As I do not have a selfie of “44 years old.” please instead enjoy this snap Sean sent me while I was away LOL

EMBRACING 44 –Let’s start with the fact that today is my birthday.  I woke up feeling like 44 feels much different than 43. It’s so much closer to 45, which seems like basically 50. But as with most things, I am (mostly) blessed with the ability to embrace change rather quickly. This morning I woke up and forced myself back to sleep thinking a crippling depression in my now old age may be fun. An hour later I woke up again and for about 5 minutes continued to wallow in the sorrow of being elderly before getting bored and up and at ’em, sneakers laced up, and back to working out after 2 weeks of slackery!


Screenshot 2018-03-19 at 5.59.54 PM

EMBRACING RUINED PLANS — Last week we had to cancel our yearly trip to Mexico for numerous reasons (drug cartels, ferry bombings, the US govt warning against travel to playa due to a ‘credible threat’), but the nail in the coffin was a blizzard canceling our flight 2 days in a row.  So in typical Colleen style, the day we ended up canceling due to the flight issues, I took an extra long mopey-sulky nap, woke up, and embraced it by taking control of the situation, canceling the trip and planning a new one!


While appreciating this photo, consider the time taken to ensure full bubble coverage.

EMBRACING THE TRASH WE ARE —  If going to Whole Foods and stocking up on wine, craft beer, cheese, crackers, & macarons and then spending a couple days mostly locked up in a steamy motel room eating, reading, and watching Law & Order and Modern Family reruns, while in a hot-tub full of bubbles and lush bombs appeals to you, have I got the place for you!! Our new trip was to a motel we have been to several times on Old Orchard Beach. It’s a clean, family-run place we love because it’s right on the beach, there is a jetted tub for two RIGHT IN THE ROOM by the bed, and in the winter they offer a buy-2-nights-and-get-one-free deal. It’s kinda trashy while trying to be classy and WE LOVE IT BECAUSE SO ARE WE!!! It’s called the Seacliff Motel and we highly recommend— unless you are Mr. or Mrs. Fancy-schmancy Pants.


On the drive down…….

Me: “OMG HONEY!!  On the way there, I want to stop at TJs and get some margarita glasses and we can make margaritas and I can take a super cute Instagram pic and be all, ‘Heyyyyy….. Margs on the beach, y’all'”

Him: “Ok. You want me to swim with one too?”

2 hours later…..  IMG_20180315_182339_160.jpg

A perfect illustration of my life…. Super cute big plans. Mediocre follow through, AND I EMBRACE THAT!



Did you know you when you die you can have your ashes crushed into a diamond? I am SO IN. I live for the day (ok, I guess I die for the day) this goes down:

Random person to Jessi “Ooooh what a pretty ring!”

Jessi: “Thanks, it’s my mom!”

Random person: “Oh, you mean your mom left it to you?”

Jessi: “No. It IS my mom.”

Random person: …

I also told Sean he needs to make me into a pinky ring.  Because the thought of him sporting me as a pinky ring makes me laugh. Do you think if I stay kinda fat, they can get at least 2 rings outta me? Hmmm…. it’s probably more about the bones, huh?

I did (not do) a Whole 30!!


I have been wanting to do a Whole30 for a couple years now, but the timing was never right, and there were always things I didn’t think I could give up. Coffee with cream and sugar, and cheese were my main concerns. And oddly enough, those were the least of my problems, as from the title, you can probably see that I didn’t complete the program. My timeline went something like this.

Day 1 -SO EXCITE!! I am DOING THIS!! Went to the grocery store to shop for stuff and learned 1. All bacon has sugar in it. 2. Most EVERYTHING ELSE has some form of sugar tucked secretly away in it and you have to be a detective/scientist to successfully grocery shop. What have I done?

Day 2 -What do you mean I can’t cook with wine or soy sauce or Worcestershire? Literally everything we cook has either one or the other. Not cooking with wine is stupid. The alcohol is all cooked out so it’s basically juice and juice is allowed. Fuck you guys, I’m cooking with wine. And soy sauce. I’m not buying your stupid $10 coconut aminos. It’s a racket and I would bet money there is a conspiracy there that I don’t have time to dig up right now. I can give up the Worcestershire. I can’t even pronounce it properly anyway.

Days 3-9 were a blur of exhaustion, emotions, painful headaches, inexplicable constipation despite eating LOTS of fruits and veggies, and wondering why I am even doing this. I had no “why.” The friend I was doing it with has great “whys” which certainly make it easier to stick to the program. My only “why” was “something to do” and maybe weight loss, but weight loss is never supposed to be the focus of the program.

Days 9-13 were a roller coaster of feeling amazing and full of energy, to feeling literal exhaustion to the point of falling asleep in the middle of the day and still needing to go to bed at 930, and continued headaches. I also couldn’t exercise like I usually do because I felt so drained, which led to more ‘why am I doing this?’These days the program also started to affect the rest of the family and I could tell my “diet” was a pain-in-the-ass for everyone around me, even though it didn’t really affect them. When people are eating yummy food and having adult beverages, having someone around who is abstaining from those things is annoying—even if the person isn’t making a display of it. Everyone can just feel it. Also, Lonnie does a LOT of the cooking for the family and he is watching his carbs and mostly sticking to whole foods as well, but having to know and cook by the whole30 rules was a stressor he was not enjoying.

So I decided to ‘kinda’ stop. I say ‘kinda’ because I am just going to loosen up a bit but still stick to no processed foods. I also won’t go back to putting sugar and cream in my coffee. I actually like the cashew-almond milk I’ve been using and it has more calcium than milk. This morning I was worried I would go off the rails with food knowing I was done with Whole30, but when I got on the scale for the this morning (weighing yourself is not allowed on whole30) and saw that I’ve lost 9 pounds, any of those concerns went out the window. Excited to learn to live my life mostly eating this way and keep seeing the weight come off and my energy come back!

Confession: I did eat a big cookie today while working at the hospital. And you know what? It was too sweet and I felt gross afterwards for couple hours. There is something to this thing for sure! Healthy food! WHO KNEW!!??

Also…. I haven’t even missed the cheese I was so worried about.

L-I-V-I-N-G with Seasonal Affective Disorder. In Maine.


LOOK HOW FUN!!!! Winter is JUST THE BEES KNEES, RIGHT!!!!??? Uh, no. Actually, I have a long history of winter blues that subjects those around me to endless complaining about feeling cold, and not wanting to do anything except snuggle under a blanket on the couch. This year my ‘winter blues’ seemed worse than usual (…..perhaps there is a connection to my father dying the weekend before Christmas… just a theory 😉 )
So I took a quiz. And it said I had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). But then I noticed the quiz was on a ‘phototherapy light’ website, so I figured they probably diagnose everyone with SAD to sell more lights! So I searched for more appropriate diagnostic tools and found another, more lengthy, test from a more legitimate source. And it said I had Seasonal Affective Disorder. To which I thought, “Meh, it probably says everyone has everything.” So I took a test for depression, and then one for anxiety. It said, “No ma’am. No depression or anxiety in that little brain of yours. Ya just got the ole SAD.”
So what are the “textbook” treatments?
Drugs: No thank you. And thankfully, my home remedies have been working so I don’t even need to consider that route!
Exposure to sunlight: CHECK!! Even though they are INSULATING and keep the rooms warmer, we decided natural sunlight was worth the little extra we may pay for heat this year.
Light therapy: Open to it if needed, but I think I’m good!
Psychotherapy: All set thanx.
My treatment regime prescribed by myself, and Google…
After lots of reading and, previously learned knowledge having been in the mental health field for over 20 years now, I know the importance of exercise to mental health. I also know how few people actually follow through with this, so it’s important to me that I practice what I preach. So I exercise almost every day.
Several articles discuss the importance of engaging in activities, particularly winter activities, to find enjoyment during winter months. So, I stopped saying (aka whining) “No… it’s too cold and yucky” when Lonnie says, “Hey, wanna go _______?” We started Friday night board games, a new tradition I am LOVING!!!! I have PLANS to see Black Panther Friday night with friends and I WILL GO EVEN IF IT’S COLD OUT!! (I said it here so now I have to!)
  • I’ve hiked!
  • I’ve snow-shoed!
  • I’ve cross country skied (for about 6 feet)!
  • I’ve walked the dogs!
  • I’ve shoveled!
  • I’ve started a gratefulness/21 Days of Happiness journal
  • I’ve stopped listening to news all day
  • I’ve STARTED listening to Oprah’s Soulful Conversations instead of news! (Amazingly inspiring and thought provoking!)
  • I’m watching what I eat and drink and even doing a Whole30 (or 20) (maybe 8) (I’m on day 8 😉 )

We (speaking of “we,” having a super-supportive partner who isn’t afraid to tell you when you need to get your shit together and your ass off the couch doesn’t hurt!) are in full-on SAD battle mode and it’s WORKING!!! I feel great, and when I don’t, I recognize it, and FREAKING DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT— SEE ABOVE!!

::::Drug commercial tagline alert::::I may have SAD, but it doesn’t have ME! LOL Had to.

I like big spicy butts aka How to make Pork Carnitas

Caution: THIS RECIPE IS A PAIN-IN-THE-ASS. If you don’t actually enjoy cooking and spending time in the kitchen, you will hate this unless you can get someone else to make it for you.

We became addicted to carnitas in Mexico, and waiting for a year between eating it is not an option. Hell… we barely make it a week before we make it again. It’s even whole30 friendly only by using riced n’ spiced cauliflower instead of my usual rice bowl. Or a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla.


It HAS to be a butt or a shoulder. Trust me. Sale prices have encouraged us to try every cut out there. Butt is my favorite. I like big butts and I can not lie.

Cut your butt into 2″ish chunks. Season with salt and pepper and brown em up REAL good. BROWN them up. not GREY them up.

If you are totes adorbs like Lonnie and I and are cooking as a couple, while one of you browns the meat, the other can make the sauce.

Into the blender goes:

Juice of 4 limes, 2 oranges, 1 lemon

1 onion

2T cumin

2T chili powder

1T Mexican oregano

1t (or more if you like it super spicy) cayenne

Note: Sometimes we use 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce instead of the cayenne, or we use rehydrated guajeo peppers, but we live in Maine and finding the dried peppers called for in so many recipes we want to cook has been next to impossible (Yes. I know we could just order some.)

Spread your browned meat into a 9×13 or roasting pan. Pour the sauce all over it and squish it all around. Cover and bake low n’ slow, about 3 hours at 250.

At this point, you have 2 options. 1. Uncover, turn the heat up a bit and cook it more to reduce the liquid or 2. (Which is what Lonnie always does) Transfer it into a REALLY BIG frying pan to cook down the liquid. Your goal here is to cook down the liquid enough to then brown/caramelize the meat so it gets some DELICIOUS CRISPY BITS! It’s nearly impossible to do this with all the meat at once –in our kitchen anyway, so we usually cook down the liquid all in one giant pan, and then as we serve, we crisp the meat up in a separate pan.

THE WORST PART IS OVER!!!  You now have several days worth of AMAZING carnitas to use in rice bowls, tortillas, with your eggs for breakfast… whatever your is your jam. You do you, man!

Lonnie’s jam: Corn tortillas, and garnished with red onions pickled in red wine vinegar, pineapple, radish, and cilantro (This is usually how carnitas are served in Mexico. He’s a purist)

My jam: Rice bowl (or currently– a riced, seasoned (onion powder, salt, cayenne, cumin, chili powder) cauliflower bowl), topped with guacamole, radish, maybe some scallions. Sometimes (when I’m not whole30ing), I go with the typical, shredded cheese/sour cream/guac business/black beans and corn business that Chipotle has taught us to love.


Cross the Green Mountain

A few weeks ago my mother said, “You know, looking at you kid’s Facebooks and Instagrams and all that, no one would never even know your father was dying. It’s a little odd.” She’s right, it was a little odd, particularly for me, a lover of all things social media and self-proclaimed open book. But I didn’t know what to say, I am not a “thoughts and prayers needed” kind of girl, and I didn’t need thoughts or prayers. I was having more than enough thoughts for all of us! If my father and I had a relationship status on Facebook, it would be “it’s complicated.” Even last night when my brother called to let me know Dad had died, I had no idea how to feel and had to keep reminding myself of all the recent conversations with friends telling me there is no “right” way to react or feel, only “my way.”

Dad and Jessi, 1996

Right before my dad went into the hospital, we had an argument that began with my suggesting he move up here so my brother and I could help him out more than we could bein. I pissed him off, and he wrote me off. At his request, I never visited him in the hospital or the rehab facility where he lived his last couple weeks. While it hurt and pissed me off, I understand why he did it. My father was a stoic loner. Ending his life in need of 24/7 care was humiliating. He knew he was dying, he was scared, he was horribly ill and weak, and he just wasn’t able to add dealing with emotional drama to that list.  So it was easier to just ignore it…. me. And I completely understand this because he passed down to me that same ability to cut people off rather than allow them to cause me pain. That trait, given to me by my father, has been mostly blessing my entire life and I am thankful for the strength it has given me over the years.

Anger is so much easier to feel than sadness, forgiveness, or gratefulness. Given the way dad chose to end his life, compounded with the way he lived it, it would be So. Easy. to just say, “Fuck that guy!” I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t swirling around in my head a bit, but each, “fuck that guy,” is met with a good memory, a gratefulness for the traits that made me who I am today, and happiness for him that he no longer living in misery. He had a spot-on Donald Duck impression. He gave all his children passion for music and art. He loved me the best way he could, and in the best way I can, I love him right back.


I CAN quit you!

Last November I read a book called “Never Binge Again: Reprogram Yourself to Think Like a Permanently Thin Person” that turned out to be life-changing (however, not as immediately and dramatically as the author claims it to be). After reading the book I added some foods to my “never eat again” list. This went against the old, “everything in moderation,” idea we’ve always been taught.

I never ate Sour Patch Kids or Reduced Fat Cheezits again. Those 2 foods joined fountain diet Pepsi, and my ex-husband, in the Historical Museum of Bad Past Relationships.


HOWEVER…. for many months, I cheated. My Reduced Fat Cheezits became Goldfish crackers or Cheddar Combos and my Sour Patch Kids became Skittles. I quikly became so known for skittles, my coworkers brought me them as treats and came to expect and look forward to my “leftover (disgusting) greens.”  It slowly dawned on me that I had not “quit” anything. I still was meeting my emotional needs with a cheesy crunchy snack and a sweet-sour chewy snack. So I stopped. I did so by proclaiming to myself, my coworkers (to turn down their generous candy gifts), and my family that I no longer ate skittles. There is literally NO GOOD REASON for me to ever eat Skittles. None. Think of one. I dare you (and “Cuz they’re gud” isn’t a reason. I’m sure cocaine is gud too).

So now Skittles have a cute little shelf in the museum.

Guess what!? I’m FINE! I miss NONE of the things I decided to stop eating.

I did make a choice not put Goldfish in the museum because, well, I don’t want to and I am the boss of my own self. Also because I have a propensity for motion-sickness when traveling and Goldfish are my cure. Sometimes I AM eating them for an emotional reason, usually work busy busy busy-ness.  The key is to know what I am doing and why. I’m not just ‘cookie-monstering’ my way through life, gobbling up my emotions like snickerdoodles.

Results? YES! I ‘ve lot more than 20 pounds! BUT, I attribute the weight loss more to using Myfitnesspal (diet AND exercise). The REAL results of embracing the philosophy were changes in my MIND and ATTITUDE. I really thought I *NEEDED* those things. My life is better because I am not a slave to cravings. Being on the Myfitnesspal program has been a CINCH this time around, and I completely credit my embracing the spirit of that book for paving the way to have success this time around. My BODY is not the problem, it’s my MIND that needed tweaking.

If I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT. I have LITERALLY written blogs about my love of (and trying to quit ) fountain soda and how I felt like it helped identify me as a person LOL

If you are so inclined, you can read my blog post I wrote when I finished the book last year, by clicking here!