Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Healthy Living Goals

A lot of people think that healthy living just encompasses weight and weight loss. In my life, there is so much more to healthy living. Once one part of my life falters, the others go down like dominos. I try to control the dominos falling but after so long, they all fall down.

Here are my healthy living goals in no particular order:

  1. Eat 3 meals a day, at least. I am skipping more and more. Not eating for 15 hours, is not healthy, and leads me to think about binging when things get tough. I need to eat 3 meals a day at regular type intervals.
  2. Exercise at lease 3 days a week. When I take care of myself, I feel better.  It is not too much to ask.
  3. Continue with my CBT behaviors to  stop binging. They work and I need them.
  4. Bring lunch at least 4 day a week. $10 at least for lunch in Boston adds up. I can save about $30-40 a week doing this.
  5. Keep a budget. When I got depressed recently, I let things that should not have been passed over passed over so I need to stop this.
  6. Laugh and smile more. That is simple enough.

Tomorrow, what I hope this year brings.

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and Day! See you in 2013.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

5 Things: Jen 2012

I have done 5 things about me posts in the past but it has been a while. So here it goes, you may or not know this about me:

  • I am a constant channel changer with the radio when I am driving. I mean the buttons get so worn down that you can’t see the numbers anymore type of changing.  I try to restrain myself when I have guests in my car but I can not eradicate it totally. I absolutely must change the radio station. What if something better is playing??????


  • I am an email hoarder. I just deleted over 8,000 unread messages in my non-blog related email. 99% of it was total spam but that 1%,I am sorry that I missed your email. I aim to do much better in the managing email category.


  • I just joined My Fitness Pal tonight. If you are on there, friend me. My user name is redheadedjen.


  • I am feeling the need to plan a weekend away or some sort of vacation. I am meant to travel. Russia, Scotland, Alaska, Bora Bora are still on the top of the list but really, the hotel in Rhode Island might suffice. (Ok, maybe not Rhode Island but maybe Canada.)


  • I am trying to have more positive and not negative thoughts about myself but I am failing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Survived 2012 Christmas

I survived Christmas! There were no fights this year at the Christmas table and I think everyone in my little family had a good time and they actually liked what I got them.  I felt totally emotionally drained after the day but was feeling a little better this morning.

I am working the rest of the week but come Friday, I will off for 5 days. I plan on not doing that much on my little mini-vacation.  I will be planning my goals for 2013. I plan on reading a lot, spending some time with friends, sleeping in, continuing my catching up on the 8 seasons of Supernatural and just chilling out. I will also go down the Cape to see Mom. I will be working on the blog and just cleaning. In other words, I will probably be busy but happy to be off.

I have begin the Great Kitty Search of 2013. I will keep you all updated. Smile

I hope all of you had a good holiday!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish all of my wonderful readers a Merry Christmas. May all your dreams come true.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Happiness: Ornaments

Christmas is in 4 days. Santa won’t be visiting me but I have a tree and some cool ornaments anyways.


I found this porcupine ornament and had to have it!!!!!!


And this raccoon!

nerdy penquin

Isn’t this Nerdy Penguin the best?

santa bear

I have had this Santa Bear for a long time. It is one of my favorite ornaments.


I have a few left of these sparkly stars. Boots was vicious with my glass ornaments.

Tomorrow I will be hitting the area malls trying to mostly finish my shopping. Send good wishes my way.

Monday, December 17, 2012

No Beds Available

I have been digesting the news out of Newtown, Connecticut. It has me thinking of mental health care here in the States.

I have thought about my mental health struggles and how hard it was to find providers who cared. When I would tell various doctors and/or therapists about how I hated myself and how I wished I would just die. How no one really took me seriously. Over time, I flitted from one therapist to another and withheld what was really going on in my head, until I started to write and really become self aware.

I have heard stories about people waiting in local emergency rooms for hours and hours before being seen. A coworker’s son spent 18 hours in the emergency room only to be told THERE WERE NO BEDS available and was transfer to another hospital, where he sat for 6 hours.  He was a schizophrenic young man of 24.

This would totally deter me from getting in-patient mental health care. I would totally avoid it.

This has to stop.

As a country, we need to change our priorities about mental health care.  While the old institutions of the past were horrible, when they closed, there was nothing to replace them. I do not have the answers on what should be done but we need to talk about it.

It can not be swept under the carpet. The more people who talk about the need for change, the better.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday Happiness: New Favorite

I have not done this in a while and after my week, I need it. If you have been watching TV here in the States, you might have seen this Zales commercial:

While I will not be getting diamonds for Christmas, I love the song on this commercial and thanks to the Internet, I was able to find who sings the song. It is sung by Various Cruelties, a band out of England that I have never heard of but now….

After the senselessness of the last day, I needed a little happiness and here it is.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review Time

I had my yearly review at work today. In my self evaluation, I was very honest with myself. My work over the past year has not been my best. I have been overwhelmed and somewhat discombobulated.  I feel like I am  being pulled in a thousand directions.

I was aware my work has not the best and I graded myself accordingly.

My boss agreed with me. She wants the smart organized girl of five years ago. I am afraid that girl is gone and just not there now.

She told me she was not talking to me because I always looked like I was going to cry. I knew she was avoiding me and I felt like I had been moved to Siberia. To be honest my moods have been all over the place. I was thinking of suicide for a while. It must have totally rubbed off on my behavior at work.

I tried not to cry during the whole review. I managed to hold off until the end that I admitted that yes, I have been awfully close to having a nervous breakdown. The combination of everything has been overwhelming.

I am getting a raise that will be erased by inflation. I am told I have to get more organized, set tasks that must please the big wigs in Chicago and generally get my shit together.

That brings an end to a blah year at work. Where do I go from here?

I haven’t a clue. I want to do something different and make a difference. The change of it all scares the shit out of me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Loneliness

I try to find a happy medium between busy and alone. I am either always busy or alone 72 hours straight.

Well, I try to keep busy now to avoid thinking about how lonely it is lately.

Really, with winter approaching and all the parties, events and just watching people walking down the street holding hands, it makes me realize how alone I am.

Mixing it in with missing Mom this Christmas, I am really feeling it.

I have friends, who I love and who make my life wonderful that they are in my life, but I am just missing some things.

I worry how I will be alone and get sick like my Mother, with no one to help me. Not that being romantically involved with someone guarantees they will be there for you but it is just a big worry of mine. Then there is the whole Christmas thing and that because I am single without kids, somehow I do not deserve time off at Christmas. It wraps things up that gives loneliness a nice bow.

I am just feeling pretty lonely and I thought writing about it would help.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Here’s to the Weekend

With the holidays coming up, I feel like I am a chicken running around without a head and getting nothing done. I haven’t even started shopping. My posting may be a little sporadic over the next few weeks, we will see.

I bring you my crazy weekend in pictures:


I love this little wreath I was sitting under at Café Victoria on Hanover Street in the North End having an after dinner treat and coffee.


Some random pictures while in downtown Boston on Saturday.


I did not buy any yarn at Windsor Button, but I wanted to!

I went to a hot chocolate bar at the Ritz hotel in Boston. It was a once in a long time treat and a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon with friends.

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Cocoa with whipped cream AND an orange vanilla marshmallow. Awesomeness.

The actual hot chocolate accoutrement bar!

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It was somewhat expensive at $30.00 but as a once in  a long time thing, it was right up my alley.

Here’s to a busy weekend spent with friends. I am going to need a vacation after the holiday.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Clothing Wishes

This week has been wicked busy. I have had something to do each night this week but tonight. It feels good just to do laundry and have a chance to blog.

I have been feeling very, I don’t know, frumpy and not too good at myself. This morning I really had to reach into the dredges of my wardrobe to find something to wear to work, a by-product of being wicked busy. Since I have been feeling rather frumpy and bad about myself, I am showing myself what might make myself unfrumpy.


I love love this dress from Boden. In fact, I love all of Boden’s clothing.


Lucky Brand has a new really nice and cute plus size line. I love this top never mind their jeans.


Ruche has some nice clothing. I love the simplicity of this dress but how classic it is.


There is something about this top that says “Buy me, Jennifer!”


If only I actually had someplace to wear this to!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Unsolicited Advice and Self Care

There is something about me that inspires people to offer unsolicited advice, whether needed or not….

Today I heard that if I would just lose weight, all of my problems would be solved and I would be “so pretty”.

I wish it would be true but it is not.

I have learned after losing and gaining a 100 pounds several time, I still was depressed and hated myself. I need to get help for my problems now or else I am doomed to go on that roller coaster ride of weight loss again and again. My life is basically the same no matter what my weight. I am the same person. It might be better for my body but it is not the cure all.

My goal is to make the best decisions I can and to know that when I eat well, I feel better. I have been feeling very run down and setting self-care goals will hopefully help me feel better. I read about today on Weightless on Psych Central

My self care goals for December:

  • With the holidays, I see myself skipping meals and binging when I can because I am so starving. Taking time to have 3 meals a day.
  • Relax – it can be hard in December
  • Wear make up. I feel better when I do.

What are some goals you can have this month?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

2012 Harpoon Helps Spread Holiday Cheer

On Saturday I participated in Harpoon Helps. You may recall that I participated last year as well.

Harpoon Brewery sponsors this event each year. They gather Harpoon Helpers and they send teams all over the Boston to decorate charities that could use some holiday cheer. 

I was on Team 19, which included friends and new faces. We were sent to Millenium House, a shelter in Roxbury, MA.

Harpoon supplies the decorations and we do the best we can with what we are given. It feels good to actually brighten someone’s day. In a tough world, a little cheer goes a long way. It certainly made me feel better.  

 Afterwards, we went back to the brewery to have lunch, mingle and of course, try Harpoon’s beer.

I am not a huge fan of beer but I do love hard cider. I like Harpoon’s version of cider. I also had a drink called Apple Pie, which is half cider and half of Harpoon’s Winter Warmer beer. It tastes like apple pie.

They do this in other New England cities and even in other parts of the country. I recommend it. I had been feeling a little bit down and it felt good to help people that need help.

This holiday season has been and will be hard for me. I have been wanting to lock myself away and I have been feeling a bit run down. I plan on taking some time off at New Years.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Inishbofin Cowl

I was going to write about how much I am run down, etc. but I decided to be positive and talk about a knitting project I actually finished.

I finished the Inishbofin Cowl by Heidi Todd Kozar from Knitscene Accessories. The first project that I finished in a while.

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I could not block it to the right dimensions but I like it anyways!



It is hard trying to take a picture of yourself  wearing the cowl that could actually show the cowl. I like it though. I think I will knit a pair of mittens next.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Break

I took a short little break from computers this weekend.  It was just what I needed. I tried to keep myself busy since a few days home alone would not be good for me.

I did a bunch of shopping but got no gifts.

I cooked dinner for my father, my brother and Not So Secret Sister. Everyone got along and I was so busy that I did not take pictures. I was just wanting to get through the dinner so I could take a nap and nap I did after I told Not So Secret Sister that I was a exhausted and really wanted to sleep.

I enjoyed the dinner and shopping with my friend but by Saturday I was feeling the need to be alone. To combat this, I went into Boston to the post office then to Macy’s. Any place but home. On Sunday, it was a similar feeling. I just wanted to curl up and be down. I also got out on a Christmas tea quest, which I conquered.

How was your holiday, or if you aren’t here in the States, your weekend?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jen Reads: Beautiful Disaster

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire was one of those books that I could not put down but yet it totally disturbed me. I read it fairly quickly and then had to think about it.

The book description from Goodreads:

Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.
Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid.

He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match

If there is such a thing as a totally unhealthy relationship, this book qualifies.

The main male character has slept with every woman on campus, it seems and they are all “sluts” and “whores” and stupid. The main female character agrees with his view of the women of his past.

There is a definite blurring of the line between love and absolute total obsession. When Travis finds out that Abby has done something he does not like, he totally flips out. He can not control his anger at all when it comes to her. He beats people up if they even joke with her.

And she puts up with it and the book ends up having a disgusting happy ending. At the library, the book is marked young adult. I am concerned that someone will read this and think that sort of relationship is normal and that is not the message that should be carried over from this book.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Mish Mash

I have had a weekend of ups and downs. This morning I had a hard time actually getting out of bed. I laid there and stared at the ceiling. Since I live alone, no one needed me. I  had no motivation to actually get out. After putting the blanket over my head for a while, I needed coffee and that constituted actually getting out of bed and so I did.

Here I sit at a Starbucks using their internet drinking a Caramel Spice Apple Cider. At least I am up and about, right?

I went out with friends last night to a Christmas Eve tree lighting at Faneuil Hall in Boston.


After the tree lighting I went  to get a few drinks with a good friend to the Bell in Hand in Boston. I used to go there a lot about 9 years ago and I have a hard time reconciling that yes, it has been 9 years since I was 30. I had a great time with my friend and I was talking to a 25 year old. The person was born when I was a freshman in high school! My friend thought I should have gotten his number but I could not do it, even though he was really handsome.

Is it so bad that I want someone near my own age? Who I can talk about certain things and they know what I am talking about?

I have been feeling more and more that I am meant to be alone yet I do not want to be but that it is inevitable. It is hard to explain.



The whole Hostess debacle in the news makes me sad and mad. Never mind that the American icon (no matter if it may be immortal and horrible for you) will most likely be gone but something like 18,500 people will be out of a job and the crooks that run Hostess got huge raises and expected their employees to make up for it. It makes me sick. I did however eat the Twinkies

I am reading a book that I can not put down that but it disturbs me on so many levels. It is called Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. What is the line between an obsession and love? I will be writing more about this when I finish it and digest it a little.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Thoughts

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving next week.

Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and 4 days off. I CAN NOT WAIT.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I like Christmas but it has a lot of stress. Easter is good too but Thanksgiving is more laid back for me. No “Will she hate me because I got her XXXXXXXXX?” It is just easier.

I will be cooking for my Dad, my brother and Not So Secret Santa. It will be a quiet day but the 4 days off is what has me totally excited.

Work has been hell. I am so busy that I never get caught up and never will. I am overwhelmed and I am having a midlife crisis at 39.

Where do I go from here?

Will I be a corporate peon for the next 40 years?

Will it ever get better?

How do I get the courage to take that one step to change?

I want to make a difference in my life. I am not in my current job. I want to help people.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jen Reads: On A Bender

I have been a reading machine since I last posted a Jen Reads post. A virtual binge of reading.

Some of what I have read:

I liked this book by Donna Russo Morin, a lot. Genevieve Gravois has trained as an assassin by cohorts of King Henry VIII since she was a toddler after the death of her parents. She is sent to the court of French King François and learns that everything she has believe may have been wrong.  I already put more of her books on hold at the library.

I enjoyed this book as well. Elizabeth Stafford, Queen Mary’s maid and daughter of a duke, is married to Thomas Howard, the third Duke of Norfolk. The marriage is rocky and the intrigue that goes on in the court of Henry VIII, kept me reading. Unfortunately, the library does not have more of her books in the network.

I have read a few of Kate Emerson’s book and I like them. They are also set in King Henry VIII’s court and Anne Stafford (the aunt of the main character in Rivals in the Tudor Court) is married to George, Lord Hastings but is drawn to Will Compton, the king’s friend. This is nice reading that makes me forget and keeps me totally entertained.

This book is not set in the court of Henry VIII but instead is set during King John’s time. The dowager queen Eleanor of Aquitaine sets up a marriage between Juliana de Charnais, a woman raised in a convent,  and Guérin de lasalle, a mercenary in the dowager queen’s service. They clash and struggle with the world around them and the court that the marriage was formed in. I will read more of her books.

In a small New York town at the beginning of the 20th century, 16 year old Mattie is forced to find a job in a tourist hotel in town. While she is there, a hotel quest entrusts her with letters then the guest is killed. It is a historical mystery and I really enjoyed it.

It is no mystery that I love historical fiction.  One of little goals for next year is to expand my reading horizons.

There is never enough time and so many books I want to read!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Technical Difficulties

So I managed to avoid the computer all weekend. I hung out with friends and did a lot of reading. I can not say that my mind was much better and I still thought hateful thoughts about myself

More about my weekend tomorrow.

Here are some pictures from the weekend.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Support Wednesday: Recovery?

I made it to group tonight. Something about the snow and my birthday blahs and everything else that made it imperative that I go tonight.

I am glad I did.

I was asked what I thought recovery for me would look like and well, I envision recovery as this:

  • I will be able to forgive myself.
  • I will treat myself right and be healthy without thinking because it makes me feel better.
  • Maybe I will get out of bed on 1 alarm in the morning

Forgiveness. What a hard word that is. I have such high expectations about myself. My expectations of others are not nearly as high. I do not forgive myself. In fact it is a trigger to lots of behaviors.  That would be a huge thing for me to forgive myself.

If I could forgive myself, I think the living healthy part would slowly come into place. Maybe just maybe, I could get out of bed.

How do you envision recovery for yourself?

Look at the bracelet I got at the meeting tonight. I think it is a good reminder.


It says Nourish Your Mind, Nourish Your Body – MEDA

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Message


Tomorrow is a new day.


I am going to print a colorful page and tape it my kitchen wall, the bathroom wall, the living room wall, the bedroom wall……….

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Birthday and Election Musings

Where have I been?

I turned 39 over the weekend and I just could not bring myself to turn on the computer. My birthday was nice. I went and got lunch with Dad and then went with a friend to get Ethiopian for dinner. I love Ethiopian food.

Sunday, I woke up early to take my nephew to his traveling soccer game in Uxbridge. I had never been there before and after having my birthday with a few drinks, I had a hard time getting my nephew at 7:15 am. Thankfully, daylight savings time began the previous night so I did get that extra hour.

I am also sort of happy that the election is tomorrow. I am so tired of the vitriol from both sides. Two years ago I wrote this about open-mindedness and elections but this election season is 100 times worse. I have heard of relatives not talking to each other because someone is voting for someone that you don’t like.  The mess that is Facebook has been over run with arguments that devolve quickly over politics. I might have been defriend when I complained about both parties. I am afraid that our country is so divided now that it worries me. It is bad. Very bad.

This weekend I was driving home from Uxbridge and I heard this week’s This American Life episode – Red State, Blue State.  It really hit home. I have kept my political opinions to myself mostly. Friends know who I plan on voting for and it is not either major political party for president. I am also going to vote for a Republican and a Democrat for other offices. I generally am of the “don’t ask don’t tell” feeling in regards to politics. I keep my voting to myself, for the most part and you keep yours to yourself.

If you don’t like me based on how I vote, I think a re-evaluation of what is important is on order. We are American and want what is best for our country. We need more cooperation and less partisan rhetoric.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

In the Mail

You may know that there is an election here in the States next week. I have already decided who I am voting for but that does not stop this registered independent with being bombarded with mail. This was all I got in today’s mail.


Yikes! The amount of trees cut down for this boggles my mind.

Yesterday, I did not go to my group. I had to get a filling yesterday afternoon and after the dentist , I just wanted to curl up and take my pain away via taking a nap but it was Halloween and the kids came calling for candy. I got a good amount of kids but I still have candy left over. I am trying to slowly eat it. So far it has been a draw in that war. I lost the last battle but the war is not over.

Do you have any candy strategies?  Mine is to not deny myself and have some but not every time I walk by the bowl. It has been challenging to say the least.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy’s Visit

I survived Hurricane Sandy unscathed. It was wicked windy and it rained a lot but thankfully, I did not lose power.

Mostly I worried about Not So Secret Sister, who lives right across the street from the beach in a basement apartment. The water had gone over the sea wall across the street but luckily, the wall right near her apartment was ok and she escaped flooding by the skin of her teeth. Even Dad’s place, which loses power at least once a week due to suicide squirrels, kept his power with only one blink.

If you were in her path, did you fare well?

I was alone all day yesterday. I did some work from home but after that was done I slept. It seems like that is my favorite place lately. I broke into the Halloween candy but there is still some left for the kids.

The biggest damage to my street were the amount of leaves on the street. You could not see the street. There were a couple of damaged houses but no trees down that I could see.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jen Reads: Hurricane Addition

You may or may not have heard but a hurricane is on the way to the North East USA. I am sort of looking forward to it but honestly, why don’t businesses close during these storms. Is the need to make the almighty dollar that high that for one day you can not tell your employees to be safe?

Gah! This just makes me angry.

If you are in Sandy’s path, hopefully you will not have to work and can stay safe at home with your family.

I have been reading. I just finished the last book of the Fever series, Shadowfever.

I find that lately, books are part of a series. I read the first book, I like it and then I am compelled to read the second, third and all of the books in the series. This was the case in this series.

MacKayla Lane is from small town Georgia, where she is a bartender. She finds out that her sister has been murdered while she was studying in Dublin, Ireland. She goes to Ireland, where she find that she was born with the ability to see fae and sense their magical items. She meets Barrons, the mysterious owner of the Barron’s Books and Baubles book store, which would be an awesome book store to have around, and they search for the mystical Sinsar Dubh.

Of all the urban fantasy book creatures, the fae are probably my favorite to write about. Ms. Moning created a world in Ireland where the fae are having a war between the Seelie and Unseelie fae while humans are trying to live. They are wrecking havoc on the city and the Unseelie are creating vast areas of dark zones in Dublin that just disappear off of the map.

The book is definitely urban fantasy with a splash of romance. The square between MacKayla, Barrons, V’lane, the Seelie prince, and Darroc, a cast out Seelie that has been leading the Unseelie kept me interested.

I definitely recommend this series!