About Me

My photo
Hampton Roads, Virginia, United States
I am a late-30's busy career mom, attempting to find her inner athlete, be a vegan in a non-vegan household, and find a way to balance it all without going crazy! I love to cook, read, run, knit, and learn as many new things as I can - which often gets me in trouble.... I am passionate about life in general, and if I didn't write about it, I'd probably implode.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Something Wrong With The World Today (not just the words to an Aerosmith song!)

FOOD

My alarm actually went off this morning at 7, and up I woke.  D was wonderful to set the coffee pot before we went to bed, so between my alarm and that wonderful smell of hot coffee, getting up wasn't difficult.

I knew I had a workout ahead of me, and wanted a good and hearty breakfast.  I decided oatmeal was in order!  I cooked a serving (1/2 cup oats, 1 1/2 cups water) in the microwave, then sliced up an overripe banana into it, sprinkled some cinnamon, mashed it and yum!






Post workout I reheated another bowl of the tofu spicy soup and ate that.  And a spicy Bloody Mary :)

I spent some of the afternoon catching up on blog reading and flipping through cookbooks and decided a nice BBQ tempeh burger would be great for dinner.  Of course that meant making vegan slaw too.  And then I wanted to make green tea sushi rice, so my dinner plans were born!  Normally I wouldn't do rice as a side with a burger, but it's what sounded good and I rolled with it.  The entire meal was amazing and was exactly what I was craving.

Tempeh Burger

Inspired By 1000 Vegan Recipes

*I took a package of tempeh and cut it into rectangles
*Bring a saucepan of water to a low boil, pop the tempeh in there, and simmer for a half hour
*Heat some olive oil in a pan over medium heat, and cook the tempeh 5 minutes on each side until brown
*cover with whatever BBQ sauce you love
*put a lid on the pan, and simmer for 15 minutes

I served it on a pita with some guacamole, sliced onions, and a vegan slaw (just chopped cabbage and leftover slaw dressing from Love, Veggies, and Yoga.


fresh from the package - this is a grain based tempeh

simmering away...not necessary per se, but gives it a different texture

SLAW (good on just about anything!)

browning the tempeh

Green Tea Rice

*I made 3 cups of jasmine green tea
*put it in the rice cooker with 1.5 cups rinsed sushi rice
*turned it on the Sushi Setting

I had green tea rice for the first time in DC a few weeks ago at Java Green.  I've been a little obsessed with it since and thought I'd try to make it.  It was good - more powerful green tea taste than the restaurant had (maybe because I used jasmine tea), but it was really good!



FITNESS

I spent some time packing my "tri bag" last night. I was worried about the weather so I threw in a long sleeve technical shirt and a jacket just in case. And a towel, and 2 pairs of socks, and baby powder, and a wash cloth (to wipe the mud off my feet). Then I packed another bag of swim stuff, warm and dry clothes, tons of layers, and towels so I could thaw in the Y showers. I guess it was more than I needed, but I had no idea what to expect today!
I guess it was a blessing that I didn't get up for the Fat Frogs ride yesterday, and guilt drove me to do all 3 workouts.  Today the weather was very ugly, so we had our swim as scheduled, but the two other workouts (the bike and run that was supposed to be after the swim, and the brick we were going to do this afternoon) were both canceled.  W decided that getting us sick a week before the race was probably not in our best interest (and the possibility of falling in the rain on slick roads in Smithfield).

We all started gathering at the Y at about 830 this morning.  We did an in depth clinic on race day tips and transitions and rules again, and then lined up to mimic the swim as it will be on race day.  We lined up by 100yd time, one person told us when to get into the pool lane, and another timed us in 15 second intervals to start.

As expected, there was some crowding at the wall and some passing, but everyone did great. We got a good sense of what race day will look like. Both the AM and the PM Y teams were there, so it was nice to meet people I hadn't gotten to before, and the cheering and camaraderie were amazing. 

As for the swim itself, I struggled with regulating my breathing the entire time.  I'm not sure if it was nerves (afraid of holding up the person behind me) or what, but I never really hit that groove where I feel I could swim for hours.  I hope I can work that out before next weekend!

I was chatting on Facebook with my cousin today, and it turns out she's going back home for a Tri this year with her husband!  That's so cool, and I wish I could be there at the same time to cheer her on (my younger cousin - her sister - may do it too).  I'll have to make sure everyone else takes lots of pictures.  My plan is still to do one next summer back home. 

D and I were talking about this today, and he said "I still think we should go to San Fran and do the one there" (he was just in SF visiting his brother last month and learned about it - I guess it's the oldest Tri in the country).  I got excited and said "WE"??  Like he's going to do it with me!  Ah....no.  He meant "we" as in we'd all go...but he and the kids would just watch and cheer.  Jerk.  Got my hopes up and everything...

Tomorrow is supposed to be ugly weather too, but we're still scheduled to do a brick.  Should be interesting!

LIFE

If I thought about it too hard (and I sometimes do), I get shocked by all the things I find "wrong" in the world.  One of them really hit me today though, and it really got me thinking.  First I was sad, and then almost angry, and then guilty.  There's this perception out there that to eat healthily, one must spend a fortune.  I was at the store picking up some essentials (dog food, bread, avocados...), and had a long time to spend in line waiting for my turn.  Of course I'm looking around (aka...nosey), and start seeing what's in people's carts.  Don't get me wrong - I buy junk food too.  Everyone loves cookies, or chips, or fried food on occasion.  I could never imagine those being the only things in my grocery cart though, so when I see that - especially when there are kids in tow - it breaks my heart.  I know there's a growing movement to educate the public on healthy food options and petitions to get healthy meals at schools (they subscribe to this belief too - fried chicken "nuggets", burgers, and fries are cheaper than smarter choices), but I worry that it's just not enough.  A bag of beans and a bag of rice - both of which can create tasty, filling, and balanced meals - can feed a family for days for pennies.  But we still hit the Dollar Menu at the drive-thru when times are tough.

I felt sad because our children only learn from the example we set - and it's hard to "unlearn" a lifetime of bad habits.  Then I felt angry, like we've become lazy as a society, and no longer spend the time preparing balanced meals.  I know that when I eat junk food too much, I feel awful...and to think we have children in our country who don't know what it's like to feel truly good because this is how they eat all the time.   And then guilt - really...who the heck am I to sit in judgement of what other people do or don't do?  Maybe they think they're giving healthy and balanced meals - I certainly know people who eat things that they feel is healthy for them, but I don't.  I'm not a dietitian or nutritionist.  And then I realized - that most people aren't!  And most people are trying to work, raise families, AND do all the cooking, cleaning, errand running, etc.  Most days, I'm lucky if I have 15 minutes to sit still.  Sometimes quick is the only option, and most healthy food (other than a salad) isn't "quick".  I usually get around that by spending my free time on weekends cooking mass quantities to sustain me throughout my hectic week.  Then again - cooking is relaxing and enjoyable to me - and it's torture for others.  So again - the guilt of the initial judgement I felt this afternoon at the store made me feel ashamed of myself.  We all try to do our best, but many are making their best decisions based on bad information.

So what do we need to do to 1-raise awareness and 2-encourage the demand for junk food to go down and healthy food to go up, so we can balance out the cost of groceries.  I don't know that I have a good answer - but I'm certainly going to start doing some research on that.  There are a lot of good movements out there.  It just has to be important to get the recognition it needs.  Well....I admit I'd rather lose sleep thinking about this than work!

Whew...that was probably as exhausting to read as it was to write.  On a totally different note....

I'm contemplating taking my Vita Mix on vacation with me in 2 weeks.  Probably strange to most people, but R and I are staying in a 1 bedroom condo with a full kitchen....I'm thinking it's not necessarily a BAD idea!  Oh, and she has started "packing".  Meaning....piling things she wants to take in the corner of her room.  When she's not looking, I take things out of the pile and put them away.  Like 20 books, her Lego's, 15 outfits (we'll be gone 5 days), all her stuffed animals, etc.  It's cute how excited she's getting though.

D decided he was going to be Mr. Fix-It today.  The kid's bathroom has 2 sections.  1 is the shower, cabinet, and toilet, and 1 is the sink, cabinets, and mirror.  The lights in the section with the sink and mirror haven't worked in a while now (not TOO big a deal because the light from the toilet/shower area illuminates just fine when all the doors are open.  Still...D got a wild hair to fix it today, and he did!  I think he was going a bit stir crazy, but I'm certainly not complaining.  Neither are the kids who now have light! 

A few months ago, D started watching Dr. Who with the kids.  It's become their "father and kid" activity, and they all get really excited about it.  D used to watch the old ones with his dad growing up, so it's special for him too.  Since they're in the living room watching an episode, I'm going to sneak upstairs and spend some quiet time with my Kindle!  Hope you all had a great and relaxing weekend!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Key to Unstressing Is To Be Freakishly Busy!

FOOD

It was cold this morning.  I was really hoping this winter thing was done, but no....psycho Virginia weather strikes again.  Because it was cold, I wanted something that would warm me up for breakfast.  So after I had my obligatory cup of plain black coffee (half the grounds were the Trader Joe's mocha coffee, half cheapo-Folgers), I decided to make some spicy tofu soup!

I pressed the tofu a few days ago, diced it, and stuck it in a whipped up marinade.  I wish I had written it down, because it was awesome!  I imagine that I'm going to spend the next year attempting (and failing) to recreate it!  Anyway, back to the soup.  It's a nice stand by I started making a few years ago, and I still love it.  Here's how it typically goes...

Spicy Tofu Soup

1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
whatever veggies I have lying around (today was frozen peas)
1 block of tofu, pressed and diced.  (today was the first time I used marinated tofu - it's not necessary as long as it's pressed)
2 cups veggie broth
1/2 cup diced tomatoes (fresh, canned...doesn't matter.  Today I used canned with chili peppers)
hot sauce (I typically use Siracha, but was out and used Texas Pete)
red pepper flakes - if I'm feeling particularly spicy (I was not today)


Saute the onions, garlic, bell peppers, and tofu in a non-stick pan (or use a little olive oil) until the tofu starts browning on all sides.  Stir every few minutes.

Add tomatoes, hot sauce and pepper flakes (if using) for another minute.  Then add veggie broth and whatever veggies you have lying around (I've used broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, artichokes, cabbage - doesn't really matter.

Simmer until everything is warmed through.  Makes about 3-4 bowls of soup.  I've throw in leftover cooked rice or quinoa too.  The nice thing about this soup is how versatile and forgiving it is.  It'll take just about anything and still taste wonderful.

onions, garlic, bell peppers, and tofu in the pan!

simmering away

steamy and yummy hot soup!


Everyone else got pancakes.  I was up so much earlier, that I couldn't wait...and it's not like anyone else in my family would eat spicy soup for breakfast!



After my morning workout I snacked on some spicy raw cracker sticks.  They were REALLY good!  Before my afternoon workout, I wanted something hearty, but not spicy for lunch - but something that didn't require too much prep and time since I was hungry.  I decided on a baked potato (with Earth Balance butter and Tofutti "better than sour cream" vegan sour cream) and 6 Trader Joe tofu nuggets with BBQ sauce.  It was quick, healthy (ish), and filling.




Dinner, though, was so much fun, it's ridiculous!  I asked R this morning what she wanted for dinner (while we were soaking in the hot tub!).  She starts to answer with things she thinks I want to hear (she initially said rolls and asparagus...).  I finally looked at her and asked what she really WANTED, and her answer was quesadillas.  Okay!  Quesadillas for dinner!  I stopped at the grocery to pick things up (quesadillas have so many possibilities!).  I was walking around and ended up buying a quesadilla maker.  I know it's cheesy - I can just as easily make them on the stove - but I rolled with it anyway.



I made a totally yummy one for my dinner.  I sauteed some red onion and diced bell pepper and layered it with refried beans (fat free and vegan of course), cilantro, and guacamole.  After a mere 4 minutes in the quesadilla maker, it was scored and ready to go!  I added lettuce, mango salsa, vegan sour cream, and hot sauce.  It was SO good!  D ate two, and the kids each ate one.  I had my own little Mexican restaurant, right in my kitchen!


the contents of my quesadilla innards...

right before it gets into the press

and after!  I forgot how cool finger food is...

FITNESS

I didn't actually intend on swimming today.  I'm sore from last night's swim (in a good way...not an injured way), so I figured I'd just bike today as planned.  Alas...best laid plans....

R had her regularly scheduled swim lessons at 1030.  D was feeling pretty rough this morning, so I planned to take her.  Well...I can't exactly go to the pool and NOT swim, so I decided to work on trying to regulate my breathing a little bit to prep for next weekend.  That's my biggest worry with the swim portion of the tri - getting winded and not hitting my groove (which usually takes me 75-100 yds to do).  I also wanted to time myself to get an idea of how long 12 lengths would take me.  So I went into the pool, thought I hit my stop watch on my Timex, and started to swim.  After 300, I looked at my stop watch.  It said 10:40.  So at first I thought it took me 10 minutes and 40 seconds to swim it.  Then I look closer and realize that was the time, and my stopwatch hadn't been started (user error).  So R's class starts about 1030 (usually a couple minutes later as the previous class wraps up).  So best guess, it took me somewhere between 7-10 minutes to swim it. 

After her class and my swim (after the 300, I just kept going at a steady pace until her class was almost over - about 35 lengths in all).  We swam in the warmer pool for a few minutes and then hung out in the hot tub to warm up!



Since I missed it, I knew I had to bike today.  I then got the bug in my brain that I should do a brick this afternoon - even though I'm doing TWO tomorrow (weather pending).  So about a half hour after my lunch, I threw the bike in the back of the van and headed off to the paved trail to bike 10 miles and then immediately run 3. 

I picked up new yankz laces last weekend that let me slide my shoes on, pull a loop, and tighten my laces without actually having to tie them.  During the tri clinic at Fat Frogs a couple weeks ago, these were brought up as being really convenient - since it's tough to get out of a pool soaking wet and freezing and adrenaline pumping and be expected to have the manual dexterity to lace shoes.  I figured it would be good to practice with them in advance, so D put them in my shoes and I used them today.  They worked like a charm!

I got to the trail, parked, took my bike out, put my clip shoes on, and took off.  5 miles down, and 5 back.  It was cold and I was dressed in running tights (since they're long), bike shorts (for the padded butt), a long sleeve technical turtleneck, a t-shirt, a jacket, gloves, and a headband to cover my ears under my helmet.  It was mostly enough for the ride.  The first mile was rough as the muscles in my legs warmed up, but otherwise it was pretty good.  There was a pretty strong headwind on the way back, but not enough to actually piss me off.

I got back to the van, put my bike in, switched out the shoes, and left for the run.  It took me about 2 minutes to transition.  The first 1/2 mile felt totally wrong (noodle legs), but then I was mostly okay.  It was slow going and it felt like I was running through pea soup, but I worked it out, went a mile and a half back down the trail, turned around, and headed back. 


someday I'll get a bike rack...especially if my kids ever want to be in the van at the same time as my bike!

entrance to the trail.  It's all paved...and not many braved the 40 degree, overcast, and rainy day

I got back to my van, took my running shoes off and put my cushy slip on sandals (yes..with socks) on.  Then I went shopping.  I imagine my outfit was curious to most people who saw me, but I really didn't care.  I may not feel like an athlete, but I sure as hell look like one!

In all honesty, while I didn't intend it, I'm glad I did the workouts today that I did.  I did each leg of the Tri in it's entirety (and then some on the swim).  If I can do that - I can do them in a row, right?  That's my thought plan, and I'm sticking with it.

We have two team workouts tomorrow.  The first is a mini-Tri.  The Y is letting us in 2 hrs before they open to do the swim and then we're going to do an abbreviated bike and run to mimic what it's like to transition in a race between the three.  Of course, this is weather pending.  Tomorrow is supposed to be worse than today - cold, wet, and maybe even snow!

The afternoon (at 430pm) is another brick on the Smithfield course.  Bike then run.  Again - weather pending.  If I'm not ready after tomorrow...I won't be ready in time. 

LIFE

Not much to really report.  Pretty much all of my day was spent working out, getting ready to work out, or getting cleaned up from working out!  Of course there was a bit of shopping and cooking, and I even finished my latest book, but the best thing about today is that I was so focused on the workouts - I didn't feel a lick of the stress that's been dogging me (of course now that I say that out loud, it's back).

I chatted with my sister for a bit and really just enjoyed my day.  I'm thinking tomorrow will be much like today - too busy to really think.  I welcome it to be honest.

But for now...my hubby wants to watch a movie.  It's almost 9, so I had better go and do that before I fall asleep, forget to set my alarm, and miss my Tri practice tomorrow!  W will KILL me if I do that....

Friday, March 25, 2011

Turns Out I Have More Than One Speed Setting

FOOD

I didn't get to really cook today, but I did get to eat my food, which just made me feel good and healthy and energetic overall.  Breakfast was a cup of coffee and some reheated rice/lentil/veggie/red curry.  I love spicy food in the morning!  Mid morning, I had yet another kale salad with pickled radish/onions from last week, avocado hummus, olive oil spray, and lemon juice.  I just can't articulate how very awesome this salad is.  The key is to have the kale marinate in the olive oil and lemon juice for a bit I think, but whatever it is, it tastes great and makes me feel amazing.  I've read other people's blogs about starting to crave certain really healthy foods, and I think I'm craving kale!  I can't believe I had never had it before a couple months ago.  Lunch was a black bean and rice wrap that really hit the spot.  I will admit, that I've been lacking on dinner the past few days.  In fact...I haven't eaten dinner for the past 3 nights.  I know it's not good, but my day gets so hectic (work, working out, making the rest of my family dinner), that by the time it's time that I can eat, it's after 8pm, and I figure it's a waste of time (and I never sleep on a full belly).  I made a piece of gluten free toast with sunflower bread about an hour before my workout.  Not exactly a meal, I know.....

Before work today, I made a batch of cupcakes.  They cooled all day, and after work, R frosted them.  Of course I took a picture when she WASN'T looking...and then wanted to pose for some of them.  She's a total ham....


when she didn't know I was taking a picture...

she staged this as an "action shot"...

...and finally acknowledging the camera!

FITNESS

I had two workouts today, and boy oh boy, did I need them!  I think I've been pretty vocal about how stressed I have been lately - in an unhealthy way.  I think a little stress sometimes is good, but too much for too long is terrible for you.  Anyway, I knew I had hit a breaking point today, and the ONLY thing I wanted to do was run.  So I did!  I did 5K around my neighborhood in the afternoon.  It felt great (even though I was overdressed), and my stress pretty much melted right off.

I've been noticing lately that my Garmin isn't reflecting the correct time.  It usually says something between 530 and 730pm - no matter what time of day I'm out and about.  I finally figured it out today - it was showing what that specific day's sunset time is!  I had no clue my watch even HAD that feature, and I couldn't figure out how to change it.  It's been driving me crazy...to the point I thought my watch was broken (nothing like being out for an hour run and NOT see the time change on my watch!).  Enter D, the wonder husband who figured out how to fix it. 

This evening was the team's swim workout.  It was wonderful and I felt really good.  I've always joked that when W has "tempo", "fast", "slow" as the speeds we're supposed to do, that I only have one speed.  I'm the same no matter which section of the workout I'm on.  This evening, however, I learned that I truly do have more than one speed setting!  On the "fast" laps, I pushed it and went faster than I did on the "slow" or "warm up and cool down" laps.  I still struggle with the first 100 yds - my breathing is erratic and I feel winded.  Once I'm past that, I can keep swimming for a long time, but that initial warm up is touch.  I'm worried what that will mean in the Tri next weekend - how do you warm up for a swim race when the swim is the first thing?  Will I get past that winded/erratic breathing to get through the race okay?  I certainly hope so.

LIFE

Today's first meeting was at 730am.  It was better than it could have been, but had it's sticky moments too.  Oh well, most of my day was peppered with moments just like this!

It's been tough watching D feel miserable the past week.  The Crohn's pains have completely subsided - and they did within a couple of days (fastest flare up recovery ever!).  The problem is the two meds they put him on make him terribly sick.  He's nauseated, exhausted, and has a taste in his mouth reminiscent of sucking on a tin can constantly.  Food tastes terrible, and he looks, frankly, like crap.  He hates it that I notice, but it breaks my heart I can't fix it.  I'm amazed he even takes his meds knowing how they make him feel. 

Not much else to report today.  I got a lot of work done, which is good, but I have a ton more I need to get together in pretty short order. 

I have recognized that I've let my crazy schedule sort of take over my life.  I know sometimes that's necessary in all things we do - we push the crazy hours and take on more than we should for a period of time.  What I've missed out on (and this sounds funny, I know), is keeping up on reading my favorite blogs and Twitter updates.  Today I decided that it's not something I want to give up anymore, and it's been fun spending an hour or so catching up.  I know it may sound weird, but sometimes it's the little things that make you happy.  I know no other vegan's at all, and the one's I do "know" are in the blog and twitter world.  It makes me feel connected to people who are in some ways like me...and I've missed it.

On a happy note, my pups has been quite happy lately.  The kids have been walking her every night (thanks to a harness...she'd walk them otherwise), and she's just as happy as ever.  We've started giving her a joint supplement twice per day to see if that helps her arthritis.  We'll know in a few weeks.  D was lounging on the green room couch last night rubbing her belly for a long time.  Sam's back leg was going like thumper!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Travel, Bad Wine, and Bob

This post is yet another "catch up post" that will not follow my regularly scheduled format.  I'm too stressed out for that much advanced planning :)  Instead, this will be a sort of free-flowing thought type of post, hope you don't mind!

I pulled the pictures off my phone of taking Sammie to and from her spa day on Saturday.  I couldn't get her to look at me on the way there - it was nice and the window was open.  It was funny having my 75lb dog in the bug though.  She took up more space than I did!  We used the van for the ride back home.




The past several days have been a blur.  I went up to the DC area Sunday for several days for work.  I left Sunday afternoon around 1230, but not until I made an awesome salad with my leftover tempeh taco stuff, spinach, avocado, pickled radish and onion, and some other veggies I had lying around.  It was huge and took me 2 hrs to eat.  That's okay though because it kept me full all day...which was a good thing because a usual 3 hr drive took a little over 5.  Stupid traffic.


super salad

I finally checked into the hotel, and discovered my dinner plans were shot because my friend was stuck an hour behind in the same traffic I had been.  I decided to go to Wegman's (one of the coolest grocery stores ever) and had myself a little adventure.

First I wanted to eat.  I was understandably hungry by this time and maybe just a wee cranky.  I went to their buffet and picked up something.



Then I wandered around looking (and picking up) quite a few things.  I have a good friend with a slight cheese obsession.  This grocery has about 6 aisles of cheese, so I texted her about it - she asked me to take pictures of the Brie section and send them.  So I'm walking around with my iPhone taking pictures in the grocery store of the olive and hummus bar (yes I know...amazing.  Two of my favorite things in a self service BAR), the fresh mozz aisle, and the brie aisle.  As I'm doing so, some cheese nazi comes up to me to tell me I am not allowed to take pictures of the food.  Really??  It's not like I was at the Opera or something....strange cheese lady.  Alas, it was too late and I sent S the pictures.


brie.  this is where the crazy cheese lady jumped out at me

hummus and olive bar.  so.  cool.

mozz

I picked up some avocado hummus, some chips that are actually MADE out of hummus, a few vegan/nut free/gluten free chocolate bars, and a bottle of wine.  I was all proud I remembered my wine key...but the bottle I bought was a screw top!  It was the free sample wine, so I thought my initial thimble sized sample was good.  I was SO wrong.  It was gross....






unneccesary wine key, bad wine, and classy hotel cup


Anyway, went back to my hotel room, turned on ABC Family which was playing Harry Potter, caught up on some emails, ironed my clothes, and felll asleep reading.  For the first time in several weeks, I slept really, really well.

The next morning I woke up early, took my time puttering around, and hit the road for a 715am meeting.  After a long afternoon of meetings, my two team members that were up with me and I went to Wegman's for lunch!




 I did get some playtime in too with a couple team mates when we took the train to Chinatown Monday evening to hit up Fado's Irish Pub.  It was a great time, and a much needed decompression from the stresses of late.  We started with some bloody mary's, beer, a jaeger bomb (for my friend), and a couple bottles of wine.  We drank, talked, and overall had a really good time.  We were there pretty early into happy hour, when I noticed a little old man come in.  He sat in the corner by himself, ate, and had a drink.  He was wearing what looked like an American Legion or Knights of Columbus hat with pins and blazer.   I very much wanted to meet him and hear his story, so we bought him a drink.  He came over and sat with us, and I think I had one of the most fun conversations that I've had in a long time!  He was visiting from Minnesota and was there with a group to meet with the legislature to discuss Veteran's benefits.  We talked about wars, growing up in the Midwest, his kids and grand kids, being part of the American Legion, and his thoughts on what's happening in my home state of Wisconsin politically.  We debated and disagreed and overall, had a wonderful time.  The girls and I eventually hit the train back to where we were staying. 





thought it was cool that the Starbucks sign was also in Chinese


no, this wasn't all mine....just one of the bloody mary's was

The next couple days were more meetings, squeezing in workouts when I could, and then travelling back home for more work and meetings and overall craziness.  Next week, it's travel time again, this time to the bottom of North Carolina for 3 days.  Should be interesting - I have to give three presentations (with my CIO, the VP of strategy, the Physician VP of IT...and me) to their Board of Directors, Hospital Leadership Group, and the entire Medical Staff.  I am slightly prepared...but have a ton more to do. 

Finally being in my own home today, I made a few things this morning food-wise.  The biggest thing that gets to me when I have to travel is the food.  I hate eating out for so many days in a row.  My stomach doesn't like it when my food isn't very fresh, and I don't like having to always be so picky and demanding when I'm out!  Thankfully DC has no shortage of vegan food options, but still.  Breakfast was a smoothie with a scoop of Chocolate Vega.  I don't add supplements to my food very often - I feel I get plenty with the way I eat.  But after traveling that many days and eating out or on the run, my body felt like it needed it.

I threw together a rice cooker dish as soon as I woke up so it would be ready before I left for work.  Brown rice, mixed veggies, coconut milk, lentils, and red Thai Curry powder from my dad's spice kit.  I have to order some more of that soon...

I also threw together a quick salad to take with me too that was so yummy.  I forgot to take a picture because I ate it before I realized I didn't take one!  It was kale sprayed with olive oil, lemon juice, pickled radish and onion, spinach, and a big spoonful of the avocado hummus.  Holy.  Cow.  In fact...I think that's what I'm going to have for dinner tonight too!  I'm totally craving veggies - probably because other than salads, I've been lacking them the past couple days.

I have a little over a week until my Triathlon and I'm totally scared.  I'm pretty convinced I'm going to die or something tragic, and that I am in no way ready.  While I think I'm getting in all my workouts, I've had to miss many of the group ones due to work or other obligations that have popped up.  I'm going to do my best, finish it (if it kills me), and figure out how to get really good at them so I can do another one.

So I'm going to make a salad and maybe read until I go to bed.  Here's hoping I keep sleeping well again!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yes, Someone Truly Can Function on Almost No Sleep for 4 Days. Just Not Well...

FOOD

The past few days have been so hectic, I haven't really cooked since the tempeh tacos the other night.  Thursday morning was some leftover butternut squash pasta.  I'm glad I made 8 servings of that on Monday, because I've been living on it most of the week.  I went and grabbed a double shot iced soy latte at one point too because I couldn't think anymore (very little sleep the past week).

Of course, Thursday was Saint Patrick's Day, so I definitely had to celebrate with some black and tans with friends and colleagues.  Probably not the brightest idea considering how tired I was, but it was an also much needed break from crazy work hours.  I also had a half of a portabella wrap for lunch, and some tofu for dinner. 

Friday I had Chinese food for breakfast.  Hey, I didn't sleep the night before, and really....I'd have eaten it for breakfast anyway!  I got to meet D for lunch, and it was such a beautiful day (85 degrees!), that we ate outside.  We went to Bravo's Italian.  Italian is usually a good bet, but there really wasn't much for me there.  I ordered a salad, and it came covered in cheese (even though it wasn't listed on the menu as having cheese).  D's fries also came with cheese sprinkled all over them - again - no indication on the menu.  I have to say, I'm annoyed.  It's not that people don't have free will and the right to eat cheese.  Quite the contrary - I really don't care what other people do.  But when it comes to food, full disclosure people!  I have what I would consider self-imposed dietary "restrictions".  I suppose I "could" eat cheese, I just "choose" not to.  But what if I were allergic?  Considering that lactose allergies are pretty common place, doesn't a restaurant owe it to their customers to fully disclose things like that?  I think of my daughter and her nut allergy.  What if some restaurant decided not to mention it had peanuts and she stopped breathing because she ate it not knowing better?  Yep...Bravo's is getting a letter from me!



my sweetie

By Friday evening I was pretty deliriously tired.  I took M and R to dinner because we were on one side of town, and D took A somewhere else, because they were on a different side of town!  I picked Italian again - almost always a hit.  This time, it was a place that we've been before called La Bella's.  Most people dress fairly nicely when dining there, though I've seen people in t-shirts and running gear too.  They also have an Italian grocery attached, and I often pick up canoli there for D and the kids. 

I realize that I get overly sensitive when I'm exhausted.  I'm sure that's totally normal, but I swear, I wasn't over reacting this time!  The food was great; it always is.  The service was horrible this time!  Our waiter was snooty as all get out, and treated me very shabbily.  Granted, I was wearing a t-shirt and jeans and was dining with just me and two of my kids, but he truly treated me like garbage.  He brought me a glass of water, but never asked if I wanted anything else.  He talked down to me and the kids, wouldn't make eye contact, and was just nasty when he did decide to grace us with his presence.  If you remember the movie Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts gets snubbed at a Rodeo Drive store because she didn't "look" like she could shop there, and she tells them what a "huge" mistake they made as she's walking out the door flashing Richard Gere's American Express gold card....it was a little like that. 

I was texting with D, and he was asking how dinner was and I told him.  He called the restaurant, spoke to the manager (I had no idea until I had left he did that), and she promised to make it right.  Well...she didn't.  Never saw her and our bill was $75.  For me and two kids.  Anyway, I only left a 10% tip...which was generous all things considered (I spent several years as a waitress...I know what good service should be).  I did buy canoli on the way out though!


vegan gnocchi.  fabulous

Breakfast this morning was two toasted slices of gluten free bread with sunflower seed butter.  And coffee.  I didn't make a pot of coffee, and I didn't want straight espresso, so I made an iced mocha of sorts.  I usually make a cup of espresso and put steamed vanilla soy milk in it.  Well...I've been out of vanilla soy milk for several days, but I had chocolate!  I decided to try that and it wasn't bad.


Lunch was a black bean burger with avocado slices, mustard, lettuce, and red onion.  Dinner hasn't happened yet, and it may not.  I may go to bed shortly just because I can!

FITNESS

The past few days I've either been at work or sleeping (or trying to sleep).  I missed the team swim last night because of both work and exhaustion, which made me sad because I love swimming.  Alas....I'm doing that in the morning.  I need to get my 300m and 800m times and send them to coach.

I did get do go on a 21 mile bike ride this morning with Fat Frogs.  This isn't the Tri Club, but the bike shop's weekly ride.  Several of the Tri Club goes, but it's a much bigger "everyone welcome" ride.  We got rained on the first 5 miles, and L and I joked that we were biking just past my subdivision and should just go to my house and have coffee.  It was tempting!  But after the first 5 miles, the rain stopped, we dried out, and kept going.  Unfortunately, it was super windy.  It was up to 25 mph winds, and some of the legs were either head on, or trying not to get blown over from the sides.  J, L, and I rode together at C pace, and some of it was quite the balancing act just trying to stay upright in the winds.  The average pace was 15mph, but there were moments in the head wind where 10mph was barely happening.

Tomorrow morning will be a run and then probably a swim.  I want to go see the Shamrock marathon and half-marathon runners at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront too if time and parking permit.

LIFE

Well, life has been full of long work hours and lack of sleep for the most part.  It'll probably be a couple of weeks before things stable out completely, but it is what it is.  I'm lucky to work with a strong group of people who can fully handle what's going on!

Thursday I had to go up to Hampton for a meeting.  I never know what tunnel traffic is going to be like, so I left earlier than I probably needed to.  I got up there in plenty of time, and swung by a Target to pick up kitty litter (and coffee...they all have Starbuck's inside now).  I tend to park out in the sticks because I have depth perception and parking issues (I drive a mini-van).  Anyway, I am parked quite far from the entrance, and I come out to my vehicle and see this!


I talked in a post last week about people not returning their shopping carts being a huge pet peeve of mine.  Well...he's one of the reasons why!  I'm sure the jerk didn't intend to scratch my car...but he/she did.  Really...if you use a cart...PUT IT BACK.  Or don't use a cart.

My oldest daughter wore a pretty green Asian style dress on Thursday.  She even tried smiling for the picture :)




I have a thing for antenna balls.  I have them for every holiday.  Saint Patty's is NO exception!!!

Not much else has been going on to be truthful.  Most of the past 96 hrs have been spent working.  I have to go to DC tomorrow afternoon for 2 days.  I don't mind going, but the timing is pretty bad.  I have 2 weeks until the Tri, am scared to death, and am going to miss a team ride on Monday.  I'm thinking of taking my bike to DC, but looking at the weather, it's supposed to rain.  I may just be using the hotel's treadmill for a couple days.  Ick.  I guess we'll see!