Bean Town, Take 1

FOOD

Some very typical eats – smoothies and salads namely. I did try out a new protein powder. I really love the nutritional makeup of it, but am not in love with the taste compared to Vega or Garden of Life. So we’ll see if I ever get it again or try another flavor.

Tuesday night was the full blended family dinner fun out for Mexican. Many sangrias were had 🙂

For the rest of the week, I was in Boston, getting home late last night/early this morning. All I can say is thank goodness for Clif Bars since there really wasn’t anything I could eat on the first day. Once the coordinator of the meetings I was in learned I was vegan, she really went out of her way to help ensure there was something to eat for me (even soy milk for my coffee the second day we were there!).

Really tasty mushroom soup

Very typical in a plated meal – when handing out desserts, they don’t know what to give me, so I
get a bowl of fruit. Not complaining though, I love fruit and can do without the sugar of a
typical dessert anyway
Salad was fine. Black bean cakes were not. Certainly an A for effort, but mixed with spaghetti

Wednesday evening I met up with A & L for drinks at the top of the Prudential Tower at a place called Top of the Hub. We didn’t eat, but the drinks were amazing.

Dinner was as Kashmir – and Indian place that A and I actually went to almost a year ago the last time I was there. We ordered a bottle of wine, two orders of samosas, and 3 dishes to split. All vegan because they’re wonderful.

Also some other fun eats.

Discovered a sparkling sake called Mio, and I don’t know that my life will ever be the same

FITNESS

I got to one Regymen class, and it kicked my a$$. Focus was core, and I was sore for days!

Several other days I did Peloton streaming cycle workouts in my home gym.

LIFE

Tuesday evening was dinner with the 7 of us. BS helped me with my first ever basketball bracket! I have 3 total. One that is all him, one that is mostly him with a few changes (just couldn’t make WI lose – though I should have because they did!), and one that was actually a Wall Street Journal analytics one. I’m currently in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place! Though my 3rd is tied with my girlfriend A up in DC. My 1st place is my WSJ bracket, 2nd is the slightly modified one, and 3rd is BS’. Still a bit to go, but it’s been fun and minorly obsessive to check rankings after each game.

Most of the week was in Boston for my first trip there this spring. Two more to go. I left early Wednesday morning. Had a few afternoon meetings while I was there (one hanging in a Starbucks in Harvard Square), and then met with A & L (A and I went to grad school together. L is a professor in Boston). I hadn’t seen A since last summer, and L since a ski trip a little over a year ago, so it was awesome to catch up. Both are coming for a visit this summer, so that’ll be awesome.

Our view
Pick the waitress took. My guy said it was too dark, so A took a selfie and fixed it

Thursday and Friday were meetings, which were really engaging and productive. We had a dinner that Thursday night, which was a lot of fun. It’s always nice getting to know people you really only know via phone calls! Lots of non-work related interesting conversations, especially about food and travel.

I flew home yesterday.

Today I went to Whole Foods and then met my boyfriend and his oldest for lunch. This evening is taking my youngest and her bestie to a hockey game. It’s nice being busy. Not having school work to do won’t get to me 🙂 I have read quite a lot though, which I really enjoy.

Dragons!

So BS admonished me again. I did tell him to bite me because I had a 40 page paper due and that was more important than his blog fix, but whatevs. Paper is done and now it’s time to catch up!

FOOD

As you can imagine, there has been plenty of food in the past 2 weeks! Thai, soups, salad, smoothies. You know – the typical. And eats out and about too of course!

Beyond Meat Brat & pretzel bun at Brick Anchor!

Dinner & drinks with a girlfriend from Boston who was in town

Take out Thai while paper writing

Today’s breakfast salad! Pit stop at Whole Foods on my way in this morning…

FITNESS

The past two weeks have been too chaotic to go to the gym. Good thing I have a small home gym with a spin bike – been quite a bit of that!

And yoga, of course. I’d probably burn out without it.

LIFE

Very busy couple of weeks! Went out of town with my guy a couple weekends ago. Great trip about 3-4 hrs away from home. Got back on Sunday – realized I left my wallet at the restaurant where we had breakfast, and proceeded to drive back to get it. Ugh. It was 7pm by the time I got there and raining, so I just spent the night and came home early in the morning. What a pain. Otherwise a wonderful weekend.

Got annoyed that they left the Irish whiskey with the same dumb Scottish spelling…but

Then it was a normal week of working, working out, studying, and going out one night with my guy – typically a Friday night.

The following weekend was an almost full family movie fun with Captain Marvel (A wasn’t there – her man was in town!). The next day was a brunch party at our fav brunch spot to celebrate A & J. Minus my son who was working and one of my guys sons who had pre-existing plans, and plus two other friends. We reserved the tea room, ate, drank, and laughed a lot. It was a lot of fun.

Then more work and school. My girlfriend H from Richmond was in town for a few days (she grew up here and was here for family stuff). We went out Tuesday night.

I took off Wednesday to focus on my paper. Library, then Brick Anchor for lunch, then Starbucks, and then meeting S from Boston for dinner and drinks.

This past weekend was all about robotics! R had a competition locally and was a ton of fun – though two 12 hr days is loooong. My guy came to some of it both days and that was fun. R was student ambassador so had to work shifts giving tours and explanations of the program. We were her first she gave tours to, so it was cute.

My term ended yesterday, so I’m done until April 8th. Here’s hoping I don’t get too bored…

And misc pics of course 🙂

Snuggly sunshine friends

Umm. I go thru a LOT of highlighters. Bulk purchase for $5 and I was excited.

So this weekend while at robotics, M bought everyone in the family their very own dragon! I was so excited that this one is mine. Totally perfect! Still needs a name tho…

Has Anyone Seen My Lung?

Good grief, nearly 2 weeks! Surprise BS hasn’t admonished me lately….as an FYI, I was sick, so there wasn’t much to chat about!

FOOD

Lots of smoothies – pretty much every day. Including the one I’m drinking now 🙂

Salads, Thai, Ramen, wraps, and risottos. Also had my kids plus my guy and his over for dinner last weekend. Zoodles, beyond beef crumbles, and marinara was amazing! Also made a huge batch of Jambalaya from the Forks Over Knives cookbook. One note about it – recipes are scaled to feed crowds – so for the first time, I actually couldn’t get through all the leftovers!

Leftover Jambalaya over lettuce w/ homemade soy yogurt

Fun drink! Called the Just Beet it Gimlet! Beet juice, gin, and lime!

FITNESS

The first week I was home I had a cold. Literally the morning after landing from Orlando. Since it was upper respiratory and sinus related, it pretty much ruled out any workouts.

This week though, I feel fine and hit up Regymen again. Thought I was going to die at one point (still had a mild cough and I may have left a lung at the gym). Also my bike in the garage while watching my iPad!

And as always, worked in yoga several days.

LIFE

Well, the cold was a pain in the butt to be honest. I have no time to be sick! Fortunately with the neti pot and rest, it went away.

I had an IBM thing the first day I started feeling human again. I’d have worked from home if not for having to present. But it was a really great time and they hosted an event that evening with drinks and apps. Best thing about that day? As I was getting ready to start talking, I noticed a woman in the room that I knew. She was the first CIO I ever had back in Milwaukee! Literally the woman who plucked me out of working clinically in the hospital and gave me my first IT job. I mentioned it before I started my part of the discussion. My CMO (who I was there with), actually walked over to her to shake her hand and thank her for putting me on this career path. It was really humbling when she gave me a hug at the end, and we spent some time catching up at the evening festivities. Definitely a highlight of the past two weeks.

There was a weekend trip last weekend that was literally the best 24 hrs I can think of ever.

At the Portrait Gallery – sent this to my daughter the nursing student!

I took my son and his girlfriend to a wine tasting event this past Wednesday, which was nice, and my guy and I went out last night to one of our fav spots.

This weekend involves another whirlwind trip that I guess I should go get ready for!

So I was struggling warming up one evening and decided to take a bath. Of course I ended up with visitors….

Getting extra caffeine before speaking at the IBM thingy

Plus fluffs

Home Sweet Home

FOOD

I didn’t snap a pic of it, but my Christmas dinner made by my BIL was Tofurkey sausage, baked potato, sweet potato, and corn. It was very filling and yummy and I couldn’t finish my plate!

Thursday I had lunch with my boyfriend – Thai of course!

Dinner was veggie burgers. Nothing fancy.

Friday morning was a smoothie, lunch was a slow cooker sweet potato, white bean, and kale soup, and dinner was R and I out with my guy and his son at Yard House where I had the gardein orange “chicken”.

Saturday was an oatmeal and banana breakfast, and lunch was busting out the Ninja Foodi for a brown rice with roasted sweet potato and tofu meal. SO good. Plus a BAS (big ass salad). I made a vegan ranch dressing for the salad and for dipping veggies.

Dinner Saturday was out with my guy at the Grilled Cheese Bistro in Norfolk. I had a vegan caprese sammich that was epically delicious. I couldn’t finish it – but I really wanted to! Before dinner, we stopped for drinks at one of our fav eclectic spots downtown.

This morning was a breakfast salad at Whole Foods and then leftover soup for lunch. Snacked on some veggies with dip too.

FITNESS

Friday I did a YouTube spin class in my garage followed by some yoga.

Yesterday I went to the gym and did the weight circuit and then ran 3 miles.

Also – today marked a 14 day streak for daily meditation. I’m using Headspace and love it.

LIFE

Okay, Christmas evening was spent at my sisters with my mom as well. We exchanged gifts and had dinner. After taking my mom back to her place, I walked Kuma and then R and I packed since we were hitting the road early the next morning.

My seester made me vegan cookies!
Little bear and mini moose!
Christmas afternoon cocktails with my sister
My parents look so young!!!
My mom holding me as a baby

Gift from my sister. So funny (and it shouldn’t be – it’s actually tragic)
Jordy getting jealous of my sister snuggling Kuma

Silly text with my guy about Kuma hogging the bed

And indeed, on Wednesday we were on the road by 540am. A quick stop at Starbucks, and we ended up pushing straight through to home with brief stops for gas and to walk Kuma. Traffic was strange – part of I-80 was shut down due to a major accident, so we were routed into Michigan for a bit. All was fine until we got near DC, which sucked royally. We should’ve gotten home by 930, but it was almost 1130 by the time we rolled in. But – felt great to get home.

Kid slept the better part of the 16 hr drive.

Thursday early my guy came over. Excellent timing as he helped save Kuma’s life! She had gotten into some chocolate my son left on his floor (ugh), and thankfully my boyfriend knew how to make Kuma vomit! Hydrogen peroxide on a pancake. Worked like a charm too – poor bear. Once we knew she was fine, we had some wonderful quality time together.

Thursday afternoon R and I went to the SPCA where we promptly fell in love with a 1 year old cat named Mena! She was very outgoing and demanding face scratches. We knew she was meant for us. We filled out the application and went home. Sure enough, the next morning we got the call that we were approved! They had to validate I owned my home and that Kuma was up to date on her immunizations. So – off we went! We’ve renamed her Luna (a name my boyfriend picked out and R and I thought was perfect). Her and Kuma’s meeting was relatively uneventful. I think Kuma is happy to have a kitty again. She’s missed Ginny and Bumble.

Saturday was grocery shopping and errand running, and then an evening and overnight with my guy. We were originally planning to go to Christmastown in Williamsburg, but decided to stay close to home. By the end of the night, we had gone to 3 bars and 1 restaurant. Heard some local music, and then went back to his place. Awesome night all around.

One of our stops was at Grain. I wanted to see the life sized ginger bread house in the Hilton Main where Grain (it’s a rooftop bar) is. And we’ve always enjoyed going there for drinks.

This morning we went out for coffee, and then he headed home while I went to Whole Foods. Went home, ran out again for some errands, and have mostly been just relaxing (aka – bored out of my mind!).

All my kids are now home! M got home from NY yesterday, and A got home from Toronto today! Nice to have them all home again.

And Luna is having fun exploring! The first day she spent much of it under my bed. But she’s been going around a lot, but mostly seems to stay upstairs.

Her food and liter box are in the laundry room, which I separate with a baby gate to keep Kuma out

So it’s been a week of home sweet home for sure! Going back to my old “home” to visit family for the holidays. Then the joy of coming back home to Virginia, which is very much our home now. To bringing Luna to her new forever home. All sweet indeed.

MY YEAR OF LESS

Well, still nothing great to report. Haven’t been overly contentious of spending, and that’s not good – that’s backtracking to old habits.

Comfort vs Survival

FOOD

Fairly typical eats. A couple smoothies and oatmeal largely in the mornings – especially cold ones.

Minor explosion in the microwave. Oops.

A few outings for Thai, Indian, and a veggie burger.

Vegan burger at Yard House – out with R before an event

Ezekiel bread, sunflower seed butter, banana, and agave

On Thursday a couple friends came over (long overdue hanging out), and I made a build your own taco bar with tofu/potato tacos, Venezuelan black beans, and a totally yummy slaw. The slaw was freaking amazing – A and I kept picking at it while waiting for people, and she eventually just ate a big bowl full.

Ate mine as a bowl topped with Daiya shreds, hot sauce, and pickled jalapeños

FITNESS

Went for 3 runs last week and did yoga twice. Ankle feels totally fine and my calf was mostly good too, yay!

Now, must avoid any other dumb injuries…..

LIFE

Speaking of injuries, R started physical therapy for her wrist this week. She hurt it about 6 weeks ago. No break, but the doc was calling it a sprain/soft tissue damage and she was in a splint for a month. She has to do her exercises at least 5 days per week, and she’ll go to physical therapy weekly for the next 6. Overall though, she’s healing nicely. Was worried for a bit there that she’d need a cast.

On Tuesday, R and I went to an Camping Basics class at REI! It was really interesting, and we learned a great deal. For example, the differences between men’s and women’s sleeping bags are both in where the zipper is, and in what the number ratings actually mean.

For example – I’m eyeing this beauty right here.

See the 20? That means it will be comfortable for me to sleep in when the weather is as cold as 20 degrees.

Now see this one? Same manufacturer. Same numeric rating.

The difference? This means that a man can survive in weather as cold as 20 degrees. He will NOT be comfortable. He simply won’t die.

Our camping instructor was very specific that we understand this. And then complained at how dumb it is to have a difference at all. Men would like to be comfortable too. And women care about not dying. So yes – the numbers on a sleeping bag are about comfort vs survival.

Wednesday I focused on getting the majority of my school work done. Everything was read and 2 papers written. I spent a bit of that time at Starbuck’s with R as she did school stuff too.

Thursday was my friends A and D and his wife P over for dinner, drinks, and laughs.

Friday was running around like crazy, and then Saturday morning it was off to Alexandria for a holiday celebration with my guy and my grad school friends. Our hostess A was perfect as always, and the event was a ton of fun. We did a white elephant gift exchange.

We stopped in Richmond on the way up for a store I wanted to hit up for one of our gifts, then got to Alexandria, stopped for a drink or two (I had a sangria + margarita that was pretty tasty!). Then to the hotel for a while, then dinner and off to the party!

Today was up early to hit the road. I spent some time suffering for the amount of fun I managed the night before (ugh), but after a nap and some caffeine and food, I felt fine enough to get the rest of my school work done.

Me just getting comfy on the drive home

So all told, awesome festive weekend full of friends, fun, and the best boyfriend/babysitter a girl could have 😂.

Okay, so this is a screen shot of part of a book I’m reading – all still part of the becoming a morning person gig (which honestly is going pretty well). It talks about people who are overwhelmed so they hate mornings, and then people who are underwhelmed. This really spoke to me and think that’s largely been me. Kind of goes back to a previous post about not having that 5 year plan worked out. Thankfully it’s coming together a little bit at a time.

MY YEAR OF LESS

I don’t have my November stats yet (Quicken doesn’t post pending charges, so it’ll be a few days), so that report will come in the next post.

I have all my Christmas shopping done with the exception of my guy’s youngest, but I know what I’m getting – just need to coordinate getting it.

I also paid off two credit cards at the end of the month, which is cool, and added several hundred to the emergency fund. All told – good progress!

Leftovers, Road Trip, and I am NO Amateur

FOOD

Well there have been LOTS of leftovers! Nothing wrong with Tofurkey for breakfast! (Along with mashers, butternut squash, etc…).

Saturday was a day trip to Richmond. Had a couple apps (black bean hummus and creole chips) while out with friends, and then a veggie stir fry at a Chinese place called Fat Dragon that was totally amazing.

Today I made a big batch of ramen that was just okay. I was in a hurry, and skimped on the broth – which made it decent enough, but not worth leftovers. Shame too.

Dinner was a simple stir-fry tofu BAS. And yes, I found lettuce not trying to off me. Still find it funny that this is my daughter’s fav way for me to make it – pan fried until starting to brown and then add Tamar (gf soy sauce).

FITNESS

Oddly enough, I think my ankle is totally fine. It was still a little sore Saturday, but by Saturday night, I took off the Ace bandage and all was well.

Wanted to run today, but it started pouring. Did some spin in my garage instead! Hope to run tomorrow – should be dry!

LIFE

Been a great couple of days, other than my epic day of school procrastination hell, I really can’t complain. Saturday was up early (yay for the morning person thing!), got a few things done, and then headed over to my guy’s house. I left my car there and he drove to Richmond, with a shopping pit stop in Williamsburg along the way.

Spotted this in a WB shop. Thought it was funny.

We spent the afternoon with my girlfriend HF and her husband and two little ones. She picked this hipster bowling alley, and it was a ton of fun. The idea was the boys bowl so the adults to could hang out. It largely worked. Then we went furniture shopping (we were all on the lookout for something).

We also had a Governor sighting! We didn’t bother him, BUT I did surreptitiously snap a pick and tag him on Twitter. (Psst….not a skilled bowler).

So – it was a totally crap day weather wise. Pouring all day. Between the bowling alley and furniture shopping, we stopped at Target and I saw this car. Dude really needs to re-evaluate his transportation options. The tarp was full of rain water.

After we went to Buskey’s – our fav cidery, and then dinner and home. I was up early Sunday and headed home. I took a nap and then got cracking on laundry and school stuff. Let’s just say I had to finish 4 papers and 4 major spreadsheets with varying approaches towards demand forecasting. Fun. Times. I went to bed about 130am….

Needless to say, I did not set a 530 am alarm today. 7 was early enough, thank you.

Today R finished putting together the bookshelves. I’m so excited – everything is coming together nicely. I still need a side table for the new accent chair and about 2 nice sized area rugs – one for the study and one for the family room.

The no-show/no-reply contractor finally did contact me and ended up coming over on Sunday. He’s the only one who went into the crawl space to see if there was any water damage from the bathroom. But, now I have my three quotes. I’m already discounting the first guy, so it’s down to the other two. My preference is the 2nd group that came out, but will depend on timing. Those quotes were literally $10 different. Hopefully that’ll be completed in the next two weeks, and then the floors will really be done!

Slow morning this morning with sleeping in a bit

So A braided her little sister’s hair over the weekend. Promises to teach her how to do it

So the morning thing is going well. Other than this morning getting up at 7, I’ve been up at 530 every day. Earlier on Sunday – woke closer to 430. It still takes me some time for my brain to wind down – which is why it took me over 90 minutes to fall asleep last night. After being hyper focused on school stuff for over 12 hours, that was bound to happen. Overall though, the insomnia is light years better.

MY YEAR OF LESS

Again, been pretty tame. I’m nearly done Christmas shopping – which NEVER happens this early! All my kids are done, my sister, her husband, her daughter, my guy, and his oldest. I have left my mom, my nephew, and my guy’s youngest – though I know what I’m getting him – just need to get it. Very proud in how I shopped and planned this year.

That’s been the only expenditure other than the weekend adventure. Haven’t needed to pick up groceries, so it’s been the gifts and bills.