Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Great Night

Ever decide to do something, not really knowing what it was you were signing up for, only trusting that it felt like the right thing? There have been many of those moments in my life - times when a friend suggested I go somewhere, or try something new. Or times I noticed the signs and followed them. And trust me, I am not a person who normally does anything without careful thought and planning - but there are times when it just feels like the absolute right thing and the head is not involved. I guess it's what you call that "gut feeling". Mine has never steered me wrong. Ever. Not once. How cool is that? I think it is very cool.

So recently a friend I have known for a long time but not really seen much the last few years, reached out and asked me if I wanted to come to this group she was starting up. And it felt like the right thing to do, so I said yes. And I am so glad that I did! For one thing, it is nice to be connecting with her again, along with another woman I haven't seen in a few years and really like. And there were new people there and yeah, I just see it working. I have learned not to question what feels right and just trust.

So tonight I sat with this group of people and we talked about spirituality. And we all shared and we all listened and I came away just feeling really good and connected and, most importantly, that I am doing something good for my spiritual health. Because it's so easy to be all spiritual and mindful when the bottom drops out and things fall apart. Oh yeah, then I am all mindful and doing the work. Then a couple years ago, I decided that maybe it made sense to not become complacent and let those spiritually nurturing things fall away until I "needed" them again. That maybe, just maybe if I paid attention and kept working at it when things are going well, well, perhaps I would not get struck down with the spiritual sledgehammer again.

I've been looking back over my spiritual journey lately - there is so much I have not thought about before now. It's amazing. I remember the exact moment that the door opened for me. I was 28, mother to an infant, and my life was falling apart. The details are best told another time, but I know without a doubt who it was that showed me to that door. Mere weeks after my daughter was born, my cousin took her own life. We were only 4 months apart in age and growing up, I had adored her. We were like sisters. In spite of the many, many rifts in our family, we had managed to stay close. But, shit happened, and she and her siblings had severed ties with my side of the family, once again. Anyway, I had no idea what had been going on, until it was too late. A few months after that, I went to this womens weekend retreat. I was petrified, the only reason I went was because my therapist was one of the facilitators and she really thought it would be good for me. Well, let me tell you, the door flew open to me that weekend. I heard, saw and experienced things I never knew existed. Meditation. Crystals. Tarot cards. A safe, nurturing space. I left there and I knew I wanted more. And, I never looked back. Shortly after that weekend, I was meditating, and I received a message from my cousin. She was the one who had led me to this open door. Her message was simple. Don't end up like me. Please. 20 years have passed and here I am. So grateful for everything in my life, good and bad. So grateful that I know I have not only been guided, but that I also trusted that "gut feeling" to know I was being led in the right direction.

Tonight has been a full circle for me. I'm sitting back and kind of feeling "wow". I like my life. I embrace it. Because 30 years ago - if someone could have shown me the life I have today - I would not have thought it possible.

So, to answer tonight's question: "Do you think spirituality is important? Why or why not". You bet I do! See above :o)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

More thoughts on eating local...

I had a small epiphany this morning as I was putting together the fixings for pot roast. I realized that when I start a new endeavor, that I have the expectation that it will be difficult. When it turns out to not be difficult (most things are not difficult, at least in my experience), at first I feel as though I must be doing it wrong. Or not good enough. When that is just not true. Because I know this about myself - when I take on a project, a task, learning a new skill - whatever - I give it my all. I don't give up easy, if at all. I've always had this belief, even as a kid, that everything is possible and I will find the way to make it happen. I digress...

These were the thoughts I was having this morning as I was slicing up the most perfect,delicious smelling, local, organic carrots. You see, I have found that one of the differences between the carrots at the grocery and the carrots in my hand is that the local ones come with a story. When I cut into those carrots I thought about how much I love going to the market on my way home every Thursday, and how delightful this one particular small organic stand is - the people running it are so nice and I swear their produce is actually happy! And I observed how long and perfect these carrots were, compared to some of the shorter and stubby ones alot of the other farmers have. I imagined rich, damp earth that nurtured these carrots until they were ready to be pulled and delivered to my kitchen. Those bagged Bunny Luvs at the grocery store - they have never told me a story. We have no history. I don't know where they were grown. Not to mention that they lack the same flavor.

Then I thought about the meat. It's the meat part of the challenge that I am struggling with. Buying local meat at the local store is expensive. I didn't budget well for that. Next year I will start purchasing extra meat all through the summer and freezing it. I'll have to buy a small freezer, but they are pretty inexpensive. Plus it will get me back in the habit of making more of my own pet food again, and that will save me some money as well.

So aside from still buying about half of my meat and chicken from the grocery store...I'm really doing pretty good with the challenge. I realize I had the expectation that this was going to be difficult, and in reality, I realize just how much of my day to day eating DOES come from local sources! So go me! I've made some really great changes in the last year or so. I also make a point when I find new local items at the grocery store, to find the store manager and let them know that I appreciate they are carrying local products.

So October is nearing the half-way point. I promise November blogging will not be about food! Well, not entirely anyway. It won't be about baseball either, because my boys, well, they are just not there this year. Sorry, it has to be said, I cannot live in denial. They are not a world series team this year. I don't know what happened, or what they can do to fix it...I still love 'em though and will be counting down the days to spring training!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Eat Local Challenge Update

So much for my best intentions of blogging about the challenge. It's going ok. I could do better. More important to me right now though is not sabotaging my weight loss/getting in shape goals. There have been times when I have added some Kashi cereal to my local yogurt. I have shopped the farmers market every week and most of my food has come from there.

One of the nicest things I have realized is that I have become a person who can take inventory of the food that is on hand and whip something up. I used to be the kind of person who first found a recipe, then went out and bought the ingredients. Belonging to the CSA last year taught me to think differently. I never knew what ingredients I would find in my bag each week and the challenge was to use everything.

Tonight I am cooking up a new recipe. I bought a squash - not sure what kind, and I forget what the girl at the market told me it was. But she went on and on about how she loves to stuff these particular squashes with whatever and make a meal out of it. So, that's what is in the oven. I found some sausage - Mailhot's, from Lewiston, ME. It's not preservative free, but I didn't want to risk my expensive local sausage on a new recipe. So, I cooked up 1/2 lb of sausage with a small onion, a stalk of celery, (all chopped) and I pressed a large clove of garlic. Then I added some chopped carrots and mushrooms. The mushrooms and the celery were not local, everything else is. I mixed up the cooked ingredients with 1/2 chopped apple (honey crisp) and 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (made in Boston). Then I cleaned out the squash much like a pumpkin and added the stuffing.

Then I stopped writing this blog entry, did some stuff around the house, and now it is after eating my concoction. Wow...it was SO YUMMY!!!

I cut it in half and ate that for dinner. I'll have the other half tomorrow before the movie (going to see Whip It - can't WAIT!)

I feel good about my mainly local feast, since for lunch I went to Antiquities with some most awesome Manchvegas knitters!

I hope we do it again next year...I love my knittahs!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

I (sort of) have a plan

My Eating Local Manifesto:

1. Eat only vegetables, fruits, meat, cheese,dairy, poultry, meat and fish raised or grown within
a 250 mi radius of Manchester, NH.
2. To learn more about the sources of the
grains I eat.
3. Drink coffee only from local roasters
4. Drink Tap Water.
5. Buy as much food as possible from
farmer's markets
6. When I eat out, pick restaurants known
to source most of their food locally if possible.
7. Eat out less, cook home more.

Coffee (though will only purchase from local roasters)
broccoli - because I love it. once a week.
meals prepared by others
meals prepared for houseguests
food purchased prior to 10/1/09 if it will go bad unless eaten.


Eggs: Local farmers market, A-market or Nellie's Nest

Seafood: fresh available in Boston and Portland, can be frozen. Eat seafood at least 3 x week

Butter: Kates Handmade Butter

Dairy: Local farmers market, Stonyfield Farms, Cabot Creamery
Chicken/Meat: A-Market, Local farmers market

Vegetables/fruits - Local Farmers Market, A-Market, Macks apples

Coffee: Green Mountain or New England Coffee. Also see what A-Market has

Alcohol: Local beer available

Bread: bake my own whenever possible, or only buy local

Pasta: only homemade

Flour: no local sources, will purchase only King Arthur

There may be more to add, but I am breathing a BIG sigh of relief that I am in better shape than I thought.

I reserve the right to step out of this challenge if it compromises my commitment to losing weight and exercising!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I am not ready for the challenge!! Or, maybe I am, and I just don't realize it? I wanted to plan this much better than I have - and I didn't. I guess it will be what it will be. Right now there are so many things that need my attention and I am on overload. The best thing I can do right now is sleep. I can do this!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Something fishy...

Decided to google some local options for fresh local fish. There are a couple of options in Cambridge I will check out when I am down there visiting Cindi. And a couple more in Portland, ME I will check out when I visit the family later this month. I figure I can bring a cooler and buy enough for a couple of weeks, which when you think about it, for one person won't be alot really. Here are the places I will be looking at. If you know anything about any of them, please share!

Browne Trading Company - Portland, ME
From the website, it looks like they only sell large poundage/whole fish. Not interested in cleaning fish!! I'll go check them out anyway.

Free Range Fish - Portland, ME
I can't wait to check this place out, from what I see on the website they have everything I am looking for - scallops, clams, and haddock - all local!

Harbor Fish Market - Portland, ME
This one looks promising as well

New Deal Fish Market - Cambridge, MA
No info on their website, will check them out soon.

Courthouse Seafood
- Cambridge, MA
looks to be near New Deal, same day

Mercato del Mere - North End, Boston
This place looks AWESOME!! I think I know where me and Cindi are
having dinner next week - somewhere in the North End so I can check this
place out. I am certain I can bribe her with the promise of a box of cannolli's from Mike's.

I realized today that I am kind of under the gun here to pull this off. Oops. But, that is typically how I operate - think about everything for a very long time then do all the actual work at the last minute and it all works.

I think I have seafood/fish covered. Meat and chicken options are available at a local market, and I am going to stock up at the farmers market over the next 5 weeks. And there will be plenty of eggs and cheese. And yogurt. So I have protein covered.

Next I will be moving onto grains and pasta! Can you stand the excitement peeps?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bread...no Salt

So I had this whole post planned about bread and what my plans are for the Eat Local Challenge...

Instead, I am thinking about how unsatisfying today's meals have been. For some reason, I was extra hungry today. I did not plan well for this. Breakfast was yogurt and Kashi. I did eat it about an hour earlier than normal, which may explain why at 11:00 I was ready to raid my lunch bag. Instead, I grabbed one of my "emergency" rations - a Spring Onion Noodle Bowl. It was mediocre to say the least, and it left a really bad taste in my mouth. And it was salty.

Moving onto lunch. Part One was a chicken pesto Lean Cuisine. It wasn't bad, I'd have it again. Again though, salty!

The salad I threw together, at 4:30, that was the best thing I ate all day!

For dinner, I decided to have this shrimp stir fry in a bag thing that has been in my freezer for a month or so. As I was preparing it, I realized that I could have made my own shrimp stirfry and it would have been MUCH better than what I am eating now. Which is SO SALTY!! And then there is all the packaging - 4 plastic bags inside one large bag. And nothing local. Had I made this from scratch, the shrimp, carrots and peas would have been local. Which made me realize that one of the staples of my diet, stir-fry, is going to be very different come October. No soy sauce for starters. I want to keep my exceptions list to a bare minimum.

Anyway...today I learned that I need to buy ALOT less packaged food. I see this all in one bag stir fry and think, wow, how convenient! But...I used more dishes than I would have if I started from scratch, and my veggies would have had alot more flavor. Not to mention how much bigger the shrimp would have been!

Bread - something to ponder this weekend - hoping to actually make some!!

Monday, August 31, 2009

White House Garden!

How cool is this???

What an awesome example...

Eating Local - what's it all about?

I'm resurrecting the blog to, I hope, chronicle the Eat Local Challenge I am planning for the month of October.

Basically what this means is that, with very few exceptions, I make a commitment to eat only food whose origins are in a 250 radius of Manchester, NH, for an entire month. I will blog more about why I am doing this as I go along, for sure.

The first I heard about this challenge was in late September of last year, when I stumbled across this blog. As it was much too late to embark on such an undertaking with only 3 days to prepare, I follwed this brave blogger through her Eat Local adventure. She has 2 little kids and a husband as well. I only have to feed me!

Anyway, inspired to at least start looking around and paying attention to where the food I eat comes from, and looking for local alternatives, I decided to participate in October 2009. OK, but want to hear something funny? I thought the Eat Local Challenge was some big national event that people from all over the country were doing! Um...I was wrong. In fact, a visit to their website shows that it hasn't been updated since March 2009. Where are you local eaters?

I have to say I have done pretty well with finding local sources of some of my food. Note the "some" part. I gotta lotta work to do in September folks if I am going to pull this off!! Now, I do have a rather extensive file I have been compiling of sources of things like flour and oats that I need to sit with and place orders for anything I might need shipped to me by 9/15. I'd like to not do that though, but realistically, I might have to. I will post a blog entry which I will update as I find more, of all the local products/resources I have found so far. And if anyone out there can add to this list, PLEASE leave a comment or email me!!

OK, true story. Tonight I decided to get on Google Maps and find my 250 mile radius. I figured I would mainly be making my purchases from NH and ME, which was good because everyone knows most of our potato crop comes from northern Maine, right? Right. And guess how far away Houlton, ME is? over 300 miles. Seriously Maine people, that is one big ass state you have there. And, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that. I was reminded of a few 8+ hour trips from Boston to Presque Isle chain smoking in my dads old Dodge Dart - but that is another story! So, first lesson learned tonight is that my 250 mile radious extends, if you can believe this, all the way to NYC!! (248 mi, I kid you not). However, I am drawing the line at the Connecticut border. Rhode Island and Massachusetts also make the cut. That said, I am going to try and keep it within a 100 mi radius if at all possible. My local Farmer's Market is going to be very profitable in the next 6 weeks!

So, I have alot to do, and alot to write about in the next 30 days prior to starting my challenge. If you want to do it too, let me know. Oh, and on top of this, I have also been tracking what I eat in an attempt to eat healthier (it's working, I've lost 7.5 lbs) and I'm exercising ALOT more and feeling really great!

Over dinner last night, my daughter was asking me about how my prepping for this challenge was going. I said good, but that I was stressing a little bit over getting enough protein, as local sources were kinda pricy, so I would have to budget carefully. I mentioned a few other things, and this horrified look crossed her face and she said, "Mom, you're not going to starve, are you?" I assured her that no, I would not starve. I seriously think I could barely eat for a month and live off the fat of this here land. Although with my luck, my body would manage to store fat anyway! (If there is one thing I have learned in the last 4 weeks it's that my body really WILL drop the pounds if I eat more).

I will leave you with this thought...over the weekend, a friend mentioned that movie, Food, Inc (which I am going to see this week) and asked "why would you want to know where your food comes from?" My answer - why wouldn't you?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Lost Week

I was just putting away my laundry. I don't have a clothes dryer, and so in the winter my clothes hang out on racks in my bedroom for a couple of days to dry. I've gotten used to it, and honestly, clothes take quite a beating in the dryer, so mine stay in better shape. And yes, every now and then I mooch off a family member and do "real" laundry. I digress. What I realized as I put away the clothing I had washed over the weekend is that, with the exception of 1 sweater, and 1 pair of jeans, it was all pjs and sweats. I literally did not wear any "real" clothes until I had to go out in public late Friday afternoon. I lost an entire week of my life to being sick. Wow.

I'm fine now. My energy levels are back to normal, just in time to have a party tomorrow night followed by a couple of vacation days with a visit from my brother. Yes, that's correct. A party. A Lia Sophia party (jewelry). Which is really kinda funny 'cuz I'm so not a girly-girl, but all of a sudden I like jewelry. If you've met me in real life, you know what I mean. But let me tell you this - I clean up nicely, and can get dressed up when I have to. And honestly? The biggest reason I dress the way I do is not out of comfort. It is because of my feet. They are man feet. Seriously. It literally takes me a couple of weeks of trips to multiple stores to find a pair of dress shoes that work with my feet. Let me restate that - a pair of shoes that I can AFFORD. If I want to spend $100+ for a pair of dress shoes then yes, there are more options. So, my shoe wardrobe consists of a limited amount of Dr. Martens and sneakers. And Birkenstocks and Tevas in the summer.

But, I am excited that all my friends from all my circles are coming over tomorrow night. It is going to be a BLAST!

Random thought: Just what exactly is American Cheese? Here's what's in Kraft Singles. Not so bad really, I guess. Here's what's in Velveeta (gag). And these are the ingredients in Cabot Cheddar: Pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes. Must be all the other stuff that gives American that plastic quality. Seriously - how many of you love the American cheese? How many of you won't touch the stuff?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Self-Love - a great concept!

Fabulous is celebrating Self-Love Day. Go here for more info on this.

It's a great idea! How many of us truly love ourselves? I mean, every little flaw and quirk? The best lesson I have learned, and it's only in the last couple of years that I have put it into practice and really learned it, is that I HAVE to love myself and cultivate a healthy relationship with MYSELF before I can have that with anyone else. Bottom line. And how many of us take the time to cultivate this important relationship with ourselves? It is essential.

So, today I am taking myself out for the day. I am including my favorite-est person in the world, the beautiful young woman I am blessed to be a mom to, and we are going to go laugh our way through Cambridge and have a yummy lunch somewhere and visit lots of shops.
So, if ya wanna play too, the rules are really simple.

1. Post a banner on your blog - there are a couple to choose from.
2. Post one nice thing about yourself……then ask others to post one thing that they really like about you.
3. Enjoy yourself!

OK - so, here is one nice thing about me... I care very deeply about people and will pretty much do anything for anyone in need.

Much love to you all today!!! xoxoxox

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I don't recall ever having been in the vicinity of Fenway Park in the winter. I'm sure there must have been trips to Lansdowne St. - to places like 15 Landsdowne St and Spit back in the early 80s, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't paying attention to the silent church of all that is Red Sox across the street. No, I'm pretty sure my focus was on those important things like guys (gasp, yes, there was a time I was all about them) and would we meet any good ones at either establishment.

I digress.

Today I wandered over to Kenmore Square, after depositing the offspring back at school. It really is a matter of 5 minutes or so drive to Fenway from there, when there is no traffic. I was on a mission. I am taking part in a Red Sox Traveling Scarf over on Ravelry. What that means is that a group of us each cast on and start knitting a scarf in any manner we like (there are some guidelines) and then every couple of weeks we mail the scarf in progress to the next person. After it is knitted on by everyone participating, the scarf you started comes back to you, and you are now the proud owner of a good mojo Red Sox scarf that has been a-travelin'. So. The first "scarf" I have received from Christine is the one she will end up with. She lives in Kansas City, but in reality, she is from New England, and a displaced Sox fan (though the Cardinals have Chris Carpenter, from Londonderry, NH, so that at least is something! ). So. I decided that since Christine is not likely to have a chance to bring her scarf to Fenway Park anytime soon, it only seemed right that since I had to go to Cambridge anyway, that her scarf go and visit Fenway!
I pulled over on Lansdowne St. (it was FREEZING) and I see this woman walk by my car, with a camera, and proceed to take pictures. I walked over and asked her if she would mind taking my picture, with the Fenway sign in view, and then I pull out the scarf. She turned out to be a charming British gal. I asked her if she was a Sox fan and she most certainly was!! She graciously took a couple of pics. I walked around a bit, and then back to the car - did I mention how cold it was? I circled around to Yawkey Way and tried to get a pic of the Fenway Park stone entrance, but it was too dark by then. I did get some awesome pics of the Citgo sign though, and these were from inside my car!
It was so weird to be there on the empty streets. I keep picturing a sunny warm afternoon where the sidewalks and streets are just burting with life. Soon...

Touchdown Jesus!

If you've ever heard me utter those words*, here is the inspiration!

*no disrespect meant to my Christian friends

Good News, Fingers Crossed...

"A baseball source tells The Boston Globe that the Red Sox have made a contract offer to the veteran catcher and team captain. Without citing specifics, the report states the proposal given to Varitek's agent, Scott Boras, may include a second guaranteed season."

insert happy dance here.

and later today, I shall be making a pilgrimage - details on that later...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Checking In

Yeah, yeah...I missed you too. I've thought about you alot, I really have, and I would have all these great things to say, but then life would get busy, or I'd be tired, or want to do other things...I know! You probably don't even come visit anymore do you, because I am never here!

Life's good. No complaints. A pretty good balance of work, fun and leisure. I'm grateful to have a job and I'm not going to complain, even though I could. Been feeling these little nagging thoughts that say "what about doing something for a living that makes a difference in the world?", so I am starting to have that conversation.

Holidays were fun, over so fast! But, that means baseball is coming and I can't wait!! Knitting is still happening, and one of these days I will post some pics.

For now, I will leave you with these, and I promise I'll be around more often!

I wish Rusty could just RELAX!!

Nubble Light, York Maine

Late December Beach Day and yes, my feets went in the water!

Working at home with Zuni's help.