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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Just a bit out of sorts today..........

Maybe it's the whole holiday thing or maybe I'm still reeling from the whole cookie eating episode. But, I have not been able to shake this out of sorts feeling today. It's like I have a mood flu. I just feel....well.....out of sorts. Out-of-sortsy. My body and my mind and my head and my heart and my legs and my arms and my hair and my fingernails and my eye lids and my thoughts and even my shoes just don't feel right. It's like I want to wiggle and squirm to make it all fit together and work. But I don't even have any wiggle or squirm in me. I've just got alot of BLAH. BLAH. BLAH. And more blah. Like I said....a mood flu.
Most of us go through life thinking "if only I could FILL IN THE BLANK, things would be so much better." For me, one of those fill in the blanks was---loose weight. For years, I imagined that if only I could loose weight, my entire world would be bright and sunny and disgustingly happy. Well, here I am---I'm loosing weight. Yep, I am. I AM LOOSING WEIGHT.....HELLO......I AM LOOSING WEIGHT HERE! Can we start the bright, sunny and disgustingly happy stuff now?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Death by Cookies.........

Chocolate Chips. Chocolate Kiss Cookies. Chocolate Biscotti. Honestly, if I was going to choose a way to die, it would not be by way of cookies. Pasta, crab, eggplant, wine or gin---definitely. Cookies--not a chance. So, how is it that last night I found myself delirious--on the verge of being comatose, wracked with pain and shaking with chills following a cookie eating episode? Cookies? If I was going to overindulge in anything at all---why would I choose cookies? Okay, okay.....I can understand the biscotti. My sister and brother-in-law bake a top notch biscotti. But---the chocolate chips and chocolate kiss cookies that I had a hand in baking? I can't think of a good reason to eat more than one of those in a season! But, there I was......eating cookies. Cookies, of all things. One cookie. Two cookies. Ten cookies. Twenty cookies. I have no idea how many. I just ate them. Shoved them in my mouth. Pushed them down my throat. Yes, I attacked my lapband.....with cookies. I mean, I made it all the way to December 26 treating my lapband with the love and care it so rightfully deserves. I got through parties and happy hours and cocktail parties and dinners and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And, then, bang----cookies. Sidelined by cookies. Shoved on the couch at 7 pm by cookies. Stabbed through the chest, punched in the stomach, banged over the head, and completely overtaken by---yes.....COOKIES. And, this morning? Hungover. A cookie hangover. Everything hurts. Sweating. Chilled. Done in by cookies. Of all things......COOKIES.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

December 26-ing in 2007.........


We have this tradition.......on December 26, amid all the Santa loot that is strewn about the living room, we lay around in our pajamas, eat non -Christmas foods (like take out hamburgers, french fries and pizza), much on popcorn, play a game and watch movies. It's one of those traditions that I probably instituted many years ago to disguise the fact that I was completely exhausted, I didn't feel like cleaning up the house, I did not want to cook, none of my clothes fit me and I needed to keep my family entertained. So, my guess is that one December 26 led to another December 26 and then all of a sudden....there you go, a justifiable excuse emerged. I do not clean up, I do not get dressed, and I do not cook. Just like turkey at Thanksgiving, it's a tradition. As time went on, I've embellished the tradition (I'm an embellisher from waaaay back). For instance, everyone gets new pajamas just for December 26, I buy a new game (this year it's "Scene It-Music Edition") and I stock pile a few movies for everyone to pick from. Quite honestly, the tradition has served me well over the years. I expect that this year will be no different. Now that the kids are older and busier, the idea of having them spend an entire day with us is wonderful. And, after all the shopping and wrapping and cooking and cleaning and merry making.....well.....I am ready for a little bit of doing nothing. Plus, a day like this is just plain rare. If I could turn off all the phones and beepers and computers, that would take the day up another notch. But, I'll settle for crossing my fingers that no one will call, there will be no emergencies that need to be dealt with and that the competition of the game, the intensity of the movies and the laziness that wearing pajamas promotes will keep everyone away from the lure of text messaging, emailing, IMing and all other forms of communicating with the outside world. For today....it's all about our little world---inside our walls, with all the contents of a bountiful Christmas laying about---where a big bag filled with wrappings and bows decorates the living room, a pile of cleaned (but yet to be put away) Christmas dishes dresses up the dining room table and baskets and platters filled with cookies and treats from friends and family adorn the kitchen counter. Yes, the house is sufficiently a mess, I have my new leopard print jammies on, I have not planned one meal, I have take out menus within easy reach and my body and my mind are weary. I'm ready...........

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I believe..........

In the journey............


Monday, December 24, 2007

Tis the Day Before Christmas..........


and all through the house......sweet carols are playing.......Judi is stirring and baking and cooking and wrapping and making merry........serving it all up in Santa-style......
Ah, yes, it's Christmas once more......

Friday, December 21, 2007

We interupt the pre-Christmas frenzy.........


A little misbehavin' in Lapband Land? Well, I can't be good all the time.....with all the shopping and cooking and wrapping and being merry, a girl has gotta snag a little fun!


HELLLLLLLLO SANTA!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

WELCOME TO BANDLAND!

This whole internet thing had to be invented just for me. For starters---it's helped me to keep in touch with old and dear friends on a regular basis, it's given me a blank page to write as much or as little as I want, it keeps me in touch with my kids throughout the day and oh yeah---it's here 24-7. Which means----so are my friends. And, so are the many things and ideas and people who inspire me. And, so are my blank pages...waiting for me to bring them to life. With a push of a button, the flicker of a screen and a tap on a keyboard--I am out in the universe. A universe that is as far away as Australia and as close as my own backyard. So, whoever invented the internet for me---THANK YOU! I'm not sure if the techno genius who invented the internet had any inkling at all that he/she would be creating a world with no boundaries, no limits and no distance. And, I highly doubt that this techno genius even considered the idea that his/her invention would play a part in human relationships. No, I'm quite sure this techno genius just needed to get something done or solve a problem and that's how it all started. That's how those techno geniuses are. He/she would have never thought that there would be a 48 year old woman (wearing the spunkiest little slippers) sitting in a tiny room off of her kitchen in a little suburban hamlet of Pennsylvania using his/her invention to hold the hand of a friend who is joining Bandland today. And, I'm sure that this techno genius would have never guessed that his/her invention would be the one thing that started a friendship, encouraged a person to change her life and helped two people draw hope and motivation from each other. But, that's what happened. Right here---in my life. Let me tell you about it.

Many months ago, as I was doing some research on Lapband surgery, I stumbled upon an online forum dedicated to Lapbanders. It was there that I first met Sandy. She happened to be from the same part of Pennsylvania and had also selected the same surgery group that I was researching. Over the next few months, we touched base every so often as we went through the long and harrowing process of the pre-lapband requirements. Unfortunately, Sandy got stuck in some requirement red tape along the way--postponing her surgery for quite some time---while I went on to have my surgery. During this time, Sandy soldiered on---frustrated, apprehensive and just a little bit disgusted. Finally, after many months of perseverance, her surgery date was scheduled. That is when she emailed me---"can we meet?". And, so, we arranged to get together the week after Thanksgiving at a little cafe somewhere between our two homes. Now, I have to tell you that I had no idea what Sandy looked like. The only clue I even had was that she was having lapband surgery. So, I figured she was....well.....you know.....overweight. So, that night, when I arrived at the cafe, it was a bit crowded. I looked around the room and scouted out possible Sandy candidates and then casually walked by them and said "Sandy?" to see if they would respond. Anyway, after my third try, I figured I'd just stand by the door and wait for someone to say something to me. But, you know---she didn't have to. The minute I saw Sandy---I knew it was her. We immediately hugged as if we were long lost friends. And, then she handed me a bag---in it was a frame that said "BELIEVE". I was so touched. That is when she told me that I.....yes me and my blog.....were her inspiration and motivation. Imagine? Me and my blog inspired this lovely, sweet and beautiful woman. Sandy may think that I have given her something. But, it is she who gave the most beautiful gift of all to me. My friend Sandy is having Lapband surgery today. My heart is full.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Party Update.......



No one said a word. Nope, not one word. I wore a lovely 2 piece black velvet ensemble (flowing "gouchos" with a portrait collared bollero swing jacket) , a lacey champagne colored tank, a pair of shiney black patent pumps and some very outstanding jewelry. But, no one said a word. Perhaps if they would have seen my very sweet and wonderfully sassy undergarments then they may have uttered at least a little sound. But, they said nothing. Nada. Zippo. What's a girl gotta do to get a little attention in a room of 300 Engineers? I mean, I am getting *THIS* close to loosing the equivalence of an Elephant's penis (60 lbs)..........


Well, that's all I have to say about that........!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My vanity is showing.........

My husband's Christmas party is Friday night. And, I'm not sure if anyone....or everyone....knows that I had weight loss surgery. You're probably thinking "why don't you just ask your husband..."? Well, I already did that. His answer? "I think I told Mark and maybe Barb...". Mark is his boss. Barb is his Administrative Assistant. "Well, did you tell them or not?" I pushed. "I don't know, maybe," he told me. "You can't remember or you don't want to admit to telling them?" I continued to quiz him. (For the record--I never asked him NOT to tell anyone) "Can't remember. My mind is shot, I'm so busy," he said--trying to get out of it by using his standard 'I'm busy' line. So, as you can see---asking my husband is of no use. Now, there are several reasons why I am curious if he told anyone. My thinking is that if he did tell at least 1 person then that means that many more know. It's just one of the things that people talk about. It's not exactly water cooler talk but it's definitely good gossip..."did you hear that his wife had weight loss surgery?" ( I would be guilty of that myself) I mean, I'm sure it wasn't the topic of conversation for days on end! But, sure, if the info is out there then I expect it was mentioned....if he told anyone (which he doesn't remember!) Maybe my husband's office is as he says it is----so busy that they don't have the time or interest in personal stuff. Or, perhaps they are just such higher beings that they do not resort to conversations about anything less than structural stability. Who knows! But, still......! Practically speaking, it's just nice to know who knows what about me. And, of course, I don't want to wonder why the woman across the table from me is starring at me while I eat.
Okay..... here's the real deal---if they do know, they will probably expect me to look "thin". And, although I do look "thinner", I am by no means "thin". Will they expect me to be suddenly "thin"? And, since I'm not "thin", will the way I look be a let down for them? Which, in turn, would cause them not to comment on my weight loss because they don't think I really lost that much? Or, if they do know, maybe they won't say anything because it feels weird or uncomfortable. Or, let's just say they don't know.....will anyone say anything at all to me just about the fact that I lost weight? Or, maybe no one cares! Geez....do I sound like a lunatic or what? Yes, I do. I admit it. It's just that I'm at the point in my journey where I need to hear compliments on my success. Yes, that's right--I need attention. At home, no one really says much. So, I have to "go out" for it!!! Maybe I should just have them announce me at the door "Judi, being escorted by Carmen. She had weight loss surgery in August." What do you think? That would only work if I looked good. AHHHHHHHHH.........

So, what got me to thinking about this so much tonight? Well, because I'm in a fashion crisis. As I've already noted, I practically have a clothing store in my attic filled with things that I "grew out of". So, I trudged up there and picked out several dressy pieces with the hope that I'd find at least a few things that might work for this rather formal event. I figured I'd go out and treat myself to some extra nice accessories instead of having to buy an entire outfit. As I threw them all on my bed, I realized---I have a lot of BLACK! And, trust me, none of these things can be categorized as "a little black dress". I'm sure that's not unusual---- most people who have struggled with their weight and body image for years have a lot of black clothes. So, there I was----trying things on, looking in the mirror, looking at myself from each angle, taking them off, throwing them back on the bed and feeling completely miserable. A mountain of lovely clothes on my bed and nothing to wear. So, what's my problem? Oh, you know what it is......I have no idea if anyone....or everyone..... knows that I had weight loss surgery.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Yes, there is a Santa Claus.....but he is obese and he smokes.....



SAVE SANTA CLAUS!!

We all heard the story. In fact, we know the words by heart. But, have you ever thought about the following verses that appear about 3/4 of the way through the poem......????


The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf.........


No wonder Santa has an image problem and is loosing believers. An overweight man who smokes is not exactly an endearing visual. This year, I encourage everyone who reads my blog to send a letter to Santa imploring him to consider revamping his lifestyle. First of all, he needs to stop his legendary all night smoking and cookie binges. His health is at stake here. Diabetes. High blood pressure. High cholesterol. Cancer. To name a few!!! He is hardly a role model for today's youth. Maybe it's just a matter of replacing the cookies with higher protein, leaner snacks. We can definitely help with that by not making it available---stop the cookies and milk routine!!!! But, perhaps it's more than that. He may be like the millions of people.....just like myself.....who are obese and who could be helped by weight loss surgery. He needs to talk to his doctor to find out what is best for him.

Trust me, there's no better way to tell someone you love them and want them to be around for a very long time than to help them become a healthier, happier person. Obesity is a hard and difficult illness. And, it is only getting worse. Statistics are scarey---childhood obesity is on the rise. People are dying needlessly everyday from the effects of obesity. Today, a dear friend shared a story with me about how her sister died from breast cancer because she was so obese that her doctor would not treat her. My own beautiful, beloved mother, a woman who fought obesity all of her life, died at a young age, from trying to win to the battle. It's an epidemic. There are many more stories out there about people who could have benefited from stopping the wicked cycle of obesity but never had the power or the motivation to do it. We see it every day. There are even reality shows based on it. Being obese is not only unhealthy---it's no fun at all. The medical community is working hard to help those of us who suffer from it. But, we can't do it alone. It has to start with awareness. We don't need ridicule or further punishment. We need support and help and encouragement. So, let's start with Santa Claus. It might be the first step to waking up the world to the life altering and life threatening dangers of obesity. Let's face it---no one wants to loose Santa Claus! Who will give us gifts? Let's make every morning as happy as Christmas morning. ...for everyone we love. Send your Santa letters today!!!!


We love you Santa Claus!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Inside my snowglobe.....where dreams come true.....





Christmas shopping at a handful of little stores---oohing and aahing over shoes and boots and sweaters and funky jewelry. Laughing over lunch at one of our fav places. Picking up chai lattes to fuel up for a little more retail therapy at the mall. My daughter and I. It's what my dreams are made of. And, it's come true. Want to hear another? Not having to shop exclusively in "woman's stores". It's happened---I'm allowed in normal stores now. Well, it's not the same kind of dream-come-true as spending the day with my daughter. But, still, it feels nice and makes me smile. Plus, it enhances the whole shopping with my daughter experience. Anyway, it's a surprise dream-come-true since I never knew I had the dream to begin with. I like the fact that my daughter and I can both walk into the same store and both be able to buy something. No, no.....I'm not buying belly shirts and low slung jeans (but, gosh, wouldn't it be just a little bit fun if I could?) at the same places my daughter shops. It's just that I've entered the world of XL and most stores sell XL. But, only women's stores sell XXXL. Anyway, as Toni and I inched closer to Lane Bryant during our lovely mom-daughter shopping day, I could see her happy demeanor fade (she does not like that store)---"want to stop there?" she asked. "Nope" I answered. "Oh....." she uttered, her smile returning. "I'm looking for Christopher and Banks. I wonder if they have one here," I said, thinking about a cute holiday sweater that I saw that might be nice for my office party this coming week. As we walked in, I let out one of those "I've arrived" sighs as I breathed in my surroundings. This was a place where I could only peer in the windows. And, now, there I was---inside. I felt oh so triumphant. Lingering at a display of pretty sweaters, I imagined myself wearing the pretty red Santa one as I did pirouettes around the store. Snow softly fell. Bing Crosby sang "White Christmas". Shoppers, applauded as I gracefully twirled by them in my XL Santa sweater. "Is this your first time in here?" my daughter asked---nudging me out of my snow globe. "Yes, it is."
Dreams are a funny thing. Sometimes you don't know you have them until you find yourself experiencing one of them come true---like my foray into the non-plus size store world. But, I always dreamed of that sweet little moment shared between a mother and a daughter Christmas shopping.....both of them carrying packages and smiling. Many years ago, I was the daughter in that dream. Now, I am the mother. The same dream. And, it's come true. Christmas shopping. Mothers. Daughters. Size XL. I'm blessed.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Decking the Halls.....Judi style......

Christmas decorating at my house is not for wimps. It's a backbreaking, massive undertaking. It takes an entire day to drag everything out of storage. It takes a full weekend to set up the large Christmas tree in the entry way and then it takes about 2 weeks to finish the rest of the house. At the moment, I'm in the final stages. I have to finish the china and crystal cabinets, the bathrooms, the upstairs hallway and the outdoor decorations. Then, I have to clean up. Like I said---not for wimps.
I spent the better part today and tonight decorating. At one point, I found myself so frustrated by the amount of work and the mess I was creating that I yelled out "why can't I be a normal person and just put up a tree and a wreath?" No one was there to answer me. Except for me. And, I already knew the answer. Because I am me.
Here's a peek at ME....


And, my Lapband will help ME be ME for a very long time........
Happy Decorating!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I am a SCALE WHORE........

You heard it here friends. And, the only way to begin my recovery is to tell my story......

I always imagined that on the day that the scale said that I lost 50 pounds, church bells would ring, cannons would go off, fireworks would shoot into the sky, bartenders would buy rounds, dancing would erupt in the streets, choirs would sing, and I.....well.....I would kiss the scale. And, not just a little peck. I'm talking a long, hard kiss. Damn, I figured I'd be kissing that scale for at least 5 minutes! But, that's not exactly what happened. You know how it is---- fantasy life can be so much more exciting and passionate than real life. When the reality of that hits, it can lead us down some very dark and murky paths. That's what happened to me. When I could not get the thrill that I craved from one scale, I went out looking for others that could satisfy me. It was trouble with a capital "T".

You see, after my surgery, I started this ritual of weighing myself on Tuesday mornings. Not sure why I picked that particular day but it worked out at the time so I went with it. Since I didn't want to obsess over the numbers on the scale, I needed a routine to keep me from weighing myself every 12 hours (which I would have done!). Anyway, as time went on, there were a few Tuesdays in a row when I was not too happy with what the scale had to say. My Tuesdays are rough enough without having to deal with scale misery. Soon, I could not bear those Tuesday morning weigh- ins. You see, there's this meeting that I have to go every Tuesday morning. It ain't a pretty meeting. Here, let me try to put it in perspective without giving you the blood draining details---when I leave my office to go to this particular meeting, my teammates wish me good luck, give me a blessing and promise to call 911 if I am not back in 2 hours. So, you can imagine why I would not want to get bad news at the scale and then have to deal with the maze of gauntlets and land mines at that meeting---all within the same 24 hours. So.......I sort of got out of my Tuesday morning weigh-in habit. I became loose----I started weighing myself without a schedule. This past week, as I inched closer and closer to the 50 lb mark, I began to obsess about the number on the scale. So, there I was.....weighing myself at least 2 times a day.....once at home on my fancy digital scale and then once at the gym on their "slider" scale. It felt like those scales were in different "weight zones" (like time zones)! In the morning, I'd be THIS close to 50 lbs gone. At night, not so. Then, the next day I'd be THAT close. At night, nope. Next day---THIS close again. At night---no way! Which scale could I trust?? Maddening. Anyway, late last week when I did my morning weigh in, my fancy digital scale finally said it---50 lbs were gone. Of course, I didn't believe it. That scale could not be trusted. That night when I weighed myself at the gym---my instincts paid off....I had not really lost 50 lbs. This went on for several days. I had no idea when I could finally feel safe saying that I lost 50 lbs. In my mania, I knew I had to find another scale before I could commit. But, that wasn't enough---I had to find another. And, then, another. Yes, I was becoming a scale whore. Hopping off one scale then going in search of another. Then another. And another. Never quenched. Never trusting. I never even looked at their faces. Just their numbers. Sometimes I'd even have a smoke right afterwards. It all started out so innocently----all I ever wanted was for one of them to say the same thing as another one. They never did. Soon, I found myself in the tawdry and seedy scale underworld. This is where scales will say what they think you want to hear just to get you to jump on them. They will lie to you. They will give you false hope. And, they will never respect you. Today, I realized that I don't want to live this way any longer. I need help. And, I also realized that the scale that I have at home is the scale I need to commit to. So, this morning, I shed my robe, stepped on my scale and made a promise that I'll never stray again. My scale responded.
Yes, those 50 lbs are gone.



Monday, December 3, 2007

Lapbanding In December.........


Something funny is happening here. The encouragement, support and cheers people showered upon me in September, October and November have morphed into gestures of sympathy and pity. In September, when I passed up a huge basket of french fries and a ginormus hamburger, it was "You go girl!". Come December, it's "You poor girl!" As soon as the calendar changes to December, eating as you damn well please becomes a must---a well-deserved right! And, I suspect that eating what you damn well please with someone who is not eating that way is not real festive or fun. As a matter of fact, I think it's downright miserable to dine with someone who is watching their food intake in the month of December. Believe me, I understand that!! What's the old saying....."no one wants to drink alone". Well, the same holds true for indulging in food. People just naturally want you to join in the fun of eating. And, when you don't, you quickly become a reminder that maybe they should eat healthier or at least watch what they are eating. You are spoiling the fun! And, who in hell wants that???? Before my Lapband journey encountered the month of December, I never realized this! Because, let's face it, I was one of those eat-whatever-I-want- and-as much-as-I-want type of people in December (and probably quite a few other months as well.....). I too subscribed to the belief that DIET and DECEMBER don't mix. In fact, I'm pretty certain I considered it a sin to diet in December. And, not much has changed about the way I feel---yes, even now. I am not dieting in DECEMBER. I am eating what I want. I am not suffering. I do not feel deprived. If I were on a "DIET" then I would feel that way. But, I'm not on a DIET. I will never DIET again. That's the whole reason behind why I had the LapBand surgery. So, this whole December attitude shift among some people with me is making me feel bad. I definitely don't want to be labeled as a DECEMBER DIETER (or a party pooper!). Believe me, I've been on a few thousand diets in my lifetime and I can honestly say---this is NOT a diet. This is ME doing what I want to DO. This is ME in December........on my LapBand journey.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Go ahead, ask me what was on the menu..........

The holiday parties have officially began! Last night, we kicked off the season with a lovely open house/housewarming/Christmas party hosted by one of my favorite people--a dear, sweet friend who is probably the most delightful person I know! As always, the decor and the ambiance was amazing. She is one class act with impeccable taste! The woman has style oozing from every pore in her body. When I'm with her, I just can't stop smiling. So, last night, I smiled a lot! And, I oohed and aahed a lot too---marveling at her new home, her fabulous decor and all the special little touches that only she can pull off. For instance, she had the neatest metal stars with battery operated flicker candles strewn about the deck outside her french doors. When you looked outside, it was so tranquil and magical. And, she had the tiniest twinkle lights scattered under the sheer fabrics that were casually covering her tables and buffets. With the lights turned low, the rooms were dazzling. Non-complicated, charming flourishes that were elegant in their simplicity. Then there were the unexpected surprises.....like fancy little snow people sitting in corners and darling little trees perched on window sills. A roaring fire, a spectacularly dressed tree, jazzy holiday tunes, hand painted wine goblets, festive china, lacey linens and flickering candles. A night watching a friend who so deserves to live happily ever after in a castle live happily ever after in a castle. I could not imagine a better way to usher in December and the holiday season........

Oh, and what was on the menu----you ask? Lots and lots of joy. In fact, I was drunk and overstuffed with it.
It was a good feeling. Me in my red holiday skirt knowing that it won't be too tight when I usher December out. Like I said.....JOY. Delicious, filling and oh so LapBand friendly!!!





ONLY 23 Days MORE JOY FILLED DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Shop Till I Drop........

The Ghost of Christmas Shopping PAST








The Ghost of Christmas Shopping FUTURE

But, for today-----I'm looking forward to a day when my feet will hurt less, my legs won't give out before I find the perfect gift and LUNCH will not be a major activity!

LapBanded Shopping!!!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Could my day get any better?


Look what I just found out about!

They come in individual packages that you can slip right into your Christmas-y red purse (you all have one, don't you?)! Why didn't I think of this!!!! You order tequila over ice (the bartender will look at you like "whoa, ain't she a bad ass!") and then when no one is looking, you slip this little packet out of your purse, quietly stir it in that straight tequila and woo-hoo, you got yourself a LapBand-friendly Margarita! And, I'll bet that after your 2nd little secret margarita, you won't be hiding anymore! Heck, you'll be dancing on the bar wearing those little packets as earrrings (or pasties....). This is almost as good as smuggling one of those bags of wine (pull it out of the box...) into concerts in a purse with a hole cut in the side for the spout. And it ranks right up there with wrapping a box of wine in birthday paper....masquerading it as a gift....you can take it anywhere!

Thinking "inside the box" today......margaritas and wine! Like I said....could my day get any better?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

First LapBanded Holiday Season......here I come!


Whoa! Slam on the brakes, girl!
There's lots of
little
hors d'oeuvres ahead!





Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Lapbanded, Optimistic Turkey..........................

What will you be wearing at your Thanksgiving table this year?

I am going to wear a belt instead of an elastic waist.

And, for that, I am filled with gratitude.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Happy Thanksgiving........



Wednesday, November 7, 2007

WHERE HAVE I BEEN?


(photo by Pati)
At work!

As soon as my work life settles down a bit, I'll be back to posting more!
I promise!

In the meantime, I figured I'd kill 2 birds with one stone (that's a ridiculous saying, isn't it?)........

*Here's proof that I really am AT WORK......that's me standing by my office door today
*I wanted to share with you what I look like 3 months post LapBand


Stay tuned......please!
I'll make you a deal.....you keep coming back and I will promise you
some very exciting new postings...........

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Can't Drive or Walk All the Time.........

Sometimes, I just have to fly..........

Happy Halloween!



Sunday, October 28, 2007

Come out! Come out! Wherever you are!

Yes, I admit it, my blogging has slowed down quite a bit. But, it appears that my counter is still logging visitors. Quite honestly, I'm both astonished and humbled to know that so many people stop by. People are knocking at my door and I'm not even answering. Which makes me a pretty lousy hostess. Not to mention a very rude one. I apologize. You know the old story.....I would have baked a cake if I knew you were coming. But,honestly, I don't bake. I'm not good with any activity that requires precision. Following directions is just not my thing. And, of course, there's also the whole LapBand lifestyle thing---I'm not eating cake. So, no cake. Put away your fork.

That brings me to this question----what can I give you when you stop by? Okay, okay.....I will come clean here---I need a little bit of proper inspiration. Yes, me--the girl with the gift of gab who has a seemingly endless supply of stories---I'm having a little dry spell---writer's block. Plus, of course, I want to be a model hostess. I aspire to be the blog hostess with the mostess. And, I'll own up to it---I'm a people pleaser. There's no shame in that, is there? Wanting to make people happy or more comfortable or wanting to enhance the lives of others is a good thing. I'm sure of it.

Most people tell me they stop by my blog just to see what's going on, to find out how I'm doing, to pass the time or to get a little bit of entertainment. And, that makes me happy. But, I often wonder if there's a person or persons out there who truly needs to know more about something---anything. And, they keep coming back to see if they can get it and find themselves leaving empty handed or worse yet--uninspired. And, that makes me sad.

You see, I'm a writer. Not a writer-writer. I mean, I don't get paid to write. I just write. So, that makes me a writer. And, sometimes we writers are so entrenched in words and how they sound and how they make people feel, that we get a little freaked out when good words don't spill out of our fingertips. Why, just last night, my very talented and sweet 20 year old nephew sat across the table from me and said "Aunt Judi, I wrote an outline for a book." The boy is smart---he knows how to get my attention. He labored over the outline. But, he tells me that he hasn't been able to start writing. Now, an engineer--like my husband--doesn't get it. An engineer figures that if you do the outline then the rest is easy. But, a writer gets it. My nephew's mother---my sister---said that maybe he should go to a writer's commune. Sounds nice. But, even if he did go to a writer's commune (or whatever they call those places where you just lock yourself away and write), if he could not find his "place" in his mind then he might as well just listen to his ipod while he's locked away in the commune. Which, come to think of it---that's what most 20 year olds would be doing when they're just hanging out--whether they're at a writer's commune with the most promising bards of our century scribing away in the adjacent rooms or if they are sitting in their bedrooms while their mothers cook and their fathers mow the grass. It's about living your life and finding inspiration in the moments of your life that are the most rewarding---to a writer.

This whole inspiration thing is a fickle thing. What will inspire me or my nephew or any writer to write? And, even more importantly---what will inspire us to write something that will actually inspire others or will make a difference in their days (or even their lives!)? These are the very questions that quietly speak to me. It's not like I walk around thinking about this all day. No, no. I do many other things. I don't peer around corners and think "now, there's something inspiring, I have to write about it". Although that very thing sort of happened the other day. A dear coworker and I took a quick little jaunt during our lunch hour into one of the more seedy neighborhoods to run an errand. And, right there, within plain sight--I witnessed a drug transaction. A young man was standing in the doorway of a boarded up store front. An older man crossed the street, approached the younger man. The younger man handed him something. They exchanged a few words and then they both vanished. "Look, it's a drug transaction!" I told my coworker. "Wow, I would have never caught that! You can write about that in your blog!" she exclaimed. Quite honestly, I wasn't inspired by it. More than anything, I was terrified by it. We got out of there pretty quickly. But, as I reflected on it---it wasn't the actual drug transaction that stayed with me in any important way. It was my coworker's reaction. I was touched that she sees that side of me---that part of me that finds stories in moments that other people don't capture. She gets it that the daily---sometimes mundane, sometimes exciting----parts of life inspire me. Which brings me back to this whole best blog hostess thing. I really want to know what you come here to read or to find. Oh, yes, I know.....I'm getting way too pretentious here....actually asking something of you! As if I have readers! (I'm having another Carrie Bradshaw moment!!!) But, honestly, a writer's dry spell is different than let's say a football player's dry spell. It's not that you can't write. It's just that you can't write. It's not a lack of motivation or skill. It's the inspiration thing. Motivation and inspiration are 2 very, very different things. And, sometimes there's so much in your head---so many words are swimming around in a writer's brain---that the inspiration can't break through it all. You feel like you have sooo much to say. You don't know where to begin. You need clutter control. It's like you need one of those organizational professionals to come to tell you what's important and what's not. I think that maybe what's plaguing me. That and the fact that I really do want to make a difference. My LapBand journey and the changes in my life have inspired me greatly. Plus, I feel so blessed that this blog is actually read! Now, I don't want to sound corny or big-headed here but now that I have your attention--I really want my journey to somehow inspire you. Even if that's not possible---I want you to walk away with more than what you came with. That's where YOU come in. Ask me some questions. No, no, not like a Dear Abby thing. I want to know what you want to know. I want to know if you want or need to hear about what I am eating. Or, if you want the gory details of how they filled my band. Or, maybe you are curious about specific changes in my life because of the band. Or, maybe my ramblings about my life and times as a banded person---regardless of how non-lapband oriented they are---is what you came here for. Whatever the case---let me know. Maybe I'm looking for purpose along with that inspiration......
My journey......it's not all about me. I don't want to travel alone. Hop in.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pigging Out...........


Lap Band Style..........


Yes, we made our yearly pilgrimage to the farm. I'm a city girl, you know. But, once a year, we travel the 45 minutes to my version of a farm. They grow things and have animals and stuff. Well, I know for sure that they have pumpkins and apples. And, they have this little petting zoo. Yep, it's a farm. They also have lots of yummy food stands---sausages, kettle corn, nachos, french fries, ice cream, hot dogs, cheeses, carmel apples, funnel cakes. You name it, they fry it, cover it with goo or melt butter on it. In addition to that, they have several lovely, to-die-for shopes on the farm selling crafs, antiques, china, Christmas decor, garden stuff---oh, you know---MY kind of stuff. However, in order to get from the parking lot to the stores---you have to walk through the pumpkin display area, the petting zoo area, the cornstalk maze area and then directly through the food stands. Anyway, you know me, the city girl that I am, as soon as I get out of my vehicle, I am on one mission and one mission only----I want to get into those shops. Yeah, yeah, the pumpkins are nice...not sure why anyone would want to grow so many. Oh, yeah, a cute little goat...seen one seen them all. The cornstalk maze looks fun.....not my thing. But, then.....OOOOH, the smells....do I EVEN need to tell you about the smells of kettle corn popping, french fries frying and sausage simmering in peppers and onions? Like Emeril says "too bad you don't have Smellivision" or in this case....smellacomputer. A world of tantalizing delectable temptations lies between me and my true destination. In my pre-lap band days, I'd loose my willpower somewhere between the overhormoned pumpkin and the snaking line to enter the cornstalk maze. Thus, delaying my visit to the shops and lightening my wallet---preventing me from buying some extra things I have to have but definitely do not need. And, of course, it would also cut into my shopping time. There's no way any shop owner worth his or her cash receipts who would allow a woman balancing a large drink, a bag of kettle corn, a plate of fries, a dripping sausage sandwich and a funnel cake into their quaint little shops. That food was standing between me and where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. But, not today.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Let's take a look at how far I've traveled.........

Now, I'm sure you remember this picture........a classic "BEFORE PICTURE". I mean, let's face it.....who would share this picture unless it was most definitely a BEFORE PICTURE? Yep, I was heading out the door for surgery........5 am August 10, 2007. The only good thing I can say (about the way I look) is that I have a tan and my painted crocks are cute.


So, here I am 9 weeks later........October 14, 2007. I'm getting ready to head out the door with my family. Things are getting and feeling better---for sure! With about 65 more pounds to loose, I do have a ways to go! But, at least I'm heading in the right direction! Do you like my new lipstick? It's my new Fall shade.....James at the Estee Lauder counter at Boscov's picked it......he said it's just fab with my Mocha Writer Lip Pencil!
And, look at that Fall decorating........


Thank you for following me on this journey. You are keeping me from
heading down that one way, dead-end street..........

Thursday, October 11, 2007

An OVERBEARING Bitch or a BITCH who is OVERBEARING?

You know how it is when someone says something to you and you just can't think about anything else for next few hours? Well, that's what happened to me tonight. Now, I admit, sometimes my brain wraps itself around the most insignificant detail and before I know it, I'm analyzing it, dissecting it and vowing to spend the rest of my life researching it. Luckily, something else comes along sooner or later to steal my attention and I rid myself of whatever it was that was so damn important. And, I'm pretty sure that's what will happen with this. But, here's the thing----my daughter tells me that I am overbearing. Yes, overbearing. Me? No way. So, I've been thinking about the word OVERBEARING. And, of course, I've also been wondering about how in the world my own daughter would think that--- I----of all people, am overbearing. The insanity of it, I know!
But, I'm also thinking about the entire feeling of the word OVERBEARING.

Now, let me explain how this came about. My lovely, sweet daughter Toni is going to her Homecoming formal this weekend with her new beau. From what I know, this is her first "real" boyfriend. A very nice young man. Yes, he's cute too. And smart. He won the hearts of my sister and my niece--not an easy fete--by making a special effort to meet them. And, even Carmen thinks he's nice---even though he's not Italian (as far as we know....we haven't done a background check....). And, it seems like he comes from a very good family....his father called him right there as he stood on my porch in front of me at 10:30 at night to tell him it was time to come home. If it was planned to impress me--it was masterful. In any case--he does not go to the same high school as Toni so let's just say that she is importing her date. So, considering the situation, I thought it best that I contact the young man's mother and fill her in on what's going on. In our neck of the woods, these formals and the events surrounding them have a certain protocol. Naturally, there's the dress, the shoes, the jewelry, the make up, the nails and the hair. And, in our neighborhood---there's the group who will be going together, the home that will host the pictures, the mode of transportation, the restaurant where they will eat, the dance itself and then the after party. It's very orchestrated. The dress is, of course, of great importance. The stores around here keep very accurate records on which dresses are sold to which girls from which schools. So, even if you are in love with a dress and your mother has cash in her hand--if another girl has the dress, you are out of luck. If that store would sell the same dress to 2 girls who are going to the same dance, they might as well kiss their business goodbye. It's a law around these parts. Then, there's the shoes. Now, I like this part. I won't go into great detail about what we went through for the shoes. But, I'll say this---several of my wonderful, empathetic coworkers devoted precious time to researching the perfect shoes (if you must know--we needed brown patented leather). In fact, in a moment of sheer desperation, when I mentioned to them that I was thinking of secretly re-habbing a pair of her shoes from a previous dance, each of them showed up at my door and offered their advice--NOOOOOO! Like I said---I was desperate. Thankfully, after a weary weeknight spent shopping, we returned home with not one-- but two pair of the perfect shoes. The jury on which pair she will ultimately wear is still out. It's a tough choice. We're shoe stressed.
Anyway, back to me being an overbearing person. So, like I said--I called the young man's mother. But, I ended up leaving a message. So, she called me back tonight. In the meantime, the smart young man text messaged Toni to warn her that his mother was calling. Isn't technology helpful? So, Toni conveniently stationed herself at the top of the staircase that leads into our kitchen since I was having the conversation there. Now, I know I am talkative. My Grandma Carr kissed the Blarney Stone. That's not a bad thing. Right? I'm friendly, I'm fun, I love rock and roll, my heart is in the right place and I am nice---even though maybe I can be wee bit loud. But, geez, I really work hard to make sure I am kind and considerate. Overbearing---never. Anyway....back to this conversation with the boyfriend's mother. Let's face it, she needed to know what was going on. So, I told her. I gave her the facts---in a friendly way. I invited her and her husband to our home, I explained the schedule, assured her of our involvement in all of it and I answered her questions. And, I told her how nice I thought her son was. Now, does that sound overbearing? Evidently, my daughter thought it was. And, you know what else---I cleared my throat a few times during the conversation. Not good. Gets on her last nerve.
Yes, I know what you're thinking---our children are supposed to feel this way about their mothers. And, anyway---who cares? ME! Yes, I know, we mothers are supposed to expect this. But, not this mother. Anyway, besides all of that and besides the possibility that I must have real self image issues, I am stuck on this word OVERBEARING. All night long, I've been thinking about it. And I'm embarrassed to admit it, but---each time I think of a woman who is OVERBEARING.......I think of a woman who is overweight. Someone who "throws her weight around". I don't have an image of a thin person. An overbearing person is NOT a thin person. An overbearing person is a FAT person. So, that got me to thinking about what I might call a thin woman who acts in an OVERBEARING fashion? Why, a BITCH, of course. So, I wonder......next year when I am not fat and I act OVERBEARING......will I be a BITCH? Hmmmm.......that might be one thing I won't like about being thin. But, I'll give it a whirl......

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Doing Happy Hour with my LapBand.......





So, last Friday, I decided it was time to return to one of my favorite activities---meeting friends for Happy Hour. To be honest, I don’t even know the last time we did this. Well, I think they’ve done it recently. But, not me. One of our regular watering holes is a small, local place---it’s one of those “Cheers” kind of places…..where everyone knows your name. You know what I mean……it’s not the kind of place to go for a drink, sit in a dark booth and have some serious conversation. It’s a place to chat with my kids’ kindergarten teacher, talk with old neighbors, find out what’s happening with old friends and share news with half the community I grew up in. As you can tell--- it’s a place to go if you want to talk and laugh and get caught up on gossip. The perfect stop at the end of a long week. Like their sign says….A Place Where Good Friends Gather.

Now, in my pre-LapBand life, my Happy Hour drink was always---gin and tonic with lime. And, at this particular bar—where the owners are dear friends…..they know Judi drinks gin and tonic with lime. Sometimes even double lime. And, it’s not just any gin, thank you. They know that it’s Tanqueray. But, as you know---I cannot drink carbonated stuff. The gin is okay. The lime too. But, put a shot of gin with a lime in a body that doesn’t eat too much and those good friends would be carrying me out the door. Not the thing to do in a place where everyone knows your name! Ah, the challenge of doing Happy Hour after LapBand.

Carol, the owner’s sister and Tessa, an adorable, sweet young woman, were bartending when I got there. “Oh my God, you lost a shit ton of weight!” Carol greeted me (as only a bartender could!) as I climbed on my bar stool next to Pam, a Friday Happy Hour regular. “OOOOH!” Tessa and Pam cooed in unison. Beaming, I accepted their compliments as Kate, one of my wonderful, spirited Happy Hour partners, walked towards us. “Doesn’t she look great?” Kate chimed in as she greeted me with a hug. “What is your secret?” Pam gasped. Hmmm. The moment of truth.
“Well, I had Weight Loss Surgery,” I said. “OOOOH….” they all nodded. “I had LapBand….” I explained. I could see their minds going. Pam leaned forward as if she wanted to know more. But, before anyone knew it, Tessa was dialing the phone. “You have to talk to my Uncle Mike” she told me as she dialed. “He is thinking about it. He really needs it…..he eats sooooo much…..Uncle Mike……here talk to Judi……she just had the LapBand……” she handed me the phone across the bar. As I was chatting with Mike on the phone, the owner walked in. Carol loudly called over to him, pointing to me—“Look at Judi! Look at Judi! She had LapBand Surgery.” Jim meandered over as I sat chatting with Uncle Mike (who I came to learn is a 57 year old man who says he doesn’t even know he’s eating!) and gave me a huge kiss on the cheek “You look great baby! Give her a gin and tonic on me!” he called over to his sister. Immediately, I put my finger up and asked Mike to excuse me for a moment….”No, I can’t have that….” I called over to Carol. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Jim’s body slump against the wall…..”What? No gin and tonic for Judi?” he asked, exasperated. “No tanqueray?” he asked in utter disbelief. “No, no tonic…” Kate answered for me since I was once again caught up in a conversation with Uncle Mike. “Oh, okay…..give Judi a gin and lime then……” he told his sister. Again, I tried to intervene but the conversation with Uncle Mike, the unconscious eater who was considering LapBand, took an intense turn. How could I tell Uncle Mike to hold on as he told me the most intimate details of his life. So, I watched as Carol poured the tangueray into a short, stalky glass. Then, as she squeezed the lime, she looked over to me “Ice?” she asked. I nodded affirmatively and gestured for her to put lots of ice……lots of ice........
And, thus began my first LapBanded Happy Hour.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Postcard from The Edge......as my journey continues




Wish you were here!

As you can see from the picture, I'm still on the road. A little weary from my travels (thus the bad hair day). I need a Spa Day! So, I plan to stop at the next exit for a little R&R. See you then!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's the simple things, really.........

As I stumbled past our family-central calendar on the fridge early this morning, I realized that September ends today. Tomorrow is October. As I waited for my water to boil for tea, I thought about how quickly the past two months have gone by and how much my life has changed in that very short period of time. So many things have changed. And, as simple as the changes may seem...... they feel like extravagant luxuries. Thanks to the hardest simple decision I ever made......my life is simpler.
Because......
-I can shave my legs in the shower
-I can bend down to tie my shoes
-I can get out of my car with my purse.....all in one move
-I can choose between more than 10 pair of the same black pants
-I don't NEED the banister to get up the steps
-I can turn over in bed in one move
-Every pair of underwear in my drawer fits
-I feel hope. Real hope. Not the kind of hope I have to talk myself into. The kind of hope that when you open your eyes in the morning, it's just there. The kind of hope that you feel when you try on a pair of pants that are too tight and you know you WILL fit into them soon. It's just that good.....

For the first time in many, many years---my heart truly feels like it can't wait to WELCOME every waiting minute, day, week, month.....and beyond! So, bring on October!

I'm ready!!!
Me and my Lapband.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm the IT GIRL of Blogland today........

There's a game of IT TAG in Blogland. And, it appears that I've been tagged by my friend, the dear and lovely Daffodil (right before she ran off to the beach, I might add!). Just like the childhood game, it means that I'm "It". The Blogland version of IT TAG goes like this---if you are tagged that means that you have to tell 7 random things about yourself. Yes, it's true....another forum for me to talk about me. Thank you, dear Daff (hope you are enjoying the beach).


Let's start with getting one thing out there--- since this is my blog and I make the rules, I have decided that when this game is played here, I am to be known as THE IT GIRL. I don't like to be called "IT". Never did. So, I am the IT GIRL. Got it? Now, step 2 of the game requires me to find 7 new bloggers to TAG. Naturally, I'd love to follow the rules if I could. But, here's the deal.....I don't know 7 other bloggers. I've been a bit of a snobbish blog neighbor. I've not been going out there and mingling with the other bloggers. It's not that I don't want to meet them. And, it's not that I don't want to play by the rules. It's just that.....well.....besides the fact that I don't know them......how would I be able to choose which 7 to pick if I did know them? I mean, choosing IT GIRLS sounds like a big job. Probably like picking BOND GIRLS. Well, maybe not. But, still......


Speaking of picking and choosing people to play a game---do they still let kids pick other kids for their teams in Gym class? I wonder…..who came up with that hideous idea? And, for THAT matter…..what possessed thousands of educators to embrace that as a best practice? Wasn’t that just the most god-awful feeling….. standing up against the gymnasium wall while Billy and Debbie decides who will be chosen? Naturally, Debbie will choose her best friend. And, of course, Billy will pick the best athlete. Then, Debbie will choose her second best friend. Then, Billy will pick the next best athlete. Their strategy would go on until there’s just a few kids standing there. ( I can still feel that sting….even now, some 30+ years later) At that point, they would look over their prospects with some measure of disgust. Debbie will look at Billy and let out a loud and heavy sigh. “Okay, I’ll take Sandy if you take Edward….” Makes me wonder how many Sandys and Edwards there are in the world who are still trying to live with that memory! Or, worse yet……how many other nameless kids are still suffering from being the last ones standing and having the teacher say “Okay, YOU go over there and YOU go over there…..”??? No one picked them to be on their team. Sometimes they even ate lunch alone. Walked home alone. Sat on the bus alone. Yes, the world can be a ruthless, painful place when you’re wading in the shark infested waters of growing up. We all remember those times, those kids, those situations. Sometimes, we can even remember how it felt....because it happened to us. And, sometimes, even as adults....it happens. It's easy to forget how fragile we all are. So, let's see......since this is my BLOG and I am the IT GIRL and I make the rules......I'm going to make a quick change here before I tell 7 random things about me. I am tagging everyone who reads this blog. Yep, that's right.....every person who I know reads it and every invisible person who reads it. YOU ARE ALL TAGGED! That means that after you read this, you have to stand up from your computer, walk over to the first person you see and say something very nice. And, I mean, very nice. I don't care who that person is. Even if it's your arch enemy (yes, YOUR ARCH enemy!) Make sure you get a smile from the person. Now, if there is no one within a 50 ft. radius of you or you can't get up from your chair then your are excused from it for the moment. However, the rule for you is that you must carry this out with the very next person you see. Again, no matter who it is. Yes, that means if the next person you see is your boss, you still have to do this! Just make one person smile and you'll be giving a gift to many more. It is IT TAG at it's finest. Think about IT.


7 Random Things About ME

1. I am left handed

2. The first time I saw my husband was in May of 1970 outside of St. Catherine's of Siena Parish in Beechview. We were waiting for our respective sisters (who were making their First Holy Communion) to come out of the school and parade into the church. He was 13, I was 11. My aunt thought he was cute. My mother agreed. I was in love with another.

3. I do not instinctively know my left from my right. My sisters don't either. My father and uncle ( my dad's brother) ----they don't either! Family trait.

4. I did not get my Drivers' License until a few months after I got married. My husband taught me to drive. I failed my test the first time because he did not teach me how to do a 3 point turn. He told me "no one in my family ever failed their driver test." That was our first official fight of our married life. I am still a little upset with him about all of that........

5. My favorite food is Eggplant Parmagiano.

6. I do not know how to whistle.

7. I LOVE MY LAPBAND!


P.S. I'd love to know 7 Random Things About YOU!!!!!!





Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Staying beautiful and smart are not my only jobs, you know........no wonder I'm exhausted.....

The excitement never ends here in my kitchen.........





My life----HIGH MAINTENANCE doesn't even begin to cover it.........


Sometimes you just have to end the day with a little attitude.
A side of wine wouldn't hurt.

WHINE...........
(I'm from Pittsburgh.....I add the H)

Monday, September 24, 2007

A detour......down memory lane.....







For anyone who has been reading my blog since the beginning----you've been privy to a few stories about my undergraduate days spent in a sleepy little Pennsylvania college town. Most people like to tell stories about their wilder days, I guess. It sort of excuses us for our current not-so-wild selves. It's not that I was all that wild.....I was just young. YOUNG being the operative word. Just don't ask some of my dear college friends about the "I was not all that wild" part....they'll tell you all kinds of tales to disprove it. When JC did that. Or, JC did this. Or, JC did that. (BTW---I am "JC".....my "college name") In fact, I have one very successful, sophisticated friend who still tells one particular story about me that she can never finish.....it makes her laugh so hard she snorts. Pretty soon, now that we're nearing the 1/2 century mark, she'll probably have bladder problems when she tries to tell that story. Maybe she should just quit before that happens. Yes---it's a funny story. But, honestly, you really had to be there. Which, of course, she and only a handful of other conscious people could say they were there. God knows what these people think when she shares the infamous "JC-Black Nostril-Baby Oil-Party" story and then starts to snort. But, even if she does stop telling that story--- she seems to have an entire arsenal of JC stories. She just reminded me of one last week. It was one of those ones that I actually owed her an apology for. Better late than never, I say. Yes, I was young. I was busy creating memories for myself and evidently my friends......
But, isn't that what being young is all about.......?

So, this past weekend, we took our dear daughter to visit the sleepy little college town and campus where I spent my younger and more adventuresome days.......

This is where we lived......my girlfriends and I. Where they rolled up the carpets to exercise while I sat by and smoked. The deck is new since 1980. The paint job looks the same. And, the "No Parking" sign is exactly as I remember it.


This is the scenic view of the little town.......from a quaint little restaurant that used to one of our favorite college dive bars. Back then, I don't think we really noticed the breathtaking view. When I sent the pictures to my sophisticated friend (the one who tells the story and snorts.....who I love dearly) she had no recollection of the place. Hmmmmm. Wonder what that is all about.......



A view of the campus....nestled in the valley......over to the right of the picture. It's changed so much. The years have been good to it. It's lovely.




Carmen and I on the deck of what used to be the dive bar we all loved so well (the place my dear sophisticated friend can't remember). Times sure have changed since the 70's.....see the NO SMOKING sign! Carmen and I sat on the deck overlooking the glorious view...sipping wine (me), beer (Carmen) and Sprite (Toni). Me--thinking how beautiful the day was, how much fun it would be to sit there with all my dear friends from those by-gone days and just how lucky I was. Carmen--probably hoping the waitress would come back quick so he could order another beer and praying that the Steelers would win on Sunday. Toni--texting the new boyfriend and wondering which one of my friends was the star of the story that I told as we passed the new Student Union and pointed to a particular spot. (I'll never tell........)





Sometimes we take detours on our journey. Detours---the sweetest part of the road.


In Lapband news---- I go to have my Lap Band filled for the first time in the morning. I'm a bit nervous. No, I'm very nervous. Scratch that. I'm nervous, scared and excited. Yes, that sums it up.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Farewell, my last FAT summer........

I know, I know.....that word.....FAT.....it's an ugly word. It just makes you feel.....well.....fat. Perhaps I should have used the word OBESE. But, yuk.....no double yuk. That word feels even worse. Even though OBESE is more of a clinical/medical term and FAT is just a lowly adjective (could also be a noun....), the big O seems to sting quite a bit more than the F word. Although they both connote something not real pleasing, I can actually think of some nice things about the word FAT. Think.....a fat wad of cash, a fat pay check, a big, fat steak.....you get my drift. But, I can't think of one nice thing to say about the word OBESE. Except, of course.......thanks to being OBESE, I got my Lapband. Being just plain FAT would have never given me the opportunity. Which brings me to answering a few questions that people have asked me over the past few weeks. Here goes:

-Knowing what I know now about this surgery and having been through this part of it, would I do it again? Yes. No question. In a heartbeat. For sure. Hell YES.
-Do I miss Diet Coke? Nope. But, I'll bet it misses me. If Coca-Cola goes belly up this year, it's probably because of me.
-What has been the hardest part? The pain in the beginning. But, it's a distant memory.
-What has been the best part? The feeling of hope that I have. And, getting dressed each day.
-Am I hungry? Not really. I have moments that I think I am but they pass quickly.
-Is it hard to cook for my family and not be able to eat it? No. It's wierd but it's actually made my life easier. Not sure why. But, when I do, I'll let you know.
-Is it hard to go out to dinner and not be able to eat anything I want? Not so far. And, I am a really cheap date.
-Can I drink wine? Moderation. Like everything else.
-Any advice to anyone considering having lap band? Don't wait.
-What have my 2 children been fighting about for the past 15 years? They each accuse the other of not being nice to the other one. Same fight. Takes on different themes. But, when you strip away at it....it's the same fight.

My Lap band journey continues down the roads of Autumn!


(looking forward to all you being with me!)

HELLO AUTUMN!!!!



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The agony of post partum.......200+ lbs gone......

Exactly 22 years ago, Carmen and I ate a pizza. It was a night just like tonight. Not quite summer. Not quite autumn. I was 9 months and 11 days pregnant. There had been an earthquake in Mexico. My lovely Jewish neighbor made me a special soup to bring on labor. Yet, nothing seemed to rouse the spunky little boy who was cuddled inside of me. Funny thing, for months before that, he made his presence known. In the beginning, he was the reason why the traffic cop at West Liberty and Pioneer Avenue got to know me. I was the woman in the grey Omni who would open the door to vomit every morning as I sat waiting for his whistle to blow. After that, I became the woman who didn't fit behind the wheel. And, then, I became the woman no one wanted to see arrive.........I instilled panic in the hearts of many. I was so huge that everyone feared they would have to deliver a baby at any moment. The question of "when are you going to have THAT baby?" started during my 6th month. Yes, I had to endure being the largest pregnant woman anyone had ever seen on this side of North America for 3 + months. But, nothing....not Jewish soup, not a Mexican earthquake, not even a Pub & Pizza pizza made a difference that September night in 1985. So, I gave up. My boy was staying put. As I maneuvered my massive body into bed that night, I accepted the fact that this wasn't going to the be the night that I was going to have my 62 lb baby.

But the next day was. Vincent Francis Mancuso entered screaming at 5:03 pm on September 20, 1985. Of course, he wasn't 62 lbs. Much to everyone's shock, he wasn't even 8 lbs. ( I begged Carmen to tell everyone I delivered a 13 lb baby!) So, my new son left the rest of that pregnancy weight with me. But, he was healthy and feisty and his nose hooked when he wailed---reminding me of my mother---and he had five fingers and toes. We were thrilled and ecstatic and madly in love. Nothing else mattered much.....especially those 50+ leftover pounds. There was a baseball field around the corner, an adorable red, yellow and green room waiting for him, and 3 aunts, 2 uncles, a Nana, a Grandfather and a Grandmother eager to welcome him. There were baseball hats, soccer games, cousins, holidays, special movies, first days of school, vacations, friends, dances, parties and so much more ahead of us. Our life as a family was calling. Even if that meant I had to waddle through it.

This evening, I realized something as I sat at the dinner table listening to my almost 22 year old son and his 16 year sister continue the same fight they have been having for the past 15 years. My son was visiting us. He had come for dinner. He doesn't live here anymore. He doesn't kiss me goodnight. I don't get to watch him sleep. He doesn't throw his socks on the living room floor. He doesn't leave empty wrappers on the coffee table. I don't hear his raucous laughter at 6pm while he watches "The Simpsons". All 200+ lbs of him are gone. I lost my post partum weight. That was the shortest 22 year diet I have ever been on. Went too fast. Happened in the blink of an eye. I'd like to have it back, please. Weight and all.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Take asprin, drink plenty of fluids and rest.........

The common cold. But, when you have it.....there's nothing common about it. Yes, I have a cold. My first cold of my banded life. And, I can't take my favorite cold med--AlkaSeltzer Cold. It's fizzy. Fizzy is a no-no in the Lapband world. Oh, I'm just pitiful. Coughing. Sneezing. Red nose. People give me the HEX sign as they walk by me. Even people I don't know. In fact, today at the office, our new heating and air conditioning guy crossed his fingers and stepped back. That was right before he told me that I control the temperature for 6 of my coworkers' offices and our copy room. Not a job I signed up for, trust me. Perhaps if my mind wasn't compromised by this nasty cold, I would have found some kind of perverse thrill in my power to increase or decrease the comfort level of my coworkers. Piss me off at a staff meeting.....I'll melt you! Don't compliment my new shoes.....ice will form on your eyelashes! Instead, in my altered state, I had visions of my colleagues with bee-bee guns pointed at me as they forced me into adjusting the thermostat. Why me? Why do I have to be the one who controls the climate? Why can't I control something else? It's hard enough trying to figure out what to eat let alone deal with that!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Life is what happens.........

I think John Lennon said something like "life is what happens when you are busy making other plans". If it wasn't John then maybe it was me. Honestly---I really could have said it. I feel that way especially on Sunday nights. I'm not sure if my Lapband made me smarter or what. But, I've come to the conclusion that I set myself up. All week long, I look around at the chores, the projects and the errands that need attended to and say "I'll do that over the weekend." Of course in between all those things, I also need to wedge in a few other things like--family, fun and sleep. And, now that I'm paying more attention to myself and taking more care with what I am putting into my body---I also have to dedicate some time to menu planning. Which, of course, means grocery shopping, prep work and cooking. Plus, I'm doing this walking program. Which means that I do have to walk. So, I gotta fit that in there too. And, of course, now that it's getting a little closer to the end of summer, I have to banish summer from my outdoor decor and begin the transformation to a more autumn look. My neighbors expect it. And, they worry if I don't do it. And, then there's just the regular stuff that comes up--my family is hungry, my phone rings, there's an especially interesting program on TV, the dishes are piled in the sink, the newspaper needs read, my daughter needs eyeliner, my favorite bra went missing, my husband needs lectured. Just the regular stuff. Is it any wonder that I started this weekend with a very messy bedroom and ended the same way? I set myself up....I tell you!
And, it gets worse.......read on.....
I read a few paragraphs of a report in some magazine while I was waiting in line at K-Mart (the 4th store I went into this weekend and forgot tin foil). The article said that messy bedrooms cause weight gain. From the little bit that I read, the theory is that a messy bedroom interferes with sleep. And, lack of sleep is a major cause of weight gain. I'll be the first to admit that I have been very guilty of forgoing sleep in order to get things done or to sneak some time for myself or just to extend my day. And, I'll also come forward and confess that my bedroom gets very messy. So, no wonder I gained all that weight! Between loosing sleep and my messy bedroom, I managed to keep the weight loss industry and the plus size stores afloat these past 8 years. But, honestly, I didn't do it intentionally. In fact, every weekend, I planned to catch up on sleep and clean my bedroom. But, like John said---life happened.

I'd share more wisdom but it's past my bedtime........