Please Can I Go Home Now?

FOOD

I’m realizing that I don’t have a lot of food pics from the past week. I was home for a few days, and then back on the road to Milwaukee and Chicago.

Sushi with my guy

We had a couple annoyingly chilly days, so a spicy tofu and veg soup was perfect

Couple oatmeal dishes. One at home, and one at my sister’s in WI.

Dinner with my sister and cousin. They had vegan meatballs!

Always Thai and smoothies!

Brunch with my mom was a simple spinach salad and a basmati and carrot pilaf

The best meal by far was with a friend of mine who lives in NYC, but was in Chicago the same time as me! We hit up Vegan Plate for an all vegan Thai restaurant. Drunken noodles with soy chicken and a fish-less dish. The drunken noodles were insane! Then it was to Paulie Gee’s for some dessert! They not only have vegan pizza, but they carry the delicious baked yummies from Pie Pie My Darling! I had the carrot cake and vanilla ice cream. D had the chocolate cake. Needless to say – beyond stuffed!

The rest of my meals were provided by the conference I attended. They did a good job of having vegan snacks and my dinner last night at the Chicago Cultural Center was amazing too!

FITNESS

Runs at home, one of which ended in the rain. My hotel in Chicago had a Peloton room, so I had cycling workouts! So thrilled by that. Otherwise yoga.

Actually excited to take my guy to a yoga class this Saturday.

LIFE

Well, as usual BUSY BUSY BUSY.

Got home from Dallas on Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday was work and also my eldest cabbage’s birthday! Yep, A turned 23! Crazy. Didn’t get to celebrate much as she had to work and had school.

Thursday was also the final orchestra performance of the school year. As usual, R and her classmates sounded wonderful.

Friday was work, packing, and then chilling out. Saturday morning I hit the road again! Spent Saturday night at my sister’s. Dinner out, then a movie (Molly’s Game – it was really good). Sunday was a crazy, but fun board game with my sister, nephew, and niece. We all died. Then brunch with mom, tea with S (who I think it’s been about 9 years since I’ve seen!). Then down to Chicago to study and write a ton of papers.

Mon-today was conference stuff – which was really good. Probably one of my favorites. I think it helped that I got to meet and talk to Andy Slavitt about an impassioned topic for me (and him) – mental health care in the Medicaid population. I’m considering this topic for my doctoral research. I have a few other ideas I’m investigating too – I have until October to decide. But anyway, if there was ever an Andy Slavitt fan club, I imagine I’d be the president!

Tonight I fly home, and I’m SO ready to see the people I love and sleep in my own bed!

On a fun note (ish – it doesn’t start out fun, but bear with me)….I suck at sleeping. I’ve had insomnia issues for almost 15 years. I’m a lot better than I was, but still struggle with it. Coupled with being a freakishly light sleeper, I rarely sleep soundly. In an effort to help, my guy got me a white noise maker. We had stayed with friends a few weeks ago, and they had one and I slept great! So, I used it all this week, and I have to say – it was miraculous. I slept so well. Crazy for this tiny little disc thingy.

And of course, miscellaneous pics from the week! And while it’s been great, can I please just go home now??

Peanuts Suck Less Than They Used To

FOOD

It’s been a mixed bag of at-home meals and dining out. Nothing really new there to be honest. Did have one quick trip to Dallas, which is always yummy 🙂

Smoothies always rule!

As the weather warms up (and it’s FINALLY warming up!), plenty of salads! (Pay no heed to the butter – it wasn’t mine! )

Last time I was in Dallas (last October) we went to a restaurant called Mesa Mayo. OMG. The food was amaze balls, but so were the margaritas. I fell in love with the Serrano Berry. My travel partner in crime loved the avocado one, but since I’m allergic to avocados, I could not partake. However, being in Dallas earlier this week, I sure as HELL went and got my Serrano Berry! And studied at the same time 🙂

Last night I went out to dinner with my girl JG from grad school! She took me to a place called True Kitchen. She picked it due to the great selection of vegan eats for me. I had an amazing cucumber Tom Collins, a tempeh, lettuce, and tomato sammich, kale salad, and sweet potato hash. And we shared a hummus plate. SO GOOD.

I also tried Poke for the first time at a place called Low Key Poke. And while I was recently told it was a Hawaiian tuna dish, this place described themselves to me as “Chipotle for sushi”! So, I had the green tea rice, tofu with a soy and sriracha sauce, and tons of veggies. It was really yummy and spicy!

Other misc eats!

Like this awesome seitan gyro wrap! Recipe is from Zsu Dever’s book Vegan Bowls. Only I made it as a wrap instead. Kids love it, and it’s supper tasty. Enough for leftovers for the oldest cabbage to take to work.

FITNESS

The hellacious coughing finally stopped around Sunday/Monday. Until then, it was just the walking, yoga, and some strength training – as long as it didn’t set off coughing fits.

Otherwise I ran in the hotel gym. Felt good to run – and even though I hate the dreadmill, I hate not running for 2 weeks even more!

LIFE

Been a very busy and awesome week. Last Wednesday my kids booked me for a massage in a salt room at a local place called Green Leaf and Pebble Tea Spa in Virginia Beach. It was incredible. 60 minute massage and they give you an extra 30 in the room to do whatever you want – nap, meditate, etc. I mostly just laid there enjoying the peace, but had to get pics too! My sinuses were a mess, but being in that room helped so much. I picked eucalyptus as my aromatherapy addition just for that reason too. And of course it’s a tea spa, so I had tea too! Licorice – and it was killer. I don’t like black licorice, but they gave me a sample and I was hooked. So tasty!

I had some dryer issues (basically, had to hire a chimney sweep to clean out the ducts. Who knew?). So while I had to wait a week for them to come, I did have to hit up the laundry mat one time. It actually ended up being kinda cool. Aside from not being cheap ($2.50 per wash!), they had WiFi, and I was able to get 4 loads of laundry done in an hour, study, and do a webex. That, my friends, is multi-tasking!

Thursday I had a happy hour/dinner with a colleague from IBM. Of course I had to take her down to the Oceanfront of beautiful Virginia Beach! She’s from Pennsylvania and had never been down this way before. It did start to rain just as we were leaving.

On Friday, R had a really big appointment. For those long-time readers, I’ve chronicled the last 16 months of her working on something called OIT – Oral ImmunoTherapy – which is a protocol to help build immunity to food allergies. R has a life threatening allergy to peanuts, and additional allergies to several tree nuts. Well, after 16 months, it was time for her food challenge! She had been eating 3 peanut M&M’s for the past 7 months. The food challenge basically goes like this – eat 5 grams of peanut butter, wait a half hour, eat 10 grams, wait another half hour, eat 15 grams. If all goes well, that’s a pass, and she’s safe to eat peanut stuff freely. Though to maintain immunity, she would have to eat something with peanuts everyday.

First of all – R HATES the taste of peanuts. Watching her every day eat her dose, it looks like she’s being tortured. She opted for peanut butter and saltine crackers.

Well, about 8 minutes into her first dose, she started to have a reaction. Sore throat and some itchiness. When it didn’t resolve (it can often be caused by anxiety), and she was monitored the entire time – her breathing and vitals, etc – they gave her prednisone and Benadryl to resolve her symptoms. We hung out another hour and change and then went home.

So – she didn’t pass the food challenge. And as discouraging as that is, it’s still incredible progress! That dose just 18 months ago could’ve been deadly. So, we have a choice to make. Keep doing the dose, slightly higher (at 4 peanut M&M’s) and then try the challenge again in 4-6 months, or just stay at the 4 peanut M&M’s indefinitely. At this point, she’s cleared to fly in terms of peanut exposure – what she’s eating daily is way more than any accidental exposure she’d face – and leave it at that. If she has no desire to free eat peanuts and peanut containing foods, then mission accomplished. We haven’t made a final decision on that yet, and technically we have 4-6 months before we need to. So for now, peanuts still suck – but they suck less than they used to.

Before we left the hospital, she did have her blood drawn to retest her for treenuts. Sometimes they can be outgrown, and her severity to treenuts was MUCH less than peanuts. So if she’s clear there, she’s clear to fly! That was her big goal. And especially now with her Dad living on the other coast, it really is important so she can visit him.

Saturday was a really fun day. R had an adjudicated orchestra competition up in Williamsburg. After their performance (which include schools all over VA and NC), all the kids went to Busch Gardens for the day! They played amazingly well and won first place for High School orchestra! In between activities, I parked myself and studied. And had a cider too…

After getting home Friday eve, it was a quick shower and then going out with my guy. I was leaving the next day and wouldn’t see him for a bit. We went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Norfolk then for drinks. Good times and then back home!

Sunday was coffee on the back deck, packing, studying, chilling with the kids (ones who were awake anyway!), and then eventually heading to the airport for a late afternoon flight. It was direct, so I got into Dallas at a pretty reasonable time.

Then it was work and then spending time with JG! We went to the movies – of which I entirely blame her for picking something shitty! We saw I Feel Pretty. Apparently she didn’t look at IMDB ratings. I did. I had low expectations. She was sadly more disappointed I think!

Then there’s random pics of the fluffs. Like Kuma who really just wants to sleep. All the time. And Ginny who can get comfortable in what looks like uncomfortable positions.

I also had a little extra time yesterday, so got a mani and pedi and went from reds/burgundies, to pinks! Ready for summer! Helps that on Monday the pool was opened and will be swim ready early next week! Perfect timing as the weather really heats up.

I Forgot How to Watch TV

FOOD

Hard to believe I’ve been home for two straight weeks! Other than an overnighter in Richmond visiting my girlfriend H.

That means, lots of home cooking! Breakfasts were usually oatmeal or a smoothie. I did have tofu scramble two days in a row though! One morning at Food for Thought in Williamsburg on the way up to Richmond, and one at Shore Dogs in Richmond. I was feeling quite spoiled!

I also learned to grill! Well, ish. I’m still starting out, but I got a gas grill and the first attempt was quite the success! Buffalo tempeh, corn on the cob, potatoes, and portabello mushrooms.

Also made a few different chilis and soups. Up at H’s house we made a sweet potato/black bean chili and cornbread. So yummy! H was excited to use a fancy new pan.

Other chilis!

During spring break I had some special guests over, and while they were working hard outside, I made lunch! Pineapple/tofu stir fry, pizza, and chocolate chip cookies!

It got a little cold for a few days, which was perfect for BBQ tofu, mashers, mushroom gravy, sweet carrots, and my favorite kale salad with oil-free lemon tahini dressing and some homemade sangria.

Also had some yummy meals out.

FITNESS

Sadly, still haven’t gotten to yoga, but there have been plenty of runs!

LIFE

Overall, been a great two weeks. Spring break week I worked from home most of the week. The best part though, is I have a garden! I’ve had a small herb garden for years, but have always wanted a large enclosed one. The one time I tried to grow veggies, the local critters got their fill while we had almost nothing.

It was built over two days, and I’m forever grateful to the little construction team that made it happen.

The trip to Richmond was really nice. We stopped at my fav cidery up there – Buskey’s. Seriously, the jalapeño lime is amazing! The manager made us Bloody Mary’s with their organic vegan Bloody Mary mix, and it was so tasty.

Then we went to H and C’s house where we made dinner and hung out at talked all night. B was visiting from Seattle, and he came by too. I hadn’t seen him in 5 yrs, so that was really cool.

I took R to the movies yesterday to see Tomb Raider. Actually the second time I’ve seen it, but I really liked it and I knew she’d totally love it.

Last night was really lovely out, so we went boating with M and R. We cruised around for awhile and then pulled into a spot for dinner and drinks. Then it was back to my house to hang out with my son and his girlfriend.

Otherwise, normal life! Cribbage club, work, wacky pets, and lots and lots of studying! This week was particularly intense on the school front. I worked ahead a lot, so I was able to knock out all the papers fairly early in the week, with finishing the biggest one today. So I found my Sunday late afternoon with me being bored. House was clean, food prepped for dinner, and I needed a mental break from school stuff. After an hour of reading the news and chatting with the kids, I actually turned on the TV. I don’t have anything against TV, I know I used to watch it, but the past 6 yrs or so saw a significant decline in it – mainly because of school and work and family and social lives. After deciding I didn’t want the commitment of a movie, I threw on How to Get Away With Murder and decided to blog and start dinner 🙂 I guess I forgot how to watch TV!

Wild Week of Travels!

FOOD

Well, it’s been a week and only one night home, so lots of meals out!

I had an amazing meal at Q Restaurant in Chinatown, Boston (no pics – sorry!), but it was a General Tso’s Tofu that was divine.

Also met up with my good friend AF for Indian one night at Kashmir’s in Boston. We split some somosas, and I also had the vegetable korma, which was yummy.

My one night home saw me making my fav soup – it’s a Thai red curry sweet potato soup with rice and kale (with leftovers for 2 the next day). That morning was also a breakfast at a local spot – Portobello mushroom and hummus bagel with fruit. Really, really good.

Thursday evening was hitting the road again, and we had a really simple dinner at the hotel – mine was just rice and roasted veggies. And some vodka cranberries too 😉

The next night we discovered the joy of a place called Busboys and Poets! OMG. Great place for anyone who may have mixed company (vegans + omnis) – tons of yummy vegan eats and certainly a selection of non vegan ones too. We got the crispy Brussel sprouts and coconut tofu bites as appetizers. I also got Korean BBQ “beef” sammich with Asian slaw and a side of tabbouleh. WOW.

So good, we grabbed R and went back the next day for lunch. I had the tempeh panini, tabbouleh (I’m a fan), and a 2 bean harira soup. Now, if they’d just open up in my area! Apparently it’s a small chain in the DC and MD area.

This morning back home was my go-to simple breakfast – especially when I need to go grocery shopping! Oatmeal topped with cinnamon and coconut milk yogurt.

The afternoon was some apps and drinks after hiking. For me – monster cucumber slices with hummus! They gave pita rounds too, but I don’t really eat those, so they ended up bringing double the cucs!

FITNESS

Lots and lots of walking! And today I swapped out a planned hot yoga class (which I need terribly – my hips are SO tight), for a hike instead since it’s such a gorgeous day! Left my phone in the car though, so no pics. But it was an amazing day. Can’t wait for a bit more sustainable days of good weather to start to see blossoms.

LIFE

The rest of my trip to Boston was great. I got to see AF, who currently lives there (his wife is a professor), which was great. Fortunately got to see him and his wife LF on the ski trip in Feb, and will see them again in late April. AF had just flown in from New York and literally met me at the restaurant with carry on in tow!

I will say that Boston was really cold, but I managed to survive ;). Also – they have way too few Starbucks. Apparently Dunkin Donuts is their thing – but other than really not liking their coffee, it’s not a healthy spot I ever go to. It was literally in the airport on my way home before I finally got to one! I know – first world problems – but a girl cannot survive on hotel java alone!

The conference – from the Economist magazine – was amazing. It was there Healthcare Forum 2018, and with Boston being the global hub of life sciences, it really was incredible. The panels, topics, and people were all very exciting, and it was totally worth it.

I flew home the next day, landed around 4, did wash, made soup, and packed for a long weekend away! R’s team advanced to the robotics championships, which was held in MD. She had to be at school at 3am for the bus, and while I had meetings I had to attend on Thursday (being the ONLY day in the office for nearly a week), I headed up after. Rolled into town around 8, which really wasn’t bad.

The competition was so much fun, and the kids did wonderfully. They didn’t advance past the qualifying rounds, but still – what they accomplished was quite impressive. We walked through the pits, and some of these teams have sponsors like NASA, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Deloitte, etc. We were honestly sitting among the future engineers of the world, and it was really inspiring.

Yesterday we drove back home and eventually got to bed around 1130. I seriously slept like a rock until about 9am!

Today was a hike and then chilling at the waterfront having some apps and drinks and watching boats go by. Pretty perfect day!

I’m really looking forward to this week. It’s spring break, and I’ll be working from home for all but tomorrow. R has tennis camp (she’s stoked), and it’ll be me mostly cleaning house and yard and gardening!

Hope you’ve had a great holiday if you celebrate it, and a lovely weekend regardless! Until then – misc pics from the week! Some in Boston, some home, and some in between!

IKEA gets it!

Vegas, Baby!

FOOD

Aside from whipping up an awesome Indian meal late last week (garlic naan, tofu korma, & cumin basmati), most my meals have been in Vegas since last Saturday. I did grab a lot of cold pressed juices this week, though failed to take pics of them. There’s a place at our hotel (Palazzo) called The Juice Farm. My fav was the beet, orange, ginger, parsley, collard one. Beets are great for the liver, and since Vegas is NOT great for the liver, the juices were a must! I tend to gravitate towards Asian food, and while I didn’t snap enough pics of the yummy eats – they really were yummy. Veggie sushi, edamame, green curry, roasted eggplant, congee, sake, and tofu bibimbap.

FITNESS

Runs last week is it. This week was mostly a ton of walking, both on the conference room floor and of course on the Vegas Strip.

LIFE

VEGAS BABY! But I’m pretty sure you already knew that 😉

Before I tell you WHY I’m here, let me tell you how I got here! So – the east coast was hit with a nor’easter that grounded thousands of flights for days. While it had passed by Saturday (barely), some flights were still affected. Funny enough, 3 of my co-workers flew a different airline and left on time. My flight – on Delta – was supposed to leave at the same time – but was delayed 2 hrs (the plane coming was late). So first the ticket agent tells me I’ll have to spend the night in Atlanta. Okay, not the end of the world. I have a girlfriend there that I would love to see, so if that was the case, I’d just call E and crash with her! But then….the ticket agent says “well, I can get you there tonight, but it’s going to be ugly”. Um okay. Define ugly. Norfolk – Atlanta – Kansas City – Salt Lake City – Vegas. Huh. Okaaaaay. Since I have nothing better to do, why not?? So I proceeded on a cross country adventure. They smartly put my luggage on a flight heading to Vegas from Atlanta that had no seats on it, but rather than risk losing my bag with so many hops, my bag made it to Vegas before I did. However….it did get there pretty much the same time my colleagues arrived, so they grabbed it for me and took it with them so I could just cab straight to the hotel! They’re the best. And honestly, Delta did great. The delays were not their fault, they still got me to my destination in one piece, and I was upgraded to comfort + or First Class when it was available and gave me Sky Priority so I’d board really early. Longest layover was in Atlanta, where I found a spot to hang out and charge my stuff!

Me and several co-workers were there for a conference – (HIMSS – the largest healthcare IT conference). Overall, it was a really great conference. Since accepting a new role with a focus on innovation and start-ups, coming to it this year was a totally different experience. Typically I’m meeting with vendors I already had, or those in the space where I was investigating new technologies for my customers. This time it was attending the Innovation Symposium, meeting with institutions who are or have built a similar program to what I’m working on. Looking at and meeting with small start-ups to identify potential opportunities. It can be an overwhelming show for sure, but I really did enjoy it and learned a ton this week.

And you can’t come to Vegas for a week and NOT have fun too! Three of my girlfriends flew in to spend part of the week together. The four of us had traveled to Vegas before several years ago (for AC’s bday), so it was like getting the band back together again!

Also on a total fluke, my cousin was here for one day for her job! She and I hadn’t seen each other since our Grandma passed away 9 years ago. We grew up in WI, but I moved to VA and she moved to CO – both within a few months of each other 14 years ago, and none of our travels to visit family overlapped except for the funeral. We had lunch and caught up, and were just happy to be able to connect.

Otherwise it was a little bit of gambling (okay, one night where I played blackjack down in Old Vegas), lots of walking, chilling out, and a show.

And of course, there’s the obligatory Kuma and Ginny pics!

Okay friends, about to head to the airport for my journey home. I’m definitely ready for my own bed, a full night’s sleep (I hope), and the ability to focus on all the school work I’m currently behind on!

A Busy (and Tasty) Week, and a Sad Farewell

FOOD

Well, it was another week of typical eats, but with a few stand out meals out. There were tacos, potato tacos (where I put taco fillings on a baked spud), smoothies, salads, a deconstructed veggie burger, curries, stir-fries, tofu scramble, and this amazing quinoa/portobello/veggie dish!

FITNESS

What a chaotic week! Not one single yoga class fit my schedule. So – it was runs and home gym workouts!

LIFE

Last Friday we said our final farewell to Bumble. Such an amazing, quirky, and loving girl she was. A little over 18, she had a long life and brought a lot of joy to my family. We all miss her.

On Saturday I hosted a surprise bday party for a friend and her husband (who is one of my bowling buddies!). I made tons of tacos (hence all the taco leftovers), and the garage was converted into beer pong central. It was a fun time, and K really was surprised.

Also went to see Black Panther this week, which was just amazing. Beautiful visually, great story, well acted, but mainly I believe this movie will be historical for what it’s doing to lessen the “white washing” of Hollywood.

Did happy hour with a good friend of mine who is going through a divorce on what would have been her anniversary. We drank, hugged, and had a good time.

Spent a lovely day out and about yesterday in gorgeous weather with someone special. Shopped, walked, and stopped at a tavern to watch some sport fun. I’m just going to say – I don’t get curling! Also, UVA kicked butt against Pitt, so that’s awesome.

Today was another amazing day. 80 degrees! Called for a run and then fun at the beach with the two youngest and the pups. M brought his long board to skate down the boardwalk, while R and I walked along the beach with Kuma. Then we stopped for a bite before going home. Also did typical Sunday stuff like meal plan, make a grocery list, go grocery shopping, and cook.

Of course there was also normal life stuff, like studying and chilling with the family. This will be a crazy and intense week too. I need to work ahead a week for school since I’m out for a work conference, which means I’ll have no time at all next week. So yeah. There’s that!