when I get a new cookbook, that I have a tendency to cook a ton from it. I’ve also been off work, so that means even more food to cook and recipes to create! I made some homemade hemp milk, spicy tofu and Brussel sprout soup, Christmas Pizzas, my typical daily salads, and cream of broccoli soup (it’s been COLD). Of course I also went out for Thai one day because…it’s what I do. The kids were all at something (2 at the movies and 1 at a party), so I had a lovely solo dinner at my fav Thai restaurant with my trashy book and some wine. Perfect!

I also decided to play with riced cauliflower. I know it’s quite popular and I’ve been meaning to, but I have a tendency to make other things with cauliflower when I buy it. Like Indian food! (Which is on deck for tomorrow!). But – I was shopping and came across frozen pre-riced cauliflower. I mean really – if they’re going to make it THAT easy for me, who am I to pass it up?

So this evening, in addition to the broccoli soup (which is really just broccoli, celery, garlic, onion powder, vegetable broth, and coconut milk), I decided I wanted a creamy and cheezy cauliflower rice dish. And oh man, it rocked. My eldest was dying over it. Comfort food at it’s best – but sneaky in it being a much healthier version.

Crissie’s Creamy Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients

  • 8 cups riced cauliflower. If you rice your own, be sure it’s the post-ricing measurements.
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti because it’s what I had, but I’ve had Daiya’s often too, and like it)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

Directions

  • Put the rice, coconut milk, cream cheese, and garlic salt into a large sauté pan (if you don’t have one big enough, a wok or even stock pot will work)
  • Cook on medium heat until it’s all heated through, cauliflower has reached a firm tenderness (I realize that sounds weird. Look – you don’t want it mushy and you don’t want it crunchy. So whatever you want to call that in between state), and some of the liquid evaporates, leaving a creamy consistency. About 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Seriously – YUM.

I realize this picture sucks – the steam was hitting my camera and I was clearly too close. But it’s the only one I had before it got demolished.

FITNESS

Runs, yoga, and lifting in the home gym. Thank GOODNESS for the big space heater in the garage, because it’s been bloody freezing out. I turn it on before going out for my run so it’s fairly warm when I get back. By the time I grab some water, go to the bathroom, and head in there, it’s comfortable.

This is also my fav time of year to do hot yoga. I mean – all the time is great – but there’s something amazing about the hot and humid room when it’s cold out.

And – I’ve decided that 2018 will be a run streak with a goal of 1000 miles. Wasn’t quite feeling the 2018 mi in 2018 challenge just yet, but I plan to beat 1000 easily. That’s less than 3 mi per day, and since I’m doing 1/2 marathon training the first half of the year and marathon training the second, I’m pretty confident that 3 mi per day average will be easy.

And just for fun, I picked up the massive calendar from ilovetorun.org! If you’re feeling particularly motivated (or crazy), pick one up too!

LIFE

Well, it’s been fairly quiet. I’ve been off since Christmas, and other than family time and solo time, I’ve also had some friend time (of course – love going out and about!). I will admit though, I’m going bonkers. I have no work to catch up on since pretty much everyone is off. The house is clean (a girl can only shampoo carpets so many times). I work out every day. I read. Watch some TV. And I’m going out of my mind with boredom. A couple days of chill are fine. But a whole week of it, and I feel like my brain is melting from misuse.

Oh well, I should enjoy it. Not only is it back to work on the 2nd (though I’m really stoked about a few interesting things going on for me), but since I tend to be a regular glutton for punishment, I am going back to school starting Jan 8th. Found a great doctorate program in strategy and innovation – so why the hell not, right? I realize I have an addiction problem to school. Those who know me well won’t be surprised at all. But I swear, this is the last time. Okay maybe not – I still have yoga teacher training planned someday. Anyway – the run streak is also so I make time for myself – something I tend to suck at when I have so much on my plate.

The week leading up to the holidays was full of work-related parties and those are always a good time. It’s nice to catch up with people outside of the office now and then.

Christmas itself was quiet. Most of my family is in Wisconsin, so it was really just me and the kids. M had to work on Christmas day, so we actually did the Christmas gift stuff around 2! Then it was homemade pizzas. We’re not the most traditional family – never really have been.

Probably the most exciting news is that my eldest made her first big girl purchase – a car! She’s excited and I am too.

As usual, leaving you with my life in pictures 🙂

Have a great rest of the year! We’ll chat soon 😉

D&D

Oh wow, a whole 3 months have gone by.  I promise, it’s me, not you.  A lot has been going on in my world the past few months, and I am summing them up with D&D.  No, not Dungeons and Dragons.  And no, not a misspelling of my bra’s cup size.

It’s sort of a bad news/good news thing, so I’ll start with the bad so it can end on a high note.

D #1 = Divorce.  Yup, who knew? I hope you understand that I don’t want to get into details because writing them isn’t fun and I’m pretty sure reading them isn’t either.  But, it’s a part of my life and will be shaping a lot for me as a single mom. He left the state to be with his new love and I don’t have family in the area, but I DO have a lot of friends and a great network of support I can lean on if I need to.  So, I imagine this is the best for both of us now.  Make no mistake – I don’t hate him.  I’m disappointed, but all I want is for everyone I know to be happy, and if this is what it takes, then so be it.

Enough of that, right?!  On to the good news!

D #1 = Darden!  That’s right – after a freakishly challenging MBA program, I graduated last month!  That, my friends, has been the biggest reason for my long absence – between work and school, I barely had time to breath, much less cook consistently and blog.

But, while I’m filling up my newfound free time in some creative ways, it’s also nice to now I’ll have the time to focus on getting my blog rolling once again.

I admit that in April and much of May, I didn’t eat too much.  Not a good thing – and not healthy – just couldn’t.  Thankfully, as life is developing a routine, my appetite is slowly coming back.  Lot’s of good things like smoothies, salads, stir fries, and wine 😉

I also spent many early morning’s in April and May (like 3am morning) going on what I lovingly referred to as “rage runs”.  Mainly because it sounded fun, but it really was how I chose to work through some emotions during that time.  I’m now back to working out at normal hours, which for me is usually sometime after work.

You pretty much already have my major life updates.  Lot’s going on at work, and I’m also getting involved in my local start-up entrepreneurial community, which is really exciting.

Otherwise, just keeping busy and working with my kids and my friends on developing our “new normal”.

So that’s it for now.  I’m going to work on a blog face lift in the coming weeks (it is a season of change in my life, after all!), so stay tuned there.

Until then, some pics of the past week or so, and we’ll chat soon.  Promise 🙂

found a way to bring the two cats together in a close proximity. SINK WATER
lovely gift from a very lovely friend
Bark and Brews! R and I took Kuma to the Botanical Gardens. Pups welcome all Sunday’s in summer!
nap time in the pool for R
R and her cat Ginny 🙂
my cat – napping in my spot on the back deck
Ginny looking busted in the bath tub
the new morning picture!

still my fav pace for java in the morning
Kuma snuggles
my gorgeous girl

Happy, Healthy, and Sad, all at the same time….

FOOD

Hey kids!  I’m excited that I’m consistently every two weeks of blogging at this point 🙂  I swear – I graduate in spring, and blogging will be more regular!  Excited about the next evolution I have in mind.  Stay tuned!  You’ll learn more about that in June!!!

For now, my eats have been largely homemade and quick.  Yes, I do bulk cooking on Sunday’s, but I also have learned the value of quick eats when time gets away from you.  So baked spuds with some beans and cabbage is as good for me as anything else!

Here are quick shots of smoothies, salads, baked spuds, and various other whole food fun!

FITNESS

Okay, I’ve got to admit that I’m fully into Beach Body right now.  Yes, I like my runs, but seriously.  Kickboxing.  No equipment needed, but I get to beat the crap out of whatever my mind dreams up.  And I’m pretty imaginative 🙂

They have a program called Core de Force which is basically MMA, and I really dig it.

LIFE

Hmm.  2 weeks of updates, huh?  So – biggest news is I’ve actually been home!  🙂

As far as I can tell, that’ll be the case until mid-May (ish).  Then again, I always say that, and I’m usually full of you-know-what.  But, for what it’s worth, I don’t plan to travel anywhere until May 19th when I head into graduation weekend!

I’ve been home about 3 weeks, and it’s been awesome.   All my time has been spent at work, studying, or hanging out with my family.  We’ve done some movie marathons and have had overall good times.

My oldest (who seriously is almost 22) had the flu last week.  I’ve never seen someone so sick (and that’s saying a lot because I work in healthcare).  After 2 trips to the ER and a confirmed influenza diagnosis, she actually let us take her home to take care of her.

not quite fun in the ER! D and A waiting to be seen…

Not to intentionally rain on any parade, but…

A friend of my family passed away Sunday evening.  Her name was D, and she fought a valiant fight against breast cancer for 10 years.  Beautiful, fun, sweet, and incredibly kind, my whole family will miss her.  She kept her husband (and our friend) D grounded, and as much as we will miss her, all our energy is for him right now. She is at peace and an amazing spirit, and the rest of us will go on because if we didn’t, she’d find a way to come kick our butts!

So with that, I’m going to leave you with pics of my family (furry, and other), and all I can wish is you tell the people who mean the most to you that you love them.  Because – no matter our differences, I love you all.

 

~Crissie

so – the fun thing of regular morning pictures is having YEARS of them! On top, 5 yrs ago. Bottom, this week 🙂

These were the morning pictures.  Of course…there is more 🙂

I was trying to study and Kuma would have NOTHING to do with that…

seriously. How can you not love them?

she likes it when I workout – especially push-ups
long walk in the rain!
me and Bumble chilling out!
no amount of blankets is enough for Kuma bear
Friday was Kuma’s birthday!!! Birthday Bear!

Ginny not caring that I’m trying to study…while sleeping on my breakfast!
taking mama to work…
fireplace puppy

And whatever else was in my feed!

made me giggle
went to the Chrysler Art Museum on Sunday and saw this. As a big fan of the movie El Dorado, I was excited to know the movie scene was based on something from history (no matter how horrible).
one of the exhibits – and looking at Alexander Platz…I was there in September. I saw 3 exhibits that were in places I’ve physically been (Paris, Berlin, and China), and it mean so much more to me than I thought it would

 

Managing A Few Days Without Total Chaos!

FOOD

It’s been all homemade eats the past few days since getting home from FL.

coconut water, chocolate Vega powder, mango, and banana smoothie!  Was my first of the week, and was out of decent greens
coconut water, chocolate Vega powder, mango, and banana smoothie! Was my first of the week, and was out of decent greens
that was rectified on Sunday when D went grocery shopping, so Monday's smoothie was vanilla Vega powder, 2 clementine's, water, and spinach.
that was rectified on Sunday when D went grocery shopping, so Monday’s smoothie was vanilla Vega powder, 2 clementine’s, water, and spinach.

I know the bottle says Shakeology, but I don’t use it.  Not that I don’t think it’s packed full of nutrients, but I had an allergic reaction to their vegan vanilla a few months ago.  So, I still to Vega most of the time and Sunwarrior on occasion too.  To be honest, I don’t use protein powders all the time, but when I’m making my smoothie as a meal replacement or I know it needs staying power (or when I know I’m a bit lacking in some vital nutrients), I’ll toss it in.  After a week of travel and mostly eating out, I tend to add them to my smoothies.

I also did a lot of batch prep on Sunday’s.  That included some of the Happy Herbivore meals and salads.  I have to admit, I’ve become addicted to the Fitpacker container system the past few weeks.  It makes storage a breeze and takes up less space.

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D grilled Saturday night, and I begged for a repeat of the awesome portabello burger I blogged about last time!  With some grilled squash and mushrooms and air fried french fries, it was a fun and tasty dinner (that I didn't have to cook!)
D grilled Saturday night, and I begged for a repeat of the awesome portabella burger I blogged about last time! With some grilled squash and mushrooms and air fried French fries, it was a fun and tasty dinner (that I didn’t have to cook!)

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part of Sunday's dinner was some zucchini and yellow squash noodles pan sauteed with garlic and Italian seasoning.
part of Sunday’s dinner was some zucchini and yellow squash noodles pan sautéed with garlic and Italian seasoning.
I also dig my baked spuds!  This is some maple baked beans with cruncy cabbage
I also dig my baked spuds! This is some maple baked beans with cruncy cabbage
oh look, another baker!  This one has steamed green beans mixed with hummus on top with some hot sauce.
oh look, another baker! This one has steamed green beans mixed with hummus on top with some hot sauce.
big bowl of yummy vegan Pho!
big bowl of yummy vegan Pho!
Monday's lunch - a BAS and some spicy mac made with quinioa gluten free noodles
Monday’s lunch – a BAS and some spicy mac made with quinoa gluten free noodles
hot and sour tofu soup with onion, bell peps, and green beans.
hot and sour tofu soup with onion, bell peps, and green beans.
and another baker, but just with cabbage and hot sauce this time
and another baker, but just with cabbage and hot sauce this time
this is HH's Bayou Bowl!  Brown rice topped with a cajun style lentil and veg.  And cabbage for crunch because that's my thing
this is HH’s Bayou Bowl! Brown rice topped with a Cajun style lentil and veg. And cabbage for crunch because that’s my thing
and tonight's dinner of spicy tofu tacos on corn tortillas with veggies on top
and tonight’s dinner of spicy tofu tacos on corn tortillas with veggies on top

FITNESS

Still doing the Beach Body on Demand workouts.  I honestly do like them because there’s variety (my Achilles heel in DVD based workouts).  I’m in my final 7 days of the 21 Day Fix program workouts and I admit to feeling pretty darn good.  And much stronger.  And possibly constantly sore 🙂

I’ve also joined a really active challenge group with a coach who totally understands vegan nutritional needs, so I’m pretty stoked there.  Plan to start the kick boxing program on Monday, which aligns with completing the current program.

Of course I have my 3x per week runs too!

this is me and my helper Ginny doing Yoga fix on Sunday.  I have to say that working out at home thrills her in very odd ways.  She loves to either work out with me or be near me when I do.
this is me and my helper Ginny doing Yoga fix on Sunday. I have to say that working out at home thrills her in very odd ways. She loves to either work out with me or be near me when I do.

Last night was Cardio Fix.  I’m trying to work out more in the mornings, but it just wasn’t happening on Monday.  I had to be at the office before 7am, and that would involve getting up around 430, and that’s just silly.  So, evening working it was.  By the way, I’m not sure why I’m smiling.  There’s this exercise in this video called Surrender’s, and I’m pretty sure they’re evil.

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Today was a 3-fer workout.  Upper Body Fix first, and because that was challenging by didn’t wipe me, I followed it with a 4 mile run.  Then this evening, R and I went on a bike ride when she got home from school.   3 laps through the neighborhood for a total of about 30 minutes.

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LIFE

Well, it’s been a nice few days!  I’ve only been home for a few, but they’ve been pretty chill.  For the first time since grad school started, it felt like a normal weekend!  Saturday M had some friends over (that we’ve known since they were young) and D grilled.  It was hanging out and being silly mostly.  I also did the week’s meal planning and D did the grocery shopping while I studied.

Sunday was laundry, cleaning, batch cooking, a school team meeting, studying, and watching a movie!  We watched Moana, and I loved it.

M’s car is screwed up, so we’re currently sharing my ride.  So he’s been taking me to work so he can go to school and then picking me up in the evening.  While it’s a bit of a challenge, it’s not the end of the world.  Not sure his car is worth fixing yet, so we’ll see.

It’s been really nice out (80 over the weekend, chilly yesterday, but 70’s today and 80’s tomorrow before winter comes back and we’re in the 50’s).  We’re definitely taking advantage of THAT!  Kuma has been hard to keep inside, and Bumble has been joining her in the yard too.  Ginny sticks to her window watching and is just happy the house is opened up!

So, hope you’re having a good week so far!

D making a goofy grill face.  Since it's technically still winter, it's dark by dinner so he wears the head lamp when grilling!
D making a goofy grill face. Since it’s technically still winter, it’s dark by dinner so he wears the head lamp when grilling!

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Monday morning picture!
Monday morning picture!