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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 life is simpler.
-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 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 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.


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 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.

(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" "college name") In fact, I have one very successful, sophisticated friend who still tells one particular story about me that she can never 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 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's an ugly word. It just makes you feel.....well.....fat. Perhaps I should have used the word OBESE. But, 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 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's the same fight.

My Lap band journey continues down the roads of Autumn!

(looking forward to all you being with me!)


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 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 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........

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I am a techo-DIVA Lapbander!

My enthusiasm for blogging is fueled by all of readers! Oh, I feel so DIVA saying that I have READERS! Who do I think I am? Carrie Bradshaw? Do I really have readers? Well, apparently I do, thank you very much! I have some very outgoing readers who love to post comments on my blog.....thank you so much! And, I have readers who like a little privacy so they prefer to send me emails about my blog.....notes I love to get! And, I have readers who prefer to call me and leave voice mails telling me they enjoy my hearing your voice! I also have readers from my various online groups who post comments about my blog on the forums.....which I's great to see my name in print! I have other readers who tell me in person that they are reading my blog......they can tell from my smile how that makes me feel! Plus, I have some very bashful readers.....they don't say a word. But, I know they are there. Or, maybe my head is just getting way too big and I think I have this huge reader base! But, now I will know.....I have a counter! Check it out down at the bottom of the you see it? Isn't it cute? I still won't know WHO these bashful readers are.....I'll just know they were here. They'll sort of leave "footprints" on my blog! Isn't my technical savvy just astonishing......I have a counter! Did you hear me, oh genius son of mine? YOUR mother has a counter! Yeah, me....YOUR MOTHER! When I started my blog, I asked my dear son with the degree in Human Computer Interaction (I'm human, I have a computer that I want to interact with) to put a counter on my blog. "Okay, mom". Didn't happen. And, I continued to ask him weekly. "Okay, mom". Didn't happen. In fact, just last night when he came home for dinner and I cooked him an amazing meal (even though I DO NOT EAT), gave him a goodie bag with a few gifts (and it wasn't even his birthday yet!) as well as a bag full of new clothes (no socks!), I asked him again. "Okay, mom". He left with a full stomach, his goodie bag and his new clothes. I was left with dirty dishes and a daughter who was hopping mad at her brother for doing something naughty to her computer. But, no counter. So, I figured....if I have the ability raise a son who is a techno wiz then I can certainly figure out how to put a counter on my blog. All it took was a little confidence and a little time! Amazing the things we can do when we really want to. I proved it!

P.S. Please wish this Techo-DIVA Lapbander luck getting BRUCE tix at 10 am tomorrow........

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Today in Bandland.......some random thoughts.....

It's mid-week. Wednesday. Mid-way through the first "typical" week of my banded life. I'm back at work. I'm back in heels. Back to rush hour, meetings and making dinner at 8 pm.
Here are some things I am thinking about on this first Wednesday of my first typical week of my banded life.......

Sing it Emmy Lou!

Words to live by.......

I want this outfit.........50 lbs from now!

Nice legs......they make me smile. Smiling is good.

It's good to be Queen.


Just because......

32 Years later.......I need another ticket......

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Getting into my pants?

(NOTE:  The system is giving me formatting problems.  After
wrestling with it for

about an hour, I've given up. The words are all here.....)

I'm a stuff person. That's who I am. I love clothes,
shoes, jewelry,
make up, china, knick knacks, furniture, candles, cookbooks, utensils,
bowls, rugs, frames.....Oh shit, let's face it, I just love it all.
To put it simply--I adore stuff. Anyone who knows me will tell you.....
"she has a lot of stuff". I'm not a minimalist. I'd like to live simply.
Sort of. Well, not really. But, the idea of it seems nice---no clutter,
serene, peaceful, environments, quiet, stress free. But,
I don't like bare walls.
Or empty flat surfaces. I don't like unadorned ears, necks,
wrists or fingers.
Lips should not be nude. In fact, adding a little lipgloss over
your lipstick is a good idea. And,shoes are a must---no matter
the time of day or night (unless, ofcourse, I am sleeping).
If you have to go barefoot...for heaven's sake be sure
to have your toe nails painted. Something bright.
More is good. Excess is best. So, simple living is out for me.
If I want serene---I just have to go to a spa.

Given my penchant for stuff.....I'm sure you would not be
the least bit surprised that I am also somewhat of a pack
rat. Not really a pack rat per say. I don't like rodents.
I just save things. Lots of things. And, I cram them in my attic.
Oh, and in my basement.
And, in the garage. And, in the 3 storage rooms in my basement.
Oh, and under my bed. And,
in the closets. And, even in my office (at work!).
So, with all this stuff,
I can rotate things a lot around the house--seasonly or when I just grow tired of
a look. You can visit me one week and I'll have a certain decor.
Come the next week and I've changed it. I also get bored easily, I guess.
But,I'll save that issue for another discussion. Anyway, I just go shopping
in one of my overfilled storage areas and whala! new stuff appears!
It's fun.

But, one thing that hasn't been fun for the past few years is being
forced by my ever climbing weight to send all of my favorite clothes to my
massive cedar closet in my attic. In fact, over the summer, it became so
filled with clothes that did not fit me, the sturdy pole they were hanging
on gave way. It's almost as if it said "that's enough!"
The saddest part of that episode is that I had to take all
of the clothes out of the closet so that it could be repaired.
It was hard. Looking at those clothes. Some of the my
favorite blazers,
suits, pants, skirts, sweaters, blouses, formal attire.
Some things still had tags
hanging from them---bargains I got at the end of a season with the hopes of
wearing them the following year. I never did. But, I saved those clothes.
Well, most of them. A few years back when a friend's husband
passed away and she
had to re-enter the workforce, I showed up one day with an entire
van filled
with Size 10's & 12's. As I was hauling them into her house, she looked at me
in utter disbelief."You'll never wear those again?" she asked.
"Not in this
lifetime. And, if you gain any weight, give me a call,
I have an entire wardrobe of
14's and 16's too. And, probably soon you could have the 18's as well."
She never
called. I guess she's no a lifelong dieter with an obese gene
like me. As any life
long dieter can tell you---size changes are a way of life. Having "fat clothes" is
not a joke.

But, the story gets happy
Yesterday, a beautiful thing happened. I descended the, no.....I floated up
the steps...while beautiful music played....I glided into my attic store as soft lights danced about the room. I tenderly opened the cedar closet as my hair blew in the summer breeze that sweetly billowed through the window. And, I gazed upon my beloved clothes.
I gently reached my well manicured hand between 2 perfectly pressed pair of pants. Then, I pulled one of them towards my breasts and caressed them. As the lights dimmed, I danced around the room like a giselle (yes, a giselle...).
And, then, as a hush fell over the room, I daintily placed one foot and then the next into those pants. With a sway of my hips, I wistfully glided them over my leopard print hi-cut briefs. And, then, as my soft fingers reached for the zipper, a lone spotlight
engulfed me. And, as the zipper moved up, the theme from "Rocky" began to play.

Yes, it all happened right there in my attic.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thinking about September 11, 2001.........

It's impossible to arrive at September 11 without thinking back to that fateful day in 2001 when the world somehow changed. Almost all of us can vividly recall where we were that day when we first heard that something was happening in New York City. For me, I was running late for work, stuck in traffic on Bigelow Boulevard, impatiently switching radio channels, trying to get a snipet of information on why the cars had not moved in over 5 minutes. It was an unusually pretty morning....sunny, cool. But, as I snaked through rush hour traffic after the mad dash to drop the kids off at their respective schools, it was just another morning commute. I didn't notice the weather---I was late. Unable to find a traffic report, I settled on listening to the banter between 2 morning disc jockeys. It was the usual stuff....celebrity sitings, silly insults, bad jokes. A few minutes into it, another member of the morning team said "hey, something just came over the wire, seems like there's a fire at the World Trade Center." The banter stopped momentarily and then they began discussing their individual trips to New York City. Fortunately, the traffic started to move and my mind focused on getting to work. When I finally got to the office, I casually said "anyone hear about a fire at the World Trade Center?" A few people switched on the radio. I went into my office. Within seconds, phones started ringing. Voices started to rise. It was as if the entire office said "WHAT?" in unison into their phones. Then, as quickly as the voices rang out, they stopped. Silence fell. Together, we joined the rest of the world. That moment in time. That day in September of 2001.

Today, I went back to work after being gone for 1 month. You know, we all have our own reasons for working. In my office, more than many places, jobs are what we do. To be more precise---our daily focus is on jobs---or, more appropriately--careers. Although I know in my heart that all of us are committed to these things---what we officially call our mission---I've been around long enough to realize that is not the sole reason why we keep coming back day after day. It's about other things. Fullfillment. Paychecks. College tuition. Health insurance. Retirement. Vacations. Shoes for the kids. Extra things. Bills. Yet, on most days, I think it's about the responsibility and commitment we feel towards each other that gets us out of bed, puts us in our cars and ushers us from places near and far. A bond, I suppose you can call it. We've been through life's ups and downs together. The good. The bad. The ugly. The celebrations. The losses. The laughter. The mourning. The joys. The times we play the lottery together. The happy hours. The little things we know about each other. It's the good mornings and the let's go to lunch and the have a nice weekend's. It's all the moments of our lives that we bring with us each day to the place we go each day. To do the things that we do. And, it's a good place. A place I was happy to return to today. To share the moments.......

Sunday, September 9, 2007

What I did on my "Banded Recupervacation"....a transformation.......

More than a year ago, I decided that I absolutely hated the brass piece that served as a fireplace surround in our living room. Once I made that decision, I wanted it out of my house. Every time I brought the subject up to Carmen, he cautioned me "you can't just take it of there! you need something in there!" Never one to be deterred by Carmen's warnings or his practicality, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Late one night, after Carmen went to bed and I was sure he was sleeping, I ripped out the entire surround and the attached screen that was apparently attached to it. Then, I hauled that heavy, ugly piece of junk and the screen out to the curb for garbage pick-up. Pleased with my caper, I went off to bed.

Now, Carmen gets up and leaves the house much, much earlier than I do Most mornings, he is so preoccupied with the day ahead of him that he doesn't notice much more than his wallet, his keys, his lap top and his brief case. He swoops those things into his arms and bolts out the door into the very early morning hours. So, how was it that on that particular morning, he noticed the huge hole in the center of the fireplace---I'll just never know. But, as I peacefully slept, I was startled by a booming voice......"what the hell is she doing NOW? she just goes and tears things out with no plan whatsoever on putting it back together....". Yes, it was Carmen sharing his frustration over what he considers my perpetual bad habit. The door slammed. After that, we never discussed the episode for a very long time. I paid careful attention to decorate it (cover it up) with a series of things that I picked up here and there. And, he just avoided the subject completely. Although there were moments when I caught him staring at it, shaking his head and then walking away in disgust, he didn't share his feelings. He knew it would get him nowhere.
He knows me.

Despite the fact that I did have plans to install a new surround, what I wanted to do took some time. You see, I decided I wanted to do a mosaic with pieces of a specific transferware pattern. So, every so often, I would scour thrift shops, flea markets, garage sales and off price stores to find plates that would fit my needs. After about a year, I had collected enough to start the project. But, of course, I didn't. Life got in the way. Or, maybe I was too tired. Whatever deterred me, I never took on the project and put it out of my mind. Until a week after my surgery.

Maybe it was all the time I was spending in my house. Maybe it was the whole "transforming" mode that I was in. I'm not sure. But, all of a sudden---I needed to do that project. And, considering that I could do it sitting down, I figured it was a perfect way to spend some of my free time. But, I had to enlist Carmen to help me build the frame for it. Thankfully, my timing was perfect. With me recuperating from surgery, he was not about to start lecturing me. And, of course, he was probably happy to do this project considering that I was already making lists of larger house projects that we needed to undertake. He figured this would shut me up for a little while. He was right.'s what I started with......(Carmen made the white frame inside from a large piece of some kind of board)

And, more than 25 lbs later.....this is what I ended up with......

Transformations. That's what this past month has been all about......

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Say Cheese!

You say tomato, I say tOmato, you say potato, I say patato! But, today I am saying.....CHEESE!
Cheddar. Asiago. Provolone. Mozzarella. Havarti. Feta. Fontina. Marscapone.
Mozzarella di Bufala Campana. Gorgonzola. Gouda. American. Gruyère. ooooooooooooooooooooh my!
Yep, I'm talking protein-packed CHEESE! Today, I am introducing cheese as one of the first "solid" foods of my new banded life. To celebrate.....I thought I'd share a few "say cheese" moments to chronicle what brought me to this moment in time. This moment when I'm actually celebrating eating a piece of cheese!

#1-Carmen and I in Florida, MAY 2007

#2-Carmen and I, June 2007

#3-Carmen and I in NC, July 2007

#4-Carmen and I--last night--4 weeks after having Lap Band Surgery

Now, do you get it?
In my pre-banded life, I just ATE the cheese....and lots of it! In my new banded life, I celebrate cheese. Celebrating is a whole lot more fun......

Thursday, September 6, 2007

It's time to step out........what shoes will I wear?

My recuperation is officially over. Monday, I return to the real world. Imagine--- a knife sliced open my abdomen in five places, I had a band tighted around my stomach, I had a hose with a port attached to it placed inside of me, I was inflated with air, my arms were stabbed more times than I can count, I had staples and glue holding the holes in my body closed, I haven't eaten a solid piece of food in close to 6 weeks and I took a lot of drugs. And, yet......I can go to work on Monday! With that type of punishment to my body, you would think it would take years to feel well enough to even stand up! I guess I am just a walking miracle!!! Speaking of walking....that's where I am headed right now. It's time to get with the program......literally. My doctor handed me a walking program that I must follow to the letter. No messing around and no excuses. It's time to strut my stuff......on the streets of Mt. Lebanon tonight and in the basement of the UC on Monday!
Look out.........h
ere I come!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


So, today, 2 weeks after buying my new Escape, a woman named Terry called from the dealership to see if things were going well, if I enjoyed my experience and if I had any questions about my new vehicle. What a nice gesture! Terry and I had never met but we clicked right away. Now, I’m not sure if I just miss the adult interaction of my normal life or if I was just in the mood to chat but we had a lovely and lengthy conversation…..the least of which was about my new Escape! As we were nearing the end of our gab-fest, Terry said “Looks like it’s lunch time! I better get ready to eat ! It’s another gourmet frozen Weight Watchers meal for me! Ugh. Nothing like starving and still being fat!” Feeling her pain and remembering that there was a drive-thru McDonald’s next to the dealership, I responded with an empathetic laugh “Yep, I know what you mean! Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Big Mac instead?” “For sure! But, I might as well just apply it to my hips, that’s where it will go!” she laughed. “Yep, I know the feeling! With me, it’s my stomach---everything goes RIGHT there!” I agreed. “Don’t I just wish I could make my life a little easier and get one of those bands they are advertising now put on my stomach? Poof, it’s over! Skinny me!” she sarcastically laughed. Of course, she had no idea that the woman sitting on the other end of the phone had done just that. It wasn’t Terry’s fault . I knew that. Still, I felt my face flush and a lump starting to form in my throat. It was time to end the call…..before I fell apart or things got ugly. But, I wanted to yell “There’s no POOF sweetie! No POOF AT ALL Wanna see my scars? You wanna hear about what I have been eating? Hey, you wanna know how I’ve been sleeping for the past 3 weeks? Huh? Do ya?!” but instead I said “Well, have a nice lunch. Thanks for calling.” I really wanted to say “POOF” right then and there. But, I let it go.

Considering that I’m blogging my way through my Lap Band journey, it’s safe to say that I am not really keeping this a secret. But, that’s just me…..I’m out there with certain things. Yes, I have my share of secrets. But, this isn’t one of them. Prior to my surgery, I was open with people about what I was doing. I mean, I didn’t knock on doors and say “hi, I’m Judi, I’m having Lap Band surgery” but I didn’t consider it something I needed to hide from the world. Most people who knew---my great family, my dear girlfriends and the wonderful women I work side-by-side with—were and continue to be wonderfully caring, supportive and encouraging. My father even said it’s the best idea I’ve had yet and he makes daily phone-ins to check on my weight (yes, it’s true)! Perhaps other people knew—from word of mouth. I’m not sure. And, I have no idea what they think. In fact,. maybe there are people right now who think I shouldn’t have done this or they are angry with me for doing this or they think it was selfish of me to take the time off from work to do this or use my health insurance to cover the cost or maybe there are people who consider me a failure for having to resort to weight loss surgery. If Terry, a stranger, thought weight loss surgery is the easy way out…what will people who know me think?. I feel that lump coming back in my throat. I’m not sure if I’m just very naïve or if I’m too trusting! But, it never occurred to me that anyone would look down upon me for this decision.. But, now, I wonder. In fact, I’m worrying. I wonder if people will treat me different knowing that I had Lap Band surgery. I’m not sure why I care but I do. I care a lot.

Since the surgery, the only people I’ve really spent any time with have been people who know what I just did and support it. I haven’t ventured into the world quite yet. Oh, sure, I told the clerk at GNC and maybe I mentioned it to a handful of others---acquaintances and strangers. . But, I’m not back to my daily routines. I’m not back at work yet. I haven’t really been to a party or done anything social with other people. So, I haven’t walked in my own shoes yet….so to speak. How will I respond to someone who says or even thinks “POOF”? How will I respond to someone who considers any pain or discomfort I felt or feel or any inconvenience from my surgery as my own fault and something I deserve? What will I say to someone who ignores me or treats me differently? What should I say when someone says something not-so-nice to me about my weightloss or how I look? What will I say? Should I just say "POOF"?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Stopping a promising medical career in it's tracks.......

Around 9 pm on the day of my Lap Band surgery, a very cute male intern came to visit me. Like I said.... very cute. So, as he perused my chart and asked a few questions, I was very content to sweetly comply. Carmen was dozing in the chair. I was in a drugged haze. So, if there was any moment in my life to enjoy lifting up my top for a cute guy, this was it. It would have been completely legit. But he didn't ask. Instead, he said--in a very nonchalant manner---"I'll be sending up someone to train you to give yourself insulin shots before you leave tomorrow". Did I hear this guy right? Insulin? Shots? Give them to myself? He didn't want me to lift up my fabulously sexy hospital-issued jammies? He didn't want to check out my incisions? "What?" I asked. "Insulin shots." He repeated. "I don't do insulin shots" I heard myself say. "I know. Your blood work suggests you'll need to begin," again.....he said this very nonchalantly. "Huh?" I asked, still wondering why I just couldn't lift up my shirt and be done with it. And, so, the very cute intern began explaining something....not sure what. I wasn't listening. I was busy thinking about my childhood friend Mary.....she was a diabetic. Every time I slept at her house, I'd have to watch her give herself insulin her leg. At the time, I remember thinking how brave she was and I felt so thankful that I didn't have to do it. But, there I was......some intern that was probably not much older than my son was telling me that I had to give myself insulin Mary. "No" I told him. He began talking again. But, I had no intention of listening. So, I told him again.....this time louder...."NO!". So loud that I startled Carmen. Again, the intern tried to speak. "No, I am not taking insulin shots." my voice got louder and I could feel myself getting ready to cry. "But...." he began. "You don't get it, do you? I AM NOT DOING INSULIN SHOTS!" I told him again....this time louder and with much more bitchiness. And, so he turned to Carmen....hoping to get some help from him. "Listen, I am not doing insulin shots! And, don't bother trying to get my husband or anyone else for that matter to convince me..." I warned him. But, he was relentless.....he continued to try to talk. Before I knew it, I was crying and shaking and blurting out obscenities. I was not being very nice or lady like. I was misbehaving. Not sure what happened to the intern.....he must have left quietly in the middle of my tirade. Carmen looked at me....afraid to say a word. I pushed the button for my morphine drip.
Early the next morning, I awoke to see the cute intern once again at the foot of my bed. But, this time, I had no urge to lift up my shirt for him, show him my incision or even look at him. Sensing my displeasure with him, he did not bother to make small talk, he just stood there reading my chart. He bid me farewell and quickly scampered out of the room. The nurse came in a few moments later with a wry smile...."scaring them off on their first week?" was the cute intern's first week!!! How lousy am I? Doing that to him on his first week? "Oh, I feel bad," I told her. "You have definitely been the topic of conversation! Poor kid didn't even want to come back in here this morning!" Ahhh....I felt even worse....ruining a career before it's even started! "He won't forget you," the nurse said.

Memorable. At least I'll be memorable.

Monday, September 3, 2007

White Shoes.........after Lap Band........

To celebrate the end of white shoe season..........

Pre-Lap Band white shoes.........

After Lap Band White Shoes........

Change your life......change your shoes........!