is the universe trying to tell us something?

I worked Friday almost non-stop from the moment my feet hit the floor in the morning to 6 PM when ProcrastiGirl arrived to keep me company while I ran around the house throwing things into boxes and bags for our trip. And helped me plow through the ridiculous pile of dishes, and very politely and kindly ignored the tumbling tumbleweeds of cat hair and layers of dust thick enough to plant seeds in. I am still mortified that I left the house in such a state for a friend kind enough to watch it and the cats for us while we're gone, but I suppose at some point you have to admit that life sometimes gets the better of you and trust that those closest to you will overlook it and not use it for blackmail. I don't know what I ever did to have such dear and generous friends, but I am grateful. (Who also, ALSO, brought delicious homemade cookies and treats for us DO YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN HERE?)

Anyway, I managed to have everything packed and ready by the time Sally arrived home that evening, and we had the car loaded in short order, said our goodbyes to the kitties and ProcrastiGirl, and were on our way at a quarter after eleven Friday night. It was rainy, but by the time we got onto Hwy 6 and started our way up into the Coast Range, encountering some slush but nothing worse, made the (hilariously mistaken) observation that if the roads were no worse than that, then we should be okay going over (compared to our trip two years ago almost to the day, when we drove through there late at night in the midst of a snow storm because that's just how we roll). Twenty minutes later, Mother Nature laughed in my face. Snow and rain coming down so hard we were driving blind at times, the road covered in a layer of white just thin enough to make driving extra dangerous but not thick enough to let you get any kind of traction, and of course all through an area that's nothing but steep drops and hairpin turns. The next forty minutes were very tense and silent as we navigated our way up and over, and I admit my stomach did a somersault or ten. But we arrived safely in Tillamook about 2 hours after leaving home, a trip that only took about 30 minutes longer than it would've under better conditions.

Now, there are only a few stoplights in all of Tillamook to begin with, pretty much all along where the 101 goes through town and since it was after midnight, the stoplights were blinking. And as you cross the 101 coming from the east, there are actually two stoplights right in a row, less than a block from each other, so of course they were both blinking. Which is no big deal, but I think after that drive, Sally just had his guard down or something, and there was no traffic (it's Tillamook, at 1 AM on a Friday night), and he was just focused on that second flashing stoplight because the first one looks like a warning that there's a stop coming up, not as a stop of its own.

You can see where this is going.He had just started to say as he was going through the first one (not speeding or anything, just 20 or 25 mph) without stopping that he should've stopped (which I'd been wondering if he'd noticed it, but didn't want to nag him about it since he'd just driven like a champ through such challenging conditions), when right behind us, of course, red and blue lights go off. I'm sure they must get quite a few people with tickets there, because that cop was just sitting, waiting. (Which...nothing against him or anything, but we were clearly fish in a barrel.)

He was a nice guy, though he did go ahead and issue the citation instead of a warning. A $297 ticket, to be precise. For running a red light with no traffic in Podunk, Oregon. (Yes, yes, still dangerous, still a traffic violation, yada yada.) Again, not knocking him -- we'd clearly run the light and it was a legitimate stop -- it's just...well I mean...seriously, Universe? Srsly? And since we obviously aren't going to make a trip out here for traffic court, our options are basically to plead guilty or no contest (the latter being an option that may give us a lighter fine, and to which we can send in a letter to argue for reasons why we should). Well, we'll do that, but we did run the light no question, so it's unlikely we'll get a reduction.  Which officially makes this the most expensive trip to Oceanside we've ever made.

But we arrived in Oceanside at last, almost 1:30 in the morning, to relatively low winds and semi-clear night skies (a surprise, considering the storm that had come through earlier that day). We'd just started unloading the car, however, when it started to hail. YES WE GOT THE MESSAGE UNIVERSE.

We were both dog tired but also wound up, so we didn't hit the sheets until 3:30, and ended up sleeping in yesterday morning. Which is why it took until late afternoon yesterday to really sink in that we were actually on vacation. In fact when I woke up, I was disoriented and confused about why I wasn't in my own bed and it took a few minutes to figure it out.

Nonetheless, we've both had a chance to unwind and unclench a bit from the hectic pace we've been at for the last few weeks. We've had great stormy weather and the tides have been way, way high. It's pretty great, actually. We did our smorgasbord late yesterday afternoon while it was storming outside, rain pelting the door and windows of the cabin, and watched Charade, all snuggled up and cozy. (nothing like a good classic movie on a blustery day) We walked the beach in the rain and picked up a good rock for the garden, and watched some favorite shows and played some games and stayed up late like errant teenagers.

click to see full photo galleryIt cleared up a bit this afternoon so we went up to Cape Meares to take some pics with the new camera (and see the damage those two shitheads did to the lighthouse). We're now back to the cabin with our signature crockpot supper simmering away. And it's quite nice outside right now, overcast but warm and not windy, so we'll probably get a bit more time on the beach before dark or before the next front moves in, whichever comes first. We had a nice breakfast this morning as we sat at the table by the window, watching the waves roll in, and then I was hit with a great inspiration for part of book 2 that's had me stuck for awhile, so I'm making some progress there. I'll make some cookies for a treat tonight after our dinner while we watch a movie, and maybe if it's clear enough, we'll walk the beach in the dark.


juggling with one hand tied behind my back

So. Today is the culmination of a very stressful and jam-packed week, and is the last day that I'll be in the office before next week's vacation. Which would be a busy, hectic day anyway, but in addition to it being billing week (and all that entails), and a pile of things that I have to get done somehow before I go, I also have two(!) presentations today. I just finished the first one (and kicked ass, if I may say so) and the other will be right after lunch, which meant I had to pack something to eat that could be scarfed down quickly in between AND that could keep me going long enough to get done everything I need to before I leave today. Oh, and I had to do it with the very, very last of anything edible in the house (no time to go to the store), so...considering what I had to work with, this is actually one of my more impressive lunches.

Using my "Deli Club" box today, which has been a bit neglected with the addition of all the new boxes to the mix.

  • smoked sausages and molded egg with peas underneath and broccoli as gap fillers
  • peas and carrot sticks
  • dried mango and dried cherries, with a wee dark chocolate bar from Equal Exchange that was included in our organics bin awhile back

The Oregon Coast awaits me in just about 36 hours, and I've already planned that when I get home tonight, I'll run a bath, use one of my bath bombs I got for my birthday, and enjoy a Velvet Painting cupcake from Cupcake Jones as a reward for getting through this day/week. I figure with all that to look forward to, it'll be juuuuuuust the incentive I need to accomplish the impossible at work today.


and i never even watched that show

I think that if you guys could see what I start out with sometimes before I get one of these packed, you would be muy impressivo at my bento-fu. AND, I think some of you who sit there on the electronic sidelines thinking to yourself, "That's nice and all, but I could never do that" -- YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE -- would realize that you, too, could totally do this. Srsly, if you saw just how little I had to work with in my fridge and pantry, at midnight, with every dish/pot/pan/utensil/glass in my kitchen in need of washing...


  • tuna sammie SEMICIRCLES* -- tuna, mayo, sweet pickle relish on 9-grain bread; romaine leaves for the sandwiches; cojack stars for decoration and dairy
  • hard-boiled egg (that was lucky to get boiled at all, nevermind trying to mold it, and which broke as I was putting it in the water); sweet pickles to fill the gaps
  • peas and carrots; dark chocolate covered raisins

And yes, I realize there's a high proportion of chocolate in ratio with everything else, but a) MY CUPBOARDS ARE BARE Y'ALL, b) raisins totally count as fruit, c) ANTI-OXIDANTS HELLO, d) if you knew the kind of day I was facing today, you would wonder at my restraint.

* Because my little rounds wouldn't fit in the box with the lid on. So I cut those bad boys in half and do you see how I am like the MacGuyver of Bento?


approximating normal

Well that sucked. Two weeks to the day since I first came down with the bug from hell and I'm finally feeling something approximating normal. I'll probably be fighting the lingering effects of this bug for awhile, but the worst has passed, I think. Which is a good thing, because I have a busy week ahead. As long as I stay drugged up, I should make it through the week okay.

And then! To the coast this weekend!! Happy happy joy joy it cannot come soon enough.

  • bottom tier: beef stir fry, consisting of tri-tip steak, jasmine rice, artichoke hearts, kale, carrots, onion, leek, and garlic (we had a bunch of veggies to use up from our organics bin)
  • top tier: minneola tangelo sections, carrot sticks, peanut butter honey dip, dried cherries, and dark chocolate raisins

concoctions from yesteryear

Finally got some sleep Tuesday night, and then some naps yesterday and a little bit of sleep last night. I'm not better yet, but feeling less pitiful than I was a couple of days ago.

The pantries at Hall House are looking rather bare these days, which makes coming up with something for lunch a bit of a trick. There's soup, of course, but I went almost the entire day without eating anything yesterday (and even when I did, had to make myself do it because I wasn't actually hungry) and I'm thinking that I need more solid food right now if I'm going to get better.

So today is a bit of an experiment, with breakfast food as an inspiration.

  • egg scrambled with CoJack cheese and scallions
  • French toast sticks* made with 9-grain bread
  • Minneola tangelo sections
  • smoked sausage

*I had the idea for these for awhile, with the idea that I'd have a little container of maple syrup for dipping. Unfortunately, we're out of maple syrup and I didn't want to have to pack butter and powdered sugar for sweetening them up, plus it would require reheating and I try not to do that if I can help it. So I flavored the egg batter with liberal amounts of cinnamon and sugar so that these wouldn't need any kind of sweetener. And if they still are kind of blah, I can eat them with the sausages, a concoction known at the Sheridan Best Western as the "Brittney Blanket" back in the day.

Let me 'esplain...

The summer before I went off to college, I worked at the front desk of the Best Western, which had a breakfast and dinner buffet. The shift included one meal (since you were basically "on call" even during your break) and you could eat for free at the buffet. Which is a nice enough perk, but it doesn't take long to get bored eating from the same array of options everyday. (And this was not a gourmet selection by any stretch -- all standard American fare.) To liven things up, we started coming up with imaginative creations since we basically had the whole buffet at our disposal. My creations were pretty tame compared to my coworkers', but when I worked the day shift, I loved putting sausage links in French toast slices like a kind of pig in the blanket -- hence, the "Brittney Blanket" -- sometimes with syrup, sometimes without. Sounds gross, but don't knock it. I still get a craving for it sometimes.


classic lunchbox bento

Back to the grind. I only went in for a few hours yesterday, then came home and slept most of the day away. Which sort of offset the exactly zero point none hours of sleep I got the night before. Last night was the same, I'm sorry to say but I pretty much have to be here all day (morning meetings, afternoon conference call) so no leaving early and making up that lost sleep for me.

So I packed myself a good solid lunch -- might as well try to keep my energy up any way I can. Nothing to write home about, but this is, collectively, probably more food than I've eaten in the last four days.

  • tuna sandwiches (tuna, sweet relish, & mayo on 9-grain bread) with romaine leaves to put on them
  • carrots, celery, and Pink Lady apple
  • honey peanut butter in the small container, heart-shaped molded egg, since I decided I needed a little TLC; you'll note, however, that the egg broke (from being wedged in against the small container), so it's actually a...broken-hearted egg ::rimshot::
  • black cherry jello, which has been the mainstay of my diet for the last week, and which was about the only thing I felt like eating for the first three days; I've said it before, I'll say it again:  jello is way awesome and tragically underappreciated
  • a few Reese's in the silverware container as an added little pick-me-up

sick day bento

I'm not going to have a lot of time to eat today, hence the slimline with no small box or sidecar. But if I play my cards right, I may actually get home before 8 PM! So...yay?

ETA: Nope, sick today. (And if you're confused about the above in relation to this -- I write up these posts the night before, then add the pics and update if necessary; I'd never have time to write these up from scratch at work.)

I had a bit of a throat tickle late last night, and within an hour, a sore throat, aches, and congestion. Woke up this morning and knew I wasn't going to have the energy for work today, but I had a meeting that I absolutely could not miss this morning. So I got up a little later than usual, threw on jeans and brushed my hair, then headed down there to gather up my folders and then head into the meeting. Came home afterward and I'm headed to bed right now, but figured I should still post today's lunch. Not hungry right now but it'll be nice to have something already made up and ready to go when I'm hungry later.

Paris slimline:

  • top tier: asparagus sauteed in a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper, carrot sticks, dried cherries, and dark chocolate raisins (since that's what I dumped over in yesterday's lunch and never got to actually enjoy them)
  • bottom tier: 4-flavor radiatore pasta (beet, spinach, carrot, regular) with carrots and peas; smoked sausages

Taken with my new camera! On a "cuisine" setting, though it was low-light and had to use the flash instead of natural light, so I don't know if that setting really did anything. Anything looks better than a pic from a cameraphone, though....

Low on fruit in the house -- pineapple and raspberries and grapes gone, there wasn't really any room in the box for enough pear to make it worth cutting them up, and the last two Marcott tangerines and the last Sierra Gold tangerine were all moldy on the bottom. That's one thing about buying fresh and organic, is that you pretty much need to eat your produce right away or into the compost it goes. I hate waste, especially wasted food, so that's always kind of a bummer to have to pitch something that was perfectly fine a day or two before. Incentive to eat the fruit and veggies on hand before defaulting to other (less healthy) things, I suppose.



This week may or may not be as busy as last week's was, depending on how much I get done today. Based on past experience, I'm going to bet that it's not going to work out in my favor. But ever the optimist, I'll continue to hope....

Breakfast and/or snack (animals small box):

  • Gold Blush apple, carrot sticks, celery sticks (underneath everything), and honey peanut butter for dipping

Lunch (strawberry box):

  • top tier: breakfast burrito -- egg scrambled with spinach, scallions, asparagus, and cheddar wrapped in a tortilla; fresh spinach leaves to tuck inside when I eat it
  • bottom tier: Gold Blush apple slices, dried cherries as baran and gap fillers, dark chocolate covered raisins

This one doesn't look quite as pretty as it tastes, mainly because the wrap takes up one whole tier. That's the reason I also packed a sidecar, since the wrap tier isn't as densely packed as it probably should be for a smaller box like this. But it's a pretty good (and good for me) lunch, at least, and considering my weekend, it's kind of a wonder I have something that looks this put together.

ETA: And I was going to take another picture of lunch because that one didn't turn out well, but managed to dump the bottom tier on the floor. Sigh. Welcome to Monday.


Poor Ms. Bento...

Poor Ms. Bento, feeling a little neglected. Awww. Don't worry, Ms. Bento, I still love you and your brother, Laptop Lunch. It's natural to feel a little neglected when new siblings enter the family, but I love you all the same, I promise. You're still the best at soups and stews and keeping things warm. Like today! See how good you did keeping my comforting lunch nice and warm for me on this rainy gray day? You're a good little bento, yes you are.

  • homemade beef stew, with curls of carrot and scallion (leftover from sushi making) for a bit of color
  • carrot and celery sticks, tortilla rolls, and a little container of honey peanut butter for dipping (with carrot "supports" underneath so it's at the same level of the rest of the food)
  • Sierra Gold tangerines, pineapple chunks, and raspberries in one half; dried mango slices, chocolate almond clusters, and dark chocolate covered raisins in the other half

Taken today with a regular digital camera from work instead of my cameraphone because I forgot to charge it. I may have to break down and start taking these with my regular camera since they look so much better than with my phone.  My mom surprised me with a new camera for my birthday, so it would be a good excuse to start using it. Our old digital camera -- a refurbished Fuji we got in 2003 -- is a 1.5 megapixel, which makes it an Etch-A-Sketch by today's standards. Though it sure has hung in there well. The one she got me is 10 megapixels and has a ton of neat features, including a food setting, but I haven't had time to play with it much yet. May just have to do that....


Bento as sanity-saver

Oh Universe, why must you give me weeks like these? Work craziness (more than usual), and on top of that, website clients (wrapped up last night), preparations for this month's Second Saturday, preparations for guests staying this weekend, bills and reconciling to be done, other website work to do (more about that soon, hopefully), and the house is a flippin' disaster. I need a personal assistant who's willing to be paid in good food and keep me from jumping off the proverbial ledge. Know anyone who'd be interested? Send them my way.

Nonetheless, I stayed strong and made my lunch for today. Considering the day I was/am facing today, that is no small accomplishment right there. But this is where the rubber meets the road, or whatever koan works for you, and though it meant going to bed that much later and being that much more worn out when I dropped into bed, I did so with a certain satisfaction that's become invaluable, and boy oh boy am I thanking Nighttime Me for taking such good care of Daytime Me.

Bunny box today:

  • top tier: star-shaped egg and smoked sausages* on one side, fresh mozzarella and tomato slices on the other side, with steamed broccoli as gap fillers throughout;
  • bottom tier: pineapple and raspberries on one side, Golden Blush apple slices on the other side with a few strips of carrot to fill the end gap

* I found these great little sausages at New Seasons -- organic; vegetarian-fed; cruelty-free; no hormones; casein, gluten, and nitrite free. Now if they were just calorie-free I'd be set....

One of the things I just love about these new two-tier boxes is that they each fit inside themselves to take up as little room as possible for storage. This one is particularly clever in how it goes together to collapse down, and it's kind of like putting together a puzzle box. I get as much satisfaction from breaking these sets down and putting them away as I do packing them and eating from them.


An American in Paris with a Japanese lunch

We made sushi last night. Well, Sal has experience making it, but I don't so it was a learning experience for me. Turns out, it's pretty easy, actually. We're thinking we'll do it more often, because it's simple and quick and healthy, and we can use up things from the fridge. And of course, works great for bento. ;)

The last of the new boxes today, the Paris slimline box and the plain Natural Lunch. And since they're both pink, I'm doing a pink theme, using the pink sidecar, pink mini spoon, and pink silicone cup. So cute it kind of makes you want to barf, huh?

pink Natural Lunch box:

  • plain yogurt in the pink sidecar with a dollop of blackberry jam to mix in
  • Fremont tangerine
  • wee sandwiches of peanut butter & honey on 9-grain bread
  • soy sauce (for lunch)

Paris box:

  • top tier: sushi rolls (includes cucumber, carrot, asparagus, and cream cheese) in one half, steamed broccoli and asparagus in the other with shrimp (sauteed in a bit of butter and garlic and a dash of lemon juice and a few sesame seeds sprinkled in at the end to toast) on top
  • bottom tier: repeat of the fruit tier from last week -- no need to fix what ain't broken: pineapple, raspberries, green grapes, dark chocolate covered raisins

root vegetables bento

Another day, another new box. Well three, actually. Using my black strawberry box, my zoo animals sidecar, and one of the mini sidecars.


  • plain Greek yogurt in the sidecar; this was exactly the purpose I wanted the sidecars for, thanks to my last breakfast that ended upside down on the car floor...the box lid is sealed so it wasn't in any danger of making a mess, but my breakfast was a mostly lost cause
  • Fremont tangerine and some fresh raspberries


  • top tier: maple-glazed parsnips, carrots, and sweet potatoes in one half; steamed broccoli, homemade pasta, and the rest of the chicken from the other day in the other half
  • bottom tier: pineapple, raspberries, green grapes, and a small container of dark chocolate covered raisins

The maple-glazed root veggies were an experiment. We had parsnips in a delivery awhile back that I wasn't sure what to do with. We've also had a sweet potato sitting here since Thanksgiving(!) that I kept meaning to roast but never got around to. So when I stumbled across this great recipe that called for parsnips and sweet potatoes and carrots, I had to make it.

Maple Glazed Winter Root Vegetables

1/4 cup maple syrup + 2 tbsp dijon mustard + fresh garlic, minced
olive oil, salt & pepper
sweet potato, carrots, and parsnips, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat parsnips, potatoes and carrots with the olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking pan. Roast in oven for 15 minutes, then remove and retoss on baking sheet. Cook 15 minutes more, until all the veggies and potatoes are soft. Comine maple syrup, dijon mustard and garlic powder in a small bowl. Drizzle the maple mixture over potatoes and veggies and mix to coat well.

I'm not a fan of dijon and I almost left it out, but I know that in recipes it can make a difference and you don't necessarily taste the dijon-ness. I can taste it in this, but I actually really liked how it all turned out; I think I would experiment with putting in less, but it definitely needs something like that in order to keep it from being too sweet. Anyway, a great find, super simple, and highly recommended.


new box!

So if you missed it last night, you can find out all about my exciting new craz-itude here. If you scrolled on past for a reason, well then...I don't blame you a whit.

Too many choices, too many choices, and I'd totally been planning something a little more impressive for my first meal in each of my new boxes, but you know, life and whatever, the end.

  • bottom tier: chicken breast stir-fried in a little toasted sesame seed oil and Worcestershire sauce; jasmine rice on top of peas, with beets as garnish
  • top tier: more peas with mozzarella and colby cheese stars; green grapes, dried mango as baran, and dark chocolate covered raisins as gap fillers

Not only was I working with a limited array from the fridge, but also limited time. I didn't even start making dinner (and thus leftovers) until almost 10. :(  I will also blame the late hour on my lack of either a pick or one of my mini spoons included for the peas, which is unfortunate since, while I'm fairly proficient with chopsticks, my chopstick fu is not so sophisticated that I can manage peas with aplomb. Time to practice, I guess....


bento glee, baby!




Click to read more ...


wings 'n things

The aforementioned (from last night) wings are the centerpiece of today's lunch, which may possibly give me tummy trouble because yowza so hot and spicy but so good and so worth it. I tell everyone we're going to rule the world with this wings recipe some day...

  • hot wings, good hot or cold or right in between
  • spinach salad with beets; vial of basic dressing (balsamic vinegar w/olive oil) and small container of mozzarella cubes
  • burli bread pieces, handmade by Sally (and guaranteed to soak up a bit of that stomach acid, so a necessity even if it wasn't yummy)
  • anjou pear slices and dried cranberries as gap fillers

Open, sesame! (sorry, couldn't resist)

I must be needing nutrients from green veggies, because that's pretty much all that's in today's lunch. That, or it's what I had in the fridge. ;)

Actually, we got the cutest little bunches of baby bok choy in our bin Monday, and though I didn't feel like going to the store to get some other veggies to round out the colors/flavors a little more, I decided to do a quick stir fry thing so I could use it.

Oh, and! I toasted my own sesame seeds! So yay, I have...basic cooking skillz, I guess?

  • baby bok choy, spinach, broccoli, and pea pods stir fried in a bit of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and Worcestershire, with the aforementioned toasted sesame seeds for a little nutty flavor
  • jasmine rice to mix in and the remainder of the sesame seeds sprinkled on top
  • minneola tangelo sections, Enterprise apple slices, and green grapes
  • chocolate Pocky for a little treat

Insert clever title here

No water-based catastrophe today, I'm happy to report. Also? Organics 2 U wins the universe.

  • macaroni salad (I heart you, New Seasons deli!) with a ring of green peas to mix in
  • spinach wraps with herb roasted turkey and cream cheese; small container of honey peanut butter in the center for the apples
  • Enterprise apple chunks and green grapes, which kind of look like little jewels

A case of the Mondays

Very productive weekend, though entirely unglamorous and nerdy (we worked on our budget). Weirdly, we had a lot of fun, and marathoned Harry Potter, action movies (Star Trek and Transformers), and the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. We also had insanely gorgeous weather (February, is this February?), so we managed to get out for a bit for a lovely stroll down to Cathedral Park, and sat for a bit on one of the old stone dock supports to watch the Canadian geese and seagulls play in the water.

Which meant no real time for cooking, nor time to put lunch together today. I did do one, but it's very last minute, pulled from bits and pieces.

  • herb roasted turkey and mozzarella on nine grain bread, with a leaf of romaine to put on the sandwich
  • orzo salad with mushrooms, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, and Italian parsley tossed in balsamic vinaigrette; broccoli as gap fillers
  • green grapes
  • dried mango slices; dark chocolate almond clusters

And proof that this is not my best day ever...I filled my water bottle mostly full and put it in the freezer (lid off), with the intention for cold water with my lunch today, as well as a nice way to keep my lunch cool. I've done this before, although I'd let it freeze and then put it in the fridge overnight so it would have a chance to thaw somewhat by morning, and then be mostly thawed by the time lunch rolled around. But I didn't get to making this until late so had to skip that middle step of letting it thaw a little in the fridge.

As I rushed out the door this morning, I put the lid on and made extra sure the spout was snug and the lid was tightly screwed on. I should've thought to check it throughout the morning just to be sure, because of course as the ice warmed the bottle would contract, but it was a busy morning and I just didn't think of it.

Needless to say, the entire bottom of my (outer) carrying case is soaked, there was a standing half inch of water inside the carry case (though not threatening my laptop lunch case, thankfully), and water all over my credenza where it seeped out and leaked, not to mention an almost empty water bottle. The only reason it wasn't worse is because the carrying case is insulated and almost (but not quite) waterproof.

Not the worst catastrophe ever, and at least it was water and not juice, but wow, talk about a case of the Mondays.


Passing another test

Aaaaaand now I know why so many bento people have multiple bento boxes. (No not just because they are obsessed.)

Today I had our company shareholders' meeting first thing (hellooooo 2 hours of my morning that I couldn't afford to lose) and then a meeting immediately afterward with the corporate executive guys (long story), and I have about 7 days of calculations and programming to get done by the end of the day Friday. In other words, no time, and I'd be eating late, on the run, and bleh.

To make things just a tad more challenging, I worked until 8 last night (on said calculations/programming from hell) then finally forced myself to just call it a day because it was a very rare evening when Sal happened to be home during the early evening hours and I didn't want to waste any of our together time. Especially since I had to go to bed a little earlier than usual to get up earlier than usual because of the aforementioned shareholders' meeting. Oh, and we wanted to watch the season finale of Leverage, so by the time it was all said and done, I had about 10 minutes before the episode started to throw together a lunch. It would have to be small, because I wouldn't have a lot of time to eat. Which is just as well, since both my Laptop Lunch box and my Ms. Bento haven't been washed yet. (So unlike me -- I wash them when I get home at night, but that's been the kind of whacked out crazy time it's been this week...oy vey if you saw my kitchen right now....)

Which left my small box, which I adore, but it's not quite big enough for a day like today. But it's what I have. The ones I ordered should be here in a few weeks, so I'll have a few more choices in the future. Not that I'm complaining, because YAY, good lunch, and DOUBLE YAY that I'm eating lunch at all -- I can't tell you how many days exactly like this when I wouldn't have eaten anything, and wow, so, so bad for me. IN CONCLUSION. Lunch is our friend.

  • trying a little twist on a lettuce wrap -- this is kind of a deconstructed taco, with taco meat, sour cream, and cheese in a leaf of romaine, cut in half; I was worried the lettuce would be all limp and wimpy and gross, but it was fine
  • carrot sticks, not even cut into shapes which is a real shame because the carrots in this bin were thick enough to make some nice shapes, but that just goes to show how much time I didn't have :(
  • Braeburn apple slices

So not the most exciting lunch ever, but it'll do. Better than the alternatives, at any rate. Yet another way in which bento 2.0 baby! has had the intended positive effect.


Hideway lunch break

This is a "Cleaning Out The Fridge" lunch if there ever was one. Well and also, I wanted something hot and comfort food-y because it was supposed to be raining all day and I wanted to take it with me to my little secret park. I went there yesterday for lunch for the first time in forever (with the big work project, I hadn't been leaving the office at lunchtime because I was only in the office one day a week as it was). Which was one of my main reasons for wanting the Ms. Bento -- being able to take a hot lunch to the park without first having to stop by the office kitchen, unpack everything, heat up whatever, and then repack it all and go to the park.

  • leftover homemade chili -- can't get much more comfort food-y than that
  • chicken basil sausage in a hot dog bun (cut up in thirds, obviously), with carrot sticks as gap fillers -- I had this one lone hot dog bun to use up, and just happened to have a single sausage that needed to be eaten up, so
  • Marcott tangerine, with a small container of sour cream in the middle; dark chocolate almond clusters in the other half

I'm pleased to report that my plan worked really well, the Ms. Bento did great for exactly what I wanted, and as you can see from the pics taken on the passenger seat of my car, I was able to retreat to my little hideaway with my lunch and a book.