Gratitude

I have so many thank yous to give today!

First, thank you all for your support and advice regarding yesterday’s injury. I feel much better after reading about your advice and experiences with similar situations!

Second, a huuuuuge thank you to Mara who very generously offered her time and serious photoshop skills to help me come up with a new header! After lots of emailing back and forth between Mara and my dad (who will forever be my ultimate artistic director :P), we came up with something I really like (for now). Hope you like it, too!

Onto breakfast:
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I was still thinking I might be able to go to brunch with Gina and Kate, so I made a light breakfast when I got hungry around 9:30 in case I was going to need to be eating two hours later. This is a cup of fruit salad topped with 2 tbsp PB2 (mixed with 2 tbsp healthy cream cheese icing) and trail mix/granola:
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I soon realized, however, that I was not going to be able to go anywhere. I woke up this morning in no less agony than when I went to bed last night!

I considered going to the ER, but I also figured that I would probably end up waiting for hours and paying an arm and a leg to be sent somewhere else (not to mention that I might get stuck for good going down my apartment steps). I decided to keep sitting on my ice pack for the rest of the day and call my regular doctor tomorrow to see what she recommends. I think this was a good idea, as the occasional journey from room to room has gotten slightly less excruciating than it was earlier today. I feel like a giant slug, though — I had so many plans for the weekend that involved actually leaving my apartment.

I stayed in bed and felt sorry for myself a little bit longer … but things soon turned around. I felt a lot better after Kate emailed and offered her escort services if I needed assistance with anything. And then I read this super helpful comment from reader Alexa:

I’m recovering from this injury. Hurts more than anything to start putting weight on and taking weight off that foot, right? I had to stop running completely for a week and a half, and I’ve been slowly adding it back (it’s been 2 weeks now). Definitely see a doctor if you can, but otherwise:

  • stop running for 8-10 days. (And seriously stop. I tried to do a little too early and made it a lot worse.) Do other kinds or exercise and consider it cross-training. I’ve been fine with walking, elliptical, biking/spinning, yoga and pilates.
  • stretch…down dog and a butterfly stretch pushing down on my knees with my elbows has worked.
  • ice packs will remain your best friend.
  • And smack anyone who laughs at you for pulling your groin. Such an unattractive sounding injury name, right?

Thanks, Alexa! The symptoms she described sounded just like mine, and I sent her a follow-up email for some more info. She was so helpful! I’m going to take her advice and stop running completely for at least two weeks. I really don’t want to take any more risks, especially with the half marathon coming at the end of May.

I’m going to stay away from the gym for at least the first few days of this week and, depending on how I feel, I may do some Gentle Hatha Yoga the next couple of mornings. In the meantime, like I said, I will call my doctor tomorrow to see if she has any extra recommendations for me or if she thinks I should come in for a visit.

With all of that taken care of, it was time to move on to lunch:

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I haven’t been able to get to the grocery store, so I’m running low on fresh veggies and had to get creative! I had the rest of the delicious chicken lasagna that Myrna gave me at work on Friday:

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How lucky, right? Who knew I’d be chair-bound and unable to get out or really even make new food?! This lasagna came in so handy. Thanks, Myrna!

On the side, I made a Mexican-ish layer sort of deal: thawed frozen corn on the bottom, homemade guac in the middle (about 1/3 an avocado’s worth), and salsa from Friday’s work meeting on the top.

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I covered the whole thing in a sprinkling of freshly grated homemade parmesan πŸ˜€

I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to be productive within the confines of my limitations! I had about three cups of whey from Greek yogurt-making that needed to get used, so I put that in the crockpot with two eggs, 1 cup dry chickpeas, 1/2 cup millet, 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/2 cup lentils, and 1/2 cup raw wheat germ (that I toasted first, making it no longer raw). I’m low on oats, so I figured that I would make a giant batch of wholesome protein-filled whole grain deliciousness that could be converted to sweet or savory this week for the purpose of breakfasts, snacky dips, and who knows what else. I’m pretty sure I’m going to blend it all once the chickpeas finally finish cooking, so we’ll see what it turns into.

I used one avocado to make guacamole (obviously). The other, I used to make more chocolate mousse (1 avocado + 1.5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder + 2 tsp molasses), my favorite thing in the world. I roasted the rest of my cashews and a few almonds a little bit too long and made some very dark roasted cashew-almond butter. I added a teeny drizzle of molasses to that, too, to try to offset the burnt flavor, and it worked quite well!

I organized some textbooks and paper avalanches in my bedroom and hand-swept the dust off my shelves. I took care of blog tasks. I checked in with both mom and dad. I tried to log in to the discussion board for my class. I got hungry again and scavenged some dinner:

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The last Sweet β€˜n’ Spicy Black Bean-Salmon Patty with a smear of goat cheese, two sliced radishes (from work), and freshly ground black pepper:

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Grape tomatoes:

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And the last 1/3 toasted blueberry bagel spread with lemon curd + ricotta and topped with sliced strawberries:

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For dessert, I heated up the last 1/2 cup of Sylvia’s banana bread pudding from work and arranged it with more sliced strawberries, a dollop of the above-mentioned chocolate mousse, and a sprinkling of unsweetened coconut:

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Potentially the best dessert ever.

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And because I wanted more comfort, I whipped up some fancy hot cocoa: 2 cups boiling water, sugar cookie sleigh ride tea bag, splash unsweetened soymilk, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne, 1/2 tsp honey, 1/2 tsp cashew-almond butter. I may have also dropped in a couple Hershey’s kisses πŸ˜€

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As of now, I’m planning on going to work tomorrow, but I’ll have to see how my mobility is when I wake up in the morning. I’ll probably have to cancel my visit because I’m pretty sure I can’t handle crawling on the floor and holding babies (unfortunate since that’s the best part of my job)!

So, in conclusion, thank you to everyone — and especially to mom, dad, Mara, Alexa, Kate, and Myrna — because I would have spent the entire day buried under a mountain of self-pity if not for your help!

What are you thankful for today?

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A wrench …

… has been thrown into my plans.

But just so that you don’t get too bored too fast by too many words, here’s another mini Tale of Expansion from my coworker Nitza, who had the honor of experiencing an authentic homemade Ethiopian feast at a friend’s home a couple weeks ago.

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OK, it’s not so much a tale as a photograph, but I wanted to share because Nitza has been showing me this photo for a week, and it has made me drool every time. Ethiopian food is such an adventure.

So, back to the wrench. Kate and I did our 10 miles on pretty much the same route I did last weekend, through Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights, over the Brooklyn Bridge, and back. Stats: 1 hour and 49 minutes, 916 calories, average heart rate 152, max 173.

Now the bad news. I have had some slight inner thigh muscular discomfort for a couple of weeks. I figured it was probably some minor tug or tension or something due to the increase in running, and I’ve been focusing more on stretching and yoga this past week to make sure that nothing gets too out of whack. I started the run really slowly and gently today to give my body time to warm up, and it worked. Discomfort seemed a thing of the past by mile 3.

In mile 7, however, the muscle pain flared up again! I kept going because it was manageable, I wasn’t feeling fatigued, and I had a lot of things on my to-do list that I wanted to get home for! This may have been a bad idea. When I got home, I immediately did the 20-minute Yoga for Runners #1 from yogadownload.com because I felt in serious need of stretching and injury-prevention. After yoga and a shower, I was finding walking through the apartment to be an abnormally painful and arduous endeavor. I tried to bend down to get something in the fridge, and I couldn’t. My analysis is that I may have pulled or even sprained my right groin muscle somehow. I know — very cool, right? This could be a disaster.

I tried to carry on as normal and sat on an ice pack while I ate my muesli brunch.

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The muesli consisted of 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, 1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, and about two tbsp chopped dried fruit (berries, apricots, prunes, and raisins) from Newman’s Own Organics (yet another thing I had no idea that Newman’s made before yesterday). I let that mix sit for an hour during yoga and shower, and then I ate it on top of a cup of my tropical fruit salad and topped with some trail mix:

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And the pain persisted. I thought of the haircut, the laundry, the cleaning … everything I was finally going to do this weekend since I don’t have a ton of homework for once. But I couldn’t move!

I got up briefly from my ice pack around 4 to heat up linner. Here it is between the petals of the gorgeous roses Myrna gave me yesterday at work:

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I had some of Myrna’s chicken lasagna topped with homemade parmesan:

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And the rest of the Granny Smith apple slices from my work meeting on Wednesday with cinnamon and homemade almond-cashew butter:

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And then I hobbled to my room and napped for four hours because there was nothing else to do. I woke up a little after 8, got a new ice pack, took 3 ibuprofen, and called my mom and cried for an hour. I’m thinking I may need to go to the emergency room tomorrow? I’ve never had an exercise-induced injury before … and especially not a sprained groin which seems like the most awkward-possible location of a muscle sprain ever. Do you have any advice for me?

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things look less bleak in the morning. I don’t know what I’m going to do about this!

A club, a review, and a trash can

Ohhhh dear, it’s going to be another one of those still-full-from-yesterday days…

On the way to the book club last night, I tested a piece of organic sugar-on-the-go from the package I received yesterday:

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Who knew Neman’s made breath mints? I certainly did not. Anyway, as far as cinna-mints go, it tasted like a cinna-mint.

img_6834When I arrived, Amanda set me right up with a delicious pear martini.

We actually discussed the book — something that has never ended up happening in any book club I’ve attended before! I think it helped that (1) this book, Those Who Save Us, was really intense, moving, and thought-provoking and (2) Amanda, Meghan, and I were the only ones there for the discussion portion. (P.S. Amanda and Meghan live there, so I was actually the only one there :P)

Amanda and Meghan had prepared a substantial spread of goodies to get us through the chat.

A port-wine cheese ball with melba toasties:

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(I think I ate about five of these over the course of the night.)

Baby carrots:

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(Probably ate about 20 of these.)

Jelly Bellies:

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(Errr, the jar was full when I arrived and empty when I left Sorry, Meghan!)

Peanut m&ms:

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(See comment above about jelly bellies.)

And peanuts:

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(Ditto. Yup, I mindlessly housed about two cups of peanuts in the space of three hours. Was I hungry for any of it? Nope. At least my body is now swimming in healthy fat …)

We also went to town on the snacks I brought. The last single-serve bag of kettle corn from the pack I found at work:

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And, the star combo of the night, Newman’s protein-infused pretzels (a close examination of the ingredients list seemed to indicate that the protein comes from pea flour?) with Nutella for dipping:

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Demonstration:

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(I might have repeated this action 12 or more times.)

Willie arrived in the midst of all this and had never tried protein-infused pretzels or nutella, so we peer-pressured him. Game face on:

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The aftermath:

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(You may not be able to tell, but that’s a look of pure pleasure. Really.)

Willie is also very thoughtful and aware of my compulsion to eat everything in sight, so he brought us a six-pack of Dunkin Donuts:

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Left to right, top: powdered chocolate frosting-filled, Boston Cream, powdered cinnamon-apple-filled; bottom: chocolate-frosted with sprinkles, jelly-filled, strawberry-frosted cream-filled.

I had the winning idea of cutting all the donuts into fourths so we could try little tastes. Which led us (or me at least) to try many tastes:

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Soon after the donut demolition incident, Damon, Laura, and Owl arrived. And things start to get fuzzy.

It started out innocently enough, with Owl boldly getting the ball rolling on the still-unopened Newman’s bite-sized chocolate chip cookies:

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Everyone loved these. I had two:

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The innocence continued with a simple pass-around-the-pretzels-so-I-can-try activity:

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Amanda somehow noticed a striking difference between these pretzels and all those that had come before. Her evaluation was poetic and beautifully-phrased, but I can’t remember it.

Things kind of deteriorated from there as everyone got carried away with the idea of doing a product review. Meghan and Amanda administered a blind taste test on Willie:

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And on Damon:

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The boys took it seriously:

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Interestingly enough, even in the blind taste test, everyone preferred — and noticed a striking difference between — the regular store-brand pretzels and the extra crunchy and subtly salty protein pretzels. Perhaps even more interesting, both Willie and Damon guessed that the store-brand pretzels (the non-preferred product) were actually Newman’s because they assumed that an organic and protein-infused pretzel could not possibly taste as good as a less-healthy and no-regard-for-nutrition-or-the-environment brand.

Amanda said it best:

I will definitely buy Newman’s Own Organic protein pretzels next time.

Newman’s should hire her.

In conclusion, my tummy hurts this morning. And my planned 10-mile-run (as opposed to accidental) with Kate is imminent. And I am hoping that the run will leave me feeling rejuvenated and refreshed and like I ate whole grains and produce last night instead of a trash can.

How are you faring this morning?


La bomba

OK, confession time: I was prematurely harsh in my comments about this afternoon’s pizza and “staff development” event! I should have known that my perfect internship would not let me down πŸ™‚

But first things first. The second I arrived at my desk, Beryl popped over with the last bite of her coconut rum cake (she let me photograph the banana version on Monday) that she’s been devotedly saving for me:

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Whooooooeeee, was this cake something! The coconut flavor was definitely there, but so was the rum. Nothing like a shot of hard liquor to get the Friday started …

Before I went into my two-hour meeting with Heather, I snacked on the same best-ever yogurt/fruit salad/golean crunch combo I’ve been eating all week:

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After the meeting, I chowed down on this yummy stick of nutrition that Melissa passed out at the blogger brunch last Sunday:

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Even though I knew lunch was imminent (the event was about to start), I wanted to pad my stomach so I didn’t end up eating half a pizza (or a whole one) by “accident.”

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I was a fan of this bar — it tasted dense and healthy and was definitely satisfying. BUT, it does have sugar added … something I always think is so unnecessary when dates are involved!

The event started at 12:30, and here’s what was waiting when we arrived downstairs. Five boxes of pizza:

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Salad:

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Cookies (store-bought trio and homemade-by-Heather chocolate chip) and lemon squares (also homemade by Heather):

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Strawberries and cool whip:

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Here’s how I began:

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Round two:

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Yes, that is a second slice of pizza hiding underneath the salad (which is topped with salsa and tortilla chips) πŸ˜€ This pizza was surprisingly tasty, if quite a bit chewy. I patted down the grease with napkins and ate every bite except for the big pieces of plain crust on the end (I wasn’t sure my jaw would be able to handle them!). The best part was the crispy cheese:

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I followed the pizza with two of Heather’s delectable lemon squares:

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They were like perfectly buttery shortbread cookies topped with a thick layer of lemon curd … and we all know how I feel about lemon curd after this past week πŸ˜€

I also had a big bowl of strawberries with a heaping mound of lemon-square-crumb-topped cool whip:

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Plus another bowl just like it … except this time I topped the cool whip with a crumbled chocolate chip cookie:

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And then I had a homemade chocolate chip cookie straight up.

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Throughout the rest of the workshop, I snacked on loads more strawberries dipped in cool whip. Then, I made myself a giant bowl of just strawberries to munch on so that I could be distracted from eating all the cookies:

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Interspersed through all the eating was a great workshop! A group called YerbaBuena came to teach us about Bomba, one of the oldest musical traditions of Puerto Rico. The workshop still related to the theme of the book we had to read, but it was much more fun than the breakout groups and role-plays I had expected.

Mildred and Deborah danced while Jessica drummed:

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Vianni, Belkis, the workshop leader, Jessica, and Maria went wild on the drums:

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MORE dancing … Myrna, Mildred, Deborah, Inginia, and Jessica:

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Yes, clapping is the best dance move I can pull off.

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The day was pretty much over when the workshop ended. I celebrated with these candies (plus another mint):

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As Mildred, Pura, and I were leaving (Mildred drives me to my subway station downtown), I spotted this squirrel after my own heart through the windshield:

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That squirrel was literally clinging to the tree by his toenails so that he could use both hands to eat the cookie he found on the ground!

I came home to (and brought home with me) a LOT of excitement! A dozen roses from Myrna as a thank you for the help I give her with her papers (AWWWWW!); a cup of strawberries, 4 cookies, and leftover salsa from the workshop; a fun Stonyfield bag filled with yogurt coupons; and a lifetime supply (or close to it) of Newman’s Own Organics products for later review:

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I’m not even going to show you the inside of that box because it is just TOO overwhelming (in a good way) … but rest assured that you’ll be seeing everything as I get to it over the next 10 years.

I’m off to discuss yet another book at the book club my friend Amanda is starting — and I’m obviously bringing some Newman’s to contribute to the snacks of the night!

Now that I have so many snackss, I need ideas! How do you or would you use a million pretzels if you had them?? Any favorite pretzel snacks/meals you can suggest?

Frosted Friday

I had a snacktastic breakfast this morning:

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But gym before breakfast. I did 15 minutes on the bike followed by 30 on the elliptical (again, trying to go easy on the old knees). Stats: 1 hour and 10 minutes, 397 calories, 123 average heart rate, 171 max. I know that strength has been conspicuously absent from all of my workouts this week. All of a sudden, I just can’t even stand the thought of doing the same old, same old. Coming up with a new plan is at the top of my agenda for the weekend.

My snacky breakfast began with 1/3 toasted blueberry bagel with 2 tbsp of a spread made of Greek yogurt, part-skim ricotta, goat cheese, lemon curd, and cinnamon. Topped with sliced strawberries:

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You MUST try this combo!! (Emily almost already has, with her blackberry and lemon curd filled wedding cake, drooooool.)

Breakfast snack #2 was 1/3 cup healthy lemon [curd] cream cheese icing (hidden on the bottom) topped with the last 1/3 cup spinach oatmeal, another dollop of icing, a spoonful of homemade almond-cashew butter, unsweetened coconut, and sliced strawberries:

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Along with a couple tbsp granola/trail mix/cocoa-java almonds for gradual mixing in:

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With soymilky black tea and sunlight of course πŸ˜€

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This afternoon will be interesting, as we have a four-hour long “fun” event planned that is going to involve discussion (and perhaps break-out groups and role-playing, my FAVORITE, haaaaa) of this book.

Lunch is going to be provided, but word on the street is that it will be pizza from a local pizza spot. I am aware that I live in NY, home of the best pizza in the world, and the notion of free lunch pizza should excite me … but I work in East Harlem. Not exactly the pizza capital of the city …. I’m bringing a bunch of snacks just in case.

P.S. It’s Friday! What will be the best part of your day today?

P.P.S. I mentioned the other day that I should have been born in the DR (Dominican Republic) because I am in love with the food my coworkers bring to share with me. My dad replied to the post, “We thought about having you born in the Dining Room but thought better of it.” His comment made me laugh out loud, and so I wanted to share πŸ˜€