Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

I've been invited to a few parties but the older I get the less I want to go out on New Year's Eve. There are so many drunks on the road and so many people forcing themselves to get out and do something and be somewhere when the clock strikes midnight on the last day of the year. I'm perfectly happy to stay home and watch the ball drop in Times Square from my comfortable bed so that's what B and I are planning to do. Exciting stuff, huh?

Looking back on 2009 I realize I was pretty miserable for most of it with tons of work related stress and family drama but since I got laid off in November I've been seeing things in a whole new light. I feel blessed to be able to collect (f)unemployment (although I haven't gotten a check YET) and have the time to decide where I want to spend my working days. I know I don't want to ever work in a law firm again and I'm trying to figure out how to use my skills and collect a paycheck without paying for it with soul sucking stress and aggravation.
I'm excited to see what 2010 brings. As I've said before, I'm not much of a resolution person. My resolutions are goals I am constantly striving for every day, week, month, year, decade ... lifetime. Learn to live every single day to the fullest. Be healthy, be happy, love and be loved .... what else is there?
Thank you for joining me on this journey and I wish you all a very Happy New Year. I can't wait to see what 2010 has in store for us. ENJOY!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Coming Out of the Sugar Coma

I'm slowly recovering from the sugar induced haze of the holidays. Holy Christmas Cookies Batman!

I'm happy to say there wasn't any drama this year since my Mommy Dearest decided to stay in Florida. My brother and his husband, my father and stepmonster, and my sister and sister's girlfriend all met up with various family members out of state so B and I didn't have to rush around from place to place which made for a very mellow holiday.

It was pretty low-key with all of B's family together at his brother's house in NH. My niece and nephews are teenagers now so there wasn't that magic of watching Christmas through a child's eye but we had a joyous stressless holiday. We ate way too much food (my sister-in-law makes the best cheese danish that I indulge in once a year), we opened lots of presents and envelopes full of green (B's parents are way too generous), we lost money on the scratch ticket swap like we do every year (I keep saying I'm not going to do it anymore), I learned all sorts of Wii tricks from the nephews (I work up a sweat playing my Wii and my nephews barely flick their wrists around) and we all ate way too many delicious sugary holiday treats. It was a blast and I'm glad it's over.

I have to confess that I had to make the dessert I was bringing to Christmas dinner twice because I stupidly made it a day early and then proceeded to eat half the tray. This toffee cracker stuff is similar to the recipe I used but I warn you, it is like crack and I don't want you to lose yourself in its sugary, buttery, chocolaty goodness. I couldn't stop myself from eating it. MMMmmmm.... A small piece here and a small piece there and next thing you know half the container was gone. How did that happen? I made my version of it with health bar pieces and another batch with vanilla chocolate instead of the semi-sweet chocolate morsels and it was amazing but seriously addictive. I should never make it again because I just can't be trusted around it, just like chocolate covered pretzels. It must be something with the salt and chocolate that flicks the switches in my head to auto-pilot and I lose the ability to stop myself from eating more and more.

Like an alcoholic can't just have "one" drink, I can't just have "one" of almost anything with sugar. I'll have a tiny sliver of cake and then have another tiny sliver and another instead of just having a normal slice from the start. Those 100 calorie packs of sweets don't help me because I'll end up eating the whole box. I know I have issues and I'm working on them.

I know I should be able to enjoy anything in moderation but what if I can't control it? Do I need to avoid it forever or will I eventually learn how to control myself with certain trigger foods? I'm glad all the crack is gone and I got back to my green monster for breakfast today. Fruit is a much better and healthier sugar high for me. It doesn't spike my blood sugar the way white cane sugar does.

Luckily I've been going to the gym faithfully and burning lots of calories on the elliptical and dreadmill so the damage on the scale from all the sugar has been minimal. I didn't lose any weight over the holidays but I didn't gain any either and that is something I don't think has ever happened before. Usually the holidays are an all out food fest and a free pass to gain the usual 5-10 pounds because it's the holidays, right? No, this year is different. 2010 is going to be different. I am different.

Julie over at Smoke Yourself Thin recently wrote a post about whether or not sugar can be as addictive as heroin or cigarettes and for me, I think it is. When I have it I always want more. I can't seem to get enough no matter how much I have and I can't refuse it when it's offered to me. I feel the physical effects of the sugar in my body and a haze come over my mind after a big sugar binge.

I'm detoxing now.

What do you think? Can you be addicted to certain foods? If so, what are you addicted to?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dear Santa

Dear Santa:

I've been a very good girl this year so I would like you to show some love to all my blogging friends who should be found on your Nice List, oh, well, ummm ... maybe just a little bit naughty but mostly nice list:

A remedy for Pasta Queen's never-ending headache.

Strength for Jen, a Prior Fat Girl, and her entire family to get through all the firsts without her Mom.
Less frogs and more princes to kiss for Hilly at Snackie's World.

The perfect fitting pair of jeans for Ex Hot Girl (who is no longer an "Ex," just a "Hot Girl" now).

Happy feet for Allison at Doublechinned.

An unemployment extension and a great job for Tammy at From Fat to Fab.

Huge Glo bar sales for Angela at Oh She Glows.

Reliable internet and warm heat for Friend of the Bear.

A super-duper souped up immunity system for Skinny Me.


I had very good intentions of listing EVERYONE on my blog roll and including links but I ran out of time and if I don't send this out now Santa won't get it before he heads out to deliver presents to all you good boys and girls out there. I hope Santa brings you whatever your heart desires.

I truly appreciate all of the love and support you have shown me. You are all so very special to me and I appreciate each and every one of you.

I wish every single one of you a joyous holiday season and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish in 2010.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, a belated Happy Hanukkah, and a wonderful Winter Solstice. I wish you all peace, love and happiness in the New Year. May all your days be merry and bright.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Life is Unfair

It doesn't seem fair that so many people get taken from us in the prime of their lives. Of course it's sad when someone who has lived a full life into their 90s passes away but it's devastating when someone is robbed of their life while they are smack dab in the middle of living it to the fullest. My lovely friend Lisa fought the debilitating effects of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) for the last 6+ years and is now at peace and no longer having to suffer through the pain.
It isn't any easier when you know your loved one is dying and have to watch them deteriorate before your eyes. You know there is no cure but you still hold out hope that they will be the exception to the rule. They will pull through this and get better because the alternative is too horrible to face. When I was selling raffle tickets for one of the many fundraisers they had for Lisa my old boss kept repeating over and over again "she's going to die," "there is no cure," "you know she's going to die." I knew it in my head but in my heart I didn't want to believe it.

Lisa and I met over 20 years ago and worked together at 2 different law firms. We were more than just co-workers and saw each other pretty regularly outside of the office for the first few years. I attended her first wedding and was there when her marriage ended. I spent an entire day at the vet with her when she thought her cat ate poison (the cat was fine but it took us 6 hours to find that out). In addition to her full-time job she started a cheerleading coaching business where she hired me to be the photographer for the competitions and I would be awed to see her put the young girls to shame when she was showing them new moves and teaching them how to be better competitors. I remember spending a day at the beach together and she couldn't stop laughing as she threw french fries to the seagulls out of my convertible jeep while I screamed and pleaded with her to stop because she knew how much I hated birds. We definitely laughed about it afterward but I didn't think it was very funny at the time. I really have a terrible bird phobia especially with seagulls and pigeons but I couldn't be mad at her because she was just having fun.

I was so happy when she told me she found the love of her life and I was sure I would be going to another wedding as soon as her long-time boyfriend got up the nerve to pop the question and give her a ring. We eventually drifted apart over the years but when we did see each other it was like no time had passed and we would just pick up where we left off. We would often run into each other on the train commuting to and from work and would catch up with each others lives and promise to get together soon.

We both "married" into local political families and would see each other on the campaign trails of our city, luckily we were always campaigning for the good guys and on the same political teams. I would often see Lisa running by my house on one of her regular 7+ mile runs and watch her eyes light up telling me about her most recent vacation where she went scuba diving, horseback riding, dancing, drinking and just having a blast. Lisa loved life and loved to dance.

It was heartbreaking to see such a vibrant young girl lose the ability to walk and talk and eventually end up in a wheelchair unable to do anything for herself. She fought so hard against this brutal disease from the moment of her first symptoms of slurred speech until her final days when she refused to take any pain medication because she wanted to be there and aware with her loved ones all around her.

She was lucky in so many ways but only had 35 healthy years before she had to fight ALS for the last 6+ years of her life. She had the most loving and caring boyfriend who organized massive fundraisers and tirelessly took care of her. He moved them to an apartment building with an elevator so the nurses would be able to take her out during the day after he carried her up and down the stairs for years. Even though she was unable to do anything for herself he knew she would still want to look put together in the latest styles. He took her to the hair salon regularly to have her hair done because she always wanted to change to yet another different style. He would take her shopping and to have her nails done and would always make sure she was treated with the utmost care. Most of all, he stayed and made her laugh through all the pain where lesser men would have run away. She was a beautiful soul and I'm sure she knew how much we all loved her and prayed for a miracle cure.

Every time I b*tched about the stress in my life and about how much I hated my job I would think of Lisa and how she would love to be able to go to work again. When I sat on my a$$ instead of going to the gym I would think of Lisa and how much she would love to be able to go to the gym or just be able to walk into the next room. Whenever I had a bad day I would think of Lisa and how much she would appreciate having a day like mine.

May my dear friend Lisa rest in peace and may they find a cure for ALS so people don't have to suffer the way this brave woman did. Lisa was taken from us too soon but I'm happy she is free from the pain and finally at peace.
Lisa's Words to Live By:
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give fate a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance
- Leanne Womack
I hope you are dancing in heaven now my dear friend Lisa. I hope you dance.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Different Person

I feel like I'm a completely different person than I was just 3+ weeks ago. B made a comment the other day that I'm "more lively" now, like I used to be. I knew I was stressed and miserable but I didn't realize how much it affected my life outside of the office. I'm beginning to comprehend how truly unhappy I was because I feel so different now. I've missed this fun, happy, energized person I used to be.

I'll be even happier when I can get my unemployment claim filed. I had to wait for the lousy 3 week severance to be up before I could even file my claim. I'm a little stressed over the financial situation with the holidays here but I'm sure I'll calm down about it when I have a check coming in even though it won't come close to the salary I was making.

I've been getting very good use out of my gym membership. I actually went twice yesterday. *shocker* Today I spent 90 minutes there (50 on the elliptical and and 40 on the treadmill).

My former office manager called me yesterday to tell me he gave my name to someone who was looking to hire. I thanked him for the referral but told him I was going to try to find a job where I won't have to look at a lawyer. I've been abused enough over the years.

I was supposed to go in the office for the staff's Yankee Swap today but decided I didn't want to see anyone badly enough to risk seeing someone I might tell to go F*** himself. I'm so happy to be out of there.

I think it's about time I took some measurements and pictures so I can track my progress because there are big changes going on here. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

40 Tips for a Better Life in 2010

I'm not waiting until January 1st to make big changes in my life. I've learned it's better to make daily/weekly/monthly goals instead of yearly resolutions. It seems too easy to break those big yearly resolutions and once they're broken I would just wait until the next year to break them again. Not anymore.

My life has changed so much in just the last month. I'm overjoyed to no longer be working in a high stress job, I'm relieved I'll be able to collect unemployment while I figure out how to make a living without having to look at another lawyer, I joined the gym and have time to go, I got LASIK eye surgery and don't need to wear glasses/contacts anymore, and I'm having some major dental work completed. I'm getting excited just thinking about what 2010 will bring. Where will I be this time next year? Where will you be?

Tips for a Better Life:

1. Take a 10-30 minute (or more) walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to _____ today.'

5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

6. Play more games and read more books than you did last year.

7. Make time to practice meditation and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of six.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants. Eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least 3 people smile each day.

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.

14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, or issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince & dinner like a college kid w/a maxed out charge card. (I believe the saying is "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a price and dinner like a pauper." Junk food is too cheap that it's all a college kid w/a maxed out charge card eats.)

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the NEGATIVE BLUES away.

18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

26. Forgive everyone for everything.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. REMEMBER GOD heals everything.

29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

33. The best is yet to come.

34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

35. Do the right thing!

36. Call your family often. (Or email them to death!)

37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

40. Love Yourself.

May your troubles be less,
May your blessings be more,
May nothing but happiness come through your door!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Blue Eyes

When I got my first pair of glasses in the fifth grade I remember being so excited to see individual leaves on the trees and not just one big mass of green, recognizing the person who drove by and beeped, seeing what the teachers were writing on the blackboard and marveling at every detail of every little thing. I think that was when I first got into macro photography. Everything was so clear it was like I was seeing for the very first time.

I had a love/hate relationship with my glasses. I loved being able to, you know, see but I hated having to deal with finding the right frames, being able to afford the frames I wanted, learning how to play sports without them slipping off and sliding down my nose, dealing with the rain, snow, and fog and fumbling to find them in the middle of the night.

I'm happy to tell you I can see clearly now thanks to the medical miracle of LASIK vision correction surgery. It's truly amazing that I don't need my glasses or contacts after needing them all of my life.

I didn't want to mention it here before I had it because I didn't want to hear all the horror stories of the rare LASIK cases gone wrong. There are always risks with any surgery but after talking to everyone who ever had it and researching the best doctors around for over a decade, I decided to take the risk and just do it. I was extremely nervous after reading all about the rare cases of people who lost their peripheral vision, suffered complications or infection, corneal swelling or thinning, appearance of "floaters" and retinal detachment, hemorrhage, blockage in the veins and arteries of the eye, cataract formation, or the worst possible result, loss of an eye or total blindness. I didn't even tell my mother about it until it was over because she is a worry wort with insomnia and I didn't want her to lose any sleep over it.

The surgery itself was painless and took less than 15 minutes. The waiting was the worst part but once they gave me a Valium I was a bit more relaxed. I elected to have Intralase LASIK/Monovision Myopia (one eye for distance and one eye for reading) which would substantially reduce my need for reading glasses as I get older. After I got my Valium and had numbing drops put in my eyes I was brought into the surgery room and took off my glasses for the last time.

The doctor had me lie down, made sure my eye was positioned directly under the laser and placed a retainer over my eye to keep my eyelids open. This retainer had a suction ring that kept my eye pressurized so the surgeon could cut a corneal flap. It was a little uncomfortable but not painful. The corneal flap was then created with a laser. The doctor used a big sophisticated computer to adjust the laser for my particular eye prescriptions. I had to look at a red dot light for a short time while the doctor watched through a microscope while the laser sent pulses of light to my cornea.

The laser light pulses then painlessly reshaped my corneas. The laser made a steady clicking sound while it was doing its magic and there was a mild burning odor when the tissue was being removed which was weird because they were actually burning my eyes. Ewwww.

I was so afraid I was going to sneeze or move while they were doing this precise work. I think I held my breath almost the whole time. The doctor held my head steady while the machine did its thing. I had to look directly at these bright lights on the machine which felt like I was looking into three suns. My eyes were watering like crazy in addition to the stuff they were squirting in my eyes to keep them flushed out. As the doctor was telling me to look at the light everything went totally white and I couldn't see anything which was a little scary but then it was over in the blink of an eye and I could see.

They sat me up and took me out to a waiting room where they taped these clear round disks over each eye. After sitting with my eyes closed for about a half hour they quickly looked at my eyes through a machine and sent me on my way with various eye drops and an appointment to go back the next day for a follow up.

I had to keep my eyes shut for the first four hours after surgery and then start putting in eye drops every hour and antibiotic drops every four hours. I looked like Jeff Goldbloom in The Fly with the bubble disks over my eyes all night. I had a hard time getting the glue from the tape they used off my face the next morning but I had absolutely no pain and crystal clear vision.

I have some red blotches on the whites of my eyes which was caused by broken blood vessels from the suction but that will go away in about a week or two. My eyes have always been very sensitive to light and they are and will be even more sensitive to bright light for about a month. I have to continue putting eye drops in for five days and have to wear these funny looking goggles to sleep so I don't rub or scratch my eyes.

The surgery was not cheap and my insurance wouldn't pay a penny for it because they consider it cosmetic. I know a few people who traveled to Canada and had it done for a 1/3 of the price but I didn't want to bargain shop with my sight at risk.

It's so exciting to be able to wake up and see everything so clearly without having to fumbling around looking for my glasses. I can't wait to go skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling and not have to bring my contacts or worry about my glasses fogging up.

I now have 20/20 vision! I'm kicking myself for not doing it ten years ago but hindsight is 20/20, right?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Green Monster Recipes ...

After raving about my first delicious Green Monster smoothie I thought I would put up some links to some of the different varieties out there.

I think Angela at Oh She Glows started it all with the Green Monster Movement. You can find Oh She Glow's reader recipes here. Angela is such an inspiration. She left her stressful, high paying corporate job to follow her passion and start her own baking company, Glo Bakery. Check out her Glo Bars. MMMMmmm...they look even better than Green Monsters, huh?

Annie, The Amazing Shrinking Girl, started drinking Green Monsters back in August. Her recipe here sounds like one I'm definitely going to have to try.

Angie at Angie All the Way regularly drinks Green Monsters too. Some of her Green Monster recipes are on these posts.

I know there are many more of you out there on the Green Monster bandwagon but I don't have the patience to search for anymore links. I love the limitless possibilities of the things you can throw into these healthy drinks. If you have a favorite Green Monster recipe let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Green Monster

I'm not talking about the big green outfield wall at Fenway Park, that is known as the Green Monstah here in Boston. I'm talking about the Green Monster Smoothie that everyone around the blogsphere has been raving about. I made my very first Green Monster smoothie today and it was delicious.

After I got home from the gym today I decided to use up the spinach I had in the fridge and blend it together with some frozen berries and water. I intended on using a frozen banana but I didn't peel the stupid things before I put them in the freezer so I had to throw them away. What was I thinking? How did I think I was going to peel them after they froze solid like a rock? Silly me. I didn't have any soy milk, yogurt or protein powder but I'm going to stock up on that stuff and see how it compares.

My first Green Monster smoothie was filling and very tasty. I didn't even need to use ice because I had the frozen berries in there. It looked more like a Red Monster than a Green Monster from all the berries I put in. MMMmmmmm.... I love spinach but couldn't even taste a hint of it in my smoothie.

There are tons of recipes for different variations of the Green Monster that I'm excited to try out. I'm probably going to get a few bags of different frozen fruits and see what I can come up with. I'm thinking mango and cherry or blueberry and cantaloupe.

Have you joined the Green Monster movement? Do you have a favorite Green Monster recipe? I'd love to hear about what you put in your Green Monster. Tell me all about your Green Monsters.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Judgment Free Zone

I got a month's head start on all those people who make the new year resolution to get in shape. I received a coupon for a 1 year membership for $99 to my local health club so I decided to splurge even though I don't have a paycheck anymore. You can't beat that price.

My bf and a few other friends have deluxe memberships to this gym where they can bring a guest for free so I usually just go with one of them but since I now have more time on my hands and can go anytime during the day I decided to suck it up and pay for my own membership so I don't have to be dependant on anyone else.

Yesterday was my first day at the gym and I felt so good getting all sweaty. I have a dreadmill and elliptical machine at home but it just isn't the same. I get a better workout at the gym just looking at everyone else pushing it and working hard. I only worked out for an hour but I got a good sweat on even though I didn't push it too hard the first day.

I'm going to be hitting the gym like it's my job now so hopefully there will be some significant weight loss to report here in the coming months. Stay tuned.