Friday, June 29, 2012

Thank You!

Since I started this blog, I have been overwhelmed by the community out there. I don’t feel alone as I once did. It makes me feel better and I hope this blog helps others on their journey.

On July 5th, I will celebrate my 4th blogiversary of my first post.

To say thank you for helping me, I am going to do a little giveaway.  The rules are simple, leave a comment on how much money I have in this jar and the person closest will win a $10 gift card to either Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks or if you aren’t near either, something else. (We’ll figure it out.)


I will give you a hint, the jar is 12 inches tall.


I will pick a winner on my blogiversary, Thursday, July 5th. Good luck!

US and Canada only. This is not sponsored by anyone but myself to say Thank You.

Calm My Crazy: I Get Knocked Down…

According To Denise 

I managed to make it though the work week without having a nervous breakdown and/or quitting, without a new job. Since next week is a short week, I hope that it is a better week and that maybe I will be the only one in the office, so I can cry if I want to.

Once again, I was driving home on the Expressway and I heard a song I have not heard in a while and it brought my mind back into order for a good weekend ahead.

While my thoughts strayed into dangerous territory and I thought of some scary things, I do get back up again and again and again.

So here’s to the weekend. If you are here in the States, hopefully you have  more than one day off to celebrate the 4th of July.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Sometimes I just can’t win. I try my hardest and it just isn’t enough. That is what work is like. They want little worker bees to work and work only.  To produce more and more pennies for their large coffers with less people. I am not sure how much more I can take. I want to make a difference in my job. That is not what I am doing now.

I am just frustrated. I want to contribute positively in the world and not feel like a little serf.

What else is new?

Not much. In my frustrations, I attacked a piece of cheese. Tomorrow is another day.

I will have a fun little 4th blogiversary giveaway starting tomorrow. Something I am doing because I really appreciate all of my readers.  Stay tuned.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Is That My Stomach?


For most of my life, I have told myself “I can’t have THAT! It is so ……” Even when I am not actively dieting, my eating behavior revolved around dieting practices. That constant guilt that I am bad if I eat that. I felt hungry all the time and I am sure it did not help that I totally obsessed about what I would eat next. Lunch at noon, even if I was not hungry. Fat free everything though your body needs fat. It was never ending.

Those days are over. I have had it.

I have started Phase 1 of eating intuitively. This involves:

Eating when hungry.

  • No more rules. If I am hungry and I want fried clam, I will have them. What? Doesn’t this go against everything you have been taught? No because look where I am on what I thought I was right. I am back to where I started.
  • Paying attention to my stomach.

Getting ride of the diet mentality.

  • No more counting points. No more saying no mayonnaise or only eating low fat ice cream.
  • No more guilt.

Ditching the scale

  • I have been mostly doing this but I learned that I can refuse to be weighed in at the doctors. This is huge. That number haunts me because even if I do not look, they give me a print out with it taunting me.

Now when those thoughts of dieting will not be easy to get rid of. I have been dieting for most of my life. I have been listening to my body for the last two days and for the most part, I have been eating when hungry though sometimes, especially at work, I can’t eat until I am starving. Still it is progress. For the next few days I am going to eat until I am satisfied and when I am hungry.  It has not been easy but it has been eye opening.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jen Reads: The Gathering Storm

Since there is no football this time of year. No 1 pm and 4 pm or 8 pm games for a while. My foray into two blogs was hard. I can only concentrate on one blog. I love talking about books and Sundays are a great day to read and talk about books so Sundays are for Jen Reads posts.

Yesterday, I had a migraine and not much motivation to do anything thus it was a good day for me to relax and read. I read A Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges, the 1st book of the Katerina Trilogy.


This book has everything I like. It is set in 1880s Russia, which since reading The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons I have been obsessed with. It has history and folklore, which takes Russian history and Russian folklore and mixes the two. There is mystery, romance and a little bit of humor. I loved it.

The book is the first in three book series and introduces us to Katerina, the Duchess of Oldenburg. She is 16 and has a special talent in necromancy.  She thinks her talent is a curse and does her best to conceal the fact that she can raise the dead. When her secret gets out, she attracts the attention of the heir to the throne of Montenegro, Prince Danilo and wants the attention of the tsar’s son, Grand Duke George Alexandrovich. There are dark forces at work and Katrina does not know whether to work on behalf of Russia or the opposing dark forces.


  • Dariya, Katerina’s cousin and school mate, was probably my favorite character. She provided the comedy in the story.
  • There was no love triangle even though the book jacket hints at it. There is good and bad men and times where she overlooks the bad  but they were not fighting with each other.
  • I loved the images of the balls that she went to. The whole concept is foreign to me. I was never a princess girl growing up but they totally intrigued me.
  • Katerina was not your typical Duchess. She wanted to go to medical school and not become a queen.


  • I was totally confused about the titles. There seemed to be 2 Russian empresses. There were lots of Dukes, Counts, Grand Dukes. Some dukes were higher than others. She also talked about being a Princess, but she was not the daughter of a king/queen.
  • Katerina was a bit modern but not too modern.
  • Katerina’s mother was over the top.

The second book in the trilogy, The Unfailing Light, is due out in October and I look forward to it. Robin Powers is a new author that I look forward to reading.

I hope to do this every (or almost every Sunday).  Two blogs was just too hard for me. It felt forced but I miss talking about books so I am bringing books back to Losing the Shadow. It is about me and reading is a life long love. I hope to infuse more of my personality and stuff I love in this book. Reading is fundamental! (Anyone remember that?)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Calm My Crazy: Wine!

According To Denise

I had a bad day self esteem wise. I am not sure what went wrong but it started with a message on OKCupid saying one of my pictures looked “Harry Potterish” and the rest were sexy. Ugh! I don’t think he meant it in a mean way but I took it in a kick in the stomach way. To top it off, I had an embarrassing incident as I was on my way to Life In Synergy, which caused me to miss the class, that it just topped the day off and added to “I Suck” list.

To put that behind me, I am going to concentrate on happiness. Today is Friday and you know what it means.

I heard this song on the way home and it made me dance in my seat on the South East Expressway as I dealt with Boston traffic. Here’s Matt Kearney’s “Hey Mama!”

I mentioned some wine purchases when I went to Idaho and tonight I am drinking the first one. Please excuse the bad photo, my apartment is a disaster and counter space is at a premium.  This Lost West Wines Old Shed White is from Fujishin Family Cellars.


It is good and something to smile about.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vacation Over Blues

The week after vacations are usually tough. I am really feeling it this week with my mood.

Then there is the weather and since I live without air conditioning, it has been hot, especially for Boots.

weather boston

Good weather is at the end of the tunnel though.

With my mood, I feel hopeless again. I was looking forward to the vacation so much that no it is over, it is a big let down. I will get over it. Once I get through this week, I will feel better I think. I am going to open the Intuitive Eating book and get back on that road. My eating has been sporadic at best this week so far.

In 2 weeks, this blog will be 4 years old! I am going to a little something special like a giveaway closer to that big date. Now, 4 year olds can be sort of whiny, but I won’t be Smile.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Boston Gal’s View of Boise

When I first started to research my trip to Idaho, I had no clue that there were so many vineyards in Idaho. I was happy to find out there were vineyards that offered tastings.


I spent a day and a half driving around trying and buying wine. My favorite wine was probably at the Ste. Chapelle vineyard and tasting room. The pictures are from that vineyard.


The views from the tasting room were gorgeous.


In summer, I love nice wine on the sweet side and I tried many wines and found a few suite ones I liked. Unfortunately, Massachusetts’ Puritan laws do not allow shipping from vineyards so I had to creatively pack the wine and luckily, it was just under the weight limit so I would not have pay extra.

I also decided to visit the World Center for Birds of Prey. I often see birds of prey in the Boston area and it makes me happy. This place was awesome.


I sat in one a bird showing. They brought out an American Kestrel for us to see.



This is an Eurasian Owl. It was a pet that could not have been released into the wild.


harpy eagle

This strange looking bird is a harpy eagle. Cool, isn’t he?


They also brought a baby owl outside for the first time. I was wicked close and could see the owl’s reaction to seeing the outside world.

The Peregrine Fund, which runs the center, has released lots of peregrine falcons here in Massachusetts and all over the US and other birds all over the world. They helped to save the California Condor.

I really enjoyed my trip to Idaho. When I first said I would be going to Idaho, people here teased me that I was going “potato picking”. I didn’t see one potato farm that I recognized as a potato farm.

I did notice something about Boise that surprised me.

1. There were payday loan places everywhere. That really surprised me. It makes me wonder about the economy.

2. The lack of coffee shops. I am used to Dunkin Donuts on every street corner or across the street from one another. If you have been here, you know what I am talking about. When I wanted a coffee, it was harder to find.

3. The lack of traffic. Not once was I stuck in traffic.

4. The lack of people honking their car horns. In Boston, just walking from the T to work, I hear about 10 horns. The only horn I heard was the one I honked.

5. Everyone was so nice. Not back stabbing nice but genuinely nice. I met people eating dinner, tasting wine and where ever I went.

6. The men there were handsome. Very handsome. This single gal noticed that right away.

I really enjoyed my visit.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Seedier Side of Boise


My trip to Boise involved walking through an old prison by myself and being a bit freaked, lots of wine, learning about some new birds of prey and exploring a city that was just very different from my own.

The prison I went to was the Old Idaho State Penitentiary. You may have seen this place on the ghost show, Ghost Adventures. It was freaky on its own right. I didn’t need a TV show, which I have seen, tell me that.




I also took a little trip out to Idaho City, a sort of ghost town. It once had a population of about 25,000 but now only about 475 live there.



At Idaho City, I went to the Pioneer Cemetery. While there are old cemeteries here Boston, there is nothing like this.


This was just sad.




Tomorrow birds, wine and some things that totally surprised me about the places I visited.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Portland Travels

My vacation is almost over and I am writing this from Portland airport in Portland, Oregon. Tomorrow, I return to reality and Monday it is back to work for me. I took lots and lots of pictures so I will start from the beginning.


The first few days of the tour were very active for me. I hiked all over the place.


I saw lots of awesome nature in Washington and Oregon. It was so exhilarating to be there in nature and see how immense things were.


While there are mountains in New England, there is nothing like this:

mt hood up close

The mountains and this mountain, Mt. Hood, were visible wherever you were. I could look up and see them and smile.


On this trip, I had lots of time for self-reflection and at this point during the trip, I was feeling ok. I sometimes can’t believe that I travel alone. I surprise myself and at that point, I was really happy and enjoying the Portland area. I went down the Columbia River Gorge and saw lots of awesome scenery that really humbled me.  I am just a small spot compared to places like Mt. Hood.



I met a friend of mine that I have known of the computer for years for dinner last Sunday night. We ate at Beaches in Vancouver, WA, where my hotel was. It was great to meet someone I have “known” for a long time. We sat outside for dinner and this was the view.


That is a freaky looking doll, with a plastic seagull, basketball hop and a telephone to call in your order. The doll itself was a tad bit freaky.  Out side of this view, we could see this:


I liked Portland and Vancouver, where I said. Enough to move there, I don’t know.

Boise tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hello from Boise

I brought my laptop but not my motivation to actually turn it on. I am enjoying my stay in Boise.

I left Boston during a thunderstorm and after a little snafu, where we had to turn around on the runway because a flight attendant got sick, we were on our way.


Luckily, I had my book.


I want to talk about all of what I have done but I want to do it on a clear mind. I did some hiking in Portland and here is me with a waterfall.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Calm My Crazy: Leaving on a Jet Plane...

According To Denise

Today is the day! I am calming my crazy with a whole lot of excite me. I am like a little school girl today. It is the day I leave for Portland and Boise. Yay!

I heard this song today on the radio driving in and I said, "Oh yes, it is going up today." So in honor of today, I  bring you "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds.

You won't forget about me because the laptop is coming with me. I don't know how often I will blog but I will.

For now, I am leaving on a:

Let's hope it is not the jetBlue NY Jets plane.

Because as a Patriot's fan, it would be tough to swallow :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pets Do Make Things Better

It is hard to type when you have a beast trying to whack your finger with every key you touch. Since kitty pictures make everything better, I give you Boots.

12 - 1


Today I almost had a little breakdown at work. I was so burned out and I just could not take a minute more. I was afraid I was just going to curl up in a ball under my cubicle. That is all I will say here but let’s just say I need the vacation desperately.

Tonight was Not So Secret Sister’s birthday so we took her out to dinner. It was a good family dinner that does not happen very often anymore. Happy Birthday NSSS!

Her cake should make an appearance on Cake Wrecks since well, her name is not Belinda Smile


Monday, June 4, 2012

Liven Up the Rest of My 30s

I turn 40 in about a year and 4 months. I can’t believe it but I have decided that I want to make some changes prior to that big day. Here are 10 things I want to do before leaving my 30s:

1. Move away

Yes! Denver is on the top of my list but who knows. I have lived in Boston almost all of my life and I need a change and this is a big one.

2. Ask a man out

Yes, I am a big wuss when it comes to men. I think that no one would love me but I tend to talk myself down and now, that must end. If I want to change things, I have to jump into the fog.

3. Learn to swim and skate

I don’t know how to swim. We never went to be beach and I was taller than all of the pools in the neighborhood so I never had to learn. I was too much of a klutz to be given a pair of skates.

4. I want a tattoo.

This is crazy but I want a live, laugh, love tattoo on my foot or shoulder. Like this:


5. See the puffins in Maine.

Atlantic puffins nest on 6 islands in Maine. I could do a day trip before I do #1 or maybe make a weekend of it.


6. Have compassion on a continuing basis for myself

It will be hard but I deserve it. 

7. Go to Italy

I want to go to where it all began for my mother, San Donato Val di Comino.  I am embracing my Italian half.

8.  Get a dog.

If I am going to move, I will get a place where I can have a dog. I grew up with cats, dogs, hamsters, gerbils, iguanas, I am an equal opportunity animal love.

9. Volunteer more

I had thought about volunteering for the hospice service that took care of Mom but I am not sure that would be good for me.

10. Drive across country.

I love road trips and well, I have always wanted to hit the road and see the country.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Excellent Saturday

It was a crappy weekend, weather wise, in Boston. One for staying in and drinking., which is exactly what I did. Yesterday, I went to a Fireside Chat wine tasting at The Fireplace in Brookline, MA.


We tasted 5 different sauvignon blancs which ranged from sweet to dry.


The first, Mirassou Sauvignon Blanc was the sweetest and my favorite. I am partial to sweet wine. We also tasted Frei Brothers Sauvignon Blanc, Murphy Goode Fume Blanc (my second favorite), Groth Sauvignon Blanc and Caego Estate Sauvignon Blanc. All are California wines.



The Fireplace is a nice cozy place and perfect for a rainy Saturday afternoon. They put a tasting of wine or drinks about once a month and I have been to a few. For $25 with wine and food pairing, there was no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

We went shopping after and of course, I could not resist buy a few things but I did not take a picture in the dressing room. The wine must have gone to to my head. I bought this dress by Kate Hill at Lord&Taylor in a smaller size:


To top out the great day, we finished at Towne in Boston with a sangria and some spinach and crab dip. Yum!


I loved this little robot guy at the bar: