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Monday, May 31, 2010

This Memorial Day......



keep the memory alive.....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Get out those white shoes!!!!

we're winding down on another month here in Judiland........
Tomorrow is Memorial Day
We all know what that means......

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Getting caught up.......

is a myth.
That's the story I am going with today.....

Since I can't get caught up with anything in my real life (and honestly....there's so much going on in every nook and cranny of Judiland that I just need to turn it all off), I might as well make a valiant attempt to get caught up in my blog land life....

A few of you asked to see pictures from our midnight Sex and The City premiere outing.
So, here you go.....
A little pre-movie activity at home......
Enjoying my Cosmo.....ignore the guy in the background trying to jump in the picture....
But, don't you love my bib necklace? I saved it just for this night!
Arriving at the Galleria.....don't you just love Toni's peek-a-boo waisted dress? We both went ga-ga when we saw it and knew it was the perfect look for the premiere!
A little libation at Houlihan's right before the movie! Even though this close up shows how tired I am....it also gives you a better look at my rocking neck piece!


As for the movie--any review I would do would be completely bias. After all, I did not go to see that movie to witness movie greatness. No, I went to hang out with the girls . I wanted to get caught up on their lives, to see what they were wearing, to hear what was going on with them and to get a little distraction from everyday life. Plus, it was a great way to spend some quality, fun time with my favorite girl in Judiland--Toni. If I didn't need sleep, doing midnight forays with her a few times a week would be wonderful--since it seems like that's the only time I can fit in that kind of stuff. If only I could figure out a way to live on only 2 hours of sleep a night every night.....just imagine the fun I could have! On the other hand--I wonder if I would fill that extra time up with just more stuff and not fun time just for me!
I guess I'll stick with sleeping....

Friday, May 28, 2010

Why I don't deep fry.......

It's a sad story, really.


When I was 14, my mother died on this very day.
It was Memorial Day.
It wasn't all that unexpected.
Except if you are 14.
Then, it was unexpected.
She was, after all, my mommy.


She had been sick for about 8 weeks.
The cancer swept her away from our home on Palm Sunday.
Right after dinner.
She made us lasagna.
Because it was Palm Sunday.

She missed Easter.

My sisters and I stood on the hill behind the hospital in our Easter outfits--the ones that she had starting making for us before she got ill.
Her sisters--my Aunts Philomenia and Congetta had to finish them so we could wear them that day.
I was the only one old enough to enter the hospital---as were the rules at that time.
So, it was decided that we would let her see us together in our outfits--my aunts thought she would like that.
So, she watched us from her hospital room window as we modeled our fancy clothes and blew kisses to her.

By Mothers' Day, we figured out how to sneak my sisters in.

She came home on a Thursday.
The next Tuesday, she went back to the hospital again.
Before she left, she told me to quit deep frying everything in the electric deep fryer (that my dad bought me so I could cook while my mom was sick).
She said it made the drapes stink and it wasn't a good idea to fry hot dogs anyway.
Gee, and I had just got that recipe down pat....

The next Monday was Memorial Day.

I was swinging on the swings at the McNeilly Park (right next to my aunt's house) with my sisters and my cousins when my aunt came to get us.
I sort of knew it was bad news when I saw all the cars pull into my aunt's big driveway.
But, I was swinging.
So, I just pumped my legs higher while my sisters twisted around in their swings and my cousins flipped on the bars.

I remember it all.
I remember what was said.
I remember what their faces looked like.
I remember my Uncle Lou's primal scream as I came to the top of the steps--"your mama is gone!"
They were Italian, you know. Very emotional folks....
I remember my dad's crumpled shorts and wrinkled shirt as he sat in my aunt's gold velvet chair staring blankly into the sobbing and shouting sea of relatives and friends...his brother (my Uncle Pat) crouched beside him, trying to block the noise and commotion.

I went home and threw away the deep fryer.
And, I never deep fried again.
It's the last order my mother gave me and the last piece of advice she shared.
I wanted to make sure I got it right.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

They're back.........

and just in the nick of time......

I needed a good dose of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda....
and everything they bring with them!
So, that's just what I did.
Yes, despite all the hoopla and helluva going on in Judiland, Toni and I took a crazy break and headed out to hang with the girls from New York at midnight last night!
We got all fashionista, played a little Sex and The City Trivia, stopped off at one of our fav places for a Martini and a Shirley Temple and then we sashayed our fashionista selves into the theatre....where we hung out with the girls until 3 am......
It's now almost 5 am, I've got a long day in front of me and I'm living on little sleep.
But, I gotta tell you--sometimes it just feels good to do something out of the ordinary....like go to a midnight movie on a work night.
I just have to admit---there are moments when I gotta have me some Sex In the City.
That's just the way it is.
But, right now....I need caffeine.
That's just the way it is.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just in time for summer.......

Are you dreaming of just-out-of-the-garden tomatoes, fresh-picked basil and the dreamy things you can do with them?
Yeah, me too.

That's why I wanted to rush this amazing recipe to you!
This way, you'll have it all ready when your first red tomato is on the vine and your crop of basil is lush and bountiful......
Anticipation is half the fun.

It tastes all the more wonderful with a crisp and lively Pinot Grigio!
You can take my word on that.....

And, this recipe is so fantastic (and Lapband friendly!) that you might even want to race out to the grocery store before dinner tonight to buy the ingredients!
(that's what I did the other day..... but I can't wait to make them with fresh-from-my-garden tomatoes and basil)
And, I'm having leftovers tonight!

Baked Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes:

I adapted this from The Proud Italian Cook's recipe posting....
(can you tell that I just love her blog and her recipes?)
  • 6 tomatoes, cut in half (I used roma tomatoes)
  • 2 cups of ricotta cheese
  • big handful romano & parmesean cheese mixture
  • 10-15 fresh basil leaves, julienned then chopped to smithereens
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Italian style panko crumbs
Cut your tomatoes in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon. Season each tomato cavity with sea salt then turn the tomato halves upside down on paper towels to drain out the moisture (about 1/2 hour)
Mix the ricotta cheese, romano & parm cheeses, fresh chopped basil, minced garlic, oregano, sea salt and pepper to taste. Mix filling and taste it---add more seasoning if you think it's needed. I added more cheese and black pepper! Spoon your tomato halves with the ricotta mixture. Pour your panko crumbs in a small bowl, dip the ricotta filled tomatoes in the panko crumbs then place on a tin foil lined baking sheet that has been coated with olive oil. Drizzle the tops of each tomato with olive oil.
Bake on 400 for about 25 minutes. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Oh, and by the way....I paired this recipe with some darling bay scallops quickly simmered in butter and garlic, then topped them with a dusting of parmesean cheese and chopped fresh parsley before putting them under the broiler for a few seconds.....
I added a splash of my Pinot Grigio during the broiler phase..... but just a splash

Bon Apetito!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm not easy!

I just want to set the record straight with a formal proclamation from Judiland.

Weight Loss surgery....in any shape or form....is not....I repeat....IS NOT....taking the easy way out.

But, what if it is?
And, what if it's the only way out?

Who are *they* to judge?
And, for the record....who are *they*?

Just in case there's any papparazzi or tabloid writers or headline writers or TV promo writers reading my blog, I order you (YES, I ORDER YOU) to stop making it seem as if weight loss surgery somehow lessens someone.

And, to all of you celebrities (because I am sure there are so many of you who read my blog!) out there who poo-poo weight loss surgery as being for those folks who just can't handle diets---I've got one thing to say to you.....don't knock it until you try it.
Oh, and one more thing I need to say to you poo-pooing celebrities---maybe you should try it.

Furthermore, I'm giving an official warning to anyone...ANYONE AT ALL...who touts the notion that weight loss surgery patients are somehow lesser than the folks who lost their weight through non-surgical methods--you better look out!
I'm coming for you and I'm bringing my friends.


So, what has me so riled up on this topic this morning?

These four little words.....SHE DID IT HERSELF.
Followed up by these three words.....WITHOUT WEIGHTLOSS SURGERY.

Honestly, friends, I have just about had-it-up-to-here with this mentality.

I have this darling blog reader (and she knows who she is) who is trying so hard to find a way to get a Lap band. I will call her Daisy. She is 26 years old, has been told by friends, family and medical professionals that she has to lose a lot of weight! She knows she has lots of weight to lose. She's known it forever. It is the one thing in her life that makes her very sad.
Unfortunately, Daisy doesn't have the insurance to pay for it and she has lots of school loans to pay back.
She just got her second Masters Degree in Physics last Sunday.
She already has a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelors Degree in Physics. All of them from top tier schools.
This girl has brains.
Daisy emails me every week or so to update me on things.
Since I happen to be an expert on both the technical and science job market (oh yeah) and the plight of people with weight issues (more oh yeah), we always have lots to talk about.
So, we talk.
Daisy is delightful and witty and bright and so very sweet.
But right now, I feel like shaking her silly.
And, she knows it.

On with my story....

I'm sure you will remember the blog post I did about the young girl who was prom gown shopping with her mother.
Many of you commented on my blog about it and I got many, many emails about it too.
It certainly stirred up a lot of emotion....
One of those emails was from Daisy.
When I read her email, I wasn't sure if I wanted to grab a tissue or a machete.
But, since I don't have a machete...

Daisy told me I could share a portion of what she said in her email.
So, I'm cutting and pasting her exact words here....
In both high school and college,I never went to a prom, I never went to a dance, I never went to a party, I never had a date and I never had a job! School and learning were always my #1 priority. BECAUSE IT WAS EASIER THAN FACING ALL OF THOSE OTHER THINGS! I always took the easy way out!!!!!! Now I'm looking for an easy way out of my obesity! Why can't I be like all of those people who do it themselves? Did you see the story on Oprah on the girl who lost over 200 pounds? She did it herself without weight loss surgery. Why can't I???? I have 2 Masters Degrees now and I am thinking I should just take the easy way out and go to get my Doctorate! It would save me from the humility of going on job interviews.

Go ahead....I'll wait for you to read it again.
Let it soak in.

Is your blood boiling yet?

Since when is a PhD the easy way out?
Is it the same easy way out as weight loss surgery?

I have so much to say to Daisy that I'm tongue tied.
So, I'm going to take the easy way out and ask you what you have to say to Daisy.....


Editted to add:
Hold up here! This post has been up for just a few hours and my email is overflowing!
To clarify....I am NOT angry at all with Daisy! No. No. No. I am angry with the fact that weight loss surgery is touted (in some arenas) as the easy way out! And, further, I become frustrated that it actually makes individuals (like Daisy) feel badly about themselves because they can't do it on their own (as if having surgery puts it in the hands of someone else! ha!). Plus, I truly believe Daisy needs to know that the things she is doing in her life are things to be proud of instead of things to make excuses for!! It's all hard work and she's successfully doing it!!! Oh, and there's a lot of other things I'm thinking too but that's for another day....
But, nope I'm not angry with Daisy at all!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

In case you were just dying to know.......

I thought I'd answer a few questions.....

Out here in blogland, there are lists of questions that circulate amongst bloggers. My thinking is that these questions are out there to add a little bit of dimension to blog postings, provide some new insights into life and to help bloggers when they find themselves with blog block. I'm in the later category this morning--suffering from a little blog block. So, I figured I'd reach into the arsenal of circulating questions and go from there.....

I can't recall where this particular list of questions came from. However, I chose them because they mix up a variety of questions.
Thank you to the blogger who put them together! If it's you--please come forward!!!
It's called..... LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT.....

*Who is your favorite TV character from your childhood? Why?
Definitely Mary Richards from the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I loved her cute apartment, her single girl life, her clothes and her relationship with Mr. Grant. I think I secretly loved that her life was not perfect--she never had a decent date, her parties were always duds and she always had some mishap. I guess I figured that if Mary was still happy and pretty and had a successful job in spite of all her imperfections, there was hope for me....

*Who was the last friend you spent time with? What did you do?
My 2 spirited friends--Kate and Angela. We had a boozy night celebrating their birthdays.

*Of all the objects within clear sight of where you are sitting now, what are your favorite three? why?
Since I'm sitting in my little office off the kitchen--there's not a whole heck of a lot of stuff in here. So, it's my chai latte, my wall-mounted HDTV and my computer....all self explanatory!

*What is your all time favorite song? Why?
Turn the Page by Bob Segar. I was never really sure why I loved it so much. But, after thinking about it, I think it's because I love the story about the rock star's life. We always think their lives are so wonderful and perfect yet there is a real loneliness to it.

*After you finish these questions, what are you going to do?
Make another cup of chai and then run upstairs to take a shower and get ready to go to work!



Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's a Sunday in May......

and I'm so looking forward to the day.....

Unless the phone rings to tell me differently, I am not hog tied to anything today.
I can't tell you just how lovely that feels....
Sure, I have to catch up on laundry and cleaning and grocery shopping and cooking and paperwork and mail and email and everything that goes along with life here in Judiland.
But not right this very moment.
This moment is just mine.
As much as I'd love to blog and tell you all about whatever it is that I feel like telling you about, I think I'm just going to wait until tomorrow for that.
For now...I'm just going to ask you to forgive me.
I'm a wee bit tired, I haven't had much time for much more than obligations and commitments all week. And, I'm getting mighty cranky.
So, think I am just going to quietly slip away to sip my tea, spend a little bit of time with the Sunday paper and soak up just being.....
And, I'm going to pray that the phone doesn't ring......

Enjoy this Sunday in May.....

Saturday, May 22, 2010

You are all so good to me.......

you worry about me so much, you reach out to me, you check in on me, you cheer me on.....
I feel so guilty.
So, so guilty.
I didn't mean for you to worry or take time out of your busy day to check on me or to send me encouraging words.
Yet, so many of you did.
So many of you.

Let me set the record straight.
Yesterday the big project at work that I was involved in was....drum roll please......
A Pizza Challenge.
(it was run exactly like the Iron Chef challenge....)

Yeah, yeah, I know.
I made you worry about me for nothing.

But, really, everything I said was true.
You can ask blog reader Gerry. She knows.
These challenges....called The Dean's Cup....are huge deals in my office, throughout the division and on our campus.
HUGE deals.


But, we didn't win.
We came in SECOND PLACE.
We were robbed.
It was brutal.
If I had the energy left, I would have launched an investigation.
But, I was so wiped out from the sheer emotion and work of it all that I accepted our lot and decided to spend the weekend plotting our revenge.....
Because, really, we should have won.
Really. Really.
Here. Let me prove it.
You tell me...... what could be better than our Pizza Challenge entry:

Amore Pizza

When the moon hits your eye like a big-a AppPizza pie…..that’s AMORE!”

AppPizza~~A fresh mela (apple) salsa nestled in a bed of creamy ricotta on a pillow of dough, dusted with Southern Pecans!

AppPizza…… for those moments that call for more than sauce and cheese……

Just like love, this pizza is a delicate, sweet and tart blend of nature’s most revered fruit enhanced by a little nuttiness, a jigger of spice, a touch of sass, a smooth finish and some dough….

Bellisimo!



We should have won....right??????


Friday, May 21, 2010

Just a day on the job.....

in Judiland.....

If you ever wondered what I did in my day job.....this will not give it away....
But, it certainly might make you wonder.

Yes, I'm going to work today.
It's a very stressful day.
I'm heading up a big, big project.
A project my committee and I have been diligently working on.
A project we've been slaving over and wrestling with and losing sleep over.
A project so intense and so important that it turns grown professionals into back-biting, devious, conniving, menacing, child-like sociopaths.
A project so important and visible that doing poorly is not an option.
A project that will set the standard for every other like-project from here on out.
A project that when it's finally set into motion will send forth so much heat that folks might literally have to peel off their clothes, open the doors and run outside to escape from it.
A project that has implications so large that it's fueled massive debates and passionate discussions.
A project so hot-to-handle that not many had the courage to come forward to do it.
A project so riddled with ambiguity and misunderstanding that it ignited an email storm so big that it put our email system on overload and sent responders on impromptu vacations.
A project so critical to how we view ourselves that only a few could be trusted to do it.
A project so professionally dangerous that only the bravest of the brave would even consider the offer to take it on.
A project with an outcome so integral to the work world that we are so deeply embedded in that one misstep could topple our entire mission.
A project so tightly linked to our careers and our livelihoods that even considering the possible consequences of not doing a good job has been enough to send some of our more staid colleagues to check their 401K's.
A project with no bail out, no safety net and no way out.

Yes, it's just another day at the office.

Tune in tomorrow and I'll tell you how it goes.....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday thinking....


It's been a loaded week.
With much more.....much, much more to come.
It's just the way it is.
It would take me entirely too long to give you a blow-by-blow about what is behind me and what is in front of me.
I don't have time to write that novelette plus go through my morning routine and get out the door on time....
Plus, I'd rather not revisit what I barreled through this past week and I certainly don't want to be reminded what land mines stand between me and a semi-quiet Sunday......
No. No.
Have no fear--it's not bad stuff.
It's just stuff.
Stuff that stands between me and the things I'd like to do.
Stuff that makes it impossible to make plans without moving heaven and earth, parting the seas and making stones bleed.
That's the way it is right now.
So be it.
I'm an accepting kind of girl.....
Right now.


During weeks like this, I have a love-hate relationship with my Lapband.
Love it....for all the reasons I've told you time and time again.
Hate it.....because when life gets this busy and packed and scheduled and filled with obligations and commitments and work, it would be great to zip through a drive-thru window, order something I can eat with one hand while I drive and be able to suck my drink out of a straw and not have to worry about anything getting stuck or dealing with projectile vomitting on my windshield....
Yes, I know, I've lost my mind.
After all, what fun is eating with one hand while driving?
And, what one-handed food from a drive-thru could be that good that I'd give up my band for it?
And, isn't it true that nothing....nothing, nothing, nothing....tastes as good as thin feels?
And, let's be honest--why would I spend good shoe money on bad food?

Thank God I talked some sense into myself......
The hate is gone.
I'm back to a place of love.....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Overheard at the mall.......

One sales clerk to another: What's with all the plus size prom gowns?
How many fat girls EVEN go to the prom?

The other sales clerk didn't have a chance to answer.
No. No.
It wasn't because I said anything or gave them the ass whoopin' they deserved.
I didn't need to.
Within ear shot of that conversation was a young woman and her mother looking at the plus size prom gowns....
The young girl's eyes darted away and she seemed to almost cower behind the rack of dresses.
It was all I could do not to cry.
I knew her pain.
I felt her pain.
I knew this would be one of those moments that would stay in her memory bank....always being associated with the prom....
I could feel the lump in my throat, the tears welling up in my eyes.
I didn't want them to see me.
But, the mother caught my eye.
I gave her a knowing look.
She, in turn, half smiled at me, gently directed her daughter to another rack, not looking back at the sales clerks.
The sales clerks nervously scampered away.

The rest of the evening, I spun great fantasies in my head about how the mother head butted the offending clerk and yanked out her hair and smudged her eye liner and broke the heels on her shoes.....

I know how special certain things are.
A mother and daughter shopping for a special dress is one of those things.
At least in my world....
Last year at this time, Toni and I were doing the prom dress tour.
We were zig-zagging across Pittsburgh and beyond to find the perfect dress.
Sure, we had some frustrating moments and found ourselves losing hope at a few points.
And, there was that one time that Toni literally got stuck in the dressing room because the skirt on the Cinderella dress (I begged her to try on) was too big to get through the doorway.
Regardless of the little snafus and trying moments, it was a special time....for the both of us.
That's what I wanted for this mother and daughter.....
Yes, I know....it's a completely irrational wish. They might hate shopping and abhor dresses or maybe the young girl is not even going to the prom and is instead looking for a dress for the mother.....
And, if you really think about it--what I want or whether they were dressing shopping or not--it doesn't matter.
What matters is the whole stigma that goes along with weight and body image.
It permeates every part of life--all the way down to whether a young girl who is struggling with weight is worthy enough to go do the prom....
And, you don't think overweight people know this?
They sure do.
Any person who has struggled with weight and would have happened to overhear what I overheard at the mall knows exactly what I am saying.
We. Know.

It's no secret that people who are overweight are often thought to be less smart, less beautiful and yes....less worthy than the thinner folks who are walking the earth.
I wish I could tell you that I didn't care about any of that and none of it entered my mind when I was contemplating my Lapband surgery.
I would be lying.
I didn't like being the chubby girl or the fat woman.
And I didn't like being less than.....
All because I. was. fat.

So, what's my point?
It's not easy to put into words
But I know you get it.
And, I just wanted to share this story with you and tell you about what the girl and I overheard at the mall.......

Monday, May 17, 2010

A new day, a new week.....

right here in Judiland.


Do the weekends only fly by here in my world or do they fly by in everyone's world?
I'm thinking they fly by everywhere.
If not, I want to go where they don't fly by.

Thankfully, after a chai latte and a quick shopping trip, I was able to piece together enough energy and strength to dig in the dirt yesterday. I didn't get as much done as I had hoped and there's still laundry that needs done and rooms that need my attention and all kinds of other chores still waiting for me. Perhaps it's not as bad as I let myself believe it to be.
Or, maybe it is.....

Whatever the case....it's Monday once more.
The flood gates are open and the cycle shall once again repeat.
But, I must have seen it all coming!
Because I ordered an amazing new pair of shoes on Friday and they should be waiting for me when I return from work today.
Go ahead, check them out......
According to my resident fashionista, the color is perfect for giving my leg a much slimmer look.
I guess I can do Monday.....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday morning......

ugh......I'm dealing with those wonderful Sangria Margaritas


Weekends in Judiland can get rather hectic.
After I did my Judi duties yesterday, it was time to head out the door for a graduation party.
Me and my jug of wonderful Margarita Sangrias....
I had a special request to bring them along.

However, before we left....I had some multi-tasking to do....
Task # 1--I had taste test those wonderful Margarita Sangrias
Task #2-- I had to drink one of those wonderful wonderful Margarita Sangrias to take a little of the edge off my day!
And, that's just what I did.....
I'm so good at multi-tasking when it comes to wonderful Margarita Sangrias!
They were absolutely yummy and they definitely took the edge off.
They took the edge off so much that I wonder if I will ever get my house back to normal (dealing with all the stuff that came back from collegeland) and I am doubting if I will ever dig in the dirt today.
Maybe I need another wonderful Sangria Margarita.....!
If only for the Vitamin C!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Yum......it's the weekend.....

I wish it were alllll mine.....


But, I refuse to whine.
Well, maybe just a little.
Not here though.
My blog is my weekend whine-free zone.

Here's an amazing recipe for a killer cocktail that will surely help with whining.....
Note: You need a big jug!
So, get out those big jugs...
You might need your sombreros too!!!

Sangria-Margarita


1 bottle of Reisling
1/2 bottle of Williams Sonoma Mango Margarita Mix
1/2 bottle of Williams Sonoma Blanca Sangria Mix
1 cup Tequila
1 cup Apricot Brandy
Sliced Fruit: Lemons, Limes and Oranges
Mix, add lots of ice and serve!


Happy Whine-Free Weekend Amigos!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dreary week with the promise of sunshine.......

that's what I hear is coming our way this weekend......


Which means that I will finally get to dig in the dirt....
As much as I love my manicure and I'm not too crazy about worms and such, when it comes time to bring my garden to life--I ignore my vanity, put on my klunky gardening shoes, don a kooky outfit that I would never wear in public, slap on a hat that would bring embarrassment to my children, slip on some not-so-slinky gloves and I get down on my hands and knees to touch the earth.

I start to dig.
I pull weeds.
I till the soil.
I move around plantings.
I put in new plantings.
I feed and water them.
I say prayers over their roots.
Then, I stand back and admire my work.
Then, I do it all over again.
And again.
And again.
Until I'm happily covered in dirt, I need a new set of fingernails and my knees are weak.

All the while knowing that my gardens will color and flavor my summer.....

You know, it wasn't all that long ago.....about 115 lbs ago, as a matter of fact.....the thought of gardening would put me into a panic.
As much as I've always loved blooming flowers and fragrant herbs and just-picked produce, the physical work associated with it all gave me a real sense of dread.
I'll never forget the anguish of getting down on the ground to plant and then remembering I forgot something--which meant that I had to get back up to retrieve it.
It was no easy task.

And, I will never, ever forget the bodily aches that would follow after just one day of soil tilling and weed pulling and planting....
Perhaps that's why there were several years that I took to container gardening.....

There are times--like right now--that I am overcome with emotion because of what my Lapband has given me.
Even if they are the most ordinary things.
Let's face it---we're talking about gardening!
But, you know, if it wasn't for my Lapband, my dirt digging days might be over.
I would have missed the joy of chipped nail polish, colorful flowerbeds and amazing basil.....
That wouldn't have been fair....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What's the hurry?


why do I eat so fast?

A few of the supreme Lapband rules are--eat slowly, chew well and take small bites.
Given the Lapband scenario--this only stands to reason.
And, if you really think about it--those rules are probably good eating rules to live by--whether you have a band or not.
So, why is it that I still eat fast?
Sure, I don't race eat all of the time. However, because I consciously have to slow down my eating and remind myself not to eat fast, I consider my natural instinct is to eat fast.

My father was always a fast eater.
He explained that as a product of the depression era, you had to eat fast--for fear all the food would be gone before you had enough.
When my dad married my step mother--thus inheriting 10 additional children (did I ever tell you about that?)--my step siblings also ate very fast.
Their explanation was that with so many kids, you may not get your fair share so you had to eat quick!
Carmen tends to be a fast eater as well.
I attribute that to his non stop schedule, his impatient personality and his undiagnosed ADHD.
So, I wonder---did all of those fast eaters influence the way I eat or am I just a fast eater?
Or.....
Is it more than that?
---did I become obese because I ate fast--thus not even knowing what I ate?
Or, did I become obese because I ate so fast that my brain never registered when I had enough?
Or, do obese people just eat fast?

So, what made me think about this?
Here's my little story....
Even though I have had great success with my weight loss and my Lapband, I sometimes find myself falling into old habits.
Especially when my world goes mad....
Take for instance yesterday---I had a day full of meetings--most of them back-to-back, a shitload of projects that needed to be completed asap, emails and phone calls up the ying-yang and lots of people needing lots of things. Plus, I had paperwork and phone calls to finish up for my dad, errands to run for him during my lunch hour (which I never got around to!) and I was texting with Toni about her summer job search in between.
I was overwhelmed, overscheduled and just so over it all.
At one point during the day, I realized I needed to stop and eat something.
So, I ran up to the small little dining facility in my building, rambled off my order (one scoop of tuna salad) to the person behind the counter, quickly paid for it, ran down the steps to my office, flew into my seat to eat, finish up a project and hopefully start another. With one hand on my keyboard and the other hand shoveling what I thought was tuna salad in my mouth, I immersed myself in my work.
I soon realized I was eating ham salad.
Ham salad?
Shit, I hate ham salad....

When I looked down at my scoop of ham salad---I had eaten 3/4 of it!
It took me less than 5 minutes to eat 3/4 of a scoop of ham salad!
And, even worse---it took eating 3/4 of it to figure out I was not eating tuna.
I was eating ham.
They don't even taste anything alike!
Did I even realize I was eating?
I immediately fell into a panic.
I knew that if there was going to be a Lapband moment....it was going to be then.
I had just shoveled a good deal of food that I hated into my mouth in a very short period of time!
Even if I didn't have a Lapband, the mere thought of eating ham salad would make me puke.
Add that to the fast eating.
Bingo.
Not a good thing.
Nope.

Gotta work on the fast eating thing.
Unless I want to eat ham salad fast again.......

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

People who need people......

are the luckiest people in the world.

We're children, needing other children
And yet letting a grownup pride
Hide all the need inside
Acting more like children than children.....
sing it Babs!

I'm not sure why this song has been playing in my head this morning.
I haven't heard it in ions.
And, even though I like it.....it's not like it's one of my top ten.
Even so....I figured I'd google the song to make sure I had the right words...thinking if it was going to play in my head all day, I might as well have the lyrics down.
So, I googled .......People Who Need People.
As expected, I got the usual stuff---the lyrics, some info on Barbra Streisand, etc.
But, I also got 124,000 other results.
There are that many people talking about People Who Need People?
Apparently so.
And now I'm just one more.
So, add me to the list, Google......because that's what I am always talking about.
People who need people and no more hunger and thirst
Pretty deep, eh?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I got friends in loooooow places......

and they are getting lower everyday!
(On the scale, that is.......)

One of the best rewards of Gen giving me my SOB coming out party.....other than the fact that it was all about me.....has been that I have been able to reconnect with the Lapbanded world---a wonderful world of new banders, seasoned banders, soon-to-be banders and gee-I'm-thinking-of-being-banded banders in such a personal, intimate and touching way.
It's truly been a gift.
It's been a continual reminder of what this wonderful tool can do to transform people's lives--in more ways that just helping us to lose weight.
Although I have always had the faith....my faith is renewed with each message I receive.
There's not a day that goes by that I am not *this close* to tears hearing from someone who is celebrating their success, declaring their band love or sharing their story.
Each and every email and/or comment is important.
It gives a glimpse into what the world is like for those of us who have waged a war on obesity.
Just as importantly, it has provided me with a way to give back in more ways than I can count.
And not just giving back to the band friends who write to me.
Case in point---my little bit older cousin....who I will call Rico. Because that's sorta his name.
Rico is one of those big burly guys--always has been.
A big Italian guy who was raised in the same food-obsessed, food-is-love, food maniac family as I was.
For the most part, he always managed to keep the pasta, the beer, the wine, the sausage, the hoagies and the chicken wings at bay with sports.
Then with his contracting business--where he did manual labor to build houses.
Until his knees gave out from a combination of hockey and brick laying.
Then, he couldn't keep anything at bay.
Especially the weight.
And, he was having trouble walking.
And working.
And living life.
That's where I come in.
We'd run into each other at family functions or out at restaurants or around town.
He would always notice my weight loss.
He'd ask a few questions. He'd say he wished he could do it too.
I'd give him my speel.....it was the best thing I ever did, call me, I'll give you the name of my surgeon....
He never called.
Until last week.
When he was turned down for knee surgery.....because he was morbidly obese.
Naturally, he was frustrated.
And scared.
And just a wee bit apprehensive.....yeah, Judi, but, ah....will I really lose the weight?

That's where you come in.....

Sure, I could tell Rico my story--the one I told all of you during my SOB coming out party.
But, he's already heard that one.
And, since he is not blind--he could see that it worked for me.
But, now, I had more.
More stories.
More people just like him.
More people just like me.
I had all of you to tell him about.
There's power in numbers.
Big power.
When we hung up the phone that day--I was sure he was going to call the surgeon.
But, he didn't.....
Nope.
When I called him the other day--he sheepishly told me that he did not have time.
After all, the Penguins are in the playoffs.....

The guy needed to hear another story.
I had just the one to tell him.
It's a story about a guy I'll call Jacko. Because that's sorta his name.
Jacko has been lurking our blogs.
And, he has been doing it since December 2008.
142 pounds ago.
I hadn't heard from him in quite some time.
I just figured he went away or maybe he just got sick of all the girl talk.
But, when I became an SOB......he emailed me a congratulatory note.
He didn't say he was sick of all the girl talk.
He's much too nice for that.
But, what he did say----in his funny Jacko way--
I never thought I could do it, I never thought I would do it,
and
I never thought I could get so low.
So, I told Rico Jacko's story.
Then I told him I'd get a contract out on him to break his knees if he didn't call the surgeon in 48 hours (I gave him extra time due to the Penguin game).....
And, he knew I was serious......
And he knew I could do it
BECAUSE......
Oh, yeah, I got friends in low places.......

Monday, May 10, 2010

Memories of a happy weekend.......







Getting ready for the big day at Alexa's apartment....my sister Cathy and I with our girls....
Alexa loving her gift from us!


Alexa and I......
Toni and Alexa....
Alexa getting her degree.....


My beautiful niece Alexa.....after receiving her Master's Degree....
I'm pretty sure she will hate this picture....blame it on the photographer...Aunt Judi!

Alexa and her Professors!

Alexa and her classmates!


Alexa's Master's Hood! We are so damn proud!






Yes, there was lots of celebrating.....
That's why I'm not saying much this morning.......

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thoughts of mom......


......and the Sewing Club and the ISDA and the PTA and Dwight Avenue.....and my life.
And, she still is.
Her red beehive, her Kent cigarettes (and the soft pack that she hid on top of the china closet), her hi-balls (that she made with Gordon's Gin), her Chanel #5 (in the pretty bottle with the gold bow), her meatballs (that no one has ever been able to duplicate), the way her polenta tasted (that she made with raisins, romano cheese and pepperoni), her red painted fingernails (that were always so elegant)..... and all of those things that brought my mother to life in the eyes of a little girl.
They remain the things that bring her to life today in the eyes of this 51 year old woman.
Yes, 37 years after she is gone.

She is more than a memory.....she is a living presence.
That's the miracle of mothers.....


And, to celebrate this occasion, my mother's oldest grand daughter
--the lovely, talented, kind, compassionate and oh so smart Alexa--
is receiving her Master's Degree today.
Din Carr (my mother) is smiling and strutting her stuff in heaven.....

We are all heading to Mastersland to share this wonderful day
with my sister, her family and Alexa.....
It's a good day.
I hope that yours is too.

P.S. And, Happy Birthday to my blog reader SIL.....Teresa!
Good luck at your new age and your new job!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

She's home.......

and there's a belly button ring......

If that's the only remnant of college life, I have to be thankful.

So, on the way home from Collegland,to break up the trip, we stopped off for a little shopping.
That's where Toni found some adorable bikinis.
That's how I learned about the belly button ring.

Right there in the dressing room....
As a few other mothers heard the exchange.
"Okay, mom, I have to tell you something" she said, hiding her bikini clad body with the door.
As the dressing room fell silent.....
"I got my belly button pierced..."
I could feel the collective moment of breath-holding....as the other mothers waited for my response.

Yes, she's home.
Her and her pink belly button ring.....
My nest is empty no more.

Summer vacation has arrived in Judiland.
Stay tuned.....

Friday, May 7, 2010

Road Trip!

Going off to Collegeland........

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'm * this * close.....

to not being an empty nester......Toni is coming home for the summer tomorrow....


Now, it's time to do all those things I said I was going to do when I no longer had children at home!
I mean, I have less than 24 hours to accomplish those goals!
Where' my list?
Oh yeah, that's right---I threw it out......when real life got in the way!
There's always next school year....

Welcome Home Toni!
Let's go for pedicures and you can tell me.....everything!
Well, maybe not everything.....
Unless you wanna.....
I'm all ears!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Speaking of bathing suits.......


and in honor of Cinco De Mayo......

And now....a little story that has nothing at all to do with this guy.
But, it does have to do with Mexico and bathing suits....and dieting

Thirteen years ago....in celebration of our 15th wedding anniversary, we took a little trip to a couples resort in Cancun for Cinco De Mayo. In preparation for that jaunt, I kicked off that year.....with a diet.
Even though I had already been on a diet....as I always was.
Shocking, I know.

Four and a half months, hundreds of dollars and many wonderful diet pills later---I arrived at a moment of thinness. With my newly found weight loss and the trip to Cancun pending--I set off on a journey to find a worthy bathing suit. This time, I wanted a two piece! I had not had one on since my honeymoon, I had lost about 60 pounds, I was done having kids, we were taking our first sans-kids trip since said kids were born and I was going to a foreign country to a couples-only resort--where no one knew me and little kids and teens would not be pointing at me and saying "look at that fat lady in the two piece!". Yes, it seemed like the perfect time to kick off my life wearing two piece bathing suits. Forever.
After all, I was always going to be in 2 piece bathing suit mode....

At the time, the newest rage was a tankini. It seemed like the perfect bathing suit for me....enough coverage yet definitely a two piece....
After hours spent scouring stores and catalogs--I hit upon 3 perfect tankinis. All three of them with darling little skirts attached and each of them with a hidden panel to cut down on the tummy bulge. Where they perfect or what? Yes, perfect for a week of frolicking on the beach with like-folks, no kids, lots of tequila, the sand, the sun and the surf....

Fast forward to the beautiful, hedonistic beaches of our resort---me in my lovely two piece tankini, a big floppy hat and my margarita and everyone else around me in micro-mini bikinis and topless suits---regardless of their size, their age, their amount of hair.....well, you get the picture....
All of a sudden, the mildly overweight girl in a conservative two piece-- with a tummy panel--looked ridiculously out of place and almost comical.
No amount of tequila could make my self-consciousness go away.
We had a good time anyway--in spite of Carmen's case of Monetzuma's revenge that kept him cloistered in our room for the last two days of the trip and the fact that I had ate and drank my way out of my tummy panel and most of my vacation wardrobe and into a lovely Mexican embroidered version of a mu-mu.....
The moral of my story?
Pour yourself a margarita and sit back and think about it......
As for my take on it--it was just a Mexican memory to revisit and share with you on this Cinco De Mayo!
I took nothing away from that experience except about 12 pounds and a husband who never wants to return to the scene of the most horrific case of stomach distress in his life.
Somehow, he managed to lose 20 pounds.......
OLE!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Is a bathing suit in your future?

There's nothing a woman dislikes more than the thought of bathing suit shopping.
Maybe that's just me.
If that's not you.....just humor me and tell me you hate it it too.
I don't want to be the only one....
It's an interesting conundrum, though.
I like bathing suits and I like shopping.
But, put them together and I get that odd stirring in the pit of my stomach....and it's not because I overate....
Milky white legs, a little bit of hair hanging out there, a wardrobe malfunction there, an unsightly bulge over there......well, you get the picture...
The visual is enough to make me pray for four more months of snow.....

So, I always find myself doing major research beforehand.
As in....I buy every magazine that has a promise splashed across it's cover that it can help readers find the best bathing for any body....even mine.
Now that I have my pile of magazines, it's time to put those magazines to the test....
As I do every year.....
Will I finally be victorious?
Will bathing suit shopping become as much fun as shoe shopping?
And, will I find the perfect bathing suit that shows off my weight loss, makes me look 30 years younger, gives me a lovely cleavage, covers my rumpled belly, doesn't slide up where it shouldn't slide up, doesn't slide down where it shouldn't slide down, makes my arms and legs look fit and sets my skin aglow?
Oh....and one that doesn't cost half my paycheck!
(oh shit, if it does all that....it can cost my whole paycheck!)
Stay tuned....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Take the cannoli.....




No wonder your cohorts called you Fat Clemenza....eating all those cannolis.
Yes, mia piasano......cannolis are a little bit of heaven.

I would have left the gun and took the cannoli too.





There's cannoli in my fridge.
They are calling my name.
With an Italian accent.
I can't resist a cannoli with an accent......
Now I need the gun.
I have to shoot the cannoli!

Buona giornata!
(I guess when you eat too many cannoli, you start talking Italian)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Making room in the nest.....

cause it ain't gonna be empty no more......

It's time to make way for my little girl to come home--with all her baubles and what-nots and trinkets and college knowledge....


Yes, friends, we're coming into the home stretch of empty nesting.
I know, it went rather fast.
Thank you for sticking it out with me.

As grateful as I am to all of you for listening to me and putting up with me as I whined and moaned about my empty nest status.....I don't have a moment to chat with you today.
Nope, I have to clear the way for my rising sophomore sorority girl to wedge her and all her stuff back into our nest.....
And, I've only got 4 days to figure out just how I am going to do this!
I have no idea what the hell happened since she left in August!
All of a sudden our nest is overflowing and there's lots of dust and cobwebs in her pretty pink room......
Please forgive me but I'm off to the pick up my Chai Latte and a few boxes of trash bags, some big storage containers and lots of cleaning supplies!!!!
Thank God Starbuck's and Walmart are on my schedule.....