Support Team

Support Team

To give you some perspective on how old I feel today, I walked into the gym tonight and saw a woman around my age on the treadmill with a girl who appeared to be a young teenager. “Aw, that’s nice, she’s hanging with her little sister at the gym,” I thought. And then I got closer and realized they were mother and daughter. Ooof. That’s a nice gut-punch right there. Sometimes I’m just a weeeee bit delusional about my age.

Speaking of mothers and daughters, my mom is going to be trying a low-carb thing. When I was with her yesterday, she didn’t seem all that thrilled about it… and she’s not much of a cook to begin with (she’ll gladly confirm that). So I joked that I’d make some low-carb meals in solidarity. I decided to hold up my end of the bargain today, and spent my day and night cooking some low-carb options to test them out for her.

I started with cauliflower crust pizza – I mixed a bunch of herbs into the cauliflower crust, and topped it with no salt added tomato sauce, more herbs, freshly grated parmesan, a couple slices of bacon, and some sliced turkey meatballs. I’m not quite sure why the meatballs look green, but I promise they’re not. I made enough for lunch tomorrow, dinner Wednesday, and lunch again on Thursday, so I’m hoping it’s good. The couple bites of crust that I snagged were really good, so I’m hopeful.

Then for dinner, I did some experimenting. I made cabbage “steaks,” which taste nothing like actual steaks but taste pretty darn good nonetheless. I also made my first-ever green beans recipe – I sautéed them in a teensy bit of coconut oil with minced garlic and a piece of leftover bacon. I’m notorious for saying that I hate green beans unless the venue I work at on weekends makes them (they make some r.i.d.i.c.u.l.o.u.s. green beans amandine), but these were actually really tasty. Not as good as the ones at work, but better than my normal perception of green beans. I’d totally make them again. For my main dish, I sautéed some zucchini noodles with onions and peppers and added half of a sliced chicken breast with some soy sauce, sriracha, fish sauce, lime juice, and garlic. Holy Moses, it was good! I only made enough of the chicken/veg stir-fry for tonight, but I have plenty of leftovers of the cabbage and the green beans. So far, though, that stir-fry was the winner.

Whether my mom will enjoy the low-carb thing or not, it seems like I’ll enjoy testing recipes for her.😉

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Squirrel!

Squirrel!

In lieu of crossing another item off of my 16 in ’16 list today, I opted to visit my fur-bros and parents and then to go to the Grove City outlets with my mom. While I like the work bag that I bought on Friday, I’m not 100% in love with it, so I was seeing if I’d find anything I liked better. I was also looking for some skinny belts and maybe some comfortable black heels – all in the name of work. I found none of the above, but I did end up paying an exorbitant amount for a shirt and a cardigan – I thought the sale was better than it actually was… I’m bad at math when I’m sleep-deprived.

While the shopping trip was a bust, I did get to hang with my favorite fur-faces. We played for quite a bit and I tuckered them out – Tank was worn out by the laser pointer on the deck, and Taco was worn out by playing tug-of-war. It seems the only time I can get a somewhat clear shot of the two of them is when they’re distracted, so I took advantage of a nearby squirrel sighting to grab this one.

I’m sort of regretting the trip because I feel like I’m about to fall asleep sitting up, but it was good to see them again (two weekends in a row). Time spent visiting furballs is not time wasted.🙂

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Free Smells

Free Smells

I spent most of last night shopping for a replacement business trip bag, and eventually I settled on one for $30 from TJ Maxx. It’s black with blue accenting, and it looks like it’s going to carry a ton of crap. Plus, it’s lightweight and it feels good on my shoulder, so I’m hoping it’s easy to drag through airports at a fast clip.

While I was browsing the different bag areas, I stopped over in the candle aisle and snagged some smells. I have a “thing” for candles that smell like men’s cologne/tobacco/leather/whiskey – in fact, there’s an entire line of them called “Manly Indulgences” – and I was going to grab a Fresh Shave candle to go with my bag. Instead, I saw this Sea Salt & Pumpkin one and gave it a sniff. Holy moly, it smells amazing. I’m not really into the “homey” smells like cinnamon/apple/vanilla, but this one is incredible. I put down the Fresh Shave candle and grabbed this one instead.

I’ve now lit it twice – for an hour or so yesterday and then again today – and I can’t get enough. My house smells like a gosh darn bakery right now, and it makes me want to bake things. I can’t, since I’m on my way to work, but I’m nervous and excited about what tomorrow will bring. The last thing I need is baked goods in my house, so I think I’m going to have to train myself to be content with just smelling them via candle and not eating them.

Yeah, wish me luck on that.😉

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Five Things Friday: 09/23/16 Edition

AKA, the “OMGImSoTiredIWantToCry” edition.

I finally – finally – made it home last night. By the time I landed in Pittsburgh (after many delays), disembarked, grabbed my checked bag, walked to my car, waited in a looooong line of cars to pay for parking (since when is there a line to get out of the airport?!), and drove home, it was after 1:30 when I got home. From there, I grabbed a shower, put a few things away, and was in bed by 2:30.

The project manager I’m working with for our cutover activities today threatened to call me at 7am to make sure I was awake to work on my cutover tasks, and I stupidly told him, “I’m not on-call tonight, so my phone is going to be silent. Good luck with calling me.” But I also said he could text me if he didn’t see me online by 9, knowing that I’d feel/hear the text vibration.

Fast-forward to 4:56 am, when I received a volunteer text. Since I was on-edge about not missing my cutover activities, I woke right up and my adrenaline started pumping since I thought it was after 9 and I thought the text was from my PM. Then I saw it was a volunteer text, but it was too late – I was already wide-awake. I reluctantly replied that I could go out if I was absolutely needed, and didn’t expect to hear anything back… except I was added to a group chat at crazy o’clock and started preparing to leave my house. In the end, I ended up coordinating a small team of other people to go and I got to stay home, but I had a nice hour’s worth of “work” in there during the 5am hour. I was kind of keyed up from that, so I couldn’t fall back asleep until around 7. Finally, at 9:03, I got another text – this one from my PM.

So yeah, it’s been a rather eventful night. I could use a nap right about now.

BUT, I’m working on finishing my cutover tasks, then have meetings in the afternoon, and then I’m on-call (for real, this time) until noon tomorrow. I’m going to die from tiredness, aren’t I? Sure feels like it.

  1. Currently Reading: Still working on Why We Get Fat. I didn’t have much of a chance to read this week, so I haven’t made much progress. Whoopsie.
  2. Currently Eating: As is to be expected from me, I have some leftovers from the trip to Omaha. I’m currently working on eating the maple bacon croissant donut I bought on Tuesday morning (still tastes pretty fresh), and I have some leftover oven-fried chicken to eat for lunch. At least I was smart enough to bring leftovers home with me since I knew I’d be pooped today – not having to make food is one of the few things I have going for me today.
  3. Currently Craving: More coffee. I’ve had two cups today, and that’s normally my limit. I might need to make an iced matcha latte so I can really wake up.

    Also craving some sleep, but that’s a given. I didn’t sleep well on the trip – I think I averaged about 3.5-4 hours every night – and last night/this morning’s sleep didn’t help.

  4. Currently Loving: While I was out of town, my dad stopped by my house with a chainsaw and chopped down a large part of a “nuisance tree” in front of my house. It was getting out of control, and my parents have begged me not to purchase my own chainsaw (they know me too well; I’d end up in the hospital or dead), so the alternative is for them to help out. Surprisingly, my dad seems more than willing to drive the hour to Pittsburgh and to spend a few hours cutting things up if it means he doesn’t have to hear me whine about an amputated arm. So when I got home last night, although it was dark outside, tree remains scattered along my bank were the first thing I saw. I tried to take a picture from my kitchen window this morning (see above), but it doesn’t do the mess justice – it’s wicked. I have a lot of work cut out for me today, in order to dispose of the limbs/branches. BUT, I’m loving the fact that the tree has been cut and it looks a lot better.

    I’m also loving being back home. I like traveling, but I love my bed.

    Oh, and one last thing I’m loving – I just finished my cutover activities, ahead of schedule. Despite being sleep-deprived and under-caffeinated, I’m on top of this whole work thing.

  5. Currently Anticipating: It’s a weird thing for me to anticipate, but I’m looking forward to some shopping this weekend. My favorite business travel bag – the one I keep my laptop in on trips and take to client sites – started unraveling (literally) at the airport yesterday. I think I was still in Omaha when I first noticed it. By the time I departed Minneapolis later in the night, the bag was nearly destroyed. I really didn’t think it would survive the walk from the PIT airport to my car, but miraculously, it did. So now I’m tasked with trying to find a new, functional, nice-looking bag at a decent price. Searches on Amazon haven’t yielded much – the bags I like are too small to hold a laptop + notebooks + flip-flops (my travel essentials), so I think I’ll be hitting up TJ Maxx and Marshalls this weekend to see if I can find something that’s reasonably-priced and moderately stylish. Now if only I could expense it…

    I’m not really looking forward to work tomorrow, but if you were following along the earlier part of this week, I’m sure you’d understand why. However, I am anticipating making some money (hopefully) since I’ll need to pay for my Omaha expenses on my credit card before I receive my reimbursement from work.

    And finally, I’m anxiously anticipating sleeping in on Sunday. I can’t reasonably look forward to doing so tomorrow since I’m on-call, but Sunday is the next day I don’t have anything planned in the morning. I only have to get through two full days before I can anticipate some real sleep. I can do this. I’ve got this. Eye of the tiger. Omg, I’m going to die.

That’s it for this week. Happy weekend, all; get some sleep for me!🙂

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I Love It When You Call Me Big Ma-Ma

I Love It When You Call Me Big Ma-Ma

Hola from the Omaha Eppley Airfield airport.

I’m becoming quite familiar with this airport because I got the unwelcome news that my connecting flight to Detroit has been delayed “indefinitely,” per the Delta agent I spoke to when I checked my bag. I’ve since been placed on a different flight to Minneapolis, but I was warned that all flights to Minneapolis are actually being diverted to Omaha (ironic), and that my departure does not look promising. And then when I tried to check my seat assignment for the flight to Minneapolis, I discovered that I don’t actually have an assigned seat; nor do I have one for the flight from Minneapolis to Pittsburgh. So. It might be a very, very long night.

I wouldn’t mind another night in Omaha – after all, I have more restaurants on my list to get through – but there’s an issue with another customer that I have a tiny window to take care of tomorrow morning. It’s a pretty huge thing (a Go-Live cutover), and it needs to be done in a specific order, at a specific time. So if I’m stuck in Omaha another night, there’s no telling when or if I’ll be able to do it. The last thing I want is for my boss to have to do my work because I’m trapped in an airport.

Anyway, there’s a silver lining to all this. Before I knew about the delayed flights, I stopped and grabbed lunch to go at a place called Big Mama’s Kitchen. Big Mama’s is known for soul food, and they were featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives. My family loves that stuff, so I had to stop for lunch and to take pictures.

I grabbed a 3-piece oven fried chicken meal with cornbread, mac & cheese, and mashed potatoes with gravy. I also snagged a taste of the most unique ice cream flavor I’ve ever seen – green tomato raisin. Believe it or not, it tasted just like apple pie ice cream. For real. It was really, really good, and if I hadn’t been rushing to the airport, I would have gotten a full scoop.

As it was, I timed the drive to the airport perfectly – for the flight that no longer exists. So instead of rushing to get through security, I’ve been hanging out in the non-secure area and soaking up the free wifi, eating my meal from Big Mama’s. As I told my mom, “Don’t worry, I have enough food to tide me over. I’ll be okay.” As though she’d ever worry about that.😉

 

My ideal scenario here is that the flight to MSP is canceled and Delta puts me up in a hotel with a rental car for the night and then I grab a flight tomorrow early afternoon. That way I’d be able to enjoy another night in Omaha, perform my cutover tasks in the morning, and then be able to spend the day traveling tomorrow (though I’d have to get someone to cover my on-call shift in the evening). I don’t think it’s going to work out quite like that, but a girl can dream. On the plus side, the volleyball game we were supposed to have tonight has been pushed to next week, so I don’t have to worry about that.

Cross your fingers that I either get back to Pittsburgh tonight, or that I get to enjoy one more night and do my cutover tasks tomorrow. As long as I don’t have to fly tomorrow morning (from anywhere), I should be good to go (hopefully). In the meantime, I’ve been told there’s a Cold Stone Creamery here, so you know where to find me…

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This Modern Love

This Modern Love

Day 3 in Omaha is a wrap!

Today was our last full day onsite; tomorrow is only a half day and then we all head to the airport. Personally, I made the most of my time in Omaha today.🙂

I grabbed breakfast at First Watch in an attempt to start the day a little healthier after the large portion of moo cow I ate for dinner last night. I know we have a First Watch in Pittsburgh, but I’ve never been there… and honestly, for what it is, I found it to be a bit on the expensive side. But that’s the benefit of business trips – you get to go to places you normally wouldn’t.

I got the kale juice + coffee + the fig & prosciutto toast. Despite whining about the price, it was actually really good. The service was a bit slow (slower than I would have liked; I had to break some land speed records to get to the client site on time), but the food itself was good.

Lunch was at a place just down the street called Voodoo Taco. One of my coworkers raved about it from the last time he was in Omaha, so we had to try it. It was pretty good. Not the best I’ve ever had, but very decent. I got a barbacoa taco and a carnitas taco. The carnitas was really good, but the barbacoa was just meh. If I ever end up in Omaha again, I’ll stick with carnitas and maybe grilled shrimp.

We wrapped up our day a little early and met in the hotel lobby for a drink. To everyone’s surprise, I stuck with soda water. I had big plans for the evening and I didn’t want to get weighed down.😉

I made my intentions very clear at the beginning of the day, and I invited the team to go with me. They were all on-board until I mentioned the vegan restaurant I was planning on for dinner. Once they realized vegan meant neither meat nor cheese, they all bailed pretty quickly. Even when I mentioned whiskey, I couldn’t get them back on my side. Sigh. It’s okay, though; I was kind of craving some solo time to explore.

 

My first post-work spot was a place that came highly recommended by one of our client people – Grane. Grane has a ridiculous menu of liquor, most of it scotch/bourbon/rye.

Yes, the drink is blurry, but that’s because I was really trying to get a little part of the enormous wall of spirits. That drink right there is the house old fashioned, which was on tap. It was a little sweeter than I’m used to, but it was great. And strong. SOOOO strong. The kind of strong where I was emailing inappropriate things to people after about 3 sips and I’d barely made a dent in it. (<– For real. I just re-read some of the things I wrote and WHOA.)

When I wasn’t emailing lewd things to people, I was checking out the rest of the bar menu. This was probably my only opportunity to ever have a drink that costs 4 full days of my per diem for work. Yes, that’s $350 for 2 ounces of scotch. Crazy.

Needless to say, since I could barely handle myself through one drink, I did not go for a strong pour of the Ladyburn 41 Year.

Dinner was perhaps the most exciting part of my entire trip to Omaha – I went to a place called Modern Love, which is run by famous vegan cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskovitz. I’ve read a bajillion blogs where people rave about her most famous cookbook, Veganomicon, but I didn’t know she had a restaurant until I did some research on Omaha. Once I realized she’s the chef at Modern Love, I knew I had to try it – despite the fact that I’m visiting the land of cattle.

I ordered a blueberry ginger sangria (because that insanely strong old fashioned apparently wasn’t enough), and then went with the Mac & ‘Shews – macaroni and cheese made with cashew “cheese” (see the first picture for a grainy photo of the plate). I wasn’t sure what to think before it came to the table, and honestly I didn’t realize it came with sides. To my surprise and delight, the mac & ‘shews was served with garlicky kale, cornmeal-crusted tofu, and BBQ cauliflower. I ate every single bite of it and it was absolutely the highlight of my trip. It was beyond incredible – one of the best meals I’ve had in a very very long time. It didn’t taste exactly like mac & cheese, but it was darn close… and I think I may have liked it even more than regular mac & cheese because it wasn’t so heavy. The tofu was ridiculous and tasted like comfort food. The kale and cauliflower were also amazing. Since no one had taken my phone away from me, I was still emailing crazyballs things to people. I think one email just read “OMGWTFBBQTHISISINCREDIBLE” and then I included the picture above. I don’t think I got a response back from that one, now that I think about it…

I was pleasantly full (but not too full) when I left Modern Love, but I still had time to hit up a dessert place. Gerda’s was on the way home, and I’d read amazing things about their German chocolate cake. I had to grab a slice to go, but unfortunately it didn’t photograph well. Not that that’s stopped me before, but it really looks gross. It does not taste gross in the slightest, but it’s not pretty.

I took a few bites in the hotel room and then laced up my sneaks for a walk. Last night I walked along a busy highway for a couple hours (around midnight – 2 am); tonight I’d planned the same. I ended up walking through the University of Nebraska – Omaha, and then walked to Warren Buffet’s house (he still lives there, and it’s a moderately normal-looking house – not huge by any means),. From there, I walked back to the hotel, and then back out to a cemetery a mile or so away. I roamed around inside a Hy-Vee (my first Hy-Vee), and then walked through the cemetery. The cemeteries in Omaha are much darker than the ones in Pittsburgh – I could hardly see my hand in front of my face. All told, I walked for two hours or so tonight. I only came back to my room because I need to pack.

Tomorrow is our last day, and while it’s supposed to be an easy day, it’s going to be very busy. I have to be at the client site at 8:30 am with my luggage packed away, and then I’m leaving at around 11 to go to the airport. I don’t think I land in Pittsburgh until around 7:30 pm. Thank goodness volleyball was canceled for tomorrow night.

Off to pack!

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