Follow me.......

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What's love... got to to do.... with it? Sing it with me!

As I sit here on the last day of April, bidding another month that went too fast goodbye, I'm thinking about Love. Not in the hearts and flowers or razzle-dazzle kind of way but in a simple, quiet and no frills kind of way. The way in which we witness love every single day, how we watch love unfold around us and how we just feel it.

Kinda deep, huh?

Maybe it's me but I don't think about love in it's pure sense very much. Sure, I know I am loved and I know that I give love. And, I've said some version of "I love you" many times over. And, I recognize that sometimes love can be disguised in another's question or concern or interest. But, sometimes I need a 2-by-4 to hit me over the head to stop and see the love.

Sometimes that 2-by-4 comes at the most unexpected times. Like in a hospital room while visiting a beloved 87 year old aunt who's still worried about her hair as her once successful business man husband sits by her side trying to make some sense of how they got to be where they are. Or, sometimes it comes while walking down a corridor of that same hospital watching another beloved aunt walking towards you--steadying her 92 years with her cane. And, sometimes it comes when you're pulling away from the high school after dropping your daughter off--as you you've done a million times before--and you peak in the rear view mirror just to catch a glimpse of her greeting a friend. The simple and ordinary moments that speak of love. That powerful gust of love that speaks in words and actions and silence. It's all around us.

So, as you say good-bye to's hoping my blog entry today was your 2-by-4.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Have you been listening?

because I've been talking! be more precise....I've been blogging....

This posting marks my 500th blog entry.
Five Hundred?
You bet your sweet ass it's my 500th posting.
My first grade teacher, Mrs. Darby--rest her soul--was right....I am a chatterbox.

When I realized it was my 500th post (Blogger told me, I don't keep count), I wanted music to play. Special music. A song of my own. There, in the early morning stillness that is the part of the day that I claim for my own--I wanted to laugh and then I wanted to cry and then I wanted to tell you all about it. That, my friend, is what writing is all about.

Writing for people to read.....

That little girl who filled spiral note book after spiral notebook with tales and stories that no one read--that is what she wanted to do. That womanchild who dreamed of writing books but didn't really know what that meant--that is what she wanted to do. That young woman who majored in English and was forced to write poetry that no one read--that is what she wanted to do. And, that new mother who filled pages and pages with letters to her children before they could even read--that is what she wanted to do. All these words that fill my head, fill my heart and fill my soul are what I always wanted and needed to share. And, now, I do.

Yes, I always found a way to write. But, now I have found a way to share my words. And, I've done it 500 times.

And--not only have I managed to write something that is so-my-own and I actually have people who read what I'm writing, but I've also managed to lose 92 pounds along the way. Through the miracle of medical science, timing and technology, I have somehow found a way to put the two things that matter so much in my life together--the two things that always alluded me--and somehow made them one. Dreams can come true.

It's as if I've always written this blog, I've always told these stories, I've always reached inside myself and thought of something--anything--to say....just to hear myself talk and to reach out to those people who want to listen. It's as much a part of me as my Lapband! This milestone has taken my breath away. I'm 50 years old and I'm finally doing what I always wanted to do and I lost almost 100 pounds. And you've all been a part of it....500 times over.

It's all so amazing.....

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I never liked those pigs.....

and I wasn't too crazy about those birds either.

We went from panicking over the Bird Flu to running from the Swine Flu.

It doesn't seem that long ago that we spent many staff meetings discussing the inevidable arrival of the Bird Flu on our culturally diverse campus. Each time, I firmly believed it was coming our way. At the time, Vince was a student on campus--living among students from all over the world. And, I, of course, worked with those very same students. Could some of them unknowingly carried the bug here? It was a question that troubled me each time we discussed it. However, within a few days, as my mind was captured by more immediate concerns--like audits and budgets and laundry and dinner--my fear disapated...until the next meeting. Thankfully, as the scare dwindled, so did our discussions. Whew...we managed to escape the Bird Flu. After that, the audit felt like our new Bird Flu. But, that's old news.

At the moment, we've got this Swine Flu thing. Although we haven't discussed it at a Staff Meeting--yet--it's managed to capture my attention through continual newspaper and TV headlines. And, there was a White House briefing on the Swine Flu. That sounds awfully big to me when the White House gets involved. Much bigger than my office staff meetings. (don't tell them I said that...)

So, now I'm left to wonder--are we really facing down a true and inevidable pig virus? I mean--now that it's made it way to neighboring states, does this mean that it's a real and truly inevidable possibility?

Why do we always have to worry about something?
If it's not birds, it's pigs.

Do you think if I drink enough gin I'll be immune?

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's a woman's perogative.......

to change her mind.
Yes, let's just go with that story.

Oh, the plans we make. Oh, the goals we set. Oh, the lists we have. Oh, the many swirling ideas we want to put into action. Oh, those pesky things called time and energy....

Yes, I started out this past weekend with a plan. It included clean closets, piles of clothes to give away and either lemon artichoke chicken or chicken tortilla soup. What I ended up with was an incredibly messy bedroom, lots and lots of laundry and a very spicey chipotle chicken with zucchini. If I can topsy-turvey 2 days, just imagine what I can do with 5.
I guess it's time to find out.....

It's Monday once more....!

Note: If you haven't tried Williams Sonoma's Chipotle rub...I suggest you drop everything right now and run out to get yourself some. And, while you're there, you might as well pick up their Mango Margarita Mix (oh and be sure to get yourself some Tequila). Before you know it, baby, your Monday will be ole-ing!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Good Morning Sunshine!

It's hard to believe the amazing weather we've been given this weekend. It started out with a gorgeous Friday and just kept on going. This morning is one of those mornings that just makes you want to get out in the yard and dig in the dirt. But, it ain't going to happen here in Judiland. Toni and I are signed up for a healthy cooking class over at Williams Sonoma, there's grocery shopping that needs done, there's still work remaining in my closet and since Carmen will be home for a smidgen of time, Sunday dinner needs to happen. I'm thinking either chicken tortilla soup with a tex-mex salad or chicken with artichokes and lemon with a simple side salad. What do you think?

Chicken-Tortilla Soup
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
8 oz. Velveeta process cheese food - cubed
10 oz. can Ro*Tel® tomatoes and chilies
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper – to taste
flour tortillas – as needed, about 4 - 6
shredded Colby Jack cheese OR Mexican blend cheese – as needed

-In a pot, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.
-Slowly whisk in small amounts of chicken broth at a time, then whisk in milk.
-Reduce heat to low and stir in Velveeta cubes; stir until melted.
-Stir in Ro*Tel, chicken, and spices.
-Once soup is heated through, it is ready to serve at this point. However, if you wish to make tortilla strips, it can sit over low heat while they are made. Stir the soup occasionally.
-For tortilla strips, cut tortillas into strips and deep-fry in 350 degree vegetable or peanut oil until golden, then drain on cooling racks.
-Spoon a ladleful of soup into a bowl, add a handful of shredded cheese, then spoon another ladleful of soup over cheese. Sprinkle tortilla strips over top. Repeat for remaining servings.

Notes: If you want to save a lot of time, use crumbled tortilla chips instead of tortilla strips. As a substitute for Ro*Tel, you can use 1 1/2 cups of salsa. Spiciness can be easily adjusted by using spicy Ro*Tel or salsa and/or adding cayenne pepper to the soup.

Judi's Tex-Mex Dressing
Bottled Ranch Dressing
Juice of one Lime
Williams-Sonoma Chili-Lime Rub
Mix it all together!

Chicken with Artichokes and Lemon

* 4 boned, skinned chicken breast halves (about 8 oz. each), rinsed, dried, and pounded to an even thickness of 1/4 to 1/2 inch
* 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 can (14 oz.) quartered artichoke hearts, drained
* 2 tablespoons dry sherry
* 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
* 2 teaspoons lemon juice
* 1/2 cup whipping cream
* 1/2 cup grated romano cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Sprinkle chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. In a 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add chicken in batches and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and add artichoke hearts.
Add sherry, lemon peel, and lemon juice to remaining butter in frying pan; stir over medium heat until well blended and hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cream and stir. Remove from heat and pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake until sauce is bubbling and golden brown on top, 20 to 25 minutes.

Yes, there's always something that gets in the way of a good dirt digging day....
But, it's all good. The sun is shining.
Another Sunnyday in the neighborhood.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm in the closet......

and I'm not coming out until I can see the floor....

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Getting my moxie on......

The sun is going to shine, the breezes are going to be warm and there's going to be cocktails! Oh, and it's FRRRRIIIIIIIDDDDAAAAAYYYYYY! The office girls are busting out and hitting the town. There ain't no telling what will happen after the whistle blows.
Damn, those are moxie-worthy things....

More and more, I'm really starting to get this whole TGIF thing. I mean, I always liked Fridays. And, of course, I always enjoyed weekends. But, for some reason--I'm really getting into Fridays. Maybe it's all that adrenaline I'm producing as I literally run out the door of the my office, high-tail it down the hallway, gallop up the steps to campus, zoom over to the parking garage and then fly up the stairs of the parking garage until I'm happily getting into my car. Perhaps all those good endorphins from my escape calisthenics are giving me exactly what I need to take on Friday....
Thank you, dear Lapband, for making the running, the high-tailing, the galloping, the zooming and the flying all possible.....

Suddenly, it all makes sense.....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Planning for a day in the closet........

I'm not very popular right now. You see, Saturday is promising to be 80 degrees and sunny. Yes, right here in Pittsburgh, PA. And, I'm promising to make it a day of cleaning and purging. Sure, I might allow a quick trip to Starbuck's for some fuel and I might slip in an end-of-the-day pedicure. But, it's going to be a closet cleaning day--from top to bottom, sun up to sun down. A mother-daughter affair from start to finish.

Conveniently, Carmen is married to a work project that is keeping out of the house and out of the plans. Gee, lucky him. Yet, I'm pretty sure he doesn't feel so lucky! He might just rather be home bowing down to my domestic dominatrix ways instead of working 100 hours a week! But, if truth be told--his closets are fine. They are filled with blue and khaki and a little black, lots of shirts with his work logo on them and Pittsburgh sports team wear for play. It's Toni and I who need a little reality check.....closet-wise. And, I'm thinking that spending Saturday in our respective closets might just do the trick! The result might rock Toni a bit(perhaps that pedicure will soothe her!) because I'm pretty sure I'll be the one who will be needing to a little shopping to replenish my wardrobe and she will definitely NOT need any clothes--thus no shopping for her!
Toni won't like that outcome at all...

Typically, I am not such a planful kind of gal. Especially when it comes to housework of any type. And, typically, I can easily be swayed away from doing anything that resembles drudgery if something better comes along. Anything would be better. But, this time, I'm sticking to my guns. Mostly because we are at a saturation point when it comes to our closets. And, to be quite honest--I have a closet full of things that just don't fit. I need to get them in the hands of people who could use them. But, in between my practical and humanitarian reasonings, I also think it's time we take inventory of what we have so that we can understand exactly how much we do have. And, to see first hand just how fortunate we are. Sadly, it's not something we do often enough.

As you may have gathered--I can be rather excessive. I lavish the kids with whatever their hearts desire and I myself have a terrible weakness for fashion and shoes and lots and lots of other stuff. I just can't say no to anyone who I love, I get complete and utter joy from giving gifts to those who I love and I just can't walk away from anything that I love! I've tamed some of those things over the years but from the looks of my closets and storage areas, I've got lots more taming to do. But, in the bigger picture--I think it's time to take stock (is this what you do when you're 50?) of those material things that for one reason or another gave me a moment or more of happiness and determine if they still fit into my life or on my body. And, while doing that, I hope to gain more than just less closet clutter. And, hopefully, in the process, I will empower Toni to do the same in her own life and closet.

Oh, the things we do in the name of cleaning house and raising children......

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The verdict.......and the test......

For those of you tuning in to see if I got a fill or not---the answer is NOT. After answering a boat load of questions from Mike (the best and most knowledgable technician!) and assessing the situation, we mutually decided that it was probably best to forgo the fill and live with the 2.9ccs in my 4 cc band that I already have. Thankfully, my obese girl behavior has not set in yet. That's not to say I didn't drive away from the appointment feeling a little bit cheated. I mean, after all, I really do want to drop these remaining pounds and I firmly believe that I need help doing it. Yet, with all of that being said, I'm happy with my success and progress thus far and I don't want to mess anything up by having a too tight band--something that could cause some major and possibly serious damage. So, I figure--the decision was made with 3 parts reason and 1 part caution. I'm okay with that equation and the resulting choice. It will have to do. For now.

You know, I've said it a million times and I'll say it a million times more--my Lapband was the best decision I made for myself--ever, ever, ever. But, if I would have known in August of 2007 that I still would not be at my goal weight in April of 2009--I am not sure if I would have gone through with it. I'm very unreasonable like that. Plus, I'm extremely impatient. And, those two characteristics would have been the doom of me. Because I can bet you my bottom dollar that if I let the fact that losing this weight was going to take close to 2 years stop me from doing it, I guarantee you that I would be sitting here 92 pounds heavier instead of 92 pounds lighter. Thank God I entered into Lapbandhood filled with massive hope and pure faith that I would be running around in a size 10 in short order!

So, I'll bet now you're wondering if I'm disappointed in the amount of time it's taken me to lose this weight. You can stop your wondering. I am not. There have been so many good things that have happened along the way to losing this 100 pounds that I was constantly buoyed! The milestones, the progress and the education were and still are all part of the journey. And, I'm not just saying that. I wholeheartedly feel like these past 18 months were meant to be just like they were---a slow and steady path to my goal of becoming the girl who lived inside my dreams. And, with each step--I didn't just get closer to losing 100 pounds, I got closer to realizing what time and effort really do mean in the whole scheme of life. And, I'm not done yet. I've come to learn two very important things--time goes by very quickly and I am a work in progress. And, with those two things, I have come closer to appreciating what has been given to me in this lifetime more than ever before. I don't imagine I'll ever be done traveling this journey even when the scale says I am.

So, yes, now that I opted not to get my fill, I believe that I am embarking on a test to see what I've really learned all these months.
Can I begin to think like a normal weight person and not live in constant fear of being obese again just because my band is not supremely snug? And, is my relationship with food really my relationship with food or my band's relationship with food?
Whew, this sounds rough!
But,I made it a little easier on myself. We all need a little help every once in awhile. And, believe me, I'm a girl who likes easy. So, I made myself a cheat sheet--AKA--this blog entry. Each and every time I feel myself slipping into obese girl behavior, I will stop and read this blog entry in hopes of irradicating it! And, you, as my witness, shall be with me as I take my first step towards living life as a normal weight girl......

Gimme a #2 pencil......(it is a test.....)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just when I thought I had it all figured out,

something like this happens....
I ate dinner. I mean, I actually ate dinner. No dramatic exits from the table. No family gross-outs. Just a lovely dinner with some of my favorite people. Yeah, this sucks....

So, here's the thing--I have a Lapband appointment today. And, since I've spent the past few weeks dealing with a very tight Lapband--which resulted in lots of challenging eating moments and several unpleasant, slightly messy episodes (but some wonderful clothes shopping trips!)--I made the very difficult decision not to have a fill today. In fact, I even called to cancel the appointment but then opted not to after talking with the surgeon's office manager (more on that later).

Deciding not to have a fill is a tough decision to make. Especially for a life-long dieter like myself who can't really shake that feeling that once I start eating, I won't be able to stop and then soon I'll be back in those Size 22 pants....again. I know, I know...I should be over this whole mind set.
It ain't easy folks. It just ain't easy.

Now, I'm not going to go on and on about this Lapband fill decision. Come 10:45, I'll have to make it. That gives me about five hours to figure this whole thing out. Maybe between now and then, I'll either eat an Egg McMuffin with no problem or choke on my chai latte. And, wa-la, my decision will be made. It might be a yuk-o way to solve my dilema but I'm not into the scientific method or anything quite so academic. If I puke--no fill. If I don't--get a fill. Elementary.

What's not so elementary is my fear of being fat again. I have to get over it! Period, that's it. There's going to come a day when I won't be deciding on getting a fill or not not getting a fill. Why? Because I won't need one. Why? Because I will have lost these 100 pounds and I will truly be a normal weight person. I'll have to live like one. Act like one. Feel like one. And, be one. From where I am sitting right now--that seems like the really hard part.

Most days I don't think about all of this. But, there are certain times when I do. For instance, when I bought a pair of darling pants at Anthropologie a few weeks back. I mean, I bought a pair of pants at Anthropologie. And, they fit. They really fit. When I modeled them in the dressing room for Toni, we both agreed they were a perfect fit. "You look skinny" Toni said. And, to be honest--I was feeling skinny. There I was--in the dressing room at Anthropolgie--amid the normal size girls--wearing a pair of pants--in a normal size. At Anthrologie. Okay, so you get it--I bought a pair of pants at Anthropologie.

What happened after I bought the pants is really what I want to talk about.

Given the fact that the pants from Anthropologie were Spring pants, I didn't get a chance to wear them right away. I placed the unopened bag in my closet, waiting for a Spring-like day to wear them. A few days later, I happened upon the bag and found myself praying over them---dear God, please don't let me grow out of them before we have a nice Spring day. Could You hurry up the nice weather a bit? Why did I find myself praying over an unopened bag, you ask? Trust me, it had nothing to do with the weather. It's because I'm conditioned that way. I am a big time pants-grower-outer from way back. And, I had the pants to prove it--many pair of pants with tags on them were given away--because I out grew them before I had a chance to wear them! That's why I prayed over my Anthropologie bag. Thankfully, the story has a happy ending. When that Spring day finally did come--I easily fit into my darling pants from Anthropologie. Yet, as I wore them, I kept hearing that little voice inside my head saying--you may never fit into these again. And, so, I live in fear of the day when my pants from Anthropologie won't fit. It's like I'm living on borrowed normal weight time. Isn't it?

It's the same thing with this fill. At the moment, my surgeon's office is very backed up on appointments. With one technician out on maternity leave and the demand for Lapband surgery increasing, they can't seem to fit everyone in. Right now, they are scheduling for July. When I heard this, I found myself panicking--I could gain 20 pounds waiting for a fill if I don't keep this appointment! How absurd is that? Absolutely absurd. As absurd as it sounds, I know it could happen. It's happened before--I've gained 20 pounds in less time than that! But, that was then. This is now. Why can't I get that into my head?
Maybe because.......
I am and I will always be.....a recovering obese woman.
And, perhaps I just need to remember.....
obesity is something that you just can't cure completely by losing weight.

Life is just so complicated.....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Madness!

I'm pretty sure weekends are intended to replenish brain cells. So, I'm not quite sure why I feel like I have less of them on Monday morning. It's just one of the many conundrums of life here in Judiland.....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday dinner........

that's what today is all about.....

Vince is in town for an alumni event, Carmen starts a big project at work that will consume most of his time for the next month or so, my sister and nephew are coming over to watch the Penguin game, it was a lovely sunny warm weekend and chicken breasts were buy one, get one free yesterday. Add that all together and we've got the fixings for a family Sunday dinner.
Here's what's on the menu......

Baby Spring Green Salad with Vadalia Onion Dressing and Garlic Croutons
(straight from the bag, the bottle and the box!)

Forty Clove of Garlic Chicken
Incredible recipe from Ina Garten.....honestly, it's amazing! The sauce alone is worth the effort. And, considering that my band is pretty tight--the sauce may be all I'll be eating!

* 3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
* 2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths
* Kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons good olive oil
* 3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
* 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
* 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons heavy cream


Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don't want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

Rice Pilaf

* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
*Handful of pignolia (pine) nuts
* 1 shallot, thinly sliced
* 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 2 cups basmati-style long grain rice
* 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 sprig fresh rosemary


Melt the butter with the shallot in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Season with the salt and pepper and cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Lightly toast pignolia nuts in skillet. Add the rice and stir until coated with the butter. Increase the heat to medium-high. Let the rice cook until toasted, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes more.

Stir in the broth, bay leaf, and rosemary. Bring to a simmer over low heat, cover, and cook until all the broth has been absorbed by the rice and the rice is tender, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the heat and let set for 5 minutes. Discard the rosemary and bay leaf. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

As for the wine of choice----one of our favorites from our wine tour--

Lailey Vineyard 2008 Vidal
and, for desert--Lemon Pound Cake with William's Sonoma Meyer Lemon Curd and Fresh Whipped Cream

Here's hoping your Sunday is just what you need to kick off your week!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Note to self.......

you are no longer 23, you don't eat much, martinis are all booze.....

I'm gonna go lay down and think about that...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Twenty-seven years later.......

....make it a Hendrick's Gin Martini, straight up, shaken, with a lime and a cucumber......

Happy Anniversary to us!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

When eating is no longer an event........

.....a fact of life we have to get used to......

I'm pretty sure I am living my fantasy---I'm not living for the next meal, the next visit to a favorite restaurant or thinking about what I'm going to devour next. It's almost as if food is now just part of cooking or part of a conversation. It's not all about me and eating. It's about me and the non-eating part of food.

Is this heaven?!!!!!

But, you know, right now I feel a little badly about my food-is-not-life attitude. You see, tomorrow is Carmen's and my wedding anniversary. And, what do you do on your anniversary? You start by going to dinner. At least that's what we've been doing for the past 27 years. So, what's the problem? Carmen wants me to be part of the decision of where to go. And, honestly, I do not care. At all. For the past 26 anniversary dinners--I did care. A lot. Right now--as far as I am concerned--if they have wine and can make a good martini, I'm happy. He's all about the restaurant and the food and the wine list and the service and everything that goes along with dining. He can very picky. Getting used to the I-really-don't-give-a-shit-where-we-eat girl that I've become is not going over too well with him. He really wants me to care. He's so used to me being completely immersed in the planning of a celebratory dinner that he's actually offended that I'm not. In fact, he is used to me being demanding when it comes to where we celebrate special occasions. That's what he still wants. He wants that girl back. I am no longer her and I don't want her back. It's becoming a problem.
Maybe I should just fake it.
Perhaps after 27 years, we're at that point in our marriage where we've went our separate ways---when it comes to dining. We are no longer in sync in our dining lives.
Maybe I should suggest we just skip dinner and get on to the rest of the anniversary celebration.....
No, I'm thinking that after 27 years of marriage....he wants dinner...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

There's no escaping taxes.....

and Lapband moments.....

Alright, so you want to get your mind off of the IRS? Stick with me, friends. I'm going to tell you all about my PBs (for those uninformed--it stands for Productive Burping...AKA vomiting....which is a much-feared Lapband problem...).

Let me set the stage for you--I spent a few days outside of the U.S.---away from the IRS and all of the stressors of life. While there, my Lapband and I lived happily. I ate reasonably for a holiday weekend. A few pieces of chocolate here, a few jelly beans there, a few pieces of ham, some of my brother-in-law's famous scalloped potatoes, a nice sized helping of my sister's to-die-for sweet potato casserole and even a little portion of scrambled eggs and bacon. In between, I snacked on some luscious wines, a few tastey frozen mango-berry margaritas (Williams Sonoma's mixes are amazing) and a sweet little vodka-chambord concoction. And, of course, I snuck in a few of my beloved chai lattes with energy shots.
Yes, it was a weekend of little deprivation and a whole lot of relaxation....
Then, I crossed the border....
It was then that my father got a tad bit hungry. Luckily, I packed him a few ham sandwiches for the trip home. So, I dutifully unwrapped the sandwiches for him--sneaking a piece of ham for myself. A few moments later-- all hell broke loose. The pain. The unimaginable pain. The praying to vomit. And, the need to do it without upsetting my father or his little picnic-in-the-car lunch.
Through Buffalo and Seneca and Dunkirk, I discreetly PBed into the bag that once held the sandwiches. When we reached the border of Pennsylvania, I could no longer control the eruptions. Another bag, a lot more pain and continued prayers. As we pulled into familiar territory, the episodes grew with intensity until I could no longer control when and how much I would PB. It kept coming and coming until we reached our driveway. And then it stopped. Like magic.
After unpacking the car and getting things put away, Toni and I headed over to our beloved Starbucks for some fuel and then on to Giant Eagle to restock for the week. As I sipped my chai latte in the produce section, a woman approached me with samples. Oh, I was so hungry. So, I took the little cup of the finely shredded chicken salad that she was offering and cautiously nibbled on it as I checked out the yams that were on special. Toni was off looking for her favorite apples when it hit me--another Lapband moment. I feverishly steered my cart to find her--pushed it towards her without explanation and high-tailed it to the closest bathroom---seething in pain and knowing that a viscous PB was due at any moment. Luckily, I reached the restroom before it happened. I was lucky that time. I just didn't know how lucky I was....
As we were strolling down the cereal aisle, I could feel the pain return. That awful, awful pain and that terrible feeling of everything coming up. And, I knew that I was trapped. With nowhere to go and nothing to stop the havoc inside of me--it happened. Right there in the cereal aisle--as Toni looked on in horror. It was as if time had stood still.
When it all ended--we ran. Fast. Me--off to find a bathroom and Toni--away from the scene of the crime. Once I was safely inside the bathroom--it happened again. And, again and again.
When I finally felt safe--I returned to find Toni. Once again, we set out to finish our shopping. And, once happened. Luckily, this time, I was close to a towel dispenser. So, I hid behind the meat counter with a ream of paper towels--hoping not to be seen.
Again, we set out to shop. It was then that I ran into someone who I had not seen in quite awhile--a very talkative and sassy friend of a friend. Just then, I could feel the pain. As she went to greet me with a hug, I could feel the PB oozing out of the side of my mouth. And, when we parted, I could see it--on her black jacket. I had literally vomited on this woman's jacket as she was telling me how fabulous I look! This was no time for explanations or discussions or chit-chat. I wiped her jacket off--telling her that I got something on her, bid her farewell and gave her my apologies for messing up her jacket and walked as fast as I could to the bathroom.....
A few hundred dollars and a cart full of groceries later....I made it out the door and into the safety of the parking lot where I could wretch and wretch without detection---which is just what I did.
When we got into the car, Toni finally spoke "you ate everything in Canada". She was right. "You even ate ham," she reminded me. Again, she was right. "I'll bet it was the stress of coming back...."
Ah, out of the mouths of babes....
My guess it was that and the fact that I had no wine, vodka or tequila to wash it down with.
Just like need something to help with the pain....

May your tax day include something to dull your pain!

Disclaimer: For anyone considering Lapband or who is already not let this isolated incident deter you from getting one or embracing the one you have. This was clearly an usual situation and it did not diminish my Lapband love. It was not fun but it sure makes for a funny blog post...doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We drank wine, we sang songs, we danced and we ate jelly beans.....

...and now we are back....

The more the wine flowed, the more we laughed
The more the wine flowed, the more we sang
The more the wine flowed, the more we danced
The more the wine flowed, the more divine our gourmet jelly beans became!

Yes, in the small space of just a few days, we squeezed in quite a bit of traveling and imbiding on the wine trail of Niagara Ontario---we visited incredible wineries, we drank lovely wines, we gained valuable wine drinking knowledge and we experienced beautiful scenery. And, in between--we shared a special family holiday--filled with fun, a bit of chocolate and some truly fabulous food.

Scenes from our weekend.....
Toni and I getting our chai latte and energy shot fix in Niagara Falls.....

Here's our family of four posing for a picture in the vineyards at one of the wineries....

The girls in the sisters, my niece, Toni and I

Carmen and I doing some wine shopping.....

Part of the gang at one of the wineries....

During a peaceful break in the sibling action....

Vince putting to use some of his newly aquired wine tasting skills while Adam puts to use his wine drinking skills....

Celebrating my sister Denise's (pictured here) 49th birthday at a fun little Irish pub in a quaint resort town (can't recall the name right now!) in Ontario with our favorite Irish guy....our dad...

And, oh yes, we did see the falls....on a very cold night!

It was an Easter weekend to remember....for a very long time.
Or, at least until the cases of wine we smuggled over the border run out....

I hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend too!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hopping down the Bunny Trail!

Until we meet here again.....may you find yourself surrounded by love, immersed in beauty, inspired by silliness, overcome by joy, tingled by touch, bathed in sunshine, glorified by taste, moved by music, rocked by lyrics, wrapped in comfort, overcome with chocolate, won over by wine, dancing with delight, singing with abandon and tangled in fun.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Does size matter?

Take it from a girl who went from
XXX to respectable.....
yes it does.

It's finally happened.....I can honestly say....back in my day
Yes, I feel 50 now!

No, I'm not going to talk about walking barefoot in the snow 20 miles to school. What I'm referring to is--the sizes of women's clothing. I think they are getting bigger. I'm no Sherlock Holmes here but, honey, I ain't no almost Size 10 either. At least not from what I can remember....back in my day.

Here's my story--
I did a little shopping this past weekend (shocking, I know) to get ready for our trip to Niagara later this week. I wanted a pair of jeans, a pair of casual capris and a dressier pair of pants. So, I started out with the Size 12's. Although they fit me well enough, something just wasn't right. A little baggy here. A little too long there. So, I headed for the Size 10's--sporting a huge, ear-to-ear, happy, happy grin, I must add. As I triumphantly sifted through the Size 10's, it occurred to me--the last time I had a pair of Size 10's on my body, I was at least 30 pounds lighter than I am now. I mean--how could that be? How could I be at the weight I am now and wear the same size I wore 30 pounds lighter? It just didn't make sense. Even so, I quickly scampered into the dressing room, all clandestine-like. As if someone might catch me with an arm full of Size 10's or worse yet that I'd somehow grow out of them on the way to the dressing room.
Fat girl behavior takes awhile to shake....
Alright, so... I could definitely get those Size 10's on--which was a good sign-- the zipper was a bit of a struggle--as in I could not coax in up no matter how much I wiggled. So, okay, I'm not a Size 10 after all. But, I am--almost a Size 10. Or, at least the 2009 version. I am almost a Size 10 (my most coveted size of my entire life!) and I weigh almost 30 pounds more than that millasecond in 1999 when I was an oh-so-yes-I-am-a-Size 10? Who do they think they are fooling here? They knew damn well that if those Size 10's would have fit, I would have bought every damn pair of Size 10's on that rack. Every damn pair.
So, what's the deal?
According to Wikopedia--the all knowing internet site:
As a result of various cultural pressures, most notably vanity sizing, North American clothing sizes have drifted substantially away from standard over time, and now have very little connection to it. Instead, they now follow the more loosely defined standards known as US catalog sizes. These are on average 6 sizes smaller than the original standard. So, for example, a size 12 on the old standard would today be described as a size 6, while a size 6 on the old scale would be what is today known as size zero.
In architecture, one of the most common ways of making overweight people feel smaller is by expanding the world around them. Architectural designers call it “framing.” A person who is big does not want to look big. So if their house is bigger, they will look of a more average proportion. Over the past 20 years, the American fashion industry has manipulated clothing sizes to accommodate its widening public, especially women. To show how sizing has changed over time, size-eight dresses from the 1980s, 1990s, and today were compared. The waist circumference on a 1984 dress was 25 inches (63.5 cm). On the 1995 dress, it was 26 inches (66 cm). And on a 2004 dress, it was 27-1/2 (70 cm), a two-and-a-half inch (6.5 cm) difference from 1984 to 2004.

Ah-ha, I was right!! So, I'm not really an almost Size 10....I'm an almost Size 16? Yeah, well, I was already a Size 16. I'm way past that....

Hmmmm. Alright. So, given all of that information--I guess I wasn't merely a Triple X girl. I was more like a SEX-X (6 X's) girl. Funny, I didn't feel all that sexed....

Alright...enough of that.....let me wrap up my story--the important piece of information....
I easily fit into a size 12 Petite. Did you hear what I just said? PETITE.
It might be vanity sizing or framing but at least it's more X's for me....

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mondaymania! always comes way too fast!

Another week beckons. Am I ready? Sure. Why not? What do I have to lose? My sanity? Perhaps. Maybe another pound? That would be good. Whatever my week holds, I'll make the best of it.
Sure, I have to work a few days and tackle all that goes along with that. But, after all that work--there will be a reward. And, for that--I am thankful. And, I am thankful for what makes that reward possible--a job, a family and good health. Sometimes you just have to admit it--life is good.

We're gearing up for a little end of the week road trip. One that's been in the making for a little while. We're headed to Niagara-On-The-Lake. All of us. My sisters, their families, my father and us. Even Vince will be able to join us--he'll be driving up fresh from a conference in Boston where he is presenting his research this week. My sweet niece will also make the trip--taking a little break from her busy grad school life. It will be a complete family reunion of sorts. An Easter weekend to savor.

Toni and I will kick off the festivities with a little scrub down at a day spa. We'll visit the falls and take in some tourist attractions. And then, it's on to a wine-filled voyage to the local wineries in the area. After that, a visit to a special restaurant, a birthday celebration for my sister Denise, a little casino action for those who are so inclined, maybe a little shopping in the quaint shops in town and then it's all about Easter. A cook-a-thon and eat-a-thon with the Carr girls. All of it in a lovely sprawling cottage that my sister Cathy found on an anniversary trip there last year.

It will be the first year in a very long time that we won't be hiding Easter baskets (yes, I still do that!) or making our decant chocolate covered strawberries or hosting our annual Easter egg hunt. But, change can be good. And, this is the year we decided to inject some change in our lives. As the kids grow older and everyone's life changing with the times and my father's health giving way to age, the time was right. A time to celebrate our blessings....even if it may be slightly chaotic and quite a bit different.

I'm not crazy about Mondays. But, they always come. And, with it comes the promise of something good.....especially this week. I got myself some new Spring clothes in a size that makes me smile, a fun little pink leopard pajama set and a few new recipes tucked inside my cooking and drink-making arsenal.
All of that and wine tasting......could life get any better?
Well, I suppose I could do without Mondays....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A day of rest.......

I'll be doing my penance.....all. day. long. Yes, it was that kind of weekend....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lose weight now!

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Guaranteed to take off virtually as many pounds as you want in an instant! Don't believe me? Try it for yourself!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Oh Thank God! I'm not the only one!

If it weren't for the world of bloggers out there.....I'd think I was all alone in my thoughts, in my observations, in my feelings, in the way I do things, in what happens to me, in how I view life, in what goes on in my world (and what doesn't!)........
Woo-hoo, I'm not just some crazy, wacked out,vain, lazy, lying, cheating, stealing, over-analytical, cold-hearted, shoe-obsessed, territorial, cranky, imperfect bitch woman who needs to get a life...

Here's to you, my blogger friends!

Just another reason to love blogging.....

Oh, don't worry blogging friends....I'm not going to out you. No. No. I'd never do that. Sure, many of you will see yourselves here! But, I won't reveal your true identity. It's between you and me. What you will see are the things you've talked about on your blog that made me whisper-squeal yeah me too when I read it! Letting me know that I am not alone.
So, now, I'm going to thank you for being who you are, for not being afraid of who you are, and for blogging about who you are. Because really, if it weren't for you--I'd think there was something pretty wrong with me that sometimes Carmen's snoring drives me so crazy that I sleep on the couch, that there are moments that I am positive I've ruined my children's lives, that my bedroom is quite messy, that I'm not a great housekeeper, that I hate laundry, that I wish Speed where legal, that I'm pretty damn upset about The Guiding Light being canceled (even though I haven't watched it in years), that I think I would have been in love with cocaine if I would have ever tried it, that I thought Queen Elizabeth looked old and really white in the picture with the O'Bama's, that I miss my mother so much sometimes (even after 36 years) that I cry in the middle of the day, that I get upset with unfriendly people, that my finger nails are acrylic and have been since 1987, that I hate liver, that I love gin, that I love wine, that I love martinis, that sometimes I have a hangover, that I buy shoes and hide them from my husband, that sometimes I wish I were a cage dancer, that I wish marijuana were legal, that I think sex is over rated, that I wonder why I think sex is over rated, that I say the F word, that I wish I didn't have to cook dinner every night, that I'm confused about life, that I sometimes don't answer my phone, that I got D's in math, that I've overdrawn my checking account, that I don't want big boobs, that I'm worried that my forgetfulness really is the beginning of alzhiemers, that I really miss my former work life, that I don't really like my job these days, that I'm very very worried about empty nesting, that I'd like to go to Happy Hour every Friday with my girlfriends, that I don't know what really makes me tick, that I'm afraid of old age, that I want my son to have a girlfriend, that I watch Gossip Girls, that I watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians, that I keep up with the Real Housewives of OC and NY, that I love Barbie, that I think Donnie Osmond is cute, that I like Paula Abdul, that I think I'm bored, that most of the spices in my kitchen are past their expiration dates, that I don't like being so in charge of everyone's happiness, that I sometimes want to run away, that I really am tired, that I am not really as social as everyone thinks I am, that I work hard at being optimistic, that I'm afraid of not being optimistic, that my Easter decorations are not up, that I don't feel like putting my Easter decorations up, that my St. Patrick's Day Flag is still flying, that I really do love blogging, that I'm a super impatient control freak, that I wish cigarettes weren't bad for you, that I really do need to read the first section of the newspaper first, that I do love to sneak a smoke, that I hate that you can't smoke in bars in Pennsylvania, that I am personally offended when someone hurts someone I love, that I wish bad things on anyone who breaks my sisters hearts, that I never make mashed potatoes from real potatoes, that I really do want my underwear and bra to match everyday, that I don't think I ever let myself really GO, that I worry if I really ever do let myself GO who knows what will happen, that I wish I were less self-conscious, that I think Carmen is too judgmental, too intense and a workaholic even though he doesn't want to be, that I really do like barstools, that my kitchen cupboards are pretty messy, that I am astonishingly good at mentally writing people off if make me feel bad about myself, that I think there really are not evil people--just damaged people, that I am afraid of gambling casinos, that I like denial and that I only read women bloggers..... I can really enjoy my weekend! Now that I know I'm not the only one....

Speaking of sure to stop over to drop off a very Happy Birthday to my fun and feisty much younger Lapband Sister.....Jody! Oh, and would you please remind her to spoil herself today!!

Note to Lucy: Can't wait to hear what you've got to tell me, dear! You can email me from my profile (not sure why it dropped off there but I put it back on!). I'll be waiting! Hurry! Hurry!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

More to Love?

Have you heard about this new FOX reality show?

Here's what FOX is saying...

Average Joes and Janes will get to pursue their shot at love with the launch of the new dating-competition series developed by FOX called “More to Love.”
The show has been billed as a dating show “for the rest of us,” and will feature overweight contestants.
FOX will be teaming up with producer Mike Fleiss (known for his work on "The Bachelor"). The show will feature a group of women competing for the love of one man, whom producers describe as a Kevin James-type (James was the star of “The King of Queens.”)
"For six years it's been skinny-minis and good-looking bachelors, and that's not what the dating world looks like," Fox president of alternative Mike Darnell said. "Why don't real women — the women who watch these shows, for the most part — have a chance to find love too?"
Darnell says the producers were inspired by the success of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” which he says shattered the industry assumption that viewers are only interested in highly attractive people.

Well, it had to happen friends! Average Joes and Janes--who evidently have weight problems--have now been deemed worthy of a dating show. Is it good? Is it bad? Oh, who the hell knows. I have to wonder what they consider to be overweight? I guess I'll have to tune in and find out...
But, there's a few things that bother me. First of all...did you notice that they consider all "normal looking" or average Janes and Joes to be overweight? That's what they it again if you don't believe me. This leads me to ask if the only way to be above average in looks is to be thin? Or, more interestingly---they equate attractiveness to weight and then they put it back on what the real world looks like. Which, if you think about it puts everything back on to weight. Is this the message they are promoting? And, if so--what is it saying to everyone out in the world?
Okay, okay, I know, my rationale seems pretty convoluted here. The problem that I'm having is that this has touched something so deep in my soul that I'm really having a rough time even figuring out myself as to exactly why I'm so horrified by it.
So, to be more precise--let me say this--reality TV has just went too far. Putting the whole notion of gee you are average looking and overweight to boot so let's get you together with others of your same quality doesn't feel good to me. Perhaps it shouldn't feel good. Maybe that's not what this is all about. But, I'm guessing that they somehow want to promote the feel food quotient by luring viewers into applauding the fact that two average overweight people have found each other---awwwwww. Because God knows they couldn't find someone on their own....because after all, they are overweight! Am I the only one who knows it feels uncomfortable from a philosophical standpoint but can't quite put my finger on what is so uncomfortable....but I just know it is?

And, there's something I'm so curious about---I'd love to hear the conversation that took place between the two developers/producers when they came up with the show-- Hey let's try to get a few fatties together....

Or, am I just looking at this all wrong? Maybe I just need to chill....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Foolish Dieting........

Oh those foolish things I've done in my quest for weight loss!
Thank you, dear Lapband, for saving me from a lifetime of more diet foolery!

In honor of April Fool's Day, I'm going to take a walk through my foolish diet history....

Feel free to put on your walking shoes and join me.....

Everyone has things in their closets that they don't want to talk about. Oh you know what I mean!. Besides all the poor fashion and shoe choices, there's those things that don't hang on hangers or sit in boxes that we'd really like to forget! Things like bad dates, bad choices, lousy one-liners, embarrassing one-nighters, nasty break ups, nasty hook-ups,crazy nights out, crazy mornings after, ......
Or, is that just me?
Okay, Okay....move away from the computer need for whispering....I'm not going to share all those better-left-in-the-closet things....
Maybe next April Fools Day....

Today, I'm revisiting my dieting past...the foolish things I did to lose weight....

First, let me say (as a way of redeeming myself up front!), I also did my share of not-so-foolish diets--Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach. But, I was also lured in by quite a number of duds and cads. Diets that promised you the world but all you got on...

The Grapefruit Diet--yes, I lost weight. I also got ulcers all over my mouth
L.A. Weightloss--lots of cash and flash! No wonder they closed their doors!
The Cabbage Soup Diet--sure, I lost weight. I also lost a lot of gas....
Meridia--yep, I lost weight. I also lost control...
Phen/Fen--one of my favs! I lost lots of weight. I guess I also lost some brain cells.
Phen--OMG, how I loved this diet pill! I could stay up all night and go to work the next day--no problem! Yes, I lost weight. But, I never slept...
The 3 Day Diet--yep, I lost weight but I also lost 3 days.
The Zone--took me five days days to figure it out,1 day to figure out I couldn't do it and the rest of the week to figure out how much money I spent in the process.
No-Fat Diet--can you say...GIVE ME A HAMBURGER NOW?
No-Carb Diet--can you say....GIVE ME A PLATE OF PASTA NOW?
F-Plan--high fiber and high plumbing bills!
Eat Right For Your Type Diet--The premise made sense to me. The rest of it did not. My type was confused.
Macrobiotic Diet--felt like a college course that I never could understand. Not sure what it is and why I did it. All I know is the book was $9.95.
Suzanne Somers Diet--Not sure why I even considered this one and I can't tell you anything about it. Perhaps it wiped my memory clean! It must have been during my love affair with Friday night TV viewing
Hollywood Diet--the joy of juice fasting quickly turned into a horror movie!
Herbalife--running from the pushy home sales reps was all part of the plan!
Slimfast--ahh....just another gassy plan
Metabolife--sure, I lost weight but I'm still trying to forget about how badly my head itched!
Dexatrim--hiding it in my shopping cart was only part of the problem!
The Green Tea Diet--as much as I love tea...this one ain't for me. I got more exercise going to the bathroom than anything!
Stacking--it was all the rage on internet b-boards...put together some asprin, some caffeine and something else and you're good to go! Not so much. I needed glinkobiloba to ward off my confusion!
Apple Cider Vinegar Diet--not for the taste bud conscious dieter. I think I still have 2 bottles in my pantry if anyone wants to try it out.
Scarsdale Diet--the only good thing about this diet was the scandalous liasons of the doctor who invented it.
Mediteranean Diet--any diet that promotes wine made it to my list. Didn't lose any weight but the wine took away my disappointment.

Yes, I admit....I was a dieting fool!

Any diet foolery in your closet?