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Friday, May 29, 2009


Escaping the humdrum of life here in Judiland.......

I'm hitting the road, blog friends. Yep, I'm taking to the hills in hopes of saving another poor gal from the trials of marital bliss and domestic drudgery. But, if I can't save least I'll be at a winery where I can partake in lovely goblets of God's nectar to help me deal with my failure! And, if there's any left over--I will share it with the bride. She'll need it.

Just kidding....well.....sort of. I really will be at a winery.

We're heading to a family wedding at a little winery nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. It will be a nice respite from the happenings here in my life. And, it will be comforting and fun to be with cousins and aunts and uncles from far and near....those folks who were a huge part of my growing up years and who I share not only a bloodline but also lots of warm and smile-filled memories. And, of course, it will be extra fun to wear the new shoes I have for the occasion--a pair of red and white polka dot pointy toe sling backs I bought on that little trip Toni and I took to the world's largest shoe store. I'm not sure what I'm wearing with those shoes but I'm working on it......with the few hours that I have left!!!
Oh, big closet in the attic where smaller sizes I come!

Anyway.... .while I'm la vita vino-ing, I hope you all have a wonderful, sun filled weekend.
And, please, if you do nothing else these next few days, please at least do your part in keeping your local wineries and shoe stores in business. Yes, I'm telling you to drink wine and buy shoes. It will cure what ails you.
And, you will dance.
I promise.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some dieting advice from Ralph.......

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense." -
-- Ralph waldo emerson

The best dieting advice is also the best life advice. And, visa-versa.

After 40+ years of dieting and 50 years of life here in Judiland .....I should be a fucking genius.

Which I am.

And, I've got the proof--I got a Lapband. That, my friends, was a stroke of genius! I'm still doing halleluiahs!

Like another great philosopher said....

"It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive......"
---Bruce Springsteen


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Let's get real about summer.......

I'm talking about shorts, tank tops, halters and bathing suits.

So, tell it a body image thing or an age thing that makes some of us crazy when it comes to summer fashion? You would think that since I've lost all of this weight, I'd be jumping at the chance to show off my body. Not so much. It's a 50 year old body. It's showing some signs of wear!
Yeah, I'll admit it--I have a tinge of body image issues...just a tinge (not!). None of that goes real well with shorts, halters, bathing suits or any type of body baring fashion. Even if I'm no longer obese.
Well, that just pisses me off.

I really wish I were a skank. You know what I mean. I wish I were born as someone who loved wearing shorts up to there and necklines down to there and teeny-tiny bathing suits and risque halter tops. If I were a skank, I wouldn't care. Age appropriateness and self-consciousness would not be in my vocabulary. Believe me when I tell you, sweeties---if I were a skank--I'd be having a major shoppingapolooza right about now! I wouldn't be eying up clothes (in a size I'm happy about) thinking "I think I'm just a little too old for that look" or "Yeah, right!". I'd be beeping and bopping and hooting and hollering---"BRING IT ON!! " And, I'd be strutting my ass wearing those skanky clothes right down the main street of Judiland!

For all these years, I always blamed my ever-bulging body for hating the onset of summer and all it's skimpy clothing. Only to come and find that I'm just modest. (Well, not when it comes to shoes....) Evidently, I was modest when I was obese and I'm modest when I'm not obese. That sucks! I do not like knowing that about myself!!! Who knew--Judi is modest? I am definitely not modest when it comes to the way I live my life. I'm no light weight when it comes to being a little wild and crazy and excessive! Trust me, I can party and smoke and cuss and carry on like the bad girl who lives inside my soul. So, why in the hell can't I bring myself to buy a pair of shorts and a tank top AND wear them out in public? And, why in the hell won't I even consider a bathing suit without a little skirt?

Life is skanky....ain't it?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's a HOCKEY NIGHT in Pittsburgh......

This season never ends....does it?
I mean...come on, it's the end of May. Isn't it time for baseball and hot dogs?
I guess least not here where the three rivers meet.
It's another night on ice.....


Monday, May 25, 2009

A day to give thanks......

And, to remember........May your day be filled with what truly matters in life..... family, friends, love and peace.
I hope that you can take the time to realize the blessings we were all given.
And, today....more than any other Memorial Day in my life--I realize what part my own father played in keeping our country safe. As we navigate the reams of paperwork set before us and seek out assistance with my father's care, we are gladdened by the fact that his service to our country is recognized as he enters into this phase of his life. As a World War II veteran, he is eligible to receive assistance to provide for the care that he needs to keep him safe--an appreciative thank you for his role in keeping his country safe. That feels so right at a time in my life when nothing else does. And, it opens my eyes to what the holiday is all about. Yes, there is that part of me that will always consider it a day of grilling and flag waving and pulling out the white shoes. And, it will always be the day that I lost my mother. But, here in my 5oth year, I can stand up and declare that I truly feel that spirit of thanksgiving that goes along with being a proud American.

Am I getting sappy in my old age or what?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

There's a new guy in town.......

and his name is Frank.

Yesterday, I spied on my father. I watched him eat lunch with the two gentleman who were seated at his table. I watched him play bingo with a grey haired woman and a fellow in a wheel chair. Later on, I looked on as he sat amongst his peers and watched TV. No one was talking to him and he wasn't talking to anyone. Doesn't everyone want to talk to my father? He has so much to say! Doesn't he?

It took everything I had not to run in and tell everyone in the room that this guy they were sitting with is the sweetest, the most funny, interesting, witty guy on the planet! He could recite the mass in Latin, he once had an ugly bulldog named Handsome and he was voted Fashion Plate of his high school graduating class. I wanted to tell them that they were sitting in the presence of greatness and adorableness and kindness. I wanted them to know how he lost his teeth in a fight at Forbes Field when he was 16 and how he married his high school sweetheart only to bury her one year later and that his favorite historical figure was Harry Truman. And, I wanted to tell them about how he met my mother and about his Studebaker and about our vacations in Conneaut Lake and how he made sure we always had toilet paper in my that big house we lived in at college. I wanted to let them know that he has three daughters who absolutely adore him, six grandchildren who think he is the neatest guy ever and 10 step children who don't hate him. I wanted to make them look at his rosey cheeks and his blue eyes and just try to resist his charm.

Just give them father will win them over. He doesn't need me. He's done fine all these years without an image consultant.

My fingers are crossed, I'm going to do an extra novena and maybe I'll just slip them all a $20 today....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Oh, my dear blog, I've missed you so......

Here's the question---am I back to my daily early morning blogging?
There's no clear answer to that. But, I am ever hopeful.

My early morning blogging is a piece of my life that has become very important and powerful to and for me. It's reconnected me with the joy of writing, it's reconnected me with old friends, it's connected me to my weight loss journey and it has connected me with some very dear folks--who I now consider friends.

But, the reality is....

Life has changed quite a bit here in Judiland since I last blogged. Yes, in that very short period of time--my world has become very different. Sure, I walked through my days like I always do. And, just for good measure--to keep it real--my car broke down. True to Judi form--it's some weird problem that needs further investigation--a fan blade broke, sharded and pierced the radiator and who knows what else--on a newer vehicle with low mileage. And, in this short one week space of time when life was throwing curve balls at me--I witnessed one of the most spectacular rock 'n roll events in the history of my life--my 40th Bruce concert. And, I even found a new food to love--boursin cheese. So, yeah, there was lots of normalness.

But, Judiland also took on a new normal....

My dearly beloved father had a stroke. It did not take away his physical capacity as many strokes do. Instead, it took away his cognitive abilities---the very part of him that I have come to treasure more and more with each passing year. His sharp commentary and his charming wit have been replaced by befuddleness and confusion. He can't process commands, he can't problem solve to any great degree and he has lost partial sight. And, the sad thing is--there are moments that he knows it. When that realization hits him---he just looks at me--with his watery blue eyes. I ask him what he's thinking but he doesn't respond. And, I wonder. Other times, when he is aware, he tells me he can't believe he had a stroke. And, I tell him that it's okay. And, he stares right through me. I have no idea what he is thinking--if he is thinking. Most of the questions that I ask him--he answers me with "We'll see." The funny thing about that response is that it's the very same response I would give my own children when they were younger and I didn't want to come right out and say something they didn't want to hear. And, another thing that's going on is that he's taken his sadness over his brother Patsy's Alzheimers to a new level. Although he has always been saddened by it, now, he seems devastated by it. When his brother came to visit him--he seemed perturbed and bothered by his presence. Funny thing is--the only person on this green earth who my uncle knows--and cares about--is my father--compounding the overall sadness for both of them. And, there's one more thing--my father is pissed at Mel Gibson. Very pissed.

Amid all of the emotions and medical mumbo-jumbo that we've been dealing with---there are the practical things that can't be ignored. And, then, there's the red tape. That alone can turn a law abiding citizen into a criminal and a saint into a sinner. All of a sudden---my sisters and I are faced with adulthood in a whole new way. We can't help but wonder how it happened so fast. We all feel like we haven't had enough time, we aren't old enough to be forced into taking on these roles. These are the things our parents have to deal with! After all, we're mere children--at the tender ages of 50, 49 and 45. Who will tell us what the right thing is to do?

This Memorial Day weekend has taken on a whole new meaning. For the past 36 years, it's been the weekend that we lost our mother to cancer. Now, it's the weekend we had to place our father in a place we never wanted to put him, where he never wanted to go.

Funny how things happen.....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hold that thought.......

I'm taking a quick blogger break......

At the moment, there's a Darkness on The Edge of Town.
Here in My Hometown.
So, I'm Waitin' On A Sunny Day.

I'm taking a Leap of Faith that you'll be right here waiting for me when I get back.
In the meantime....when you think of me....picture me Dancing In The Dark.
But, please don't forget....I may like to dance, but, baby I was Born To Run

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A chocolate chip cookie.......

that's all it takes to make it all better......
I promise.

We're a family of eaters. When the going gets rough, we take to food. Oh, hell, when the going gets good, we take to food. Come to think of it--no matter how the going gets, we take to food. Sometimes we even take to food and booze. But, that's a whole 'nother story.

Friday was a rough night. Carmen was exhausted and stressed from another horrendous week of long hours and impossible work issues. I was emotionally wrung out from my week. My sisters needed a break. The kids were scattered doing what they do. And my dad was slowly beginning to realize things just weren't all that good. Even before I pulled into my driveway from work, things were beginning to unravel.

I was feeling shitfucky

This is the time of the year when I get into gardening mode. I spend countless hours scouring every nook and cranny of nurseries, home stores and random plant vendors to find just the right flowers to fill my planters and all of the flower beds. I've always been completely immersed in the color coordination, the texture, the aroma and the perfect pairings of it all. And, I go full tilt in tracking down every strain of basil on the market. I usually have my front porch scrubbed and dressed for the onset of summer and my deck ready to go. By Memorial Day, I'm usually happily exhausted, sipping white wine, admiring the beauty of my labor.

But, not this year.

What I have is a front porch in need of a good cleaning, empty flower pots and flower beds that are sprouting God knows what. It's all drab and colorless. Just like life feels right about now. My father's color commentary, his beaming smile and his dancing eyes are gone from my days. I'm teary and sullen inside and out. And none of it feels right. And, on Friday night, it felt even worse.

On my drive to the hospital, I could feel my spirits and my energy sink lower and lower. So, I decided to head to Starbuck's for one of my fav pick-me-ups--a non-fat venti chai latte with an energy shot. While I was waiting in line, I spied the big chocolate chip cookies and decided to order a few of them to take along with me to the hospital. Chocolate chip cookies are happy. I needed a good dose of happy. And, I was pretty sure my dad could use the same.

When I arrived, my father was sitting in a chair seemingly watching the Pirate game. When he saw me, he greeted me with a simple, ordinary request--"could you get me some coffee". Those few, lucid words were music to my ears. The thought of giving my father coffee and a big chocolate chip cookie to go with it just felt good to me. So, I headed out in search of coffee. As I did so, I could feel my spirits rise--thinking about the little treat I would soon be giving my dad. Thankfully, coffee was only steps away from his door.

After I put the coffee into his hand and helped him with the first sip, I pulled out the big chocolate chip cookie and tried to get him to focus on it. "Look a chocolate chip cookie!" I excitedly told him. He just stared. I zoomed the cookie around airplane-style, hoping to get him to see it. When he finally did, his eyes grew wide with anticipation as he eagerly and carefully took the cookie and put it up to his mouth and took a bite. For a quick moment, I saw the father that I've always known--eyes twinkling, enjoying his food. And, in that same moment, I was happy and at peace once again.

All it took was a chocolate chip cookie.

Sometimes food will cure what ails you. Even when you are not the one eating it.
Oh, the lessons you learn in a hospital room.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

By the way.....GOT DRESS...

We're going to the Senior Prom!

And, we can thank my father for it all. Last week, before all this medical hoopla took place, my father had me run a few errands for him. The thing is-- with my father--he has very specific directions when it comes to running his errands. Even though a particular chain store has several convenient locations, he has his favorite. And, he insists on using that particular one and not the one that is closest to where we live. Not only does he insist we do it--he makes it impossible for us not to do it. He calls in his orders there! Yeah, there ain't no getting over on that man.

That's exactly what happened one evening last week.

I must tell you---I was not too happy about it all. After a full day of work, I would have rather run in and out of the store near my house, drop everything off at his place and then go home to cook dinner and get on with my own chores. But, it was not to be.

So, there I was---with Toni in tow since I was going to drop her off at the gym on my way back to my dad's--I was stuck in traffic, heading across town in pouring down rain to pick up something I could have very well picked up less than a mile from my house. That's when I decided to take a little side street in hopes of by-passing the traffic tie up and save a little time. I may have got around the traffic. But, I didn't save one minute of time. And, it cost me a whole lot of money. Because there sat a little formal wear store--a tiny place that I had heard about but never knew where it was. This is where our little story of happenstance begins.

The shop was filled to the brim with prom-going girls and their mothers. On a rainy week night, no less. The chaos was deafening--a few girls fighting with their mothers, others giving directives to the seamstress and others either squealing in delight or whining about their plights. I had never seen so many teenage boobs sticking out of dresses! (Where in the hell do they get those big boobs anyway?) And, the place was packed so tightly with racks of formal dresses that it was hard to make your way through. Definitely not the luxurious,bright and sprawling environment of the place we drove 2 hours to visit--the mecca of promgownwear--where you are greeted by an elegantly dressed woman at the door and a tuxedo-attired man plays a jewel-encrusted baby grand in the center of a beautifully decorated, elevated stage.

Toni and I were given a young helper to assist in wading through the hundreds of dresses. We were assigned a make-shift dressing room and told to find what we wanted. Which we sort of did. There were short ones. There were long ones. There were ones with necklines up to there and ones with necklines down to there. There were sparkly ones and poufy ones and ones with ruffles and bows. Toni dutifully tried them on as I stood with the other mothers and gave my critques. At one point, Toni found herself stuck in the little dressing area--pinned in by a very poofy princessy pink number that was entirely too poofy to get out the door. Another time, she poked her head out sheepishly while wearing a skin-hugging gold lame get-up with a split down to her navel and another slit up to where her thigh meets her hip---all held together by three rhinestone straps. Yeah, that ain't gonna happen. And so, many dresses later, we called it a night, bid our good-byes to our helper and our new found prom-going friends and moms and made our way out the door. Into the rain.

As we passed the little shop's 2X5 window on the way to the car, we spotted the most beautiful, eloquent, frothy dress on display. Both of us stopped in our tracks--right there in the rain. That was the dress. Without even sharing a word--we both hi-tailed it back into the crammed boutique. "We're back!" I called out to our helper---who was now someone else's helper. Everyone turned to look as I shook the rain from my shoulders and announced--"we want to see the dress in the window." With that, the helper looked at me "oooooh, that's so beautiful! a little pricey though." Hey, I didn't have my husband with I wouldn't be allowing a price tag to stand in between my daughter and the most perfect dress. But, she didn't know that.

When Toni put on that dress--time stood still. A hush fell over the room and stars began to twinkle as she dreamily floated across the room---so shiney and sweet and youthful and elegant. So simple. So so exquisite. Everyone stopped to stare at this angelic little brown eyed girl with the soft locks, memorable beauty mark and delightful she glided regally towards the mirror in the billowy, wispy, dazzling, watercolored dress. Choirs of angels began to sing and soft bells could be heard in the distance. The rain that fell outside the window seemed to whisper her name. All eyes cast dreamingly upon her as mouths softly opened in dazed wonderment. As tremendously enchanting as that moment was--there was nothing as beautiful, nothing quite as captivating as that moment when her eyes met mine. In that surreal silence--we both knew that our journey had ended--right there in that little boutique on a quirky side street across from a used car lot in Bridgeville--as the rain softly fell outside and dusk fell. It was nothing short of magic.

Yes, my friends, a story to tell the grandchildren.....

And, lest we forget who got us there.

Another reason to obey your father and take detours. You never know what dream you will capture.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I just can't talk about it anymore.......

So, I won't.

I'm going to sing..... (along with this guy....)

Music and lyrics.....saving me once more. They never fail to touch me in a very deep place.....where not much else goes. The perfect words and the perfect the perfect moment. That's what songs are to me.
As I close my eyes to listen,
I am spoken to.....

P. S.---Believe me, I am not pushing for anyone to vote for Adam Lambert. But, I just have to tell you--the night I watched him perform this song--it did something to me. As it does each time I hear it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blue eyes lost in the maze..... dad, my sisters and I.....

I'm not good with this stuff. Oh, sure, I'm good with it on the outside and I do what I need to do. But, on the inside....not so good. First there's all this medical stuff. Then, there's all this caretaking stuff and the decisions and the waiting and the unknown and the tests and the prodding and the pills and the questions and the folks in lab coats.

Then, there's that look in my father's blue eyes.

That's what hurts the most.

I just cannot watch blue eyes fade away. It breaks me in two. It crumbles my heart and tears away at my soul. I need blue eyes to twinkle and dance and smile. That's what they were meant to do....

So, that's what we are dealing with today. My father is drifting in and out of his twinkling blue-eyed self. His once quick wit is now a delayed reaction. He talks into space to someone who was once there but has been long gone. We can't even begin to imagine what is going on behind those beautiful blue eyes. It brings us to tears when we begin to think about it all. But, all is not lost--we know that his gift for gab is fighting to remain, that his cheeks are still rosey and that his dear heart is still beating. And, one more thing---he never forgets to tell us when he's hungry. For that, we are ever thankful.

Yes, there are flashes of the man who watched the Penguin game on Saturday night with us. There are momentary glimpses of the guy who read a stack full of gossip magazines that same night and who told stories of the war on our drive home. How did this happen so quick?

As much as life here in Judiland has changed, much has stayed exactly the same. There are still people who depend on me, chores that need done, work that must be attended to. I have to wake up and get Toni to school and I need to get to work. My family needs to eat. The dishes need done. No matter how much I want the world to stop and let me just be--it doesn't! Damn this world!

My responsibilities and commitments harness me from running towards my father's hospital bed just to gaze upon him and to make sure he is still there. Even in the face of what is happening, I have to do what I do no matter how heavy my heart is or how consumed my thoughts are. I have to keep the world turning and life moving along. Because I am Frank Carr's daughter and that's what he expects. And, this time, I'm not going to disappoint. Even if he doesn't know it.

This adult behavior sucks.

I want to go back to being my father's child.

Yes, I am lost.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The ties that bind...... can't break the ties that bind can't forsake the ties that bind

Yes, I'm quoting Bruce. I'm holding onto his words with a fierce grip and letting his music wash over me. That man knows what he is talking about and he says it so well. His words and his music have always spoken to me. That is why I love him so......
In less than a week, Bruce will be right here in MY HOMETOWN to sooth my mind, rock my soul and feed my heart .
But, for right now---it's Wednesday and I'm tired. My time with Bruce and 30,000 of his closest friends feels a long way off. In the meantime, the blessings and curses of my life need me to stay connected...and awake!
Thankfully, I have just enough energy and madness to rock on.....
P.S. Thank you for all of the kind notes of concern and interest about my father. I will definitely post an update when things are clearer. It's been a tough few days. So, if I sound a little "off" know why.
But, I'll leave you with this one little nugget.....
When we were at the hospital in the early hours of this mess, the nurse asked if she could get my father on the scale. Considering that he wasn't taking commands, he was not responding conherently and he was staring off into space, I doubted it. But, I figured I'd try to coax him a bit. A few moments later, I snapped to my senses and realized--this man does not need weighed! So, I politely told the nurse that it just wasn't going to happen. Soon after, my father said to me--in a very clear and lucid voice-- "Judi, you weigh yourself!" Trying to lighten up the moment, I hopped on the scale. He looked at the nurse and proudly announced to her-- "she had weight loss surgery you know". Then, he returned to his dazed look.
I'm telling you folks---my weight loss surgery has been and always will be my father's favorite spectator sport......
Just another wonderful thing about my Lapband--the happiness it brings to my father. One more reason to love my Lapband....and one more reason to love my father.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's for lunch?

I'm oh so dazed and confused.....

My days of tuna salad sandwiches drenched in mayo on beautiful chewy artisan bread or drive-thru burgers and fries on a whim are over. Can't run out for a pizza or stop off for a hoagie. And Chinese isn't an option--I don't do too good with rice. Apples won't work and I've already had a few too many episodes with left over chicken to take any chances with that. Can I take another day of soup?

Yes, sometimes packing a lunch makes for a bit of misery. Especially on mornings like today. After spending a good deal of last evening and into the night at the hospital with my father, my brain is not working very well. I opened the fridge then opened the pantry then opened the fridge again then went back to the pantry--and I couldn't find a thing to make for lunch. In an overstocked pantry and a nicely stocked fridge, no less! Don't you just hate that? It's not like lunch has to be a feast-- but gee, having something to pack for lunch would be nice. And, oh, I'm so very tired. Knowing that something good to eat will greet me mid day would be so comforting! Yes, even I--Lapband devotee that I am--still look to food for comfort. And, to think--just yesterday, I sat at this very same computer and said that food can't fix the holes in your heart. Well, that was yesterday. This is today. And, I want lunch. I want to pack a lunch that will fill me with anticipation and comfort. Thankfully, I don't have any holes in my heart (at the moment!). Just a few holes in my brain and a huge dent in my energy.

So, there I was standing in front of the fridge this morning....looking deep in the abyss that is my fridge and feeling oh so sorry for myself. I really wanted something good. Something real good. Comforting and enticing. As I fretted and bemoaned my lot in life, I suddenly realized....this is not a new problem. I've stood at that very same fridge door many times before--feeling the same exact way. Just because my mind is frazzled and my body is exhausted and I have a Lapband really is not the problem. There were many days in my I-can-eat-anything-and-as-much-as-I-damn-well-please life (as well as on mornings that I didn't feel quite this brain dead) that I stood in that exact location--looking at a packed fridge- and saw absolutely nothing to make for lunch.

Sure, now I could do the expected thing and ask you--hey, got any ideas? But, since I doubt very much that I've got a large number of readers who are up at this ungodly hour and who would be able to get their suggestions to me quick enough to fix my most current lunch issue, I'm not going to ask. But, for the record--if you have any good or fun lunch suggestions--I'll take them at any time. Instead, I'm going to do what I always do and turn this moment in my life into something much bigger and deeper than it really is--I am going to analyze it and try to walk away with a much better understanding as to why I have enough food to feed a small army and I can't come up with one lousy lunch idea.
Q: Does every moment that involves food have to be a teachable moment, Judi?
A: Why yes it does. I'm on a journey....remember?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Everybody's got a hungry heart........

As always.....Bruce is right.

No matter how many oreos or potato chips or snickers or tacos we eat....we can't fill up our heart. No matter how hard we try--food won't fill in the holes in our lives.
That's a tough lesson to learn.
In fact, I'm still learning it.
In the meantime, I'm counting the days (8 days!) until Bruce comes to town and once again shares all of his wisdom with he's done 39 times before!
Yes, I'm celebrating my 40th Bruce concert! And, I'm doing it in a pair of rockin' jeans. Glory Days once again!
Bruce and rock 'n roll......the best education I've ever had.
Rock on and feed your soul......

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother knows best........

...she's so smart that she knows you won't always know that she knows best....

So, when you're all done ignoring her advice, give her a call....she'll know exactly what to do to get you out of the predicament you've got yourself into!!!
That's the beauty of mothers---they've been there, done that and know you will do the same.

And, if you're like me and don't have a mother to's okay. Look at it this way--you're saving your minutes. She's not taking phone calls. Nope, she's finally in a place where she can listen to everything that's going on, hear even your most private thoughts, see everything you do and watch everything you do and of course, watch over you...even when you don't want her to. I'm positive of it. I should know. I've been a motherless daughter for a very long time. My dear mother has been watching me and listening to me 24/7 for 36 years now. I've been trying to explain things to her along the way. But, no matter....I'm pretty sure I'll have a lot more 'splaining to do when I see her again. Maybe that's why I'm not in any hurry to get to heaven. I know Antoinette DiPippa Carr is waiting for me....with her arms folded across her chest and that look on her face.

But, until that moment....I'll have to settle for seeing my mom's face in pictures...where she is smiling. Just like the one below--sent to me by none other than my longest running playmate--the dear Debbie Dean (a faithful blog reader and self-diagnosed photoaholic). That's my smiling mother right there with her famous red beehive hairdo--next to the bridesmaids. (Although I know exactly where this picture was taken--it was taken at my childhood parish--St. Catherine's of Siena Church on Broadway Avenue in Beechview at our neighbor Carolyn McGeary's wedding--my sister Cathy was the flower girl--but I'm not sure if this was the late 60's or sometime in the very early 70's. Debbie will know....hey Deb?)
Din (my mom's nickname) is probably pretty amazed that she's here on a computer....she's probably laughing up a storm and telling Aunt Carmy that Emma's daughter turned out so smart that she immortalized her image on a machine! Oh, I can just see it now how she is motioning and mouthing to Aunt Carmy..her deaf mute sister/my dear aunt! And, Aunt Carmy is probably just a little pit peeved that her picture is not on the computer. (So, Deb...if you got a pix of Aunt Carmy that you can scan in and send my way...I might be able to save your ass on this one.)
All of those thoughts are gift enough for me on this Mothers' Day!!! mom looks pretty good on a computer screen...doesn't she?

Happy Mothers' Day!!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Can I have a day off, please?

I swear if you give me one, I'll be so much nicer and so much more productive.....

By the time Saturday rolls around, I've had a week full of conundrums, cantankery and chaos.
I need a day off.
Believe me, I'm not complaining.
But, yeah, I'm complaining.
It's early Saturday morning, I'm completely overwhelmed by the to-do list that sits before me. And, I'm in bad need of a 24 hour day off. Not just a few hours. What I need is a complete 24 hours that I can claim as my own. Twenty-four hours that has no goals, no requests, no lists, no appointments, no chores, no errands, no tasks....nada.
Just 24 hours.
That's all I'm asking for.
Anyone got one they can spare?

I didn't think so.
It's a conundrumous, cantankerous, chaotic world out there.
At least I know I'm not alone.

Alrighty then, I guess the first order of business is to be the first person at Starbuck's when they open the doors. I think I'll need a double.

Hope your day is filled with 24 hours of whatever you need to get through it....!
(may I suggest a Venti Non Fat Chai Latte with a double energy shot)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Enough about me......

let's talk about..........YOU!

Courtesy of.....

1. I must _____ before I die.

2. You can't stop _____.

3. I wish I never had to buy _____ again.

4. _____ has helped me change my life.

5. I know the song _____ by heart.

6. If I weren't so afraid, I would _____.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _____, tomorrow my plans include _____ and Sunday, I want to _____!

Copy the above text, paste it in a comment and fill in the blanks!!!!

I just can't wait to hear what YOU have to say!!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

In my past life......

if I would have known then what I know now.....

What is it that I know now?

That's a very good question.

It seems like all of my life I struggled with my weight. At least that's the way it seems. I was always trying to lose that 10 pounds, that 20 pounds, that 40 pounds. Yet, over the years, as my weight ballooned and crept up well over the 200 pound marker, I'd look back at those pictures from yesteryears and gasp "I thought I was fat?!?!?" Clearly, I wasn't fat. What the hell was I thinking?
So, now that I'm older and wiser--I have to ask---did all of those weight problems really exist? As a matter of fact, I wonder if by embarking on all those diets for all those years, I somehow managed to make myself fatter. Did all those diets and imaginary weight issues cause my obesity? Was I just a normal girl with a few extra pounds to lose who somehow managed to turn it all into a weight problem?
Sure, I wasn't rail thin and sure and I had a penchant for putting on weight at the drop of a hat. Case in point--I'm positive that the morning after I conceived each child, I woke up 10 pounds heavier. (I guess that wasn't a drop of a hat...more like the drop of the pants!) Both pregnancies brought me well over 90 pounds a piece! And, I didn't deliver huge babies! And, sure, I definitely come from a long line of overweight folks. And, believe you me--I could put away some pasta! But, honestly, was I really ever fat...until I became OBESE?
You know, I'll never forget the year leading up to my 40th birthday. That is the year that I blame my obesity on. I was determined to arrive at 40 thin. And, so, I set out on a year long journey to reach that goal. Thousands of dollars and one year of pill popping later--I made it happen. I lost a total of 65 pounds. I was happy. I was thin. When I was 40.
Do you want some proof?
Here I am at the tender age of my 40th birthday bash. It was that millisecond of time when I was thin.....and 40.

The pants I wore that night didn't fit me a mere 2 weeks later. By Easter of that year (2 1/2 months later), I was packing up my Size 10 wardrobe and out shopping for 12s. By the 4th of July, I needed Size 14. After that....I shopped and dieted through my 40's....up and down the sizes until finally landing in a Size 24 at age 48. So, there you have it---8 years of spending thousands of dollars--on clothes and diets...only to land in clothes that were 14 sizes larger.
And, now, I am left to wonder--if I could go back to my teens or my twenties or even my 30's with the knowledge that I have now--would I go on diet after diet after diet?
I'd love to tell you that I would answer NO to that question. But, I'm not sure.....
I'm pretty sure I'd still love being this girl in the 40's Sucks Hat....

(thank you dear Debbie Dean for the pix!)

I have learned a lot over the years and I'm hoping to someday put it all to work for me. But, until then---my journey continues....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Once upon a Judiland

In honor of hump day.....I thought I'd share a few pix favorite hump (or should I say...hub??) and I throughout my Lapband journey.....

I apologize if you already saw some of these. But, at least I'll be adding some text just to give you an idea of what these pictures and those moments meant to me....

Here's a picture of Carmen and I in May of 2006 at the wedding of my dear friend. Lapband was the furthest thing from my mind at this point. Although weight was at the height of my thoughts! Buying this particular many people can attest to....sent me reeling. When I saw this picture, I was shocked at just how big I had got. However, I should have known well before that when every Size 20 I tried on didn't fit. I cried quite a bit about finding something to wear for this super special occasion since I was serving as Maid of Honor and I was the match maker of the union! At the last minute, I shut my eyes and purchased this outfit on line...having to buy a 3X was hard enough! I couldn't imagine doing it in a public place like a store. So, I did it in the privacy of my home. I was feeling hopeless amid the happiness I had for my friend.

Here's a picture of Carmen and I in Florida in April 2007. At the time, I was in the process of jumping through the pre-Lapband hoops. Right before we left, I had to run out and buy all new clothes for this trip. Even though I had spent a good deal of the winter on many diets, I had outgrown my size 20's from the summer before! That vest I had on was supposed to cover me up without making me sweat. What do I remember most about this trip? I was hot, I was overweight, I was uncomfortable and I was not too much fun. So, unfortunately, when I saw this reminded me of those feelings! I was beginning to feel some hope that my days of looking like this would soon be over....

And, here we are---at the very height of my obesity---2 weeks before my surgery, sitting in a favorite pub in North Carolina--July 2007. When I saw this picture--a few days before my surgery--I thanked God I was getting a Lapband! See that top I'm wearing? I had to run out the night before we left to buy that in every color they had! Yes...once again....I had nothing to wear. But, at least I had hope.

Here's Carmen and I exactly one month after my Lapband surgery--September 2007--at a friend's party. It was the first time in a very long time that I didn't have to run out and buy something new! I had a whole closet and attic filled with clothes I could finally wear! And, it was the first time in a very long time that I didn't cringe at looking at a picture of myself. I was definitely feeling better about myself and I knew things would get better and better! The hope was beginning to feel warranted.

Here's Carmen and I on Christmas Day 2008 right before the house filled with family and friends. It was a good day--I wore a pair of jeans that I didn't buy in the plus size department. All of that hope I had for all of those months manifested itself in the knowledge that I could LOOK and feel good for the first Christmas Day in a very long time....

Here's Carmen and I at a friend's party in March 2009. Yes...that's a new blouse in a size to be happy about! And, I absolutely loved finding it and buying it! The hope had turned to happiness.

And, the journey continues....with the hope that keeps me (and all of us!) going....

Living Hopefully Ever After in Judiland......

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Waist-in away in Margaritaville............

right here in Judiland....

Get out your shaker of's Cinco Di Mayo

Makes one serving
2 oz of Clear Premium Tequila (count 1, 2 while you pour, no need for measuring)
Tiny splash of Orange Liquor
Juice of four Fresh Lime Wedges
Combine all ingredients over a glass of ice and garnish with a lime wedge

It's time to dive in and chill out.....SKINNY GIRL STYLE!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Got dress?

We're coming off of PROM DRESS '09 TRIP #2 with no prospects in sight. But, not for lack of trying. We drove over 250 miles in 2 days---only getting lost one time--thank you very much. We saw hundreds and hundreds of dresses, tried on quite a few of them and even considered one or two. But, it wasn't to be. We're still on the hunt for the perfectly wonderful prom dress made especially for the princess who lives inside the princess who lives with us....

And, now it's Monday. With all the prom dress road tripping, not much got accomplished here in Judiland. Well, unless you count some of the side shopping Toni and I did on our trek through promdressland. I swear, we can't go into stores without oohing and aahing and picking up a few delacies here and there. Our shopping was helped out by the fact that as part of our prom dress voyage, I surprised Toni with a stop at the world's largest shoe store.There's nothing like seeing my daughter's eyes light up at the sight of 36,000 square feet of shoes. And, of course, it sure did enchant me as well.

Yes, it was our kind of road trip. We didn't accomplish our mission but we sure did have a perfectly wonderful time trying....

Now, it's time to plan for the next leg of PROM DRESS TOUR '09.....

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My cup runneth over.....

Waiting for the whistle......

It all starts with a cup of tea.
Then, it's on to a leisurely appointment with the Sunday paper.
After that, there's a very long list.....
So, there's no time to blog....this girl has things to do, people to see and places to go....
I'm one lucky chick.....

I need my tea.....NOW

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The power of a SMILE......

and this turquoise blue jacket....

I anguished for hours about buying this jacket. Yet, in the end, it was the catalyst for a wonderful Friday....

It was between this one and the red one in the same style. I am a red person. I buy red. When I saw it in the catalog, I fell in love with the style. When I decided I would use my gift card to buy it--the red one was on my radar.

And, so, on my latest visit to Coldwater Creek--with my coupon and my gift card in hand--I picked up the red one, a cute little white shell for underneath and headed to the check out counter. That's when I ran into my favorite sales lady. "Didn't you see the turquoise one?" she asked. "Yeah, I guess so," I told her. Before I knew it, she had it in her hand showing it to me--cooing over how beautiful it was. "Yes, that's very pretty but I'm a red girl" I said. "Oh, but this would look so great on you," she said holding it against me. "Yeah, but I think I would have more things to coordinate with the red," I explained. "Anything you could wear with red, you could wear with this! Trust me, this is YOUR jacket!" she said with great enthusiasm. "Oh, I'm not sure," I told her. "The red one is nice but look at this one! This is a gorgeous color and it would look amazing on you!" she continued. I had to agree--it was a very nice color. But, I am a red girl. And, I was already imagining wearing it with pair of a black capris and red strappy sandals. But, she was so thrilled with the turquoise jacket that I felt like I would personally offend her if I chose the red one. So, I took the easy way out--I had a few more stops to make so I asked her to hold both of them and I would be back. And, that's just what I did.

A few hours later, I returned--with Toni, my best-dressed shopping partner in tow. I presented her with my dilema. She eyed them up for a moment--commenting that the turquoise was definitely a "springier color". But, she could see my desire for the red one. "Get them both," she advised. Deep in my heart--I knew that would be her answer. After all--she wasn't paying for them and she was a complete wimp when it came to making decisions. And, if truth be told--she loves clothes so much, she becomes personally and emotionally attached to them. In her love for clothes, she humanizes them and gives them feelings. She feels bad for the clothes left behind....

Alright, alright....I caved. Yes, I bought both. I followed the advice of a 17-year-old fashionista who can't make a decision on what to order off a menu and who just last week whimpered when she was forced to put her winter clothes into storage knowing she would miss them and worried they would miss her.

I bought the red one and the turquoise one.
And, it turned out to be one of my best decisions yet....

Yesterday, faced with an unusually busy day and pouring down rain, I decided to wear my new turquoise jacket. Since I don't typically wear that color--it was a nice change in the mirror--starting my day off with a smile. From there--it captured the attention of the receptionist where I went for my first appointment of the day-- "oooh, what a great jacket!" she cherped. Again, I smiled. After that, the woman in the elevator--"great jacket!" she commented with a grin. Again, I smiled. Stopping for my chai latte with an energy shot--three people in line commented on my jacket. And, I smiled. When I finally got up to order my drink--the barista behind the counter called over to me--"that color looks great on you!". I smiled. Then, as I was pumping gas--the gentleman beside me commented "great jacket!" Again, I smiled. After that--it was comment after comment about my jacket and my ability to wear--turquoise.
After a full day, it was on to Happy Hour at a little Mexican place (a Happy Hour lasted well beyond Happy Hour) to celebrate a special birthday for one of my spirited friends---Angela. Not only did I get compliments all around for my jacket...I also got lots of bravado for my weight loss.
And, yes, I SMILED.

I was blessed with a day filled with lots of people who made me smile. From strangers to friends.

Smiling is powerful. Please give them.

May your weekend be filled with SMILES.....

So, what's on your agenda today?
I'm headed on a prom gown road trip. We're driving 2 hours to make sure there's no one else with the same great taste....
Sounds expensive.....doesn't it?
Yet, I'm smiling.....

Friday, May 1, 2009

May is here.....

and so is Friday!

Get out your strappy sandals, your cute little capris, your sassy tops and your sweet-sexy sun hats. Paint up those toes a passiony-fun color and glide on that pretty pink lip gloss. It's time to dance around the May pole!
Y'all have one, don't you?

If sure to find a way to get your Happy on today.
Because it's a Friday in May!